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  • VINCENT'S NEW TESTAMENT
    WORD STUDIES - MATTHEW 18

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    CHAPTER XVIII

    1. The Rev. inserts then after who, thus restoring the Greek ara, which the A.V. overlooks. Who then? Who, as things stand. Since one of our number has been doubly honored in being called "the rock," and in being appointed to take part in a special miracle, who then is greatest?

    3. Be converted (strafhte). The word converted has acquired a conventional religious sense which is fundamentally truthful, but the essential quality of which will be more apparent if we render literally, as Rev., except ye turn. The picture is that of turning round in a road and facing the other way.

    Shall not enter (ou mh eiselqhte). But the double negative is very forcible, and is given in Rev. in noise. So far from being greatest in the kingdom of heaven, ye shall not so much as enter.

    4. As this little child. Not, as this little child humbles himself, but, shall make himself humble as this little child is lowly; shall willingly become by spiritual process what the child is by nature.

    5. In my name (epi tw onomati mou). Lit., upon my name; on the ground of, or on account of; for my sake.

    6. A millstone (mulov onikov). Two kinds of millstones were in use; the one turned by hand, the other, and larger, by an ass (onov). Here Jesus says an ass-millstone; or, as Rev., a great millstone; Wyc., millstone of asses.

    12. Leave upon the mountains. The text here is disputed. Both A.V. and Rev. follow a text which reads: "Doth he not, leaving the ninety and nine, go into the mountains?" Rather join leave with on the mountains, and read, "Will he not leave the ninety and nine upon (ejpi, scattered over) the mountains, and go," etc. This also corresponds with ajfhsei, leaving, letting out, or letting loose.

    13. If so be (ean genhtai). If it should so come to pass. God's grace is not irresistible.

    14. The will of your Father (qelhma emprosqen tou patrov umwn). Though some read my Father (mou). Lit., There is not a will before your (my) Father. So Wyc., It is not will before your Father. Meyer paraphrases, There is not before the face of God and determination having as its object that one of these, etc.

    15. Go (upage). Do not wait for him to come to you.

    Tell him his fault (elegxon). Rev., shew him. The verb means, first, to test, try, search out; therefore, to cross-examine with a view of convincing or refuting; thence to rebuke or chide. The Rev. shew is better than tell, which implies merely naming the fault; whereas the injunction is, go and prove to him how he has erred. Wyc., reprove, with snub as explanation.

    16. In the mouth (epi stomatov). Better Rev., "atīthe mouth," or on the testimony of.

    19. Shall agree (sumfwnhsousin). From sun, together, and fwnh, sound or voice. Transcribed in our word symphony. It has so far lost its distinctive character as a concord of voices as to be used for agreement in the deeper and more inward sense.

    Concerning anything that they shall ask (peri pantov pragmatov ou ean aithvwntai). The literal rendering is, if any thing, stronger: Everything, whatever it be, for which they may have asked. Wyc., Shall consent of everything whatever they shall ask. Tynd., Shall agree in any manner thing whatsoever they shall desire. The word pragma, thing, is used like the Latin res; a matter, affair, business, with the meaning at bottom of something to be done, since it is cognate to the verb prassw, to do. Shall be done, however, is genhsetai, it shall come to pass.

    20. In my name (eiv to emon onoma). Lit., "into my name." When two or three are drawn together into Christ as the common center of their desire and faith.

    22. Seventy times seven (ebdomhkontakiv epta). 5 It was a settled rule of Rabbinism that forgiveness should not be extended more than three times. Even so, the practice was terribly different. The Talmud relates, without blame, the conduct of a rabbi who would not forgive a very small slight of his dignity, though asked by the offender for thirteen successive years, and that on the day of atonement; the reason being that the offended rabbi had learned by a dream that his offending brother would attain the highest dignity; whereupon he feigned himself irreconcilable, to force the other to migrate from Palestine to Babylon, where, unenvied by him, he might occupy the chief place (Edersheim). It must, therefore, have seemed to Peter a stretch of charity to extend forgiveness from three to seven times. Christ is not specifying a number of times greater than the limit of seven. He means that there is to be no limit. "Forgiveness is qualitative, not quantitative."

    23. A certain king (anqrwpw basilei). Lit., a man, a king. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a human king.

    Take account of his servants (sunarai logon meta twn doulwn autou). The rendering of the A.V. is loose and inadequate, and might be taken to mean to reckon the number of his servants. The verb sunarai is compounded of sun, with, and airw, to take up, and means literally to take up together, i.e., cast up, as an account. The A.V. also overlooks the force of meta, with. Therefore, Rev., better, make a reckoning with his servants.

    24. Which owed him (ofeilethv). Lit., a debtor of ten thousand talents. Ten thousand talents. An enormous sum; about twelve millions of dollars.

    25. To be sold. According to the law of Moses: Exod. xxii. 3; Leviticus xxv. 39, 47.

    28. Found. Either went in search of him, as he himself had been sought out by his Lord, or came upon him accidentally in the street.

    A hundred pence (ekaton dhnaria). Less than a millionth part of his own debt.

    Took him by the throat (auton epnigen). Lit., throttled. Wyc., strangled. Compare were choked, Mark v. 13. Creditors often dragged their debtors before the judge, as the Roman law allowed them to do, holding them by the throat. Thus Livy (iv. 53), relates how, a difficulty having arisen between the consul Valerius and one Menenius, the tribunes put an end to the contest, and the consul ordered into prison (collum torsisset, twisted the neck) the few who appealed. And Cicero ("Pro Cluentio," 21):

    "Lead him to the judgment-seat with twisted neck (collo obtorto)." Compare Cicero, "In C. Verrem," iv. 10.

    What thou owest (ei ti ofeileiv). Lit., If thou owest anything. Not that the creditor is uncertain about the fact of the debt, though some uncertainty about the exact amount may be implied. This would agree with found, in the sense of coming upon accidentally. Compare Matt. xiii. 44. He came suddenly upon him and recognized him as a debtor, though not certain as to the amount of his debt. Meyer remarks, "The if is simply the expression of a pitiless logic. If thou owest anything (as thou dost) pay!" The word pay (apodov) is emphatic in position.

    29. Besought (parekalei). The imperfect has the force of earnestly besought.

    30. Went (apelqwn). Lit. went away: dragging the other with him to judgment.

    31. Told (diesafhsan). More than merely narrated. The verb is from dia, throughout, and safew, to explain. They explained the circumstances throughout.

    Their Lord (tw kuriw eautwn). Lit., "their own Lord;" as befitted their position, and as a mark of their confidence in him.

    34. To the tormentors (basanistaiv). Livy pictures an old centurion complaining that he was taken by his creditor, not into servitude, but to a workhouse and torture, and showing his back scarred with fresh wounds (ii. 23).

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