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Ver. 1. And he arose from thence , etc..] From Galilee, and particularly from Capernaum: and cometh into the coasts of Judea ; into those places, which bordered on that part of the land of Israel, called Judea, as distinct from Galilee: by , or rather “to” the further side of Jordan ; which he crossed at the bridge of Chammath: the particular place he came to was Bethabara; (see John 10:40 1:28): where John formerly preached, and baptized: and the people resorted unto him again ; great multitudes followed him out of Galilee, and more doubtless flocked to him from the adjacent parts, when they heard of his coming again to them. And, as he was wont, he taught them again : it had been his custom before, and so it was wherever he went, to preach the word of God, and teach men what was profitable to them, and useful for the good of their immortal souls; and so he did now, and here: and not only so, but healed many of them of their bodily disorders, as Matthew relates, ( Matthew 19:2).
Ver. 2. And the: Pharisees came unto him , etc..] As they every where did; not to be instructed by him, but to ensnare him; and asked him, is it lawful for a man to put away his wife ? that is, as Matthew adds, “for every cause”, (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:3”): for, a divorce might be lawfully made for a cause, or reason, namely, adultery, but not for any, or every cause; which is the sense of this question of the Pharisees; and, which they put, not for information, but tempting him ; trying to entangle him by opposing the authority of Moses, should he deny the lawfulness of divorces, or by objecting his former doctrine, ( Matthew 5:32), and so expose him as an inconsistent preacher, should he allow them to be lawful for every reason. This clause is placed in the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions before the question.
Ver. 3. And he answered and said unto them , etc..] Very prudently and wisely, what did Moses command you ? according to Matthew, he put another question to them; (see Matthew 19:4); no doubt but both were put, and this after they had urged the authority and law of Moses: and therefore be very pertinently asks them, what Moses had said about divorces, what law he had left; and puts them upon producing and repeating it, that the sense of it might be examined, and it be considered, upon what account it was given.
Ver. 4. And they said , etc..] By way of reply, Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement, and to put her away , Moses did not command them to divorce their wives, only suffered them to do so: and gave orders that if they could not bear that they should live with them, but would divorce them, that they should give them a bill, which should certify, they were so divorced, and then send them out of their houses, free to marry other men; this law, or permission, is in ( Deuteronomy 24:1), of the form of a bill of divorcement, (see Gill on “ Matthew 5:31”).
Ver. 5. And Jesus answered and said unto them , etc..] With respect to this command, or sufferance of Moses, which they urged: for the hardness of your heart he wrote you this precept ; it was, not because it was right in its own nature, or according to the original will of God; but, because the Jews were such cruel, and hard hearted men, that if this had not been permitted, some of them, that had wives not so agreeable to them, would have used them in a very inhuman manner, if not murdered them; and therefore to prevent further, and greater mischief, Moses indulged them with such a precept; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:8”).
Ver. 6. But from the beginning of the creation , etc..] Of the world, or of man: µ lw [ l ç wtyyrb tl j tm , “from the beginning of the creation of the world”, is a way of speaking often used by the Jews f187 : the phrase “of the creation” is left out in the Syriac and Persic versions; and so it was in Beza's most ancient copy, and it is only read, “from the beginning”, as in Matthew 19:4,8. God made them male and female ; the first that were created, Adam and Eve, the first parents of mankind, the first couple that came together were one male and one female; so that there could be no polygamy or divorce:
Adam could not have more wives than one: nor could he put away Eve, and marry another; no provision was made for any such usages and practices; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:4”). In the Complutensian edition, it is added, “and said”, the following words.
Ver. 7. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother , etc..] The Persic version adds, “and brethren and sisters”, though without any foundation in the original text, in ( Genesis 2:24), from whence this passage is cited; or in any copy of the evangelist: and cleave to his wife ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:5”).
Ver. 8. And the twain shall be one flesh , etc..] This is the remaining part of the citation out of ( Genesis 2:24); (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:5”); so then they are no more twain; but one flesh ; as Adam and Eve were both by creation and marriage: and so two persons, a man and woman, being lawfully married together, become one flesh, or “one body”, as the Arabic and Persic versions render the phrase; and therefore the wife is to be loved by the husband as his own body, and from whom there should be no separation, until death, but in case of adultery; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:6”).
Ver. 10. And in the house , etc..] To which Christ retired, after he had put the Pharisees to silence, and dismissed the multitude: his disciples asked him again of the same matter ; concerning the affair of divorces, be bad been discoursing with the Pharisees about; some things being said, they had not been used to, and which they did not thoroughly understand; and therefore chose privately to converse with him on this subject, for their further information.
Ver. 11. And he saith unto them , etc..] The same things as in Matthew 5:32, 19:9: whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another ; when there is no uncleanness in the case; when his former wile has not injured him by violating the marriage bed: committeth adultery against her ; to the injury of his lawful wife; or “upon her”, or “with her”, with the person he marries. The Syriac and Persic versions leave out the phrase, “against her”.
Ver. 12. And if a woman shall put away her husband , etc..] Not that there was the same law, or the same sufferance by the law of Moses, for a woman to put away her husband, as for the husband to put away the wife; nor was it practised among the Jews, unless it came to be in use about this time, in their declining state, having taken it from the Gentiles; of whom they say f188 , that “they divorce one another: says R. Jochanan, wt ç rgm wt ç a , “his wife divorces him”, and gives him the dowry.”
So Salome, the sister of Herod the Great, sent a bill of divorce to her husband Costobarus; and in this she was followed by Herodias, the daughter of Aristobulus, as Josephus relates; and which his own wife also did. And by such examples the practice might prevail among the Jews: and we have a story told us of a holy man, and a holy yeoman, who were married, and had no children, hz ta hz w ç rgw , “and they divorced one another”; and the one went and married a wicked woman, and she made him wicked; and the other went and married a wicked man, and she made him righteous but I do not find that this practice was approved, or established by any rule, or canon. They allow indeed a woman to write her husband's divorce of her, with proper witnesses; and they also oblige one, that was espoused in her minority, and refuses her husband, when adult, to write a bill of refusal; the form of that, and the rules about it, take as follow f192 : “they do not allow one to marry a minor; he that marries a minor that is fatherless, and she is not pleased with her husband, lo! she may refuse, and go away, and she has no need of a divorce from him, because the espousals of a minor are not perfect espousals, as we have explained: and so a minor, whom her father marries, and she becomes a widow, or is divorced whilst she is a minor, lo! she is as one fatherless, in, her father's life time; and if she marries whilst she is a minor, she may refuse — how does she refuse? she says before two witnesses, I do not like such an one my husband; or I do not like the espousals with which my father, or my brother, espoused me; and such like words. — The two, before whom the minor refuses, write for her; on such a day, such an one, the daughter of such an one, refused, before us, such an one her husband; and they seal, and give it to her: and this is the body, or substance of a bill of refusal — in such a week, on such a day of the month, in such a year, such an one, the daughter of such an one, refused before us, and said, that my mother, or my brother, forced me, and married me, or espoused me, and I, a minor, to such an one, the son of such an one; and now I reveal my mind before you, that I do not like him, and I will not abide with him: and we have searched such an one; and this is manifest to us, that she is yet a minor, and we have written, and sealed, and have given this to her, for her justification, and a clear proof;” “Such an one, the son of such an one, witness. Such an one, the son of such an one, witness.”
And such a writing was called, ˆ waym jg , “a bill of refusal”, and sometimes ˆ ynwaym yrj ç , “letters of refusal” f193 , but a bill of divorcement given by a married woman to her husband, I have not met with. Justin Martyr speaks of a Christian woman that, repoudion dousa , “gave a bill of divorce” to her husband: such things, therefore, have been done, and might be done in Christ's time, to which he refers; and concerning which he says, that if a woman do so, and be married to another, she committeth adultery ; with the man she marries, and against, and to the injury of her former husband, unjustly left by her.
Ver. 13. And they brought young children to him , etc..] The parents, or friends, or nurses of the children in those parts, having heard of the fame of Jesus; and having entertained an high opinion of him, as a great prophet, and a holy, good man, brought their children in their arms, or hands, that he should touch them ; as he did when he healed diseased persons, as these might be, though not expressed: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them] ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:13”).
Ver. 14. But when Jesus saw it , etc..] Observed that his disciples reproved those that brought their children to, him, he was much displeased ; with his disciples, who took too much upon them; for they ought first, to have known their master's will; whether it was his pleasure to grant the favour desired for these children, and not to have forbid them of themselves: and said unto them ; the disciples, as the Persic version reads: suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God ; or “of them who” are, ˆ ylh Æ ya , “as these”, as the Syriac version, renders the words; or, as the Arabic, who “are like to these”; and the Persic, who are “like to these little children”; in innocence and humility; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:14”).
Ver. 15. Verily I say, unto you , etc..] A form of speech used when our Lord was about to asseverate a thing, and assert something of moment and importance, and which he would have attended to. Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God ; the Gospel, and the mysteries of it: as a little child ; laying aside all pride and prejudice, attending thereunto with humility and meekness: he shall not enter therein ; he shall attain to no true spiritual knowledge of the Gospel; nor should he be admitted into a Gospel church state, and to the ordinances of it.
Ver. 16. And he took them up in his arms , etc..] “Upon his arms”, the Syriac version says; “he put them into his bosom”, according to the Ethiopic; and the Persic renders it, “he took them into his bosom”: all which expresses great tenderness towards them, and affection for them: put his hands upon them, and blessed them . The Ethiopic version transposes these clauses, and puts blessing first, contrary to the natural order of the words, and things; for he first put his hands on the children, according to the custom of the Jews, and then prayed over them, and wished all happiness and prosperity to them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:15”).
Ver. 17. And when he was gone forth into the way , etc..] For when he had blessed the children he departed from the coasts of Judea, on the further side of Jordan, and steered his course towards Jerusalem, ( Mark 10:32), and as he was on the road thitherwards, there came one running ; a young man, a ruler among the Jews, and very rich, a person of great dignity, and large substance; he hearing that Christ was going from those parts, ran in great haste to him, to have some conversation with him, before he was entirely gone; and kneeled to him ; as a token of great respect and civility: some versions, as the Persic and Ethiopic, render it, “and worshipped him”; which must be understood not in a religious, but in a civil way: the words might be literally rendered, “and kneeled him”; and Dr. Lightfoot suspects, that more is meant than bending his knees to Christ; that he also might take hold of the knees of Christ, and kiss them, as was usual with the Jewish Rabbins, and which he illustrates by several instances: and asked him, good master, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life ? This man, though a young man, and also a rich man, was thoughtful of the world to come, and the life of it: he believed there was an eternal life after this state of things, and so was no Sadducee; but he had wrong notions about the way and manner of attaining it: he thought it was to be had by the works of the law, which shows him to be a Pharisee; whereas eternal life is the gift of God, through the Messiah, the person he now applied to, and who had the words of eternal life; and to a more proper person he could not have put the question, he being himself the way, the truth, and the life, or the true way to eternal life: and had he attended to his own words, which suggest, that eternal life is an inheritance, he might have learned, that it is not to be acquired by the industry and works of men; but, that it is the bequest of our heavenly Father to his children, and comes by will, by promise, and as a free gift; so that it is not of the law; nor are they that are of the law heirs of it, ( Romans 4:14 Galatians 3:18); (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:16”).
Ver. 18. And Jesus said unto him , etc..] The same as in Mt. 19:17, (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:17”). Why callest thou me good ? This is said, not as denying that he was good, or as being angry with him for calling him so, but in order to lead this young man to a true knowledge of him, and his goodness, and even of his proper deity: there is none good, but one, [that is], God ; some render it, “but one God”, as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; and so the words are a proof of the unity of the divine being, and agree with ( Deuteronomy 6:4), but are not to be understood to the exclusion of the Son and Spirit, who, with the Father, are the one God: nor do these words at all militate against the deity of Christ, or prove that he is not God, as the Jew objects f195 ; seeing this is not to be understood of the person of the Father, in opposition to the Son and Spirit, who are equally good: nor does Christ, in these words, deny himself to be God, but rather tacitly suggests it; since he is good in the same sense in which God is good: in Matthew it is added, “but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments”, ( Matthew 19:17): this Christ said not as his sense, that the way to eternal life lies in keeping the commandments of the law; but he speaks in the language of the Pharisees, and of this man; and his view is, to bring him to a sense of the impossibility of obtaining eternal life by these things, as the sequel shows: wherefore the above Jew has no reason to confront the followers of Jesus with this passage, as if it was a concession of his, that it is impossible any should be saved without keeping the commands of the law of Moses.
Ver. 19. Thou knowest the commandments , etc..] Which God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai; these the Jews taught their children; so that this young man might reasonably be thought to know what, and how many they were, though he was ignorant of the extent and spirituality of them; do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, defraud not, honour thy father and mother . In which may be observed, that the strict order in which the commandments stood is not kept; the seventh commandment, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, is set before the sixth, “thou shalt not kill”; though the Arabic version places them in their order; and the fifth command, “honour thy father and thy mother”, is placed last of all: but a Jew has no reason to object to this, when it is a rule with them, that hrwtb r j wamw µ dqwm ˆ ya f197 , there is no first nor last in the law; that is, order is not strictly attended to; but sometimes, that which is first is mentioned last, and the last first. There is one precept, “defraud not”, wrong no man of his property, either by force or fraud, which none of the other evangelists have. Dr. Hammond, and others, think, that it is an explanation of the tenth command, “thou shalt not covet”; signifying, that a man should be so satisfied with his own condition, as not to desire another's goods, or, by any means, seek to lessen them to enlarge his own.
A certain Jew objects against our Lord Jesus, that he did not mention the other precepts in ( Exodus 20:3-11 Deuteronomy 5:6-15), by which he seems to mean the precepts of the first table, which respect the unity of God, and his worship, which are of greater moment; to which may be replied, that our Lord does suggest the unity of the Divine Being, and his essential, infinite, and independent goodness, which are the ground and foundation of his fear and worship in the preceding verse; and besides, as Bishop Kidder observes f199 , nothing is more common than to put some precepts for the whole; (see Micah 6:8); yea, that Jesus may be justified from the Old Testament in this method, as from ( Psalm 15:1), where a question, very like this of the young man, is put; and yet in answer to it we find nothing mentioned but obedience to the second table: to which reply of the learned prelate, may be added, that Christ instances in the commandments of the second table, as being more known, and better understood by this young man; “thou knowest the commandments”; that is, the following ones he mentions: and besides the argument runs strong from the lesser to the greater, which is implied, that if the commands of the second table, which respect the neighbour, are necessary to be observed, then much more those which concern God himself; and if men fail short in keeping the lesser commands, it can hardly be thought they should be perfect in the observance of greater ones; and so consequently, and which is our Lord's drift, eternal life is never to be obtained by the works of the law.
Ver. 20. And he answered and, said unto him , etc..] With a great deal of pertness, master, all these have I observed from my youth ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:20”). In a certain copy, Beza says, it is added, as there, “what lack I yet?” and so in one of Stephens's copies.
Ver. 21. Then Jesus, beholding him, loved him , etc..] Not as God, with that special love, with which he loves his people, who were given him by the Father, are redeemed by his blood, whom he calls by his grace, justifies by his righteousness, forgives their iniquities, and, at last, glorifies: but as man, he had an human affection for him; so far as there was any appearance of moral good in him, it was agreeable to him, who loves righteousness, and hates iniquity; and though the young man betrayed much vanity, pride, and conceit, he did not use him roughly, but kindly, and tenderly; he beheld him, he looked wistly upon him, when he said the above words; which look intimated, that he could not believe he had perfectly, and completely kept all the commandments; however, he did not choose to reproach him with a lie, and charge him with pride and arrogance, but gave him good words, and spoke friendly to him; and, as far as he could, commended him for his diligence in observing the commands: in this sense the word is observed to be used by the Septuagint interpreters, as when it is said of Ahab, ( 2 Chronicles 18:2), that he “persuaded him” (Jehoshaphat), they render it, hgapa , “he loved him to go up to Ramoth Gilead”: he gave him good words, he spake friendly to him, and by fair speeches prevailed upon him: and so when it said of the Israelites, ( Psalm 78:36); “they did flatter him”, (God,) they render it, hgaphsan , “they loved him with their mouth”; spoke very well to him, and of him, praised him, and his works, and in this way expressed affection to him, though it was only with their mouths. Moreover, Christ might not only speak kindly to this young man, but he might make use of some external gesture: which showed an human affection to him, and respect for him. Dr, Lightfoot conjectures it might be by kissing his head, which might be conveniently done, as he was now on his knees; and since this was frequently used by the Jewish doctors, as an expression of respect, of which he gives various instances; and more might be added, especially out of the book of Zohar, where we often read of one Rabbi kissing the head or another, or of his pupil. But the sense of this phrase, which pleases me best of all, is what may be collected from the use of it among the “seventy” interpreters, who often render the Hebrew µj r , which signifies to “have compassion”, or “show pity”, by the word here used: so ( Proverbs 28:13), “whoso confesseth and forsaketh, shall have mercy”, they interpret agaphyhsetai , “shall be loved” and ( Hosea 2:23), “I will have mercy on her that had not obtained mercy”, they render agaphsw , “l will love her that was not beloved”; once more, ( Zechariah 10:6). “I will bring them again to place them, for I have mercy upon them”, they translate oti hgaphsa autouv , “because I have loved them”; see also ( Isaiah 60:10) and then, according to this use of the word, the sense is, that Jesus looked upon him when he expressed himself in such a pert manner, and had a compassionate concern for him; he pitied him for his ignorance of the law, in its spirituality and large extent; for his pride and vanity, his conceit of, and glorying in himself: wherefore, in order to mortify him, and abate these swelling thoughts of himself; he said unto him, one thing thou lackest ; before which last clause the Ethiopic version puts this, “if thou wilt be perfect”, out of ( Matthew 19:21), see the note there: and the Coptic version, and two of Stephens's copies read it before the following, go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me . This young man's reigning sin seems to have been an overweening affection for the things of this world; his riches were his idol, on which his heart was set, and in which he trusted: wherefore he was so far from keeping all the commandments, that he had not kept the first; “thou shalt have no other gods before me”: there was more than one thing wanting in him, but Christ takes notice of this as the first; and there was no need to mention any other; this touched him sensibly, and fully tried, and sufficiently exposed the vanity of his boasted perfection. That clause, “take up the cross”, is omitted in the Vulgate Latin version, as it is not mentioned by Matthew.
The Ethiopic version reads it, “the cross of thy death”, and places it before, “come and follow me”; as do also the Syriac and Persic versions; but the Arabic reads it last of all; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:21”).
Ver. 22. And, he was sad at that saying , etc..] That he lacked one thing, and especially that he should be bid to sell all that he had, and give it away; and what might add to his sadness is, that he must take up the cross of reproach, affliction, persecution, and death; his countenance fell upon this, and went away grieved : finding that he must part with two things his heart was set upon, his idol of self-righteousness, and his mammon of unrighteousness; the bladder of his pride was pricked, and his vanity and self-conceit were exposed; and he was called upon to part with his substance; all which were sadly mortifying, and exceedingly disagreeable to him: for he had great possessions ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:22”).
Ver. 23. And Jesus looked round about , etc..] To see what effect the discourse he had with the young man, and the consequence of it, had upon his disciples; as also to raise their attention to what he was about, to say: and saith unto his disciples, how hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! the Gospel dispensation, by embracing the doctrines, and submitting to the ordinances of it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:23”).
Ver. 24. And the disciples were astonished at his words , etc..] For they expected, in a little while, that the kingdom of the Messiah would be set up in great worldly pomp and grandeur; and that all the rich men of the nation would come into it, become his subjects, and join to support the glory and splendour of it: but Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, children : it was common with the Jews to call the disciples, or scholars of the wise men, “children”; hence that saying of theirs f200 , µ ynb µ ywrq µ ydymlth , “the disciples are called children”, which they prove from ( 2 Kings 2:3) ( Isaiah 8:18). How hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God ! This he said partly to confirm what he had before said, at which his disciples were astonished; and partly to explain it, as that he was to be understood of such that trusted in their riches, set their hearts upon them, and placed their hope and happiness in them: and the great difficulty, or rather impossibility of such, at least continuing so, entering into the kingdom of God, is still more strongly expressed in the following words.
Ver. 25. It is easier for a camel , etc..] (See Gill on “ Matthew 19:24”).
Ver. 26. And they were astonished out of measure , etc..] They were still more amazed, their surprise increased exceedingly upon our Lord's using the above comparison; which, in their apprehension, showed, that it was utterly impossible for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God; and they expressed their astonishment, saying, among themselves, who then can be saved ? in the Messiah's kingdom, if rich men are not? (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:25”). The Persic version renders it, “how can this man be saved?” as if the words had a particular respect to the young man, that had great possessions, and was gone away sorrowful.
Ver. 27. And Jesus, looking upon them , etc..] And by their countenances saw the surprise and anxiety of mind they were in, as well as by his omniscience, knew their private reasonings among themselves: saith, with men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible ; even to reduce a camel to so small a size, as to go through the eye of a needle; and to work upon a rich man's heart, so as to take him off of his trust and confidence in his worldly riches, and bring him to a compliance with his will, and into his kingdom; and also to protect, and save his poor and mean followers, notwithstanding all the difficulties, dangers, and oppositions they meet with; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:26”).
Ver. 28. Then Peter began to say unto him , etc..] only observing that Christ promised treasure in heaven to the young man, provided he sold all that he had, and gave it to the poor; but being, in some measure, freed from that surprise and astonishment, which had seized him, and his fellow disciples, at the representation of the difficulty of a rich man's entering into the kingdom of God, by the last words; and taking heart from thence, began to take notice of the following case, as an instance and illustration of what Christ had said; for that same power, which had caused them to quit all their worldly substance for Christ, though it was but small, could also work a like effect upon the heart of a man ever so rich: lo! we have left all, and have followed thee : in Matthew it is added, “what shall we have therefore?” (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:27”).
Ver. 29. And Jesus answered and said, verily I say unto you , etc..] This evangelist omits what Matthew relates; that whereas Peter, and his fellow disciples had followed Christ in the present time, hereafter when he appeared in his glory, they should sit upon twelve thrones, and judge the twelve tribes of Israel; (see Matthew 19:28), and where it is added to the same sense as here; there is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sister, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the Gospel's ; for the sake of preaching, or professing Christ, and his Gospel. The word “wife” is left out in the Vulgate Latin version, perhaps because it is not repeated in the following verse; but all copies, and other versions have it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:29”).
Ver. 30. But he shall receive an hundred fold now in this time , etc..] Not that he should have an hundred houses, brethren, etc.. but that he should enjoy that even in this present life, which was an hundred times better than any of the things mentioned; namely, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 19:29”) it is added here, with persecutions . The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read in the singular, “with persecution”; signifying that this must be expected amidst the greatest happiness, and highest enjoyments of this life; though often even that which the saints enjoy, whilst they are, in the severest manner, persecuted for Christ, is an hundred times better than, yea, infinitely above, all that they part with, or lose for his sake; and so is an ample compensation for all: and yet this is not all they shall have; for it follows, and in the world to come eternal life : so that they will be doubly recompensed; once in this life, and again in the other world: in the Targum on ( Song of Solomon 8:7) is a passage somewhat like this, where the Lord of the world is represented saying; “if a man will give all the substance of his house to obtain wisdom in the captivity, I will return unto him, ytad aml [ l lw p k , “double in the world to come”.”
Ver. 31. But many that are first shall be last , etc..] (See Gill on “ Matthew 19:30”).
Ver. 32. And they were in the way , etc..] Upon the road, having left the coasts of Judea on the further side of Jordan: going up to Jerusalem ; to the passover there, which was to be in a short time, and where Christ was to suffer and die; for this was the last journey he took, and the last passover he was to eat there: and Jesus went before them ; as their forerunner, their guide and leader, with unconcernedness and intrepidity; though he knew what would befall him, and what designs were forming against him: and this he did to inspire his disciples with courage, and to leave them an example that they should tread in his steps: and they were amazed ; at his readiness to go up to Jerusalem, and the cheerful Spirit he discovered, when he had so many, and such powerful enemies at that place, in going to which he exposed himself to the greatest dangers. And as they followed ; for they did not choose to leave him, but were determined to continue with him at all events, though they were afraid ; what would be the consequence of it to themselves, as well as to him; for they being his followers, could not expect any other than ill usage from his enemies. And he took again the twelve ; the disciples, as he had done before, ( Mark 8:31), and began to tell them what things should happen unto him ; being what were determined by God, agreed unto by himself, and foretold in the Scriptures; for these were not casual and contingent events.
Ver. 33. [Saying], behold we go up to Jerusalem , etc..] They were now upon the road thither. And the son of man ; meaning himself, shall be delivered unto the chief priests, and unto the Scribes ; by the determinate counsel, and foreknowledge of God, and by the means of a treacherous disciple of his, Judas. The Vulgate Latin version adds, “and to the elders”; but this is not in any of the copies, nor in other versions: and they shall condemn him to death ; as they did in the palace of the high priest, “nemine contradicente”; (see Mark 14:64), and shall deliver him to the Gentiles ; the Romans, to Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor; either because they had not then power to put him to death themselves, or because they were desirous he should die the death of the cross, a Roman punishment.
Ver. 34. And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him , etc..] The Gentiles, as the Roman soldiers did; the one at the connivance, and the other by the order of their governor: and shall spit upon him ; on his face, as the Syriac and Persic versions render it, and as they did; (see Mark 15:19). This clause is placed by the Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, between the two former; though, according to the order in which these things were executed, he was first scourged, then mocked, and then spit upon: all which express both the cruel and indecent usage he was to meet with: and shall kill him, and the third day he shall rise again . The Persic version between these two clauses read, “and shall put him in a grave”; which is not in any copy of this text, nor in any other version; nor indeed was this done by the Gentiles, but by Joseph of Arimathea.
Ver. 35. And James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, came unto him , etc..] Along with their mother, who was their mouth, and spoke for them, and they by her: saying, master, we would that thou shouldst do for us whatsoever we shall desire : that is, we earnestly desire, that whereas we have a favour to ask of thee, that thou wouldst not deny us it, be it what it will; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:20”).
Ver. 36. And he said unto them , etc..] And also to their mother, and to them by her, what would ye that I should do for you ? Christ insists upon their telling him the particular thing they wanted to have done for them, before he would give them any promise, though he knew very well what it was they were desirous of.
Ver. 37. They said unto him , etc..] By their mother, or seconding her motion: grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory ; or glorious kingdom, which they expected would be quickly set up; and which they might conclude from his having lately promised to all the twelve, that when he should sit on his throne, they should sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; and from his having just now mentioned his rising from the dead, which they might understand of some revival, or breaking forth of this glorious state; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:21”).
Ver. 38. But Jesus said unto them , etc..] Not by granting them what they desired, but by observing their ignorance to them; ye know not what ye ask : for sometimes good men are ignorant petitioners at the throne of grace; they are under the influence of their own spirits, and not the Spirit of God; they are prompted to ask things from a selfish principle, and not with a view to the glory of God, and their own spiritual welfare, and that of others: and indeed, the best of saints know not what they should pray for as they ought; and always stand in need of the help, assistance, and intercession of the Spirit of God; who is a Spirit of grace and supplication, and searches the deep things of God, and knows his mind and will, and what is suitable and convenient for his people; and whenever they pray without him, there is much darkness and ignorance in them, and in their petitions. In particular, these disciples knew not what they were asking for; they had no true notion of Christ's kingdom and glory, they were asking the chief places in; they were dreaming of worldly glory and grandeur, in which they imagined the kingdom of the Messiah would quickly appear: whereas his kingdom, in the present state of things, is not of this world, but of a spiritual nature; namely, the Gospel dispensation, which lies in the ministration of his word and ordinances, and in the distribution of his gifts and grace; and his kingdom and glory in the world to come, are things which eye has not seen, nor ear heard: they talked of things which would never be, either in Christ's kingdom, in earth or in heaven; fancying there would be posts of honour and profit, which some would be advanced to in it, signified by sitting at his right hand and left; whereas in the Gospel church state, the apostles, governors, and officers of the church were alike, and had no superiority over one another, but were all brethren, having one master, Christ; and the members of the churches are of the same body, and members one of another; and in the ultimate glory, there will be no degrees, but all the saints will share the same happiness: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ? Which Christ speaks of in the present time, partly because his sorrows and sufferings were already begun: he had already been drinking of the cup of sorrows, being a man of sorrows and acquainted with griefs, all his days; and he was wading in the waters of affliction, though as yet they were not come into his soul, and he as it were immersed in them; he was not yet baptized with the bloody baptism he came into this world for, and he was desirous of, ( Luke 12:50), and partly because of the certainty of these things, the cup was not to pass from him, and the baptism of his sufferings was to be surely accomplished; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:22”).
Ver. 39. And they said unto him we can , etc..] That is, drink of Christ's cup and be baptized with his baptism which is another instance of their ignorance; for as they knew not the glorious state of things and the nature of it they desired places in so they were unacquainted with themselves; they were ignorant of their own weakness as well as of the greatness of the sufferings Christ should endure or even they should be called unto: had they had a just notion of either, they would not have expressed themselves in this manner without any mention of the grace of God or any dependence on the strength of Christ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:22”). And Jesus said unto them, ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized ; meaning, not that they should undergo the same sufferings he did and much less for the same end and purpose: he trod the winepress alone and bore the whole punishment due to the sins of his people himself; and of them there were none with him to take a part: but that they should endure sufferings in some sort like to his for his sake as they both afterwards did; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:23”).
Ver. 40. But to sit on my right hand and on my left, is mine to give , etc..] There being no such places in his kingdom in the sense they petitioned; and as for the glories of the heavenly state or eternal life, the gift of these was not to be settled now it being done already: and though he had a power to give yet only to them who were given him of his Father and who were ordained to such happiness as it follows: but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared ; that is, of his Father as is expressed in ( Matthew 20:23) which is not to be understood as excluding these two persons but as including all others with them for whom the kingdom was prepared before the foundation of the world: the Ethiopic version therefore wrongly renders the words “but to sit on my right hand and on my left, I do not give to you, it is prepared for other”: the Jew very badly concludes from hence against the deity of Christ and his unity with the Father he not having power to do this; whereas Christ does not say he had no power to give this honour, but only describes the persons to whom he should give it; and these being persons for whom it, is prepared by his Father instead of destroying, proves their unity.
Ver. 41. And when the ten heard it , etc..] The request made by the sons of Zebedee or their mother for them: they began to be much displeased with James and John ; Matthew says “they were moved with indignation against them”, ( Matthew 20:24); they were filled with, wrath and were very angry with them; which they showed in their countenances and by their behaviour towards them as well as by words: the Syriac and Arabic versions, render it, “they began to murmur against them”; they highly resented it and were ready to break out into an open quarrel upon it; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:24”).
Ver. 42. But Jesus called them to him , etc..] Who were at some little distance from him, though so nigh, that he could discern the heat and passion they were in, and knowing that they had the same ambitious views with the two brethren: and saith unto them , to check their pride and vanity and reprove them for their ambitious desires of superiority and pre-eminence over, one another; by showing them that this was a part which the Heathens that knew not God acted and therefore was very unbecoming them: you know that they which are accounted , or “seem to” or rather “do”, rule over the Gentiles ; or are reckoned worthy of government who are, µ ybw ç j , men of honour, reputation, and esteem; who are either by birth or merit thought to be deserving of high places: these exercise lordship over them ; rule over them in a lordly tyrannical and arbitrary way: and their great ones ; their nobles and lords under them exercise authority over them ; the Gentiles; by a delegated power from those who have the supreme rule; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:25”).
Ver. 43. But so shall it not be among you , etc..] Or “so let it not be”, as in many copies; or as the Persic version renders it, “it ought not to be so among you”; such a lordly spirit does not become you; this is heathenish: but whosoever will be great among you shall be , as in Matthew “let him”, ( Matthew 20:26), be your minister . This was just the reverse of what the two disciples were seeking for; they were indeed for being ministers but then they were for being prime ministers of state; and would have had all the rest subject to them and attendants on them to be sent out and employed as they should think fit: whereas the only way to preferment and greatness in Christ's kingdom, or rather Gospel church state, is to labour, in the work, of the ministry more abundantly than others; to take great pains and endure great hardships in order to bring great glory to God, and do great good to the souls of men; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:26”).
Ver. 44. And whosoever of you will be the chiefest , etc..] Is desirous of the highest place and the greatest honour shall be servant of all : for the ministers of the Gospel are not only the servants of Christ Jesus, but also of the churches for his sake; and in serving them, they serve Christ: not that they are to be the servants of men and to take their instructions from them and act according to rules prescribed by them; or seek to please men for then they would not be the servants of Christ: but they become servants to all that they may win souls to Christ, and increase his churches, and enlarge his interest; and such as are most useful this way are the chiefest in the Gospel church state; they are honoured by Christ and esteemed by his people; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:27”).
Ver. 45. For even the son of man , etc..] That is, Christ himself; a name by which he frequently goes both in the Old and New Testament to the arguments before produced, Christ adds his own example, to teach his disciples humility and lowliness of mind and to check their ambitious views and desires: came not to be ministered unto : not but that he was ministered unto even by the angels of God; who ministered to him in the wilderness, after he had been tempted by Satan; and he was also ministered unto by some women out of their substance; but these show the low estate he was in to stand in need of such ministrations: here the sense is that he did not appear as an earthly prince, with a fine equipage, a large retinue and attendance, but to minister ; to be a servant, as he is in his mediatorial office and capacity: he was sent, and came as the servant of the Lord; and he ministered, in his prophetic office, the Gospel unto men; and went about in the form of a servant, doing good, ministering medicine both to the souls end bodies of men: but the great work he came about, was the work of man's redemption; which he willingly and cheerfully undertook, diligently and faithfully prosecuted, and has completely finished; to which respect is had in the next clause: and to give his life a ransom for many ; even for all the elect of God, to redeem them from sin, Satan, and the law; and secure them from the wrath of God, and eternal death; and this he has done, by laying down his life as the ransom price for them; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:28”).
Ver. 46. And they came to Jericho , etc..] Christ and his disciples, from the coasts of Judea, beyond Jordan, in their way to Jerusalem; where Christ met with Zaccheus and converted him, and after some short stay at his house, departed thence; and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples, and a great number of people : which followed him out of that city, to go with him to Jerusalem, being but ten miles off: blind Bartimeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging ; who was one of the two blind men Matthew makes mention of it, (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:30”).
Ver. 47. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth , etc..] “That passed by”, as reads the Persic version; which he might learn, by inquiring the meaning of such a multitude of people, and the noise; or he might hear his name frequently mentioned, and it said, that, he, was coming, or passing by: he began to cry out ; aloud, and with great vehemency, and often repeating it: and say, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me : he did not call him Jesus of Nazareth, as the common people did, but Jesus, the son of David, a title of the Messiah; nor did he ask for money, but for mercy; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:30”).
Ver. 48. And many charged him that he should hold his peace , etc..] And be silent, and not call him the son of David, at least; nor ask any thing of him: but he cried the more a great deal : he lifted up his voice more loudly, and repeated the same words quicker and oftener, and with greater vehemency and importunity: thou son of David, have mercy on me ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:31”).
Ver. 49. And Jesus stood still , etc..] Hearing his voice, and knowing what charges and reproofs were given him to be silent: and commanded him to be called and led and brought unto him: this order was given; either to his disciples, or to some of the multitude, probably the latter: and they call the blind man, saying unto him, be of good comfort, rise, he calleth thee ; or “because he calleth thee”, as the Arabic version renders it; suggesting, that some hopes might be conceived from thence, that something would be done in his favour. The Persic version renders it, “our master calleth thee”, so that that interpreter thought, that the disciples were the persons that were ordered to call, and did call the blind man: the word “rise”, is left out in the Persic and; Ethiopic versions. It may be observed from hence, that such whom Christ effectually calls by his grace, of which this instance is emblematical, have reason to be of good comfort; or that the effectual calling is a ground of comfort: called ones may take comfort from it, and be assured that they are loved by God; since it is a fruit, effect, and evidence, of God's everlasting love to them; and that they are the chosen of God, for, whom he did predestinate, he calls; and that they are Christ's, and are redeemed by him, seeing he has called them by name: and they may expect all good things from him; seeing they are called according to grace, given them in him before the world began; and are called to the participation of the blessings of grace; and it is affirmed that all things work together for their good: wherefore they may live in the faith of eternal glory and happiness; since they that are called, are justified, and shall be glorified.
Ver. 50. And he casting away his garment , etc..] His upper garment, and which no doubt was little worth; though this he did, that he might make the quicker dispatch to Christ: rose ; from off the bank, or ground, whereon he sat, in an instant: and “sprung up”, as the Vulgate Latin, and Beza's ancient copy read, with great nimbleness, and in haste: and came to Jesus ; being led by the persons that were sent to call him. It may be observed from hence, that such who are effectually called by the grace of Christ, of which this man was an emblem, hate the garment spotted with the flesh; and: put off the old man, as to the former conversation, being called by an holy God, with an holy calling, to holiness in heart and life; and that by the Gospel, which teaches to deny sin, and live a holy conversation: and these also cast away the garment of their own righteousness, it being as fig leaves, a spider's web, filthy rags, and a beggarly robe, as this man's was; and come nakedly to Christ, for righteousness, and renounce their own in point of justification, that being an hinderance to their coming to him for his. The Gospel reveals a better righteousness to them than their own, more suitable to them, who are called from the dunghill, to sit among princes, and to inherit the throne of glory; and then such rise in the strength of grace, and come forth to Christ, for righteousness, peace, pardon, life, and salvation.
Ver. 51. And Jesus answered and said unto him , etc..] Being come to him, and standing before him: what wilt thou that I should do unto thee ? What means this vehement cry? what is it thou designest by mercy? is it money thou askest for, to relieve thy wants? or is it that thy sight may be restored? The blind man said unto him, Lord ; “Rabboni”, or, as the Syriac version reads it; “Rabbi”; thou, great master in Israel, and Lord, of the whole world, my request to thee, and which thou, art, able to effect; is, that I might receive my sight ; (see Gill on “ Matthew 20:33”).
Ver. 52. And Jesus said unto him, go thy way , etc..] The Syriac version reads, it, az j , “see”; receive thy sight, be it unto thee as thou dost desire; and which is the sense of, “go thy way”: to to thine own house, or place of abode; and about thy business; thy request is granted: thy faith hath made thee whole ; or “saved thee”; and which respected not only the power of Christ in restoring his sight, but his faith in Jesus as the Messiah, the son of David: so that by Christ, the object of his faith, he was saved, both in soul and body; and had his spiritual sight, before he had his bodily sight, and both from Christ: and immediately he received his sight ; or saw again as well as ever he did, or as other men: and followed Jesus in the way : that is, to Jerusalem. The Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, read “him”, instead of “Jesus”; but the Syriac and Persic versions read neither. This man was an emblem of the people of God, before, at, and after conversion: before conversion; for, as he was blind, so are they; they are without any spiritual sight and discerning of God, as in Christ, as the God of all grace, as their Covenant God and Father; and of themselves, being without any true sight of sin, or sense of their state and condition; and of Christ, and of the way of peace, life, and salvation by him, seeing no beauty in him, nor any need they stand in of him; and of the Spirit, of his person, grace, and operations, of the things of the Spirit, which they know not, because they are spiritually discerned: at conversion; when they receive their sight from Christ, as he did, are made light in the Lord, and become the children of the day; when the eyes of their understandings are enlightened, to see their sad and ruinous state, the pollution of their hearts, the sinfulness of their thoughts, as well as of their actions; the imperfection and insufficiency of their righteousness, to justify them before God; the loveliness of Christ, the fulness of his grace, and righteousness; the suitableness, ability, and willingness of him, as a Saviour; and that salvation by him, is all of free grace; and that eternal glory and happiness, is secured by him, for them. All which light they have, not from themselves, nor from any mere creature, but from Christ; and which they receive as a benefit and favour; they have it as a gift, and in a way of receiving; and that at once, suddenly, and immediately: and after conversion; for, as this man, when he had received his sight from Christ, followed him in the way; so the people of God, being enlightened by Christ, follow him as their leader and commander, as the captain of their salvation, as the shepherd of the flock, as their guide and forerunner, as their pattern and exemplar, and as the light of the world: him they follow and imitate, in the duties of morality, in the way of public instituted worship, and in Gospel ordinances; as baptism, and the Lord's supper; and to follow him in the way of duty, is safe, honourable, pleasant, comfortable, and profitable; it issues in good here, and if happiness hereafter.