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Ver. 1. And it came to pass on the second sabbath day after the first , etc.] Or “second first sabbath”, concerning which interpreters are greatly divided. Some think, that it was either the seventh day of the feast of unleavened bread, or the eighth day of the feast of tabernacles. Others, that it was the sabbath which fell that year on the day of Pentecost; and that as there were three grand festivals among the Jews, the feasts of passover, Pentecost, and tabernacles; so when the sabbath day fell on the feast of the passover, it was called the first prime sabbath, when on the feast of Pentecost, it was called the second prime sabbath, and when on the feast of tabernacles, the third prime sabbath. Others have been of opinion, that as the Jews had two beginnings of their year, the one on civil accounts in Tisri, the other on ecclesiastical accounts in Nisan; so the first sabbath in Tisri was called the first first sabbath, and that in Nisan, which was this, the second first sabbath: but what seems most likely is, that this sabbath was, as it may be rendered, “the first sabbath after the second”; that is, the first sabbath after the second day of the passover, when the sheaf of the firstfruits was offered, and harvest might be begun; which suits well with ears of corn being ripe at this time, which the disciples rubbed. So the Jews reckoned the seven weeks from thence to Pentecost by sabbaths; the first after the second day they called the second first, or the first after the second day; the second they called the second second; and the third was named the second third; and so on, the second fourth, the second fifth, the second sixth, and second seventh, which brought on Pentecost, when the harvest was ended. So in the Jewish liturgies, there are collects for the first sabbath after the passover, and for the second sabbath after the passover, and so on to the sabbath before Pentecost. The eastern versions, Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic, not knowing what should be meant by it, have only rendered it, “on the sabbath day”, as in Mt. 12:1. (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:1”). That he went through the corn fields ; that is, Jesus, as the Syriac, Persic, and Ethiopic versions: and his disciples plucked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands : after they had plucked them they rubbed them in their hands to get clean off the husk or beard, that were on them, and then ate the grains.
And as plucking of the ears of corn was forbidden on a sabbath day, (see Gill on “ Matthew 12:2”), so was rubbing them; though if they were rubbed before, the chaff might be blown off from them in the hand, and eat on the sabbath day: the rule is this f251 ; “he that rubs ears of corn on the evening of the sabbath, (i.e. on the sixth day,) may blow them from hand to hand on the morrow, and eat” But the disciples both plucked them, and rubbed them, and blew away the chaff from them on the sabbath day, and therefore were complained of by the Pharisees.
Ver. 2. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them , etc.] Unto the disciples. The Evangelists Matthew and Mark say, that they said this to Jesus: no doubt but they said it to both, first to one, and then to the other; probably last of all to Christ, who returned an answer to it: why do ye that which is not lawful on the sabbath day? as to pluck ears of corn, and rub them, and eat them; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:2”) Ver. 3. And Jesus answering them, said , etc.] For they brought the charge against the disciples to him, being desirous to know what he would say, and that they might have something to accuse him of; and who, at once, took up the cause of his disciples, and vindicated them, by observing what David did, when he, and his men were an hungry; how that he went into the tabernacle, and took the showbread, and ate of it, and gave it to his men, who also ate of it; which, according to the law, was only allowed to priests; and by taking notice of another instance, which this evangelist does not relate; namely, how on the sabbath days the priests, by doing various servile works, profaned the sabbath day, and yet were not charged with any blame; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:3-5”).
Ver. 5. And he said unto them , etc.] He adds this at the close of the instances he gave, at the end of his vindication of his disciples, and discourse with the Pharisees, as a full answer to their cavils; that the son of man is Lord also of the sabbath ; and may do what he will, and suffer his disciples to do whatever he pleases on that day; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:8”).
Ver. 6. And it came to pass also on another sabbath , etc.] Whether the following sabbath, or some time after, is not certain, that he entered into the synagogue . The Arabic version reads, “into their synagogue”, as in ( Matthew 12:9) the synagogue of the Jews; in what place, whether at Capernaum, or some other city of Galilee, is not so clear: and taught ; explained the Scriptures to the people, and instructed them in the doctrines of the Gospel: and there was a man whose right hand was withered ; who was in the synagogue, and one of his hearers; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:10”) Ver. 7. And the Scribes and Pharisees watched him , etc.] (See Gill on “ Mark 3:2”) whether he would heal on the sabbath day : there being such an object before him: that they might find an accusation against him ; as they had before against his disciples.
Ver. 8. But he knew their thoughts , etc.] Being the omniscient God; though they had said nothing of their intentions, he knew what they designed, should he heal the man with his withered hand, as they expected he would: and said to the man which had the withered hand, rise up, and stand forth in the midst . The Syriac and Persic versions add, “of the synagogue”, and which is the true sense; (See Gill on “ Mark 3:3”) and he arose and stood forth ; he rose up from his seat, and stood up in the midst of the synagogue, and of the people, that he might be seen of all.
Ver. 9. Then said Jesus unto them , etc.] The Scribes and Pharisees, who were watching him, and whose thoughts, and the reasonings of their minds, purposes, and intentions, he full well knew: I will ask you one thing ; or question, as they had asked him one before; ( Matthew 12:10) is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life, or to destroy it ? (See Gill on “ Mark 3:4”) to which may be added, that to save life on the sabbath day was agreeable to their own canons: there were many things which they allowed might be done on the sabbath day, when life was in danger, which otherwise were not lawful; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:8”).
Ver. 10. And looking round about upon them all , etc.] The Scribes and Pharisees, and the rest of the people in the synagogue; (See Gill on “ Mark 3:5”). he said to the man ; who had the withered hand, stretch forth thy hand, and he did so ; he stretched it out, as the Syriac and Persic versions render it, which he was not able to do before: and his hand was restored well as the other ; the phrase, “well as the other”, is left out in one copy, and in the Vulgate Latin version; and so is the word “well” in the Syriac and Arabic versions; and the word “immediately” is added in the Ethiopic version. And certain it is, that his withered hand was restored sound and well as the other, directly.
Ver. 11. And they were filed with madness , etc.] Both at the cure, and because they could not answer him; nor properly fix a charge upon him, or accuse him before the people, without bringing their resentments on them: and communed one with another what they might do with Jesus : this they did after they came out of the synagogue, and when with the Herodians, as in (see Gill on “ Mark 3:6”).
Ver. 12. And it came to pass in those days , etc.] When Christ was teaching by the lake of Gennesaret, or in one or other of the cities of Galilee near that place: that he went out ; of the synagogue and city where he had been: into a mountain to pray ; for the sake of solitude, and which lay near the sea of Tiberias; (See Gill on “ Matthew 14:23”). and continued all night in prayer to God ; or “with” God, as the Ethiopic version renders it; or “in the prayer of God” as the phrase may be literally rendered; not in a prayer of God's making; though the Jews sometimes speak of the prayer of God, and give us a form of it: but either this respects the object of his prayer; it was made to God, as our translation suggests; or the nature, matter, and manner of it: it was a divine prayer, it regarded divine things, and was put up in a very fervent manner, and with great vehemence; so the coals of love or jealousy are said to be “coals of fire, which hath hy tbhlç , the flame of Jehovah”; that is as we render it, “a most vehement flame”, ( Song of Solomon 8:6) In like manner, “prayer of God” is a most vehement prayer; strong cries sent up to God with great eagerness and importunity, fervency, and devotion; and such was Christ's prayer, and in which he continued all night: unless by the prayer of God should be meant, as is thought by many, an house of prayer to God, in which Christ lodged all night, and spent it in prayer to God in it. Certain it is, the Jews had their “proseuchre”, or prayer houses. Philo the Jew f253 often speaks of them, and so does Josephus f254 ; and there seems to be mention made of them in the Talmudic writings: when R. Jochanan ben Zaccai came to Vespasian, in his camp before Jerusalem, Vespasian asked him, what he should give him? he replied f255 , “I desire nothing of thee but this “Jabneh”, (a famous university,) that I may teach in it the disciples, and fix in it hlpt , “an oratory”, or “prayer house”, and do in it, all the commandments said in the law.”
And in another place f256 , “R. Judah says, that Samuel said it is free for a man to make water within four cubits, hlypt lç , which I should choose to render, “of the proseucha”, or “prayer house”:” though the Gemarists afterwards, and so the gloss seem to explain it of the time after prayer, in which a man should wait before he evacuates, even as long as he might go the length of four cubits. Juvenal has reference to one of these oratories, when he says, “in qua te qucero proseucha?” and in one of these, it is very likely, Christ was in prayer all night long; for by the sea side, and by the side of rivers, these oratories were used to be; ( Acts 16:13,16).
Ver. 13. And when it was day , etc.] Or morning; having spent the whole night in prayer to God, no doubt for his disciples, whom he was about to send forth as his apostles, to preach his Gospel, and work miracles, and for their success therein: he called unto him his disciples ; the whole company of them, as in ( Luke 6:17) all that were his followers, and professed to believe in him, or as many as he pleased; (see Mark 3:13). And of them he chose twelve ; and ordained them, and sent them out to preach, heal sicknesses, and cast out devils: whom he also named apostles ; or “messengers”, from their being sent by him on such important business; and their names are as follow.
Ver. 14. Simon, whom he also named Peter , etc.] Which signifies a rock, or stone, as Cephas also does, (see John 1:42) from his constancy, steadfastness, and solidity: and Andrew his brother ; who was called at the same time with him, and were brethren, both in nature and grace: James and John : the two sons of Zebedee, who were called next: Philip and Bartholomew ; the latter of these is by some thought to be Nathanael.
Ver. 15. Matthew and Thomas , etc.] The first of these was a publican, and who also was called Levi; and the latter had besides the name of Didymus, and was he that was so unbelieving of Christ's resurrection: James the son of Alphaeus ; sometimes called James the less, and the brother of our Lord: and Simon called Zelotes ; or the Canaanite; (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:4”).
Ver. 16. And Judas the brother of James , etc.] Of that James, that was the son of Alphaeus; though the Syriac and Arabic versions call him “the son of James”, very wrongly: this Judas was also called Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus, and is the writer of the epistle that bears his name: and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor ; both his surname and his character are mentioned, to distinguish him from the other Judas: it is easy to observe, that these twelve are mentioned by pairs, or couples, and so they were sent out, two by two; (see Mark 6:7) as were also the seventy disciples afterwards; (see Luke 10:1) There seems to be an allusion to the pairs and couples of the Jewish fathers and doctors, who in their succession are thus paired: Jose ben Joezer, and Joseph ben Jochauan; Joshua ben Perachia, and Nathan the Arbelite; Simeon ben Shetach, and Judah ben Tabai; Shemain and Abtalion; the two sons of Bethira, whose names were Judah and Joshua; Hillell and Shammai f258 : all before Christ's time.
Ver. 17. And he came down with them , etc.] With the twelve apostles, from the top of the mountain, where he had been praying all night, and where he had been that morning, ordaining, and giving instructions to the twelve he had chosen: and stood in the plain ; in a lower part of the mountain, in a plain place on it; which was large, and capable of holding a great number of people; for it was still upon the mount, that Christ taught his disciples, and said many of the things hereafter mentioned in this chapter; (see Matthew 5:1). And the company of his disciples : not only the twelve, but the large number out of which he had chosen twelve; and a great multitude of people ; who were hearers of him, and attendants on him, and who had a great esteem for him, though they were not as yet of the number of his disciples; who came out of all Judea, and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon : drawn from these several parts by the fame of him, some for one thing, and some another; some of which came to hear him : to hear him preach, and that they might know what manner of doctrine he taught: and others of them, to be healed of their diseases ; their bodily diseases, and some came perhaps for both.
Ver. 18. And they that were vexed with unclean spirits , etc.] Were possessed with devils, and sadly tormented and afflicted by them: and they were healed : both such that had bodily diseases, and were under diabolical possessions.
Ver. 19. And the whole multitude sought to touch him , etc.] That is, the multitude of those that were sick and possessed; for they were persuaded, and they found it true by experience, that if they could but touch any part of his body, or his garments, they should be cured of their diseases: for there went virtue out of him ; in great abundance, as water from a fountain; without his speaking a word, or using any gesture, such as laying his hands on them: and they were healed ; in this secret and private way, of whatsoever disease they were afflicted with.
Ver. 20. And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples , etc.] Either the whole company of them, or rather the twelve apostles, whom he saw coming to him, and fixing his eyes on them, he sat, and said ; what follows, with many other things recorded by Matthew: blessed be ye poor ; not only in the things of this world, having left all for Christ, but poor in Spirit, as in ( Matthew 5:3), (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:3”): for yours is the kingdom of God ; or heaven, so in ( Matthew 5:3).
Ver. 21. Blessed are ye that hunger now , etc.] Not only suffer hunger and thirst in a literal sense, in this present life, but who have hunger and thirst in a spiritual sense, after righteousness and eternal life, as in ( Matthew 5:6) where it is also said as here: for ye shall be filled : with righteousness and life; (see Gill on “ Matthew 5:6”). blessed are ye that weep now ; under afflictions and pressures of life, and mourn for sin, their own, and others: for ye shall laugh ; be filled with spiritual joy and pleasure, and be comforted with the consolations of the Spirit; (see Gill on “ Matthew 5:4”).
Ver. 22. Blessed are ye when men shall hate you , etc.] For the sake of Christ, and his Gospel: and when they shall separate you from their company ; either from civil conversation with them, as if they were Gentiles and uncircumcised persons; or from their religious assemblies, and so may have respect to that sort of excommunication in use, among the Jews, called ywdn or “separation”: by which persons were not only excluded from the congregation, but from all civil society and commerce: such a person might not sit nearer to another than four cubits, and this continued for thirty days; and if not discharged then, he continued thirty more f259 : and shall reproach you : as heretics, apostates, and enemies to the law of Moses, as the Jews did reproach the Christians; and cast out your name as evil ; or “as of evil men”: as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it: this may have respect to the greater sorts of excommunication, used among them, called “Shammatha” and “Cherem”, by which a person was accursed, and devoted to destruction; so that our Lord's meaning is, that the should be esteemed and treated as the worst of men, and stigmatized in the vilest manner they were capable of: for the son of man's sake ; not for any immorality committed by them, but only for professing and, preaching that the Messiah was come in the flesh, and that Jesus of Nazareth was he; and that he who was the son of man, according to his human nature, was, the Son of God according to his divine nature.
Ver. 23. Rejoice ye in that day , etc.] When they should be hated, discarded, reproached, and anathematized: and leap for joy; as if the greatest honour and happiness imaginable had been conferred on them; and as persons do, when in the greatest rapture: for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:12”).
Ver. 24. But woe unto you that are rich , etc.] Not in worldly riches and substance, for some of these have been, and are happy persons in a spiritual sense; and at most, it can only mean such, who trust in their riches, and place their, happiness in them; but it chiefly regards such, as are rich in their own opinion, and stand in need of nothing; who place their confidence in their own righteousness, and do not apply to Christ, in whom alone are durable riches and righteousness: for ye have received your consolation ; which they take from their own works, and a very unstable and short lived one it is; for while they are crying Peace, Peace, to themselves, from their own services, sudden destruction comes upon them, and all their comforts vanish away: for there is no true solid comfort but in Christ, and in his righteousness; that administers consolation now, and lays a foundation for everlasting comfort hereafter.
Ver. 25. Woe unto you that are full , etc.] Not so much with the plenty and affluence of the things of this life, as of themselves, and their own righteousness, and so with conceit, vanity, and pride, and have no appetite for spiritual things, nor do they hunger and thirst after Christ, and the grace that is in him: for ye shall hunger ; not that they shall truly and spiritually desire an interest in Christ, and his righteousness, or heaven and eternal life hereafter; but they shall be in starving and famishing circumstances; and whilst the saints are feeding upon the joys and glories of the other world, compared to a banquet, they shall be without, and have no share in these things; ( Isaiah 65:13,14). Woe unto you that laugh now ; at sin, rejoice in iniquity, make a mock at it, instead of mourning for it; or that glory in themselves, and in their righteousness, and rejoice in their boastings: for ye shall mourn and weep ; shall be cast into outer darkness, where are weeping, waiting, and gnashing of teeth; and for all the fire they have kindled, and sparks they have encompassed themselves with, and danced in and about, this they shall have at the hand of God, they shall lie down in sorrow, and ever continue in it.
Ver. 26. Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you ! etc.] The word “all”, is left out in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic; Persic: and Ethiopic versions, and is wanting in many copies, though it is in the Alexandrian copy; and the meaning is, it looks ill in persons, when the men of the world, wicked men, all of them, or the greater part of them, applaud and commend them; for this can never be, if they are truly religious persons, and are faithful to their principles, and upright in their practices; and do not connive at, or comply with the errors and evil ways of wicked men; for it is no bad sign, to have the good word of good men, and therefore these must be excepted, and the passage must be limited to bad men; for so did their fathers to the false prophets ; they spoke well of them, and heaped favours, riches, and honours upon them, that they might prophesy unto them things; ( 1 Kings 22:6,12,27 Isaiah 30:10), smooth things and deceit.
Ver. 27. But I say unto you which hear , etc.] The Ethiopic version adds “me”, and the generality of interpreters understand the passage of the hearers of Christ, as distinct from the disciples, or together with them, and of the better sort of them; and of such as had ears to hear, and who heard with a desire of understanding, and of putting into practice what they heard; but I rather think it regards the hearers of the Scribes and Pharisees, then present, who had heard and received the traditions of the elders, to which the following rules of Christ are opposed; and to each of which, with others in Matthew, these words are prefixed; ye have heard that it was said by them of old time — but I say unto you , etc.] ( Matthew 5:21,27,33,38,43) with which compare this phrase, and the sense will appear to be this; to you that hear day by day, the traditions of the elders urged upon you, and the false glosses the Scribes and Pharisees put upon the word of God; in opposition to them, I say to you what follows: love your enemies ; whereas you have heard them say, hate your enemies, keep enmity in your hearts to them, and revenge yourselves on them: do good to them that hate you ; whereas you have heard it said, that you should only do good to your friends, and should keep anger in your bosoms to such who hate you, and do you an injury; (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:43”) (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:44”) Ver. 28. Bless them that curse you ; etc.] In common discourse, or anathematize you in their synagogues: and pray for them which despitefully use you : so Christ himself did; (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:44”).
Ver. 29. And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek , etc.] The right cheek, offer also the other ; the left cheek, by turning it to him, that he may smite that likewise, if he thinks fit: by which proverbial expression, Christ teaches patience in bearing injuries and affronts, and not to seek private revenge; but rather, suffer more, than indulge such a temper; and for the same purpose is what follows urged: and him that taketh away thy cloak, forbid not to take thy coat also : the phrase is inverted in Matthew; (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:39. See Gill on “ Matthew 5:40.
Ver. 30. And give to every man that asketh, etc.] See Gill on “ Matthew 5:42”) And of him that taketh away thy goods ; not by force, but by consent, having either lent them, or sold them to him: for if they were taken away by force, the person so taking them was to be deemed a thief and a robber, and to be treated as such; but one that takes them by agreement, and is not able to make a return of them, or to give a valuable consideration for them, of such an one ask them not again: do not exact or demand them, but give him a release, as the law requires, in ( Deuteronomy 15:2) which seems to be respected here; and where the same word is used by the Septuagint, as here.
Ver. 31. And as ye would that men should do to you , etc.] In matters of justice and beneficence were they in your case, and you in theirs; do ye also to them likewise : a golden rule this, agreeably to the light of nature, and divine revelation, and is the sum and substance of the law and prophets; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:12”).
Ver. 32. For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? etc.] Or, “what grace have ye?” this is no fruit, nor evidence of grace, nor any exercise of the true grace of love; nor is it any favour conferred upon the object loved, which deserves the respect shown, nor can any reward be expected for such treatment: and thus it is expressed in Matthew, “what reward have ye?” and the Arabic version renders it so here: for sinners also love those who love them : men that are destitute of the grace of God, profligate sinners, even the worst of them, such as publicans, do this; (See Gill on “ Matthew 5:46”).
Ver. 33. And if ye do good to them which do good to you , etc.] As one good turn deserves another: what thank have ye? what grace or goodness is there in such an action? what glory or merit is there in it? for sinners also do even the same : wherefore no man should conclude himself a righteous man, or better than sinners, on such an account: this is to be found among the worst of men, and is natural to them, unless they are brutes indeed, to be kind to such as are kind to them. And yet, this was the whole of the doctrine of the Jews about doing good to men: for so they say f260 , “an Israelite is obliged to do good to an Israelite his companion, and to lend without usury: this is kindness and goodness, and a greater good it is than a gift; for many men are ashamed to take a gift, and are not ashamed to take a loan: but not so an Israelite to a Gentile; for he is not bound to do good, or show kindness to him, or to lend him his money freely; for many of them hate the Israelites; but it must be owned, that if a Gentile does a kindness, or good, to an Israelite; the Israelite is also bound to show kindness to him, and do him good.”
In direct opposition to such narrow sentiments does our Lord deliver himself in this, and the following verses.
Ver. 34. And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive , etc.] The same again, as from their brethren the Jews; or usury, as from the Gentiles: what thank have ye ? and yet they looked upon this, in the first instance of it, as a very great kindness, and act of goodness, as appears from the above citation: for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again ; or “what is equal”, and answerable to what they have lent them; that is, the same, or what is equivalent to it.
Ver. 35. But love ye your enemies , etc.] As before urged in ( Luke 6:27) and do good and lend ; not to your friends only, but to your enemies; hoping for nothing again ; either principal or interest, despairing of seeing either; lending to such persons, from whom, in all appearance, it is never to be expected again. The Persic version renders it, “that ye may not cause any to despair”: and the Syriac version, “that ye may not cut off”, or “cause to cease the hope of men”; and the Arabic version, “that ye do not deceive the hope of any” that is, by sending such away, without lending to them, who come big with expectations of succeeding: and your reward shall be great : God will bless you in your worldly substance here, and will not forget your beneficence hereafter: and ye shall be the children of the Highest : that is of God; one of whose names is ˆwyl[ “the Most High”; ( Psalm 82:6) the meaning is, that such who from principles of grace, and with right views do such acts of kindness and beneficence to their fellow creatures and Christians, shall be, made manifest, and declared to be the children of God; since they will appear to be born of him, and made partakers of the divine nature, and bear a resemblance to him, by their imitating him: for he is kind to the unthankful and to the evil ; by causing his sun to rise, and his rain to fall on them, as on the righteous and the good; for as Jews observe, “there is no difference with him, whether on the right hand or the left; for he is gracious, and does good, even to the ungodly.”
And elsewhere they say f262 , that “he does good, and feeds the righteous and the ungodly.”
Ver. 36. Be ye therefore merciful , etc.] Tenderhearted, kind, beneficent to all men, friends and foes: as your Father also is merciful ; that is your Father which is in heaven; who is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works: nothing is more common in Zohar f263 , and the Talmud than to express the Divine Being by no other name, than “the Merciful”; rma anmjr , “the Merciful said” so, and so; that is, God: and so the Arabians generally begin their books and chapters with these words, “in the name of God, exceeding merciful”, or “the merciful commiserator”: a saying much like to this in the text, is the Targum of Jonathan, on ( Leviticus 22:28). “O my people, the children of “Israel, as your father”, ˆmjr , “is merciful” in heaven, so be ye merciful on earth.”
Ver. 37. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged , etc.] (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:1”). Condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned ; censure not men's persons, and judge not their state, or adjudge them to condemnation, for every offence in practice, or because they differ in principle, lest you should be treated in like manner by others; and especially, lest you should fall under the righteous censure, judgment, and condemnation of God: forgive ; offences and trespasses committed against you, bear with, and pass by injuries and affronts: and ye shall be forgiven ; of God; (See Gill on “ Matthew 6:14”).
Ver. 38. Give, and it shall be given unto you , etc.] Give liberally of your worldly substance to indigent persons, as you have an opportunity, according to your ability, and as cases require: and it shall be returned again to great advantage; with great recompense, either in temporals or spirituals, or both: good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom . The allusion is to dry measure among the Jews, for to liquids, the terms used will not agree; and which, though right and full, which is here called good measure, they thrust and pressed to make it hold more; and shook it also for the same purpose, and then heaped it up as much as they could, till it fell over: of all these methods used in measuring, we have instances in their writings; which may serve to illustrate this passage: it is said of one, that “he measured, hçwtk hdmb , “with measure pressed down”; and therefore they measured to him, with measure pressed down.”
Some of their measures they heaped, and some they did not: they say f266 ; “all the measures which were in the sanctuary, twçwdgn “were heaped”, except the high priest's, and his heap was contained in it.”
And elsewhere they observe that “there were two decimaries (or tithing vessels) in the sanctuary, one was çwdg , “heaped”, and the other was qwjm , “stricken”: with that which was heaped they measured all the fine flour for the meat offerings, and with the stricken, that which was for the cakes of the high priest.”
Between these two measures there was another, which was full measure and just, and right, without heaping or striking f269 , R. Papa inquired, whether the handful “(of sweet incense the high priest took on the day of atonement) which is spoken of ( Leviticus 16:12) was of “stricken” or “heaped” measure; R. Abba said to R. Ase, come, hear, the handful spoken of, is neither of stricken nor heaped measure, twpwpj ala , “but of equal measure”;” sufficiently full, and no more. Dr. Lightfoot reads it, twpwxm , “flowing over”; by what authority I cannot say; though the gloss says, the word signifies, “flowing over, by reason of its height,” But flowing or running over measure, was the same with that which was heaped, as appears from the following instance f270 : “all those that hsg hdmb ˆy[ypçmh “cause to abound”, or run over with the great “measure”, it is lawful for them to sell that, of which it is doubted whether it has been tithed or not; and these are they, that “cause to run over”, or “heap” with the great measure, as corn factors and fruiterers.”
Who buy corn and fruits to sell again, and which they buy by the large measure, and fill it up, add unto it, and heap it up; and so get more than what is properly due unto them, as the commentators observe f271 : would you know the quantity of the heap, or that which ran over, or the difference between even measure, and that which was heaped, learn, it from hence: in ( 1 Kings 7:26) it is said, the molten sea held two thousand baths, and in ( 2 Chronicles 4:5) three thousand baths; which difficulty the Jewish writers solve this way, by observing, that the former text is to be understood of liquid measure, and the latter of dry measure, which was heaped: hence says R. Abai, we learn that, ywh atlt açdwg , “the heap is the third part” of the measure f272 : now to this superabundant measure, Christ here refers; and signifies, that a large compensation should be made to such, who give liberally and generously to needy persons; that as they abounded in their acts of beneficence, so an overflowing plenty of good things should be returned to them: and when he says, that this should be “given into their bosom”, he alludes to the long and large garments the Jews wore, into which they were capable of receiving large lapfuls of good things: the words may be read impersonally, “shall be given into your bosom”; or if personally, they may be understood of God, angels, and men, in different senses: the phrase “shaken together”, is not in the Syriac and Persic versions: “for with the same measure that ye mete withal, it shall be measured to you again”; a common proverb with the Jews: (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:2”).
Ver. 39. And he spake a parable unto them , etc.] The Vulgate Latin reads, “he spake also a parable unto them”; besides what he said; and the Arabic version renders it, “another similitude”, parable, or proverb, distinct from the comparisons, allusions, and proverbial expressions in the preceding verses. Though it should be observed, that these words were not spoken at the same time, nor on the mount, as the foregoing were; but this, and what follow, are a collection of various expressions of Christ at different times, some delivered on the mount, and others elsewhere; unless it should be rather thought, that these proverbs and sentences were repeated at different places and times, which is not improbable: can the blind lead the blind? they may do so, as the blind Scribes and Pharisees led the blind people of the Jews, which is what our Lord intends; but if they do, as they did, shall they not both fall into the ditch? yes, verily, what else can be expected? (See Gill on “ Matthew 15:14”).
Ver. 40. The disciple is not above his master , etc.] Or “more excellent”, as the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions render it; that is, in learning and knowledge; if the master is ignorant, the scholar will be so too; and thus it is with teachers, and their people under their care; if the leaders are blind and ignorant, those under their instructions will remain so likewise. These words are an illustration of the preceding parable, and are used to another purpose here than in ( Matthew 10:24). (See Gill on “ Matthew 10:24”) but every one that is perfect shall be as his master . The Vulgate Latin reads it, “every one shall be perfect if he is as his master”; that is, if his master is a man of general learning, and a complete scholar, if he is like him, he will be so too: the Persic version renders it, “every disciple that desires perfection shall be as his master”: whoever is ambitious of being a thorough scholar, and is diligent and industrious, by all ways and means, to obtain such a character, shall be even as good an one as his master, under whom he learns, and better he cannot well expect to be; and this is sufficient; and so the Ethiopic version renders it, “is it not enough that every one be as his master?” agreeably to ( Matthew 10:25) Maimonides has an expression much like this: “he that learns, shall not be greater than he of whom he learns, but shall be, wtwmk , “as he”.”
Ver. 41. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye , etc.] A lesser sin in comparison of others; for all sins are not alike, as the Stoics asserted: and though none are to be countenanced and indulged, yet some are not so severely to be animadverted upon as others, the nature, occasions, circumstances, and aggravations considered; for no man is perfect, or wholly free from sin; nor are the words preceding to be understood of such a perfection; for which reason perhaps these words, with what follow, are mentioned: but perceivest not the beam that is in thine own eye? meaning a greater sin, such are guilty of, who are inquisitive searchers into the faults of others, and severe animadverters on them; and yet are blind to their own iniquities, and take no notice of them. These proverbial expressions were delivered by Christ on the mount, and are the same with those in ( Matthew 7:3-5).
Ver. 42. Either how canst thou say to thy brother , etc.] Guilty of the lesser sin; brother, let me pull out the mote that is in thine eye ; that is, suffer me to reprove thee for thy sin: the word “brother” is omitted in the Cambridge copy of Beza's, and in the Persic version; nor is it in Matthew; but in the Syriac and Ethiopic versions it is read, “my brother”; pretending great affection and sincerity: when thou thyself beholdest not the beam that is in thine own eye? that is, takest no notice of, and dost not refrain from a greater iniquity continued in: thou hypocrite ; as such an one must be, that bears hard upon his brother, and severely censures him for a small crime, when he indulges in himself a far more abominable sin: cast out first the beam out of thine own eye, and then shalt thou see clearly to pull out the mote that is in thy brother's eye : the sense is, that a man should first reform himself, and then others.
Ver. 43. For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit , etc.] The particle, “for” is left out in the Syriac, Arabic, Persic, and Ethiopic versions; and so it is in Beza's ancient copy: nor do these words stand in close connection with the preceding in Matthew's Gospel, though they may be very well considered as an illustration of them; for as that cannot be called a good tree, which brings forth bad fruit; so such men cannot be accounted good men, let them make ever so large pretensions to such a character, who are very busy in espying, discovering, and censuring the faults of their brethren; when they take no notice of, nor refrain from, nor relinquish their own. These words, with what follow in this, and the next verse, and the similes in them, are used by our Lord in Matthew, on account of false prophets or teachers; where he suggests, that as good and faithful ministers of the Gospel cannot, and do, not bring forth, and publish corrupt notions, and false doctrines, usually and knowingly; even usual, nor can it be, that a good tree should bring forth corrupt fruit; so, neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit ; or men of corrupt minds deliver good and sound doctrine, or the wholesome words of our Lord Jesus Christ: but here they seem to be applicable to other persons, even true believers and hypocrites: the former are comparable to good trees, and are called trees of righteousness, which being planted by the river of the love of God, and rooted in Christ, and filled with the fruits of righteousness by him, do not bring forth the evil fruit of sin, as the common and constant course of their lives and conversations; for that they never commit sin, or are entirely without it, cannot be said; but sin is not their usual and common practice, or they do not live in sin: and the latter, hypocrites, who pretend to a great deal of religion, and have none that is true and real, these are comparable to corrupt trees; which, though they may make a fair show, yet do not bring forth good fruit, or perform works of righteousness which are truly such; what they do have only the appearance of good works, and are not properly so; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:16-18”).
Ver. 44. For every tree is known by its own fruit , etc.] Good and bad preachers are known by their doctrines, the one being agreeable, the other disagreeable to the word of God; and good and bad men are known by their lives and conversations: the grace of God revealed to good men, and wrought in them, teaches them to live soberly, righteously, and godly; a holy life is the fruit of grace, and an evidence of it; and the wickedness that is in the heart of unregenerate men, and even the hypocrisy of formal professors, will show themselves in the common and ordinary course of their conversations: for of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes ; nor can they be expected from them: and no more can an unregenerate man perform good works, or bring forth: fruits of righteousness acceptable unto God; for these require a knowledge of his will, obedience to it, a principle of grace, love to God, faith in Christ, and a view to the glory of God; all which are wanting in such a person.
Ver. 45. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart , etc.] This, because of its suitableness and agreement with what goes before, is placed by Luke here; though, according to Matthew, it was spoken at another time and place, unless it should be a repetition there; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:35”) for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh . The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, Ethiopic, Syriac, and Persic versions, leave out the word “his”; and the two latter read “lips”, instead of “mouth”; (See Gill on “ Matthew 12:34”).
Ver. 46. And why call ye me Lord, Lord , etc.] Or, “my Lord, my Lord”, as the Syriac version renders it; acknowledging, in words, his government over them; claiming an interest in him, and making use of his name and authority: and do not the things which I say ; or “command”; and therefore such words in their mouths would be of no use to them, since they neither did his Father's will, which he taught them, nor observed his commands and ordinances which he enjoined them; and therefore should not enter into the kingdom of heaven, nor be owned by him another day, but should be bid to depart from him; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:21-23”).
Ver. 47. Whosoever cometh to me , etc.] To be a disciple and follower: and heareth my sayings, and doth them ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:24”). I will show you to whom he is like ; or “to what thing he is like”; so the Syriac and Arabic versions; though what follows seems better to agree with person than thing.
Ver. 48. He is like a man which built an house , etc.] That is, intended to build one, having drawn the scheme of it in his mind, and provided materials, and fixed upon the spot of ground: and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock ; that is, he dug deep in the earth, till he came at a rock, and there, and then, he laid the foundation of his house; in which he acted the part of a wise man, as he is called in Matthew: so a sensible sinner, desirous of building his soul, and the salvation of it, on a sure bottom, digs deep into the Scriptures, diligently searches them, till he finds out the scheme of salvation by Christ; which lies deep in God's counsel and covenant, was ordained before the world began, and was hid in God till revealed in the Gospel: and finding Christ to be the rock of ages, in whom is everlasting strength, and the foundation which God has laid, nor is there another; he makes use of him as such, and builds the hope of his eternal salvation on him: and when the flood arose ; an inundation, a multitude of waters, the swelling of the sea; or rather “when it was tide”, as the word here used signifies f274 : the stream beat vehemently upon the house ; or the river, up which the tide came, dashed and broke against it; by which may be signified the temptations of Satan, the persecutions of the world, the corruptions of men's hearts, and the errors and heresies of false teachers: and could not shake it ; as none of these can so shake as to move a soul, thus built on Christ, off of him the foundation: for it was founded upon a rock ; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:24-25”).
Ver. 49. But he that heareth, and doth not , etc.] Hears Christ's sayings externally, but does not obey his commands: is like a man that without a foundation built upon the earth : that is, without digging for a foundation, built his house upon the surface of the earth; “upon the dust of it”, as the Syriac version renders it; or, “upon the sand”, as Matthew says: “against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great”; (See Gill on “ Matthew 7:26-27”)