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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Matthew 25:33

and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.


Adam Clarke Commentary

He shall set the sheep, etc. - The right hand signifies, among the rabbins, approbation and eminence: the left hand, rejection, and disapprobation. Hence in Sohar Chadash it is said, "The right hand is given, the left also is given - to the Israelites and the Gentiles are given paradise and hell - this world, and the world to come." The right and left were emblematical of endless beatitude and endless misery among the Romans. Hence Virgil: -

Hic locus est, partes ubi se via findit in ambas,

Dextera, quae Ditis magni sub moenia tendit:

Hac iter Elysium nobis; at laeva malorum

Exercet poenas, et ad impia Tartara mittit

Aen. vi. 540

Here in two ample roads the way divides,

The right direct, our destined journey guides,

By Pluto's palace, to the Elysian plains;

The left to Tartarus, where bound in chains

Loud howl the damn'd in everlasting pains.

Pitt

Of the good and faithful servants he approves, and therefore exalts them to his glory; of the slothful and wicked he disapproves, and casts them into hell.

Sheep, which have ever been considered as the emblems of mildness, simplicity, patience, and usefulness, represent here the genuine disciples of Christ.

Goats, which are naturally quarrelsome, lascivious, and excessively ill-scented, were considered as the symbols of riotous, profane, and impure men. They here represent all who have lived and died in their sins. See Ezekiel 34:17, and Zechariah 10:3.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/matthew-25.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Shall set the sheep … - By “the sheep” are denoted, here, the righteous. The name is given to them because the sheep is an emblem of innocence and harmlessness. See John 10:7, John 10:14-16, John 10:27; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 74:1; Psalm 23:1-6.

On the right hand - The right hand is the place of honor, and denotes the situation of those who are honored, or those who are virtuous. See Ecclesiastes 10:2; Ephesians 1:20; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:25, Acts 2:33.

The goats - The wicked. See Ezekiel 34:17.

The left - That is, the left hand. This was the place of dishonor, denoting condemnation. See Ecclesiastes 10:2.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/matthew-25.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

The significance of the right and the left is the same in all nations and from the most ancient times. Even in Plato's REPUBLIC, the unjust were ordered to take the road downward and to the left.

The kingdom which God has allotted to the righteous was designed before the human race was created, "which God foreordained before the worlds unto our glory" (1 Corinthians 2:7). The disaster in Eden did not thwart, nor will it even delay, the ultimate achievement of God's eternal purpose.


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/matthew-25.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand,.... That is, the elect of God, and true believers, such as have the grace of God truly implanted in them; the sheep the Father gave unto Christ, and made his care and charge, whom he, as the good shepherd, laid down his life for; and who know his voice in effectual calling, and follow him in the way of his ordinances and appointments; and are comparable to sheep for their meekness and innocence, their simplicity and usefulness, and their harmless and inoffensive lives, and conversations: these Christ will set on his right hand, as a token of his affection for them, and a mark of respect and honour shown them, and as a pledge of that exaltation and glory he will be about to raise them to,

But the goats on the left; that is, the foolish virgins, wicked, and slothful servants, graceless professors, who, because of the impurity of their hearts, the filthiness of their lives, and their offensiveness to Christ, are compared to goats: these he will place at his left hand, in token of his disaffection for them, as a brand of disgrace upon them, and as an intimation of that dishonour, and miserable condition they will quickly be in. These different situations plainly pre-signify how things will go with each, that one will be acquitted, and made happy, the other will be condemned, and become miserable. Agreeable to which the Jews sayF3Jarchi in Gen. i. 26. Kimchi in 1Kings xxii. 19. Lex. Cabalist. p. 132. Zohar in Numb. fol. 93. 4. , that there is a right hand and a left hand with the Lord: they that are on the right hand, are such as have done well, and are לזכות, "for absolution"; and they that are on the left hand are criminals, and are לחובה, "for condemnation". Some think the allusion is to the two Scribes in the sanhedrim, who stood before the judges, one on the right hand, and the other on the left, and wrote the sentences; the one of those that were acquitted, and the other of those that were condemnedF4Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 4. sect. 3. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 9. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora pr. affirm. 97. ,


Copyright Statement
The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/matthew-25.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand — the side of honor (1 Kings 2:19; Psalm 45:9; Psalm 110:1, etc.).

but the goats on the left — the side consequently of dishonor.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/matthew-25.html. 1871-8.

People's New Testament

He shall set the sheep at his right hand. The sheep, who represent the righteous, are placed at the right hand, the place of honor. See Hebrews 12:2.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
Johnson, Barton W. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "People's New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/matthew-25.html. 1891.

Vincent's Word Studies

Goats ( ἐρίφια )

Diminutive. Lit., kidlings. The sheep and goats are represented as having previously pastured together. Compare the parables of the Tares and the Net.

On the right ( ἐκ δεξιῶν )

Lit., form the right side or parts. The picture to the Greek reader is that of a row, beginning at the judge's right hand.


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The text of this work is public domain.

Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/matthew-25.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

The Fourfold Gospel

and he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left1.

  1. He shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. The right hand is always represented as the place of honor and preferment. The Jews in their traditions say that when criminals were tried by the Sanhedrin those who were acquitted were placed on the right hand, and those who were condemned on the left.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.

Bibliography
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "The Fourfold Gospel". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/matthew-25.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

Ver. 33. The sheep on the right hand, &c.] A place of dignity and safety. Our Saviour seems here to allude to that of Moses’ dividing the tribes on Gerizim and Ebal. Those six tribes that came from the free women are set to bless the people; as the other five, that came of the bondwomen (whereunto is adjoined Reuben for his incest) are set to say Amen to the curses, Deuteronomy 27:11-13.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/matthew-25.html. 1865-1868.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 25:33. ἐρίφια, kidlings) A diminutive. Although giants, they will be kidlings. They will not then be אלים, mighty, and עתורים, he-goats.(1099)

Perhaps Bengel’s language will not appear so inappropriate when compared with that of Scripture, to which he evidently alludes. Isaiah 14:11, “Hell from beneath stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones [Hebr. leaders; lit. great goats] of the earth.” Comp. Ezekiel 34:17; Zechariah 10:3.—ED.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-25.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Ver. 31-33. Our Saviour having spoken much before of his spiritual kingdom, which he exerciseth in his church, cometh now more plainly to tell them what kind of a kingdom he should further set up and exercise in the end of the world; far different from that which the Jews dreamed of, and his own disciples seemed to have some expectations of.

When the Son of man, he who now appeareth to you in the form of a servant, and only as the Son of man, shall come in his glory, a glorious manifestation of himself; he now appeareth clothed with flesh, but he shall appear in his glory, and all the holy angels with him; he shall come with ten thousand of his saints, Jude 1:14, with his mighty angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Then shall he sit (after the manner of great princes) upon the throne of his glory; he shall appear in great splendour: and before him shall be gathered all nations, that is, all persons that ever were or at that time shall be in the world; the quick and the dead, Acts 10:42 2 Timothy 4:1 1 Peter 4:5. He shall send forth his angels, and say to them, who are his reapers, Matthew 13:30, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. He by his angels shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd, who feedeth both sheep and goats together, at night separateth them one from another. So the saints of God, who are like sheep for whiteness, gentleness, innocency, and feed in this world together with stinking and lascivious goats, the wicked of the world, compared to goats for the filthy qualities by which they resemble them; yet at the day of judgment Christ shall separate them.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand. The right hand is the place of honour and dignity, and the place for favourites: then Christ shall exalt his saints to great honour and dignity, and show them his favour.

But the goats on the left; wicked men shall rise to shame and contempt. The right hand men of the world shall be at the left hand of Christ. It shall be then seen, that because they are people of no understanding, he that formed them will show them no favour.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/matthew-25.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Sheep; the righteous.

Goats; the wicked.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/matthew-25.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

“And he will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

He is pictured as a shepherd dividing the flock. The separating of sheep from goats for various reasons was a regular part of the shepherd’s life. Goats required different treatment from sheep, and especially to be protected from the cold at night, while sheep had at some time to be sheared, and were more highly regarded. Other reasons for separation may have been for breeding, or for the purposes of the market. To be placed on the right hand was to be placed on the favoured side. It indicated judgment in favour. To be placed on the left indicated guilt and judgment. A similar idea is found in other ancient literature.

This division between the sheep and the goats, the righteous and the unrighteous, the elect and the non-elect is pictured elsewhere in many ways. See for example Matthew 13:30; Matthew 13:41-43; Matthew 13:49-50; Matthew 24:31; Matthew 24:38-41; Daniel 12:2-3; John 5:28-29; Revelation 20:13-15. The righteous are those whom Jesus has saved from their sins (Matthew 1:21). We must remember that when God goes about His judgment there will not be the same logistical difficulties as there would be for men. This is not so much a description of how it will be done, but of what will be accomplished.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/matthew-25.html. 2013.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

Matthew 25:33. The sheep on his right hand, the place of preference. The pre-millenial view refers ‘the sheep’ to the unconscious Christians among the heathen, hinted at in Romans 2:7; Romans 2:10, including the ‘other sheep,’ ‘not of this fold.’ But how unlikely that, in this great picture, believers should be excluded, when the term ‘sheep’ is appropriated to them so often.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/matthew-25.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

Matthew 25:33. καὶ στήσει, etc., the bare placing of the parties already judges, the good on the right, the evil on the left; sheep, emblems of the former; goats, of the latter. Why? No profit from goats, much from sheep; from their wool, milk, lambs, says Chrys., Hom. lxxix. Lust and evil odour secure for the goat its unenviable emblematic significance, say others: “id animal et libidinosum et olidum” (Grotius). Lange suggests stubbornness as the sinister quality. More important is the point made by Weiss that the very fact that a separation is necessary implies that all were one flock, i.e., that the judged in the view of Jesus are all professing Christians, disciples true or false.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/matthew-25.html. 1897-1910.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand - the side of honour (1 Kings 2:19; Psalms 45:9; Psalms 110:1, etc.) --

But the goats on the left - the side consequently of dishonour.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-25.html. 1871-8.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
the sheep
Psalms 79:13; 95:7; 100:3; John 10:26-28; 21:15-17
his
Genesis 48:13,14,17-19; Psalms 45:9; 110:1; Mark 16:19; Acts 2:34,35; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/matthew-25.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

The sheep at his right. The sheep symbolizes the Lord's people. The "right side" is the place of honor (compare Hebrews 12:2).


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". "The Bible Study New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/matthew-25.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.

E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

There is no moral value of a man"s right hand over his left, but the separation had to be made and the assignment to these respective hands is so worded for its psychological effect.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 25:33". E.M. Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/znt/matthew-25.html. 1952.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 25th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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