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The Gospel According To Saint Matthew With An Explanatory And Critical Commentary by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Jesus is the Messias in his Public Life, cc. 5–28

A. JESUS THE TEACHER AND LEGISLATOR, CC. 5:1–7:29

a. The Citizens of the New Kingdom, 5:1–16

1. And seeing the multitudes.] This section refers to the citizens of the Messianic kingdom, but for convenience’ sake it may be subdivided into the following parts: 1. Introduction [1, 2]; 2. character of the citizens both in themselves [3–6] and in reference to others [7–12]; 3. influence of the citizens both to preserve [13] and to guide [14–16] others.

1. Introduction. Here we become acquainted with the time, the place, the occasion, the nature, and the hearers of the following discourse. a. The time is implied in the clause “and seeing the multitudes.” For these must be those mentioned in the preceding chapter as coming from Galilee, Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. It is extremely probable that they are identical with the multitudes mentioned in the third gospel [Lk. 6:17].

Reasons: [a] They come from nearly the same place; [b] many commentators maintain their identity: Bed. Zachar. Chrysop. Thom. Salm. Tost. Mald. Jans. Lap. Lam. Grimm, Schanz. Fil. Keil, Mansel, etc.; [c] the discourse of our Lord pronounced on the occasion has the same beginning and end, and treats of the same subject in both the first and third gospel; [d] it is true that some commentators leave this question of identity to the judgment of their readers [e.g. Cornely], that others regard the identity as doubtful [Aug. Rab.], and that others again clearly deny the identity of the two discourses [Ans. laud. Alb. Tol. Bar. Sylv. Arn.]; but their arguments are not Strong enough to convince us: [1] The omission of the legal discussions in the third gospel is in keeping with the class of readers for whom it was written, since Gentiles would not have been able to understand the bearing of these points; hence St. Luke has only 30 verses, while St. Matthew has 107. [2] If according to the first gospel Jesus ascends a mountain, while according to the third he descends before addressing the multitudes, we remember that he had prayed the whole night at the very top of the mountain where he chose the twelve apostles in the morning. From here he descended to a level place on the mountain where he met the multitudes, so that the report of both the first and the third gospel is correct. [3] It is not true that our Lord held the discourse before the election of the twelve according to the first gospel, and after the election according to the third: the first gospel does not mention the election of the twelve, but only enumerates them Mt. 10:2, so that there can be no contradiction between Matthew and Luke on this point,

The identity between the discourse of our Lord as contained in Mt. 5–7 and Lk. 6:27–49 once established, we may determine the time of the discourse from the third gospel. After settling in Capharnaum in the beginning of the second year of his public life, Jesus caused the miraculous draught of fishes, and called the four disciples [Lk. 5:1–10]. Then follows the healing of the demoniac, of Simon’s wife’s mother, of other sick people, the first missionary journey through the cities of Galilee, the cleansing of the leper, the return to Capharnaum, the healing of the paralytic, the call of Levi, and the feast in his house [cf. Mk. 1:21–2:22]. After this comes the Pasch with its details as described in Jn. 5:1–47. After Easter, Jesus passes with his disciples through the cornfields, has an encounter with the Pharisees, heals the withered hand in the synagogue whereupon the Pharisees conspire against him, works the miracles by the seaside, and is followed by the multitudes; finally he ascends a mountain, spends the night in prayer, chooses the twelve, and on descending meets the multitudes on the mountain-level where he delivers the discourse now under discussion [Mk. 2:23–3:19].

he went up into a mountain.] b. The place of the discourse. Jer. has nothing certain about the mountain, but believes that it is either Thabor or any other prominent mountain in Galilee; he excludes, however, the opinion of certain “simple brethren” who identify the mountain with Mount Olivet. Euth. concludes from the Greek article that the mountain must have been well known to the readers of the evangelist, and is inclined to infer from this that it was somewhere near the city of our Lord. Others see in the expression an opposition to Mt. 4:13, where our Lord is represented as acting on the seashore; but there is too great an interval between 4:13 and 5:1. An old tradition which seems to have come down from Brocardus [1283] identifies the mountain with the Kurun Hattin, or the Horns of Hattin. This mountain lies about midway between Thabor and Capharnaum, almost facing Tiberias, and a journey of about three hours from the Sea of Galilee. We may be allowed to take the following description of its site from Stanley’s Sinai and Palestine [p. 436]: “Skirting the hills of Galilee, on the east, is an undulating tableland, which is broken by a long, low ridge, rising at its northern extremity into a square-shaped hill with two tops, which give it the modern name of the ‘Horns of Hattin,’ Hattin being the village on the ridge at its base. This mountain or hill—for it rises only sixty feet above the plain—is that known to pilgrims as the Mount of the Beatitudes, the supposed scene of the sermon on the mount.… That situation so strikingly coincides with the intimations of the gospel narrative that, in this instance, the eye of those who selected the spot was for once rightly guided.” Though on the west side the height of the hill does not exceed forty feet, it rises on the northeast about four hundred feet above the surrounding plain. Besides, each of its horns tapers to a height of about thirty additional feet; between the two horns is a saddle-like plain, 400 paces long, capable of containing a considerable audience, and furnishing a charming view over the surrounding country. Among the mountains west of the Sea of Galilee, Kurun Hattin is the most considerable, and deserves more than any other the Greek title “the mountain.” Jesus ascended this mountain not to escape the multitudes [Caj. Mald.], but to gain a suitable position for teaching them [Alb. Thom; cf. Mt. 7:28; Lk. 6:19]. The sermon on the mount may therefore, even as to the locality of its delivery, be compared with the law of Sinai: both were given on a mountain; the one by the ministry of angels, the other by our Lord himself [cf. Heb. 2:2; Gal. 3:19]; the one was written on stone tables, the other on the heart of men [cf. 31:33]; the one addresses slaves, the other sons; the one begins with terror, the other with blessings; the one threatens punishment, the other proposes rewards [Pasch.]; the one is accompanied by thunder and lightning, and no one is allowed to touch the mountain; the other is given with the greatest peace and serenity to people pressing around the Word incarnate [Lam. Jans. Sylv.].

and when he was set down.] c. Occasion and audience of the discourse. Jesus has chosen the twelve from among the large number of disciples who had followed him, and, descending from the top of one of the horns, meets the multitude in the saddle-like plain. He sits down, after the manner of the Jewish teachers, in a spot that commands the whole plateau; his twelve surround him immediately; then come the disciples, and around them the vast multitude forms an enclosing circle. It is therefore not necessary to distinguish between a discourse delivered on the mountain to the disciples [Mt.] and another delivered on the plain to the multitudes [Lk. cf. Aug.]; much less need we assume a protracted stay of Jesus on the mountain near Capharnaum [cf. Lk. 24:49; Acts 18:11], during which he gave the lessons of the sermon on the mount gradually [Lutteroth]. That the discourse as related by the first evangelist was not addressed to the disciples alone is evident from 7:28; and similarly, the discourse contained in the third gospel [Lk. 6:20 ff.] was not addressed to the multitudes alone, because our Lord began to speak, “lifting up his eyes on his disciples.”

2. And opening his mouth.] d. Character of the discourse. The solemn scriptural form “opening his mouth” calls attention to the importance of the subject [cf. Job 3:1; 33:2; Dan. 10:16; Acts. 8:35; 10:34; 18:14], and suggests that he who had hitherto opened the months of the prophets, now opened his own month to instruct his followers [Suar. de legib. IX. ii. 6; cf. Heb. 1:2; Aug. Rab.], and that the following sublime doctrine on Christian perfection had never before been proposed [Mald.]. But then the question arises, whether our Lord really delivered the whole discourse contained in the first gospel, cc. 5–7, on any single occasion. The reasons for answering in the affirmative are the following:—

[1] There is a perfect logical and oratorical order in the discourse: it describes first the citizens of the kingdom as to their character [5:3–12] and their influence [13–16]; secondly, it compares the new kingdom with the old, in general [17–20] and in special commandments [21–48]; thirdly, it describes the proper means to be employed in the new law, whether they be acts of devotion [6:1–18], or acts of will and intention [19–34], or again, modes of conduct [7:1–12]; finally, a warning against danger [7:13–23] and a contrast with the old law conclude the discourse [24–27]. We grant that the evangelist might have given this form to the instructions and precepts of our Lord delivered on divers occasions; but the following considerations appear to exclude this supposition. [2] It has been pointed out that this discourse is identical with that in Lk. 6:20 ff.; now, the whole of this latter was delivered on one occasion. This argument holds, even if the reader does not admit the identity of the discourse in the first with that in the third gospel; for the third gospel shows that our Lord held, at times, more lengthy discourses, so that we have no reason for presupposing a medley in Mt. 5–7 unless proofs be advanced for such a supposition. [3] The contents of the discourse render it very probable that it was delivered by our Lord as the first gospel relates it. For it was of the highest importance that the Jewish adherents of Jesus should know accurately in what relation the Christian dispensation was to stand with regard to the Synagogue; now, the explanation of this point forms the burden of the sermon on the mount as contained in the first gospel. Besides, the words of Mt. 7:28 imply that the discourse had been a continuous instruction. [4] Hence among the recent commentators Arn. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Keil, Knab. defend, at least as probable, the opinion that our Lord delivered the sermon on the mount on one occasion. [5] The circumstance that the first evangelist follows elsewhere a topological arrangement [cf. 8–10, 13] does not prove that he does so in cc. 5–7; if several portions of the discourse are in other passages of the gospels connected with different contexts [e.g. Mt. 5:13 in Mk. 9:49 and Lk. 14:34; Mt. 5:15 in Mk. 4:21 and Lk. 8:16; Mt. 5:18 in Lk. 16:17; Mt. 5:25 in Lk. 12:58; Mt. 5:29 in Mt. 18:9 and Mk. 9:46; Mt. 5:32 in Mt. 19:9 and Lk. 16:18; Mt. 6:9 ff. in Lk. 11:2 f.; Mt. 6:14 in Mt. 18:35 and Mk. 11:25; Mt. 6:20, 21 in Lk. 12:33, 34; Mt. 6:22 in Lk. 11:34; Mt. 6:24 in Lk. 16:13; Mt. 6:25 in Lk. 12:22; Mt. 7:2 in Mk. 4:24; Mt. 7:7 in Mt. 21:22, Mk. 11:24, Lk. 11:9 f. and Jn. 14:13; Mt. 7:13 in Lk. 13:24, 27], it must be remembered that our Lord repeated certain parts of his doctrine more than once. This is clear from the following passages that have evidently been repeated: cf. Lk. 8:16 and 11:33; Mt. 9:32 and 12:22; 12:38 and 16:4. Such repetitions are most natural, since Jesus taught in different localities and before different audiences. In the sermon on the mount we are prepared to admit a number of doctrinal and moral principles that occur elsewhere also, because this sermon is a kind of a summary of our Lord’s position with regard to the law. The length and the copiousness of matter contained in the sermon on the mount are no valid argument against its being delivered on a single occasion; coming, as it did, after the second Pasch of the public life of Jesus, his followers were prepared for it, and on account of their manner of learning, their memory was sufficiently cultivated to retain its doctrine.

3. Blessed are the poor in spirit.] 2 Character of the citizens. a. In themselves. The evangelist describes the citizens of the Messianic kingdom negatively and positively: negatively, they are not attached to the riches, to the honors, to the pleasures of this world; positively, they earnestly desire after the goods of the next world. Each of these points is further developed in the gospel.

a. Detachment from riches. This virtue is inculcated by the evangelist in the first beatitude.

[a] Our Lord begins with the promise of blessedness or happiness, after which all men are so earnestly striving, and by which all are so effectively attracted. The nature of this blessedness is more fully described in the immediate context: “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We have already seen that the first evangelist designates by “kingdom of heaven” the Messianic kingdom promised in the Old Testament.

[b] The condition of the subjects to whom Jesus promises the possession of this kingdom corrects the corrupt Messianic idea of the Jews. For the citizens of the kingdom are not the rich and honored of this earth, but the poor in spirit. That the Greek word employed by the evangelist means “poor” is evident from Mt. 19:21; 26:9, 11; Mk. 10:21; 12:42; 14:5; Lk. 14:13; 16:20; etc. This meaning of the word is confirmed by the Old Testament passages Is. 61:1; 66:2; Ps. 4:2, 3; 72:4; etc.; cf. also 2 Cor. 8:2, 9; Apoc. 3:17. If further proof of our statement were needed we might point to Lk. 6:20, 24, where poor is used in opposition to rich. The classical meaning of πτωχός does not differ from its signification in Sacred Scripture: “poor, strictly, one who crouches or cringes … a beggar” is the interpretation of the word given by Liddell and Scott [s. v.]. Hilgenfeld and Köstlin are so thoroughly convinced of this signification of πτωχός that they reject τῷ πνεύματι as a later addition, appealing to Clem. Hom. xv. 10; Polyc. ad Phil. ii. 3.

[c] The additional clause τῷ πνεύματι has been understood in various ways: [1] The word “spirit” applies to our intellect, so that the poor in spirit are the ignorant and the stupid [Julian, cf. Or. De princ. iv. 22; Luth. Fritzsche, Grimm Lex.]. St. Paul [1 Cor. 1:16, 17] and Barn. [xix. 2] do not favor this interpretation, since they do not depreciate wisdom and knowledge on account of themselves, but on account of the accompanying pride and want of simplicity. Besides, the word “spirit” hardly signifies either intellectual endowments or acquirements. [2] Keil believes “poor in spirit” applies to those that are destitute of the Holy Spirit; need we say that those “in their knowledge destitute of truth, in their will destitute of holiness, in their feeling destitute of happiness” are supremely wretched rather than attractively blessed [Tholuck]? [3] Jer. Rab. Salm. understand by “poor in spirit” those that are poor by the grace of the Holy Ghost. Though this opinion is right as far as it goes—for πνεῦμα signifies in the New Testament either the Holy Ghost or the human soul imbued with the grace of the Holy Ghost [cf. Mt. 4:1; 12:31; 22:43; 26:41; Mk. 1:10, 12; 8:12; 14:38; Lk. 1:17, 80; 2:27; etc.]—yet it does not go far enough; for the Holy Ghost may inspire man in various ways as to earthly possessions. [4] What has been said excludes the opinion that the “poor in spirit” are those that are poor by their own choice, not by necessity [Chrys. Ans. laud. Caj. Jans. Mald. Sylv. Bar. Calm. Suar. de grat. lib. II. xxii. 5]. These are, at best, only a part of the poor in spirit. [5] The “poor in spirit” are all those whose mind and heart are wholly detached from the riches of this earth, whether they be really poor or use the goods of the world as if they used them not. This interpretation of the clause is confirmed by the following considerations: such a state of detachment cannot be reached by the unassisted human will; it is implied by the opposition to the rich, described in Lk. 6:24 as having their consolation in their riches, so that they are rich by reason of their attachment to their wealth; it is also implied by the repeated invitations of our Lord himself [Mt. 13:22; 19:21], which warn us against anxiety about the things of this world, and advise us to abandon our earthly goods in order to attain the true poverty of spirit. Again, this view is supported by overwhelming extrinsic evidence: Chrom. Nyss. Bas. Pasch. Ans. laud. Br. Arn. Alb. Thom. Salm. Caj. Jans. Mald. Sa, Est. Lap. Bar. Sylv. Men. Tir. Calm. Fil. Knab. [6] Since poverty of spirit as described is followed by humility, and since both together produce an intimate sense of our own spiritual destitution, the interpretation of Hil. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Greg. Zachar. chrysop. Aug. who identify the poor in spirit with the penitent and humble, and that of Ambr. [in Lc. lib. v. n. 53, 54], Leo [serm. 95], Jer. Bed. Rab. gl. ord. Pasch. Dion. Mar. who understand by poor in spirit both the actually poor and the humble, and finally that of Fab. Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Grimm, Schanz, Keil, op. imp. Alb. who understand by poor in spirit those that feel and bemoan their own spiritual helplessness, the obscurity of their understanding, and the weakness of their will: these interpretations may be regarded as giving the consequent meaning of the clause, though they miss the genuine sense.

4. Blessed are the meek.] β. Detachment from honors. The blessedness promised in the second beatitude consists in possessing the land. Since the possession of Palestine had been promised to the Israelites, both the national and the individual happiness of the Jews was connected with the fulfilment of this promise. It was on this account that the promises of the prophets Is. 60, 62, 65, 66, 30, 31, Zach. 14:7 ff., Ps. 37:11 etc. were of such vital importance to the Jewish community. Our Lord repeats in his second beatitude the promise of Ps. 36:11, in order to show that through him the national promises of Israel must be fulfilled.

[a] What land are the meek to inherit? [1] The land implies temporal prosperity [Chrys. Theoph. Euth.], so that it includes all earthly goods. [2] The promise refers only to the possession of heavenly happiness of which Palestine was a figure [Jer. Aug. Nyss. op. imp. Rab. gl. ord. Fab. Jans. Bar. Lap. Calm. Arn. cf. Rom. 8:21; 2 Pet. 3:12; Apoc. 21:2–5]. [3] Palestine represented rather the Messianic kingdom than the future life in heaven; if then “the land” must be taken according to its typical meaning, our Lord promises entrance into the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of God, to the meek. And since the Messianic reign extends over both this and the next life, the promise of our Lord is not confined to either this or the next life, but repeats under a different form the blessing of the first beatitude. [4] We need not mention the opinions of those according to whom our Lord promises to the meek the perfect command over their own hearts, or the future glorification of their bodies, or the winning over of other men to their friendship, etc. [cf. Salm. t. 5, p. 66; Bar.].

[b] Who are the “meek” mentioned in the second beatitude? The meek [πραεῖς, עֲכָוִים] are repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament, where they are assured of God’s special direction [Ps. 24:9], or salvation [Pss. 75:10; 146:6; 149:4], or of a share in the Messianic promises [Is. 11:4; 29:19; Ps. 21:28]. But it is especially in Ps. 36 [Heb. 37] that the expression finds a clear explanation; in fact, the second beatitude agrees with part of v. 11. In v. 9 the possession of the land is promised to those “that wait upon the Lord” [as opposed to “evil doers”); in v. 11 the same promise is made to the meek [as opposed to the “wicked” in 10]; in v. 22 the land is promised to “such as bless” the Lord [as opposed to such as curse him]; in v. 29 “the just shall inherit the land” in opposition to the unjust and the seed of the wicked in v. 28, and in parallelism to the Saints in the same verse; finally, in v. 34 those that “expect the Lord and keep his way” will inherit the land [in opposition to the sinners who shall perish forever]. It is therefore not without reason that we assign to πραεῖς [עֲכָוים] the meaning of meek; for meekness is primarily the virtue that regulates the passion of anger, not allowing it to exceed the boundaries of reason. The virtue of meekness falls, therefore, under the general head of temperance, just as detachment from earthly goods falls under the cardinal virtue of justice. In the first beatitude, therefore, those are called blessed that subdue their desire after earthly goods; in the second, those that bear patiently all earthly loss. And since contempt is practically the greatest earthly evil, the meek may be identified with those detached from the love of earthly honors.

5. Blessed are they that mourn.] γ. Detachment from pleasure. [a] The blessedness consists here in the promised consolation. [1] This consolation refers not merely to our eternal beatitude [Hil. Nyss. Arn. Alb. Caj.], but to this life also. [2] That the consolation refers to this life, also, is defended by Chrys. Aug. Jans. Lap. Knab. etc., and is based on the promises of both the Old and the New Testament. For though Apoc. 7:17; 21:4; Is. 66:6–14 may refer to the next life only, the promised consolation was so intimately identified with the Messias that even in the Rabbinic language the Messias is called the “consoler,” and the time of his appearance bears the name “consolation” [cf. Lightfoot, Hor. heb. ad Joann. xiv. 16]; even according to Lk. 2:25 the Messias is “the consolation of Israel.” This general hope was based on the promises contained in Is. 40:1, 11; 49:14 f.; 51:3 f.; 52:1 f.; 54:1 f.; 60:4f.; 61:1–3; 62:3; 65:18; etc. Our Lord therefore promises here again the entrance into the Messianic kingdom, but under a form corresponding to the moral condition of those to whom he makes the promise.

[b] The receivers of the third promise are those that mourn; mourning properly implies the presence of evil, since it is the effect of the will caused by the recognized presence of evil. That the sorrow implied in the passage of the gospel has a sacred character follows from Is. 61:3; Soph. 3:18 [heb.]; Ezech. 9:4. This evil is identified with our sins, by Hil. Chrom.; with our sins and those of our neighbor, by Chrys. Theoph. Jer. Leo, Bed. Br. Rab. Pasch.; with the evils of this life generally, by Nyss. Alb. Dion. Jans. Caj. Calm. Fil.; with the presence of the earthly evils and the absence of the heavenly goods, by Nyss. Bed. Ans. laud. Alb. Dion. Jans. Sylv.; in general, with the tears caused by the fear and the love of God, by Calm. [cf. Suar. de leg. IX. ii. 10]. As the first beatitude refers to a detachment from earthly goods that prescinds from their presence or absence, and as the second implies patient bearing of evil that is hard to remove, so the third refers to the pain of the will at the presence of any evil whatever, or to a perfect detachment from the feeling of pleasure.

6. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst.] δ. Positive characteristic of the citizens. [a] The subjects of this beatitude have been identified in various ways: [1] Since Lk. 6:21 reads “Blessed are ye that hunger now, for ye shall be filled,” the words “hunger” and “thirst” have been applied to the feeling of bodily wants; the clause “after justice” is then explained as signifying “for justice’ sake.” Hence result the meanings: blessed are those that suffer hunger and thirst, because justice is denied them [cf. Mald.]; or because they fast voluntarily in order to acquire justice; or because they have to bear privations in order to comply with the demands of justice [cf. Lap. Jans. Calm.]. But the text of the gospel hardly permits this interpretation, since it represents justice as the object of hunger and thirst, not as the motive for bearing them patiently.

[2] Hunger and thirst must be taken metaphorically, so that they refer to spiritual, not to bodily wants. Am. 8:11 shows that such a metaphorical meaning of hunger and thirst is not unknown to the inspired writers; cf. Is. 55:1; Ps. 41:3; 62:2; Prov. 9:5; etc. As hunger and thirst surpass the other appetites of the animal life, so shall the desire after justice prevail over all the other longings of the citizens of the Messianic kingdom. Justice means here not only the special virtue which gives to every one his due, but implies the general virtue inclining our will to conform itself with the will of God. It may therefore be identified with holiness or perfection in general, comprising the observance of both God’s precepts and counsels.

[b] The blessedness promised in the fourth beatitude consists in the divine favor which God shows to all those that observe his holy will perfectly. This state of happiness had been predicted by the prophets as accompanying the Messianic kingdom: cf. Is. 4:3; 11:4; 42:3; 53:11; 23:5; 30:9; 31:33; 33:15; Ezech. 11:19; 36:26; Dan. 9:24; Os. 2:19; 3:5; Mich. 4:2; 7:18; Ps. 44:5; 71:4; etc. The promise, therefore, coincides again practically with the promise of entering the Messianic kingdom. Allusions to the manner in which this hunger and thirst will be filled we find repeatedly in the New Testament: cf. Jn. 4:13, 14; 6:35; 7:37; Rom. 7:24; 8:2, 4; etc. Hence the longing of those ardent souls shall be partially satisfied in this life, and perfectly in the next [op. imp.].

7. Blessed are the merciful.] b. The citizens of the kingdom in their relation to others. The relation of the citizens may be considered under ordinary circumstances, or under external difficulties. a. Under ordinary circumstances the Christian life may be active, contemplative, or a combination of the active and contemplative. Each of these three cases is considered in the following three beatitudes: [α] The active life. [a] For the active Christian life our Lord recommends mercy, consisting not merely in forgiving the injuries done us by others, or in sympathizing with them in their trials and sufferings; but also in practically relieving them in their bodily and spiritual necessities [cf. Aug. Pasch. Br. Nyss. Jans. Sylv. Theoph. Caj. Jer. Chrom. op. imp. Fab. Dion. Bar. Suar. l. c. 14]. [b] Though the promise seems at first to give only a reward equal to the work [Chrys.], in reality it does not differ from the promises of the other beatitudes. For it must be remembered, in the first place, that the Messias is described by the prophets of the Old Testament as preëminently merciful [Ps. 71:12–14; Is. 11:4; 42:3; 50:4; 53:5; 61:1; Ezech. 34:16]. In the second place, the Messianic salvation was announced in the Old Testament as the principal work of God’s mercy: cf. Is. 48:11; 43:22–25; Ezech. 16:61–63; 36:32; Os. 2:19; Mich. 7:18–20; Soph. 3:19; Zach. 12:7, 10. The mercy therefore promised to the merciful is again a share in the Messianic salvation. [c] It must also be noted that Jesus opposes the current Pharisaic opinion concerning the Messianic kingdom in two ways. First, at the time of Christ, all earthly misfortune was regarded as the effect of personal sin [cf. Jn. 9:2], so that the foundation of all mercy was removed. Hence sprang the Jewish self-righteousness, and their proud disdain of all in misery [cf. Jn. 9:34]. Secondly, the Messianic kingdom is not only not due to the legal justice of the Jews, but is a work of pure mercy on the part of God, that will be given to those who do not despise the misery of their unhappy brethren. We need not point out the effect that these words of our Lord have produced in the Christian community in the form of innumerable institutions of charity and mercy [cf. Coleridge, The Public Life, ii. p. 240].

8. Blessed are the clean of heart.] [β]The sixth beatitude seems to be intended for the contemplative Christian life. This follows both from the subjects of the beatitude, and from the promise connected with it. [a] The description of the subjects opposes them to those only legally clean [cf. Mk. 7:3 f.; Mt. 23:25 f.], so that the hypocritical Pharisees are not included. But the clean of heart are not only the chaste [Theoph. Arn. Schegg], or the simple and upright of heart [Aug. Bed. Rab. Zach. chrys. Men. Lam. Schanz], or the chaste and simple [Mald.]; for had Jesus wished to designate these classes, he would no doubt have expressed them by their proper name, just as he names the merciful and the peacemakers [Bar.]. The phrase “clean of heart” signifies those that are not defiled by any stain of sin [Bas. reg. brev. 280; Nyss. Chrom. Hil. Jer. Leo, Pasch. Br. Arn. op. imp. Ans. laud. Alb. Fab. Tost. Dion. Caj. Salm. Jans. Lap. Suar. Bar. Sa, Sylv. Men. Gord. Coleridge, l. c. p. 271; Fil. Meschler, i. 294; Knab. etc.]. It may prove useful to refer to those Old and New Testament passages that are commonly connected with the subject of this beatitude: Ps. 33:4; 72:1; 50:12; Prov. 20:9; 24:7; Ezech. 11:19; 36:26; 1 Tim. 1:5; 3:9; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1:3; 1 Pet. 1:22.

[b] The promise made to the clean of heart corresponds with their spiritual condition. The expression is taken from the Oriental custom according to which kings were rarely seen in public, so that only their immediate surrounding and their familiar friends enjoyed the privilege of seeing their face continually. Moreover, the passage alludes to the Old Testament passages in which the prophets promise the Israelites the vision of a great light, of the glory of the Lord, of the salvation of God, of the beauty of God, of the king in his beauty [Is. 9:2; 33:17; 35:2; 40:5; 52:10; 60:2; 66:14; 66:18]. Impurity of heart is therefore to our power of seeing God what scales are to the eyes. The full vision of God is, of course, identical with the beatific vision, and reserved for the life to come; but even in the present life the pure of heart see the beauty of God, not merely in his revealed truth, but also in the objects of nature and in their own interior acts of mind and will. The happiness implied in the vision may be inferred from the observation of St. Augustin that “if the damned spirits could see for an instant the face of God, the pains of hell would come to an end.” We need not point out that contemplative souls especially enjoy the vision of God, even in this life, as far as this privilege is possible.

9. Blessed are the peacemakers.] [γ] This beatitude regards especially the apostolic or the mixed life. For peacemakers are those that cause peace, and are, therefore, themselves at peace with God and men. [a] The word is understood in a general sense by Nyss. Chrom. Ambr. Jer. Br. Bed. Arn. Fab. Dion. Salm. Mald. Suar. Sylv. Lam. Calm. But the higher idea of causing men to make peace with God is added by Bas. Chrom. Theoph. Euth. Br. Dion. Salm. Jans. Reischl, Coleridge, Meschler, etc. This meaning of the word is in accord with Is. 53:7, where the excellency of the preachers of peace is described. Besides, the prophecies of the Old Testament announced the Messias as the great peacemaker [Ps. 71:3, 7; Is. 9:6, 7; 26:3, 12; 32:17; 52:7; 54:10, 13; 40:17; 66:12; 33:6, 9; Ezech. 34:25; 37:26; Mich. 4:3; 5:5; Agg. 2:10; Zach. 6:13; 9:10], so that in the language of Sacred Scripture peace must refer especially to the peace between God and man. Finally, the apostles are represented as the messengers of peace [Eph. 2:14; Col. 1:20; Eph. 6:15; Rom. 14:17–19; 2 Cor. 13:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 1 Pet. 3:11–17].

[b] The promise made to the peacemakers consists in the sonship of God; for they would not be “called” children of God if they were not so in reality. The reasons for this reward of the peacemakers may be reduced to the following: peace is preëminently a characteristic of God [2 Cor. 13:11], so that the peacemakers resemble God in a special manner, and are therefore his sons or images [Nyss. Zach. Chrys. Alb. Mald. Dion. Calm. Fil.]. Again, the peacemakers do the work proper to Jesus Christ the Son of God, so that they may be said to share his sonship as they share his labor [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Chrom. Br. Arn.]. The excellency and dignity of the sonship of God are well developed by Nyss. [De beatitud. or. 7].

10. Blessed are they that suffer persecution.] b. The citizens in time of trial. Jesus announces first the general principle that guides the Christian in his difficulties, and then applies this in a special manner to his apostles. a. The general principle [a] The experience of the just men of the Old Testament [Ps. 36:1; 38:2; 72:3; Job 9:22; 12:6], the history of the persecutions of the prophets [cf. Mt. 23:37; Acts 7:52], and the very words of the Messianic predictions [Ps. 44:4–8; Zach. 13:7; Joel 3:9 f.] rendered it more than probable that the citizens of the Messianic kingdom would have to undergo their special trials. The doctrine of our Lord on this point could, therefore, not scandalize his Jewish hearers, while it has been the comfort of the numberless Christian sufferers since the foundation of the Church.

[b] But mere suffering is not sufficient to render one the subject of this beatitude: “for what glory is it, if committing sin, and being buffeted for it, you endure?” says St. Peter to the early Christians [1 Pet. 2:20]. “But if doing well,” the apostle continues, “you suffer patiently, this is thank-worthy before God.” Aug. [Enarr. in Ps. 34:23] fully agrees with this: “it is not the suffering,” he says, “but the cause of the suffering, that maketh martyrs.” Similar observations are found in Aug. c. Gaudent. i. 20; op. imp. etc. The gospel expresses this cause in the words “for justice’ sake,” where justice signifies the whole complex of Christian virtues, both theological and moral [cf. 1 Pet. 4:15].

[c] The reward promised in this beatitude is really and formally the same as that promised in the first beatitude; but still the reason of the promise differs from that in v. 3: there the kingdom is promised to the poor on account of its riches, here the kingdom is promised to the persecuted on account of its honors and power [cf. Nyss. Arn. Schegg, Rom. 8:18; 2 Cor. 4:17]. Besides, the promise of the kingdom gives the form of a circle to the eight beatitudes, since they begin and end with the same promise [Coleridge, p. 348; Chrom.].

[d] That there are eight beatitudes is the common opinion of commentators, though Tost. Köstlin, Ewald, Hilgenfeld admit only seven, Jans, enumerates nine, and Delitzsch as many as ten. The numbers nine and ten can be obtained only by adding vv. 11, 12 to the beatitudes. The difference between these verses and the preceding has been pointed out by Aug. Ans. laud. Thom. Tost. etc. The beatitudes enounce general principles, the following verses are directed to the apostles [cf. infra] to whom they apply the last beatitude in a special way. Nor can we reduce the number of beatitudes to seven; though the promise of the eighth agrees with that of the first [cf. Tost.], the condition of the promise is entirely different in the two beatitudes. That seven is a sacred number in Scripture does not favor the opinion, because four and eight, too, are often used in a mystic meaning.

[e] Admitting, then, eight beatitudes, they have been variously classified by theologians and commentators. [1] Knab. is of opinion that they oppose the various Jewish prejudices concerning the nature of the Messianic kingdom. In point of fact, there can be no doubt that all the promises present either the whole Messianic kingdom, or some special part of it; the conditions, too, found in the single beatitudes are wholly opposed to the conditions which, according to Jewish ideas, were requisite for sharing the blessings of the Messias. But though this be granted, we cannot infer that our Lord followed a merely negative train of thought. [2] Aug. [De serm. in mont. i. 4, 11, 12], Rab. Zach. chrys. compare the beatitudes with the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost; this arrangement combines poverty with the fear of God; meekness with piety; mourning with knowledge; hunger and thirst for justice with fortitude; mercy with counsel; cleanness of heart with understanding; peacemaking with wisdom; the last beatitude returns to the beginning, and declares that man is perfect. [3] St. Thomas [la 2ae, qu. 69, a. 3] thinks the foregoing arrangement of the beatitudes follows the different motives of the virtues. He then proposes an order according to the matter of the beatitudes: knowledge and counsel direct the first five beatitudes; piety embraces mercy and hunger and thirst after justice; fortitude embraces meekness; fear contains poverty and mourning, by which man withdraws from the concupiscence and pleasure of the world. [4] In other passages St. Thomas proposes three more divisions of the beatitudes: the first rests on the various opinions of men concerning their happiness, which is placed by some in merely external goods, by others in the satisfaction of their desires [cf anger, of love of pleasure, and of ambition], by others again in the virtues of the active life, and finally, by a fourth class in the contemplative life. These four false views concerning happiness are contradicted in the eight beatitudes. [5] The second division rests on the effects of different virtues on our inner life: some remove our inordinate affections [avarice, anger, and pleasure]; others effect the doing of good works [justice and mercy]; others again dispose us for the most excellent spiritual gifts [purity of heart, peace, and suffering for justice’ sake]. [6] The third division of the beatitudes views them according to their progress from external to internal goods: freedom from earthly possessions and from inborn passions is followed by external good works, by sentiments of compassion, by spiritual insight and order, and finally by patient suffering for justice’ sake [cf. St. Thom. Exposit. Mt.; in 3 sent. dist. 34, qu. 1, a. 4; Summ. 1a 2ae, qu. 69, a. 3].

β. Application of the last beatitude. [1] In v. 11 our Lord proposes three conditions of the special blessedness of the apostles. [a] They must bear insults, persecutions, and detractions; [b] these must be unjust in themselves; [c] they must be inflicted for our Lord’s sake [cf. Thom. Jans. Chrys. Euth. Knab. Schanz]. [2] In v. 12 the special blessedness of the apostles is further developed: [a] they are to be glad and rejoice, even under their sufferings; [b] but the motive of this joy is their reward in heaven; [c] the promise of this reward is confirmed by the example of the persecuted prophets, concerning whose heavenly blessedness there could be no doubt. The joy of the apostles in their sufferings may be illustrated by Acts 5:41; James 1:2. Supposing the Catholic doctrine that a supernatural work is always performed with the aid of supernatural grace, we may conclude from this special promise that the apostles were by their suffering to merit, in the strict sense of the word, their heavenly glory. If the heavenly glory promised here to the apostles were a mere grace, and not a reward, Jesus would have used his words in a false meaning [cf. Jans. Schanz, Lap. Sylv. Caj. Br. Fil. Knab.].

13. You are the salt.] 3. Influence of the citizens of the kingdom. a. They are to preserve men. In this section must be noted the opposition between the apostolic and the prophetic work; the meaning of “salt” as applied to the apostles; and finally, the uselessness of the salt if it loses its savor.

[1] The opposition between the apostles and prophets consists in the universal character of the apostolic mission as compared with the particular character of the prophetic work. Hence the apostles are the salt of the earth.

[2] The meaning of “salt” in this context is determined by its use in common life: it prevents putrefaction and it seasons; there seems to be no direct reference to its fertilizing property [Schanz]. In the Old Testament, too, salt had been employed for this double purpose: cf. 4 Kings 2:21; Lev. 2:13; Num. 18:19; 2 Par. 13:5; Pasch. Mald. Chrom. The moral corruption of the world was therefore to be remedied by the apostolic salt of the disciples.

[3] As to the uselessness of the salt after it has lost its savor, many commentators regard the language of our Lord as purely hypothetical, because, according to them, salt cannot really lose its savor. But Schöttgen [Hor. hebr. i. 1.], Thomson [The Land and the Book, p. 381], and others maintain that the salt of Palestine actually does lose its savor when in contact with the ground, or exposed to rain and sun; Dr. Thomson adds that in Sidon he saw “large quantities of it literally thrown into the street, to be trodden under foot of men and beasts.” Even Pliny speaks of “sal iners” [xxxi. 39] and “sal tabescens” [xxxi. 44]. The practical impossibility of salting salt, and reducing it to its proper condition, furnishes an illustration of the dangerous condition of the disciples of Jesus that neglect their call to salt the earth, and preserve their fellow men from moral corruption [cf. Heb. 6:4 f.; 10:26–29; Ez. 15:2–5; Is. 66:24; Dan. 12:2; Jer. Pasch. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lamy, etc.].

[4] It has been supposed in the preceding remarks that Jesus addressed his apostles or his disciples directly in the text thus far explained. This must be understood in such a manner that he addressed them principally, though what he said to them applies truly, though less emphatically, to all Christians [cf. Knab. Pasch. Chrom.]. Neither the direct address nor the comparison with salt and light forces us to admit that our Lord speaks to the disciples alone either from the beginning of v. 11 [Chrys. Hil. Jer. Rab. Br. Zach. chrys. Thom. op. imp. Jans. Bar. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss, etc.] or from the beginning of v. 13 [gl. ord. Alb. Dion.]. For the direct address is also found in the following parts of the discourse addressed to the multitudes; and the comparison with the salt occurs again in Lk. 14:34, where our Lord does not confine himself to his disciples. The comparison of the light is quite common in the language of the New Testament [cf. Phil. 2:15; Eph. 5:8; 1 Thess. 5:5; Prov. 4:18; 1 Pet. 2:9], so that it is not peculiar to the apostles. On the other hand, we do not wholly agree with Aug. and Bed., who regard the passage as equally addressed to the multitudes and the disciples; for though both these classes were present, the subject matter is such that it describes the apostolic trials and labors more clearly than those of common Christians.

14. You are the light of the world.] b. The apostles are to guide men. α. The world is not only steeped in moral corruption, but also in intellectual darkness; hence our Lord’s salvific influence must remedy the latter as well as the former. The prophets foretold this [Is. 42:6; 49:6; cf. 9:2], and the gospels point to the fulfilment in Jesus Christ [Jn. 1:9; 8:12]. St. Paul, too, repeatedly mentions the apostolic office of enlightening the world [Acts 13:47; Col. 1:24; Phil. 2:15; Eph. 5:8].

β. The apostles are not merely to reflect the light of their master, but they are also to occupy such a position in the world that their doctrinal influence is not interfered with by intervening objects. It is immaterial whether Jesus in pronouncing this sentence pointed out Saphet or the fortification on Thabor as the city that cannot be hid [cf. Guérin, Galilée, ii. 425]; in any case, his language resembles that of Isaias 4:1; 2:2 [cf. Chrom. Bed. Rab. Chrys. Jans. Lam. Caj.]. It follows from these words that the church must be always visible, since she is compared not merely to a city on a mountain, but to a city so placed on the mountain that it cannot be hid.

γ. It is not only the church that must be visible to the world, but each individual Christian, too, must contribute his share in shedding the light of Jesus Christ. They are warned that not even the worldly-wise apply things to a purpose opposed to that for which they are destined: they do not light their candle and put it under a bushel, or the ordinary household measure holding about a peck, but on the lamp-stand, fastened in the wall, so that the light may be diffused as far as possible. The lamp was not extinguished during the night, but when its light was not desired for a space of time, it was placed under an inverted hollow cover. In the same manner, our Lord wishes his light burning in the church, to illume the darkness of the world [Br. Jans. Mald.].

δ. But our light must not shine before the world indiscriminately: two conditions are needed to render the shining of one’s light advisable. [a] The light of doctrine must be accompanied by good works, because principles without practice will be of little avail. This is confirmed by the fact that St. Paul found it necessary to appeal repeatedly to his good works: 2 Cor. 11:16 ff.; 1 Pet. 2:12 [Br. Chrom. Jans.]. [b] Our light must so shine before men that they may glorify our Father who is in heaven. It is not our own glory that must be the object of showing our light before the world. Here again we have St. Paul as our model [cf. Gal. 1:24]. That the glory of God must be the end of all our actions, our Lord emphasizes especially by the name Father, reminding us that we must glorify God as good sons glorify their parents [cf. Caj. Aug.]. God is repeatedly called Father in the Old Testament [Is. 63:16; Deut. 32:6; Wisd. 2:16; 14:2; Ecclus. 23:1; 51:10; Tob. 13:4]; but the name Father as opposed to the other two persons of the Holy Trinity is peculiar to the New Law. Even the Rabbis hold that God is glorified by the good works of men, and dishonored by their evil deeds [Schöttgen], though they apply these principles only to our private life [cf. R. Bechonya, Bahir f. 5, 3; Soh. Lev. f. 2, 5].

b. The Law of the Kingdom, v. 17–48.

17. Do not think that I am come to destroy.] This section may be divided into the following paragraphs: 1. The general relation of the New Law to the Old, 17–20; 2. its interpretation of the fifth commandment, 21–26; 3. its view of the sixth commandment, 27–32; 4 its obligations springing from the second and the eighth commandment, 33–37; 5. its opposition to the “lex talionis,” 38–48.

1. General relation of the New Law to the Old. Jesus develops this general relation in four propositions: a. The New Law is the fulfilment of the Old; b. the Old Law shall not pass till all be fulfilled; c. the sanction of the fulfilment or the nonfulfilment of the Law is reward in, or exclusion from, the kingdom of heaven; d. the Pharisaic observance of the Law is not sufficient in the New Law.

α. The New Law is the fulfilment of the Old. a. The transition from the beatitudes and their application to the discussion on the law is explained in various ways: The beatitudes are the general outlines of Christianity; our Lord must therefore descend to particulars after laying down the general principles [cf. Knab.]. Again, the Sadducees among the hearers of Jesus desired nothing more than an abolition of the law, the Pharisees feared nothing worse, and the disciples were left in doubt by what had been said; hence Jesus must from the start declare his position in this vital question [cf. Fil. Schanz]. Schöttgen contends [Hor. Heb. et Talm. de Messia, ii. 611; Dresd. 1742] that about the third century the Rabbis expected a Messianic dispensation in which the Law would be wholly abolished; but Weber [Altsynagogale Theol. p. 360] shows that the passages cited by Schöttgen may be otherwise interpreted. While Jesus gains the good will of his Jewish audience by this implied eulogium of the law, he forestalls the future accusations brought against him as a destroyer of the law.

β. But how did our Lord fulfil the law and the prophets rather than destroy them? Mald, enumerates four ways of fulfilment: Jesus himself observed the law, he perfected it by his interpretation, he brought us the grace needed to observe it in its perfect interpretation, and finally, he fulfilled the promises contained in the types and prophecies of the law and the prophets [cf. Fab. Est. Lap. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Coleridge, iii. pp. 66 f., Grimm, iii. p. 75, Schanz, Fil. Meschler, i. p. 304].

γ. As to the question whether Christians are bound by the decalogue on account of its promulgation by Moses, Bellarm. Vasquez, Lorin. answer in the affirmative, Suarez in the negative [cf. Suar. de leg. L. ix. 11, 20, 22; L. x. 2, 15], though all are agreed that the matter of the Christian decalogue does not differ from that of the Jewish, and that Jesus has added a new binding force to these natural precepts.

δ. Against the opinion of a few [cf. Keil] who maintain that Jesus speaks in the present passage only of the law and not of the Messianic prophecies, the common consent of interpreters asserts that “the law and the prophets” means the whole inspired canon of the Old Testament. Though our Lord did not appeal to any prophecies in the immediate context, he had recourse to their testimony repeatedly in his public life [Jn. 5:46; Lk. 4:21; 18:31; 24:27, 44; Mt. 22:40].

18. For amen I say unto you.] b. The permanency of the Old Law. [1] The word “amen” means fidelity, faithfulness; faithful, firm; truly, surely [cf. Lk. 9:27]. The Jews employed the word to confirm their contracts and their oaths [Num. 5:22; Deut. 27:15; 2 Esdr. 5:13], placing it either at the beginning or at the end of their words [cf. 28:6; Gesen. thes. i. 116]. At the end of the doxology it was repeated in Pss. 40:14; 71:19; 88:53; in the New Testament the word occurs as an asseverative particle only in the sayings of Jesus Christ, and in the fourth gospel it is repeated in this meaning [Jn. 1:32; 3:3; 5:19]. The apostles use the word in the doxology [Rom. 1:25; 9:5; Gal. 1:5; 1 Pet. 4:11]; from its use in the synagogues it has passed also into the church services as a responsory [1 Cor. 14:16].

[2] Heaven and earth cannot properly be said to pass away, though they will be changed [Mt. 24:35; 2 Pet. 3:10; 1 Jn. 2:17; 1 Cor. 7:31]. The expression seems to be equivalent to our “never,” as we infer from Pss. 71:5, 7; 88:5; 33:20, 21; etc. In this meaning the expression may be compared to the Rabbinic formulas: “Everything has its end, heaven and earth have their end, except one thing which has no end, and this is the law” [Bereschith R. x. 1]; and “[The law] will remain always, for ever and ever” [Midrasch Cohel. f. 71, 4; etc.].

[3] One jot refers to the smallest Hebrew letter called “yodh.” The “tittle,” according to the Greek text κεραία, means in the language of the Greek grammarians the accents and diacritic signs; but in the language of St. Matthew it seems to refer to the small distinctive characteristic by which ה differs from ח and ב from כ. Hence even the most unimportant points of the law shall have their place in the Messianic dispensation.

[4] “Till all be fulfilled” is not subordinate to what precedes [cf. Meyer, Keil], but coördinate with it; hence we must not interpret, “as long as the world stands shall no precept of the law, however imperfect and easy, pass away till all its injunctions are put into practice,” but rather thus: “till heaven and earth pass, the law shall not pass; till all be fulfilled, the law shall not pass.” The first member, therefore, asserts the mere fact of the permanency of the law, while the second adds the reason for its perpetuity, drawing it from the will of God.

19. He therefore that shall break.] c. The sanction. Explanations. [1] Hilgenfeld [Historisch-kritische Einleitung in d. N. T. p. 469] is of opinion that this verse and the following are not in keeping with the general meekness and love of Jesus Christ and must therefore be regarded as interpolated by the opponents of St. Paul. But, on the one hand, the opposition in the early Church between the Pauline and the Petriue Christians is wholly hypothetical; on the other, St. Paul himself is quite emphatic in enforcing the observance of the law [cf. Rom. 3:31 f.; 4:23; 15:4; 1 Cor. 9:9; 10:6; Col. 2:17; Heb. 9:1–9; etc.].

[2] The opinion of interpreters differs considerably concerning the true meaning of the word “to break”: it means “to transgress” or “to violate” according to Chrys. op. imp. Alb. Dion. Caj. Est. Jans. Mald. Bar. Sylv. Arn. Coleridge; “to explain falsely” according to Br. Pasch. Ans. laud.; “to mutilate” according to Chrom.; “to abrogate,” Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Weiss; “to destroy” Jer. Zach. chrys. Salm.; both “to destroy” and “to transgress” according to Lap. Keil. Since the meaning of the word is determined by the preceding verses, there is no good reason for changing it in this verse.

[3] “These least commandments” are those which Jesus is going to develop in the following discourse, and which he calls “least” through modesty [Chrys.]; or they are called “least,” because not to kill and not to commit adultery is the least that can be expected of us [Aug. Bed. Rab. Dion. Salm.], or because they are least in the opinion of the Pharisees, or because they are the least of their own kind of mortal sins, as e.g. the sin of impure desire [Mald. Est. Sylv.]; but here again it is preferable to understand by the least commandments those of which Jesus has been speaking in the preceding verse, where there is question of the jot and tittle of the law [Hil. Jer. Br. Pasch. Caj. Sa, Arn. Reischl, Schegg, Schanz, Fil.]. St. Paul has diverse illustrations of the importance of even insignificant incidents in the Old Testament [cf. 1 Cor. 9:9; Gal. 4:29, 30].

[4] The clause “shall so teach men” has been understood to mean, whoever transgresses the law himself, but exacts its observance from others; or, whoever teaches men so as I do [Jer. Est. Coleridge]; but most probably the “so” refers to the preceding clause, whoever destroys one jot or tittle of the law, and teaches men according to his view of the law.

[5] The “least in the kingdom of heaven” is not there at all [Thom.], or is unworthy of it [gl. ord. Pasch.], or is condemned to eternal punishment [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Caj. Mald. Lap. Calm.], so that he “shall be called the least” by those “in the kingdom of heaven” [Ans. laud. Tost.]. But Est. well remarks that according to this explanation Satan might be called the least in the kingdom of heaven; and according to Mt. 11:11 our Lord says, “he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he [John the Baptist]. It appears, then, more probable that “the least in the kingdom” is he that occupies the least place in the same, and is therefore far removed from the dignity of doctor whose office he exteriorly fulfils. The case of such a teacher appears to be considered by St. Paul, 1 Cor. 3:11, 15.

[6] Far different is the condition of him “that shall do and teach” even the smaller precepts of the law; for he shall occupy the high place prepared for the doctors in the kingdom of heaven.

20. For I tell you.] d. Insufficiency of Pharisaic justice. In the preceding verse Jesus has spoken about those that shall be great in the kingdom of heaven, and about the least in the same; now he mentions those that shall not enter at all, drawing from this class another proof for the statement that he did not come to destroy the law but to perfect it. He has proved this first from the perpetuity of the law in itself; secondly, from the sanction of the law in the New Testament; now he proves the same from the superiority of the law in the Messianic dispensation. The “for” may therefore be explained as connecting this verse with v. 17 [Schegg, de Wette, Hilgenf.]; but there is a closer connection with vv. 18, 19, in which our Lord alludes to great and small precepts, to the letter and the spirit; hence he rejects in the present verse the Pharisaic distinction between great and small precepts [cf. Mt. 22:35–40; 23:23], and declares their obedience to the letter as insufficient. “Justice” has here the meaning it had in v. 6; the Fathers of the Church are therefore right in defending, on the one hand, the holiness of the Old Testament against the Manicheans and other heretics, and, on the other, in extolling the superiority of the New. For the Christian dispensation is no correction of the Jewish [Socinians], nor is it a mere explanation of the same [many Protestant theologians], but it is its fulfilment and perfection.

21. You have heard that it was said to them of old.] 2. The fifth commandment. This section contains first the Christian statement of the fifth commandment [vv. 21, 22], and then it gives two special additions well calculated to enforce the exact observance of the Christian law [vv. 23, 24; 25, 26]. a. Christ’s statement of the fifth commandment. [1] “You have heard that it was said to them of old” recalls to the mind of our Lord’s hearers what they had heard in the synagogues. Similar expression we find in Jn. 12:34; Acts 15:21; Rom. 2:13. But then it is asked: who are they “of old”? All agree that they are the Israelites of former times; but their relation to what was said is viewed in different ways:—

[a] Many render the passage, “said by them of old”; though this rendering is grammatically possible, it is in the present case inadmissible. In the New Testament ἐῤῥέθη with the dative of person signifies the person addressed [cf. Rom. 9:12; Apoc. 6:11; 9:4; Gal. 3:16], while the speaker is indicated by ὑπό or διά with the genitive [cf. Mt. 1:22; 4:14; 13:35; etc.]. Moreover, the contrast between “it was said to them of old” and “but I say to you” requires that “they of old” should be the hearers and not the speakers, as “you” is the dative of the persons addressed. Again, this rendering is more in accordance with the traditional teaching of the Fathers [cf. Schanz].

[b] Others contend that “said to them of old” may refer to what had been said to the Israelites by their religious teachers from the time of Moses downward [cf. Holtzm.]. But this interpretation is not probable, because Jesus quotes the words of the law [Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17; Lev. 24:17; Ex. 21:12], and therefore not the exposition of the scribes.

[c] We infer, therefore, that “said to them of old” refers both to the promulgation of the law on Sinai and to its repetition to the people by its religious teachers. What follows is therefore opposed not only to the law of the Old Testament, nor only to the teaching of the Pharisees and scribes, but to both. a. That the following teaching was not opposed to the law alone is clear from the passages quoted as said to the ancients, that are not contained in the law. Where does the law say, e.g. that we should “hate our enemies” [v. 43]? There are many passages, on the contrary, in which the law of universal charity is at least implicitly inculcated: cf. Lev. 19:17, 18, 33, 34; Ex. 33:4, 9; Prov. 24:17; 25:21; Rom. 12:20. We grant that the hatred of God’s enemies as such was enjoined in the Old Law, but we deny that hatred of strangers, of men, of brethren, as such was not forbidden. This distinction gives the clue to the divine command of destroying the seven nations [Ex. 23:24; Deut. 7:2; 23:6; 25:19] who on account of their idolatry and their inveterate hostility to the Jews were extremely dangerous to the people.) β. That Jesus does not wish to oppose only the false interpretations of the scribes and Pharisees in the sermon on the mount is plain from those passages in which he opposes his precepts to the Mosaic law itself: cf. vv. 31, 38; again, from those precepts in which he gives counsels of Christian perfection rather than commands: v. 39; finally, from the fact that our Lord was to fufil and perfect the law, so that his doctrine differs from that of the law as the perfect differs from the imperfect [cf. Knab. Schanz, Fil. Lap. Mald. Pasch. Alb. Jans. Bar.]. Such an imperfect law is not unworthy of God; the rudeness of the Hebrew people was not yet trained to bear a more perfect moral code, so that its state would have been rather deteriorated than improved by demanding a high moral perfection of it.

Thou shalt not kill.] [2] The Old Law. Our Lord quotes first the Old Law according to Ex. 20:13, and to this he adds the sanction, which is neither a mere Rabbinio gloss [cf. Meyer], nor foreign to the Old Testament legislation, but has its equivalents in Ex. 21:12; Lev. 24:17; Numb. 35:16; cf. Gen. 9:6 [Pasch. Alb. Jans. Bar. Lap. Br. Schanz, Knab. etc.]. It was customary at the time of our Lord to add in Scripture explanations the sanction to the law, or at least to add the positive to the negative precepts. “Judgment” stands here instead of the “punishment” inflicted by the judgment. Our Lord appears to refer to the local court which had power to inflict penalties up to the simple capital punishment [cf. Deut. 16:18; 2 Par. 19:5]. The more complicated and difficult cases were decided by an upper court which had its seat in the sanctuary [Deut. 17:8; 19:16 ff.]. According to Josephus [Antiq. IV. viii. 14; B. J. II. xx. 5] the local court consisted of seven members, but Sanhr. i. 6 shows that in the larger towns there were courts consisting of 23 members. We need not mention the opinion of Lightfoot and Schöttgen, who contend that the “judgment” refers to the divine judgment, since capital cases had become so frequent that the Sanhedrin did not dare to condemn all the murderers.

22. But I say to you.] [3] Christ’s statement of the law. Jesus distinctly forbids three violations of fraternal charity not included in the Old Law: [a] Though the Old Testament contains warnings against the sin of anger [Ps. 36:7, 8; Ecclus. 27:33; 28:1–5], and though its spirit may be said to forbid anger, still its letter nowhere expressly prohibits this passion. The clause “without cause” following “angry” in Syr. It. Iren. Eus. Chrys. Aug. op. imp. is probably a late addition in order to remove the impression that all anger is sinful; the same addition is found in 1 Jn. 3:15, but probably for the same reason. Ephes. 4:26 shows that there is a justifiable anger [cf. Rom. 13:4; Col. 2:18; Ps. 4:5]. Though anger may under circumstances be laudable, and though even inordinate anger may be only a venial sin, Jesus supposes in the present passage that inordinate anger is “genere suo” mortal [cf. Thom. 2a, 2ae, 158, 2, 3]. This we infer from his sanction of the law. “Brother” properly means one having the same father as one’s self, hence tribes-man, or, among the early Christians, fellow believer [cf. v. 47]; but it is not necessarily coextensive with neighbor [cf. Lk. 10:29; Ign. ad Trail, viii. 2]. The perfection of the Christian law consists, therefore, in prohibiting under the same penalty the inordinate impulse leading to murder, under which the Old Testament forbids murder itself.

[b] The second member prohibits the manifestation of inordinate anger by means of offensive words. The word “Raca” means “vain,” “empty” [Lightfoot, Buxtorf, Wünsche.], and employed as an opprobrious term it signifies “empty of head,” i. e. a man that is stupid, or has no common sense [a dunce, dullard]; cf. James 2:20; Sibyll. iii. p. 418; Jer. op. imp. Bed. Hil. etc.

[c] The third member prohibits the manifestation of inordinate anger by means of highly insulting terms. “Fool” must probably be understood in the sense it has in Pss. 14:1; 53:2 [heb.]; Deut. 32:6; 2 Kings 13:13; Is. 32:6; Ez. 13:3. In all these cases the folly consists rather in a perversity of will than in a defect of intellect, so that the “fool” is wanting in moral rectitude and uprightness.

[d] Jesus threatens a triple punishment for the triple sin, and expresses the same respectively by “judgment,” “council,” and “hell-fire.” Though Chrys. believes that the judgment and the council signify temporal courts, it is commonly admitted that they denote spiritual punishments. Aug. distinguishes the three courts by their relation to the punishment: In the judgment there is still room for self-defence, so that the sentence may be a favorable one; in the council the guilt is certain, but the greatness of the punishment is deliberated upon; in “hell-fire” both sentence and punishment are irrevocably determined. Though this gradation is clear and ingenious, we cannot infer from it that the present passage distinguishes between venial and mortal sin [cf. Bellarm. de amission. grat. 1. i. c. 9; t. 4 de controv. fidei; Grimm, iii. p. 85]. Since “judgment” denotes the court before which, according to the Old Law, murder was tried, we cannot admit that in the New Testament venial sin should be “guilty of the judgment.” We believe, therefore, with most commentators, that in each of three cases there is question of mortal sin [Dion. Mald. Bar.]. “Judgment,” “council,” and “hell-fire” express, therefore, three different degrees of eternal punishment, the third of which exceeds the first two so far that it cannot he represented by any earthly evil. Schanz sees in the three degrees an allusion to the three ways in which the Jews inflicted capital punishment: simple execution, execution by means of stoning or hanging, and execution with a surrender of the sinner to hell. “Hell-fire” has parallel expressions in Is. 66:24; Mk. 9:43, 48; Lk. 16:24; it is, therefore, not a mere allusion to the “valley of Hinnom” [gehenna] with its perpetual fire consuming the carcasses of dead animals and the offal of the city, which Josias [4 Kings 23:10; 7:32] had ordered to be thrown there in order to abolish the existing idolatry of Moloch, and its cruel sacrifices of innocent children in the fire of the idol [3 Kings 11:7, 33; 4 Kings 17:17; 2 Par. 28:3; etc.].

23. If therefore thou offer.] b. Practical conclusion. The guilt of sinful anger is so great that one polluted by it cannot perform even an act otherwise most pleasing to God. Theoph. Euth. Faber,Schegg, etc. contend that our Lord’s precept extends to any case of discord, whether it be culpable on the part of the offerer or not. But the words of the text imply that the discord is occasioned by the fault of the offerer; otherwise, the latter would be wholly at the mercy of his brother’s imagination. This is also the common interpretation of the Fathers: Aug. Jer. op. imp. Bed. gl. ord. Caj. Salm. Bar. Sylv. Mald. Lap. Arn. Grimm, Schanz, etc. Chrys. appears, at first, to favor the opposite view; but on comparing the context he is found to agree with the majority of the commentators. “Offer thy gift at the altar” alludes to Lev. 2:1; that the priests alone could lay the sacrifice on the altar follows from Lev. 1:3; 4:4; 17:1–6. The Greek word expressing gift in the passage is so general in meaning that it embraces any kind of offering [Mt. 8:4; 15:5; 23:18; Heb. 5:1; 8:3]; the lxx. use the word in all meanings. The illustration is taken from the Hebrew sacrifice in order to render it intelligible to the hearers. As the precept cannot be restricted to the Hebrew ceremonial, which was not to last, so it cannot be limited to sacrifice in the strict meaning of the word, but applies to all good actions, especially to prayer. It may not be possible to go in body in order to effect the reconciliation, but it is always possible to do so in spirit, by an act of contrition and a thorough change of heart. This is the opinion of Aug. gl. ord. and Pasch., while Chrys. sees in the words a special reference to the Eucharist.

25. Be at agreement with thy adversary.] c. Second conclusion. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. refer the passage to this life; but such teaching of worldly prudence is wholly out of keeping with the context of the discourse. Weiss’ explanation as an “argumentum ad hominem” weakens the meaning of the words. Nearly all the other commentators understand the passage as referring to the reconciliation with our brother who will otherwise accuse us before the judgment-seat of God. The illustration is taken either from the Jewish law [Deut. 21:18 f.; 15:1] according to which the accuser and the accused had to appear together before the judge, or from the Roman code which allowed the accuser to bring the accused by physical force to the judge. When once the judicial proceedings were begun, there was no reconciliation possible; all compromises had to take place on the way. The “way” signifies our time of life; the prison symbolizes either eternal and temporal punishment, to be inflicted according to the condition of the subject [Alb. Fab. Caj. Sylv. Lap. Tir. Salm. Reischl, Coleridge, Grimm, etc.], or always eternal punishment [most Latin Fathers and commentators: Chrom. op. imp. Pasch. Bed. Rab. Zach. chrys. Br. Dion. Mald. Jans. Bar. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Aug. etc]. The words of the passage do not imply a possible release from the prison, but merely state that freedom cannot be obtained till all has been paid [cf. Lk. 12:58 f.]. It follows that we cannot base a solid argument for the existence of purgatory on this passage [Jans.]. The adversary in question is the person we offend [Caj.], or the law and word of God [Br.], or the Holy Spirit [Chrom.], or God himself [Aug.], or the devil and the flesh [cf. Jer.], or several of the foregoing together [Coleridge, Knab.]. The “officer” is the angel of torments [Chrom.], or the angel who gathers the cockle [gl. ord.; cf. Mt. 13:41, 42], or the angels that are to come with Jesus to judgment [Aug. Pasch. Arn. Schanz], or the bad angel [Zach. chrys. Mald.].

27. You have heard that it was said.] 3. The sixth commandment. Here our Lord explains first the perfection of the law forbidding adultery, then shows its urgency, and in the third place states the law forbidding divorce, a. The law against adultery, vv. 27, 28. The law is quoted from Ex. 20:14; cf. Deut. 5:18. Jesus prohibits even to “look on a woman to lust after her.” “Woman” is to be taken generally, so that it means virgin, married woman, or widow [Euth. Caj. Jans. etc.]. The looks prohibited are first those that spring from evil desire or are connected with it; then those that excite evil desire; and lastly the looks “cum morosa delectatione,” because they at least dispose men for the evil desire [Euth. Cyr. Bas. Aug. Dion. op. imp. Thom. etc.]. “To lust after her,” or the evil desire, is forbidden not merely because it disposes men to commit the sin actually, but because the desire in itself is intrinsically bad; because he “hath already committed adultery with her in his heart.” This reason advanced by our Lord himself shows also that there is no question of the manifestation of the bad wish, which would be rather seduction than a sin committed in one’s heart.

The Greek verb “to commit adultery” signifies properly to have intercourse with the wife of another; according to this view it is only the rights of the husband that can be violated, not those of the wife [Deut. 5:18; Lev. 20:10; Plat. rep. ii. 360 B; Luc. de mar. xii. 1], But “a pari” the Christian law forbids the husband to desire or to have intercourse with any one, married or unmarried, except his wife; and if the Greek word be taken in its wider sense, the present law prohibits any desire after or lustful look at a woman with whom intercourse is forbidden. It is true that even the Old Testament forbade such unchaste desires after the wife of the neighbor [Ex. 20:17]; but this prohibition regarded more the social order of the family, while our Lord’s prohibition, “thou shalt not lust,” starts from the principle that by a sinful desire one commits the same kind of wrong as by a sinful act.

29. And if thy right eye.] b. Urgency of the foregoing prohibition. The obligation of the preceding prohibition is so great that it cannot be transgressed even in case its observance demands the greatest sacrifices from us, and it binds under pain of eternal perdition. Our Lord mentions the “right” eye and the “right” hand, because according to popular opinion the “right” members are preferable to the left [Ex. 29:20; 1 Kings 11:2; Zach. 11:17; Passow s. v.]. Here it is asked whether “eye” and “hand” must be taken figuratively or in their proper meaning, [1] Mald. Arn. contend that our Lord speaks of these members in their proper meaning, so that his words bid us to sacrifice even our right eye and our right hand, if it be necessary, in order to secure our eternal beatitude. The reasons for this view are: [a] the force and beauty of language; [b] the context in which there is question of “looking” on a woman; [c] the following words in which the loss of the whole “body” is mentioned.

[2] Hil. Athan. Cyr. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Jer. op. imp. Aug. Br. Thom. Caj. Bar. Sylv. Lap. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc. understand “eye” and “hand” in a figurative sense, so that our Lord bids us to sacrifice anything, even though it be as dear to us as our right eye, rather than suffer the loss of our soul. It is true that some of the foregoing writers apply this especially to the satisfaction of mind and will, others to the pleasures of the body, others again to friends and relatives, others to earthly advantages; but they all admit the figurative meaning of “eye” and “hand.” The reasons for this view are the following: [a] If there be question of the literal removing of “hand” and “eye” in order to avoid sin, there is no more reason why we should remove the “right” eye or the “right” hand rather than the left, since the one may be as much an occasion of sin as the other. [b] It is never necessary to remove any member of the body in order to avoid sin, because the will is the sole cause of the sinfulness of our outward actions, [c] The word “body” in the subsequent clauses signifies the whole person, so that it, too, has rather a figurative than its proper meaning, [d] By removing either eye or hand, we do not obtain the end proposed to us by our Lord, since the will always remains. Adding the external evidence for the figurative meaning, it is clear that we must explain the words of Jesus in their figurative sense, i. e. as bidding us to sacrifice for the preservation of our spiritual life any good even though it be as necessary for our bodily life as is the hand or the eye. The verb “to scandalize” has no equivalent in the classical Greek; it corresponds to the Hebrew verb meaning “to stumble,” i. e. to take scandal. In the lxx. it occurs first Ecclus. 9:5; 23:8; 35:15; the Greek word from which the term has been borrowed signifies properly the piece of the trap on which the bait is fastened.

31. And it hath been said.] c. Divorce. [1] The Jewish law. The law here referred to is that of Deut. 24:1 f., where the Jews sending away their wives “for some uncleanness” are commanded to give them a bill of divorce. This document served the dismissed wife as a proof that she was free to marry again; but after her second husband had dismissed her, or was separated from her by death, she could not again become the wife of her first husband. Though the “uncleanness” sufficient to divorce the wife is rather vague, and was understood by the Jewish Rabbis of the school of Hillel in a very wide sense, the law of Moses was really a restriction of the custom that had been prevalent among the Hebrews. Both the writing of the document and the impossibility of future reconciliation were calculated to make the husband more circumspect in his proceeding against his wife. The Mosaic law, therefore, did not command divorce under any circumstances, but implicitly permitted it; it directly commanded that in case of divorce a bill of divorce must be written. The implicit permission of divorce has been explained as the permission of something less good [Thom.], or as the permission of something bad that had ceased to be sinful on account of dispensation [Mald.], or as the permission of something sinful that was not punishable under the law. In any case, the reason for the permission was the hardheartedness of the Jews on account of which untold sufferings and perhaps the violent death of the wife might have followed, if marriage had been indissoluble.

32. But I say to you.] [2] The Christian law. a. The fact that Jesus contrasts his law with that of the Old Testament, which contained only the permission of divorce, renders it antecedently probable that in the Christian dispensation this permission will be withdrawn. The wording of our Lord’s law confirms this probability; for he that marries her that is put away committeth adultery; and whosoever shall put away his wife maketh her to commit adultery, either forcing her to contract a second marriage or placing her in the danger of incontinency. In any case, the marriage is not annulled by the preceding divorce, and the permission of divorce is therefore withdrawn. It may be noticed in passing, that adultery is throughout represented as the violation of the rights of the husband.

β. But the simple clearness of this law is seriously obscured by a clause which presents at first the semblance of a possible exception to the general law. For Jesus says “excepting the cause of fornication.” The Greek Church has been led by these words to abandon the absolute insolubility of marriage; many Protestants also base on them their allowance of divorce; even among Catholic writers living before the Council of Trent straggling expressions of doubt are found, though rarely, and not in the works of great theologians. The Council of Trent [sess. xxiv. can. 7] teaches expressly that according to the doctrine of the gospels and the apostles the bond of matrimony cannot be dissolved through the adultery of either husband or wife. In point of fact, the parallel passages of Holy Scripture are unanimous in maintaining the doctrine enounced by the Council: Mk. 10:2 ff.; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:3, 4, 10, 11, 39; Rom. 7:2, 3. The same must be said of the patristic doctrine on this point down to the earliest ages of the church: Hermas, Past. 1. ii. mand. 4; Just. Apol. i. 15; Athenagor. Legat. pro christ. 33; Theoph. Ad Autolic. iii. 13; Orig. in Matt. t. xiv. n. 23, 24; Chrys. in loc.; Basil, Moralia reg. 73 c. 1; Aug. De serm. Dni. in monte, i. 16, 43; etc. [cf. Binterim, Denkwüdigkeiten, t. vi. pp. 100–138; Palmieri, De matrim. pp. 141–167; Perrone, De mat. pp. 243–364].

γ. It cannot be replied that the foregoing passages of the Scriptures and of the Fathers state the general rule, while Mt. 5:32 and 19:3 ff. gives the exception to the rule. For most of the Fathers directly refer to the last passages of Matthew, so that they would have to acknowledge the exception, if the evangelist’s words contained any. One of the foregoing passages of Scripture expressly gives the case in which matrimony contracted between infidels may be dissolved, viz. if either of the married parties be converted to Christianity and thereby incur the actual odium of the other partner [cf. 1 Cor. 7:12]; the apostle would therefore have also stated the exception in which Christian marriages might be dissolved, if there were any. This the more, because he distinctly considers the case of divorce “a mensa et thoro,” and knows no alternative except either reconciliation or perpetual continency. Moreover, it is probable that both St. Mark and St. Luke, and it is certain that St. Paul, wrote after St. Matthew; at best, therefore, the first gospel contains an exceptional case that was wholly abrogated by a later universal legislation. Since it is therefore certain that Christ’s law does not permit divorce “a vinculo” even in the case of adultery, how are we to understand the exception stated in the first gospel?

δ. Solutions [a] A number of writers explain the term “fornication” not of carnal intercourse, but of idolatry and of vice in general [cf. Aug. ad loc.; Retract. I. xix. 6]. Though Br. Dion. Bed. gl. ord. Zach. chrys. Ans. laud. favor this meaning of “fornication,” and though in the Old Testament idolatry is often represented as fornication, this view rather augments than solves the difficulty; for it tends to give us as many exceptions as there are mortal sins.

[b] Gratz and Döllinger contend that “fornication” in the text refers to carnal intercourse before marriage, which according to these authors rendered matrimony invalid, if it had not been manifested to the other party. But the whole context supposes that there is question of true marriage, and of what happens in the married state; besides, the Greek word meaning properly “fornication” has also the specific meaning “adultery,” as is evident even from its figurative meaning of “idolatry” in which the sinful person or nation was conceived as an unfaithful spouse of God.

[c] “Fornication” is explained as meaning concubinage; according to this view the exception stated by our Lord is the case in which there is no real marriage on account of some invalidating impediment, such as consanguinity, etc. [patr. Schegg, Aberle]. It may be true that in 1 Cor. 5:1 “fornication,” or its Greek equivalent, signifies “incest,” and in Acts 15:20; 15:29; 21:15 simple fornication; but it does not follow that the word therefore means regularly “concubinage.” This is not even the case in the instance of the Noachic commandment, and the prohibitions of the apostles recorded in the foregoing passages of Acts cannot be placed on a level with the so-called Noachic prohibition. The weakness of the new converts to Christianity rendered such legislation necessary, on account of the widespread sins of the flesh among the pagans. Besides, if Jesus were considering the case of mere concubinage, he would rather strictly command the dismissal of the woman, than pass it over by way of tacit permission. Deut. 24:1 does not support this opinion, because the “uncleanness” there mentioned does not signify an “impedimentum dirimens.”

[d] The expression “excepting the cause of fornication” cannot signify “setting aside the case of adultery, though I know that license exists which I am not going to confirm.” It is true that Aug. Bellarm. Dreher adhere to this explanation; but the view implies difficulties which it would be hard to answer. It supposes that the whole discourse is directed against the Pharisaic traditions, and simply ignores the Deuteronomic legislation; besides, it does not well agree with Mt. 19:9; it does not strictly adhere to the proper meaning of the Greek word rendered “cause” [λόγος means properly “reason,” but considered as a Hebraism it may signify “thing,” “matter,” “cause”], and finally it does not throw much light on the true position Jesus took with regard to the case in question.

[e] Bleek, Keim, Weiss, etc. assume that the clause which causes the present difficulty is a late addition. But this supposition is against the evidence of all Greek codd., of the verss., and the Fathers. Besides, it impresses one as if the sacred text were tampered with for dogmatic purposes.

[f] The Greek word “fornication” [πορνεία] means real adultery [cf. Jn. 8:41; Ecclus. 26:12; Amos 7:17; Os. 3:3; Chrys. Euth. Hils. Aug. etc.]. The evangelist does not express that crime by the same word as in the preceding verses, because in v. 28 he considers adultery in thought, while here he treats of adultery in deed [Weiss], the sinfulness of which he wishes to emphasize. Supposing this, Hug, Grimm, etc. are of opinion that our Lord grants to the Jews or the new converts to Christianity a temporary dispensation from the indissolubility of marriage in case of adultery. The reasons advanced for this view are the following: [a] This is the obvious meaning of the texts Mt. 5:31; 19:9; [β] this explains why Matthew alone records the exception found neither in Mk. 10:11, nor in Lk. 16:18, nor again in 1 Cor. 7:10; [γ] it is also remarkable that the first evangelist alone represents Jesus as speaking to the Jews and the Pharisees, while according to the second gospel he speaks to the disciples alone, adding the wholly unknown equality of rights between husband and wife, and in the third gospel the words of our Lord are not set in any definite frame of circumstances; [δ] this permission fully agrees with Jewish thought and practice, because the Hebrews regarded it as a matter of conscience to expel an adulterous wife [Prov. 18:22; Mt. 1:19], guilty as she was of a capital offence; [ε] though this stage of the law does not attain to Christian perfection, it surely surpasses the Jewish standard with its wide margin for the practice of divorce [Deut. 24:1 ff.]; [ζ] it cannot be said that this view places an adulteress in a better condition than an innocent wife, since the former was always liable to be punished with death; [η] admitting this interpretation, it remains true that according to the doctrine of the gospel marriage cannot be dissolved in case of divorce, since St. Matthew [Mt. 5:32 and 19:9] says nothing expressly on this point, and since his implied statement [if there be any], is done away with by the law of the second and the third gospel, the principle of doctrinal development holding even in the apostolic times; [θ] this explanation admits more easily the existence of causes for imperfect divorce besides adultery; [ι] though the Fathers may be made to harmonize with this view, it must be confessed that they generally deduce the indissolubility of Christian marriage not merely from the second and the third gospel and 1 Cor. 7:10, but they commonly quote also the first gospel for this dogma.

[g] Considering, however, that the tenor of the law is the same in the first gospel as in the second and the third; and that our Lord had no sufficient motive for being harder in his dealings with Gentiles than he was with the Jews; and moreover, that St. Matthew would have signified the fact in some way, if he had recorded a law that was to be of only temporary value: the preceding view loses some of its probability. The ancient and common explanation, which agrees with the foregoing in admitting the proper, though wider, sense of the word πορνεία. and also the exceptive value of the clause “excepting the cause of fornication,” but which explains the dismissal as meaning divorce “a thoro et habitatione” and not “a vinculo,” is therefore more satisfactory than any of the other solutions. The following are additional reasons in favor of this latter view: [α] It explains the context “and he that shall marry her that is put away, committeth adultery”; [the omission of the Greek article before ἀπολελυμένην shows that the law is general, and not restricted to the unjust dismissal]; [β] It explains why the text itself [v. 32] implies that carnal intercourse of the divorced wife with another man is adultery in any case, and that the husband is accountable for the sin if he has sent his partner away without sufficient cause [Bas.]; [γ] it agrees with the context of Mt. 19:3 ff. [Mk. 10:3 ff.], where Jesus reëstablishes the primitive indissolubility of marriage which admitted no exception and to which our Lord added no exception [this latter addition should have been made to the law, and not afterward, when another question had come up for discussion]; [δ] if Jesus had permitted perfect divorce in case of adultery, he would have rather relaxed than perfected the former law according to which a bill of divorce had to be given—in other words, the license abolished by Moses would have been legally reëstablished; [ε] while the absence of the article before ἀπολελυμένην in Mt. 5:32 demands this explanation, the text of Mt. 19:9 at least admits it. Jer. Bell. Jans. Fr. Luc. Palm, explain the passage as meaning “whosoever shall put away his wife [which is wholly illicit except it be for fornication], and shall marry another, committeth adultery”; while Mald, resolves the sentence into “whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, committeth adultery” [cf. Mt. 5:32] and “whosoever shall marry another [the former being dismissed for whatever cause], committeth adultery”; [ζ] the Latin and the Greek Fathers, of the fourth century at least, commonly teach that divorce “a vinculo” is impossible, while divorce “a thoro et habitatione” is allowable in case of adultery, and most theologians teach that the Fathers derived this doctrine from the first gospel; [η] if it be said that the Jews could not have understood the words of Jesus in this way, because imperfect divorce was wholly unknown to them, this manner of reasoning destroys most of the Christian mysteries contained in the words of Christ, because they were unknown to the Jews before our Lord revealed them; [θ] though one or more exceptions may be advanced against the foregoing considerations taken singly, they hardly avail against the collective force of the arguments stated.

33. Again you have heard.] 4. The second and the eighth commandment. It would lead us too far to investigate here the nature of the connection between the preceding and the following parts of our Lord’s discourse: Chrys. is of opinion that the observance of the seventh commandment is implied in the perfect observance of the eighth; Thom. makes our Lord pass from the precepts concerning the irascible faculties to those concerning concupiscence, and from these again to the rules of the rational faculties; Mald. sees no special order in the successive points touched upon by our Lord. At any rate, in what follows Jesus first states the precepts of the Old Testament [v. 33], secondly, he formulates the negative precepts of the New Testament [vv. 34–36], and finally he expresses the positive law of the Christian dispensation [v. 37].

a. Law of the Old Testament. In the first part our Lord quotes the sense of Ex. 20:7 [cf. Deut. 5:11], but adheres almost to the words of Lev. 19:12; in the second part he gives the sense of Num. 30:3 [cf. Deut. 23:21; Ps. 23:4]. The sum of the law thus quoted appears to be contained in the two statements: “it is not allowed to swear falsely” and “only oaths by God himself are binding as such.” This is confirmed by Mt. 23:18.

34. But I say to you.] b. The Christian law. Jesus opposes two statements to the foregoing two: “it is not allowed to swear at all” and “oaths sworn by God’s creatures are binding as such.” Owing to the Greek conjunction employed in the second part of the Christian law [μὴ-μήτε, not μηδὲ], Jer. Tholuck, Ewald, Keim, etc. believe that “not to swear at all” is a mere summary of the four particular forms expressly indicated, i. e. of the oaths by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, and by one’s head, so that Jesus did not forbid an oath by God himself. But the partitive value of the Greek conjunction seems to have passed out of sight in the New Testament language [cf. Apoc. 9:21; Winer, Grammatik des neutest. Sprachidioms, 55, 6], and the opposition between Christ’s law and that of the Old Testament demands that “not to swear at all” embraces also oaths by God himself. Nor do we think that the Salmant. [Curs. theol. de iuram. c. 11, punct. 4] are justified in interpreting the words of Jesus in this passage as a mere counsel; if they contained only a counsel, there would be no real comparison between law and law. On the other hand, it cannot be maintained that our Lord forbids all swearing absolutely [cf. Just. Iren. Clem. Alex. Orig. Chrys. Hil. Jer.]; for we have instances in Sacred Scripture in which God himself, or our Lord, or the apostle Paul confirmed a statement by oath [cf. Gen. 22:16; 26:3; Num. 14:23; Is. 45:23; Lk. 1:73; Acts 7:17; Heb. 6:13; Mt. 26:63 f.; Rom. 1:9; 2 Cor. 1:23; 11:31; Gal. 1:20; Phil. 1:8; etc.]. Scripture itself shows, therefore, that the prohibition “not to swear at all” must be understood like the prohibition “not to kill”; both killing and swearing divested of their qualifying circumstances are morally bad, and as such fall under a negative precept [Caj. Dion. Jans. Bar. Knab. etc.]. The special forms declared by our Lord to contain real oaths are partially alluded to even in the Old Testament: cf. Gen. 42:15; 1 Kings 1:26; 20:3; 2 Kings 11:11; 4 Kings 2:2; etc. Christ’s language is peculiar in this instance, because he gives a reason for his commandments; the general argument supposes that to swear by a creature manifesting an attribute of God is to swear implicitly by God himself.

37. But let your speech be.] c. The positive Christian law. The positive perfection of the Christian dispensation consists in the fact that a simple affirmation or denial has the value of an oath: “that which is over and above these “is not pronounced to be “evil,” but “of evil.” The word “evil” may, according to the original text, be either masculine or neuter; according to the former supposition, the expression signifies “the evil one” or “the devil,” the father of lies and author of the necessity of the oath [Chrom. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Br. Mald. Arn.]. Though this view agrees well enough with the meaning of the passage, it is not sufficiently reverential on account of the foregoing instances in which God himself employed the solemn oath; hence it is preferable to regard “evil” as neuter, signifying the evil disposition of man that renders the oath necessary either on account of the fallaciousness of the speaker or the incredulity of the hearer [Aug. Schanz, Knab. etc.]; James 5:12 agrees with this doctrine of our Lord.

38. You have heard that it hath been said.] 5. Behavior towards enemies. In this part our Lord first opposes the Christian law to the ancient “lex talionis”; secondly, he establishes the Christian law of loving one’s enemies, a. The “lex talionis.” As in the preceding paragraphs, so in the present, Jesus first announces the law of the Old Testament, and then opposes his own commandment to it. [α] The Old Testament expressed the “lex talionis” in Ex. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21. These passages contain a direction for the judge how to measure the punishment of the guilty offender. That private revenge was prohibited is clear from Lev. 19:18; Prov. 24:29; Deut. 32:35. It is in this sense that the Psalmist often prays God to deal with the enemies of the just and the pious according to their malice.

39. But I say to you.] [β] The Christian law. Our Lord first enjoins the patient bearing of evil; secondly, he exacts the willingness to undergo other greater wrongs; thirdly, such wrongs are not only to be suffered when they are inflicted by way of violence, but also when they present themselves in the form of favors to others.

[1] The patient bearing of injury is enjoined in the words “not to resist evil”; since in the original text “evil” is preceded by the definite article, it may mean either “the evil one,” i. e. the devil [Chrys. Theoph. Euth.], or “evil in general,” i. e. unjustly inflicted suffering [Aug. Bed.], or again “the evil-doer,” i. e. the unjust inflicter of evil [op. imp. Schanz, etc.]. This last meaning of “evil” fits best into the context.

[2] The willingness to suffer new and greater wrongs is enjoined in the words “if one strike thee.” The new wrongs are grouped by our Lord under three heads: bodily suffering, unjust bereavement of property, and unjust infringement on personal liberty. The first wrong is illustrated by a stroke in the face; the second, by the loss of a necessary garment; the third, by forced labor. The first injury is at the same time the greatest insult; the second involves bereavement of the most necessary article of common decency; and the third implies submission to the most hated national enemy, since the verb of the original text means “to press into the service of the state” [Herod, viii. 98], and since the Jews complained most bitterly of being obliged to furnish posts for the Roman government [Jos. Antiq. XIII. ii. 3]. The “coat” was the inner garment or tunic, made of linen or cotton, while the “cloak” was the outer garment, made of fine cotton, wool, or camels’ hair. The latter was the more precious of the two, and served by day against the cold, and by night as a covering [Ex. 22:26; Deut. 24:13]. Lk. 6:29 inverts the order of these two garments, probably because the robber would naturally take the outer garment, while the Jewish law, which the first gospel supposes, forbade the taking of the latter.

[3] To do favors to others even at the price of great personal sacrifices is enjoined in the words “give to him that asketh of thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not away.” That there can be no question of interest is plain from Ex. 22:25; Lev. 25:37; Deut. 23:19. The general character of the command makes it plain that it includes the case where the demand is unjust or where restitution cannot be expected [cf. Deut. 15:7, 8].

This saying of our Lord may be regarded as strictly preceptive in so far as it forbids vengeance on private authority, or vengeance sought through mere anger, or impatience under injury inflicted by others; it may be called a counsel in so far as it imposes patient and constant endurance of injury even where we could seek redress from the proper authority without giving any scandal [Jans. cf. Dion. Sylv. Alb.]. That redress may be sought at times is clear from the examples of our Lord [Jn. 18:23] and St. Paul [Acts 16:37; 23:3]. In general, the greater glory of God, the common good, the greater good, the good of the wrong-doer, etc., are sufficient reasons for lawful resistance [cf. Aug. Mald. op. imp. Bed. Euth. etc.].

43. You have heard.] b. The love of one’s enemies. This section first states the law of the Old Testament, then it gives that of the New, and thirdly, it adds the motives for conforming to the latter, [a] The first part of the Old Law is taken from Lev. 19:18, where there is question of loving a fellow Israelite. It is true that the word “neighbor,” especially its Hebrew equivalent, may have the extensive Christian meaning [Lk. 10:25–37; Mt. 19:19; 22:39; Mk. 12:31, 33], but in opposition to “enemy,” as it stands in the present passage, it has the more limited meaning of “friend” [Job 2:11; 19:21; Cant. 5:16]. The second part of the Old Law, “and hate thy enemy,” is not expressly stated anywhere in the inspired writing. Still, it is not necessarily a legal corruption of the Pharisees, since it may be more or less legitimately deduced from the law. For the latter expressly imposed only the love of a fellow Israelite, so that its silence with regard to others was apt to be interpreted negatively; moreover, the hatred of the foreigner was represented in Scripture as something sacred and pleasing to God [Pss. 5:11; 9:20, 21; 26:4, 5; etc.] since it tended to make the Jews more tenacious of their own law and religious doctrine. We need not admit with Hil. Aug. Pasch. Ans. laud. Salm. etc. the permission of a personal hatred of one’s enemy [cf. Thom. 2a 2ae, q. 25, 8, 9]. This accounts also for the narrow sympathies of the Jews, vestiges of which are found in profane writers [Tacit, hist. v. 5; Jos. Antiq. XI. vi. 5; Cicero, pro Flacco 28; Juvenal, xiv. 103 ff.; cf. 1 Thess. 2:15; Keim, 2. 260].

44. But I say to you.] [b] The New Law. First, we are bound in general to love all men, even our enemies; then the enemies are specified as those that harm us by their hand, or by their tongue, or in their heart. These we are bidden to benefit in three ways: by loving them, by assisting them with temporal goods, and by praying for them [cf. Salm. Ans. laud.]. Since this obligation is hard to accomplish, Jesus considers it necessary to add special motives for its fulfilment.

45. That you may be the children of your Father.] [c] Motives. The motives Jesus gives for fulfilling the law of loving our enemies may be reduced to three: the sonship of God, the hope of reward, the similarity to God. The sonship of God to be acquired by loving one’s enemies is hardly the supernatural sonship of adoption, though v. 8 alludes to it; the context determines this sonship as consisting in similarity of action, since it appeals to the benefits God bestows alike on the good and the bad. As God loves his enemies for his own sake, so we must love our enemies for God’s sake, thus becoming like unto God in our behavior. This high excellence of the love of one’s enemies was recognized even by the pagans: Senec. de benef iv. 6; cf. de ira, ii. 34; de clem. ii. 6; ep. 81. The second motive for loving one’s enemies is the promise of reward; Christ’s hearers are supposed to expect a higher reward than the publicans and the heathens will receive, since these were excluded from the Messianic blessings. It may then be inferred that the special reward of loving one’s enemies will consist in sharing in the Messianic blessings. The third motive for loving our enemies is again the perfection with which God loves both friends and enemies, a perfection which we are to emulate. That the admonition to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect refers primarily and directly to the love of our enemies is plain from the context, from the parallel passage in the third gospel [Lk. 6:36], from the almost unanimous consent of commentators [Euth. Aug. Pasch. Bed. gl. ord. Thom. Caj. Mald. Jans. Sylv. Bar. Arn. Schanz, Fil. etc.], and from the nature of the case, since the highest perfection consists in the highest love. Chrys. gives the steps by which we may reach this height: not to inflict an injury, not to avenge an injury received, not to have recourse to the “lex talionis,” to offer one’s self to suffer injustice, to give more than is unjustly asked of us, not to hate the one that has injured us, to love our enemy, to return good for evil. These several degrees are also contained in the words of our Lord explained in this section.

c. Practices of the New Kingdom, 6:1–7:12

After describing the character of the citizens of the Messianic Kingdom and their influence on others, after stating the perfection of the Christian law both in general and in particular obligations, our Lord proceeds to develop the practice of the New Testament virtues. This practice concerns first our acts of devotion [6:1–18], secondly, our private life [6:19–34], and thirdly, our relation to our neighbor [7:1–12].

1. Take heed that you do not do your justice.] 1. Acts of devotion, 6:1–18. This section considers first, alms-deeds, 1–4; secondly, prayer, 5–15; thirdly, fasting, 16–18. That these works were considered in the Old Testament as belonging to the substance of perfection is plain from Tob. 12:8, 9; besides, there is a number of passages in which the three works are recommended singly: the giving of alms is spoken of Deut. 15:7; Pss. 40:2; 111:5; Prov. 11:25; 19:17; Is. 58:7, 8; prayer was practiced both publicly and privately, Gen. 18:23; 20:17; 1 Kings 1:10; 2:1; 8:6; Deut. 26:3 14; 3 Kings 8:56 ff.; Ps. 54:18; fasting, too, was well known, and at certain times even prescribed, Jud. 20:26; 1 Kings 7:6; 2 Kings 12:16; 3 Kings 21:27; Est. 4:1; Ps. 34:13; Dan. 9:3; Joel 2:13; Lev. 16:29; 23:27; Zach. 7:3, 5; 8:19. It is also to be kept in mind that at the time of the exile, prayer was often recurred to instead of the legal sacrifices; but no certain posture of the body was determined as obligatory. Our Lord therefore does not introduce new practices of devotion in the following discourse, but teaches the proper method of performing the customary ones. He comprises them under the name of “justice” and warns in general that they are not to be performed through vainglory. It is true that Mald. etc. regard “justice” as synonymous with the following “alms-deed,” but Tob. 4:10 and Prov. 10:2; 11:4 show that it had also the wider meaning. It is not the mere publicity of the good works that robs them of their merit, but the intention of the doer to gain human praise thereby. Whatever may have been the views of the Jews concerning future retribution, our Lord here speaks of the “reward of your Father who is in heaven.”

2. Therefore, when thou dost an alms-deed.] a. Alms-deeds. Here Jesus teaches first, what to avoid, then, how to give alms, and thirdly, he adds the motive. a. We must avoid the way of the hypocrites in the synagogues and the streets. In classical language “hypocrites” were those that acted the part of another person, the beginning of their performance being announced by the sound of a trumpet. Owing to this custom, gl. ord. Br. Tost. Caj. Jans. [cf. Euth. Mald. Lap.] contend that our Lord warns here literally against having one’s alms-deeds announced by trumpet-sound in streets and synagogues, thus merely acting the part of a friend to the poor. But Lightfoot, Schöttgen, etc. maintain that there is no vestige of any such custom among the ancient Hebrews. Since our Lord must have alluded to an evil that was then well known, Ed. [i. pp. 196, 539] believes that he borrows his language from the trumpet-shaped collection boxes in which the alms were received in both temple and synagogues; but Thom. Fab. Bar. Sylv. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc. rightly see in the language of our Lord a merely figurative expression, in which he warns against ostentation and external show in our works of mercy [cf. Cicero, ep. ad divers, vi. 21]. The use of trumpets in the temple service was sufficiently well known to render our Lord’s words fully intelligible [cf. Joel 2:15].

3. But when thou dost alms.] β. How to give alms. We need not notice the view of Paulus and de Wette who think that Jesus warns against first counting the money, or the alms we give, in the left hand; Chrys. and Aug. have rejected the explanation that the left hand” means the wicked and the unbelieving; Aug. qualifies the view that the “left hand” signifies the wife, as absurd and ridiculous, because our Lord cannot be supposed to allude to the parsimoniousness of the wife, and the domestic struggles that would follow, if the wife were to know the generous acts of mercy done by the husband; nor can it be maintained that the “left hand” signifies either pleasure or our lower appetite, because this interpretation does not fit into the context; the view of Mald., who considers the language of Jesus as a rhetorical exaggeration, deserves more commendation than any of the foregoing, though the “left hand” may also signify those most closely connected with us [cf. Mt. 5:29, 30]. At any rate, our alms-deeds must be done with as little ostentation as possible.

γ. The motive. The secret charity we thus exercise becomes more precious [cf. Ecclus. 29:15], and our reward will be not that of this earth, but that of heaven [cf. Phil. 2:16; 2 Tim. 1:12, 18; 4:8]. But even in this life, we thus spare the feelings of the poor, and have God “who seeth in secret” for the witness of our charity. The foregoing doctrine is of precept, in so far as it teaches that our intention in doing good must always be pure; it is of counsel, in so far as it warns us to avoid all occasion of vanity in which our corrupt human nature might be conquered [Jans. Knab.].

5 And when you pray.] b. Prayer. In this section our Lord first warns against the vice of the Pharisees [5, 6], then against the misconception of the heathens [7, 8], and finally he gives a formula of a perfect prayer [9–15]. a. The Old Testament passages referring to prayer have been given above [v. 1]. It may be supposed that public prayer was not only joined with the two daily sacrifices [cf. Ps. 72:20; 136], but also that it took place about the third, the sixth, and the ninth hour [cf. Ps. 54:18]. Acts 3:1; 10:9 seems to confirm the latter supposition. Though a kneeling and prostrate posture was not unknown among the Jews [3 Kings 8:54; 19:18; Dan. 6:10; Lk. 22:41; Acts 9:40; 20:36; 21:5], they commonly stood erect during prayer [1 Kings 1:26; Dan. 9:20; Mk. 11:25; Lk. 18:11, 13; Philo, Vit. contempl. opp. ii. 481; Light. f.], so that “to stand” was almost synonymous with “to pray.” At the stated times of prayer there was naturally a greater concourse on the streets leading to the temple, and especially at the corners where two or three streets crossed each other. The warning of our Lord against standing and praying in the synagogues or at the corners of the streets is therefore a warning against ostentation in our prayer. The retirement in which we ought to pray is described by the chamber and the shut doors [Mt. 24:26; Lk. 12:3; Tob. 7:15]; Jesus does not necessarily speak of the upper chamber, though the prayer was often performed in it [Dan. 6:11; Judith 8:5; Tob. 3:12; Acts 1:13]. Whether the passage be explained literally as a rhetorical exaggeration, or metaphorically, the spiritual lesson contained in it is the same. The manner in which Ambr. Jer. Aug. op. imp. apply the passage to spiritual recollection during time of prayer is rather pious than accurate. That public and common prayer was not prohibited by these words of Jesus is seen from Acts 1:24; 3:1; 4:24; 6:6; 12:12; 1 Tim. 2:8. The precept contained in these words may be complied with in public, and may be transgressed in secret, since it is only the intention, and not the outward circumstances, that Jesus regulates. The counsel contained in the words is again calculated to remove us from all occasion of vainglory.

7. And when you are praying.] β. The folly of the Gentiles. This has its source rather in want of knowledge of the true God than in malice of will. They uttered many empty, though well chosen, words, being especially careful not to omit any of the proper titles of the gods [3 Kings 18:27]. Their mistake seems to have been a double one: they imagined that God did not know their needs without being told of them, and that they could move him to comply with their requests by means of eloquence. That Jesus did not forbid oral prayer or the repetition of the same words is evident from Lk. 6:12; 18:1; 1 Thess. 5:17; Col. 4:2; Mt. 26:44; Acts 1:13; 12:12. St. Aug. beautifully warns us that Jesus does not wish much-speaking, but desires much-praying.

9. Thus, therefore, shall you pray.] γ. The form of prayer. Our Lord does not command us to repeat the very words of the following prayer, but he shows us what ought to be the object and the manner of our devotion. Passages of the New Testament [Mt. 26:39; 11:25; Jn. 17:1; Acts 4:24], our Lord’s approbation of Old Testament prayers [Mt. 27:46], and the earliest forms of Christian prayer [Just. Apol. i. 65; c. Tryph. 35] agree in pointing out the liceity of other forms of devotion. Still, owing to its divine authorship, its comprehensive brevity, and its efficacy, the “Our Father” has become the most common form of prayer from the times of Tertullian; the latter writer himself happily styled it “a summary of the gospel.” Cypr. Jer. Aug. Chrys. Bas. Nyss. have written homilies or commentaries on the Lord’s prayer, and the church has seen fit to incorporate it in the canon of the mass, and to repeat it before the canonical hours of the Office. Lk. 11:1–4 gives the same prayer in a briefer form and in a different setting of circumstances. Commentators do not agree as to the exact relation between the form of the Lord’s prayer in the first and that in the third gospel. Those writers who identify the two forms explain the existing discrepancy by admitting that the third gospel gives an explanation of the first [Bed.], or that the first anticipates what the third narrates in its proper place [Mald. Jans. Lap.], or that the third gives an abbreviation of the first [Reischl], or that the third contains the original and true form of the prayer [Weizsäcker, Kamphansen, Weiss, Meyer], though acknowledgment be due to the material superiority of St. Matthew’s form [Keim, Bleek, Neander, Godet, Keil, Meyer], or that the third gospel gives the historical development of the Lords prayer [Grimm]. On the other hand, those writers who regard the two forms of the Our Father as distinct explain their position by assuming that the third gospel gives the form adapted for the more advanced disciples [Orig.], or that the disciple who asked Jesus how to pray did not belong to the twelve and had not been present at the sermon on the mount [Euth.], or that such a discrepancy of form between St. Matthew and St. Luke is simply inexplicable if our Lord pronounced the prayer only once [Schegg, Bisp.], or that the repetition of the prayer on the part of Jesus is due to the slow comprehension of the apostles [Schanz]. The Lord’s prayer is composed of an invocation and seven petitions:—

Our Father.] 1.] The invocation. Three points must be noted in the invocation: the address “Father,” the pronoun “our,” and the place “heaven.” The heathen nations often addressed their gods as “father,” and their goddesses as “mother.” The title was not unknown among the Jews, as we see from Deut. 32:6; Is. 63:16; 64:8; Ecclus. 23:1; 51:14; Wisd. 2:16; 14:3; Tob. 13:4. The difference between the Jews and the Gentiles consisted probably in this, that the former used the address as a token of their own divine election, while the latter intended to confer thereby a special honor on their deities. Since the New Testament is the dispensation of grace and of adopted sonship by eminence, the address “father” is best adapted for all the members of the New Law. Its use naturally fosters charity, excites devotion, engenders a loving presumption of being heard, and takes God’s omnipotence by force. Since the fatherhood of God is no longer restricted to the Jewish nation in a special manner, we must address him as “our father,” so that in these words we profess the supernatural brotherhood of men, and at the same time manifest our mutual charity in a most effective manner. Our pleading thus becomes a prayer of God’s own family, offered by and for its members. The words who art in heaven” are conformable to the views of the ancients that the godhead inhabits the highest locality [Aristot. De cœlo, i. 3]. Even if the Jews did not derive from this divine attribute alone God’s infinity and omniscience, they placed his throne in the heavens [Is. 66:1; Ps. 2:4; 101:20; Job 22:12 ff.; Acts 7:55; 1 Tim. 6:16], and the New Testament too constantly connects Jesus with heaven, in his advent and return, in his sending of the Paraclete and his divine approbation [Mt. 3:16, 17; Mk. 16:19; Lk. 24:51; Jn. 1:32; 12:28; 6:38; Acts 1:9 f.; 2:2]. It is in the same spirit that during the “Our Father” we call to mind not God’s ubiquity, but his special presence in the heavens which “show forth the glory of God” to men on earth, and reveal him face to face to the saints and angels. Our imagination is thus fixed on a definite point, our memory is filled with thoughts of our heavenly home, our intellect is convinced of God’s power and will to hear and help us, and finally our will is inflamed with an ardent desire of the beatitude that awaits us. Most commentators believe that in this address we direct ourselves to the first person of the Holy Trinity alone, according to the words of our Lord [Jn. 20:17]: “I ascend to my Father and to your Father.” But a number of writers consider the words “Our Father” as addressed to the Holy Trinity in common [cf. Mald. Knab.]; for God is our Father through his works “ad extra,” and the works “ad extra” are common to the three persons of the godhead.

hallowed be thy name.] 2.] First petition. By the name of a thing we express the object itself. The name of God, therefore, is God himself in so far as he is known to us by his revelation and manifestation. Schanz is of opinion that the summary of the Old Testament knowledge of God is comprised in the name Jahveh [cf. Pss. 5:12; 9:11; Is. 29:23; Ezech. 36:23], while “Father” expresses the New Testament concept of God. The verb “hallowed be” expresses the Greek “sanctified be.” St. Augustin warns us that we do not pray for an increase of sanctity of God in himself, but among men; in other words we ask that God’s external glory may be furthered. Though the petition appears to regard proximately God’s praise consisting in words and worship, and excluding blasphemy [cf. Is. 52:5; 7:30; Ez. 20:39; 22:26; Rom. 2:24], it includes in its full meaning the glory of God resulting from our service, and reverence of God by internal or external acts, by thoughts, words, or actions [cf. Lev. 10:3; 22:32; Ez. 37:28; 38:23; Salm. Knab. etc.].

10. Thy kingdom come.] 3.] Second petition. The kingdom here mentioned is not merely God’s absolute dominion over all creatures; for this ever was and ever shall be, though we do not pray for it. On the other hand, the “kingdom” has not the specific and restricted meaning in the Our Father which it has in the first gospel, though the Jews at the time of our Lord no doubt prayed for the advent of the kingdom in this sense [Sanh. fol. 28, 2; cf. Mk. 15:43; Lk. 2:25; 17:20; 22:18; 23:51; 2 Tim. 4:8]. The petition of the Lord’s prayer cannot be simply derived from a Jewish or a Persian formula, though there may be a distant connection between them. According to the Christian idea the kingdom is both internal and external, but admits of different degrees of perfection, so that its advent may be understood of an increase of either its extent or its intensity. Both the interior and the exterior kingdom of God will reach its ultimate degree of perfection at the second advent of our Lord, or rather after the last judgment; it is on this account that Tert. Chrys. Aug. Theoph. Euth. etc. understand the second petition of the Lord’s prayer as a desire of the last judgment. Since all these divers manners of increase of the kingdom of God are implied in the second petition of the Lord’s prayer, we must conclude that the actual meaning of the words depends in each case on the intention of the devout faithful who utter the words, though implicitly it is always a prayer for the ultimate consummation and perfection of the divine kingdom, and therefore for the second advent of our Lord with its accompanying circumstances [cf. Knab. Coleridge, etc.].

Thy will be done.] 4.] Third petition. The will of God is either absolute [beneplaciti] or conditional [signi]. The absolute will of God is always accomplished, even in the wicked, so that our duty in its regard consists in a loving conformity of our will without murmur and complaint. The third petition of the Lord’s prayer is especially concerned with the fulfilment of the conditional will of God. For its fulfilment implies and presupposes the free coöperation of our will. We pray, therefore, either that the kingdom may attain its perfection within us, or that the perfection of the kingdom may be realized on earth. Either men of the present dispensation must obey God as the angels in heaven obey him [Ps. 102:21; Dan. 7:10; Heb. 1:14], or that state of things must come in which all will perfectly fulfil the will of God [cf. Jer. Chrys. Aug.]. In either case there will be perfect peace on earth [Ambr.] and patient endurance of all God ordains [Tert.]. St. Cyprian explains “earth” and “heaven” of the third petition as meaning body and soul. The third gospel omits this petition of the Lord’s prayer.

11. Give us this day.] 5.] Fourth petition. Bread is used of all kinds of food [Gen. 18:5; Prov. 30:8; Ecclus. 10:26; Wisd. 16:20; 2 Thess. 3:1–12]. In the present passage it has been interpreted in different ways: a.] It signifies spiritual food alone [Fab. Caj.; cf. Aug. serm. Dni. in monte]. If this were the case, there would be no sufficient reason for limiting our prayer to “this day,” since we do not do so in the third petition; to ask for our bodily sustenance is so far from being against the will of our Lord that it rather testifies our entire dependence on God, our unlimited hope in him, and our conformity with the teaching of the Bible [cf. Gen. 28:20; 3 Kings 8:37; Prov. 30:8]. b.] Others understand by “bread” both spiritual and bodily nourishment [Tert. Cypr. Jer. Thom. Dion. Salm. Suar. Bar. Sylv. Lap. Coleridge, etc.]. The spiritual bread to which these authors refer the words of the petition is mainly the Holy Eucharist and the Christian doctrine. A comparison of the word “bread” with Jn. 4:34; 6:27, together with the sentiment of the faithful founded on the teaching of the Fathers and theologians, renders it certain that “bread” may be extended to our spiritual food, at least by way of accommodation. But since our-spiritual food forms the object of our prayer in the fifth, sixth, and seventh petition, it is more than probable that “bread” in the fourth petition means bodily sustenance. c.] Bread comprises the various needs of our body [Chrys. Nyss. Bas. Theoph. Euth. Tost. Mald. Jans. Tol. Calm. Knab. and most recent writers]. The exception of Caj., that the paramount importance of our spiritual life requires the first place for the prayer concerned with its needs, is outweighed by the consideration that our Lord in his petitions follows rather the order of our misery and wretchedness than of intrinsic dignity.

The bread we ask is qualified by the adjective “supersubstantial.” The obscurity of this word has given rise to the following opinions: a.] The Greek word ἐπιούσιος is derived from ἑποῦσα (ἐπιέναι), according to the analogy of ἑκούσιος, ἐθελούσιος, γερούσιος [Grot. Wetstein, Fischer, Fritzsche, Winer, Meyer, W. Grimm, etc.; cf. Ambr.]. The derivation presents no philological impossibility, and seems to be favored by the Gospel of the Hebrews, which reads, according to the testimony of St. Jerome, “to-morrows bread”; since the morrow began among the Hebrews at sunset, this interpretation does not contradict the prohibition of caring for the morrow [cf. 5:34]; at any rate, our Lord forbids anxiety rather than trustful prayer [cf. 1 Pet. 5:7]. Moreover, St. Ambr. [l. v. de sacr. iv. 24] and Jans, derive from ἐπιούσιος the meaning “daily,” found in the oldest Latin version.

β.] The Greek word ἐπιούσις is derived from ἐποῦσα [L. Meyer, Kamphansen, Keim, Weiss, Achel. Delitzsch] or from the compound ἐπι-οὐσία [Orig. Chrys. Bas. Theoph. Euth. Tholuck, Ewald, Bleek, Bisp. Arn. Keim, Weizsäcker, etc.]. According to the former derivation the word means “present” [adest, præsto est], according to the latter it means “[sufficient] for the substance.” The comparative rarity of the noun οὐσία has induced the more modern writers to prefer the former derivation. But in either case, the prayer is concerned with the bread for the present day, and thus is more consistent with Mt. 6:34 forbidding care for the morrow, with Lk. 11:3 adding. “this day” and “daily” in the petition, with the traditional interpretation explaining the petition as referring to the bread that is immediately needed [cf. Cypr. Aug. Jer. op. imf. Rup. Bed. etc.], and finally with the old Latin version rendering the word by “daily.” On the whole, the traditional interpretation prefers the temporal concept, “bread for the coming day,” to the intentional one, “bread necessary for life.”

12. And forgive us.] 6.] Fifth petition. Thus far we have prayed for the acquisition of something good; now we begin to pray for the deliverance from certain evils. Though the Greek word for “debts” does not properly mean “sins,” the figure is most apt and has its parallel in Lk. 13:4, where “sinners” are called “debtors.” Lk. 11:4 employs in the fifth petition the proper word meaning “sins.” The second clause, beginning with “as we also,” may be regarded as expressing either the condition of the petition or its measure. Mt. 6:14, 15; 18:24, 28, and especially Lk. 11:4 render it probable that our forgiving our enemies is represented as the condition on which God is asked to forgive us; not as if no other condition were needed [cf. Mk. 16:16], but this condition is expressly emphasized. Then the words represent our forgiveness also as the measure of God’s forgiveness; it is true that our relation to God bears only an analogy with our relations to our fellow men, that our sins are innumerable while God is absolutely sinless, that our offences against God are greater and more numerous than our neighbor’s offences against us: but not withstanding these dissimilarities, both the forgiveness and the perfection of forgiveness correspond on the part of God to our pardoning our enemies. It does not follow from this that an obstinate enemy ought not to recite the Lord’s prayer, or that he ought to omit the fifth petition; for the prayer may be said in the name of the Church, or if it be said in one’s private capacity, it will obtain us the grace of forgiving our enemies, since we ask God absolutely for his pardon of our sins, and thus indirectly for the grace of pardoning our debtors.

13. And lead us not.] 7.] Sixth petition. Sacred Scripture knows of two kinds of temptation: the one is a trial of our virtue, the other is an allurement to sin. Ecclus. 34:9; Deut. 13:2; Pss. 25:2; 138; Gen. 22 refer to the former kind of temptation, but it is not from this that we pray to be delivered in the Lord’s prayer; James 1:12 declares the man blessed who endureth this kind of temptation. But how can we say that God leads us into temptation, while James 1:13 expressly states that “he tempteth no man”? The verb “lead” must be taken as a Hebraism; for in Hebrew the permissive verbs are expressed actively; we pray, therefore, that God may not permit us to be led into temptation, by assisting us in a special manner by his internal and external grace. Finally, the expression “to be led into temptation” has been explained in a double way: the more common view of the Fathers contends that we pray in this petition to be delivered from temptation to evil, while others maintain that “to be led into temptation” means to be overcome in temptation; according to the latter opinion we pray that we may not be overcome in temptation [cf. Tert. Cypr. Aug. Euth.]. The petition reminds us, therefore, of our human frailty, which can do nothing by its own strength [cf. Chrys. op. imp. Mald. Lap.]. The view of Schanz limits the petition to those temptations that are merely external, or rather to those in which the tempting circumstances are in themselves indifferent; but this opinion is surely not upheld by the mind of the faithful, who pray for delivery from or victory in all temptations.

But deliver us from evil.] 8.] The seventh petition. “But” is not merely adversative in this petition, removing what precedes, and substituting something different, but it confirms what has been said and forms the transition to something else. The seventh petition is therefore not a mere positive form of the preceding negative request, nor is it a mere explanation thereof, but it embraces entirely new matter. The Greek word rendered “evil” may be regarded as either masculine or neuter: Chrys. Nyss. Theoph. Euth. Chrom. Fab. Mald. Bisp. Schanz contend that it ought to be taken as the masculine gender, so that they render, “but deliver us from the evil one.” This is said to be the meaning of the Greek word in Mt. 13:19, 38; Jn. 17:15; 1 Jn. 2:13; 3:12; Eph. 6:16; moreover, the transition from the temptation in the sixth petition to the tempter in the seventh forms a beautiful climax, seeing that the devil is the author of all evil. Still, Cypr. Aug. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Br. Thom. Alb. Caj., Salm. Jans. Bar. Suar. Sylv. Lam. Arn. Reischl, Fil. Knab. together with Ewald, Tholuck, Kamp-hausen, Keil, Hansel, Weiss, etc. maintain that the Greek word must be regarded as the neuter gender. They urge that neither the text nor the context demands the masculine gender in our case, that the Greek word is repeatedly used by our Lord in the neuter gender [Mt. 5:37, 39, 45; 7:11, 17; 12:34, 45; etc.], that our Lord calls the devil only once the evil one without further qualification [Mt. 13:39], that on all other occasions where Christ mentions the devil, he does so in clear and unmistakable terms, so that he would have used more definite language on the present occasion, too, had he wished to refer to Satan. All these considerations render it highly probable that “evil,” or rather its Greek equivalent, is the neuter gender. Now the question rises, what evil is meant in the seventh petition? Caj. Lap. etc. believe that we pray to be freed from all moral evil, or at least from the impediments of our spiritual progress. As the fifth petition relates to freedom from sin, and the sixth refers to deliverance from temptation, so the seventh intends to ward off all spiritual danger. Suarez [De Relig. t. 4, 1. 3, c. 8, n. 38] rightly observes that physical evils, too, may become spiritual dangers and impediments, and in this sense we pray also to be delivered from them.

9.] The doxology. The Authorized Version adds after the seventh petition the words: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.” This addition is found in E G K L M S U V Δ Π syr. aeth arm go sl op. imp. Chrys. and in several other authorities; but it is wanting in א B D Z vg sax fr cop ar pers Orig. Cyr. Jer. Max. Tert. Cyr. Hil. Chrom. Juv. Aug. and in a number of other sources; it is on this account that Ti W H and other recent edd. of the Greek Testament omit the words. Their presence in the foregoing sources can easily be explained as resulting from the practice of concluding the prayer with a doxology. This was first written in the margin, and only later received into the body of the text. Those writers who explain the doxology connect it with the petitions of the Our Father: the “kingdom” refers to the first and second petition; “the power,” to the third; and “the glory” to the following petitions.

10.] Amen. Though the Vulgate adds “amen” to the Lord’s prayer, this word is probably a liturgical addition like the doxology, of which it is a part. Derived from a Hebrew verb [’aman] meaning “to be firm,” or from a Hebrew noun [’amen] signifying, “truth, “amen” is by the lxx. commonly rendered “so be it” or “may it be so.” In the Old Testament “amen” is not found in the beginning of a sentence; the emphatic “amen, amen,” so placed, is peculiar to St. John. At the beginning of a sentence the word means “truly” or “verily,” and in its emphatic form “most truly,” without, however, implying an oath.

11.] Division of the Our Father. Orig. Chrys. op. imp. Jans. [cf. Cypr.] divide the prayer into six petitions, joining the seventh with the sixth; the Protestant reformed theologians appear to follow this division. That the seventh petition is not identical with the sixth has been already shown; besides, it is improbable that our Lord should have employed tautological expressions in such a compendious form of prayer. Catholic theologians are therefore right in adhering to St. Augustin’s division of the prayer into seven petitions; this same division is followed by the Lutheran writers, and among the recent Protestant authors by Bleek, Tholuck, Hilgenfield, Keil. The authorities that adhere to the division into six petitions refer the first three to the honor of God, the last three to our own advantage; in each triad the first is especially addressed to the Father, the second to the Son, the third to the Holy Ghost [cf. Schanz]. Those who adhere to the division into seven petitions vary in their manner of grouping them: Lap. Mald. etc. refer the first three to the honor of God, and the following four to our needs. Alb. Thom. Jans, etc. draw attention to the fact that in the first four petitions we ask for something good, while in the last three we pray for delivery from certain evils. In both parts there is an evident gradation: First, we ask for the honor and glory of God; secondly, for our own greatest good; thirdly, for the necessary means to attain our last end; fourthly, for the necessities of this present life. Similarly, we pray in the second part, first, to be freed from the greatest evil; secondly, from the evil next to the greatest; thirdly, from all evil. St. Thomas also notices that the fifth, sixth, and seventh petitions are directed against the respective impediments opposed to the good mentioned in the second, third, and fourth petitions. Aug. Pasch. Alb. see in the seven petitions an analogy to the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost; Suar. finds in the first three petitions an exercise of faith, hope, and charity; others compare the seven petitions with the beatitudes.

14. For if you will forgive.] 12.] Condition of the fifth petition. Our Lord returns to the fifth petition alone, insisting again that the only way to obtain forgiveness is to forgive others. This thought he expresses both positively and negatively; he emphasizes it by twice calling God our Father; the same doctrine is inculcated in Mt. 5:24; 18:28, 35; Lk. 6:37; Ecclus. 28:1 ff.

16. And when you fast.] c. Fasting. The law ordained only one yearly fast-day, the Day of Atonement [Lev. 16:29; 23:27]. Zach. 7:3, 5; 8:19 knows of four national fast-days. About the time of the exile private fasts became quite numerous, so that many fasted every Friday, and the Pharisees every Monday and Thursday. The Essenes and the Therapeutæ especially distinguished themselves by their rigorous fasts [cf. Jos. B. J. II. viii. 2–14; Philo, De vit. cont. ii. 471 f.]. The one-day’s fast consisted in the total abstinence from food and drink; its penitential character was emphasized by additional austerities, by rending of the garments, wearing of haircloth, or sprinkling of ashes. Our Lord tells his hearers first, how not to fast, secondly, how to fast.

α. How not to fast. Jesus here returns to the principal theme of this part of his discourse, warning us against all vain ostentation in the performance of our good works. We are not to fast like the hypocrites, who merely act, as it were, the part of devout men; we must not neglect our hair or our face, or put on other signs of mourning, thus betraying our practice of fasting; if we do this, we have received our reward.

β. How to fast. The positive precept of our Lord concerning the manner of fasting tends to make us avoid the notice and praise of men. The anointing of the head may be regarded as a hyperbolical expression based on Oriental manners [cf. Ruth 3:3; 2 Kings 12:20; etc.]; it signifies that when we fast, we must appear outwardly the same as usual. Aug. Chrys. op. imp. refer the anointing of the head and the washing of the face to the inner man, so that our Lord, according to these writers, recommended a special care of purity of soul during the days of fasting. If Keil were right in inferring a prohibition of fasting itself from the words of our Lord, one might also infer a general prohibition of alms-deeds and prayer from the warning of Jesus not to perform these actions through vainglory.

19. Lay not up to yourselves.] 2. Private life in the kingdom. Bleek, Neander, Weiss, contend that the following section is a mere interpolation in the sermon on the mount, being wholly foreign to its theme announced in Mt. 5:17–20. De Wette moreover asserts that the section is not connected with its context; but Weiss-denies this position, since at least the evangelist must have intended some kind of a connection. Schanz, etc. see in the present passage an addition to the preceding: alms-deeds, prayer, and fasting, performed in the right way, procure us heavenly treasures, by far preferable to earthly riches; but they do not yet necessarily exclude a striving after earthly possessions. Our Lord warns us against this striving in the following section. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Caj. Jans. Bar. Lap. Knab. etc. connect the present section with the preceding in a more simple manner: in the preceding we have a warning against vainglory, in the present an exhortation against avarice. This connection is more natural and more in keeping with the text than that proposed by other writers who see in the preceding section the principal sources of meriting heavenly treasures, and in the present a monition to prefer heavenly to earthly riches. In any case, vv. 19–24 warn against avarice, vv. 25–34 against excessive care for earthly necessities.

α. Warning against avarice. Our Lord assigns the following reasons for avoiding avarice: α. Earthly riches are perishable: the moth consumes our costly garments, the rust eats our crops and things of a similar nature, the thieves steal our gold and silver; if then riches are desired, we must acquire those of heaven where there are no agents that can corrupt our possessions.

β. The second reason for guarding against avarice is the fact that our heart stays with our treasure; it will remain, therefore, on earth, fixed on worldly goods, if we have our treasure on earth.

γ. The third reason against avarice is based on the extreme importance of having our heart wholly fixed on heavenly goods. Since all our members, being of themselves blind to the light, must be directed by the eye, their proper direction depends on the healthy state of the eye,—“single” and “evil” in the text mean, according to the Greek text, “well” and “ill” respectively. Now our heart and mind [Chrys.], or our intention [Aug. Bed. Rab. Pasch.; cf. Eph. 1:18], is for our moral life what the eye is for our body; if, then, our intention be blinded by passion, what light can there be in our other acts, which of themselves may be the blind result of our passions? Cf. Coleridge, iv. 87 f.

δ. The fourth reason against avarice answers a difficulty that might occur to the reader or hearer: why can we not seek the riches of both heaven and earth? No one can serve two masters, our Lord answers; for even prescinding from the fact that one’s powers are wholly exhausted by one service, and that probably the two masters will exact from us services contrary to one another, our feelings cannot be loyal to two superiors. We naturally love the one and hate the other, and consequently adhere [the Greek text reads “adhere” instead of “sustain”] to the former and despise the latter [Schanz, etc.]; or, whether we serve through love or self-interest, we cannot feel in the same way towards both masters [Schegg]; or, again, we either love God and hate mammon, or practically despise God and bear with mammon [Aug. etc.]; in any case, the service of God and mammon cannot be combined in the same person.

ε. The word “mammon” has been variously derived by different writers: some refer it back to the verb טָמַן [to conceal] or its derivative noun מַטְמו̇ן [store-room], so that it conveys the idea of something concealed [Gen. 43:23; Prov. 2:4; Job 3:21; Gesen. Lap. Meyer, etc.]; others derive the word from] אָמֵן [to trust], appealing to Ps. 36:3 and Is. 33:6, where the lxx render אֶמוּכָה, derived from the same verb, by πλοῦτος and θησαυροοζ respectively [Schegg Wilke, Keim, W. Grimm, etc.]. Though philologically considered this latter derivation appears preferable [מָמו̇כָא contracted out of מָאמוֹבָא as מֵמרָא is the contracted form of מֵאמְרָא], still there are serious difficulties against such an etymology. The lxx. rendering of Ps. 36:3 must be understood figuratively; the rendering of Is. 33:6 belongs probably to another noun [הֹסֶן], not to אֱמוּכָה; finally, the present context does not represent mammon as something trustworthy, but on the contrary as something vain and unreliable. It must also be noted in connection with the passage that our Lord does not pronounce it incompatible with the service of God to possess riches, but to serve them; some men have attained an eminent sanctity by the proper use of their riches.

25. Therefore I say to you.] b. Warning against excessive solicitude. Solicitude for food and clothing may appear excusable on account of the needs of our bodily life. But even here excess must be avoided; vv. 31, 32, 34 show that Jesus condemns not all care for these necessaries, but only excess of care. This warning is connected with the preceding, because excessive solicitude is part of the service of mammon. Jesus gives the following reasons for his warning: α. The first is an argument “a maiori ad minus”; since God has given us life and body, he will also give us what is less, food and raiment [cf. 1 Pet. 5:7].

β. In the second place, our Lord is concerned with food only, arguing, “a minori ad maius,” that we must not be over-anxious for it: if our Father nourishes the birds of the air, wholly careless though they be of their food, and wholly removed though they be from it, he will also care for our nourishment [cf. Lk. 12:24; Ps. 146:9].

γ. The third argument of our Lord continues his instruction concerning the care for our daily food, showing that anxiety in this regard is perfectly useless. It proceeds somehow “a minori ad maius,” but the way in which it does has given rise to a number of opinions. [1] A first class of writers retain the rendering of the ancients, “add to his stature one cubit.” Hence they interpret: how can you expect to preserve your whole body by your care, if you cannot add even one cubit to it [op. imp.; cf. Mald. Lk. 12:26]? or, since you cannot add one cubit to your body, you evidently are not master of it; or again, if with all your care you cannot add one cubit to your body without God’s special providence, why should you worry about what does not belong to you [Chrys.]? [2] Another class of writers understand the words as meaning, “add one span to his lifetime.” It is true that the patristic interpreters did not adopt this opinion; but the Greek noun means both stature and lifetime, and Caj. Lap. Sylv. Bar. explain the passage already as signifying somehow the prolongation of one’s life. The recent commentators [Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Keil, etc.] have rendered this explanation clearer by pointing to the figurative meaning of time, in which longitudinal measures of space are used in almost all languages [cf. Lat. French, Germ. Engl.]; in scriptural language this may be the more readily assumed, because Ps. 39:6 [Heb.] compares our lifetime to a palm [a measure of three inches]. Besides, a cubit is something inconsiderable in comparison with the length of our lifetime; on the other hand, it would be something really wonderful, were we able to increase our stature by one cubit through our solicitude.

δ. In the fourth place, our Lord gives an argument directed against solicitude regarding our clothing; it proceeds again “a minori ad maius.” The beauty and strength of the argument are enhanced by reference to the charming Eastern lilies and to the splendor of the greatest Hebrew king at the height of his glory [cf. 2 Par. 9:15 ff.; Deut. 8:4]. Moreover, the reference to Solomon is calculated to remind one directly that his power and glory were the special results of God’s providence.

ε. After this Jesus repeats his prohibition of solicitude, and then adds a fifth reason: it is a characteristic of the pagans to care thus for their temporal necessities. Christians ought to remember that they have a Father in God, who dwells in heaven and therefore knows their needs and is able to alleviate them. Our Lord then contrasts our necessary with our superfluous solicitude, a laudable care with an objectionable one. He alludes to the custom that small trifles are given us gratis, if we buy valuable goods. The word “first” cannot mean first in time, as if we could be solicitous about earthly necessities after we have made sure of our heavenly life; nor can it well signify “only,” so that Jesus would enjoin on us to seek only the kingdom of God and his justice [Pasch. Caj. Schegg, Schanz]; but it means most probably “first in dignity,” just as in the Our Father we pray absolutely and primarily for our spiritual needs, secondarily and conditionally for our daily bread [cf. Aug. Dion. Jans. Salm. Arn. Bisp. Fil. Knab. etc.]. The justice we are bidden to seek is that justice which God has commanded us to acquire, which he alone can give and preserve. It has been explained in the previous pages wherein this justice precisely consists. It follows from the loving care of our heavenly Father that we are not to be solicitous for the morrow; Schanz sees in this a prohibition ‘of solicitude for the future in general, while Jer. Aug. Euth. Mald. Lap. Arn. Weiss adhere to the strict meaning of the words, and allow, therefore, a proper care for the present day. Our Lord’s prohibition is again full of lovingkindness for his followers; since every day has its sufficient burden of care, it would be too heavy a load to carry the care of the morrow together with that of to-day. Hereby Jesus does not wish to exclude all foresight for the future; the example of Joseph in Egypt during the years of plenty, and of our Lord who allowed one of the twelve to carry the purse, the solicitude of the apostles [Acts 11:29], and the warning of Solomon [Prov. 6:6 f.; 30:25] sufficiently show that a care for the future, which does not exclude the absolute and primary care for our spiritual safety, is not forbidden.

1. Judge not.]3. Relation to our neighbor in the kingdom. Here we have, first, a warning against rash judgments [vv. 1–5]; secondly, a recommendation of prudence [v. 6]; thirdly, an instruction as to how we may obtain the necessary help [vv. 7–11]; finally, we are advised to do to our neighbor as God does to us [v. 12]. Commentators differ greatly concerning the connection of this section with the preceding. Some are inclined to regard the whole sermon as a mere collection of moral principles, something like Ecclus. and Prov. [Lap.]; others find in the passage a warning not to judge rashly those that seem to care for the morrow [Aug.]; others again are of opinion that we have here a commentary on our Lord’s doctrine concerning prayer, just as in the preceding section we had a development of the instruction on the duty of alms-giving [op. imp.]; a fourth opinion regards the passage as parallel to Mt. 6:1–18, so that our Lord warns in the one against Pharisaic actions, in the other against Pharisaic judgments [Schegg]; in the fifth place, the section is explained as following the order of petitions in the Our Father, in which the forgiveness of sins is prayed for after the petition for our daily bread [Coleridge]; a sixth opinion sees in the present passage a warning against entanglement in human affairs, just as the preceding section was a warning against solicitude for earthly goods [Schanz, cf. Salm.]; finally, the passage may form a link in the chain of warnings against the most common vices and passions, among which our Lord considered first vainglory, then avarice, and now he passes on to rash judgments [Knab.]. Whatever connection be preferred, we grant that it is not very close and clear. Besides, some of the clauses and expressions of the present passage occur in other gospels in a quite different context, and consequently with a different meaning. The illustration of the sameness of measure, e.g., occurs Lk. 6:38 in an exhortation to liberality.

α. Rash judgments. Though Lk. 6:37 distinguishes between judging and condemning, the present context shows that our Lord prohibits condemnatory judgments. While we thus limit the prohibition to unfavorable judgments, we are not justified in restricting it to judgments expressed in language, or to judgments concerning evident cases. The language of the gospel is so general that it extends the prohibition to judgments in thought, and to judgments concerning all kinds of actions, good, bad, or indifferent. Naturally, must those that are themselves guilty of sin abstain in a special manner from condemning others. It follows from this prohibition that we must not judge unjustly, nor pry into the actions and motives of others, nor look at the unfavorable side of our neighbors’ conduct, nor, in general, judge others against the standard of Christian charity. Since Jesus himself condemned the Pharisees, since Peter judged Ananias, and Paul the incestuous Corinthian, it is not only lawful but even incumbent on us to judge others under certain circumstances: the public good, e.g., or the duties of our office may require the condemnation of certain actions. Our Lord urges his prohibition by a motive of fear: God will judge ns as we judge our neighbor. It is time that Jans. Lam. believe that Jesus threatens ns with the severity of the human [judgment if we judge severely, but Chrys. cf. Mald.] compares this passage rightly with the fifth petition of the Our Father. Though there cannot be an absolute equality between the severity of our judgment and that of the divine judgment, our Lord’s words indicate that our severity will draw upon us God’s severity, and that his judgment of us will be in a certain way proportionate to our judgment of our neighbor. The illustration of the mote and the beam is especially directed against that human weakness which renders us blind to our own faults, and makes us lynx-eyed with regard to the shortcomings of others. Since we are bidden to correct first all our own faults [not merely those of the same kind as we observe in our neighbors; cf. Aug.] before judging or correcting our neighbor, the office of fraternal correction falls to the lot of the blameless and the charitable.

6. Give not that which is holy.] b. Christian prudence. Speaking of fraternal correction, our Lord adds a warning that under certain circumstances it ought to be omitted, even though we should have all the required qualities for administering it. The “holy and “the pearls” denote what Jesus himself left to his apostles, or, according to some, the more sublime mysteries of the Christian religion, especially the Holy Eucharist. This is called “holy” because it has its origin in heaven; it is called “pearl” on account of its priceless value. Though our Lord commissioned his disciples to preach the gospel to all men [Mk. 16:15], this apostolic ministry requires a great amount of prudence [Jn. 16:12; Acts 13:46; 16:6; 1 Cor. 3:1, 2; 2 Tim. 4:15; Heb. 5:12]. Some writers explain the “holy” as referring to the Christian worship, while “the pearls” refer to Christian doctrine; since the “holy” alludes to the sacrificial meats, naturally coveted by the dogs, our Lord warns against such a profanation; in the same manner, pearls resemble in shape certain foods of the swine [acorns, e. g.], so that they must not be exposed to the danger of being cast in the way of swine. Dogs and swine symbolize either obstinate sinners in general [Jans. Mald. Lap. Arn. Schanz, Fil.], or the dogs represent men that bark against the known truth [Aug. Euth. Pasch. Br. Caj. Coleridge], while the swine signify sinners wallowing in vice [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Br. Thom. Caj. Coleridge]. Without entering into the question what particular classes of sinners are most aptly expressed by dogs and swine, it must suffice to notice in general that both these classes of animals were held in the greatest contempt and abhorrence by the Jews [cf. Deut. 23:18; 2 Kings 3:8; 9:8; Prov. 11:22; 26:11].

7. Ask, and it shall be given you.] c. Efficacy of prayer. Mald. Lap. Meyer, Coleridge are of opinion that no connection binds this to the preceding passage; Maid, adds that probably the present instruction must be joined with the Our Father [cf. Lk. 11:9], since it shows how we ought to pray; Aug. regards these words as indicating how the hearers of our Lord could obtain the “holy” and the “pearls” mentioned in the last verse; Weiss sees here a suggestion as to the manner in which we may always assist our neighbor, though we should be unable to make use of fraternal correction; op. imp. connects the passage with our Lord’s precept of leniency in judging others, so that those who observe the latter law will obtain any favor they may ask for; Salm. finds here the indication of the means by which we shall be enabled to abstain from rash judgments and to act with Christian prudence; Chrys. op. imp. Euth. Theoph. Tost. Dion. Jans. Bar. Lam. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab. see in the passage both an instruction as to how we can observe all the Lord’s commandments contained in the sermon on the mount, and an exhortation to make use of the means here suggested. The instruction is contained in vv. 7, 8; the exhortation in vv. 9–11.

α. Instruction. The words “ask,” “seek,” and “knock,” have been variously interpreted. [1] Some writers regard them as expressing our prayer for three different kinds of objects: by prayer we obtain mercy, by seeking, progress, by knocking, entrance [Jer.]; by prayer we obtain grace, by seeking, the knowledge of natural truths, by knocking, the understanding of supernatural truth [Euth.]; by prayer we find the way, by seeking, the truth, by knocking, the life [Pasch.]; by prayer we acquire health and strength of soul, by seeking, knowledge of the truth, by knocking, entrance into life eternal [Aug.].

[2] Other writers find in the words “ask,” “seek,” “knock,” expressions for three different manners of prayer: we pray by our desires, we seek by our vocal prayer, we knock by our uprightness of life [Dion.]; we ask, after the manner of a beggar, we seek, as if looking for something, we knock, as if desiring admission [Schanz, cf. Schegg].

[3] Finally, there are authors who find in the three expressions three different degrees of intensity of prayer: we ask with earnestness, we seek with constancy and perseverance, we knock with importunity [Chrys. op. imp. Thom. Salm. Jans. Bar. Lap. Grimm, Arn. Fil. Knab.; cf. Aug. Retract, i. 19].

But whether the expressions signify prayer for three different objects, or three different manners of prayer, or again three different degrees of prayer, in any case our Lord promises certain hearing. This promise must, of course, be subject to those conditions which even human reason recognizes as binding: the object must not be bad, or desired for a bad purpose [James 4:3], or be really harmful to us; we ourselves must pray with confidence [James 1:5–7] and not as formal sinners [cf. Jn. 9:31]. If we do not obtain what we ask for, we surely obtain something better; sometimes God only delays the hearing of our prayer in order to try our constancy or to increase our earnestness [Lk. 11:8 ff.; 18:3 ff.].

β. Exhortation. Our Lord exhorts his hearers to have recourse to prayer by proving “a minori ad maius” that God cannot refuse to hear them. If a human father cannot refuse the prayers of his child, God cannot leave the prayers of his children unanswered. Jesus connects in his illustration the “stone” with “bread,” and the “serpent” with “fish,” because both the stone and the serpent are very much like and also most unlike bread and fish respectively. In these illustrations our Lord implies that God will not grant us anything that may appear to be good, but in reality is either useless or even harmful. The force of the argument is rendered clearer by the comparison of a human father with God. Our Lord says “you being evil,” either because all created goodness is so far below that of God that it almost appears to be evil [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. op. imp. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Arn.], or because all men are in some degree evil by being infected with original sin, by being inclined to evil, and by being guilty of personal sins [Aug. Bed. Rab. Dion. Caj. Salm. Mald. Jans. Lap. Schanz, Knab. etc.]. This point of the argument is not merely “a minori ad maius”; for we should naturally expect that evil parents would grant only evil to their children.

12. All things therefore whatsoever.] d. Divine rule of morality. Chrys. Br. Dion. Salm. Coleridge connect the “therefore “with our Lord’s instruction on prayer, either because v. 12 contains a condition on which alone we can expect to be heard, or because God’s readiness to comply with our requests ought to be an example to us in our conduct towards our neighbor. Maid, connects the inference with 7:1, or the warning against rash judgments; “Weiss extends the connection to vv. 1–5; Keil to vv. 1–11; Chrys. Hil. Euth. Jans. Lam. Fil. find here a summary of the whole sermon on the mount. This agrees best with our Lord’s own declaration that “this is the law and the prophets.” Mt. 22:40, where the substance of the law is reduced to the double law of charity, does not essentially differ from the present passage, since true charity for our neighbor does not differ from the love of God. The principle expressed in v. 12 is rightly regarded as characteristic of Christianity; for though a similar principle was expressed before Christ, and even by pagan philosophers [cf. Tob. 4:16; Senec. De benef. ii. 1; Lampridius in A. Sever. 51], it was either proposed in a negative form or in a limited meaning; at any rate, it was never enforced by an efficient example such as Jesus Christ gave to his disciples.

d. Conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount, 7:13–29

13. Enter ye in at the narrow gate.] This concluding part of the sermon on the mount first warns against certain dangers, vv. 13–23; then exhorts to the practice of our Lord’s teaching, vv. 24–27; finally, the evangelist adds an observation, vv. 28, 29.

1. Warning against dangers. The dangers arise partly from the Christian morality itself, partly from external sources, and partly from ourselves. The first class is described in vv. 13, 14 under the picture of the narrow gate and the strait way; the second class is treated of in vv. 15–20, where the distinguishing marks between false and true prophets are given; the third class of dangers springs from our inclination to mere lip-service, rejected in vv. 21–23.

a. Dangers springing from Christianity itself. Though the gate has been identified either with the end of our life, or with the whole length of the way [Mald. Salm.], the invitation to enter, the whole drift of the sermon on the mount, and the mention of the gate before the way, render it probable that the gate denotes the entrance into the Messianic kingdom. Since our blessedness in heaven is the end and consummation of our life in the Church, the gate refers, at least mediately, to our entrance into heaven. The narrowness of the gate and the straitness of the way are contrasted with the wide gate and the broad road in general. Hence the “many … who go in thereat” are not necessarily Jews, or bad Christians, but they include all wicked and unbelieving men. If certain writers and speakers determine the “many” more accurately, they do so with a view of emphasizing the awful truth expressed in the passage. Though Lk. 13:23–30 may appear at first to contain a doctrine different from that of the first gospel, it must be kept in mind that the former passage deals with wholly different circumstances, and is by its context referred to the rejection of the greater part of the Jewish nation.

15. Beware of false prophets.] b. Dangers springing from external sources. Chrys. Aug. Euth. Schanz, etc. are of opinion that Christ warns against false prophets not only those that wish to enter upon the strait way, but also those that are walking in it; Mald. Kist. Arn. Tholuck, Meyer, Keil, Weiss, Wichelhaus, etc. limit the warning especially to those that are about to enter the narrow gate. The false prophets are not merely seducers [Chrys.], or heretics [Jer. Aug. Bed. Rab. Br. Mald. etc.], but they are identified in Acts 20:29 [op. imp.] with those false teachers that claim to have a special divine mission [cf. Mt. 24:11, 24; Mk. 13:22; Lk. 6:26; Acts 13:6; 1 Jn. 4:1; 2 Pet. 2:1; Apoc. 16:13; etc.]. At the time of Jesus Christ the false prophets belonged mainly to the class of the Pharisees; after our Lord’s time the term applies especially to fallen Christian teachers. The “clothing of sheep “signifies either feigned virtues characteristic of good Christians, or it alludes to the fact that the shepherds were clad in sheepskins, so that the “clothing of sheep” shows the claim of the impostors to be the real pastors. Similar language we find in Jn. 10:10 ff. Since it is of supreme importance to know the difference between the true and the false prophets, we need a practical and easily recognizable mark of distinction; not indeed a mark that constitutes the essential difference between true and false prophets, but one based on their most striking and unfailing characteristic. The circumstance that in an extraordinary case a false prophet may hide even this trace of the “serpent’s tail” does not undo the general truthfulness of the criterion. Our Lord places this distinguishing mark between true and false prophets in their fruits: since there is question of knowing the truth of the doctrine of these false prophets, “their fruits” can hardly refer to the doctrine they teach [cf. Mald.; Keil and Wichelhaus hold the opposite]. The fruits are identified with the works of the. false prophets by Hil. op. imp. Aug. Jer. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. Dion. Salm. Caj. Mald. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Fil. Knab. Schanz, etc. After a point of doctrine has been defined by the Church, the character of a teacher may be recognized also by his conformity with the teaching of the Church; it is in this sense that Tost. Jans. Lap. Bar. Calm, understand by “their fruits” both the doctrine and the works of the false prophets [cf. 1 Jn. 4:1–3]. In the third place, their fruits taken in a wider sense signify the effect of false doctrine in the followers of the false prophets [cf. Coleridge, iv. p. 303]. Our Lord proceeds now to prove the correctness of the criterion he has established: in a natural way a good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. This is so clear that men cut down a tree which does not bear good fruit and throw it into the fire, thus showing their firm conviction that the nature of the tree and of its fruit cannot be expected to change. In the application of the similitude it must be kept in mind that the tree is not either faith alone or the will of man alone, but man as possessed of good or bad faith. The necessity connecting the kind of fruit with the kind of tree must be understood so as to fit the freedom of the human will. It is clear, therefore, that the heretical tenets asserting either that grace is not needed for good works, or that all works of sinners are sinful, do not follow from the teaching of Jesus Christ. On the other hand, it hardly satisfies the text to say that a good tree while a good tree, or a good tree as a good tree, cannot produce bad fruits, and vice versa. As stated above, the necessity connecting the fruits with the tree is in the case of a free agent a moral one. The rule laid down by our Lord to discern between true and false prophets is therefore rather a general than a particular one; it applies to the moral conduct of the prophet in general, not to every action in particular. While the fact that a bad tree is cut down proves Christ’s doctrine on the present subject, it also warns the Jews of the fate in store for them if they refuse to bring forth good fruit.

21. Not every one that saith to me.] c. Danger of spiritual barrenness. Here our Lord declares that neither the empty invocation of God’s name, nor even the “dona gratis data” of prophecy and miracles suffice to enter into life eternal, but that the fulfilment of the will of God is absolutely necessary for this. Hil. Aug. op. imp. Mald, are of opinion that these words are still addressed to the false prophets, but Chrys. Jer. Euth. Theoph. Dion. Jans. Caj. Lap. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. maintain that Jesus speaks here to all men in general; Lk. 6:46 favors this latter view. It is here that Jesus for the first time calls God the Father “my Father.” Since in the early days of Christianity the gifts of miracles and prophecy were more common than later on, the warning of our Lord against too great confidence in these graces was especially in place [cf. 1 Cor. 12:4; Gal. 3:5; etc.]. The question whether bad and unbelieving men can have the gift of miracles and prophecy is of minor importance for us, since we have seen that the words of our Lord are not limited to false prophets. Cf. Mald. Suar. [De Rel. torn. ii. lib. i. de orat. c. 25. § 4], Benedict, 14. [De Canoniz. lib. iv. p. 1, cap. iii. n. 6], Melchior Cano, Est. etc. “On that day “refers to the day of judgment, as is clear from Lk. 17:24; 21:34; Acts 2:20; 1 Cor. 1:8; 5:5; 1 Thess. 5:2; etc. Since our Lord here declares that he will be the judge on the last day, he implicitly declares his divinity [cf. Mt. 5:25, 29, 30; 7:19; 25:41]. The clause of the judicial sentence “you that work iniquity” insists again on the uselessness of mere lip-service and faith without works, just as St. Paul declares, 1 Cor. 13:2.

24. Every one therefore.] 2. Exhortation to practise the Christian principles. The similitude speaks of rain, winds, and floods; the rain falls on the roof of the house, the winds blow against its sides, the floods attack its foundation [Caj. Jans. Schanz]. The vehemence of the winter rains, the fury of the winds, and the suddenness of the floods or swollen rivers rendered the similitude especially pointed in the East, and on the mountain-side where our Lord pronounced the sermon on the mount. The picture applies, according to Mald. Schanz, Keil, to the last judgment; but Euth. Fab. Dion. Caj. Jans. Arn. Fil. Knab. refer it, with more reason, to the trials of the present life. The three agents of destruction have been variously interpreted: Jer. Pasch. Dion, see in them the degrees of our spiritual attacks in which we feel first the rain of sensual pleasure, then the torrents of the stronger passions, and finally the full blast of the powers of hell; Aug. sees in the rains our darksome superstitions, in the winds the opinions of men, in the floods our carnal passions; Lap. explains the three agencies as representing the flesh, the world, and the devil, or as symbolizing the concupiscence of the flesh, the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life. Chrys. applies the rain, the winds, and the floods to all the miseries of this life of whatever nature. At any rate, our Lord teaches that by faithfully keeping his word we shall be enabled to withstand all these trials and difficulties, both in this life and at the last judgment; while he who does not keep it will come to grief now and on the last day. Cf. Ezech. 13:11; Is. 28:16, 17; Prov. 10:25. That the love of God is strong enough to overcome all trials has been clearly expressed by St. Paul, Rom. 8:35 f.

28. And it came to pass.] d. Remark of the evangelist. The admiration of the multitude was caused first by our Lord’s “doctrine”; secondly, by his “power” shown in his words and his delivery. The superiority of Christ’s doctrine over that of the Old Testament, both in its instructive and preceptive part, has been sufficiently shown throughout the second part of the sermon on the mount; its superiority over that of the scribes and Pharisees is unquestionable, because the latter relied on their human traditions and dwelt mostly on useless and heartless subjects; the manner of Christ’s teaching was in keeping with the dignity of his sacred person, so that it was calculated to instruct, persuade, and move as no speaker before or after our Lord has been able to do.

What has been said shows the falseness of the contention that the sermon on the mount is not a logically constructed address. This view is defended by Renan [Les Evangiles, etc. p. 177], who regards the parts of the sermon as unconnected; Keim [Geschichte Jesu, 3 Bearbeit. p. 156], who views 6:19–34; 7:1–5, 12, 24–27; 7:6–11, 13–23 as not fitting into the context; Achelis, who thinks that the thread of the discourse is interrupted by 6:19–7:12; Godet, who represents 5:23–26, 29–32; 6:7–15, 19; 7:6–11, 13, 15–20, 22 as foreign to the logical sequence of the discourse. The sermon has been divided differently by different interpreters. How artificial some of these divisions are is illustrated by the analysis of Edersheim [i. p. 529 f.] who believes that our Lord describes the kingdom of heaven “successively” in chapter 5, “progressively “in chapter 6, “extensively” in chapter 7.

B. JESUS THE WONDER-WORKER, CC. 8:1–9:34

a. Cure of Three Diseases, 8:1–17.

In 4:23 the evangelist gives as the two main features of our Lord’s ministry his teaching and miracles. The former of these offices he has sufficiently illustrated in the sermon on the mount, and he now begins to treat of the latter. As from a popular point of view miracles are of a higher order than doctrine, so does the evangelist in the narrative of the miracles themselves pass from the less to the more important. Jesus shows himself first as the Messianic liberator from diseases [8:1–17]; then as the lord of nature and conqueror of the prince of this world [8:18–34]; finally, as possessed of the divine power to forgive sins [9:1 ff.]. While the miracles establish the divine mission of Jesus Christ apologetically, they serve also a polemic purpose, showing the ingratitude of the Jews and the ardent faith of the Gentiles. This contrast appears from the very beginning of chapter 8, where our Lord first heals a leper for a testimony to the priests [vv. 1–4], then grants the prayer of the heathen centurion [vv. 5–13], and in the third place cures Peter’s mother-in-law, which occasions a large concourse of sick and diseased persons [vv. 14–17].

1. And when he was come down from the mountain.] 1. Cleansing of the leper. The gospel first determines the time of the miracle, then gives the petition, thirdly describes the fulfilment, and finally states the words of our Lord. a. The time. Schanz is of opinion that the chronological connection in the first gospel between the sermon on the mount and the present chapter supposes that the cleansing of the leper happened after the sermon, though probably at the time when Jesus was near Capharnaum [cf. Mt. 8:5; Lk. 5:12–15]. Knabenbauer believes that the evangelist gives rather a pragmatic than a chronological order: for Mk. 1:40 and Lk. 5:12 show that the leper had been cleansed before the sermon on the mount; the words “see thou tell no man” [Mt. 8:4] suppose that the leper was not cleansed in presence of a large multitude [Br.]; Mt. 8:1 states merely what happened at the conclusion of the sermon on the mount without connecting it with the following miracle; nor is this connection necessarily implied in the words “and behold.”

b. The petition. Leprosy was a skin disease, dissolving and destroying the organism of the body. It first sprang up in Egypt, but spread through Syria, Persia, and other Eastern countries. Hippocrates’ triple division of leprosy into “lepra alfoides,” “lepra vulgaris” or “leuke,” and “lepra nigrescens” may still be followed. The first kind forms scales on the body that are smaller, less shocking to the eye, and more easily cured. In the third kind the scales and spots of the skin are of a dark livid color; the form which now prevails in Syria is identified by modern writers with the “elephantiasis Græcorum,” a universal cancer [Lap.], by which all the joints of the body are gradually corroded, so that one member after another drops off. The present passage of the gospel deals with a case of the second kind of leprosy or “white leprosy.” It begins with red shining elevations of the cuticle, turning into white scales and accumulating sometimes into thick crusts; the hair on the infected spots turns white, the extremities swell up, the nails fall off, sensible perception grows dull, and the sufferers finally die of consumption and dropsy. In some cases recovery is possible, especially when the disease breaks out at once in a very violent form. Even if it he granted, though it is by no means certain, that not all kinds of leprosy are contagious, we maintain that Moses speaks of contagious forms of the disease. In Lev. 13:46 lepers are forbidden to approach others; moreover, they had to proclaim themselves “unclean, that no one might approach them. This explains why the evangelist represents the approach of the leper to our Lord as something wonderful: “and behold.” The phrase “adored him” is emphasized by Lk. 5:12, “falling on his face,” and Mk. 1:40, “kneeling down.” Caj. Jans. Calm. Fil. understand the “adoration” as expressing the highest reverence; for though the expression in general is employed of the reverence due to men, angels, or God [Mt. 18:26; Acts 10:25; Jn. 4:21; Gen. 23:7; 33:3; 38:8; etc.], the words of the leper show in our case that he acknowledged our Lord as an extraordinary man [Jans.], as either prophet or God [Salm.], as the Messias or a prophet [Arn. Schegg], as possessing the greatest power [Chrys.], as the Messias [cf. Mt. 7:22; Jn. 13:13], as God [Euth. op. imp. Br. Mald. Lap. Lam. Reischl, Schanz, etc.]. The prayer of the leper is most modest, humble, submissive, and at the same time full of a lively faith.

c. The prayer is granted. The words of Jesus correspond exactly with those of the leper: this shows the readiness of our Lord to help us to the full extent of our trust in him. At the same time Jesus stretched forth his hand and touched the leper either to show that he was not bound by the Mosaic law [Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Thom. Caj. Jans.], or to prove the virtue of his human nature [Theoph. Caj. Salm. Jans. Coleridge, v. p. 48], so that our Lord’s action in this case resembled the causality of the sacraments [Thom.]. The leprosy either fled as soon as the man was touched by Jesus [Jer.], or it had disappeared even before Christ’s hand touched the leper [Pasch. Br.].

d. Our Lord’s injunction. [1] The words “tell no man” are not simply a lesson of humility and avoidance of vainglory [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Br. Thom. Dion. Caj. Salm. Bar.], nor are they a mere admonition to ponder in secret over God’s benefits and give him thanks for the same [cf. Schegg], nor again do they impose silence merely till the priest shall have officially declared the leper to be clean [cf. op. imp. Mald. Weiss], but they prohibit the publication of our Lord’s miracles in order not to strengthen the popular Jewish idea of their Messias and his worldly kingdom [Mk. 1:45; cf. Jn. 6:15; Schanz, Knab.]. [2] The command “show thyself to the priest” is in full accord with Lev. 14:2; the Mosaic law was not abolished till the death of our Lord [cf. Mt. 27:51; Rom. 7:4; Gal. 2:19]. [3] The additional words “for a testimony unto them” signify not merely that the people may be convinced of the leper’s cleanness [cf. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss], nor that the priests may be induced to declare the leper legally clean [cf. Reischl], nor that the priests may be convinced of our Lord’s observance of the law [cf. Theoph. Euth. Ed.], but that the priests may see the supernatural power of our Lord, and acknowledge his divine mission [cf. Hil. Jer. Chrys. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Caj. Mald. Lap. Grimm]. The force of this argument was based on Deut. 18:15 f.; cf. Jn. 1:15, 27, 30.

5. And when he had entered.] 2. The centurion’s servant. This miracle may be considered under the following heads: a. Preliminaries, v. 5; b. petition of the centurion, v. 6; c. answer of Jesus, v. 7; d. answer of centurion, vv. 8, 9; e. reply of Jesus, vv. 10–13.

a. Preliminaries. The place of the miracle has been described in connection with 4:13. Against Semler it must be stated that this miracle is not identical with the cure of the ruler’s son narrated in Jn. 4:46–52. The first gospel speaks of a centurion, a Gentile, whose servant is sick of the palsy, whose faith is highly commended, who is recompensed by a miracle wrought by Jesus in Capharnaum; the fourth gospel speaks of a ruler, a Jew, whose son is afflicted with fever, whose faith is rather weak, whose petition is granted with apparent reluctance. On the other hand, the miracle told by St. Matthew must be identified with that narrated in Lk. 7:1–10; the place, the time, the persons, the faith with its manifestation, are the same in both cases. The only apparent discrepancy between the fact as recorded in the first and in the third gospel lies in the circumstance that according to Matthew the centurion himself comes to our Lord, while according to Luke he sends only the ancients of the Jews and his friends to plead his case. Aug. Bed. Jans. Mald. Arm. Schegg, Bisp. adhere strictly to the narrative of Luke, supposing that Matthew wrote according to the principle “quod quis per alios fecit, ipse fecisse censetur.” Chrys. Euth. Lap. Calm. Fil. Schanz, etc. think that the centurion first sent the persons mentioned by the third evangelist, but omitted in the first gospel, and then proceeded in person to meet our Lord. Besides being very natural in itself this view seems to agree better with Lk. 7:3, “desiring him to come and heal his servant,” as compared with v. 6, “I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof,” contrasting the deficient faith of the Jewish ancients who utter the former prayer with the unlimited trust of the heathen centurion. That the centurion was a Gentile follows from his position in the Roman army [captain over a hundred], from the words of the Jewish ancients [Lk. 7:5], and of our Lord himself [Mt. 8:10], in which he is contrasted with the Jewish nation and the Israelites. He must have served under Herod Antipas, who was then tetrarch of Galilee [Lk. 3:1].

6. And saying.] b. The centurion’s petition. The centurion states the condition of his servant without expressly appealing to Jesus for relief. Such an appeal he considered superfluous after all he had heard of our Lord’s kindness to the poor and suffering; implicitly it is contained in the address “Lord.” According to the third gospel the sufferer was on the point of death; St. Matthew makes him a paralytic who is at the same time tormented with a painful nervous disorder. Pasch. Bed. op. imp. draw attention to the lesson that both masters and servants ought to learn from this passage: the latter ought to endear themselves to their employers by their fidelity, and the former ought to love and care for their domestic dependents.

7. And Jesus saith to him.] c. The answer of Jesus. Our Lord manifests here again the greatest readiness to comply with the centurion’s request. Commentators love to compare his readiness here with his reluctance in the case of the ruler’s son [cf. Jn. 4:47 f.]. Chrys. Euth. also draw attention to the manner in which our Lord knows how to elicit the sentiments of the profoundest humility from both the centurion, and from the Gentile woman of whom Mk. 7:26 f. speaks.

8. And the centurion making answer.] d. The centurion’s answer. The Gentile soldier shows in his words the greatest humility joined with the utmost respect and reverence for the power and person of our Lord. It is through humility that he seeks to avoid our Lord’s entrance into his house, and it is through his lively faith in the power of Jesus that he asks him to cure the servant by the efficacy of his word. Not content with the bare petition, the centurion proves “a minori ad mains “that our Lord can effect miraculous cures by his mere words: the whole domain of nature is under the power of Jesus, as the centurion’s soldiers and servants are under his authority. No doubt, he had heard of many miracles of our Lord, of the restoration of the ruler’s son [Jn. 4:50], of the exorcism in the synagogue [Lk. 4:33], of the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law and the subsequent miracles [Lk. 4:39–41]; but without a special assistance of God’s grace the centurion could never have attained to the grandeur of his faith. How abject and culpable is the unbelief of the scribes and Pharisees in the light of the faith of this devout Gentile.

10. And Jesus hearing this.] e. The reply of Jesus. Mald. [cf. Aug.] is of opinion that Jesus marvelled only externally, i. e. that he merely spoke in a manner in which men filled with admiration are wont to speak, in order to excite real admiration in others. But Thom. Caj. Suar. Bar. Salm. Lap. etc. maintain that Jesus marvelled internally at the great faith of the centurion. His foreknowledge of this fact impeded his admiration no more than the foreknowledge of an eclipse prevents the admiration of the astronomer. The author of op. imp. believes Jesus praises the centurion’s faith only proportionately, i. e. the little faith of the Gentile appeared greater than the ordinary faith of the Jews, just as a little knowledge in a child appears more admirable than greater knowledge in an adult. This view appears to do violence to the plain words of our Lord [cf. Salm. Jans. Bar.]. The text taken literally limits itself to the public life of Jesus [Fab. Caj. Lap. Bar.], and taken in its concrete surrounding applies to those that had come to our Lord in order to obtain miraculous favors [Tost. Bar.]. There is no need, therefore, of comparing the centurion’s faith with that of the patriarchs, of the apostles, and of our Blessed Lady. The marvellous faith of the Gentile reminds our Lord of the call of the Gentiles and the rejection of the Jews: the former he represents as coming from the east and the west, and as sitting at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The joys of the table were used as a figure of the heavenly joys in the Old Testament [Ps. 35:6; Is. 25:6], in the language of the Pharisees [Lk. 14:15], and in the words of our Lord himself [Mt. 22:1; Lk. 14:16; cf. Apoc. 19:9, 17]. Since the covenant between God and the patriarchs was not intended for this life only, but for the next also, the latter are represented as presiding at the feast of our heavenly blessedness. According to the Oriental conception both physical and moral appurtenances are respectively child and parent, or father and son. In this sense the Jews are the children of the kingdom [cf. Rom. 11:21]. The festive hall was brightly illumined among the ancients [cf. 1 Thess. 5:7], so that those cast out into the exterior darkness could not partake of the festal joys. Again, since the light is the symbol of glory and happiness, the exclusion from the light symbolizes the privation of all happiness. It is under these two aspects that the rejected children of the kingdom are said to be thrown into exterior darkness, or to suffer the “pain of loss.” Cf. Mald. Lap. Lam. Calm. Arn. Reischl, Schanz, Fil. The “pain of sense” is expressed by “weeping and gnashing of teeth”: the former shows the pain, the latter the despair. Mald. [cf. Jer.] understands the expression literally, but Tost. Caj. Jans. Lap. are content with its general metaphorical purport showing the truth of the pain of sense. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Jans. see in these words a proof for the resurrection of the body. Finally, Jesus addresses the centurion with the consoling word “go”; its full meaning may be learned by comparing it with Judg. 11:38; 1 Kings 17:37; 2 Kings 14:8. The faith of the centurion becomes the measure of our Lord’s benefits, not only as to their substance, but also as to their manner of being conferred [cf. James 1:6]. The servant was healed instantly.

14. And when Jesus was come.] 3. Cure of Peter’s mother-in-law. The following portion describes first certain circumstances, then the miracle, then the cure of many persons, and finally shows the fulfilment of a prophecy.

a. Circumstances of the miracle. Mk. 1:29 and Lk. 4:38 show that the present miracle happened soon after our Lord’s return to Galilee [cf. Jn. 4:3], in Capharnaum, after the return from the synagogue, where Jesus had driven out a devil on the sabbath day. The first gospel places the event in the house of Peter, the second in that of Peter and Andrew [Mk. 1:29]. Two difficulties arise on this account: Was not Peter a native of Bethsaida, according to Jn. 1:45? and had not Peter abandoned all in order to follow Jesus, according to Mk. 1:18 and Mt. 4:20? Mald. answers the first difficulty by pointing to the fact that Bethsaida was near Capharnaum; but we obtain a more satisfactory solution, if we admit that Peter had a house in Capharnaum in spite of his birth in the neighboring city. The second question has given rise to various answers: the house in which the miracle occurred is called Peter’s, either because it belonged to Peter’s father, and his family still lived there, or because Peter had left it to his wife and mother-in-law when he became a disciple of Jesus, or again because Peter had not yet left all at the time of the miracle, his call recorded in Mk. 1:18 and Mt. 4:20 being distinct from that recorded in Lk. 5:11 [cf. comment. on 4:18]. The detail of the sickness is given more fully in Mk. 1:29 ff. and Lk. 4:38 ff. It is evident from these passages that the fever was vehement, and that the disciples, Peter, James, and John, pleaded for the sick woman.

15. And he touched her hand.] b. The miracle. By touching the sick woman our Lord showed the power of his sacred humanity; Luke adds the words Jesus spoke at the same time, so that the miracle becomes a symbol of the Christian sacraments: “accedit verbum ad elementum, et fit sacramentum.” The cure was instantaneous, so that the woman arose immediately, and showed her gratitude by devoting her health to the service of him who gave it.

16. And when evening was come.] c. Many miracles. Mark and Luke tell us that the following occurrences happened “after sunset,” and “when the sun was down.” The friends of the afflicted waited till that time, not from selfish motives, but to save the sick the pain of removal during the day, to comply with the sabbath law forbidding labor till sunset, and also because the report of the cure of Peter’s mother-in-law did not spread through the city till late in the afternoon. As Capharnaum was a considerable town the number of the sick must have been great. Both Mark and Luke add that Jesus did not allow the devils to speak, because they knew that he was Christ.

17. That it might be fulfilled.] d. Fulfilment of prophecy. The evangelist does not quote Is. 53:4 according to the lxx version, which renders, “he bears our sins and grieves for us,” but according to the Hebrew text. He evidently explains the prophecy of the miraculous cures of diseases that were wrought by Jesus in Capharnaum. But how reconcile this with the true meaning of Isaias, “he took upon himself our infirmities and carried our sorrows”? In other words, the prophet says that Christ took upon himself the pain and punishment due for our sins; and 1 Pet. 2:24 seems to understand the prophecy in the same manner. We shall not attempt to reconcile prophet and evangelist by admitting a double literal sense in the prophecy, nor by contending that St. Matthew only accommodated the words of the prophecy to our Lord’s miraculous cures, nor again by endeavoring to twist the prophetic words to the meaning of the evangelist, thus destroying the unity of the beautiful chapter; but we maintain that the evangelist appeals to the innermost reason why our Lord performed all the miraculous cures, a reason implicitly stated by the prophet. Infirmity, sorrow, and death itself being the consequences of sin, he who takes away sin must naturally be expected to take away infirmities and sorrows. The evangelist therefore represents the many cures effected by Jesus in Capharnaum as one of the effects of his taking away our sins, and as such it fulfils the prophecy of Isaias.

b. Temporal and Spiritual Dangers, 8:18–9:8

18. And Jesus seeing.] The following section contains a beautiful gradation of lessons: 1. Concerning worldly superfluities, vv. 18–20; 2. concerning worldly needs, vv. 21, 22; 3. concerning the dangers of life, vv. 23–27; 4. concerning the dangers of the spiritual life, vv. 28–34; 5. concerning spiritual death, vv. 1–8. “Trust in God” is the explicit or implied theme in all these instances.

1. Concerning the superfluities of life. Jesus, on seeing great multitudes about him, gave orders to pass over the water not merely because the men wished to see new and mightier miracles [cf. Arn.], nor on account of the envy of the scribes and Pharisees [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Enth.], but in order to avoid a tumult of the people, who would have been tempted to make him their king [Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. Mk. 4:35 shows that the crossing of the lake happened on the evening of the day when the discourse in parables had been pronounced. The account in Lk. 8:22 can be readily harmonized with this view, and it is well known that the order of the first gospel is rather topological than chronological. It had been a busy day: our Lord had first healed a demoniac [Mt. 12:22], then encountered the accusation of his family [Mk. 3:20, 21], then the blasphemy of the Pharisees [Mk. 3:22–30; Mt. 12:24–25], afterwards he was sought by his mother and his brethren [Mk. 3:31–35], then departing to the seaside he uttered the lake sermon [Mk. 4; Mt. 13]; the concourse of the great multitude around him is therefore the natural result of his ministry. But if it be asked whether the conversation with his half-hearted followers happened on the same occasion, the answer is not so clear and certain. Lk. 9:57 ff. places an entirely similar conversation before the last departure of Jesus from Galilee. Most commentators who identify Mt. 8:19 ff. with Lk. 9:57 ff. are of opinion that the third gospel gives the right chronology. But Knab. observes that the first gospel interweaves the event so closely with our Lord’s crossing over the sea that it must have occurred in conjunction with it. The writer sees no difficulty in admitting that two scribes applied to Jesus at different times for admission to the discipleship, and that they both received the same answer, since they were impelled by the same motives.

As to the second application [vv. 21, 22], it was made only once, at the time in which it is given in St. Luke; St. Matthew has joined it with the first application, because of the similarity of the subject. Bar. thinks that the scribe offered himself with a sincere heart for the discipleship, and that Jesus in his answer merely proposed the difficulties of the sacrifice. Jer. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Bed. Pasch. Dion. Caj. Lap. Jans. Lam. Calm. Schanz, etc. infer from the answer of our Lord the motives of the scribe in asking for admission to the discipleship. Since the answer did not agree with the words of the suppliant, his heart cannot have been in conformity with his prayer. Our Lord warned the scribe not merely that as a disciple he would not have any permanent home [cf. Schegg], but he described the most absolute poverty as the lot of his followers. Some see in the “birds” the symbol of pride and vanity, in the “foxes” a sign of cunning; in reference to these he calls himself “Son of man.”

The expression occurs here for the first time in the gospel of St. Matthew, and while only St. Stephen among the disciples [Acts 7:56] employs it, our Lord uses it most frequently. Keil has calculated that Jesus uses the name “Son of man” 78 times in the gospel records, or if the parallel passages he subtracted 50 times. It cannot be said that the term stands for the pronoun of the first person, or signifies a man of the common people [cf. Lam.], or the form of a servant which the Word had taken upon himself [cf. Mald.], or the most perfect man [cf. Ps. 8:5 f.], or the son of David or Abraham, or the son of Adam [cf. Naz. Lap.], or the son of Mary [cf. Euth.], or finally our Lord’s human nature [cf. Aug.; cf. Chrys. Euth. Mald. Lap. etc.]; since Christ himself has given the reason for employing the title “Son of man,” the foregoing meanings are at best derived and accommodated. That Jesus used the title “Son of man” in the meaning of Daniel 7:13, 14 is evident from Jn. 5:27; Mt. 16:27; 19:28; 25:31; Apoc. 1:7, where the expression is accompanied with the context of Dan. 7:13, 14. Now in the language of the prophet “Son of man” is a Messianic title, since Daniel bestows Messianic attributes upon it, e. g. the subjection of all peoples, tribes, and tongues [cf. Knab. in Dan. pp. 196, 198, 25 f.]. Our Lord urged, therefore, his Messianic claims by the use of this title [Epiph. Theod. Arn. Bisp. Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss, Mansel, Knab. etc.]. Thus while Jesus did not exasperate his enemies by too clearly insisting on his dignity, he yet claimed even his divinity—for the Son of man appears in Daniel with the attributes of divinity [cf. Ex. 14:24; 16:10; 19:9; Num. 9:15; Deut. 31:15; Ps. 17:10; 96:2; Ez. 1:4; Nah. 1:3]—and that under a title commonly recognized as Messianic [cf. Schürer, The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, II. ii. pp. 144, 158, 160, 162; Book of Enoch, cc. 46, 48; Mt. 26:64 f.].

21. And another of his disciples.] 2. Concerning worldly needs. Lamy and Schegg contend that the disciple made the present request merely in order to procrastinate the execution of his divine call. But Chrys. Euth. Bed. Thom. Knab. etc. believe the disciple was led to make his request through a sincere sentiment of piety. The answer of our Lord confirms the latter view, for it is not probable that the invitation to the discipleship remained unheeded, or that it would have been efficaciously given if the subject had been ill disposed as the defenders of the first opinion must suppose. Theoph. [in Luc. ix. 59] Caj. Bar. imagine that the disciple requested to be permitted to care for his father till the time of his death; but commentators adhere generally to the text itself which evidently supposes that the father had died. Among the Jews the funeral took place soon after death, if possible on the same day [cf. Mt. 9:23; Acts 5:7 f.], and the duty of burying the dead was not only regarded as a work of mercy and piety [Gen. 25:9; 1:5; Tob. 4:3], but as more urgent than the other religious duties [Ed. 2. p. 133; Berachoth, xvii. 2; Schöttgen, p. 90]. The disciple had therefore good reason for addressing our Lord as he did. Our Lord answers most emphatically to leave the burial of the dead to the dead, i. e. to those who refuse to believe [Hil. Jer. Chrys. Schegg], or to sinners [Mald. Schanz, Fill], or to those absorbed in worldly cares [Caj.]. While Jesus thus urges the necessity of attending to his service in preference to any worldly care, he places his disciples on a level with the high priest and with the Nazarites of the Old Testament, who were forbidden to attend the funeral of even their father or mother [Lev. 21:10, 11; Num. 6:7]. Only those engaged in worldly pursuits are to bear the burden of worldly care, and suffer its accompanying pollution.

23. And when he entered into the boat.] 3. Concerning dangers of life. This section may be divided into two parts, one containing the preliminaries [vv. 23–25], the other describing the miracle with its immediate consequences [vv. 26, 27]. a. Preliminaries. These regard the state of nature, our Lord himself, and the disciples. Orig. Euth. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Salm. Mald. Jans. Lap. are of opinion that the storm was brought on by a special disposition of divine providence; Chrys. Theoph. think of a providential permission of the storm; but it suffices to assume that our Lord made use of the natural phenomenon, as he knows how to direct natural occurrences to a supernatural end. The Greek word employed by St. Matthew properly denotes “an earthquake,” while the expression used in the second and third gospel signifies a “hurricane.” Inland lakes like the Sea of Galilee, surrounded by high hills and mountains, are subject to sudden and violent hurricanes, on account of the close vicinity of the cool mountain air and the heated surface of the waters. St. Luke adds: “and they were filled and were in danger,” while St. Mark graphically says: “and the waves beat into the ship, so that the ship was filled.” In contrast with this outward uproar our Lord “was asleep.” Though this sleep was the natural consequence of our Lord’s fatigue from the labors of the preceding day, it may be called voluntary [Mald.; cf. op. imp. Lap.] because it was intended to assist the weakness of the apostles [cf. Bed. Ambr. Chrys. Pasch.]. It is true that “disciples” means not only “apostles”—the term “apostles” occurs only once in the first, the second, and the fourth gospel each, and seven times in the third—but also followers of Jesus in a wider sense [Lk. 6:17; 7:11; 19:37; John 6:66; 7:3; 19:38], and Christians in general in Acts 6:1; 9:19. Though Mk. 4:36 states “there were other ships with him,” it is hardly probable that they accompanied our Lord [Bed. gl. ord. Lap.]; they either carried the Perean pilgrims home across the lake [Schegg], or they followed their own particular pursuits. Bed. believes that they did not even feel the effects of the tempest; but the smallness of the lake forces us to assume their share in the danger as well as in the miraculous delivery. That the apostles applied to Jesus for help is evident from the fact that the multitudes had been dismissed before, and from the impossibility of a near approach of the boats in the fury of the tempest. The disciples’ prayer is couched in so abrupt phrases that it vividly expresses their anxiety: “Lord—save us—we perish!”

26. And Jesus saith to them.] b. The miracle. Here we have first a description of the miraculous event, and then of its immediate effects. Chrys. Schegg, etc. are well impressed by the order of the first evangelist, who tells of our Lord’s blame of the disciples before narrating the miracle; Godet [Lk. i. 409] thinks this arrangement less in accord with Christ’s wisdom. That the disciples were not without faith may be inferred from their words “save us”; that their faith was little follows from their other words, “we perish.” The want of faith consisted in the disciples’ persuasion that they could not be saved by Jesus sleeping [Euth.; cf. Theoph.]. At any rate, Jesus stills first the tempest of the disciples’ minds, before stilling the storm of the waters [Chrys.]. Thus the souls of all present are better disposed for the coming miracle. The word rendered “he commanded” is interpreted variously in the Vulgate: imperavit, here; præcepit, Mt. 12:18; comminatus est, Mk. 1:23; increpavit, Mt. 16:22. The second gospel gives the very words addressed to the furious sea by our Lord: “Peace, be still.” To rebuke the sea is in the Old Testament represented as peculiar to the divinity: Ps. 17:16; 103:7; 105:9; 88:10; Nah. 1:4; Is. 51:10; cf. Chrys. op. imp. Dion. Jans. Lamy. Those accustomed to the Old Testament must therefore have recognized our Lord’s way of acting as a sign of his divinity. That the “men” present were highly impressed with the sudden calm of the sea is evident from their words, “What manner of man is this.” Not even the greatest prophets had ever been known to perform such miracles. Chrys. Caj. Sylv. think that the “men” pronouncing these words were the disciples alone; Jer. Pasch. Thom. Lap. see in these “men” the sailors alone; Knab. refers us to Euth. Tost. Mald. Jans. Bar. Fil. Schanz, Grimm, for the opinion that the “men” comprise both the disciples and the sailors of the other boats that had set out with our Lord from Capharnaum. Tert. Hil. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Br. Fab. Dion. Salm. Jans. Lap. Grimm, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc. see in this miracle a symbol of the church and of every faithful soul passing through the storms of this life. Many a time the Lord appears to be asleep, and he has to be waked up by the prayers of the saints to help us in the storm.

28. And when he was come.] 4. Concerning the dangers of the spiritual life. The gospel describes first the place of the occurrence, v. 28; secondly, the demoniacs and their language, vv. 29–31; thirdly, the miraculous events, v. 32; fourthly, the consequences of the miracle, vv. 33, 34.

a. The place. The gospel states that the miracle took place “on the other side of the water,” in “the country of the Gerasens.” The first of these clauses occasions no further difficulty; but the second has given rise to lengthy discussions. The Vulgate version of the three synoptists [Mk. 5:1; Lk. 8:26] places the miracle in the country of the Gerasens; but the better codd. of the Greek text read “Gadarens” in the first gospel, “Gerasens” in the second [Tisch. Westc. H.], and either “Gerasens” [W. H.] or “Gergesens” [T.] in the third. The reading “Gergesens” appears to date back to a correction of Or. who was induced by geographical considerations to make it. For Gerasa was situated at a great distance from the lake near the river Jabbok; Gadara was a strong metropolis of Perea [Jos. B. J. IV. vii. 3], situated about seven miles from Tiberias, on a mountain near the river Hieromax, in the site of Omkeis; of the Gergesens only the name remained at the time of our Lord [Jos. Ant. I. vi. 2; cf. Gen. 15:21; 10:16; Deut. 7:1; Jos. 24:11], but its ruins, identified with Gersa [Chersa], lie within a few rods of the shore, and an immense mountain rises immediately above them, in which are ancient tombs. Well, then, might Or. be led to his correction of the text, and well may Eus. and Euth. follow him. But how reconcile the original readings? Since Gadara was the principal city in the vicinity of the Perean side of the lake, the district may well have been called “the country of the Gadarens”; the reading “Gerasens” must be explained either in the same manner as the reading “Gadarens,” Gerasa being a city important enough to have a considerable tract of country called after it, or it must be regarded as a corruption, perhaps a variation, of “Gergesens.” Since one district included the other, there is no contradiction in the accounts [cf. Thomson, The Land and the Book, ii. pp. 34–37].

b. The demoniacs. The second and the third gospel speak of only one possessed person, because he was the more wretched of the two [Chrys. Mald.], or because he was the more prominent [Aug. Bed. Theoph. Euth.]. It can hardly be said that the first gospel summarizes two miraculous cures, or that tradition had failed to mention two distinct demoniacs to Mark and Luke. The violence of the demoniacs is more fully described in the second gospel [Mk. 5:2–5], where we see that they dwelt not only in the tombs, but that they could not be bound with fetters and chains, and were cutting themselves with stones, and crying in the mountains; Lk. [8:27] adds that they wore no clothes, and the first evangelist says that they made the road insecure. The second and the third gospel, moreover, state plainly that they lived in the sepulchres; some of these were natural caves, others recesses hewn out of the solid rock, with cells on their sides for the reception of the dead. They thus afforded ample shelter, and their tenants were not molested, for the Jews regarded all such places as unclean. Besides, the resting-place of the dead is the home best adapted for the demons [Salm.] who delight in dead works [Bed.] and are the authors of death [Pet. chrys.]. Thomson, in “The Land and the Book,” gives cases of epileptic fits with phenomena resembling those of the two demoniacs; but it must be remembered that no epileptic fit ever spoke to the physician as the demons spoke to our Lord, and that no nervous attack was ever expelled from man and placed in a herd of swine. As the demoniacs could not be brought to Jesus, he came to them in order to relieve them of their frightful suffering [Pasch. Jans.], thus showing that he had other sheep whom he must bring into his fold [cf. Jn. 10:16]. The language of the demoniacs is not a voluntary acknowledgment of the divinity of our Lord, but the expression of fear, as when runaway slaves come into the presence of their master [Jer.; cf. Chrys. Bed. Pasch. Br. Tost. Salm.]. The demons know that they will be judged on the last day, and punished with more severe torments [2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6]. It is true that they carry now their pain of damnation with them, but having the power to harm men, to roam about the world, they feel their punishment less [cf. Euth. Pasch. Tost. Caj. Salm. Mald. Bar. Reischl, Grimm, Fil. Suar. De ang. lib. viii. c. ii. n. 3, 13, 14; c. xvii.; c. xv. n. 16]. The territories of the Gentiles were especially under the influence of the demons [1 Cor. 10:20; 5:5]. Knowing, therefore, that the time of the last judgment had not yet arrived, they complain in a way that Jesus is about to punish them before their time; for that our Lord had come to crush the sway of Satan is plainly stated in Heb. 2:14. The demon’s eager wish to stay on earth at any price is expressed in the petition to be allowed to enter the swine. Thus they show also their longing to harm and frighten men in some way at least, while they give us a clear proof that they can do absolutely nothing without divine permission [cf. Bed. Br. Thom. Fab. Caj. Salm. Jans.]. According to the second gospel the herd of swine numbered about two thousand. While according to the Vulgate they were not far from Jesus and his companions, the Greek text says that they were far from them, and Mk. 5:11 and Lk. 8:32 merely state that they were there. But distance is a wholly relative term.

32. And he said to them.] c. The miracle. Jesus suffers the evil spirits to go into the swine, not to punish the owners for breaking the law,—it was not forbidden by the law to keep swine [Jans.],—but to show the number of demons he had expelled [Salm. Tost. Caj. Mald. Jans.], the misery from which the possessed had been freed [Euth.], his power to help all those needing assistance [Jer. Rah. Pasch.], and the filthy nature of the unclean spirit [Petr. chrys.]. Most commentators, both ancient and modern, believe that the swine were driven into the water by the possessing demons; they point to the consequent unpopularity of our Lord among the inhabitants of Perea, and the spiritual harm brought on by their own petition, as sufficient reasons for the action of the unclean spirits. On the other hand, it cannot be admitted that Jesus was deceived by the specious pretext alleged by the demons for entering the swine. The inspired text does not represent the destruction of the swine as intended by the demons; on the contrary, the text suggests that the death of the swine was a disappointment to the devils, who had to return to their dreaded abyss. Petr. chrys. Sylv. Ambr. Lam. Reischl, Grimm, Knab. etc. are therefore justified in regarding the destruction of the herd as the result of the possession in so far only as the swine preferred death to the close alliance with the evil spirits. According to this view the evil spirit has not even the power of interfering with the instincts of animals unless God permits it. That the destruction of the herd of swine was not necessarily a punishment has already been stated; even if the proprietors were Jews, no law forbade them to keep swine either for sale or for any other purpose, except eating. The lessons conveyed by the event are weighty enough to explain why our Lord made use of his sovereign right in the case of the Gadarene proprietors.

33. And they that kept them.] d. The consequences of the miracle. Jer. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Dion, believe the Gerasens asked through humility that Jesus might leave them; but where this was the sole motive of similar petitions, as in the case of Peter and the Gentile centurion, the language is quite different from that in the present passage. At the same time, it may be readily granted that the Gerasens were less guilty than the Nazarenes, who ruthlessly expelled our Lord from their town, after he had shown them great kindness [cf. Lk. 4:29; Mt. 13:57; Salm.].

1. And entering into a boat.] 5. Concerning spiritual death. This section determines a. the place of its contents, v. 1; b. the occasion, v. 2 a; c. the forgiveness of sin, v. 2 b; d. the attitude of the scribes, v. 3; e. the answer of Jesus, vv. 4–8.

a. Place of the occurrence. “His own city” is his native city according to Sedulius; the city of his hidden life according to Jerome; but the city of his adoption or Capharnaum according to Aug. Chrys. Bed. Br. Fab. Mald. Lap. Salm. Caj. This is more in accord with the present passage as well as with Mt. 4:13. Mk. 2:1–12 and Lk. 5:18–26 connect the following event with the cleansing of the leper recorded in Mt. 8:1–4. It is true that in both the second and the third gospel the connection is very loose; but their joint testimony is a sufficient argument against the chronological order of the first gospel, in which the evangelist first tells of the miraculous cure of diseases or the effects of sin, then of exorcism freeing men from the power of the author of sin, and now proceeds to tell of forgiveness of sin itself. The prophets had insisted on the fact that the Messias would bring freedom from sin [cf. Is. 53:11, 12; 31:34; Dan. 9:24; Mich. 7:18; etc.], so that the scribes had no cause for charging Jesus with blasphemy on account of his manner of acting.

2. And behold they brought.] b. Occasion of the event. The second and the third evangelist are again more particular as to details than St. Matthew. The men uncovered the roof and let down the sick man before Jesus. Jer. Ambr. Mald. Lap. Arn. believe that Jesus saw the faith of those only that brought the sick man; but the gospel suggests that our Lord was also moved by the faith of the sick man himself [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Dion. Salm. Jans.]: unless the latter had believed firmly, why should Jesus have addressed him immediately without speaking to those that had brought him? Faith here implies not only the sincere conviction of Christ’s power, but also a full trust in his goodness. It is the peculiarity of such a faith that it obtains what it believes.

Be of good heart.] c. The forgiveness of sin. The address “Be of good heart, son,” showed the love of our Lord and awakened the confidence of the paralytic [cf. Mk. 2:5; 10:24; Lk. 16:25; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:1]. The words “thy sins are forgiven thee” are not spoken merely to satisfy the Jewish idea that every temporal affliction had its cause in some personal sin [Lk. 13:1; Jn. 9:3; cf. Nedarim, fol. 41, 1; Kimchiad Ps. 41:5], nor to remove the root and source of the paralytic’s sufferings [cf. Jer. Euth. Br.], nor again to remove the eternal punishment corresponding to the temporal pain which Jesus had been asked to remit, nor to manifest his own divinity, nor to teach the paralytic what he ought to have sought in the first place: all these may have been subordinate motives for the remission of the paralytic’s sins, but the principal reason must have been the sufferer’s own sincere contrition and earnest desire of justification, a disposition induced by the very presence of our Lord. even as in the Old Testament similar sentiments are caused by an intimate contact with the supernatural [cf. Gen 17:3; Is. 6:5; Dan. 7:15; etc.]. Since no prophet had pronounced words remitting sin, our Lord here proved himself to be the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world [Jn. 1:29].

3. And behold some of the scribes.] d. Attitude of the scribes. The third gospel shows that both the scribes and the Pharisees criticised the action of our Lord; they did not express their sentiments in language. The grounds of their charge are expressed in the second and the third gospel: “who can forgive sins but God alone?” This assumption seems to be based on Ex. 34:7; Is. 43:25; 44:22.

4. And Jesus seeing their thoughts.] e. The answer of Jesus. Our Lord answers the secret charge of the scribes both implicitly and explicitly. The implicit answer consists in the proof of his divinity by the knowledge of the secrets of hearts. That God alone can know the secrets of hearts is repeatedly stated in the Old Testament: Jer. 17:10; Ps. 43:22; 1 Kings 16:7; 1 Par. 28:9; 2 Par. 6:30; etc. The scribes must therefore infer that Jesus is God, and can therefore forgive sins. The explicit answer of our Lord proves by the divine testimony of a miracle that he has the power to forgive sins. There is no comparison between the power to forgive sins and the power to cure diseases miraculously; Aug. Greg. Lap. etc. agree in their praises of the former power. Nor is there any comparison between the mere saying “Thy sins are forgiven” and “Arise and walk”; for the one phrase is as easy to utter as the other. Our Lord compares the claim of the power to forgive sins with the claim of the power to heal diseases; as the forgiveness of sins is wholly internal, and cannot therefore be externally verified, it is easier to claim the power to forgive sins than to claim the power to heal diseases [cf. Lap. Trench]. Keeping this in mind we see that Christ’s argument is not “a pari” [cf. Jer. Jans. Knab.], i. e. he does not infer his power to remit sins from the fact that he possesses another supernatural power; nor is it an argument “a maiori ad minus” [cf. Schegg in Lk. i. 252, Schanz, etc.]. since the common view that Jesus intended to show his divinity in the present occurrence cannot be maintained; but we have here a direct appeal to the testimony of God, supernaturally manifested in the confirmation of the truth that the Son of man on earth has the power to forgive sins. The title “Son of man” has been considered 8:20; the phrase “on earth” may, according to the Greek, qualify either “the Son of man,” so as to contrast the “Son of man on earth” with the “Son of man in heaven,” or the “power to forgive sins,” so as to contrast the remission of sin on earth with that in heaven. The latter meaning agrees better with the view of the Messianic blessings. Pasch. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Bed. Salm. Caj. Jans, see in the command “take up thy bed” an expression of our Lord’s wish that the miraculous cure of the paralytic might become known to all present; Euth. Caj. Jans, explain the further words “go into thy house” as manifesting the desire that the same miracle might become manifest to those absent. The expression for “bed” in the second and the third gospel points out more distinctly the pallet or mat of the poor paralytic, while the word employed in the first gospel may signify the costly bed of the rich [cf. Acts 5:15]. Since among the Hebrews “the bed” was not the cumbrous piece of furniture which we designate by that name, but a single mat or carpet, or at most a mattress spread on the floor, our Lord’s command appears less extraordinary. Verse 7 shows that the cure was immediate, perfect, and public.

8. And the multitudes.] f. Effect of the miracle. The silence of the gospel concerning the effect of the miracle on the scribes shows that they remained obdurate in their view of the action of our Lord. The multitude glorified God for giving such power to men in the person of our Lord, who appeared to them nothing more than man [cf. Jans. Tir. Tolet. in Lk.]. It is less probable that the phrase “to men” means for the benefit of men. The people manifest also their appreciation of the remission of sin, while the scribes and Pharisees perish in their pride of being descendants of Abraham [Mt. 3:9] and observers of the Mosaic law [Rom. 10:3].

c. Growth of Belief and Unbelief, 9:9–34

9. And when, Jesus passed on.] This part contains the following grades of faith and unbelief: 1. The publicans and the Pharisees, vv. 9–13; 2. the disciples of Jesus and the disciples of John, vv. 14–17; 3. The Jewish ruler and the Gentile woman, vv. 18–26; 4. the common people and the Pharisees, vv. 27–34.

1. The Publicans and the Pharisees. We have to consider: a. the call of St. Matthew; b. the feast. a. The call of Matthew is told by the three synoptists after the cure of the paralytic. The Greek verb rendered “passed on from thence” properly means “passed by,” so that Jesus is represented as passing by the office in which Matthew was collecting the customs for the Romans. It must have been situated near the seashore or at the city gate, where most of the exports and imports naturally passed. The meaning of the name Matthew and his identity with Levi of Mark and Luke have been considered in the Introduction. The Romans let out their public revenues to wealthy revenue-farmers, who collected the dues by a number of underlings. They were very hateful to the Jews, both because they were considered as assisting the hated Roman dominion, and because the Jews believed that the Roman taxes had been imposed against the Mosaic law. Capharnaum, being situated on the border of Galilee and at the same time on the highway between Damascus and Ptolemais, must have numbered many such tax-gatherers or publicans. As Jesus had lived for some time in the city and had worked there numerous miracles, his fame must have reached the class of people with whom Matthew was familiar [cf. Coleridge, v. p. 81 f.]. But the ready obedience of Matthew is partially due to the great personal charm of our Lord, whose invitations could not be resisted [cf. Jer.]. By calling Matthew to the apostolate, Jesus showed that he not only came to destroy sin, but also to console and elevate sinners [Chrysol. Pasch. Jans.]. On the other hand, the ready obedience of the publican has ever been a brilliant example of faithfulness to grace.

10. And it came to pass.] b. The feast. Both Mark and Luke state by whom the feast was given; the house must therefore have been that of Matthew [Aug.], though Weiss contends that Matthew had become a disciple of our Lord, and had therefore left his house with Jesus. Mald, and Bar. have already observed that Matthew was called at the custom-house, and that the latter was probably distinct from the dwelling-house. The original text reads, “as he was reclining at meat,” according to the manner of eating adopted by the Jewish exiles from the Persians. The publicans are placed on a level with the sinners on account of their frequent acts of injustice to which their condition of life exposed them [Lk. 3:13; 19:7]. There is no need of explaining “sinners” as meaning Gentiles. It must have been at the invitation of Matthew that his former companions approached in so large numbers to the sacred person of our Lord; the convert is always eager to make his friends share the blessings of his new mode of life. In Eastern countries the banquet-hall is at times thrown open to all that desire to benefit by the conversation of the guests, or wish to enter for any other reason; this may explain the presence of the Pharisees who were certainly not sharers of the feast. These Pharisees address the disciples, who were less likely to defend themselves against the charges of their reputed superiors. The Rabbinic doctrine that the society of sinners is not suited for a teacher may be seen in Wünsche, p. 123. The Pharisees did not reflect that if their doctrine were carried out in practice, all social intercourse would be destroyed, since no one is free from sin. Jesus makes the Pharisees’ attack the occasion of a most consoling doctrine: he grants the objection of the Pharisees in so far as one may grant the charge against a physician that he communes with the sick. In the following clause he first proves that such a manner of living is strictly in accord with the will of God, appealing to Os. 6:6; he then shows that he is in regard to moral diseases what the physician is with regard to diseases of the body, being come to call sinners. The introductory words “go then and learn” is a common Rabbinic form inviting the hearer to ponder over a certain subject [Schöttgen, p. 94]. The negative phrases “not sacrifice” and “not come to call the just” may be explained either relatively or absolutely. Jans. Lap. Bisp. etc. understand them relatively, so that God expresses his preference for mercy above sacrifices [cf. Chrys. Euth. Aug.]. It is clear that the prophet could not have excluded the Levitical sacrifices absolutely; but the Hebrew idiom admits of a formal negation in order to emphasize the affirmation without really excluding the denied object [Mald. Schegg, etc.]. According to this view, our Lord tells his hearers that the Levitical sacrifices without the proper sentiments of mercy and charity are of no value before God; thus the necessity of mercy is insisted on and nothing is directly stated about the Levitical sacrifices. The same principle must be applied to the second negative clause, “not come to call the just.” Mald, explains the phrase relatively, as meaning that our Lord came to save sinners rather than the just, so much so that if there were any just, he would not come for their sakes; Chrys. Pasch. Thom. Caj. etc. [Rom. 3:23] take the words absolutely, so that our Lord declares that there is no man who did not need his office as Saviour; Chrys. takes the words figuratively, seeing in them the ironical statement that there is no just man on earth. Hil. Chrysol. Bed. Pasch. Br. Thom. Lam. explain the words as meaning that our Lord did not come to save those that claim to be just, though the gospel abounds with instances in which Jesus endeavored to convert even the hypocritical Pharisees. His very mercy towards sinners was another proof that he fulfilled the prophetic description of the Messias [cf. Is. 42:3; 49:5; 50:4; 53:6, 11; 61:1; Ez. 34:16]. As to the question whether the Word would have become incarnate if Adam had not sinned, Mald, infers a negative answer from the present passage, while Suar. [De incarn. disp. 5, sect. 4, nn. 26, 27, 30] rejects such an inference.

14. Then came to him the disciples of John.] 2. The disciples of Jesus and the disciples of John. Here we have to consider first the attack on our Lord’s disciples, v. 14; secondly, his triple answer, vv. 15–17. a. The attack. According to Lk. 5:33–39 the question is asked by the scribes and Pharisees. Mald, supposes that these latter instigated the disciples of John to propose the question. But Mark 2:18 is more in keeping with the answer of Aug. that both the Pharisees and the disciples of John took part in this attack. It is not; then, surprising to see that one evangelist emphasizes the Pharisees, the other the followers of the Baptist. Coleridge [v. p. 127] and Ed. [i. p. 663] are of opinion that the question may have been proposed on either Monday or Thursday, which were kept as fasting-days by the Pharisees in commemoration of Moses’ ascent and descent of Sinai; this view becomes more probable if one omits the “often” in the question, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast often?” Most authorities insert the adverb, but א *B 27 71 omit it. Holtzmann’s view that the disciples of John fasted on account of their master’s recent death hardly fits into the chronological sequence of the gospel details. The Pharisees intended to bring the Baptist, who was highly esteemed by the people, into opposition to Jesus.

15. And Jesus said to them.] b. Triple answer of Jesus. Our Lord indicates first the reason why his disciples do not fast; secondly, he announces that they will fast in the future; thirdly, he removes the false principle from which springs the question of his interrogators, a. The reason why the disciples do not fast is based on truths granted by the Pharisees and the disciples of the Baptist: just as the Old Testament had been likened [Jer. 2:2; Ez. 16:3] to a marriage between God and Israel, so was the Messias announced in the prophecies [Os. 2:19; Ps. 44] as the bridegroom of the New Covenant, and the Baptist himself had pointed out Jesus as the bridegroom [John 3:29]. On the other hand, “the children of the bridegroom,” or his invited guests, were bound by custom and law to the greatest joy during the marriage week [Ed. i. 355, 663; Lightfoot]. Why, then, should the children of the Messianic bridegroom, our Lord’s disciples, be obliged to outward signs of sadness in the very midst of the spiritual marriage feast?

β. The announcement of the future fasting of the disciples points to the time of the bridegroom’s absence. It is here that our Lord first hints at his violent death, especially according to the wording of the Greek text. The announcement of the fasting is no mere prophecy [cf. Whately, Essays on the Difficulties of St. Paul, p. 436, on Self-Denial], but implies a precept of the Lord, as is evident from similar declarations of future things [cf. Acts 1:8; Winer, Gramm. des neutest. Sprachidioms, xl. 6; xliii. 5]. Our Lord, then, does not deny the excellence of fasting in the case of his disciples, but its fitness under the circumstances; even if his words are understood as a mere prophecy, they exclude the opponents of fasting from among the disciples, since Jesus distinctly predicted, that far from opposing fasting, his disciples would practise it. That our Lord spoke not only of the time of his passion [cf. de Wette, Meyer, Keil], or the days between the crucifixion and the resurrection [cf. Alf.], or the period between the ascension and the coming of the Holy Ghost [cf. Whately], is clear from his precepts concerning the manner of fasting [Mt. 6:16], and his words concerning the exorcism that can be effected only by prayer and fasting [Mt. 17:20]. The ecclesiastical legislation concerning fasting is therefore a legitimate determination of the general wish of the Master that his followers should practise penance by fasting. The end and purpose of fasting are also declared by the present passage: fasting is to express our sorrow over our separation from our Lord, our longing to be united with him in our heavenly home, our repentance over sin as the cause of our separation, our desire of God’s grace as the means of becoming more closely united with Jesus Christ [Jer. Knab.; cf. Acts 13:2; 14:22; 2 Cor. 6:5; 11:27].

γ. The principle which the Baptist’s disciples and the Pharisees assume supposes that in the Messianic dispensation the ceremonial law of the synagogue will remain in force. In order to understand our Lord’s answer to this supposition, we shall first consider the literal meaning of his twofold similitude, and then investigate the application of the answer.

[1] The similitudes. The raw cloth is cloth newly woven, not yet fulled, so that it shrinks when exposed to rain or similar influences, and thus contracting “taketh away the fulness thereof from the garment, and there is made a greater rent.” The Oriental bottles are skins of sheep or goats which dry up after use, and so almost certainly burst under the pressure of new wine in the course of fermentation, so that both the bottles and the wine are lost. The first similitude considers the case in which a heterogeneous part is added to the whole, the second views the combination of heterogeneous form and matter.

[2] Application of the similitudes. Though a great variety of opinions has been expressed, we may reduce them to three heads:—

[a] Our Lord’s disciples are the old garment and the old bottles, so that they are not yet able to bear the burden of the Christian life of penance [Chrys. Bed. Rab. Alb. Dion. Tost. Caj. Jans. Mald. Bar. Salm. Sylv. Lap. Calm. Lam. Arn.]. But several grave reasons militate against this view. The Pharisees and the disciples of the Baptist were strong enough to fast; several of our Lord’s disciples had been disciples of the Baptist, and had surely not lost their spiritual strength by becoming disciples of Jesus; the apostles were strong enough to bear the pangs of hunger in the service of their Master, as is clear from Mt. 12:1; Jesus himself testifies towards the end of his earthly life that the disciples had remained with him in his trials [Lk. 22:28]; finally, in his first answer to the question of the Baptist’s disciples Jesus had pointed to the presence of their bridegroom as the true reason why the disciples did not fast.

[b] The old garment and the old bottles represent the Baptist’s disciples, so that they must continue to fast, because they cannot bear the liberty of the disciples of Christ [cf. Weiss, Schanz]. This view also is open to several exceptions: it supposes that the disciples of John had asked why they and the Pharisees fasted, though in reality they well knew why they fasted, since they would not have submitted to such a rigorous penance without a sufficient reason; again, one cannot grant that our Lord should have exhorted the disciples of the Baptist and the Pharisees to remain in their former state, or that he should have in any way approved of the practices of the Pharisees.

[c] The old garment and the old bottles represent the Jewish ceremonial and ritual law, the ideal of the Pharisees, while the new cloth and the new wine signify the spirit of Jesus Christ. The two parables state, therefore, that neither part of Christ’s spirit can be employed to mend the deficiency of Pharisaism, nor can the whole of Christ’s doctrine be vested in the form of the Jewish ceremonial. It may be of interest to note that as the thought of our Lord’s answer is logically connected, so the very expression presents a certain unity, since the marriage feast suggests the joy of the children of the bridegroom, the outward decency of the garment, and the wine both old and new.

18. As he was speaking these things.] 3. The Jewish ruler and the Gentile woman, vv. 18–26. In the preceding two incidents we have admired the faith of Matthew and the trust of the disciples, as opposed to the separateness of the Pharisees from the company of sinners and the Pharisaic fidelity to merely outward ceremonies. In the present section the faith in our Lord manifestly grows, since it extends, in the case of the Gentile woman, to the healing power of all connected with Jesus, while the ruler elicits by his faith the resuscitation of his dead child. The section naturally falls into three parts: a. The petition of the ruler, vv. 18, 19; b. the healing of the Gentile woman, vv. 20–22; c. the resuscitation of the dead child, vv. 23–26.

a. The petition of the ruler. In the parallel accounts, Mk. 5:21–43 and Lk. 8:41–56, the incidents are connected with the gatherings around our Lord after his return from the Gadarene shore of the lake. Schanz is of opinion that the first evangelist connects the following miracles with the dispute on fasting, on account of the importance of convincing the Jewish Christians that the Mosaic ceremonial is foreign to the spirit of Christianity. But if we adhere to the present reading of the first gospel, “as he was speaking these things,” we can hardly suppose that the evangelist arranged the present passage topically. We must then either assume that the dispute concerning fasting occurred twice, once in the connection of the second and the third gospel, and another time on the occasion mentioned by St. Matthew; or we must suppose that the expression “these things” was added by the translator of the first gospel, while the evangelist had merely written “as he was speaking.” The first assumption is not at all unlikely, owing to the importance of the matter in question, while the second solution numbers among its patrons Aug. [De cons, evang. ii. 28, 64; 39, 86]. According to the first view we find in the second and third gospel the more general indication of the time when the ruler approached Jesus, while the first gospel gives the precise part of our Lord’s discourse that preceded the petition of Jairus. According to the second view, also, Jairus approaches Jesus at the time indicated by the second and the third gospel, but this time is very indefinitely stated by the first evangelist. In neither case is the petition of Jairus connected with the feast; such a connection of events is rendered improbable, since according to the words of the disciples [Lk. 8:45; Mk. 5:31] our Lord was surrounded by a multitude of people on his way to the house of the ruler.

The “certain ruler” [Mt.] is, according to the second and third gospel, a ruler of the synagogue; instead of “adored him,” Mk. and Lk. say “fell down at his feet,” so that the ruler prayed suppliantly. “Lord” is an addition found in many Vulgate codd., though it is not in the Greek text. The third gospel shows that the ruler had only one daughter, and that she was about twelve years old [8:42]. Mt. differs somewhat from Mk. and Lk. in the account of the ruler’s petition: according to the second gospel [5:23] the daughter is said to be “at the point of death,” and the third evangelist says that she “lay a dying” [8:42]. According to both, the news of the daughter’s death came only after the cure of the Gentile woman [Mk. 5:35; Lk. 8:49]. We can hardly admit that the first gospel represents the father as incoherent in his excessive grief [cf. Farrar], as if he had said, “my child is dying, is dead”; or that the expression of the first gospel must be understood to mean “she is almost dead” [cf. Schouppe]; or that the ruler intentionally exaggerated his affliction [cf. Chrys. Euth. Thph.]; or that the father expressed his real belief concerning his child, “she is by this time dead” [cf. Aug.].

In all these suppositions either the account given in the first gospel, or that contained in the second and third, suffers some violence. Since the evangelist only summarizes the event, he represents the state of the daughter as known after the message; even if it is not said in the gospel that the father expressed the petition in words, he felt it in his heart [cf. Lap. Aug. Salm. Jans.]. We need not assume with Mald. Caj. that the father renewed his oral petition after receiving the message of his daughter’s death. Though the faith of the ruler was not as great as that of the centurion [Mt. 8:10], since he asked for the bodily presence of Jesus, there is nothing reprehensible in his wish that our Lord should lay his hand upon his sick child, since Jesus often healed the sick in this manner [Mt. 8:3; 19:13; Lk. 4:10; 13:13; cf. Acts 6:6; Gen. 48:14; Num. 27:18]. The ready compliance of our Lord with the ruler’s petition contrasts favorably with his manner of healing the king’s son [Jn. 4:48]. In the present case, he was about to give his disciples a most striking proof of his power over death itself, and to offer the poor Gentile woman an occasion of meeting him on the road. While the first gospel mentions only the disciples as accompanying Jesus, the second and the third gospel speak of a great multitude around his sacred person.

20. And behold a woman.] b. The healing of the Gentile woman. According to Eusebius [H. E. vii. 18] the woman was a Gentile of Cæsarea Paneas, and the apocrypha name her Veronica [Act. Pilati, A. c. 7; Tischend. Evv. ap. p. 239: Gesta Pilati, c. 7, l. c. p. 356]. The same apocrypha enumerate her among those that testified in favor of Jesus before Pilate. Eusebius [l. c.] mentions that he saw in Cæsarea Philippi [or Paneas], at the gates of the woman’s house, on an elevated stone, a brazen image of a woman on her bended knee, with her hands stretched out before her, like one entreating. Opposite to this there was another image of a man, erect, decently clad in a mantle, and stretching out his hand to the woman. This group represented the miraculous cure of the Gentile woman, now under consideration. Socrates adds [H. l. vi. c. 41] that Julian the Apostate destroyed the statue, and had his own placed on the pedestal. The evangelist shows the grievousness of the woman’s disorder by indicating the length of time it had lasted; Mk. adds that she had suffered much from several physicians [an extremely probable fact considering the state of the science of medicine at that period], had spent all she had, and only grown worse in consequence; the physician Lk. says that she had spent all her property on physicians, and that she could not be cured by any. The length of time the woman had suffered indicates that her complaint was not the common courses [Lev. 15:33], but was a chronic issue of blood [Lev. 15:25–29]. Since this infirmity rendered the sufferer legally unclean, the woman feared to make known her complaint or to touch the Lord’s garment in front.

The hem of our Lord’s garment touched by the woman was the legal fringe intended to remind the Jews that they were God’s people [Num. 15:37; Deut. 22:12]. We need not repeat the unfavorable comments of Calvin, Trench, Alford, and other Protestant writers on the confidence of the Gentile woman in the magical power of our Lord’s garment. They fear that the Catholic veneration of relics may find support in the practice of the Gentile woman, and therefore either endeavor to construe our Lord’s words to the woman into a reproof [Alf.], or they ascribe it to our Lord’s clemency that he tolerated some sinfulness and error in the Gentile woman [Calv.]. Even if the present passage could thus be explained away, how would the foregoing writers explain Acts 19:12 ff., where God works miracles by means of the handkerchiefs and aprons of St. Paul? Is not the view of St. Hilary [in 1.], that Jesus gave his garment the power to heal those that should touch it with faith, even as God gives to the magnet the power to attract iron,—is not this view more satisfactory and to the point than the evasive comments of the Protestant writers?

The first gospel proceeds again by way of summary in the account of our Lord’s address to the woman; his question, Peter’s answer, the denial of the by-standers are omitted. The consoling word “daughter” occurs as an address only here in the New Testament; the Greek word rendered “hath made thee whole” commonly applies to a spiritual healing, but may here at least imply the spiritual health of the woman [cf. Mk. 5:34; 10:52; Lk. 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42]. The perfect tense of the Greek text may signify something that happens presently [Meyer, Krüger, liii. 3, 4; Winer, xl. 46; Bäumlein, 527], but it applies more naturally to a past event. Since Jesus attributes the miracle to the faith of the woman, he removes all danger of a belief in the magical power of his garment [Jans.]. The brevity of St. Matthew’s account of the miracle may have been caused by the inclination of the Jewish authorities to attribute our Lord’s miracles to the influence of the evil spirit. The expression “from that hour” is different from the phrase “at that same hour” [Mt. 8:13]. Euth. remarks that the evangelist does not mean the “hour” or the time when our Lord spoke, but that of the woman’s trustful touching of his garments. Schanz explains “from that hour” as referring rather to the perception of the miracle than to its actual happening.

23. And when Jesus was come.] c. The resuscitation of the dead child. The first gospel omits the message concerning the death of the child, of which the other evangelists speak. Funereal music existed not only among the Jews, but also among the Romans and Greeks [cf. Marquardt, v. i. p. 352 ff.]. Lamentation over the dead was known even in the time of the patriarchs [Gen. 50:4; 2 Kings 1:17–20; Ecclus. 22:6]. Later on we find professional wailing women and mourning musicians [Amos 5:16; 9:16; Jos. B. J. III. ix. 5]. The Talmud is quite precise in its determination of the mourning custom: even the poorest Israelite must have at least two flute-players and a wailing woman at the funeral of his wife. “The multitude making a rout” was composed of these professional mourners; hence it is easily understood how the multitude could be “put forth” without offence.

Our Lord’s words “the girl is not dead, but sleepeth” have induced a number of rationalistic writers to deny the real death of the child [Paul. Michael. Olsh. etc.]; but Jesus used similar language in the case of Lazarus, who had been four days in the grave at the time of our Lord’s arrival, and the evangelist [Jn. 11:11] testifies that “Jesus spoke of his death.” The presence of the mourners, their laughing “him to scorn,” the message sent to Jairus, are so many signs of the real death of the child. The language of Jesus is nevertheless true, because it either expresses what the multitude would have thought of the condition of the girl, if they had known her speedy return to life [Mald.], or because it signifies that the girl is not dead in the ordinary sense of the word, remaining lifeless till the general resurrection [Theoph. Dion. Caj. Salm.]. Jer. adds that “for God all are alive,” and Chrys. says in the same manner that “in his presence death was nothing but sleep.” This manner of speaking agrees with the command recorded by Mk. and Lk. [5:43; 8:56], that the report of the miracle should not be spread by the parents of the child; for Jesus did not wish to arouse the antagonism of the Pharisees unnecessarily at so early a period, nor did he wish to excite in the multitude an unreasonable desire of having more dead persons resuscitated.

According to Mk. 5:38 f. and Lk. 8:51 Jesus was accompanied by three disciples, Peter, James, and John, and according to Lk. by the child’s parents also, when he entered the apartment of the dead girl; in the first and the second gospel [5:38–40] the entrance into this apartment is distinguished from our Lord’s first entrance into the house, while the third gospel [8:51] is less clear on this distinction. Here, again, our Lord has recourse to outward contact while he performs the miraele; the second gospel has preserved the exact words addressed to the dead child: “Talitha kumi” or “Damsel, arise.” It is here that Jesus exhibits himself for the first time as the lord over life and death [Jn. 5:25], who came that all might have life, and have it more abundantly. The phrase “and the maid arose” calls to mind 4 Kings. 4:31, and prepares the way for Mt. 11:5. Since the fame of this miracle went abroad into all that country, the enemies of Jesus became more inexcusable for their continued opposition.

Finally, the dead child is compared with the Gentile woman in such a manner that the former represents the synagogue, the latter signifies the Gentile world [Hil. Jer. Ambr. Chrysol. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Fab. Salm. Jans. Bar. etc.]. Since the age of the child corresponds with the duration of the woman’s infirmity, it illustrates the coincidence of the greater moral infirmity of the Gentile world with the institution of the Synagogue; when Jesus came to be united to his spouse, the Church, he found the Synagogue dead, just as the daughter of Jairus died in the years of her puberty; the Gentile world is cured of its moral infirmity before the Jews, as the Gentile woman is healed before the dead child; the faith of the Gentile world will cause the faith of the Synagogue and thereby its moral resurrection, just as the faith of the Gentile woman and her miraculous cure strengthened the faith of Jairus and thereby effected the resuscitation of the dead child [cf. Grimm, iii. p. 339 ff.; Knab.].

27. And as Jesus passed from thence.] 4. The multitudes and the Pharisees. The contrast between the belief of the former and the unbelief of the latter is manifested after Jesus has worked two striking miracles. Hence this section may be divided into three parts: a. Jesus gives sight to two blind men, vv. 27–31; b. Jesus exorcises a dumb devil, 32, 33 a; c. belief and unbelief, vv. 33 b, 34.

a. Jesus gives sight to the blind. This miracle is found recorded in the first gospel alone.

[1] Various reasons are assigned why St. Matthew should have received this and the following event into his gospel, α. The evangelist thus prepares the way for our Lord’s answer to the disciples of the Baptist [11:5] which supposes that all kinds of miracles had been wrought by Jesus [Schanz]. β. Though Holtzmann implies the same motive on the part of the evangelist, he denies that the miraculous event occurred before our Lord’s answer to the disciples of John, since he endeavors to identify this event with the miraculous cure of the two blind men near Jericho [9:29–34]. γ. Chrys. remarks that the evangelist here contrasts the faith of the blind, who have not seen the works of Jesus, with the unbelief of the seeing, who have witnessed the Lord’s miraeles. δ. Schanz adds that the evangelist also shows the impossibility of our Lord’s remaining unknown, since his works had come to the knowledge of even the blind. ε. Keil’s conjecture that the first gospel records this and the following miracles merely to complete the number ten deserves no serious attention. ζ Knab. draws attention to the fact that the evangelist represents the first public acknowledgment of Jesus as the Messias with the miraculous power of sight granted to two blind men. This beautifully represents the faith in the Messias as a supernatural gift of God.

[2] The miraculous event. α. The narrative suggests that the miracle happened when Jesus had left the house of Jairus. β. It is quite possible that two blind men were together, since blindness in the East is more common than in our regions; the hot sand in the air, the sleeping outside, and the sudden change of temperature prove detrimental to the sight, so that according to some calculations 24 per cent, of the modern population of Syria suffer from blindness, and this affliction must have been still more prevalent in the days of our Lord. γ. The address “O Son of David” shows that the petitioners regarded Jesus as the Messias; for on the one hand, they employ the expression not merely as a common name, but as a proper noun; and on the other hand, the Pharisees [Mt. 22:42], the multitude [Jn. 7:42], the earlier Jewish writers [Pss. Sol. 17:23], and the Rabbinic authors [cf. Weber, System der altsynag. paläst. Theologie, p. 336, 339 f.] agree in calling their Messias “the Son of David,” a name based on the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament [Jer. 23:5; 33:14; Ezech. 34:23; Os. 3:5; cf. Is. 11:1]. δ. The petition “have mercy on us” implies that Jesus surely could help the petitioners if he only wished to do so; all he needed to do was to show his mercy [Jans. Knab.]. ε. The two blind men “followed him,” because Jesus did not heal them at their first request; perhaps he did not wish to stop in public after he had been addressed as the Son of David. At the same time he proved the faith of the blind men, increased their longing for help, prevented the depreciation of his miracles, taught us to shun ostentation, and incited us to perseverance in prayer [Jans.]. ζ The house to which our Lord came must have been that in which he commonly lived, or the house of Peter [8:14; 9:1]. Thither the suppliant blind men are admitted, and thus all disturbance of the multitude is avoided [Chrys. Euth.]. η. While the words of our Lord are calculated to put the faith of the petitioners to another trial, they also draw their attention to the personal power of Jesus; for he did not wish to know whether they believed he could obtain the favor for them by his prayer, but whether they were convinced that he could “do this” for them [Lam.]. θ. Schanz remarks that our Lord forces the two blind men to reflect whether their faith is merely a momentary impulse or a lasting conviction of his divine power; this seems to be confirmed by their permanent cure following the words of our Lord, “according to your faith be it done unto you.” ι. Since the Hebrews conceived the eyes as closed in blindness [cf. Jn. 9:10; 2 Kings 6:17; Is. 35:5; 42:7], the miraculous effect is aptly expressed in the words “their eyes were opened.”

[3] What followed the miracle. The first gospel mentions two occurrences as following the miracle: the strict charge of Jesus that the event should be kept quiet; and the spreading of the same in all that country on the part of the two men healed. Commentators ask, therefore, α. why Jesus wished his miracle kept secret; β. whether the two men sinned by not obeying the injunction of Jesus.

α. Reasons for the Lord’s prohibition: [a] He wished to instruct us to avoid vainglory and practice humility [Chrys. Jer. Bed. Br. Thom. Fab. Dion. Caj. Jans.]; [b] he did not wish to excite the envy of the Pharisees and scribes unnecessarily [Mald.]; [c] he did not wish to leave the impression that the Messianic kingdom consists in merely outward benefits and observances [Knab.].

β. Did the two men sin in acting against the Lord’s injunction? All commentators appear to excuse their way of acting, but on different grounds: [a] They acted in good faith [Thom.]; [b] they acted through gratitude, while they regarded the words of Jesus as a sign of humility and modesty, not as a serious prohibition [Mald.]; [c] they may not have spread the news of their cure willingly, but may have merely answered the questions of their friends and acquaintances concerning the manner of their healing [Lam.]; [d] since the prohibition not to make known the miracle was morally impossible to keep [Br.], unless they concealed their newly opened eyes, Jesus must have warned the blind men not to spread the knowledge that he was the Messias or the Son of David, just as he prohibited the devils he exorcised not to spread this information [Lk. 4:41; Mk. 1:34], thus avoiding all political disturbance against the Roman government which otherwise might have arisen in the excited multitudes [Knab.].

32. And when they were gone out.] b. Jesus exorcises a dumb devil. Holtzmann has no good reason for making this event an imitation of Mt. 12:22 ff., for the subject of the latter passage is both dumb and blind. The blasphemy of the Pharisees may have been repeated with the repetition of the miracle; the foregoing author cannot even maintain that the exception of the Pharisees comes too late in the history of so many miracles, since the evangelist shows the malice of the Pharisees most impressively by his present arrangement of material. That the dumbness of the demoniac was the result of the possession follows first from the fact that there is not mention of his deafness, the natural companion of dumbness; secondly, from the remark of the evangelist that the man spoke after the exorcism, no other miracle being mentioned [cf. Mk. 7:35].

and the multitudes wondered.] c. Belief and unbelief, a. Belief. The words of the multitude show that they preferred Jesus even to Moses, since “never was the like seen in Israel.” The cause of the wonder differs in the opinion of different commentators, [a] Never before was the casting out of devils followed by such results [Alf.]; [b] Jesus never appeared so glorious before [Fritzsche,]; [c] never before were such stupendous signs wrought in such number and with such little outward exertion of power [cf. Chrys. Dion. Caj. Jans. Lap. Lam.]; [d] never before were devils cast out in such imposing and quiet a manner [Hil. Knab.]. That the last explanation is the more probable one follows from the fact that in Mt. 12:23 and Lk. 11:14, too, the multitudes wonder after an exorcism performed by Jesus; again, the Pharisees direct their attack only against the power of Jesus over the devils: “by the prince of devils he casteth out devils”; finally, it is well known that those among the Jews who attempted to exorcise the possessed had recourse to a number of outward formulas and incantations [cf. Joseph. Ant. VIII. ii. 5; B. J. VII. vi. 3; Ed. i. p. 482; ii. pp. 771, 775; Weber, System der altsyn. paläst. Theol. pp. 247 f.].

β. Unbelief. The unbelief of the Pharisees is not merely negative, but is expressed positively; it is not private, but is expressed by the public teachers of Israel; not content with impeding the belief of others, it endeavors to excite their open hostility: “by the prince of devils he casteth out devils.” Since Jesus does not answer the calumny of his enemies, it may be supposed that they uttered it out of his hearing [cf. Mt. 12:25]. That the Pharisees did not speak in good faith follows from the circumstances that Jesus did not only cast out devils, but also cured lepers, gave sight to the blind, stilled the stormy sea, raised the dead, preached the kingdom of God, and led his followers to a greater knowledge and love of God, all of which effects could not be ascribed to the power of the devil [cf. Chrys.]. The sin of the Pharisees consisted therefore in attributing the evident works of God to the devil; in other words, it was the sin against the Holy Ghost. Jans. shows here the various degrees of the Pharisees’ opposition to Jesus: they blame him for forgiving sins; they blame him for eating with sinners; they blame him for not obliging his disciples to fast; they attribute his miracles to the power of the devil. The prophets appear to have foreseen this obduracy of the Jewish leaders [cf. Is. 65:2; 56:10, 11].

C. JESUS THE FOUNDER OF THE KINGDOM, CC. 9:35–28:20

a. First Beginnings, 9:35–14:12

The enmity of the Pharisees reached its height at the end of the preceding section; their party cannot be gained over to the cause of Christ, and Jesus must now endeavor to withdraw the common people from their baneful influence. He therefore substitutes now other leaders of the people, the apostles, who are to be the foundation stones of his kingdom. The evangelist first tells of their choice and their formation [9:35–10:42]; then the Baptist’s authority is urged in favor of the Messiasship of Jesus, and the simple little ones are distinguished from the obdurate wise and learned ones, [11]; next, the ineptness of the Pharisees to be guides of the people is further shown, their future fate is announced [12], and owing to the ill will of the Pharisees, Jesus confines himself first to the ministry among the people, and then, on account of the people’s unwillingness to believe, to the instruction of his disciples. The nature of the kingdom, its manner of propagation, and its value are naturally explained in these chapters [13:1–14:12]. The second gospel, too, shows in its second part the opposition to the kingdom among the leaders of the people, and in the third the indifference of the great mass of the people to the claims of our Lord’s Messiasship; but having other ends in view, the second evangelist does not emphasize the instruction of the disciples so perceptibly.

α. Election and Mission of the Apostles, 9:35–10:42.

Commentators ask here a question similar to that considered before discussing the sermon on the mount. Did Jesus deliver the whole discourse to the apostles as it is in the first gospel, or did the evangelist compile the discourse out of utterances of our Lord delivered on various occasions? a. The discourse is a compilation of sayings of Jesus uttered at various times, but collected by St. Matthew. Reasons: 1. The first evangelist habitually makes such topical compilations; in 8 and 9 he joins together a number of miracles wrought at various times, in 12 he gathers a number of signs of the perversity of the Pharisees, in 13 he gives a number of parables, so that 10 may be a collection of counsels addressed by our Lord to the disciples at various times. 2. The whole arrangement of the following section is topical, calculated to show Jesus as the founder of the kingdom, to prove the ineptitude of the Pharisees to be leaders in the kingdom, and to describe the nature and character of the kingdom; the material is taken from various times in the life of our Lord. 3. Moreover, those parts of the present discourse which are not parallel to Lk. 9:2–4 and Mk. 6:8–11 are parallel to portions of the other gospels that do not refer to the mission of the Twelve: Mt. 10:1116 refers to the mission of the seventy-two according to Lk. 10:5 ff.; Mt. 10:17–22 belongs according to Mk. 13:9 ff. and Lk. 21:12 ff. to one of the last discourses of Jesus; Mt. 10:26–36 is parallel to Lk. 12:2–9, 51–53; Mt. 10:37, 38 is almost identical with Lk. 14:26, 27; 9:23; Mt. 10:39 is nearly the same as Lk. 9:24 and 17:33; Mt. 10:41 occurs almost in the same meaning in Lk. 9:48; Mt. 10:42 may be found in Mk. 9:40. 4. Mt. 10:17, 18, supposes that Jesus had predicted his passion when he spoke those words; but he had not predicted his passion when he sent out the Twelve [Grimm]. 5. Mt. 10:25 supposes that our Lord has said about Beelzebub what is related in Lk. 11:15; this again had not been said at the time when the Twelve were sent out.

b. The discourse was held by Jesus as the first evangelist records it. Reasons: 1. The topical arrangement of the whole first gospel, and in particular of the present section, has no direct bearing on the question now under consideration; for in recording the words addressed to the Twelve before their mission, the evangelist implicitly states the time when those words were spoken. 2. That some of the words were uttered by Jesus on other occasions and in other connections does not show that they were not spoken before the mission of the Twelve, since we find similar repetitions of the same instructions in the very gospel of St. Luke: cf. 12:11 and 21:14; 9:24 and 17:33; 8:18 and 19:26; 11:43 and 20:46; 14:11 and 18:14. 3. What is said in 10:17, 18 does not necessarily refer to the passion of our Lord and its explicit prediction, but may refer to what Jesus had predicted concerning the suffering of his disciples, in the sermon on the mount [cf. Lk. 6:22, 23]. 4. The allusion to Beelzebub in 10:25 does not necessarily refer to 12:24; Mk. 3:22; Lk. 11:15, since in 10:25 “the good-man of the house” is called Beelzebub; even if there is a connection between the blasphemies of the Pharisees and the instructions of Jesus, it is not at all improbable that the Pharisees had uttered similar blasphemies against Jesus before the time when the Twelve were sent [cf. Mt. 11:18; 9:34]. 5. It has been seen above that part of the discourse contained in this section of the first gospel is, according to the third gospel, addressed to the seventy-two; other parts are, according to the same gospel, addressed to the common people [Lk. 14:26; 9:23, 24]; it is therefore most probable that the same doctrine should be impressed on the Twelve in a special manner. 6. This is the more probable since our Lord commonly touches in his discourses upon points that are connected with his subject-matter, though they may find a practical application only at a future time; the sermon on the mount, the discourse recorded in Mt. 24, and that delivered after the institution of the Holy Eucharist [Jn. 14 f.] illustrate this characteristic of Christ’s discourses.

35. And Jesus went about all the cities.] The evangelist first treats of the necessity and choice of the apostles [9:35–10:4]; secondly, he gives our Lord’s instruction concerning the present mission of the apostles [10:5–15]; thirdly, he gives our Lord’s instruction concerning the future behavior of the apostles, when they shall have been sent to evangelize the whole world [10:16–42].

1. Necessity and choice of the apostles. The necessity of apostles is shown in 9:35–38; their actual choice is recorded in 10:1–4.

[α] Necessity of apostles. Jesus convinces his disciples of the necessity of new instructors of the people first, by making them witness the dereliction of the people, v. 35; secondly, by his own sympathy with the needs of the multitude, v. 36; thirdly, by his words, vv. 37, 38. We reject, therefore, the opinion that these four verses are nothing but a rounding-off of the preceding section [cf. Keil, Wichelh.], or that they are a mere return to the gospel history interrupted by the summary of miracles contained in the last two chapters [Lutter.]; they are actually the-foundation of the further development of the evangelist’s plan.

α. Observation. Our Lord taught not merely in the synagogues of the larger cities, but also in those of the smaller towns and villages; while the disciples and future apostles become thus acquainted with the various needs of the different classes, they find in the method of the Master the example of a true apostle who does not confine his labor to certain classes and localities, who does not neglect even the bodily needs of those under his care, for the Master healed “every disease and every infirmity” [cf. Jer. Chrys. Theoph. Caj. Jans.]. The alleviation of bodily needs is thus made a help to the spiritual advancement of the people.

36. And seeing the multitudes.] β. Our Lord’s compassion. The Greek text shows that the compassion of Jesus was most deeply felt, that his innermost heart was moved with sympathy, for the derelict multitudes. The evangelist explains the reason of this compassion by a figure often found in the Old Testament writings. Is. 63:11; 10:21; 13:17; 23:1; Ez. 34:3; 36:38; Mich. 7:14; Zach. 9:16; Ps. 73:1; 78:13; 94:7; etc. compare the chosen people of God to a flock of sheep, the special flock of God. The Greek text implies that the sheep are fleeced or skinned and cast away or wholly uncared for. This unfaithfulness of the shepherds of Israel is also described by the prophets [Mich. 3:2; Ez. 34:3–6]. Jer. shows in what manner the leaders of the people had brought it into such a miserable condition: they imposed unbearable burdens on the multitudes [cf. Mt. 23:4; Lk. 11:46], and kept the key of true knowledge from them [cf. Lk. 11:52]. The impressiveness of the evangelist’s comparison is better realized if we reflect with what solicitude a good shepherd provides for the needs of his weary flock.

37. Then he saith to his disciples.] γ. The Lord’s words. Those whom the evangelist compared to straying sheep, our Lord compares to the harvest without sufficient laborers. Though the Jews can hardly be called a fruit ripe for the Messianic kingdom, which only needs to be gathered in [cf. Chrys. Euth. Jans. Mald. Lap. Arn. Bisp.], the comparison of Jesus adds to the comparison of the evangelist the idea that the multitudes are fit for the kingdom [Knab.]; the remoteness of this fitness [cf. Theoph.] shows the need of apostolic laborers the more clearly [cf. Schanz]. Jn. 4:38 cannot be advanced as showing the immediate aptitude of the multitudes for the kingdom, since Jesus appears to have employed there a proverbial expression. The inference Jesus draws from the spiritual needs of the multitudes is expressed in the words “pray ye therefore.” The object of the prayer is the multiplication of fit laborers in the harvest. The one to whom the prayer must be addressed is called “the Lord of the vineyard.” This is either God the Father [Hil. Caj. Jans. Calm. Arn. Schanz, Fil.], or Jesus Christ himself [Chrys. Theoph. Pasch.], or again both the Father and the Word made flesh [Thom. Fab.]. No doubt, the Son, even as man, can in a true sense be said to be the Lord of the harvest [Lap.]; but we do not ask what the expression possibly can signify, but what it does signify: the circumstance that Jesus himself appeared to the disciples as a laborer rather than the Lord of the harvest; again, that he called the Father the husbandman [Jn. 15:1] and the Lord of the vineyard [Mt. 21:38; Mk. 12:6; Lk. 20:13; cf. Mald.] shows that the disciples regarded the Father rather than Jesus Christ as the Lord of the harvest.

1. And having called the twelve disciples together.] [b] Mission of the apostles. The first gospel supposes the choice of the apostles known; Mk. 3:14 and Lk. 6:13 tell us that Jesus spent the night previous to the call of the Twelve in prayer. That Mt. 10:1 treats of the same disciples follows both from their number, Twelve, and their names given in vv. 2–4. We must here consider, first, the number of apostles; secondly, their credentials; thirdly, their order; fourthly, their individual characteristics.

1.] The number of apostles. Various explanations: α. Since the fathers of the carnal Israel were twelve, the fathers of the spiritual Israel or the Church must be twelve [1 Cor. 4:15; Gal. 4:19; Philem. 10; cf. Mald. Lam.]. Hence even the prophets declare the necessity of being united with the house of Jacob [Is. 2:3; Mich. 4:2]. β. Alb. gives a list of Old Testament types prefiguring the number twelve of the apostles; their authority is prefigured by the twelve sons of Jacob; their effusion of doctrine by the twelve fountains of Elim [Ex. 15:27; Num. 33:9]; the light of their example by the twelve stones on the high priest’s breastplate [Ex. 28:9, 10]; their supply of spiritual nourishment by the twelve loaves of the shew-bread; their constancy and fortitude by the twelve stones taken by Josue from the Jordan [Jos. 4:3]; their maturity and strength of character by the twelve oxen sustaining the brazen sea [3 Kings 7:11–25] cf. Tert. c. Marc. iv. 13; Thom, [in Cat. aur. under Rem.]; Bed. Pasch. Sylv. The twelve stars crowning the spouse, the twelve foundation-stones of Jerusalem, and its twelve gates [Apoc. 21:12; Ez. 48:31–34] are also considered as signs of the twelve apostles, γ. Twelve constitutes four triads [Rab. Pasch. Bed. Beng. Meyer, Keil], so that the apostles can surround the Church just as the twelve tribes of Israel surrounded the ark of the covenant, placing three tribes on each of the four parts of the compass; again, the four triads must preach the mystery of the Holy Trinity in the four parts of the compass; again, the four triads must preach the mystery of the Holy Trinity in the four parts of the world; finally, three is said to represent the deity, four the world; as seven therefore represents religion, which unites the world with God, so must twelve signify the dwelling of God in his people, being three enclosed, as it were, in four [Arn. Bisp.; cf. Knab.].

he gave them power over unclean spirits.] 2.] Credentials of the apostles. The first gospel employs the name “apostle” only in the present passage; Mk. [6:30] and Jn. [13:16], too, use the word only once, while Lk. employs it oftener; Bar. notices therefore that the word “apostle” occurs in every gospel as in the Old Testament every one of the twelve stones on the priest’s breastplate had one name of the twelve tribes inscribed on it. At any rate, the name shows that the Twelve are regarded by the inspired writers as the official messengers of Jesus himself. As therefore a royal ambassador needs his credentials, so do the Twelve stand in need of a divine seal, as it were, showing that they really carry God’s own message. This they receive in the power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of diseases and all manner of infirmities. In the Greek text the first infinitive, “to cast out,” is preceded by an epexegetic conjunction, while the second infinitive, “to heal,” depends directly on the word “power.” For the grammatical construction of the Greek text we may refer to Mt. 9:6; Mk. 2:10; Lk. 5:24; Jn. 5:27; 1 Cor. 9:5; Winer, lxiv. 4; Krüger, LV. iii. 1. There is no indication of any outward sign by which Jesus communicated this power to his apostles, though he may have done so by breathing on them or by imposition of hands [cf. Jn. 20:22; Acts 13:3; etc.]. The circumstance that our Lord imparts the power of miracles without asking the Father shows that he possesses the fulness of divinity, just as 1 Cor. 12:11 shows the divinity of the Holy Ghost. While Jesus manifests his freedom from all envy and jealousy by thus granting miraculous powers to his disciples, their power must of its very nature be always infinitely below that of the Master; while Jesus acts in his own name, the apostles must always act in the name of Jesus [cf. Jer.].

2. And the names of the twelve apostles.] 3.] The order of the apostles. We may first compare the order of the catalogue contained in the first gospel with that contained in the other books of the New Testament; and secondly, investigate the order of the first evangelist’s catalogue in itself.

α. Comparison of catalogues of apostles. We possess four complete catalogues of the apostles in the New Testament: Mt. 10:2–4; Mk. 3:16; Lk. 6:14; Acts 1:13. A juxtaposition is their best comparison:—

Matthew.

              Mark.

              Luke.

              Acts.

 

              1.              Simon Peter, first in all.

 

              2.              Andrew.

              James.

              Andrew.

              James.

 

              3.              James.

              John.

              James.

              John.

 

              4.              John.

              Andrew.

              John.

              Andrew.

 

              5.              Philip in all.

 

              6.              Bartholomew.

              Bartholomew.

              Bartholomew.

              Thomas.

 

              7.              Thomas.

              Matthew.

              Matthew.

              Bartholomew.

 

              8.              Matthew.

              Thomas.

              Thomas.

              Matthew.

 

              9.              James of Alpheus in all.

 

              10.              Lebbeus.

              Thaddeus.

              Simon.

              Simon.

 

              11.              Simon.

              Simon.

              Judas of James.

              Judas of James.

 

              12.              Judas Iscariot, last in all.

 

This table shows that the apostles are in all catalogues divided into three groups; Peter heads the first group throughout, while Andrew, James, and John form the other members of the same group. Philip heads the second group throughout, and Bartholomew, Thomas, and Matthew form the other members of the same division. James of Alpheus heads the third group, while Lebbeus, Simon, and Judas Iscariot are its members.

β. The catalogue of the first gospel. [1] The catalogue of apostles in the first gospel is not directed against false apostles [cf. Jer. Aug. Bed. Theoph. Euth. Mald.], but is here necessary because the call of the apostles has been omitted by St. Matthew. [2] Peter holds the first place not accidentally [Fritzsche,], since he is first in all four catalogues, as Judas Iscariot is last, and besides, “first” is expressly added to Simon Peter; nor does the first place indicate that Peter was called first [cf. Theoph. Meyer], since Andrew had approached Jesus before Peter [Jn. 1:40] and was called together with Peter; nor again does Peter occupy the first place, because he is “primus inter pares,” first among equals [cf. Beng. Meyer, Wichelh. Keil], because he is throughout the gospel most distinguished among the apostles by our Lord’s confidence [Mt. 16:18 ff.; etc.]; Weiss is therefore right in admitting that Peter was from the first preeminent among his fellow apostles and distinguished by our Lord’s greatest confidence. [3] As to the order of the apostles, it cannot be said to follow the time of their call; for though the gospels speak about Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, and Matthew [cf. Jn. 1:40–44; Mk. 1:16–20; Mt. 4:18–21; 9:9 ff.], we know nothing about the call of the other six [perhaps Bartholomew is an exception] apostles. Nor can it be contended that the apostles are enumerated according to their dignity [cf. Mald.]; for though Peter is named first, and the three more distinguished by Jesus head the list, still the apostolic dignity was the same in all apostles except Peter [Bar.], and the dignity of personal merit would have necessitated the same order in all catalogues [cf. Chrys.]. Finally, the order of the catalogues cannot be said to follow the age of the apostles, since nothing certain is known about their relative time of birth. Since the evangelist couples two and two together, it seems probable that he enumerates the pairs as they were sent by our Lord [cf. Mk. 6:7]; if this be true, we have in the catalogue an example of our Lord’s regard for even the natural dispositions of the Twelve, since he sends together two [perhaps three] pairs of brothers, and probably also a pair of friends [Philip and Bartholomew].

4.] Characteristics of the apostles. We know that “Peter” was the official name of the apostle [Jn. 1:43], and at the same time distinguished the head of the apostolic college from another Simon [or Thaddeus], as has been noted by Chrys. Jer. Bed. Euth. “Andrew” was an old Greek name, signifying “manly”; both Andrew and Peter were from Bethsaida [Jn. 1:44], where Greek must not have been an unknown language. The second pair of apostles consists of James and John, both sons of Zebedee [Mt. 4:21]; since Zebedee had hired men in his employ [Mk. 1:20], he must have been a well-to-do citizen of Capharnaum or Bethsaida [Jn. 1:44: Lk. 5:10|. The same is confirmed by the probable identity of John and the disciple acquainted with the high priest [Jn. 18:15.].

The name Philip is of Greek origin, and the apostle is named the first time in Jn. 1:43. Bartholomew is composed of Bar Tol-mai בַּר־הָּלְמַי [2 Kings 13:37]; the apostle must most probably be identified with Nathanael, whose meeting with Jesus through the instrumentality of Philip is told in Jn. 1:45 ff., and who is later on [Jn. 21:2] named in the midst of the apostles. The inference that Nathanael is an apostle and identical with Bartholomew is confirmed by the circumstance that Philip and Bartholomew are repeatedly named together, just as the other apostles that are called together are mentioned jointly. Besides these arguments drawn from intrinsic sources, we may appeal to authority, since Nathanael and Bartholomew are identified by Rup. Jans. Tost. Lap. Est. Calm. Arn. Reischl. Weinhart, Bisp. Schegg, Grimm, Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss, Mansel, Schenz. It must however be noted that Tol. [in Jo.] called the opposite opinion the common one, and that Mald. [Jn. 1:47] expressed his wish to identify Bartholomew and Nathanael, if he could find any respectable authority for that view. Aug. [in Ps. 65. n. 4; tract, vii. in Jo. n. 17] believes that Nathanael cannot have been among the apostles, because he belonged to the educated class. On the other hand, Assemani [Biblioth. Or. iii. 1, p. 306; iii. 2, p. iv.] attests that the Chaldee, the Armenian, and the Syriac Christians commonly identify Nathanael with Bartholomew.

After Philip and Bartholomew follow Thomas and Matthew; the meaning of Thomas [תְּא̇ם] is expressed by the Greek Didymus [Jn. 11:16; 20:24; 21:2], or our “twin.” In the other inspired writers Matthew precedes Thomas, and the addition “the publican” is not found; the first evangelist was induced by humility to recall his former profession, and to place himself after Thomas.

James of Alpheus was the son of Alpheus; he is also called James the less [Mk. 15:40], the brother of the Lord [Gal. 1:19; 2:9], and his mother is called Mary. Alpheus is identical with חלפי, or the Greek Κλωπᾶς [Cleophas]; hence Mary the mother of James is also called Mary of Cleophas, or the wife of Cleophas [Mk. 15:40; Jn. 19:25]. Thaddeus has a number of various readings: Rec. C2 L Δ read Λεββαῖος ὁ ἐπικληθεὶς θαδδαῖος [Lebbeus who is called Thaddeus]; Λεββαῖος alone Tisch. according to D 122; θαδδαῖος Lachm. according to א B 17 124; Weiss conjectures therefore rightly that the Rec. is a combination of both names; Tisch. has too little authority for his opinion; the right name is therefore Thaddeus, though Mk. 3:18 may seem to render this doubtful. The name is derived from the Aram. תַּד [Heb. שַׁד, דַּד, breast], so that it signifies “the courageous”; if we derive Lebbeus from the Heb. לב; heart, its meaning agrees nearly with that of Thaddeus [Jer. “corculus”]; Lightfoot, however, derives “Lebbeus” from the name of the Galilean town “Lebba.” The name Lebbeus creates difficulty, because its existence is guaranteed by many reliable documents [Tisch. Act. apost. apocryph. p. 261; Assemani, Biblioth. orient. iii. 2, p. 14.; Lipsius, die apocryphen Apostelgeschichten, ii. 2, p. 155 f.], and yet we have no other instance in which the name occurs. Some solve the difficulty by simply admitting the singular occurrence of the name in the case of Thaddeus [Jer. Bed. Jans. Keil, etc.; Act. Thaddæi say that Lebbeus assumed the name Thaddeus when he was baptized by John]; others declare that Lebbeus is a mere error of the scribes [cf. Schegg]; others, again, maintain that Lebbeus is a Hebrew translation of Thaddeus used in the Hebrew gospel of St. Matthew [cf. Schanz]. According to Lk. 6:16 the same apostle is called “Jude of James,” or as the English translation properly interprets the phrase, Jude the brother of James; the author of the Epistle of Jude [v.1] calls himself the brother of James. Grammarians [cf. Winer, neutest. Sprachidiome, xxx. 3] tell us that the Greek admits the foregoing phrase “Jude of James” instead of “Jude the brother of James.” If we therefore admit the distinction between Thaddeus and Lebbeus, the apostle had three names.

The next apostle is Simon the Cananean; the addition Cananean distinguishes this apostle from Simon [hearer] Peter. B C D L Min. Verss. Lachm. Tisch. Trig. have the reading καναναῖος, which is due, according to Meyer, to a false interpretation of the name, according to Fritzsche and Grimm to the preceding name θαδδαῖος; Rec. א Δ read κανανῖτης. Jer. Luth. Calov. Bleek, etc. derive the name from Cana in Galilee; but since according to other similar derivations the word ought to be καναῖος, if it were derived from Cana [cf. Strabo, xiii. 1; Parmen. in Ath. iii. p. 76], the word is said to be derived either from an unknown place in Palestine [Meyer; cf. Strabo, xiv. 5], or from the name Kanan [Holtzm.]. But there is no good reason for abandoning the explanation of the name given in Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13, where it is interpreted as “zealot.” According to this interpretation “Cananean” is the Aram. קַכְאָכִי and the Hebrew קָכָא [Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Deut. 4:24]. Zealots were those that showed a special zeal for the observance of the law or for the welfare of the theocracy [Num. 25:7; Eccli. 14:27; 1 Mach. 2:26, 54; Gal. 1:14; Acts 21:20]. Zealot in the present case needs not to be taken in the later technical sense when it was applied to a political party opposing the rule of the Romans [Joseph. B. J. IV. iii. 9; VII. viii.1; etc.]. Since “Cananean” is commonly added to the name of Simon [Mk. 3:18; Lk. 6:15; Acts 1:13], it cannot have been associated with the moral odium that characterized it in later times [against Lightfoot].

The last of the apostles in all the catalogues is Judas Iscariot; remembering the grief which that name must have caused to the evangelists whenever it recurred, it is worthy of notice how briefly the black treason of the apostate is characterized, “who also betrayed him.” The name Judas is a verbal noun derived from the impf. Hophal of the verb יָדָה [Gen. 29:35; 49:8], so that it means praise. The second name “Iscariot” has been variously interpreted: Jer. connects the word in one passage with the tribe Issachar, signifying “reward,” so that Iscariot would mean a man of Issachar, known for the traitor’s reward he received; Mald, is right in rejecting this opinion. Lightfoot suggests three possible meanings of the word Iscariot: it may be the word אסהזרטיא, which means a leather girdle, or it may be connected with אסכרא, signifying death by strangulation. If the former derivation be accepted, the name either signifies the wearer of the leather girdle and therefore of the purse, or the tanner [Acts 9:43]; if the second derivation be preferred, the name expresses the manner of the traitor’s death. Keil suggests two more possible meanings of Iscariot: it is derived from אִישׁ and either קְרִי [Lev. 26:2 ff., “hostile encounter”] or קְרִיוֹת [plur. of קִרְיָה, city]; according to the former derivation Iscariot means then “man of hostile encounter,” according to the latter it signifies “city man.” All these explanations must give way to another more simple one, and supported by the most ample authority. Iscariot is the Hebrew אישׁ קְרִיוו̇ת the man of Carioth, a city in the tribe of Juda [Jos. 15:25; 48:41; Am. 2:2]. This derivation is supported by א* plur. minusc. syr. [p mg.], which read in Jn. 6:71 ἀπο καρυωτου; D has the same reading in Jn. 12:4; 13:2, 26; 14:22. Tisch. thinks it probable that this reading was the common one in the fourth gospel, and that “Iscariot” was introduced later through the influence of the synoptic gospels. Jer. gives the same derivation together with another which we rejected in the foregoing discussion. There are two difficulties that may be advanced against this view, but there are not less serious difficulties against all the other opinions. Besides, the two difficulties admit, in the present case, of a satisfactory solution: first it is strange that the evangelists treat the words אִישׁ קְרִיוֹת as if they formed but one idea, and that they add the regular adjectival ending. In other words, “Iscariotes” is for the Greek and Latin writer what the word “man-of-Londoner” would be for the English author. The difficulty may appear less, if we reflect that the Hebrews had two ways of expressing the origin from a certain place: they could do so by placing “man of” before the name of the locality, and again by adding an adjectival termination to the same name. The first manner we see exemplified in the lxx version of 2 Kings. 10:6, 8, where the two words אִישׁ טוֹב are by the Greek interpreters united into the expression Ἰστώβ; this very expression is copied later on by Josephus [Ant. VII. vi.1]. Supposing, then, that “Iscariot” had become so customary in the language of the inspired writers that they regarded the phrase as the name of a place, what wonder that they added the adjectival termination “es”? That this name was thus intimately connected with Judas, we may infer from Jn. 6:71 and 13:26, where it appears that even Judas’ father had been called Iscariot. Though according to this explanation Judas Iscariot was from Judea, we may infer from Acts 2:7 that all the other apostles were Galileans.

We may here ask whether Judas was bad even when he was chosen among the apostles: Toletus answers with Cyril [lib. iv. c. 30, i. e. in Jo. 6:71, 72] and Jer. [lib. iii. cont. Pelag. iii. n. 6] that Judas was good at the time of his call, but he maintains with Aug. [tract, xxvii. in Jo.] that his fall was fully foreseen. When it is further asked why our Lord called Judas to the dignity of an apostle though he foreknew his fall, the same author [Comment. in Jo. vi. annot. 36; xiii. annot. 20] first draws attention to the fact that this question might be asked about all the angels and men that have lost, or will lose, their last end; they were not created in order that they might sin, but in order that God might use their sinfulness for a good end. Finally, it may be asked what the good end was that Jesus intended to draw from the foreseen treason of Jndas. 1. It brought about the death of our Redeemer [Tolet. in Jo. xiii. annot. 20]; 2. it showed the firmness of Christ’s doctrine, which prevailed in spite of the prejudice it suffered through Judas’ fall [Tolet. in Jo. vi. annot. 22; cf. Ambr. in Luc. lib. v. n. 45]; 3. it showed the infinite charity of Jesus who gave the most abundant means of salvation even to his future traitor [ibid.]; 4. it brought about that Jesus who had taken the infirmities of our nature upon himself had to suffer those that are the most painful and humiliating, dereliction and treason [ibid.]; 5. it was the occasion of a most admirable example of patience for all men that were to come after Jesus [ibid.]; 6. such an example of patience was absolutely needed by us since we had to live among the wicked [Aug. in Ps. xxxiv. 7, 8; civ. Dei, xviii. 49]; 7. the fall of Judas showed that the dignity of state does not sanctify a man, and that there is a bad member in almost every larger society of men [Thom.]; 8. the fall of Jndas shows that no one, however good he may be, can be secure of his perseverance, and that bad men may resist even the most powerful graces [cf. Sylv. tom. iii. lib. v. c. 5]; 9. finally, the history of the traitor shows that God may choose a man for the highest office and dignity, though he foreknows that the subject chosen will prove himself wholly unworthy.

5. These twelve Jesus sent, commanding them.] 2. Instruction for present need, vv. 5–15. In this instruction Jesus first determines the recipients of the message; secondly, its contents; thirdly, its credentials; fourthly, its price; fifthly, the life of the messengers on the road; sixthly, the life of the messengers in their quarters; seventhly, the blessing of the recipients of the messengers; eighthly, the fate of the rejecters of the messengers.

α. Addressees of the message. Our Lord expresses the address of the message first negatively, secondly positively. The negative part forbids the apostles to go either among the Gentiles or the Samaritans; the positive part directs them to the children of Israel. The apostles are not only to avoid the Gentiles, but even the way that leads to them; for a similar use of the genitive after “way” see Gen. 3:24; Acts 2:28; 16:14; Jer. 2:18. Such Gentiles lived especially along the maritime coast of Palestine, in the parts east of the Sea of Galilee, and also in certain towns of Galilee, Perea, and even Judea. The Samaritans are assimilated to the Gentiles both because they were the offspring of the Cutheans and other heathen tribes mingled with the Jews, left in Samaria by its Assyrian conquerors [4 Kings. 17:24, 30], and also because they refused to acknowledge the right of the temple in Jerusalem, though they adored the true God [Jn. 4:20]. The national hatred between Jews and Samaritans is briefly alluded to in Jn. 4:9; our Lord himself came only a few times into contact with either Samaritans or Gentiles [Jn. 4:4; Mt. 15:21], and in Mt. 15:24 he expressly states that he is sent only to the house of Israel. The direction he now gives his apostles is fully in keeping with the foregoing passage, with the predictions of the prophets who had promised the Messianic blessings especially to Israel, with other passages of the gospels extolling the prerogatives of the Jews [Jn. 4:22; Mt. 8:12], and finally with the doctrine of the apostle of the Gentiles himself, whose practice may at first sight appear to contradict his words [Acts 13:46; Rom. 1:16; 11:17; 15:18; Eph. 2:13, 14], Even the figure of the “lost sheep of the house of Israel” has its foundation in Jer. 50:6; cf. Is. 53:6; Ezech. 34:5, 14–16, 23; 37:24; Is. 40:11. The “house of Israel” recalls Lev. 10:6; Ex. 19:3 and the covenant of God with his chosen people. That this command of the Lord was not absolute is shown by Mt. 28:19; we see the distinction between Jew and Gentile abrogated in Acts. 10:9 ff. [cf. Tert. de fuga, c. vi.; Hil. ad l.]. The first gospel alone contains this prohibition of the Lord: on the part of the evangelist its presence is explained by the circle of readers for whom he intended his gospel; on the part of our Lord himself the prohibition has, according to Chrys. Euth. Jer. [ad l.; ep. ad Algas. 151, q. 5], an apologetic tendency, proving on the one hand that he did not hate the Jews on account of their hostilities, and on the other that the Jews could not be opposed to him on account of his preference for the Gentiles and Samaritans.

7. And going, preach, saying.] b. Contents of the message. The ministry of the apostles must continue that of the Master, as the Master’s had been prepared by that of the precursor [cf. Mt. 3:2; 4:17]. In the kingdom of heaven we have the object of our faith, hope, and charity; it implies also the removal of all obstacles and impediments [cf. Jans. Caj.].

8. Heal the sick, raise the dead.] c. Credentials of the message. The clause “raise the dead” is omitted in most codd., but is read in א* א* c B C* D Cyr Hil Ti W H and many Min.; its omission is’ easily explained by its absence in Mt. 10:1; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 9:6. For it is more probable that scribes should have omitted it on account of its absence in parallel passages than that they should have inserted it without cause. With Br. and Jer. we may here admire the divine guarantee our Lord gave for the truth of his and the apostle’s message.

freely have you received.] d. Price of the message. [1] These words secure the humility of the apostles, reminding them that their powers are not due to their own merit [Theoph. Fab. Jans.]; [2] “freely give” does not contradict v. 10, where the workman is said to be worthy of his meat. For though St. Paul practised the precept of the Lord in its greatest perfection [2 Cor. 11:7; cf. 1 Cor. 9:12, 15–18; 2 Cor. 11:9–12; 12:13–18; Phil. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:7; Acts 40:33–35], he recognized the exception stated in v. 10 [1 Cor. 9:4–14; 2 Thess. 3:9; cf. Holtzm.]. [3] The precept therefore prohibits any abuse of the apostolic authority for the furtherance of temporal ends, such as is alluded to in Doct. xii. apostol. xi. 5–xii. 5 [Holtzm. Jer. Chrys.]. Schanz sees something annoying in any allusion to a possible abuse, and appeals to the Jewish custom according to which teachers and judges could not claim remuneration. But whatever view may be defended, the words of Jesus exclude, at any rate, all simoniacal abuse [Br. Dion.]. [4] Our Lord implicitly indicates the reasons why the apostles were not to receive any remuneration: God had given them their supernatural gifts freely, and wished them freely communicated to others; even the acceptance of presents would be contrary to the will of God, and would bring on the danger of avarice. [5] Mald. Berl. Reischl are of opinion that “freely” in the second part of the Lord’s precept has the sense of “abundantly” or “frequently”; but the abundance of the apostolic benefits and their frequency is implied in the manifold powers granted by Jesus to his apostles [Knab.]. [6] Chrys. infers from the words of our Lord that the apostles were not to exercise their powers even in favor of their benefactors who had received them into their house; but this inference does not appear to be intended in Christ’s precept [Knab. Schanz].

9. Do not possess gold, nor silver.] e. The messengers on the road. The Greek expression for “do not possess” means properly “do not acquire,” do not get or take with you [cf. Weiss]. Chrys. Hil. Euth. Mald. Schanz, etc. take a more general meaning out of the word than a mere preparation for the journey. Our Lord distinguishes three kinds of money: gold, silver, and brass [copper; Holtzm.]; the second gospel speaks only of brass, i. e. the least valuable metal, and the third has only “silver” in the meaning of money in general. The “purses” literally mean “belts” or “girdles” in which valuables used to be carried as in our pockets [cf. Mk. 5:1, 8]. The “scrip” was the satchel or small bag for food, bread, drink, meat, etc. [cf. Judith. 13:10]. The “two coats signify, according to the original text, “two interior garments”; our Lord’s words may be understood as prohibiting either the carrying along of another under garment besides the one actually worn, or as prohibiting the actual wearing of two inner garments [cf. Mk. 6:9], or finally the successive wearing of two under garments [cf. Schanz]. The “shoes” may either mean “sandals” or regular shoes covering the upper part of the foot; since, according to Mk. 6:9, the apostles wore sandals when they were sent, our Lord’s prohibition means either that they were not to wear regular shoes even on their longer journeys, however useful they might appear to be, or that they were not to carry an extra pair of sandals besides those actually on their feet. Instead of μηδὲ ῥάβδον [nor a staff], א B D Min Lachm. Tisch. other codd. have ῥάβδους [C L Δ al.], “nor staves”; the plural well agrees with the preceding plurals.

According to the second gospel the apostles are allowed to carry a staff because it does not fall under the head of valuables; it reads [6:8], “and he commanded them that they should take nothing for the way but the staff only.” How, then, are we to reconcile the first and second gospel on this point? [1] Those who admit the foregoing plural “staves” in the first gospel see here a prohibition not to procure a staff beside the one in actual use [Keil], or not to secure a staff for defending themselves beside the one used in walking [cf. Jans. Bar.].

[2] Even if the singular “staff” be regarded as the true reading, the first gospel may forbid to acquire a staff beside the one already in possession [cf. Fil.], or the two evangelists may record words of Jesus spoken on two different occasions [Euth. Br.].

[3] The interpretation of St. Augustin [De consensu evang. ii. n. 71–74] according to which the first gospel forbids the use of a staff in its proper meaning, and the second allows the use of a staff in its metaphorical sense, signifying the apostolic authority, seems to do violence to the two passages now under consideration [Mald.].

[4] The best harmony of the two parallel passages is suggested by the very notion of inspiration according to which the Holy Ghost does not dictate the words to the inspired writers, but the meaning. Now the meaning of “nor a staff” [Mt.] and “but the staff only” [Mk.] is the same; for both the first and second evangelist convey the idea that the apostles are to carry only necessaries with them on their journey. That St. Matthew considered the staff as a superfluity, while St. Mark considered the staff as a necessity, does not affect the Lord’s prohibition regarding the avoidance of superfluities; for this is expressed in both gospels [Mald. Theoph. Jer. Euth.; cf. Knab.].

[5] Other explanations, especially of the more recent commentators, are therefore as superfluous as they are unsatisfactory. Schegg thinks that the first gospel views the apostles as occupied in preaching when they need no staff, while the second views them on their journeys when a staff is necessary [2:12]; Godet [S. Luc, i. 429] gives the opinion of Ebrard, who translates the words of the second gospel into the elliptic Aram, phrase כי אם מטה, “for if … a staff.” Since this ellipse could be explained as meaning either “for if you take a staff, you have sufficient” or “for if you take a staff, you have too much,” the second gospel has expressed the first of these explanations, while the first and the third gospel have adhered to the second. In any case, Jesus adds both for the instruction and the consolation of his apostles that God must be, and will be, their special protector, even as an earthly employer provides for the needs of his laborers.

Edersheim [i. p. 643] sees a parallelism between the precepts of Jesus and the Jewish traditions: the command “freely give” he compares with the Rabbinic injunction not to receive remuneration for teaching, which extension of Deut. 4:5 is expressed by Rabbi Jehuda [Berachoth, fol. 29 a; cf. Wünsche, p. 130]; another parallelism the learned author discovers between the Lord’s prohibition to provide things not necessary for the missionary journeys and the Rabbinic prescription not to enter the temple with staff and shoes and girdle. But in the first place, there is a notable discrepancy in both cases between the Rabbinic law and the precept of the Lord: the latter regards the free exercise of the power to work miracles and an entire self-surrender into the hands of divine providence during the time of missionary labor, while the former enjoins the free exercise of the profession of teaching and the honor due to the house of God as inconsistent with the presence of worldly superfluities [cf. Knab.]. In the second place, the Rabbinic injunctions knew no distinction between the spirit and the letter, while our Lord’s precepts hold always as to their spirit, but not always as to their letter [Lap.]. That the letter of these precepts does not bind the missionaries of all times, and did not bind even the apostles in all their later labors, may be inferred from the following considerations: [1] It is expressly stated only before the first missionary labors of the apostles which differed in many respects from their later labors: their field of labor was among the Jews, who were at the time rather friendly to the person and claims of Jesus, while later on they had to work among the Gentiles, or among Jews who were either prejudiced against the cause of Christ, or were openly committed to the cause of his opponents [cf. Acts 17:5]. [2] If we read the history of the later apostolic labors, we find that not all the apostles followed the same manner of living: while St. Paul provided his own sustenance by the labors of his hand, receiving nothing from his converts, except from the Philippians [cf. Acts 20:33, 34; 1 Cor. 4:12; 9:15; Phil. 4:15; 1 Thess. 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8], he openly taught that he was not bound to this manner of life [1 Cor. 9:7–14; Gal. 6:6; Rom. 15:27], and showed that other apostles lived differently [1 Cor. 9:5]. But even St. Paul did not urge the principle that he could burden those whom he intended to convert with his necessary expenses before they were brought over to the doctrine of his Master. [3] Though, therefore, the apostolic laborers must always remain spiritually detached from earthly gain, prudence may demand that they should provide their necessaries of life, till their field of labor has received the spirit and the principles of Christianity.

11. And into whatsoever city or town.] f. The residence of the messengers. [1] On coming to a new city or town the apostles must inquire for an upright and pious citizen who is willing to receive them [Chrys. Thom. Dion.], who is worthy of the kingdom of God [Caj. Jans.], and who will not injure their preaching by his impiety [Jer.]. [2] Having found such a worthy citizen, the apostles are to remain in his house, so as not to appear desirous after delicacies [Theoph.], or fickle and inconstant [cf. Chrys. Dion. Fab. Jans. Mald. etc.].

12. And when you come into the house.] g. The recipients of the messengers. The English version agrees with most commentators in supposing that “the house” mentioned in this verse is the same as the home of the citizen who has been found worthy, in the preceding verse. But [1] this does not well agree with the following verse, where the house may be found “not worthy,” unless we suppose that the apostles will be quite frequently deceived in the choice of their host. [2] Nor does this view agree with v. 14, in which the apostles are supposed to enter into many houses to announce the kingdom of God. [3] Thirdly, the definite article before “house,” even in Greek, does not necessarily identify “the house” in v. 12 with the worthy citizen’s home in v. 11 [cf. Winer, Neutest. Sprachidiome, xviii. 1], since it may indicate a class of objects. [4] Knab. is therefore right in explaining “the house” of v. 12 as parallel to Lk. 10:5, where there is question of “whatsoever house.” The apostles are therefore to salute whenever they enter a house, without waiting for the greeting of the inhabitants; the apostolic salute includes the Messianic blessings, for even the Jews expected that the Messias would begin to speak by pronouncing the salute of peace [Schöttgen, ad l.]. “If that house be worthy” has its parallel in Lk. 10:6: “if the son of peace be there.” The son of peace is he that is desirous after the Messianic peace; the peace comes upon the house when its inhabitants become the sharers of the Messianic blessings.

but if it be not worthy.] h. The rejecters of the messengers. Concerning the rejecters of the message, our Lord states three things: first, they shall not receive the Messianic blessings; secondly, the apostles shall leave their house or city; thirdly, their lot shall be worse than that of Sodom and Gomorrha. [1] The “peace” is here represented as a person, as coming and going. “Your peace shall return to you” does not mean that the apostles shall have the merit of their action [cf. Jer. Thom. Fab. Dion. Caj. Jans. Lap. Arn. Reischl, Weiss], for they always have the merit due to their work; nor does it mean that the apostles themselves shall now obtain the blessing which they had invoked for others [cf. Schegg, Mald. W. Grimm]; nor must we distinguish between the peace expressed in words and the peace or the compassion felt in the heart, allowing the former to he addressed to all, but limiting the latter only to the worthy [cf. Hil.]; nor finally can the words contain a consolation for the apostles alone, assuring them that their merit will not depend on the worthiness of their hearers, or that their own profit will be greater if they are repelled by their hearers [cf. Schanz, Knab.]; but according to the language of Scripture the words signify that the salutation shall remain fruitless [cf. Is. 45:23; 55:11; Euth. Mald. Calm. Bisp. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.]. That the word of the apostles may remain fruitless appears even in the Old Testament [Ez. 2:5, 7 heb.; 3:19; 33:9; cf. 1 Cor. 3:8].

[2] The second part of the fate of the rejecters of the apostolic message is expressed in the words “going forth out of that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” The apostles do not declare by this action that the abandoned house or city is legally unclean [cf. Weiss, Keil], though legal uncleanness was expressed by the Pharisees in this manner [cf. Lightfoot, ii. 331 f.]; nor does the action merely signify that the apostles have received nothing from the house or city in question, though the dust on the feet or clothes of a traveller is a sign of his toil and labor [cf. Chrys.]; but the action symbolizes that the house and city are an abomination in the sight of God and his servants, even as the Jews expressed the abomination of the Gentile countries through which they had passed by shaking the dust off their feet [cf. Lightfoot, Hil. Br. Caj. Jans. Lap. Bar.]. The second and third gospel add “for a testimony to them” [Mk. 6:11; Lk. 9:5]; for while the action encouraged the apostles themselves by reminding them of the holiness of their message, it must have impressed the beholders with a sacred awe of the coming retribution. We see in Acts 13:51; 18:6 that the apostolic messengers acted according to the word of their Master.

[3] The third punishment of the rejecters of the apostolic message consists in the ratification on the part of Christ himself of the apostolic sentence against the unworthy house or city. Since the grievousness of sin is proportionate to the knowledge of its malice and to the wickedness of the sinner’s will, it is easily understood how the sins of the Jews rejecting the Messianic message exceed the sins of Sodom and Gomorrha. The Jews acted against the evidence of numberless miracles, and despised the voice of the Holy Ghost speaking in the apostles; the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha had neither the one nor the other [cf. Mt. 11:23]. Similar comparisons between the sin of Juda and Israel on the one hand, and that of Sodom and Gomorrha on the other, we find in Jer. 3:11; Ez. 16:47–51. Since the Old Testament [Gen. 13:13; 18:20; 19:13] and the Rabbinic tradition viewed the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrha as a type of the most grievous chastisement [Wünsche, p. 131; Ed. i. p. 644], the threat of our Lord must have been most impressive in the ears of his Jewish hearers. Though this passage shows that the wicked will suffer different degrees of punishment [Jer.], it hardly proves, if taken by itself, that the wicked like the just will rise again; absolutely speaking, the universal judgment might be held over the souls, just and unjust unlike, without the resurrection of their bodies; to appeal to a Jewish belief in the resurrection of the just, and infer therefrom the resurrection of the sinners, is not arguing from the passage now in question.

16. Behold, I send you as sheep.] 3. The apostles’ further needs, vv. 16–42. This section contains the following parts: first a prediction of the apostles’ persecution, vv. 16–22; secondly, an encouragement to a fearless confession, vv. 23–33; thirdly, conditions of faithful discipleship, vv. 34–39; fourthly, blessing of the apostles’ benefactors, vv. 40–42.

a. Prediction of persecution, vv. 16–22. The persecution shall come from the part of the Jews [17], of the Gentiles [18–20], of the nearest relatives [21], and of all men [22]. From this outline it is evident that our Lord did not speak in this section of the immediate needs of the apostles, since they were not to come into immediate contact with the Gentiles. But Chrys. well describes the need of preparing the soldiers of the cross for their hardships long before they have to bear them actually. This preparation is well connected with the preceding instruction concerning the immediate needs of the apostles; because it inculcates supreme detachment from life and its comforts, as the preceding instruction insists on perfect detachment from the goods of this life [cf. Bar.].

α. Before coming to the different classes of enemies, Jesus enounces the general truth that the apostles will have as many and ferocious enemies as the sheep have in the midst of wolves, and draws a general principle of life from this fact. It is, however, the source of the greatest consolation that the apostles are sent by Jesus himself: “Behold, I send you.” Even as Absalom encouraged his servants [2 Kings 13:28] with the assurance that they were sent by him, so does Jesus encourage his disciples by drawing their attention to his commission [Caj.; cf. Theoph. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Mald. Jans. Knab. etc.]. Jesus does not say that he sends his apostles to the wolves, though Chrys. considers this as a possible meaning, but that his apostles on their mission will be like sheep among wolves; this is indicated by the Greek preposition ἐν, not ποός. Their own helplessness is therefore an additional motive for relying wholly on the power of their Master. The following proverbial expression occurs even in Rabbinic writings; R. Jehuda [Midrasch Schir hasch. f. 17 b] has it “God says: towards me the Israelites are simple, pious as doves; but towards the Gentiles they are prudent as serpents.” Even in the Old Testament the serpent is identified with cunning [Gen. 3:1], and the dove with simplicity and purity [Os. 7:11]. In the writings of the Fathers we find the cunning of the serpent expressed in their belief that it covers its head, the seat of its life, with its whole body [Chrys. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Fab. Caj. Jans.], that it places one of its ears against the rock and stops up the other with its tail so as not to hear the voice of the enchanter [Aug. in Ps. 57 n. 5; Bed. Dion. Sylv. Bar. Lap.], that its tongue is sharper than a sword [Reischl], that it cunningly devised the best ways and means to induce our first parents to sin [Bas. Hil.]. Euth. Jans. and other writers extol the purity and the other good qualities of the dove. Calm. illustrates in the various events of St. Paul’s life both the prudence of the serpent and the simplicity of the dove. Prudence relies, in a manner, on human resources, simplicity on God’s help; as prudence without simplicity degenerates into mere cunning, so does simplicity without prudence degenerate into folly. The words do not, therefore, mean that the apostles are to be among the infidels as serpents among serpents, and amidst the faithful as doves among doves [cf. op. imp.], but they must unite both qualities, however hard they may be to join [Euth.; cf. Alb. Jans. Br.]. Prudence alone will impede the undertaking of heroic labors, while simplicity alone will entail insuperable difficulties.

17. But beware of men.] β. Jewish enemies. Taking men as they were at the time of our Lord they were the natural enemies of his messengers. Hence the greatest care was needed, on the part of the latter, against the wiles and machinations of their surrounding [cf. Br. Jans.]. But even here it is not prudence alone that is required, but the simplicity of the dove must exert its spiritual force of edification [cf. Meyer, Schegg, Keil]. The first reason for great care against too much confidence in men is taken from the hostility of the Jews, who will bring the apostles before their councils and scourge them in their synagogues. Small towns of the Holy Land had, according to Rabbinic tradition [Ed. ii. 554], a council of three judges; in larger towns, counting more than 120–130 men, they had a council of twenty-three, while the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem was the highest court. The common corporal punishment consisted, among the Jews, in scourging, which was inflicted in the synagogues [Acts 22:19; 26:11], at the word of any of the foregoing courts or even of a Rabbi of authority, provided it did not exceed the legal thirty-nine stripes [2 Cor. 11:24; cf. Wünsche, p. 132]. About the scourging unto death less is known for certain.

18. And you shall be brought before governors, and before.] γ. Gentile enemies. The Greek particles of transition show here that there is a gradation in the words of our Lord. The “governors” and “kings” here in question are the proconsuls, the procurators, etc. [e.g. Cyrinus, Felix, Sergius Paulus, Festus] and those honored with the royal title, whether subject to Rome or independent [e.g. Agrippa, Aretas, Nero, Domitian, etc.]. The phrase “for my sake” adds the needed consolation to the fearful prediction [cf. Acts. 4:7; 5:18, 40]. The words “for a testimony” show that the sufferings of the apostles will be either the occasion of the conversion of their enemies, or if they remain obdurate, it will be a testimony against them before the tribunal of God [Theoph. Hil.]. This testimony will be “to [i.e. either for or against] them [i.e. either the Jews: Theoph. Euth. Meyer, Schegg, Keil, Schanz, Knab.; or the governors and kings: Bleek, Weiss] and to the Gentiles.” Under the stress of this persecution the apostles are not to be anxious or solicitous [Jans. Mald. Lam.] concerning the matter or the manner of their defence [cf. Lk. 12:11; Mt. 6:25]. Their ordinary human care will be aided by the special assistance of divine providence. “It shall be given” to the apostles [cf. Chrys. Br. Lap.] in their hour of need what to say, so that they shall enjoy the privilege of the Old Testament prophets [Is. 50:4; Lk. 21:15; 1 Cor. 2:10 ff.; Eph. 6:19]. St. Thomas well remarks that the words “it is not you that speak” do not exclude the instrumental activity of the apostles, but they merely denote that God will be the principal agent, using the apostles as his instruments. Theoph. sees in “the Spirit of your Father” a great source of consolation for the suffering apostolic laborer.

21. The brother also shall deliver up the brother.] δ. Domestic enemies. It is not known that the apostles personally had to suffer from domestic enemies for the sake of Jesus, but they surely suffered from those most closely connected with them by blood, and our Lord’s thought swerved here to the converts of the apostles, in whom his prediction was fulfilled to the letter [Hil. Jer.]. A similar breaking of the most sacred ties is depicted in Mich. 7:6; this is the sword which Jesus said he had brought on earth [Pasch.]. Since there is a similar prediction connected with the eschatologic prophecies of our Lord, Schanz infers that the conditions in which the apostles found the world resemble those of the last days.

22. And you shall be hated by all men.] ε. General enmity. This may be compared to the “odium generis humani” of Tacitus [An. xv. 44]; “all men” refers here to all unbelievers in Christ [op. imp. Theoph. Euth.]. But “for my name’s sake” removes here again the sting from the fearful prediction [Euth. Tert. apol. c. 2, 3; cf. Acts 9:15]. But it is not enough to have a glorious cause, one needs also personal fortitude [Euth.]; for only “he that shall persevere unto the end” [i.e. the end of the persecution: cf. Schanz, Mt. 24:13; Dan. 12:11, 12; or the end of the world: Meyer; cf. Tert. scorp. c. 9; or the end of one’s earthly life: Chrys. Euth. Lap. Jer. etc.], “he shall be saved.”

23. And when they shall persecute you.] b. Fearless confession. This section shows first the general behavior of the persecuted apostle, 23; secondly, it draws a motive of consolation from the relation of the apostle to his Master and Lord, 24, 25; thirdly, it calls attention to the future revelation of their sufferings, 26, 27; fourthly, it shows the real weakness of the enemies, 28; fifthly, it reveals the special divine providence watching over the apostles, 29–31; sixthly, it compares the future of the faithful confessor with that of the unfaithful one, 32, 33.

α. Behavior under persecution. What has been said might lead one to believe that the patient sufferer ought to remain in the place where he suffers persecution; the example of our Lord [Mt. 2:14; Lk. 4:30; Jn. 7:50] and of the disciples [Acts 8; 9:25; 12:17] agrees with the passage now under consideration in advising a different course of action. Bed. Jans, see in this very arrangement or permission of divine providence one of the ordinary means of spreading the gospel, as is illustrated in Acts 13:51; 14:6, 19–25; 17:10, 14; etc. Commentators have found a great difficulty, real or imaginary, in harmonizing this precept of the Lord with the duties of the good shepherd incumbent on every apostle. Euth. Theoph. Chrys. Tert. Jer. Bed. have therefore understood the command to flee only of the first mission of the apostles, though there was no occasion at that early period to put the command in practice; Aug. [ep. 228, al. 180, ad Honoratum] Jans. Mald, are inclined to regard the Lord’s command as the exception, not as the general rule, though Clem. Alex. is right in urging the universality of the precept; but if we adhere strictly to the words of Jesus, who speaks not to regular parish priests, but to missionaries, there hardly exists any difficulty at all: for if the missionary has already founded a Christian centre, he has also provided a religious head for his new foundation; if he has not yet founded a church, he will not be able to found one under the opposition contemplated in the precept of our Lord; in either case, his withdrawal from the place of his labor till a more quiet season will not harm his mission, and will preserve the usefulness of a missionary. An accidental source of consolation may be found in the assurance that the apostles shall never want a place whither they may flee in times of difficulty.

Commentators have been exercised by a second difficulty springing from the present passage: The coming of the Son of man signifies in the synoptic gospels his second advent: Mt. 24:30, 44; Mk. 13:26; Lk. 12:40; 18:8; 21:27. Now Jesus says, “You shall not finish all the cities of Israel, till the Son of man come.” Hence, the second coming should have happened in the lifetime of the apostles. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Jans. restrict the present words to the first mission of the apostles, but their view has already been rejected; Bed. explains the second coming as the resurrection, Calv. Grote, Bleek see in it the coming of the Holy Ghost, Schott, Ebrard, Gass identify it with the destruction of Jerusalem, Orig. Theodor. Heracl. Bed. Kuinoel regard the second coming as expressing any special divine help assisting the persecuted apostles: but all these explanations disregard the common meaning of the expression in the synoptic gospels. Mald. Jans. Ypr. Hofmann, etc. explain the phrase “finish all the cities of Israel” as meaning “bring all the cities of Israel to Christian perfection,” but this meaning of the phrase is surely not natural and obvious; Chrys. Euth. Thom. Fab. Dion. etc. retain the obvious signification of the phrase “finish your mission in all the cities of Israel” [i.e. in all the cities in which there are Jewish inhabitants, whether in or out of Palestine]. Thus the present passage is brought into harmony with Rom. 11:25, according to which the remnant of the Jews is to enter the Church only after the fulness of the Gentiles [cf. Aug. Hil. Bed. Pasch. Orig. in cat. græc.; Mt. 24:33; 28:20].

24. The disciple is not above the master.] β. The apostles’ relation to their Master and Lord. The consolation contained in this passage is drawn from the fact that Jesus has suffered the same or similar hardships; the two proverbs contained in vv. 24, 25 express the same truth, with this difference, that the first is worded negatively, the second positively. Whatever other proverbs may be quoted against the two now in question, it remains certainly true that the disciple, as long as he is disciple, and the servant, as long as he is servant, must be content with the honor and the proficiency of their master and lord. This consolation contained in the example of the suffering lord and master is the reason why the suffering saints of the New Testament express themselves so differently from those of the Old Testament: cf. Rom. 5:3; 1 Pet. 4:14; Ps. 72:2–13; Jer. 12:1–3; 20:14–18; etc. We read that the Pharisees accused Jesus of expelling devils by the power of Beelzebub [Mt. 12:24; Lk. 11:15], and that the scribes accused him of having Beelzebub [Mk. 3:22], but it is not stated anywhere that the Jews called our Lord Beelzebub. Euth. is of opinion that the Jews may have added this calumny to their other blasphemies, and that our Lord referred to it because it pained him more than all the others; Knab. considers that another reading of the Greek text, found in B* and adopted by Lachmann, may be the correct one, because, according to it, we must render, “if they have objected Beelzebub [i.e. his alliance] against the good-man of the house.” Jesus calls himself “the good-man of the house” because he considers his Church as his family, and the apostles are the members of his household. Finally, commentators have found difficulty in explaining the word “Beelzebub.” The Greek codd. and some Latin ones read “Beelzebul,” a word susceptible of a double interpretation: for it may be derived from כַּעַל זֶכֶל or from בַּעַל וְבוּל. The former derivation gives us the meaning “lord of dung,” the latter “lord of the habitation.” It is true that in the language of Talmudic writers “dung” and the verbs connected with it are used to express idol-worship; but if the word in question were thus derived, it ought to read “Beelzabel,” as we read “Jezabel” [cf. Schanz, Weiss]. The other name, “lord of the habitation.” does not directly signify “the devil,” though the word itself may allude to the title “good-man of the house,” claimed by our Lord. The opinion of Holzammer [Kirchenl. 2 ed. sub Baal], that the later Jews called the supreme god of Accaron, Beelzebub, also Beelzebul or “lord of the heavenly mansion,” because the god had that title among his worshippers, is a mere conjecture. The more probable view considers Beelzebul a mere variation of Beelzebub, as Beliar is a variation of Belial, and Bab el mandel of Bab el mandeb [cf. Wolf Baudissin, Real-encyclop. für protestant. Theol. 2 ed. ii. p. 210]. Beelzebub or בַּעַל זְבוּב signifies “lord of flies,” the idol being invoked against pestilence from flies. This idea of Beelzebub agrees with Josephus [Ant. IX. ii. 1], 4 Kings 1:2, the lxx. version, and the Latin and Greek name of the deity [myiagrus dens, Ζεὺς ʼΑπόμυιος]. Scholz [Götzendienst und Zauberwesen, 1877, p. 173] is of opinion that Beelzebub was taken as the representative god of Accaron because his statue was the most ugly of all the statues of the idols.

26. Therefore fear them not.] γ. Future revelation. The “therefore” refers back to what Jesus has said about his own suffering in his apostolic ministry; the apostles shall share his glory. The latter is described more in particular:—

[1] “Nothing is covered that shall not be revealed,” i. e. the ignored truth of the gospel message shall come to be recognized [Jans. Lam, Calm. Arn.], or the justice of the apostles shall be made known together with the wickedness of their enemies [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. op. imp. Theodor. heracl. in cat. Mald. Lap. Bisp. Schanz, Knab.], or the day of judgment will vindicate the cause of the apostles and bring their enemies to their deserved punishment [Hil. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Dion. Caj. Sylv.], or the apostles name shall be glorified both in this life and in the day of judgment [Fil.], or the apostles shall be glorified in this life and their message shall be made known [Reischl], or finally, the message of the apostles shall come to be known, their cause shall be rectified both in this life and in the day of judgment [Alb. Bar.].

[2] “That which I tell you in the dark, speak ye in the light.” Though Lightf. and Schöttg. are of opinion that this passage alludes to the practice in the synagogue according to which a passage from Scripture was read first in Hebrew, and then translated into the popular dialect by a Targumist, there is really little correspondence between the words of our Lord and the foregoing custom; Schanz, etc. have a better right of appealing to the custom of the Rabbis, who used to reserve certain favorite portions of their doctrine for the ears of their favorite disciples, and Knab. regards the language, perhaps with still greater probability, as metaphorically expressing the small and unknown part of the earth in which Jesus instructed his disciples [cf. Chrys.]. Since proclamations are often made in the East from the flat housetops, there is nothing extraordinary in the injunction of our Lord; it merely indicates the publicity and the fearlessness with which the apostles must accomplish their ministry.

28. And fear ye not them that kill the body.] δ. Weakness of the enemy. Our Lord here touches the utmost suffering that the enemies of his name can inflict on the apostles; but even this punishment is nothing but the death of the body, a temporal evil, which is a mere nothing compared with the eternal death inflicted by God himself on his enemies and his unfaithful apostles [cf. Mt. 5:29, 30]. If, then, the apostles, in spite of their confirmation in grace, were warned to fear the eternal punishment of God, what must not be said to an ordinary disciple of Christ [cf. Knab.]?

29. Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing?] ε. Special divine providence. It is not only through fear that our Lord wishes the apostles to perform the duties of their calling amidst the outer difficulties of persecution, but also through a trustful confidence in the special care of divine providence. The existence of the latter is proved by an appeal to the care God takes of even the smallest creatures. Little birds are still strung together and sold for two farthings in the towns of Palestine [Farrar]; our Lord alludes to this custom, for the Greek text reads “little birds” instead of “sparrows” [only Lk. 12:6, 7 and here in New Testament, but often in lxx.], and fixes the price of a pair at a farthing [as], or about one cent. Still even the “little bird enjoys the special care of providence, so that he cannot be shot or struck down or die in any other manner without the special intervention of providence. This doctrine fully agrees with God’s love of all creatures [Wisd. 11:25], and his care for the brute creation [Prov. 12:10], while it does not contradict the absence of that special providence in the case of animals which he accords his rational creatures [1 Cor. 9:9; cf. Comely, ad l.]. Jer. warns us here against superstition, and Hil. appears to stretch the meaning of the passage too far, when he infers the licitness of bird-catching from it. Our Lord descends to objects of even less value, “the very hairs of your head,” and shows that God’s providence extends even to them, for the saying proverbially expresses special care [1 Kings 14:45; Lk. 21:18; Acts 27:34] what is numbered is known to its master, and cared for individually [Chrys. Euth. Jer. Lap.]. Our Lord finally infers a practical conclusion for the apostles: they exceed many sparrows in value, and need not therefore fear.

32. Every one therefore that shall confess me.] ζ. the faithful and the unfaithful confessor. The Greek text reads, “that shall confess in me”; Wichelhaus sees here an influence of the Hebrew, but “to confess in” is as foreign to Hebrew as it is to Greek; Fritzsche, Weiss, etc. admit an Aram. influence in this phrase, and they thus arrive at the meaning “to testify in one’s cause” [Grimm] or “to testify by one’s person” Arn. Keil, Weiss, Wichelh.]; Euth. and Cyril explain the “in me” as equivalent to “me,” while Chrys. and Theoph. interpret it “by my grace,” “in my strength.” Heracleon [Clem. Alex. Strom, iv. p. 595] and Orig. [cat.] suggest the meaning “in union with me,” according to the promise that there shall be mutual union between Christ and his faithful servants [Jn. 15:4; Rom. 3:24; 6:5, 11; etc.]. According to this explanation it is clear why Jesus promises in the second part of the verse, “I will also confess in him.” The confession in question is not the merely secret adherence of the heart, but extends to an outward profession of discipleship [Rom. 10:10], though the inward faith must be the root of the outward confession [op. imp.]. According to Schöttgen “to deny a master” amounted among the Rabbis to a refusal of having him as one’s teacher; the denial of Jesus before his Father implies that such a one will not be the heir of the heavenly kingdom, but will suffer the fate described in Mt. 8:12. The preaching of the gospel is therefore in very deed unto the ruin and the resurrection of many.

34. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth.] c. Conditions of faithful discipleship, 34–39. The conditions of discipleship consist first in one’s readiness to battle for the sake of Christ against even the members of one’s family; secondly, in a high degree of self-denial.

α. Domestic struggles. These are predicted by our Lord that the apostles may not be disturbed by their occurrence in consequence of their message, especially since they will be apt to believe that such a state of things contradicts the Messianic peace [Chrys.]. The disturbance thus caused is not owing to the doctrine of Christ, but to the bad disposition of the men of the world; for the sword of Christ disturbs only a peace that is founded on false moral principles. This disturbance had been foreseen even by the prophets of the Old Testament, cf. Mich. 7:6; Ex. 32:27; Num. 25:5; Deut. 13:16; 33:9. The expressions “I came not to send peace” and “I came to set …” do not state the purpose of the coming of our Lord, but rather its inevitable consequence; for, according to the language of Scripture, purpose and consequence are often interchanged.

37. He that loveth father or mother more than me.] β. Self-denial. The self-denial required by our Lord demands first that he be loved more than any relative or friend, so that even the love of parents for their children and of children for their parents has to yield to that for our divine Master [cf. Chrys. Lam. Caj. Jer. op. imp.]; secondly, the love of Christ implies not merely death to all affection, but also readiness to suffer the greatest pain, whether in body or mind, for the sake of Jesus; thirdly, for the sake of Jesus his disciple must be ready to renounce his earthly life. As the earthly affection that must yield to the love for Jesus is represented by the purest and strongest, so is the pain that we must be prepared to suffer for Jesus represented by the most intense and disgraceful of torments. For crucifixion was not only the most painful but also the most ignominious of deaths [cf. Chrys. Pasch. Jans.]. In the phrase “and followeth me” Jesus implicitly predicts the manner of his own death [Mald. Jans. Lap. Bisp. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. Though the apostles may not have fully understood the prophecy contained in this clause, they surely understood the intensity of the suffering for which they were called to be prepared, since the Romans inflicted the punishment of crucifixion in Palestine [Ed. i. p. 651; Targ. ad Ruth 1:17]. That Jesus did not intend merely the greatest sufferings, but death itself, by what he had said about carrying one’s cross is implied in the relation he establishes between the life of the body and that of the soul; for he that saves his life of the body by refusing to carry the cross loses the eternal life of the soul, while the loss of one’s temporal life for the sake of the Master brings the eternal life of the soul with it [cf. Mt. 16:25; Mk. 8:35; Lk. 9:24; 17:33; Jn. 12:25]. We need not insist on the efficacy of these exhortations, since we see their result in Acts 7:54, 56 f.; 12:1–3.

40. He that receiveth you, receiveth me.] d. Reward of benefactors. The general contempt in which the apostles will be held will have its counterpart: hospitality shown to them will be regarded as hospitality extended to our Lord himself or to his heavenly Father. While these words manifest the dignity of the apostles, they also show God’s love for them, and are calculated to open every Christian home for their reception [cf. Jer. Mald. Lam. Chrys. Euth.]. Jesus now proceeds to enumerate various degrees of remuneration for Christian charity: since reward and merit naturally correspond with one another, the different kinds of charity are first enumerated.

α. The first consists in giving hospitality to a prophet, simply because he is a prophet [cf. Chrys. Jer. op. imp. Dion. Caj. etc.]; the second, in extending hospitality to a just man, again because he is a just man, not merely because he appears to be just [Jans.]; the third, in showing any kindness to Christ’s “little ones,” i. e. to Christ’s apostles or disciples [cf. Mk. 9:39, 40; 1 Cor. 1:27; Euth.], or to those of little Christian virtue [Sylv.], or finally to sinful persons [Hil.]. Since “a cup of cold water” is a great help to a weary traveller, we cannot infer from this passage that Jesus supposes the benefit to be of minor importance [cf. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.], though several patristic writers insist on the facility of such a good work [Jer. Chrys. Euth.]. The good intention in the performance of the work is in each case insisted upon [cf. Rom. 2:7].

β. In the second place we may consider the reward promised for these three kinds of good works: it is the reward of a prophet, of a just man, and a reward expressed without further addition. The reward of a prophet is either the reward due to a prophet whose coöperator the benefactor becomes [Pasch. Thom. Fab. Jans. Bar. Caj.; cf. 1 Kings 30:24; Mald.], or the reward due to a benefactor of a prophet [Chrys. Alb.], or again the reward which a prophet gives by announcing the word of God and praying for his benefactors [cf. Sylv. Lap. Calm. Bisp. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Weiss]. We must note what is added by Lap. and Sylv. that the reward will be proportionate to the degree of coöperation in the good of the Christian world and to the charity of the coöperators.

β. Testimony of the Baptist and the Obstinacy of the People, 11

1. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding.] In this section the evangelist narrates first John’s embassy to Jesus, vv. 1–6; secondly, Christ’s testimony to John, vv. 7–15; thirdly, the rebuke of the people, vv. 16–24; fourthly, our Lord’s call of the citizens of the kingdom, vv. 25–30.

1. The Baptist’s embassy. The gospel gives first the circumstances of the embassy; secondly, the event itself; thirdly, the answer of our Lord.

α. Circumstances of John’s embassy. These are on the part of our Lord contained in the statement that he had made an end of commanding [an expression which according to its Greek original may comprise strict commands, councils, forewarnings, and promises] his disciples, and was preaching and teaching in the cities of Galilee; on the part of the Baptist, we are told that he heard in prison the works of Christ.

[1] On the part of Jesus. The third gospel, which professes to follow a chronological order, states that Jesus sent out his Twelve [Lk. 9:1–6] some time after the Baptist’s embassy [Lk. 7:18 f.]. As the first evangelist confirms the doctrine of our Lord contained in the sermon on the mount [cc. 5–7] by the miracles of cc. 8, 9, so he corroborates the beginnings of the foundation of the kingdom [c. 10.] by the testimony of the Baptist [c. 11.]. “From thence” may therefore be referred to the place in Galilee determined in 9:35. “Teach” and “preach” are expressed by two Greek words meaning the exercise of a master and a herald respectively; the former explains and instructs [cf. lxx. in Gen. 41:43; 2 Par. 36:22; Esth. 6:9, 11], the latter proclaims publicly and solemnly [Ex. 32:5; 36:6; 4 Kings 10:20; 2 Par. 20:3]. “In their cities” refers either to the cities of the apostles [Euth. Alb. Fritzsche, etc.], or to those of the inhabitants of Judea and Galilee [Bed. Rab. Pasch. Mald.].

[2] On the part of John. The history of John’s imprisonment is told in Mt. 14:3, 4; according to Josephus [Ant. XVIII. v. 2] he was shut up in the fortress Machærus, the modern Mkhaur, situated in the southern part of Perea, east of the Dead Sea, near the Arabian frontier. If the present text of Josephus [Ant. XVIII. v. 1] be accurate, this naturally strong and artfully fortified place [Joseph. B. J. VII. vi. 1, 2] belonged to the Arabian king Aretas at the time that Herod Antipas first put away his lawful wife, the daughter of Aretas, and married Herodias. Schürer [The Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, Div. I. vol. ii. p. 26; Engl. Transl. Edinburgh, 1890] mentions a number of conjectures concerning the manner in which the fortress might have come into the hands of Herod Antipas before the time of John’s imprisonment,—for it can hardly be supposed that the Baptist should have been detained in a foreign stronghold,—the most probable of which is that Tiberius ordered Aretas to surrender the place to Antipas [cf. Wieseler, Chronological Synopsis, pp. 216, 217; Beweis des Glaubens, 1870, p. 166]. The “works of Christ” which John heard in prison are his miracles [Jn. 5:36; Lk. 7:18]. That the confinement of the Baptist was not very strict may be inferred from the fact that he heard, probably through his disciples, of the events of the outer world; the same seems to follow from Mk. 6:20, 29.

sending two of his disciples, he said to him.] β. John’s embassy. [1] The sending. The reading “sending two of his disciples” is less probable than “sending through his disciples.” The former reading owes its origin probably to the parallel passage in the third gospel [7:19], while it is hard to understand how such an easy and clear reading could have given room to the difficult reading “through:” the latter must therefore represent the earlier text. Again, the latter reading is based on a Hebrew idiom, which fully accords with the nature of the first gospel [cf. Ex. 4:13; Lev. 16:21; 1 Kings 16:20; 2 Kings 12:25; 15:36; etc.]. There is no necessity of transposing the words so as to read “sending, said to him by his disciples” [cf. Meyer], since it is self-evident that John did not speak to Jesus immediately. The third gospel [7:20], too, emphasizes the sending of the disciples rather than their instrumentality as speakers.

[2] The question. In the question, or rather its second part “or look we for another,” it is doubtful in the original Greek whether we have the indicative or the subjunctive. The Vulgate, Schegg, Fritzsche, etc. prefer the indicative, so that we may interpret, “or are the conditions such that we look for another?” Fil. and most Protestant writers prefer the subjunctive mood, which according to their view expresses a deliberation in the present question. Jesus is addressed, or at least asked, whether he be “he that is to come.” This expression is, according to the language of the Old Testament, a Messianic title: cf. Gen. 49:10; Ez. 21:27; Ps. 117:26; 39:8; Deut. 18:15. It is for the same reason that in Rabbinic language the Messianic kingdom was named עֹלָם הַבָּא, δ αἰὼν ὁ ἐρχόμενος [cf. Mk. 10:30; Lk. 18:30; Jn. 6:14; Mt. 12:32]. Similar language we meet in the epistles of St. Paul: Eph. 1:21; Heb. 6:5; 9:11, so that the question must have been quite clear to our Lord and his surrounding.

[3] Motive of the Baptist. Writers are very much at variance concerning the motive that impelled the Baptist to send his messengers and ask the foregoing question, [a] Many of the more recent Protestant commentators [cf. Ed. i. p. 607; Meyer, Keil, Weiss] and some Catholic writers [cf. Schanz, Loisy, Evang. synopt. pp. 244 ff.] maintain that the Baptist sent his envoys and asked the foregoing question to settle his own doubts concerning the Messiasship of Jesus. They are of opinion that the lengthy imprisonment had a depressing effect upon John, so that he began to doubt about the true character of our Lord. It is true that Tert. [De baptism, c. 10] believed the special assistance of the Holy Ghost had left the Baptist when Jesus had begun his public ministry, so that the former fell into a state of religious doubt concerning the very person whose precursor he had been [c. Marc. iv. 18]. While the latter opinion is singular, to say the least, the first-mentioned authors do not sufficiently distinguish between the time of spiritual desolation and that of actual transgression. Besides, a doubt in matters of faith after once possessing the light of faith, as John did, implies grievous sin.

[b] The author of “Quæstion. et responsion. ad orthodox.” [qu. 38; cf. 87] contends that John sent his embassy, not indeed to learn whether the person concerning whom he had testified in his ministry was the Messias, but to establish the identity of the wonder-worker with the person in whose favor he had testified [cf. Lam. Mansel]. But the gospel shows that the ministry of the Baptist and of our Lord overlapped in such a manner that John could hardly be ignorant of the identity of our Lord’s person.

[c] Gams, Schegg, and other writers imagine that the Baptist sent his embassy in order to urge our Lord to hasten the manifestation of his royal power; some writers add that John himself hoped to regain his liberty by the manifestation of our Lord’s Messianic character. We need not state that this interpretation is wholly at variance with the humility of the Baptist manifested at the first public appearance of Jesus [cf. Mt. 3:11].

[d] Orig. [hom. in lib. Reg. 2. c. xxviii; de engastrimytho], Jer. [ad Mt. xi. 3; ep. ad Algas. ep. 121, qu. 1], Gregor. [hom. in Ez. i. 1, n. 5; hom. vi. 1 in evang.], Bed. Pasch. Br. Gregor. Naz. [or. xliii. n. 75], Euseb. Emess. [or. i.], Ruffin. Toran. [expos. symb.] believe that John asked our Lord whether he was the one to come into Limbo,—whether in other words the Baptist, foreseeing his own death, might announce the coming of the Messias to the souls of the Old Testament detained in Limbo. Both the form of the question and of the answer show that this was not the meaning of the Baptist’s embassy. A similar view is mentioned in the works of Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Ambr. [in Luc. vii. 19; l. v. n. 98]. The Baptist is said not to have known the mystery of Christ’s death, or if he knew it, to have doubted whether the Word Incarnate must really subject himself to such shame and suffering. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Alb. Thom. Dion. reject this opinion. It is not probable that he who was more than a prophet understood the mystery of the redemption less than a prophet [cf. Is. 53; Ps. 21:17 ff.; 68:22; etc.]; nor can we suppose that he who uttered the words concerning the Lamb of God [Jn. 1:29] was ignorant of the manner in which the sins of the world were to be taken away.

[e] While the Fathers generally reject the opinion according to which the Baptist sent to Jesus in order to satisfy his own doubt concerning the Messiasship of our Lord [Hil. Theodor heracl. in cat. Orig. in cat. Ambr. in Luc. vii. 19; l. 5, n. 93–95, Jer. ep. ad Algas. 121, qu. 1, August. serm. 66, n. 4, Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Cyril Alex. ad h. l. in cat. Basil. or. 34, Euseb. Alex. op. imp.], they also agree for the most part with the greater number of later writers in maintaining that the Baptist intended to convince or confirm his own disciples and the multitudes at large in their faith of the Messiasship of Jesus [Bed. Pasch. Thom. Fab. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Men. Tir. Gord. Calm. Arn. Bisp. Fil. Friedlieb, Knab. Tolet. in Luc. 7:20, Grimm, iii. 175 f.]. This opinion agrees not only with the character of the Baptist as a precursor of our Lord, but also with the gospel record concerning his lively faith in the person of Jesus on their meeting in the earlier part of our Lord’s public life [cf. John 1:2636; 3:29], as well as with the Baptist’s zeal to lead his own followers to the faith in our Lord [cf. John 3:26 ff.; Mt. 9:14; Mk. 2:18; Lk. 1:17; etc.]. The circumstance that the Baptist asked the question in the first person, and seemingly in his own name, and that Jesus answered the question as if it had been asked by John for himself, loses its weight by the consideration that such an answer of our Lord directed to his faithful precursor must have been a boundless source of consolation to the latter.

4. And Jesus making answer said to them.] γ. Our Lord’s answer. The explanation may be reduced to the following considerations: [1] As to grammatical form it must be noted that our version “the poor have the gospel preached to them” rests upon sufficiently good authority, since the passive voice of the Greek verb occurs also in Lk. 7:22; 16:16; Heb. 4:2, 6; Gal. 1:11; 1 Pet. 1:25; 4:6; though we grant that the middle voice of the verb is more common, it does not agree with the prophecies to which our Lord appeals. The verb “scandalized” is construed with the preposition ἐν following it in Mt. 13:57; 26:31; Mk. 6:3; 14:27; Lk. 7:23, so that the construction in the present passage is not unusual.

[2] In its character, the present answer of Jesus agrees with others given by him in public [cf. Jn. 5:36; 10:25, 38; 14:12; 15:24]. Instead of answering directly, our Lord appeals to a series of facts containing the answer and cutting short any logical quibbling that might result from a different manner of proceeding.

[3] Lk. 7:21 is careful to add here that our Lord “in that same hour cured many of their diseases, and hurts, and evil spirits, and to many that were blind he gave sight.” Of their very nature all these facts contained a divine testimony for the truth of our Lord’s mission, since miracles as such are God’s own seal and signature.

[4] Considering, moreover, the object of these various miracles, they proclaim Jesus as the Redeemer from the various consequences of sin, and therefore render it antecedently probable that his sacred person will also be the Redeemer from sin itself, the promised Messias [Alb.].

[5] This inference becomes a certainty by the fact that Is. 35:5; 61:1 had predicted the Messias as noted for exactly those miraculous deeds that were done and appealed to by our Lord; for while the Messianic prophecy is thus fulfilled in the person of Jesus, the fulfilment is of such a nature that God alone can bring it about, and therefore above all suspicion of merely human calculation.

[6] Finally, in the last words, “blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me” our Lord not only warns the Baptist’s disciples and the multitudes to follow the evidence thus put forth for his Messianic claims, in spite of their preconceived notions of a grand Messianic liberator of the Jewish nation, but he also points to a new series of prophecies which must be fulfilled in him by their very refusal of listening to his Messianic message [cf. Is. 8:6; 53:1, 4; Chrys. Jer.].

7. And when they went their way.] 2. Christ’s testimony to John. In order to remove all suspicion concerning the faith of the Baptist [op. imp. Chrys. Jer. Euth.], and especially to show the multitudes the true consequence of their veneration for John, Jesus began to sound his praises as soon as the Baptist’s disciples “went their way.” Our Lord avoided thus all appearance of flattery [Chrys.] and even of impropriety [Thom. Theoph. op. imp. Br. Alb. Caj. Hans.], a. The earnestness of Christ’s praise and warning manifests itself even in the form of his expressions: “What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind?” The particle at the beginning of the next clause shows [ἀλλά; cf. Winer, Neutestam. Sprachidiome, liii. 7; Hartung, Partikellehre, 2. p. 38; Klotz ad Devar. p. 13; Weiss, Knab.] that Jesus did not suppose his hearers had acted against the supposition implied in the question, i. e. they had not gone out to see the tall reed of the Jordan valley as it bent under the pressure of the storm [Beza, Grotius, Wetstein, Gratz, Fritzsche, de Wette, Schegg, Hofmann, Knab.; cf. Schanz], nor had they supposed to find in John a man of light and inconstant character [Chrys. Jer. Rab. Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion. Jans. Calm. Arn. Schanz, Fil. etc.], nor a characterless man acting under the influence of the evil spirit [Hil.], nor finally a carnal-minded person [Gregor. hom. vi. in evang.]. Our Lord rightly adds, “went you out into the desert.” For the multitudes had actually left the cities and towns of Jndea, in order to go out into the desert where John was preaching and baptizing [cf. Mt. 3:5; Mk. 1:5].

8. But what went you out to see?] b. A man in soft garments. Jesus ascends here in his discourse; supposing that his hearers had not undertaken their journey into the desert for as foolish a reason as suggested in the first clause, he now shows that they had not even gone to see and hear a common man, clothed in soft garments; for such are in the “houses,” not in the prisons, of kings. The last expression may have been an implied condemnation of the court of Herod with its luxury and voluptuousness.

9. But what went you out to see?] c. John the prophet. The Greek particle rendered “but” implies here again a negative answer to the preceding question [cf. Jn. 7:49; 1 Cor. 6:6; 10:20]. Jesus therefore reasons with the multitudes thus: You surely did not leave your homes to see in the desert the Jordan’s banks waving with reeds, or to find in John a man as fickle by nature as a reed, or to see in him a man grown weak through a voluptuous life. Now he continues, according to the better reading, “But what went you out? to see a prophet?” You might have sought and found in him more than a prophet,—the “more” is expressed by the neuter gender in the Greek text [cf. Mk. 7:36; Lk. 12:48; Heb. 6:17], since the masculine of the word does not occur in the New Testament; the Hebrew equivalent would be יוֹתֵר מִן [cf. Schegg; Schanz],—for in John is fulfilled the prophecy of Mal. 3:1. It is important to notice the difference between the text of the prophet and that of the evangelist. The prophet writes: “Behold, I send my angel, and he shall prepare the way before my face,” while the evangelist has it: “Behold, I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.” The prophet speaks in the name of the Messias and therefore uses the first person, but the Messias puts the prophet’s words in the mouth of the Father addressing the Son, and therefore both the first and second person occur in the prophecy. The first part of the evangelist’s report agrees with Ex. 23:20 [lxx.], the second part follows the prophet’s text in its Hebrew form. Without inferring from this circumstance the existence of an Aram. original of the first gospel [cf. Hilgenfeld], or a Syriac popular version [Böhl], we may safely conclude from it that the first evangelist was better aequainted with the Hebrew text of the Old Testament than with its lxx. version. We may also see in these words of our Lord a confirmation of John’s own testimony concerning his mission [Jn. 1:23; cf. Is. 40:3; Mal. 3:1]. Finally, the word “angel” both in the Greek and the Hebrew text [cf. 1 Kings 11:3; 2 Kings 11:19 ff.; 3 Kings 19:2; 4 Kings 5:10; Job 1:14; etc.] signifies “messenger.” It is true that some commentators [Theoph. Pasch. Thom. Sylv. l. 5, c. 13, q. 23] urge the technical meaning of “angel,” and thereby infer some special praise due to the Baptist. But even in the New Testament we are not allowed to interpret angel in this special sense unless we have special reasons to do so [cf. Lk. 9:52; Apoc. speaking of bishops]; moreover, the dignity of a “messenger” is in proportion to the importance of his message and his nearness to the master. In the case of John, his message is the most important of the world’s history, and he not merely predicts his Master, but points him out with his finger [cf. Chrys. Thom.].

11. Amen I say to you.] d. Not a greater than John the Baptist. Here Jesus gives his own opinion concerning John. The expression “hath not risen” corresponds to a Greek and Hebrew verb that is often employed of God’s raising up a prophet or a judge [cf. Judges 2:18; 3:9, 15; 1 Kings 2:35; Lk. 7:16; Jn. 7:52; etc.]. The phrase “born of woman” may imply the infirmity of man; but in the present context it indicates merely the solemnity and earnestness of the occasion [Job 14:1; 15:14; 25:4; Ecclus. 10:18]. While there can be no doubt about the extraordinary degree of sanctity attained by John the Baptist [cf. Bar. Sylv. Snarez, in 3 part. Thom. q. 38, a. 4, disp. 24, sect. 3; Canisius, De verbi dei corruptelis, part, i.], it has been often discussed in what precise sense the testimony of Jesus concerning the Baptist ought to be taken:—

[1] Does our Lord speak of the office and dignity or of the sanctity of John? Cyril Alex. [Thesaur.], Dion. Mald. Jans. Sylv. Bar. Tir. refer our Lord’s testimony to the personal merits and sanctity of the Baptist. Not to speak of other inconveniences, it follows from this opinion that either the Baptist is less in sanetity than the lowest New Testament saint, or that “greater” and “lesser” must in the same sentence be applied to different points of comparison, the former regarding personal sanctity, the latter referring to outward dignity. Hil. Ambr. Isid. pelus. [ep. i. 33], Chrys. Cyril Jerusal. [catech. iii. 6], Alb. Tolet. van Steenkiste, Bisp. Fil. Reischl, Schanz, Knab. etc. are therefore right in explaining the words of Jesus concerning the official dignity of the Baptist. This consists substantially in the office of precursor, but other circumstances lend it much lustre, e.g. the miraculous birth, the sanctification in his mother’s womb, the life in the desert, etc.

[2] Another point discussed in connection with our Lord’s testimony regards the comparative greatness of the Baptist and the Old Testament heroes: Is John said to be greater than they, or is he placed on their own level? If the words of Jesus be taken strictly, they only say that no one born of woman is greater than John; John may therefore have many equals. Jer. Aug. [cont. adversar. leg. et prophet, ii. 5] op. imp. state that Jesus placed John only on the same level with the Old Testament saints; but op. imp. does not adopt this view in the end, and Aug., writing against the opponents of the law and the prophets, is anxious to confer on the latter all the dignity possible. Again, the context appears to render such an explanation impossible, because the Baptist is declared to be “more than a prophet.” The reasons alleged by Caj. for John’s equality with the Old Testament prophets do not consider the foregoing argument, taken from the context.

[3] Finally, it must be determined whether John is compared only with the prophets, or with all men of the Old Testament. This question is rendered necessary by the third gospel [7:28], where the word “prophet” enters the comparison; again, we have already seen that on the part of the Baptist, not his personal sanctity, but his office, is the term of comparison, so that we may well seek for something similar on the part of the Old Testament saints. Aug. [contr. litter. Petiliani, ii. n. 87], Jans. Tol. are right in remarking that the prophets of the Old Testament surpassed its just ones in dignity and office; if, then, the Baptist is declared not to be inferior to any one of them, and to be more than a prophet, he is superior to any Old Testament dignity and office that can be thought of.

yet he that is the lesser in the kingdom of heaven.] e. Superiority of the New Testament. Thus far Jesus has shown what impression the doctrine and the example of the Baptist ought to produce on the multitudes. He now appeals to their own self-love, as it were, showing that they can attain to a dignity superior to that of John, if they are only willing to follow his teaching. Though writers agree that this is the general drift of our Lord’s words, they differ in explaining their precise meaning.

[1] Christ himself, who is less in age, and according to the belief of the by-standers also in sanctity, than the Baptist, is greater than the Baptist [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. op. imp. Br. Fab. Caj. Jans. Bar. Sylv. Arn. Canisius, etc.]. Though Suar. believes this opinion is very probable on account of its extrinsic authority, Maid, shows that it is not satisfactory. First, it does not bring out clearly the contrast between the Old and the New Testament; secondly, when our Lord compares his own person with other persons, he speaks more clearly [cf. Mt. 12:41, 42]; thirdly, the proposition laid down by Jesus is general, and should not be limited to any one individual; fourthly, the comparison loses its force of argument if it be limited to Jesus alone.

[2] He that is the least among the blessed in heaven is greater than John the Baptist [Jer. Bed. Rab. Pasch. etc.]. But, in the first place, the context does not treat of the blessed in heaven; secondly, the comparison between the blessedness of heaven and the condition of the Baptist has no value in the argument of our Lord.

[3] The same reasons may be urged against those that explain the passage as signifying that the least of the angels is greater than John the Baptist [cf. Aug. Dion.].

[4] Mald. mentions another explanation, according to which every one that is more humble than John the Baptist is greater than he; this opinion has not even much extrinsic authority.

[5] He that is lesser [either than John or than the other members of the kingdom] in the kingdom of heaven is greater than John; i. e. whoever belongs to the kingdom of heaven, though he occupy a less dignified position in it than John occupies in the old dispensation, excels John in dignity; or, whoever belongs to the new dispensation, though he be inferior to all his brethren, is still superior in dignity to John the Baptist [Cyril Alex. Thesaur.; Isidor. pelus. ep. i. 68; Theodor. heracl. cat.; Tostat. q. 36, in c. 11; Tol. in Lue. vii. 28; Mald. Calm. Bisp. Schegg, Reischl, Grimm, Fil. Schanz, Keil, Weiss, Mansel, etc.]. The dignity of the New Testament as compared with the Old is well set forth by St. Paul [Gal. 2:19; 4:1–7, 22–31; Heb. 10:20; Rom. 4:25; 7:4; Eph. 2:14–16; cf. Dan. 9:27]. It cannot be said that our Lord himself baptized John, and that the latter therefore belonged to the New Testament; for though John’s baptism by Jesus may be admitted as probable [Cyril Alex. Thesaur. ass. 11; op. imp. hom. 4; Thom. 3 p. q. 38, a. 6, ad 3; Suar. l. c. sect. 6, n. 3], it must be remembered that the Church was not completely founded till after the death of Jesus Christ, so that the Baptist is rightly called the end of the law and the beginning of the gospel [S. Thom. 3 p. q. 38, a. 1, ad 2; cf. 2a 2ae, q. 174, a. 4, ad 3; Suar. l. c. 3, 8].

12. And from the days of John the Baptist.] f. Effects of John’s ministry. Jesus turns now from John’s dignity and work to the effect produced by him on the multitudes. Here, again, the Lord’s words may be and have been taken in various meanings:—

[1] From the time when John began his preaching till now violence is done to the kingdom of heaven, i. e. violent efforts are made to enter the kingdom, and those making these efforts have borne away the kingdom [Chrys. Cyril Alex. Thesaur. Ambr. in Luc. lib. 5, n. 111; Thom. third place; Fab. Jans. Arn. Fil. Meyer, Mansel, Berlepsch, Meyer, Olsh. Neand. Kistemak.]. But if really many have made such violent efforts to enter the kingdom, why does Jesus chide the people’s indifference in the following part of the discourse? Besides, the Greek verb which is rendered “suffereth violence” always has a bad meaning whenever it occurs in Sacred Scripture [cf. Ex. 19:24; Gen. 33:12; Deut. 22:25; Judges 13:15; 19:7; 4 Kings 5:23; Esth. 7:8; Ecclus. 4:26; 2 Mach. 14:41; cf. 4 Mach. ap. Wahl, Clavis libr. vet. test, apocryph. S. V.], i. e. it always signifies that force is applied to an unwilling or resisting subject; the kingdom of heaven could hardly be represented as unwilling to be entered, since it was preached by both the precursor and the Lord.

[2] Though the membership of God’s kingdom always required sacrifices on the part of the members, this has become more evident since the ministry of John; for since then the kingdom must be entered by violent efforts, and only those willing to make them can enter it [Hil. Jer. Aug. Basil. Theoph. Euth. Ambr. l. c. n. 112; Bed. Rab. second place; Pasch. Br. Dion. Bar. Tost. q. 38, second place; Sylv. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Keil, Reischl, etc.]. But this explanation inserts a word into the text which is not there; for the expression “the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence” is quite different from “the kingdom of heaven requires violence” or “must be entered by violence.” Besides, we have seen that the Greek verb rendered “suffereth violence” usually implies the unwillingness or resistance of the subject suffering, a characteristic not proper to the kingdom of heaven.

[3] Beginning with the ministry of John the kingdom of heaven is preached with extraordinary energy [Schegg; Grimm, iii. 192], or the kingdom of heaven is violently forced into its development [Weiss] by John the Baptist especially. It cannot be shown that the Greek verb has either the one or the other of these meanings; the clause following the one now under discussion shows that the verb cannot have those meanings, since “violence” must be taken in the same sense in both clauses.

[4] Since the ministry of the Baptist the kingdom of heaven suffereth violent persecutions, and the violent ones [the persecutors] snatch the kingdom away from those that would gladly enter it [Knab. Lightf. Schöttgen, Schneckenburger, Wichelh. Hilgenfeld, etc.]. Though this interpretation rests on less extrinsic evidence, it satisfies the context in which Jesus inveighs against the enmity and indifference to the kingdom of God; it is suggested by the verb “suffereth violence,” which usually has the meaning of inimical opposition and oppression; it agrees with the gospel history according to which the opposition to the kingdom became remarkable as soon as John began his ministry [cf. Mt. 3:7–10; 11:18; 7:15; 9:11, 34; 23:13; Mk. 2:7, 16, 24; 3:2; Lk. 4:28 f.; 6:2, 7, 11; 11:52; Jn. 2:18, 24; 3:11; 4:1]; it is not really open to the exception of Schanz that it places too much meaning into our Lord’s words.

13. For all the prophets and the law.] g. The kingdom of heaven is near. There are different opinions concerning the true connection of this verse with what precedes: Maid, inverts the order of vv. 12 and 13, so as to read: “yet he that is lesser in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John; and from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence.” Bleek and Holtzm. place vv. 13, 14 before 12, so that Jesus proves lib by the fact that John was included among the prophets and was Elias. But this inversion of the verses is not called for, since their present order is perfectly logical. For after stating the relation of the New Testament to the Old in 11b, Jesus shows the opposition encountered by the new dispensation from the time of John’s ministry; for John did not merely prophesy, as the prophets and the law had done, but he pointed with his finger to the presence of the kingdom, being the very Elias, at least in spirit, who was to accompany the coming of the Messias. The law is mentioned with the prophets, because it contained several Messianic prophecies [cf. Jn. 3:14; 5:46; 19:36; Acts 3:23; 7:37; Rom. 4:16; etc.]; it is placed after the prophets either because it was esteemed higher than the prophets by our Lord’s hearers [Bleek], or because it was of less importance than the prophets [cf. Schanz, Weiss; Lk. 16:16]. We ought to read probably, “all the prophets until John and the law prophesied,” because John belonged to the prophets, though he was greater than they.

What is thus inferred from the cessation of prophecy in the person of John is still more clearly announced by John’s character as the Elias preceding the coming of the Messias. That the advent of Elias was connected with the time of the Messias in the popular belief of the Jews is clear from the writers on Rabbinic traditions [cf. Schöttgen, hor. heb. ii. 226; Lightf. hor. heb. ad Mt. 17:10; Wünsche, p. 145; Weber, System der altsynagogalen pal. Theol. p. 337]. This doctrine is based on Mal. 4:5, and is confirmed by Mt. 17:10; Mk. 9:10; but these passages show at the same time that Elias in person, and not in spirit merely, shall announce the advent of Christ, and again that this advent is the second, not the first. That there is question of the second advent of the Messias is clear from the context of Mal. [3:2]; the same judicial office of the Messias is urged by the Baptist [Mt. 3:12], while his own preparatory ministry before the first advent is the counterpart of Elias’ work before the second coming [cf. Lk. 1:17]. Their office, therefore, their austere manner of life in the desert, their leather girdle, their contention ¦with iniquitous kings, Achab and Jezabel on the one side, Herod and Herodias on the other, constitute a similitude between Elias and John the Baptist sufficient to make the one the type of the other.

But while there exists such a likeness that John may rightly be regarded as Elias in spirit, the prophet clearly distinguishes between the two persons since Mal. 3:1 and 4:5, 6 treats of two distinct persons; in Mt. 17:11 our Lord again affirms that Elias will come and restore everything, though in the passage now under discussion he appears to say that John the Baptist is Elias. But the latter statement he modifies by the phrase “if you will receive it”; so that its figurative character is sufficiently indicated [cf. Alb. Caj. Mald. Jans.]. The final warning, “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear,” is a frequently recurring formula of eliciting attention to the importance of the subject under discussion [cf. Mt. 13:9, 43; Mk. 4:9, 23; 7:16; 8:18; Lk. 8:8; 14:35; Apoc. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6; etc.]. Where the phrase occurs at the end of a parable, it refers to the doctrine conveyed in the whole parable; in the present case it is of little importance whether we refer it to the verse immediately preceding or to vv. 7–14, for v. 14 contains the substance of the preceding verses, declaring the presence of Elias and therefore the immediate approach of the Messianic kingdom.

16. But whereunto shall I esteem this generation.] 3. Rebuke of the people, vv. 16–24. This section contains the following parts: First, a similitude, vv. 16, 17; secondly, its application, vv. 18, 19; thirdly, a statement of the guilt of Corozain and Bethsaida, vv. 20–22; fourthly, of the guilt of Capharnaum, vv. 23, 24.

α. A similitude. It is beyond question that the similitude reprehends the peevishness [Theoph. Calm.], the insolence [Hil.], the incorrigibility [Alb.] of the Jewish people; but it is harder to explain the particulars of the similitude. The picture is that of children, imitating in the market-place the actions of grown-up people, by way of amusement; they first enacted a marriage scene, by playing on their flutes, but there was no response on the part of their companions, who refused to dance; then a funeral scene was imitated by means of loud wails and lamentations, but the companions remained again unresponsive, not giving the least sign of sorrow.

Explanations: α. The children sitting in the market-place and crying to their companions are our Lord and John the Baptist [Chrys. Theoph. Jer. Pasch. Caj. Jans. Grimm, iii. p. 196], or the prophets in general [Hil.]. But our Lord says expressly, “this generation … is like to children”; neither of the preceding opinions agrees, therefore, with our Lord’s words.

β. The children sitting in the market-place are the Jews, and their companions are our Lord and John the Baptist; for the Pharisees wished that Jesus should live like John the Baptist, and the Sadducees found the Baptist’s life too austere [Euth. Arn. Bisp. Fil. Mansel, Bleek, Keim]. But if the words of our Lord be understood in this manner, they represent the Jews as being worthy of praise rather than blame, since they did their best to suit the likings of both the Baptist and of Jesus. The vituperation of the Jews, which some of the patrons of this opinion endeavor to find in the words of our Lord, is surely not to be found in them: how can the similitude be understood, e.g., as referring to their disappointment over the want of external glory in the person of the Messias, and the continuance of their Roman servitude [cf. Ed. i. p. 670].

γ. The Jews are represented by the children as well as by the companions mentioned in the similitude, and their peevishness is shown by the fact that they can never agree as to the kind of amusement to be chosen [Mald. Lap. Schegg, Schanz, Weiss, Keil, Knab.; cf. Card. Hugo]. This view agrees in the first place with the wording of the similitude in the third gospel [7:32]: “they are like to children sitting in the market-place, and speaking one to another, and saying”; secondly, the old Latin version of the first gospel agrees almost with the foregoing words of the third; thirdly, in this view we avoid the inconveniences brought up against the first and second explanation, and at the same time the similitude retains its proper weight in the context.

18. For John came neither eating nor drinking.] b. Application of the similitude. John’s ascetic manner of life is described more clearly by Lk. 7:33: “John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine”; this stern moral conduct the Jews ascribe to the instigation and sustaining power of the devil: “he hath a devil.” The expression found in Jn. 10:20 is less strong; it is only here that we have any record of such an accusation advanced against the Baptist. Jesus led a common life, without practising any ascetic austerities; he conformed even to the social claims of life, and was therefore called “a glutton and a wine-drinker, a friend of publicans and sinners.” Cf. Mt. 3:4; 9:6, 11; Jn. 9:16, 24; Lk. 1:15.

The reasons assigned by different writers for this difference between the behavior of the Baptist and that of Jesus may be reduced to the following: First, men are commonly led to a good life either by an appearance of holiness or by familiarity on the part of the preacher, so that God employed both ways in the case of the Jews; secondly, the preacher of penance must lead a penitential life, while the herald of good tidings of salvation properly expresses the joy of his message by his external bearing [Cyril Alex.]; thirdly, Jesus confirmed his teaching by miracles, but John must confirm his doctrine by the outward holiness of his life [Thom.]; fourthly, John being the last of the Old Testament, appropriately led a life of hardship, while Jesus by his ordinary manner of life exemplified the service of the sweet yoke and the light burden [Thom.]; fifthly, John was sent as a witness, not as an example, so that his life might be more admirable than imitable, while Jesus was sent as an example for all his followers, so that his life must be the pattern of common sanctity [Jans.].

The words “and wisdom is justified by her children” have given rise to various explanations: [1] “Wisdom” is said to be Jesus Christ himself [Hil. Jer. Pasch. Br. Thom. Lam.], so that his method of fulfilling the Messianic office is acknowledged to be the right one; but though the Word is the Wisdom of God, it is hardly probable that our Lord suddenly begins to speak of his own work alone, omitting all mention of the Baptist. If “wisdom” is extended to the wisdom shown by both our Lord and the Baptist [cf. Calm.], it hardly differs from the disposition of divine providence, and coincides with the following opinion.

[2] “Wisdom” is the wise disposition of divine providence, and “her children” are all the Jews, since they have been the object of a special divine providence [Theoph. Mald. Bar.]; divine wisdom is justified in the Jews because it used all the means possible to bring them to the knowledge and love of the Messias, and their obduracy must be attributed to their own fault. But it seems improbable that our Lord should call the infidel Jews the children of wisdom, and this the more so because in what follows [vv. 25–27] he points to a quite different class of people. Again, the unbelieving Jews justified rather the predictions of the prophets [Is. 50:1; 56:10; 65:2; Prov. 1:24] than God’s wisdom [cf. Mt. 23:34–38; Lk. 11:49; Acts 7:51; 28:25].

[3] It can hardly be maintained that our Lord himself, and John, and all the prophets and teachers are called the “children of wisdom” [cf. Jans.], though they may have been the champions and defenders of God’s providence shown in the ruling of the world. For it is not likely that Jesus should have called himself “a child of wisdom” in the same manner in which he applied that name to others; again, the Greek preposition rendered “by” signifies more properly “on the part of,” and denotes the occasion of an action rather than its agent [cf. Acts 2:22; James 1:13; etc.; Winer, l. c. 47; Krüger, 52, 5, 11].

[4] While retaining the meaning “God’s wisdom as manifested in his Messianic providence” for the word “wisdom,” the “children of wisdom” are all those to whom God’s wisdom communicates itself [cf. Euth. Thom. Jans. Lap. Lam. Schegg, Fil.], so that they are the apostles in a special way [Jer. Pasch. Br. Dion.], and in general all the believers in Jesus Christ [Hil.]. “Wisdom is justified” by being acknowledged as true wisdom, by being declared to be such, and by being defended against the attacks of God’s enemies.

[5] We need not mention the explanation “wisdom is justified by her works,” since it is based on a less well attested reading [cf. Tisch. א B* codd. in Jer. verss.].

20. Then began he to upbraid the cities.] c. Guilt of Corozain and Bethsaida. Commentators ask here first whether the gospel of St. Matthew gives this passage in its proper connection. The reason for doubting this is based on the connection of the passage in the third gospel, 10:13–15, where it follows the Galilean ministry and precedes the mission of the seventy disciples. We may therefore either maintain with Mald. Lap. Calm, that Jesus pronounced these words in the connection they have in the third gospel, and that the first evangelist transferred them according to his topical arrangement; or defend with Schanz that the first gospel gives the true connection of the passage, or again we may follow St. Aug. [de cons, evang. ii. 32, n. 79], Jans. Fil. etc. in their opinion that our Lord repeated these words, pronouncing them first in their connection of the first gospel and then in that of the third. The particle “then” occurs about ninety times in the first gospel, and does not necessarily imply a close temporal vicinity of the events it connects. The word “he began” shows that our Lord must have upbraided the cities more than once. The evangelist here implies that many miracles were performed in Corozain and Bethsaida; and still the gospel history is wholly silent about them so that it is admittedly incomplete. The reason for the reproof of the cities is expressed in the words “they had not done penance.”

Corozain [Chorazin] is mentioned only here and Lk. 10:13, and is probably identical with the ruins of Kerazeh, near Capharnaum. Bethsaida is another city of Galilee [Jn. 12:21], the home, of Peter, Andrew, and Philip [Jn. 1:44; 12:21]; the second gospel mentions the name twice [Mk. 6:45; 8:22], and in one of these passages a place on the western shore, or at least not on the eastern shore, of the Sea of Galilee is obviously referred to. Formerly, several writers admitted the existence of only one Bethsaida on the western shore of Genesareth, but of late either two cities of that name are admitted, Bethsaida of Galilee on the western shore [Khan Minye] and Bethsaida Julias on the eastern, or only one Bethsaida situated at the northern end of the lake, on both sides of the inlet, hence partly in Galilee and yet on the site of Bethsaida Julias and the eastern shore of the sea [cf. Thomson]. The name Bethsaida means “house of fish.”

The “wo” coming from the mouth of the Redeemer himself has something most awful in its meaning, and this significance is even increased by the comparison of the unbelief of these cities with the conditional belief of the most corrupted Phenician towns, Tyre and Sidon. Tyre in Hebrew, צוֹר, Aram. טוּר, rock, or Sûr, lay since the time of Alexander on a peninsula; Sidon, in Hebr. צִידוֹן [fishing], the modern Saida, was the most important and the oldest city of the Phenicians.

Penance in sackcloth implies the wearing of rough and hairy garments next to the skin [cf. Gesen. thes. 3. p. 336]; the penitent both sat on ashes and put them on his head [cf. Jer. 6:26; Jon. 3:6]. Bellarmin [De pœnitent. lib. i. c. 7], and Jans, are right in inferring from this passage that according to scriptural language penance does not consist in a mere change of mind, but implies external affliction of the body. The rebuke of our Lord is the more severe, since there is not a single example of a Jewish city doing penance in this striking manner at the preaching of Jesus, though the Jews were so proud of their special divine predilection [cf. Rom. 2:18 f.]. There can be no doubt that Jesus certainly knew what the Phenician cities-would have done, had he preached the gospel in their midst [Jn. 3:11; cf. 1 Cor. 2:8; Rom. 10:2–9]; whatever may have been the medium in which our Lord knew this, his knowledge was what is technically called “scientia media,” being specified by its object, not by the manner in which it is acquired [against Schanz].

The question why Jesus did not preach to the cities of the Phenicians, though he surely foreknew the good effect of such ministry, receives various answers: Greg. Thom. Mald, have recourse to our Lord’s special mission to the house of Israel; but then it may he asked why was our Lord sent to the house of Israel alone in spite of the foregoing divine knowledge. Tost. [qu. 53, in Matt, xi.] Sylv. Jans. Maid, point out that our Lord’s preaching in a city implied the working of many miracles and belonged, therefore, to the extraordinary graces which God does not owe to any one; but why did he give these extraordinary graces to the Jews, and refuse them to the Gentile cities, though they were not due to either? Aug. [De dono persev. c. 10, 14; enchir. n. 95] has recourse to God’s inscrutable judgments; and it would be hard to answer the question satisfactorily without pointing in the last instance to the mysterious choice of the divine predilection. Euth. interprets the “but” introducing the conclusion “but I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for you” as meaning “therefore.” The words of our Lord are another illustration of the truth that the grievousness of sin depends on the intellectual enlightenment and the wilful perverseness of the sinner; this we see expressed even in the Old Testament prophets: Jer. 3:11; Ez. 16:48, 31.

23. And thou, Capharnaum.] d. Guilt of Capharnaum. The reading “shalt thou be exalted up to heaven” [א B C D L Min. Verss. PP. Lachm. Ti W H] is certainly preferable to “which art exalted unto heaven” [E F G Γ S U V]. These words refer either to the distinguished honor conferred on Capharnaum by our Lord’s residence and ministry [Euth. Jans. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Thom. Lap. Calm. Arn.], or to the wealth of the city resulting principally from its rich fisheries [Grotius], or again to its high elevation over the lake [Stier]. The threat “thou shalt go down even unto hell “brings out the contrast between the expectations of the proud city and its real future which will bring utter ruin [cf. Abd. 1:4; Is. 14:13–15; Apoc. Joannis, Tisch. Apocal. apocr. p. 75]. That the fate of the city was well deserved follows from the following comparison, which is even more humiliating than that employed in case of Corozain and Bethsaida. The “perhaps” in the clause “perhaps it had remained unto this day” is, according to some, used merely to show that the Sodomites would have retained the use of their free will, that they would not have been forced to repentance; according to others, our Lord uses the word because he wishes to express himself in a human manner of speaking [Br.]; according to others, again, the word ought to be wholly omitted [Fab. Jans. Lap.] because it gives a wrong meaning to the Greek particle ἄν, which is required in Greek in an apodosis to an unverified hypothesis. The Vulgate repeatedly inserts such a “perhaps” where neither the Hebrew nor the Greek text requires it [cf. Gen. 3:3, 22; Ex. 33:3; Jn. 5:46; 1 Cor. 7:5; Ps. 80:15; etc.]. The past judgment on the city of Sodom surely foreshows a most severe judgment to come; but even this will be more tolerable than that threatening Capharnaum.

25. At that time Jesus answered.] 4. The citizens of the kingdom. In this section Jesus first describes the character of the citizens of the kingdom, and then their happiness even in this life. α. Character of the citizens. According to the third gospel [10:21 ff.], Jesus pronounced the following words after the return of the seventy disciples, surely a most suitable occasion for the discourse; but since it also fits most aptly into the present context of the first gospel, we may suppose either that our Lord uttered these words repeatedly, or that the seventy had returned before they were spoken, even according to the first gospel [cf. Schanz, who thinks that Mt. 12:1 supposes the return of the seventy]. The clause “Jesus answered” has been understood as implying a question arising out of the previous discourse [Br. Alb. Thom.], or manifesting the inner disposition of the hearers of our Lord [Pasch.], or again as indicating that our Lord took occasion to utter the following discourse from the circumstances in which he found himself [Jans. Lam. Schanz, op. imp. Caj. Knab.]. The whole discourse is more like our Lord’s words recorded in the fourth gospel [cf. Jn. 8:19; 10:15; 14:9; 16:5] than his speeches contained in the synoptic writings; but this shows that the writers of the first three gospels were acquainted with our Lord’s manner as depicted in the fourth gospel. “I confess” means either “I give thanks” [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion.], or “I praise” [Aug. serm. 67; Sylv. Arn, Schegg, Schanz, Fil.], like the Hebrew הוֹדָה לְ or הִלֵּל, or again both meanings may be included [Tol. Jans. Lap.]. The address “Father, Lord of heaven and earth” is in perfect keeping with the sentiments of praise and gratitude; moreover, it shows that the resistance of the unbelieving cities was not owing to the weakness of Jesus Christ [Lap. Sylv.], and that the dispensation of grace, implied in the foregoing passage, involves no injustice [Tol. Jans.]. God’s “hiding” of the truth implies and presupposes the unwillingness of the creature to receive the same. The “wise and prudent” are, in general, those imbued with that worldly wisdom which is foolishness before God [1 Cor. 3:19], and which St. Paul so well describes [Rom. 2:17 ff.]; in particular, the Jews are designated by this term [Theodor. heracl. in cat.], or more Particularly still, the scribes and Pharisees [Chrys. Euth. Jer. op. imp. Bed. Dion. Jans. Mald. Lap.]. “The little ones” are the simple and sincere [Chrys. Euth.], who are free from all malice [Hil.], humble, and open to conviction [Ambr. Aug. Rab. Alb. Dion. Jans.], but not the rude and ignorant as such [Keim]. These little ones are recommended also in Ps. 17:20; Prov. 8:5; 9:4; Is. 55:1; Mt. 18:3. The object of the revelation is the knowledge of the Messiasship of Jesus, of his sonship of God [cf. Mt. 11:27; 16:17; Jn. 1:49; 11:27], and, moreover, of his sovereign mediatorship [Mt. 11:6, 13]. The manner of this revelation is more fully described in vv. 27–30, just as the manner of God’s concealing these truths from the wise and prudent may be gathered from Jn. 5:36 f; 3:19; Rom. 1:28; 10:3. The object, or the immediate motive, of the praise and thanksgiving may be either God’s revealing these truths to the little ones, though he conceals them from the wise and prudent [Chrys. Calm.; cf. Is. 12:1; Mt. 23:25], or it may be both the concealment of these truths from the wise and prudent and their revelation to the little ones; in other words, it may be both God’s justice and mercy [Thom. Fab. Dion. Jans. Sylv. Tol. in Lc. 10. annot. 35, Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Reischl, Fil. Knab.]. The words “Yea, Father,” repeat what has been said before, so that Jesus shows here the greatest earnestness in his praise and thanksgiving. The reason of this repeated praise, “for so hath it seemed good in thy sight,” may be understood either subjectively, i. e. for so hast thou willed it [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Arn. Bisp. Fil.], cr objectively, i. e. for such is the outward condition of circumstances showing thy divine will [Schegg, Schanz, Knab. etc.]. This explanation is possible because the Hebrew word רָצוֹן has both the subjective [Ps. 5:13; Prov. 16:15; 19:20] and the objective meaning [Ps. 18:15; Is. 56:7; Jer. 6:20; Ex. 28:38; Lev. 1:3; 22:20; etc.]; it is very probable, because the evangelist adds “in thy sight” to “so it hath seemed good.”

27. All things are delivered to me.] These words are not added in order to prevent the impression that our Lord had given praise and thanks to the Father for the Father’s performing what Jesus could not have done [cf. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Cyr. Hil. Pasch. Jans. Lap. Calm.], but they rather contain the revelation that has been vouchsafed to the little ones [cf. Mald. Sylv. Schanz, Knab.]. “All things” must not be limited to what is necessary in order to perform the Messianic mission well [cf. Jer. Mald. Tol.]; but the perfect mutual knowledge of Father and Son as well as the solemnity of the occasion requires that it should be understood without any restriction [Ambr. Euth. Jans. Lap. Schanz, Knab.]. This acceptation of the word is also suggested by many parallel passages: Mt. 28:18; Jn. 3:35; 13:3; 17:2; Heb. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:24; etc. The “knoweth” in the phrase “and no one knoweth” renders a Greek verb meaning “to know accurately and adequately.” Since only Jesus can know the Father adequately, and since the Father alone can know our Lord adequately, it follows that the Son [our Lord] is equal to the Father, and by a further inference that the Son is of the same substance as the Father [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Knab. etc.].

On the other hand, we need not ask why the Holy Ghost has been omitted, since there is no question of the relation of the third person to either the first or the second [cf. Euth. Thom. Schanz]. Cf. Jn. 6:46; 7:28; 8:19; 10:15. The clauses “but the Father, “but the Son,” exclude, therefore, all of a different nature, but not the Holy Ghost, who is of the same nature with the Father and the Son [cf. 1 Cor. 2:10 ff.]. Another argument for the equality of Father and Son may be drawn from the following clause, according to which the Son reveals the Father “to whom it shall please the Son,” not depending on the sovereign will of the Father; while, therefore, in other passages our Lord speaks according to his human nature [Mt. 20:23; Jn. 17:9; etc.], he here speaks according to the divine. And as in the divine nature there is only one will, we see how the revelation of the saving truth can be attributed to the Father in verse 25, and to the Son in verse 27.

28. Come to me all you that labor.] b. Happiness of the citizens even in this life. In this paragraph Jesus first determines more accurately who his little ones are; then he states in a general term the blessedness he will give them; thirdly, he describes the conditions of this blessedness more minutely; fourthly, he gives three reasons for conforming with these conditions, α. Christ’s little ones. In accordance with the prophecies [Is. 61:1, 3; Soph. 3:18 heb.; cf. Mt. 5:5], Christ calls especially all those that labor and are burdened, i. e., all those that are any way afflicted [Jans.], or all those that are oppressed with work and suffering [Caj. Fil.], or all those oppressed by the Mosaic law and the sinfulness of the Gentile world [Hil. Jer. Cyr. Theoph. op. imp. Pasch. Thom.], or all those laboring under the miseries and the sinfulness of life and burdened with the Pharisaic traditions [Theod. heracl. Or. in eat. Dion. Calm. Arn. Chrysol. serm. 105], or all those worried with care and oppressed with sin [Euth.].

β. Blessedness of the citizens. Christ describes this in the general promise, “I will refresh you.” It consists, therefore, not merely in freedom from labor and burdens, but in positive refreshment of all that toil and bear heavy burdens [Chrys. Euth.]. Our Lord’s doctrine contains the remedy against the ills of life, his sacraments remove the burden of sin and the pain of an evil conscience, his New Law abolishes the heavy burdens of the Mosaic legislation [cf. Jans.].

γ. Condition of blessedness. The sole condition under which we can expect relief from all labor and pain is expressed in the words “take up my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” The second clause explains the first, showing that the first must be taken in the Rabbinic [Schöttgen, 1. p. 115; Wünsche, p. 147] and Hebrew sense [Jer. 5:5; Ecclus. 51:34] of law or precept. The yoke of Christ consists, therefore, in his teaching, whether strictly preceptive or instructive [cf. Euth. Hil. Bed. Thom. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Calm. Schanz, Fil.], and implies on our part a total surrender to his rule and management [cf. Arn. Bisp. Keil, Weiss, Knab. etc.].

δ. Three reasons for conforming with the foregoing condition, [1] On the part of the teacher, we shall find meekness and humility. Though several writers [Aug. op. imp. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion. Caj. Calm.] understand the words “learn of me, because I am meek and humble of heart,” as if we were to learn the virtues of meekness towards men [Caj.] and humility towards God [Caj.] in a special manner of our Lord, the greater number of commentators prefer the explanation “learn of me, because,” according to which the meekness and humility of the teacher are held out as motives for becoming his disciples [Hil. Mald. Jans. Sylv. Lap. Sa, Men. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Grimm, 4. p. 217; Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. The second view is based first, on the Greek text, where we have the casual particle ὅτι; secondly, on the context, according to which we must learn not only the virtues of meekness and humility, but all that are implied in the “yoke” of Christ; thirdly, on the logical thread of thought which leads us to believe that our Lord did not introduce a new topic, but developed the idea of his yoke and doctrine; fourthly, on the inconsistency of the first view, according to which we must learn the two virtues of meekness and humility, while according to the gospel, thus interpreted, we ought to learn that Jesus is meek and humble. Our own obligation to be meek and humble is, then, only a consequent or inferential meaning of the passage in either the first or the second view. The author of op. imp. has well understood this, since, according to him, we must learn, by bearing the very yoke of Christ, that he is meek and humble of heart. It must be noted also that the preposition “of” in the clause “of me” renders the Greek preposition ἀπό, so that properly we ought to render “learn on me,” or “learn from me onwards” [Buttmann, p. 279]; but ἀπὸ stands also for the common παρὰ or ἐκ [Krüger, 68, 34, 1; cf. Col. 1:7], so that the rendering “of me” is based on good authority.

[2] On our own part, a compliance with the foregoing condition shall bring that peace and rest after which all living creatures long so ardently. The clause “to your souls” must not be understood as if the yoke of Christ contained contentment for the soul of man to the exclusion of his body [cf. op. imp. Pasch. Caj.], but it means “for yourselves,” as soul is often used in Hebrew to express one’s self [cf. Jer. 6:16; Ps. 77:18; Is. 46:2; etc.].

[3] On the part of the service of Christ, his “yoke is sweet” and his “burden light”; the Greek word expressing “sweet” applies mostly to persons, so that it alludes to the character of the Master himself. The sweetness [properly “softness”] of the yoke is mentioned, because animals working under the yoke suffer more from its roughness or unfitness than from their labor [Knab.]. The yoke of Christ is sweet for several reasons: first, he has abrogated the hard Mosaic legislation [cf. Acts 15:10]; secondly, he has commanded only what is more or less contained in the natural law, so that his commands can be comprised in the one injunction to do to our neighbor what we would wish our neighbor to do to us [Mald.]; thirdly, he has merited for us abundant grace and the strength of the Holy Ghost, so that we need not perform our duties by our own strength [Aug. serm. 70, n. 2]; fourthly, he inspires us with his own love, and where one loves the command, there is no difficulty in obeying [Aug., l. c. n. 3; Lam. Caj.]; fifthly, he has abrogated the many hard punishments that threatened the transgressor in the Old Testament, and he has given us easy means to obtain forgiveness for our transgressions [Cyr.]; he has proposed to us a most abundant reward for all our labor and toil undertaken for his sake [Chrys.; cf. 2 Cor. 4:17]; finally, the precept of Jesus concerning the narrow gate and the bearing of the cross [Mt. 7:13, 14; 10:38] is rendered most easy by the foregoing aids, present and future, as is evident from the example of innumerable saints and martyrs who have gloried in the cross of Christ [cf. op. imp.]. These words of our Lord, which manifest a more than human attractiveness in his person and character, must have made a most powerful impression on the Jewish hearers, burdened with the heavy load of Pharisaic traditions [Mt. 23:4] and galled by the sovereign contempt of their scribes [Jn. 7:49].

γ. Perversity of the Jewish leaders, 12:1–50

1. At that time Jesus went.] In this section the evangelist shows the unfitness of the leaders, the scribes and Pharisees, for the kingdom of heaven, just as in the preceding he proves the unworthiness of the people. The bad disposition of the leaders is shown in a series of events: first, in the incident of the disciples’ plucking corn on a sabbath day, vv. 1–8; secondly, in the details connected with the healing of the withered hand, vv. 9–21; thirdly, in the Pharisees’ behavior after an exorcism, vv. 22–37; fourthly, in the enemies’ petition for a sign from heaven, vv. 38–45; finally, as if to console his readers, the evangelist adds a characteristic of the true disciples, vv. 46–50. This last portion has its exact counterpart in a similar addition to the preceding chapter.

1. Plucking corn on a sabbath. This section contains, first, the charge of the Pharisees; secondly, four answers of Jesus, α. Charge of the Pharisees. The event must have occurred between the second day of the pasch and the second day of pentecost in the second year of our Lord’s public life [cf. Lk. 6:1]. Both the second and the third gospel agree with the first in connecting this incident with the following [cf. Mk. 2:23 ff.; Lk. 4:1 ff.], but they assign it to an earlier period, Luke placing it before the sermon on the mount. Though no place is mentioned, we may no doubt suppose that the event occurred in Galilee. The evangelist explicitly says, “his disciples … began to pluck,” because the action became possible only when they reached the cornfield. According to Deut. 23:25, it was allowed to pluck the ears of corn for present need, as the disciples did; the same custom still prevails in Palestine [Robinson, ii. 419]. The second gospel also [2:24] makes the Pharisees address their complaint to Jesus, while the third [6:2] represents them as speaking to the disciples. They may have spoken first to the disciples and then to the Master; at any rate, what was said to the Master was addressed, at least, mediately to the disciples. Harvesting was forbidden on the sabbath by Ex. 20:10, and in accordance with their system of hair-splitting casuistry, the Pharisees regarded the plucking of ears as a kind of harvesting [Ed. ii. pp. 777–787; Wünsche, p. 148; Lightf. ad Mt. 12; Schöttgen, 1. p. 120]. Scholten, Schegg, etc. endeavor to give more force to the exception of the Pharisees by rendering Mk. 2:23 [ὁδὸν ποιεῖν] as “viam sternere,” to make a road; but Klostermann and Weiss show that this is not necessarily inferred from the expression of the second gospel, and Holtzmann adds that the disciples did not pluck the straw, but the ears of corn, and that the expression in question is employed in Judg. 17:8 in the meaning it has here.

3. But he said to them.] β. Four answers. Our Lord shows first that a positive law, like that of the Sabbath, does not hold in case of necessity; secondly, that it must yield to another positive law of a higher order with which it may chance to come in collision; thirdly, that charity and the good of the neighbor are of greater obligation than a positive law; fourthly, that the authority of the legislator can repeal or relax his own legislation [Jans. Yprens.].

[1] The law in case of necessity. Jesus does not reply directly, but takes his answer from a well-known event admitted to be in conformity with the law by the Pharisees themselves. David [1 Kings 21:1–6], “when he had need” [Mk. 2:25], entered the sanctury at Nob [the tabernacle, cf. Ex. 23:19], obtained from the high priest loaves of the shewbread [לֶחֶם הַמַּעֲרֶכֶת, 1 Par. 23:29; Ex. 40:23; לֶחֶם הַפָּנים, 1 Kings 21:7; Ex. 35:13; 39:36], which it was not lawful for him to eat [Lev. 24:8, 9], “and gave to them that were with him” [Lk. 6:4; Mk. 2:26]. Without discussing here the question whether David had really companions [1 Kings 21:1 ff.; cf. Mald. Bar.], or merely feigned that he had them [Jans.], he believed, in any case, that “necessity knows no law. The Israelites were bound to offer fine flour for the weekly twelve loaves of proposition to be placed every sabbath on the table of shewbread, when the old loaves had to he removed and eaten by the priests in the sanctuary.

5. Or have you not read.] [2] The higher law. According to Num. 28:9, 10, two lambs had to be offered in the temple every sabbath, so that the absolute sabbath rest was not the highest law, admitting of no exceptions. Whether we understand the clause “break the sabbath” [חִלֵל cf. Judith 9:8; Ex. 31:14; Acts 24:6; etc.] in the technical sense of the Pharisees [common opinion], or in the broader meaning of the people [Schanz], the argument of our Lord remains the same. The law of sabbath rest does not bind the ministers of the temple; but his disciples minister to a greater one than the temple; therefore they are not bound by the law of sabbath rest. Though the reading “greater one” occurs, the more approved reading is “something greater” [μείζων, μεῖζον]. The rendering “a greater temple is here than that of old” gives hardly the true sense [cf. Mald.]. The present statement asserts the great dignity of our Lord’s person in general. St. Paul [Col. 2:9] explains this dignity more particularly [cf. Jn. 2:19].

7. And if you knew what this meaneth.] [3] The law of charity. Though Chrys. and Euth. understand this passage as an excuse of the Pharisees [cf. Hil. Schegg], as if their accusing the innocent had its root in their ignorance of Christ’s mission, which consists in mercy and charity, the context appears to demand rather a rebuke of the Pharisees because they do not understand their own obligation of esteeming mercy more than sacrifice. For since they allowed the priest to sacrifice on the sabbath in the temple, they ought to allow, with much more reason, works of charity on the sabbath [cf. Mt. 9:13; Jer. Pasch. Caj. Jans.].

8. For the Son of man.] [4] The Lord of the sabbath. This saying of Jesus is not a supplement of the last but one verse, as if it declared how our Lord’s greatness surpassed that of the temple [cf. Mald.]; it rather contains a new reason why the disciples plucking ears of corn should not be molested. The sabbath was consecrated to God [Ex. 20:10; 31:15; 35:2; etc.]; if then Jesus was Lord of the sabbath, he was the equal of God [Mald. Euth. Lap. Sylv. Lam. Tolet. ad Luc. vi. 5]. The Pharisees therefore were wrong in blaming the disciples for what Jesus allowed them.

9. And when he had passed from thence.] 2. Healing on a sabbath. In this section we see Jesus first molested by the Pharisees, and then working in retirement, α. Second sabbath dispute with the Pharisees. The evangelist records first the occasion of the dispute; secondly, the attack of the Pharisees; thirdly, our Lord’s words to the Pharisees; fourthly, our Lord’s words to the man with the withered hand; fifthly, the subsequent consultation of the Pharisees.

[1] Occasion of the dispute. “When he had passed from thence” is a general formula of transition which does not indicate a close chronological succession [cf. Mt. 11:1; 15:29; Acts 18:7]. The second gospel also merely states that Jesus came into a synagogue, while the third adds that this happened on another sabbath [Mk. 3:1; Lk. 6:6]. “Their” synagogue may be that of the Pharisees mentioned in vv. 2, 10, and 14 [cf. Mald. Meyer, Schegg, Weiss, etc.]; but since “their” is used indefinitely [Mt. 4:23; 9:35; 11:1], and since nothing is known about special synagogues of the Pharisees, we may here suppose that “their” merely indicates the synagogue of the place where Jesus taught [Arn. De Wette, Bleek, Keil]. It would be difficult to prove from the passage that the event happened in a large town in which there were several synagogues [e. g. Capharnaum, cf. Bisp.], or that it must have occurred outside [Schegg] or inside the town [Bisp.]. The “withered” hand reminds one of Jeroboam’s case [3 Kings 13:4; Zach. 11:17; Jn. 5:3]; it implies that the circulation of blood had been stopped. The man who asked our Lord to be healed was, according to the gospel of the Hebrews, a mason [cf. Jer.]; the context suggests that the Pharisees had brought him into the synagogue in order to tempt Jesus.

10. and they asked him, saying.] [2] Attack of the Pharisees. The second and the third gospel [Mk. 3:2; Lk. 6:7] state that the Pharisees watched Jesus, but this does not exclude their question recorded in the first gospel. The Greek particle introducing the question [cf. Mt. 19:3; Lk. 13:23; 22:49; Winer, 57, 2] implies doubt and uncertainty on the part of the questioners; in the present case the Pharisees only feigned doubt, for their traditions evidently demanded a negative answer [cf. Mt. 12:3; Jn. 5:11 ff.]. Though some writers [Euth. Jans.] see in the question of the Pharisees a dilemma, by which they intended to make our Lord either unpopular with the multitude or guilty before the courts, the majority of commentators believe that they intended only to involve Jesus in the charge of breaking the sabbath. Their traditions forbade all medical healing on the sabbath day, unless there was evident danger of life [cf. Shabbath, c. 14. n. 4; 22. n. 6; Yoma, c. 8. n. 6].

11. But he said to them.] [3] Jesus answers the Pharisees. According to Mark and Luke, our Lord first commanded the sick man to stand in the middle of the synagogue, and asked the Pharisees: Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath, or [must we omit the good that is urgent and thus] do evil? to save life or [are we obliged to refuse the proper remedies and therefore] to kill? Then he continues in the words of the first evangelist [cf. Aug. Jans. Caj. Mald. Bar. Knab.], stating a popular practice generally admitted to be lawful. The expression “one sheep” is calculated to urge the saving of its life or its deliverance from danger. Any law prohibiting this would be cruel and barbarous. But the life and comfort of man is of far higher value than that of a sheep. Therefore it is lawful [to apply medical remedies and thereby] to do a good deed on sabbath days [cf. Acts 10:33; 1 Cor. 7:37; James 2:19].

13. Then he saith to the man.] [4] Jesus heals the withered hand. The man’s faith is exercised by the attempt to stretch forth his lifeless hand. While Jesus confirmed his preceding doctrine on the sabbath question by a miracle, he avoided all ground of a legal charge against him; there was no touch, no outward act that violated even the Pharisaic traditions. The words of Jesus to the man were according to the second and third gospel accompanied by a most impressive look, indicating his anger against and his pity for the blindness of his enemies [Mk. 3:5; Lk. 6:10].

14. And the Pharisees going out.] [5] Consultation of the Pharisees. The third gospel [6:11] mentions the anger of the Pharisees [cf. 2 Tim. 3:9], and Mark [3:6] adds that they made common cause with the Herodians [cf. Joseph. Antiq. XIV. xv. 10], though these parties were most opposed to one another. The end of the consultation was, how they might destroy Jesus [cf. Mt. 22:15; 27:1, 7; 28:12], so that their enmity has now reached its climax. Though these particular Pharisees did not represent the whole party, they showed the party tendency; the few friendly relations that Jesus had with any Pharisees may be regarded as the exceptions proving the general rule of Pharisaic opposition to our Lord [Schanz]. In the present case, they must have endeavored to formulate a charge of breaking the sabbath against Jesus, so as to inflict the penalty determined in Ex. 31:14.

15. But Jesus knowing it.] β. Jesus in retirement. Here we see first how our Lord acts in his retirement; secondly, we see a prophecy fulfilled in him. [1] Behavior of Jesus. The evangelist describes our Lord’s condition very briefly: α. he knows the disposition and plans of the Pharisees; β. he retires from the synagogue where the preceding events have taken place, we know not whither, for though Mk. 3:7 says that he went “to the sea,” the circumstances in. the second gospel are so different from those in the first, that the events cannot probably be harmonized; γ. he was followed by many attracted by his meekness and charity; δ. he healed all that needed his help; ε. finally, he charged them—the Greek verb implies severity; cf. Mt. 16:22; Lk. 9:21; 19:39—not to make him known [cf. Mt. 8:4; Jn. 6:15], so as not to stimulate their expectations of a glorious Messias [Euth.] and, at the same time, not to increase the envy of the Pharisees [Caj. Fab. Knab.].

17. That it might be fulfilled.] [2] Fulfilment of the prophecy. The prophecy is taken from Is. 42:1–4, which may be thus rendered literally from the Hebrew: “Behold thy servant, I will uphold him; my elect, my soul deiighteth in him; I have put my spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor raise [his voice]; nor shall he make his voice be heard abroad. The bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench, and unto truth he shall bring forth judgment. He shall not be sad, he shall not be troublesome, till he set judgment in the earth, and the islands shall anxiously await his law.” Böhl is of opinion that the evangelist quotes the Syriac Vulgate; Gesenius, Credner, and Köstlin believe that he follows the Chaldee version in the text of the prophecy; but Jer. appears to be right in maintaining that the evangelist follows the Hebrew text [ep. ad Algas. qu. 2], though in the last verse he cites the lxx. version. In the prophecy the evangelist first states the relation of Jesus to God; secondly, his relation to the Gentiles; thirdly, his personal character; fourthly, the relation of the Gentiles to Jesus. [α] Christ’s relation to God. He is the servant of God concerning whom Isaias speaks most eloquently in the latter part of his prophecies [Is. 40–66; cf. Acts 3:13, 26; 4:27, 30]; he is moreover the chosen one of God, his beloved, in whom God has been well pleased; finally, he is imbued, or anointed, with the Spirit of God [Is. 11:2; 41:1; Mt. 3:16; Acts 4:27].

[β] Relation of Jesus to the Gentiles. This the evangelist expresses in stating that “he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.” The “Gentiles” need not be the multitudes in the company of Jesus [cf. Schanz], but they are simply “the heathen.” “Judgment” renders the Hebrew מִשְׁפָּט, or the divine rule of right and justice, the law and teaching of God [Euth. Theoph. Thom. Fab. Dion. Jans. Mald.]; although in the New Testament the Greek word κρίσις usually signifies “forensic trial” with its sentence and subsequent separation [cf. Weiss, Schanz], it has here evidently the meaning of the Hebrew original [Knab.]. Still, since the divine rule of right and justice contains the principles underlying the divine sentence pronounced in the judgment, and since the separation that will be ratified in the judgment has begun with the appearance of Christ, the word may be said to contain both foregoing ideas [Euth. Schegg, Schanz, Fil.].

[γ] Character of Jesus. In this part of the prophecy we have the passage that fits exactly into the preceding context, since it is here that the evangelist shows how unfounded and unprovoked were the hostilities of the enemies of Jesus. Still the preceding part of the prophecy and the following is not a mere introduction and rhetorical conclusion to this passage [cf. Schegg], but refers to the whole section [cc. 11, 12], since it represents the hostility against Christ as predicted by the prophet; the rejected Messias is the hope of the Gentiles. “He shall not contend” is neither in the Greek nor in the Hebrew text, unless we explain the Hebrew verb צָעַק as containing both the idea of “contending” and of “crying.” “The braised reed” and the “smoking flax” represent the Gentiles and the Jews [Hil. Dion.], or the Jews and the Gentiles [Bed.], or the Jews persecuting Jesus though they might have been destroyed as easily as a bruised reed is broken and as smoking flax is extinguished [Aug. De civ. dei, xx. 30, n. 4; Caj. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Br. Jans.], or they represent those burdened with sin and weak in the faith [cf. Jer. Fab. Bar. Salm. Sylv.]. Mald, sees here the figure of one walking so lightly that his foot would not break a bruised reed, feeble though it be. At any rate, the quiet, humble, and meek behavior of Jesus contrasts vividly with the noisy, proud, and harsh manners of the Pharisees.

[δ] Relation of the Gentiles to Jesus. Christ’s humility and meekness will continue till he brings the divine rule of right and justice [Judgment] to its victory all over the earth [knab.]; this will not happen till the day of the last judgment [Chrys. Schanz, Br.], when his justice will take its course. The evangelist quotes here the sense of the prophecy rather than its words, for he substitutes the clause “unto victory” for the original “unto truth.” Mald., however, thinks that St. Matthew writing in Aramaic used here a word זקות, meaning both “victory” and “truth”; the Greek translator of the gospel rendered this word in its first meaning. In point of fact, the foregoing Aram, word never means “truth.” Though the evangelist changes two words in the last part of the prophecy, substituting “Gentiles” for “islands” and “name” for “law,” he preserves its substantial meaning. For if “the islands anxiously await his law” [Heb.], they also “hope in his name” [Mt.].

22. Then was offered to him.] 3. The exorcism, vv. 22–37. In this section we must consider first the miracle, v. 22; secondly, the words of the multitudes and the Pharisees, vv. 23–24; thirdly, the answer of Jesus, vv. 25–30; fourthly, his inference concerning the need of taking sides, vv. 31–37.

α. The miracle. Though this incident resembles that recorded 9:32–34, it differs from the latter in three particulars: the possessed person occurring in the present case is both dumb and blind [not only dumb]; the multitudes express their incipient faith [not content with mere wonder]; the Pharisees are explicit in their charge that Jesus is in league with the devil, and they are answered at length. The miracle was therefore a threefold one, embracing an exorcism, the gift of sight, and the power of speech; Jer. remarks that this triple miracle is repeated every day in the conversion of the sinner.

23. And the multitudes were amazed.] b. The people and the Pharisees. The verb expressing the amazement of the multitudes occurs in the first gospel only here, while it occurs more frequently in the second, and in Acts. The interrogative particle employed by the multitudes does not necessarily expect an affirmative answer, excluding all doubt, but neither does it necessitate a negative one. The author of op. imp. is then right in terming this a question of persons approaching the faith, though the approach is a slow one, considering the many miracles witnessed [cf. 4:17; 7:21 ff.; 11:27ff.]. Concerning the identity of the Son of David with the Messias, cf. 9:27; 12:42. The Pharisees are exasperated by this attitude of the multitudes, and are bent on obliterating the present impression at all costs. This effect will be obtained, even if the attention of the people can be averted by an observation, most unreasonable in itself; hence they have recourse to the charge that Jesus is in alliance with Beelzebub [cf. 10:25], the prince of devils [cf. Ed. 2. p. 761; Lightfoot, ad loc.; Weber, System der altsynag. pal. Theol. p. 243]. The absence of the article in the Greek text before “prince” may be an analogy to the construction of the word “king” after a proper name [cf. Schanz]; the article occurs in the second and third gospel.

25. And Jesus knowing their thoughts.] c. Apology of Jesus. The evangelist appeals to our Lord’s knowledge of the thoughts of his enemies, either because they spoke in a low tone to the multitudes so as to conceal their words, or because it is the ulterior designs and plans of the enemies that Jesus wishes especially to counteract. To the popular attack Jesus opposes a popular defence: first, the devil cannot be in alliance against himself; secondly, the Pharisees themselves acknowledge exorcisms to be the work of God; thirdly, the devil must be expelled by one stronger than the devil; fourthly, the devil is opposed to Jesus.

[1] No division in hell. Jesus appeals to a fact known by experience that no civil, or municipal, or domestic society in which discord reigns can flourish; what is true of the different kinds of human society is equally true of Satan’s kingdom. This argument cannot be weakened by the consideration that the devil might allow this seeming division in order to effect a greater evil [De Wette]; for though the unwillingness with which the devils left their victims when expelled by Jesus does not furnish an adequate answer to the foregoing exception [cf. Schegg], the impossibility of effecting any greater evil by their union with our Lord renders such an alliance impossible. Such reasoning supposes, of course, the truth of Christ’s doctrine and the uprightness of his moral principles and conduct; even if the Jews did not fully admit this, our Lord’s argument at least blunted the point of the enemies’ charge by forcing them to prove the existence of a greater evil which the devils might obtain by permitting a certain good; and taken in the concrete, it implies that God could not permit the series of miracles worked by our Lord in proof of his Messianic mission, at a time when, according to all prophecies, the Messias must come, if they were the work of the devil, since he would thus introduce his own agent as the divinely promised Messias.

27. And if I by Beelzebub.] [2] An “argumentum ad hominem.” “Your children” are not the apostles, though they are of the same nationality as the Pharisees [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Hil. Aug. op. imp. Br.], nor can they be identified indiscriminately with either our Lord’s or the Pharisees’ disciples [cf. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Calm.]; if either of these two opinions were correct, our Lord would have spoken of his disciples, not of the children of the Pharisees, and the enemies would have taken the same exception to the exorcisms of the disciples [cf. Mt. 10:25]. The argument is not open to such exceptions, if the children of the Pharisees are their disciples. That there existed exorcists among the Jews is certain beyond doubt [Acts 19:13; Joseph. Ant. VIII. ii. 5; B. J. VII. vi. 3; Justin, dial. c. 85; Iren. Orig. Jer.]. We are therefore warranted in explaining the “children of the Pharisees” as adherents of their tenets with Tost. [q. 64 in c. 12.] Tol. [in Luc. 11. 19] Fab. Jans. Lap. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Reischl, Grimm [iv. p. 495], Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc. “They shall be your judges,” because in their case you attribute the exorcisms to the power of God. Jesus immediately continues, “But if I by the Spirit of God cast out devils,” for there is no third power; he must exorcise either by the power of Satan or by that of God. The inference he draws from this is based partly on the nature of exorcism by which the reign of Satan is destroyed, and the kingdom of God either prepared or formally introduced [cf. Knab. Jans. Tost. qu. 65], partly on the Rabbinic tradition according to which the devil was to be bound and thrown into hell in the days of the Messias [cf. Ed. ii. p. 198, 728 ff.].

29. Or how can any one enter into the house.] [3] One stronger than the devil. In order to expel Satan, one must be stronger than Satan; therefore Satan is not expelled by one of his own strength. “The strong” one mentioned in the present passage is Satan; his goods are either the devils and bad men [Chrys. Euth.], or the latter only [Theoph. Jer. Aug. Bed. Dion. Caj. Fil.]; his house is either the world, or his kingdom in the world; Is. 49:24 f. uses a similar figure.

30. He that is not with me.] [4] The devil is against Jesus. At first sight, these words seem to contradict Lk. 9:50, “he that is not against you, is for you.” But since it is clear that the person in question believed in Jesus [cf. Mk. 9:38], the words of our Lord may be directed against the erroneous idea that one must belong to the apostolic college in order to be with Jesus [Mald.], or they may be calculated to counteract the jealousy of the disciples, or they may point to a case in which, for good reasons, it was not necessary to profess the faith in Jesus openly [Lap. Sylv.], or they may be equivalent to the positive statement that the person in question agreed with the apostles in doctrine and practice, and was therefore with them [Aug. De cons. evang. iv. 5, 6].

The words now in question do not refer to persons that are undoubtedly believers in Jesus, but they give a general rule by which, in difficult times, when neutrality is equivalent to enmity, disciples may be distinguished from those that are not disciples, friends from foes. In their context, the words point out, first, that the devil is against Jesus, since he is not aiding him to introduce the kingdom of God, to gather the straying sheep of Israel [Ez. 34:12 ff.; Mt. 3:12]; it is therefore false that Jesus drives out devils by the help of Satan [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Hil. Jer. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Jans. Sylv. Lam. Arn.]. In the second place, the words point out plainly that one must chose either the discipleship of Jesus, or the part of his enemies; they contain, therefore, a strong appeal to those hearers of our Lord who had not yet taken a decided view concerning him [Knab. Schanz, cf. Chrys.]. The reference of the words to the Jewish exorcists who may not have been present at all [cf. Bengel, Neander, Godet], or to the Pharisees who had already taken part against our Lord [cf. Mald. Lap. Schegg, Bisp. Weiss], is less probable.

31. Therefore I say to you.] d. Logical inference. In the following verses our Lord infers first the absolute spiritual ruin of his opponents, vv. 31, 32; secondly, he justifies this ruin by the necessary connection between person and work, vv. 33–35; thirdly, he applies this principle especially to our words, vv. 36, 37.

[1] The sin against the Holy Ghost. Every sin in general and blasphemy in particular [Chrys.], or every sin of deed and word [Thom.], can obtain forgiveness. But in opposition to this we have the “blasphemy of the Spirit,” which shall not be forgiven. Explanations: α. We need not mention the opinion of Origen, who contends that every sin committed after baptism is “blasphemy of the Spirit,” as if the sacrament of penance were without avail for the contrite sinner, β. nor the belief of Augustin that the “blasphemy of the Spirit” is final impenitence, especially, if the sinner “despairs of grace and forgiveness, resolves to continue in his sins, and acts up to that resolution”; for our Lord speaks of a sin expressed in words, a speaking “against the Holy Ghost.” γ. This circumstance excludes also the opinion that “blasphemy of the Spirit “is a sin of malice generally. δ. If we read the text carefully, we perceive that the evangelist himself determines the sin of “blasphemy against the Spirit.” It is not the “word against the Son of man,” i. e. the scandal one might take on account of the poverty, weakness, and lowliness of our Lord, though this, too, would be grievously sinful [cf. Jer. Chrys. Cyr. Bed. Pasch. Br. Alb. Dion. Caj. Mald. Jans. Lap. Calm. Schegg, Bisp. Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Knab.]; ε. but it consists in speaking against the Holy Ghost just as the Pharisees did who attacked Jesus by accusing him of an alliance with the devil, by ascribing his miracles, though evidently the work of God [Hil. Euth. Ambr.], or of the Holy Ghost [Aug. Thom.], to the influence of the devil. The context of the third gospel [3:30] confirms this development, for the evangelist adds: “because they said: he hath an unclean spirit.” While we may consider the sin against the Holy Ghost as consisting in a resistance of evident truth, the blasphemy of the Spirit consists in ascribing the signs wrought in proof of divine truth to the power of the devil [Chrys. Athan. ep. 4 ad Serapion. n. 12; Pacian. ep. 3, 15; Basil. Moral, reg. 35; reg. brev. 273; Bed. in Marc. iii. 29; Rab. Pasch. Br. Mald. Lap. Bar. Calm. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Fil. Knab. etc.]. ζ Our Lord plainly declares that the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven; it cannot be said, therefore, that this statement is modified by the general rule according to which every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven [cf. Mald.; see below], for it is expressly worded as an exception to the general law [cf. Jer. Chrys. Athan. Ambr.]. η. At the same time, it must be noted that Jesus does not say, “cannot be forgiven,” as if the sin were irremissible in itself; though God absolutely speaking could forgive the sin, our Lord foresees that, in point of fact, the sinner will not consent to the sufficient grace which he shall receive even to the last moment of his life [cf. Heb. 6:4, 5; 10:26; 1 Jn. 5:16]. θ. That there is no reason for despairing in any given case on account of this terrible threat of Jesus is clear from the fact that we cannot be certain in a given case whether the blasphemy of the Spirit has been committed [Aug. serm. 71, 13 n., 21]. ι. Commentators have collected out of the writings of Augustin on this question six kinds of sin against the Holy Ghost: despair, presumption, resisting the known truth, envy of the spiritual good of others, impenitence, and obstinacy in evil. κ. The words “this world “and” the world to come “apply in their proper meaning to the coming of Christ, so that they signify the time before and after the second coming of our Lord; but these periods have their analogies in the life of each individual man, so that “this world” and “the world to come” simply mean before and after death. λ. Aug. [De civ. dei, xxi. 24], Gregor. [dial. i. 4. c. 39], Bed. Pasch. Br. Rab. Druthm. Anselm. laud. Jans. Mald. Caj. Bar. Lam. Arn. etc. infer from these words that some sins must in some sense be forgiven after death, either as to their guilt or their punishment; Bellarmin [De purgat. i. l. c. 4] uses these words in proving the existence of purgatory, μ. The exception of the Socinians [Wolsog, in l.], that Jesus here accommodated himself to the error of the Jews, cannot be based on any analogy in the words of our Lord; Alford’s [in l.] exception, that as sin forgiven is forgiven in time and eternity, so sin unforgiven is unforgiven for this life and the next, either begs the question by assuming that sin forgiven in this life can be said to be forgiven in the next, or changes the preposition “in” to “for”; finally, Bloomfield’s observation that the words of Jesus are merely an emphatic expression for “never,” because the parallel passage of Mark [3:29] reads “he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost shall never have forgiveness,” has been anticipated by Aug. [De civ. dei, xxi. 24] when he said: “It could not be truly said of some persons that they shall not be forgiven either in this life or in the life to come, unless there were some who, though not in this life, would be forgiven in the life to come.” Just as we may prove the existence of a world to come from the words of the first evangelist, though it cannot be proved from the second gospel in spite of its substantial agreement with the passage of the first, so we infer the forgiveness of sin in the world to come from the passage as found in the first gospel, though it cannot be inferred from the words of the second, ν. Before leaving this passage, we must add an opinion which has been omitted above in order not to interrupt the continuity of the commentary: Cyr. Epiph. [hær. liv. 2, Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. [2a 2ae, q. 14, a. 3], Tost. [q. 67 in Matt. 12.] Caj. Mald. Bellarm. [De pœnit. i. 2. 100:16] Suar. [disp. 8. sect. 1, n. 19], Lap. Lam. Calm. Arn. Palmieri [De pœnit. Romæ, 1879, p. 60], explain the statement of our Lord that the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven, “neither in this world, nor in the world to come,” as merely indicating the grievousness of the sin, or the extraordinary mercy of God manifested by the remission of this sin, or the great difficulty of conversion after committing such a sin, or a merely hypothetic assertion that remission will not be obtained without proper penance; it is singular, however, that these authors do not admit a similar explanation in similar statements of the gospels, e. g. Mk. 16:16.

33. Either make the tree good.] [2] Why the blasphemy of the Spirit is not forgiven. Jer. Chrys. Caj. Jans. Lap. Bar. Lam. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Bisp. Grimm, Fil. etc. see in this passage a dilemma against the charge of the Pharisees, as if it meant: Either the devil is bad, and cannot perform good deeds, or the good deeds which you have witnessed are not the work of the devil; in either case, your charge is false. But this dilemma is open to the exception that even exorcisms are no longer good deeds, if they are performed by the aid of the devil. Aug. [serm. 72, 1; de act. cum Felice manich. ii. 4; contra litt. Petil. 2:6] Br. Thom. Mald. Schanz, Weiss, Keil, etc. are therefore right in connecting the passage with what follows, explaining it thus: The tree testifies of itself by its fruit [Hil.]; since then your fruit, the “blasphemy of the Spirit,” is so evil, what must not be your wickedness? The providence of God is therefore justified in not granting you those peculiar graces that would prove efficacious unto the remission of your sin. The wickedness of the Pharisees is still more emphasized by their evil origin [cf. Mt. 3:17], and by the fact that their words show only part of their wickedness, since they are, as it were, an overflow of the abundance of their heart [Jn. 5:18; 8:53; 10:23; 1 Jn. 1:10; 5:10; Euth.], or a small coin of the treasure stowed away in their soul.

36. But I say to you that every idle word.] [3] Guilt of blasphemy of the Spirit. An idle word has no good purpose, is not spoken for the good of either the speaker or the hearer [cf. Chrys. Jer. Pasch. Pr. Thom. Alb.]. If, then, even idle words will be punished in the day of judgment, what must he expect who blasphemes against the Spirit? The principle that our words shall be the criterion of our condemnation or our absolution in the divine judgment is in conformity with Prov. 12:14; 13:3; 21:6, 23; Ecclus. 5:15; 14:1; 22:33; 28:22; James iii. 6; cf. Druthm. Knab. Dion, etc.

38. Then some of the scribes and Pharisees.] 4. The sign of Jonas, 38–45. In this section the evangelist states first the petition of the scribes and Pharisees, v. 39; secondly, the sign promised them, vv. 39, 40; thirdly, the attitude of the enemies to the sign, vv. 41, 42; fourthly, the consequences of this attitude, vv. 43–45.

α. Petition of the enemies. Lk. 11:16 seems to show that the Pharisees who ask for the sign are different from those in the previous section. The clause “answered him” may refer to the refutation of the Pharisees occurring in various parts of the gospels, or it may express the connection of the petition with the events that were just then transpiring. Mt. 16:1, Lk. 11:16, and Mk. 8:11 render it probable that it was a sign from heaven, such as thunder and lightning, that was desired by the Pharisees [Jer. Theoph. Euth. op. imp. Aug. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Jans. Lap. Arn. Fil. etc.]; such a sign the Jews demanded also during our Lord’s Eucharistic discourse, when they reminded him of the bread that Moses had given them from heaven [Jn. 6:30; cf. Caj.]. 1 Cor. 1:22 shows that even after the resurrection the Jews were in the habit of demanding signs from the ministers of the gospel.

39. Who answering said to them.] b. The sign. α. How “evil” a generation the Pharisees were is further declared in Jn. 8:44, 45; cf. 5:46. β. The expression “adulterous” applies the prophetic figure by which the Jews are represented as the unfaithful spouse of God [cf. Is. 1:21; 50:1; Jer. 2:2; Ez. 16:8 f; Os. 2:5 f.] to the generation that refused to acknowledge its Messianic spouse [cf. Mt. 9:15]. γ. Hence the whimsical desire of the Pharisees for a sign will not be satisfied, but they will witness a sign which they do not wish to see, wrought like that of Jonas for the benefit of the Gentiles, and not of the Jews; this shows also that our Lord did not intend to destroy the apologetic value of his miracles by his declaration [cf. Jn. 11:41 f.]. δ. Concerning Jonas in the whale’s belly, see Jon. 2:1, 4. ε. “Three days and three nights” does not necessarily mean a space of seventy-two hours, but may be used of a period embracing parts of three days and nights [Esth. 4:16; 5:1; Tob. 3:10, 12; 1 Kings 30:12, 13], and in this sense the words of Jesus were understood by his enemies [cf. Mt. 27:63, 64; Jer. Theoph. Lightfoot’s Rabbinic expressions, in loc.]. ζ. “In the heart of the earth” is explained of Christ’s burial by Chrys. Euth. Bed. Br. Alb. Tost. Sylv. Calm. Arn. Ed. [ii. p. 200]; but the expression is hardly equivalent to the simple phrase “in the earth,” since such an equivalence is not proved by Ex. 15:8; Deut. 4:11; 2 Kings 18:14; Jon. 2:4. Gesen. [Thesaur. p. 739] adduces illustrations from the Syriac, the Persian, the Chinese, which demonstrate that “in the heart” signifies in those languages “in the middle” of a thing. Tert. [de anim. c. 55] Iren. [cont. hær. v. 31] Cyprian, [test, advers. Jud. ii. 25] Ephr. [serm. ad nocturn. dominic, resur.] Gregor. nyss. [in s. pascha serm. 1] Ambrosiaster [in Eph. iv. 9], Jer. Theoph. Pasch. Fab. Caj. Mald. Lap. Bar. Bisp. Reischl, Schanz, Keil, Knab. etc. are therefore warranted in explaining “in the heart of the earth” of the descent of our Lord into limbo; Rab. Dion. Schegg, Fil. Mansel are perhaps more correct when they understand the phrase as implying both Christ’s burial and his descent into limbo. η. The sign promised by our Lord cannot be placed in the fact that he preaches to the Jews as Jonas had preached to the inhabitants of Ninive, and that he excels Jonas even as a man raised from the dead excels one that has been in the belly of a whale [cf. Mald. Paulus, Schleiermacher, David Schulz, Strauss, Neander, Krabbe, De Wette. Ammon, Bleek, Weizsäcker, Schenkel, Keil, Weiss]. For the text evidently speaks of a miracle, while in the foregoing explanation there is no miracle; if the conversion of the Ninivites be called a miracle, we cannot assume that our Lord promised this conversion to the Jews as a sign that would be given them; again, the sign is promised by our Lord as something future, while his ministry among the Jews is something present; then, the preaching of Jonas is parallel in the text to the wisdom of Solomon admired by the queen of the south, and still the foregoing writers do not find the promised sign in Solomon’s wisdom; finally, the text itself does not admit the sign as consisting in the preaching of Jesus, since it evidently places the sign in the parallelism between Jonas’ rest in the whales belly and our Lord’s in the heart of the earth. θ. The common opinion is therefore right in maintaining that Jesus will be a sign to the Jews by remaining three days in the heart of the earth and then coming forth in renewed life, even as Jonas had been a sign to the Ninivites by proceeding alive out of the belly of a whale, after a three days’ stay therein [cf. Lk. 11:30]. Schegg’s contention, that the sign of Jonas had become the proverbial expression of a useless endeavor among the Jews, has no foundation in history; our Lord’s resurrection did not prove wholly fruitless even among the Jews, as both the gospel and the history of the apostles testify [cf. Lk. 23:48; Acts 2:41; 4:4; 5:14; 6:1, 7; 15:5; etc.]. The obscurity of the prophecy at the time it was pronounced does not impair its truthfulness [cf. Jn. 2:21].

41. The men of Ninive.] c. The attitude of the enemies. This is illustrated by two examples, both taken from Gentiles that have profited by the grace of God. First, the men of Ninive shall rise in judgment, either as accusers [Mald.], or as witnesses [Fil. Weiss; cf. Job 16:9; Mk. 14:57], and shall condemn the Jews in either of the two foregoing capacities, because they themselves did penance at the preaching of the servant and the prophet, while the latter remained impenitent at the preaching of the Master and the Word Incarnate [cf. Chrys. Jer. op. imp. Pasch. Jans.]. Secondly, the queen of the south, of the Sabæans in Arabia Felix [3 Kings 10:1; 2 Par. 9:1], did not wait till Solomon came to her, but woman and barbarian though she was, set out of her own accord to profit by the wisdom of Solomon; but the Jews refuse to listen to Wisdom Incarnate [cf. Chrys. Mald.]. While Jesus urges here again his Messianic claims by placing himself above the prophets and the wisest of men, he at the same time expresses the threat that the kingdom of heaven will pass from the Jews to the Gentiles [cf. Mt. 8:11, 12; Jer. Rab. Pasch. Thom.].

43. And when an unclean spirit.] d. Consequence of the Jews’ attitude. The following passage approaches almost to a formal parable, in which the action of the devil is compared with a well-known propensity of man [Jans. Caj. Mald. Lap.]. α. “When an unclean spirit is gone out of a man” and the following, “whence I came out,” are expressions wholly in keeping with the pride of the devil, as if he had left his dwelling of his own accord. β. “He walketh through dry places” can hardly refer to the popular opinion that the desert is the proper dwelling-place of the devil [Bar. 4:35; Tob. 8:3; Apoc. 18:2], for this is not to the point; nor can it refer to the Gentiles, as if the devil were impelled by their conversion to return to his former dwelling [cf. Hil. Ambr. Jer.], for the Gentiles never were all converted to the worship of the one true God; much less can it refer to the souls of the just whose carnal passions are dried up [cf. Jans.], for the evil spirit would hardly expect to find rest in such hearts; it suffices to see here a human manner of action which serves to illustrate the tactics of the devil.

γ. On the return of the devil, his former house is empty, because not occupied by its true master, and not guarded by any inimical force. Moreover, it is swept and garnished with those supernatural gifts of intellect and will that are not incompatible with the presence of the devil, and in which he, therefore, specially glories, because he turns them against the service of God [Mald, op. imp. Calm. Schegg]; it is garnished also with those sins and vices that form the devil’s special delight [Euth. Br. Cyr. Bed. Thom. Jans. Lam. Arn. Schanz, Knab.]; finally, in the case of the Jews, the house is garnished with the superfluous and unprofitable observance of the Pharisaic traditions [Rom. 10:3; Jer. Dion.], not to speak of those attractions by which the desires of the devil are particularly inflamed, though they may be unknown to us [Jans. Caj. Bisp. Fil.].

δ. The “seven other spirits more wicked than himself” may denote the universality of corruption [Apolin. cat. Rab. Thom. Dion.], or the seven deadly sins [Euth. Bed.], or simply many evil spirits [Mald.], or finally the plenitude of the spirit of evil, even as the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost signify the fulness of the divine Spirit [cf. Is. 11:2; Jer. Ambr. Theoph. op. imp. Fab. Br. Thom.].

ε. That “the last state of that man is made worse than the first” is a matter of daily experience; the same truth is expressed in Ez. 15:1 ff.; 2 Pet. 2:21, 22; cf. Mald.

ζ. Finally, Jesus applies all this “to this wicked generation”: The evil spirit had been obliged to leave his dwelling among them when the law was given, when the covenant was agreed to, and when the prophets fulfilled their mission [Chrys. Theoph. Apolin. in. cat. Hil. Jer. Cyr. Ambr. Bed. Pasch. Dion. Jans. Schegg, Schanz, etc.]; again, when at the time of the exile idol worship was wholly destroyed [Reischl, Bisp. Fil.]; finally, when the Baptist exerted his mighty influence, preparing the way for the still mightier preacher who came after him [Knab.].

η. That the last state of “this wicked generation” was made worse than the first follows from a comparison of the Egyptian bondage and the Babylonian captivity with the destruction of city and temple by the Romans, with the dispersion of the Jews over the whole earth, and their persistent adherence to the dead Mosaic law [cf. Chrys. Mt. 24:21; Rom. 11:19, 21; 1 Thess. 2:15].

46. As he was yet speaking.] 5. The true disciples. This incident follows according to the third gospel the parable of the sower [Lk. 8:19], and this order is not denied in the first, since our Lord may have been “speaking” that parable [against Aug. De eons, evang. ii. 40, 87]. St. Matthew has fitted the same into a topical arrangement, wishing to show that in spite of the rejection of the Jews, true disciples will not be wanting, and at the same time that true discipleship does not consist in any bonds of flesh and blood, but in obedience to the will of the Father [Schanz, Knab.]. To effect this, he first tells of the arrival of the carnal brethren of Jesus, vv. 46, 47, and then delineates Christ’s own description of his spiritual brethren.

a. The carnal brethren. The “brethren” of Jesus are James, Joseph [Joses], Simon, and Jude; they are mentioned here and in the parallel passages, Mk. 3:31; Lk. 8:19; again in Mt. 13:55 and its parallel Mk. 6:3; third, in John. 2:12; fourth, in John. 7:3, 5, 10; finally, in Acts. 1:14; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19. In no place is Joseph called the father, or Mary the mother, of our Lord’s brethren; in Jn. 7; 1 Cor. 9:5; Gal. 1:19 Mary is not named at all; on the other hand, both the Greek and the Hebrew word for “brother” may mean either a real brother, or a near relative [Gen. 14:16; 13:8; 24:28; 29:12, 15; 1 Kings 20:9; 4 Kings 10:13; etc.; Plato, Phædo, 57; Crito, 16; Xen. Cyr. i. 5]. We have therefore no warrant in Scripture for contending that the foregoing brethren of Jesus are his real brothers according to the flesh, though this is maintained by the rationalists and most Protestant writers [cf. Alford, Farrar, Holtzmann, Michaelis, Kuinoel, Davidson, Greswell, Kitto, Bloomfield, Neander, Herder, etc.; Keil and Mansel are honorable exceptions]. Since the history of the infancy emphasizes the virginity of Mary so clearly, and since our Lord on the cross recommended his mother to John [Jn. 19:26 f.], and since the doctrine of the perpetual virginity has been always part of the tradition of the Church [cf. Jer. Helvid. De perpet. V. B. Mariæ, tom, ii. p. 119], the relation of the brethren of our Lord to the Blessed Virgin has been always explained so as to preserve her virginity intact: they are the sons of St. Joseph by a former marriage [Epiph. Theoph. Euth. Niceph. Hil. Ambr. etc.], or the sons of Cleophas the brother of St. Joseph [Hegesippus ap. Eus. H. E. IV. xxx. 4; Suar. Lap. Tir. Patrizi, etc.], or the children of Mary the sister of our Blessed Lady and the wife of Cleophas, so that they are the real cousins of our Lord [cf. Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40; 15:47; 16:1; Jn. 19:25; Jer. Knab. etc.]. Jer. rejects the opinion that Joseph had been married before being united to our Blessed Lady as a fable of the apocryphal writings [cf. Evang. Pet.]; and the view has not found favor in the western church. Against the last opinion that the mother of the brethren of Jesus was the sister of our Lady, an explanation of Jn. 19:25 is advanced according to which Mary of Cleophas is distinct from the sister of the mother of Jesus, because it is not probable that two sisters should have the same name; or even if Mary of Cleophas be called our Lady’s sister, the Greek word “sister” may signify also “sister-in-law.” Cf. Kirchenlex. ii. 179 ff.; Comely, Introd. iii. pp. 595 ff.

We cannot believe that the mother and the brethren of Jesus came for the reason assigned in Mk. 3:21, because it is not probable that “his friends” [Mk. 3:21] are identical with “his mother and his brethren” [Mk. 3:31; cf. Apolin. in cat. Jans. Mald. Bar. Sylv. Calm. Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Ed. i. p. 251, Fil. etc.]. It cannot have been from vanity [Chrys. Theoph.], or the desire of stopping the ministry of Jesus [Tert.], or from anxiety for our Lord’s security [Mald. Jans.], or through a wish for his rest and comfort [Thom. Caj. Tolet.], that the brethren and the mother of Jesus came to him; it is safer to confess our ignorance on this point [Knab.]. We need not assume that the arrival of his relatives was announced to Jesus with the purpose of entrapping him [cf. Dion. Jans. Knab. against Jer. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Fab. op. imp.].

48. But Jesus answering.] b. The true brethren of Jesus. Chrys. Euth. Hil. Apolin. Theodoret. in cat. Fab. Dion. etc. are emphatic in maintaining that Jesus neither denied nor offended his blessed mother by the words of his answer. He had the best reasons for acting as he did; he must give an example of that denial of flesh and blood which is required from his disciples [cf. Lk. 2:49]; he must show that the duties of the ministry are above those of family ties [Hil.]; he must demonstrate that our spiritual ties are more binding than the carnal ones [Bed. Chrys. Jer. Theodor. in cat. Pasch. Alb. Br. Caj.]. It is here that Jesus shows most lovingly [cf. Mk. 3:34] who his spiritual relatives are. Since his whole life consisted in doing the will of the Father [cf. Jn. 4:34; 5:30; 6:38; 8:29; Heb. 10:7; Mt. 6:10; Phil. 2:8; Chrys.], it is not surprising that “whoever shall do the will of my Father … he is my brother.” As the gospel announces a new birth, so it implies a new relationship [cf. Gal. 3:28]. Whoever is born by this new birth is a son of God, a co-heir of Christ, and therefore a brother of Christ [cf. Jn. 1:13; 1 Jn. 3:9; Thom. Alb.]. And since the brother of Christ forms his soul into another Christ [Gal. 4:19; Alb. Dion.], and often even gains over others to Christ, forming them into so many images of the Master [1 Cor. 4:15; Gal. 4:19; Gregor. hom. in evang. ii. 2; Pasch. Ans. laud. Thom. Alb. Dion. Bar.], he may truly be called the mother of Christ. Thus far we have seen that Jesus claims to be lord of the sabbath and the temple, to be above the prophets and the kings of the theocracy; truly, then, he must be the Messias.

δ. Description of the Messianic Kingdom, 13:1–14:12

1. Descriptive Parables, 13:1–52

1. The same day Jesus going out.] Jesus here describes the character of the Messianic kingdom in seven parables: first, that of the sower, vv. 1–23; second, that of the cockle, vv. 24–30; third, that of the grain of mustard seed, vv. 31, 32; fourth, that of the leaven, vv. 33; fifth, that of the hidden treasure, v. 44; sixth, that of the pearl, vv. 45, 46; seventh, that of the net, vv. 47–52. Vv. 34–43 contain an explanation of the second parable. The first two parables show the obstacles to the kingdom arising from within and from without; the second two show the efficacy of the kingdom as to its extent and its intensity; the third two parables illustrate the priceless value of the kingdom; the last parable points forward to the consummation of the kingdom [Thom.]. Since the evangelist has shown the unfitness of the great mass of the people for the Messianic kingdom, it cannot surprise us that our Lord now employs a manner of speaking the more unintelligible to the multitudes, because they expect a Messianic kingdom far different from that described by Jesus. We may reasonably suppose that the evangelist has here placed together various parables spoken by Jesus on different occasions.

1. Parable of the sower. The same parable is related by Lk. 8:4–8 and Mk. 4:1–9; the second evangelist gives it in the same connection as the first. [A] Wording of the parable, α. “The same day” may signify the day on which the mother and the brethren of our Lord had come to see him, though it may also mean “at that time” generally [cf. Aug. de cons. 2, 41, 88; some codd.]. β “Going out of the house” refers to the house of Peter in Capharnaum [cf. Mt. 8:14; 9:1]. γ. Jesus first “sat by the seaside,” and when “great multitudes were gathered together unto him,” “he went up into a boat and sat.” δ. The “multitudes stood on the shore,” though the Talmudic tradition that the disciples began to sit only after the time of Gamaliel I appears to be false [cf. Lk. 2:46; Acts 22:3; Aboth i. 4]. ε. “Parables” in a wider sense may embrace proverbial expressions and similitudes [cf. Jn. 10:6; 16:25, 29; Mt. 15:15; 24:32; Mk. 3:23; 4:30]; but in their specific meaning, they are fictions built up on the human life, and illustrating some practical or theoretic truth. Such parables occur even in the Old Testament [Judges 9:7 ff.; 2 Kings 12:2 ff.], and the Rabbinic teachers employed them frequently [Lightf. hor. hebr. ad h. l.; Ed. i. p. 580: Wünsche, p. 160], though they appear to have stated the truth before stating the parable, while our Lord follows the opposite course. ζ. The “many things” which our Lord spoke in parables renders it probable that he spoke more than one parable on this particular occasion [cf. Mk. 4:2, 33; Lk. 8:5]. η. The apparent carelessness of the sower may be explained by his sowing in one of the ways peculiar to the Jews [cf. Ed. i. p. 586]; for they had two manners of sowing, one by hand, the other by means of an ox carrying a perforated sack of grain over the land that was to be sown. θ. There are three kinds of unprofitable seed, as there will be three degrees of fruitfulness. Jans, draws attention to the accuracy of statement according to which the seed fallen on stony ground springs up immediately, owing to the greater warmth; “they had no root” does not deny the presence of any root at all, but must be understood of the weakness of the root [cf. Schanz]. ι. “The thorns” are represented as growing up, so that in their progress they outgrow the wheat, κ. That Galilee was noted for its fertility is clear from Joseph. B. J. III. iii. 2; “an hundred-fold” harvest is known also in Gen. 26:12. λ. The importance of the parable is inculcated by the final admonition, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear” [cf. Mt. 11:15]. μ. According to Mk. 4:10 and Lk. 8:9, the apostles asked for an explanation of the parable, while the first gospel insists on their asking the reason why Jesus spoke to the people in parables; this difference is fully in accordance with the different scope of the gospels. For since the teaching in parables was common [3 Kings 4:32; Ecclus. 39:2], the second and third evangelists need not explain this fact to their readers; but the first evangelist had to state why our Lord addressed the multitudes in parables, while he spoke to his disciples in plain language, ν. In answer our Lord calls attention to the difference between the disposition of the multitudes and the disciples: the former have proved themselves unworthy of knowing the mysteries, i. e. the true nature and the divinely appointed properties of the kingdom of God; for they have failed to acknowledge the divine legate in spite of his countless signs and miracles [cf. Mt. 11:7–24; 12:1–45]. The apostles have accepted the person of the Messias, and therefore they will be assisted to understand his mission and kingdom [cf. Rom. 11:25; 16:25; Eph. 1:9; 1 Pet. 1:12]. ξ. Our Lord illustrates this further by what occurs every day in business life: the wealthy become easily wealthier, and the poor easily lose their little property. In the present case, the Jewish multitudes are the poor, possessing only a natural desire after the Messianic goods [cf. Chrys.], or the blessings of Abraham with the advantages of the law and the prophets [cf. Hil. Orig. cat. Theoph. Pasch. op. imp. Calm.]; since they have failed to invest these goods properly, they will lose them in the present Messianic crisis, ο. But this poverty is owing to the fault of the Jews themselves; for though they see the truth theoretically, they do not see it practically, either through malice, as happens on the part of the leaders, or through neglect, as is the case on the part of the multitudes [cf. Chrys. op. imp. Theoph. Euth. Mald. Schegg, Weiss, Keil].

π. “The prophecy of Isaias” [Is. 6:9] was directed to the contemporaries of the prophet; but the gospels and Acts too [Mk. 4:12; Lk. 8:10; Jn. 12:39, 40; Acts 28:26, 27] point out that its fulfilment extends to the Jews of our Lord’s time. The Greek verb for “fulfilled” used in this passage means properly “wholly fulfilled,” and is still further emphasized by its position in the sentence. In the text of the prophecy we must notice its beautifully inverse order of the members: “heart … ears … eyes …; eyes … ears … heart.” The citation follows the Greek version rather than the Hebrew text, for the latter reads: “Hearing hear ye, and understand not; and seeing see ye, and know not. Make fat the heart of this people, and make their ears heavy, and close their eyes, lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and they be converted and healed.” The main difference between the Greek version and the Hebrew original consists in this, that the former emphasizes more the wickedness of the people, while the latter insists on the divine decree of rejection. The evangelist may have employed the Greek version because he wished to show the guilt of the Jews, or because our Lord himself had quoted the Septuagint, or again it may be supposed that St. Matthew cited the Hebrew original, but that his Greek translator substituted the Septuagint version, since the Hebrew wording of the passage was not necessary for the argument. Our Lord continued to instruct the multitudes though their conversion as a body had become hopeless, because he was anxious to win over those individual souls that had not yet fully shared the guilt of the mass.

[B] Explanation of parable, [a] “Your eyes” and “your ears” form a strong contrast with those of the multitudes, since they see and hear what all the “prophets and just men” have desired to see and hear; this longing of many is expressed in the inspired language of the Old and the New Testament [cf. Is. 45:8; 64:1; 9:6; 11:1 ff.; 35:1 ff.; 60:1 ff.; Jer. 23:5; 23:30, 31; Ps. 44:12; Ez. 34:23; Os. 2:19; Mich. 5:1; Agg. 2:8; etc.; Jn. 8:56; 1 Pet. 1:10–12; etc.]. This predilection shown to the disciples was well calculated to increase their love for their Master and their esteem of their vocation.

[b] Though it would be impious to explain the parable differently from the way in which it has been explained by our Lord himself, a few words of additional comment may not be wholly useless [cf. Hil.]. In general it may be supposed that this parable prepared the disciples for a partial failure of their future preaching.

[c] “The seed by the wayside” represents the word or message of the kingdom [Mt. 4:23; 24:14; Acts 1:3; 28:31] announced, hut not understood, and carried away by the wicked one; the want of understanding may result from sin, or inordinate affections, or neglect of divine things, or flippancy, or carelessness, or slowness of mind. “The wayside” means, therefore, a mind open to worldly thoughts [op. imp.], or dried up by bad imaginations [Rab.].

[d] The seed fallen on stony ground represents the message of the kingdom that is joyfully received, but not allowed to penetrate the innermost sources of our thoughts and affections, so that it fails in time of trial and temptation; while, therefore, the first class of converts lose their faith without suffering any external difficulty, the second class lose their faith in time of moderate persecution [cf. Mt. 5:10–12; 7:13; 10:16–22], for they are “presently scandalized.”

[e] As those that hear the word of the kingdom, but do not follow it, are represented by the wayside; and those that hear the word, and receive it, but fall off forthwith, are signified by the stony ground; so are those that hear the word, and receive it, but do not bear fruit, represented by the thorny ground. The thorns are not the world and riches, because they in themselves are indifferent, but the care of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches [Chrys.]. Riches really contain two opposites in them, pleasure and pain, care and satisfaction; the one is properly expressed by the “care of the world,” the other by the “deceitfulness of riches.” Both are rightly compared to thorns, because they impede all spiritual fruit, even as thorns choke the fruit of the field; again, both wound and tear the human heart, as thorns wound and tear the human body [Salm. Jans. Greg. Dion.]. Since, then, spiritual fruitfulness and spiritual [if not actual] poverty are correlated, we understand the difficulty of attaining to real spiritual fruitfulness.

[f] To these three classes our Lord adds a fourth, consisting of those that are noted for their fruitfulness; “the good ground” may be good by nature, but it may also have become good by cultivation, in our case, by the removal of inordinate affections; the degrees of disposition and fruitfulness remind one of 1 Cor. 15:41, 42; cf. Tost. [qu. 18 in c. xviii.].

[g] While, therefore, the doctrine on merit and its different degrees is certainly implied in the parable, its exact application is less certain: Aug. [qu. in evang. i. 9] Pasch. Br. Thom. see in the three degrees of fruitfulness a representation of martyrs, virgins, and common Christians; Jer. Alb. Rab. speak of virgins, widows, and married people; Theoph. of great ascetics, cenobites, and seculars; op. imp. of those dead to the world and at the same time suffering infirmities, of those dead to the world, and those detached from riches; Br. of the contemplatives, of those leading a mixed life, and those leading an active life; Dion, of the perfect, of advancers, and beginners; Bar. Jans. Mald. Lap. of the very good, the middling good, and those that are passable; Bed. of those persevering to the end, of those perfect in their works, and the believers in the Holy Trinity.

[h] While the seed may be identified with the word of our Lord and the preaching of the apostles [Chrys.], the reception of the seed in the soil, its need of rain and sunshine, and its gradual development are rightly regarded as the stages and needs of the spiritual life [Chrys. Euth. Tost. qu. 9]. Dion, is not justified in inferring from this parable the small number of the elect, since it cannot be supposed that one fourth of the seed fell on the way, another fourth on rocky soil, a third fourth among thorns, and only the last fourth bore its proper fruit.

24. Another parable he proposed to them.] 2. The cockle. As the former parable showed the partial and unequal fruitfulness of the seed, so does the present illustrate the danger that we must guard against in the kingdom itself. This warning was necessary in order to remove the impression prevalent in the synagogue, that material membership would be a sufficient security of salvation.

α. When Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is likened to a man,” we must understand his words as drawing a parallel between what happens in the Messianic kingdom on the one hand, and the good seed oversowed with cockle on the other.

β. The cockle is “oversowed,” because error supposes truth [Chrys.].

γ. “While men were asleep” does not refer to the carelessness of superiors [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Jer. Pasch. Alb. Fab. Dion. Salm. Schanz, Keil], because error sprang up even in the time of the apostles, and Judas went astray when Jesus himself was alive; for the same reasons it cannot refer to the death of the apostles [Thom.], as if error had sprung up only after their time; but the phrase refers, without implying any blame cf. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Arn. Schegg, Fil. Knab. Weiss, Mansel], to the secrecy of the enemies’ proceeding, sowing the bad seed during the night time [cf. Job 4:13; 33:15].

δ. The cockle is apparently the “darnel” or “bastard-wheat,” the lolium album of the Latins, the Zuwan of the Arabs, the stalk of which resembles wheat so closely that one can hardly be distinguished from the other till the “blade” springs up; the roots of the two intertwine so that the one cannot be removed without injury to the other. To sow cockle in this manner over the field of an enemy is a manner of revenge still well known in the East [cf. Virg. Georg. i. 153; Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 419].

ε. “The servants of the goodman” are not blamed by the master for their want of vigilance, and, on their part, they show the greatest readiness for work; some think that our Lord applied the term to the angels [Jer. Theoph. Pasch.], but the angels [v. 39] are distinguished from the servants; others identify the servants with the zealous faithful [Euth, Thom. Caj. Jans. Mald.], but others again appear to be right in maintaining that in the parables we ought not to be anxious about minutiæ after discovering their main purpose [Chrys. Jans. Bar. Mald. etc.]. According to the last view the servants are introduced not on account of themselves, but on account of our Lord’s words, “suffer both to grow until the harvest.” For then the separation can be easily effected, because the cockle can be known by its size and color, and its union with the wheat is no longer so close as to involve the latter’s vitality.

ζ. The inference of the reformers that error and sin must be allowed full liberty [cf. Salm. Jans. Mald. Lap.] is first against the words of St. Paul [1 Cor. 5:13, 6], then against the practice of the reformers who did not extend this liberty to Catholics [cf. Clavin’s “de hæreticis iure gladii coercendis”], nor to their own sects; thirdly, it is not demanded by the present passage, which forbids the gathering of the cockle only “lest perhaps … you root up the wheat also” [cf. Br. Salm. Mald. Lap. Bar.]. St. Thom. enumerates four reasons why the bad must not be destroyed for the sake of the good: first, the good are tried by the bad [1 Cor. 11:19]; secondly, because the bad may themselves become good [Chrys. Orig. in cat. Jer. Chrysol. serm. 97, Theoph. Euth. Pasch. etc.]; thirdly, because many are only apparently bad, but really good; fourthly, many wicked are of great power and influence, so that their ruin involves that of many others.

η. Religious war is excluded by this teaching according to Orig. in cat. Chrys.; but Augustin’s different opinions on this question may be seen in his ep. ad Vincent. 93 [al. 48]; ep. ad Bonifac. 185 [al. 50]; ep. ad Donat. 100 [al. 127].

θ. It may be of interest to notice that some commentators [Lap. Nat. Alex. Tirin.] explain the field in this parable as representing the world, not the church; but the warning that there would be good and bad in the world appears nugatory; the world can hardly be said to be sowed with good seed and oversowed with cockle; the wish to extirpate all the cockle in the world seems hardly reasonable.

31. Another parable he proposed unto them.] 3. The mustard seed. Here our Lord begins to set forth the power of the kingdom manifested first by its great extension. This manifestation is calculated to console and reassure the apostles, who might have been discouraged by the foregoing predictions of coming evil. Here again the similitude lies between what occurs in the kingdom of heaven and the whole contents of the parable. The mustard-tree can hardly be the “salvadora persica,” which is rare in Palestine, but must refer to the garden plant [sinapis nigra] which in the fertile soil of the Holy Land reached the height of several feet, and exceeded all other garden plants [Bar.]; Mald, does not wish to insist on these minutiæ of the parable. The mustard seed is not the least of all seeds botanically, but it was so either practically in the Holy Land [cf. Schaff], or at least proverbially [Lightfoot, Hor. hebr. in 1.; Buxtorf, Lexic. chald. talmud. p. 822]. Our Lord describes in this passage the small and humble beginnings of the Messianic kingdom [cf. Ezech. 17:23]; we need not recall the particulars of Christ’s humility and poverty, and of the apostles’ lowly condition [cf. Chrys. Jer. Thom. Caj. Jans.]. What is said by some commentators [cf. Jans. Sylv. Lap.] about the various medicinal properties of the mustard seed, or about the birds of heaven and the branches of the mustard-tree, hardly belongs to the genuine meaning of the parable, though it may be regarded as an accommodation of the passage.

33. Another parable he spoke to them.] 4. The leaven. Here our Lord shows the intensive efficacy of the kingdom, as he illustrated its extensive efficiency in the foregoing parable. The “three measures,” or three seahs, are equivalent to an ephah or bath, which is equal to 7 gals. and 4.5 pts. [Joseph. Ant. XI. iv. 5]. The number “three” has wonderfully exercised the ingenuity of commentators: it signifies “multitude” in general [Chrys. Euth. Thom. Caj.]; or the law, the prophets, and the gospel [Hil. Ambr. Chrysol.]; or the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost [Hil.]; or the Semites, Chamites, and Japhetites [Hil.]; or Asia, Africa, and Europe [Br. Fab. Jans. Lap.]; or the Jews, Samaritans, and Greeks [Euth.]; or our reasonable, concupiscible, and irascible faculties, in other words, the spirit, the soul, and the flesh [Jer. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Dion. Ambr.]; or the moral, intellectual, and heroic virtues [Alb.]; or our heart, our soul, and our strength [Thom.]; or the life of prelacy, of contemplation, and of action [id.]; or the thirty-fold, sixty-fold, and hundred-fold fruit [id.]; Jesus appears to have spoken of three measures in allusion to Gen. 18:6; Judg. 6:19; 1 Kings. 1:24 [Jans. Knab. etc.], so that the quantity suffices for a copious meal. Since in the figurative language of the Jews [Weber, System, etc. 221], as well as in the New Testament [Mk. 8:15; Mt. 16:6], “leaven” usually signifies something evil, its occurrence in the present passage must not refer to its substance, but only to its hidden, almost irresistible manner of acting and to its result. It would lead us too far, were we even to delineate the similarity of action and of result on the part of the Messianic message [cf. Euth. Dion. Jans.].

34. All these things Jesus spoke in parables.] 5. Explanation of the second parable. The evangelist here interrupts the series of parables by inserting the explanation of the second parable, and by drawing attention to a fulfilment of prophecy in our Lord’s parable discourse. The appeal to prophecy holds a place in the series of parables similar to that in the series of miracles [cf. Mt. 8:17; 12:18], and cannot therefore be set aside as an interpolation [cf. Weiss.], a. Appeal to prophecy. “Without parables he did not speak to them” at this period of the public life, when the conversion of the mass of the people had become hopeless [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Dion. Jans. De Wette, Arn. etc.], though in his earlier career he spoke to the people in plain language [cf. Schegg]. “That it might be fulfilled” does not admit of mere accommodation [Mald.] of the Psalmist’s prediction to the ministry of our Lord; since Jesus was the anti-type of the Old Testament, not merely in his character of priest and king, but also of prophet, the typical prophetic actions, e.g. their teaching in parables, must find their parallel in the teaching of our Lord [cf. Mt. 5:12; 23:30; Lk. 13:33; Knab.]. As, therefore, Asaph the Seer [2 Par. 29:30] appeals in Ps. 77, [78,] to certain facts of the nation’s history as to “parables” containing a moral doctrine, and as to “things hidden” expressing beside their obvious meaning the secrets of divine providence regarding the theocracy, so Jesus must in real parables describe the mysteries of the Messianic kingdom [cf. Col. 1:26; Jer. Pasch. Thom. Caj. Jans. Arn. Schegg, Fil. Knab. etc.]. The first half of the evangelist’s quotation follows the Greek version, the second half gives the Hebrew original [Ps. 87:2]. At the time of the Psalmist the passage was a warning against apostasy, at the time of Isaias it was an indication of the judgment against Juda, at the time of our Lord it points to the alternative of salvation or rejection [cf. Schanz].

36. Then having sent away.] b. Explanation of the cockle. “The house” must be that mentioned in verse 1; “his disciples” require an explanation of “the cockle,” not because that parable is in itself more obscure than the others, but because its doctrine had surprised them, since they expected that there would be no evil in the Messianic kingdom [Schanz against Chrys. Euth.]. “The Son of man” sows the good seed [Heb. 1:1, 2] not merely in his own person, but also by his ministers, and thereby spreads his saving truth [Rom. 1:16], and gives power to all of becoming adoptive sons of God [cf. Gal. 4:4, 5], or “children of the kingdom.” “The children of the wicked one,” or the seed of the serpent [Gen. 3:15], are those that have made themselves like the devil their father [Jn. 8:41, 44; 1 Jn. 3:8, 10; Acts 13:10]; not merely all heretics [Jer. Euth. Theoph.], but all that have neglected or abused grace must therefore be regarded as “children of the wicked one.” “The reapers” are the angels [cf. Apoc. 14:15; Mt. 24:31; 1 Thess. 4:15]; “the end of the world” renders a Greek expression that is apocalyptic [cf. Dan. 9:27; 12:4, 13; 4 Esdr. 7:43], and occurs Mt. 13:40, 49; 24:3; 28:20; Heb. 9:26. The Jews expected “the end” together with the advent of the Messias [cf. Is. 2:2; Dan. 10:14; Heb. 9:26; 4 Esdr. 7:43], since they did not distinguish between their theocratic dispensation and the future Messianic economy. “All scandals” may be identified with “them that work iniquity,” since the conjunction “and” may have the meaning of an explanatory particle [Euth. Jans], and since all that work iniquity are practically a scandal to their neighbor. The judgment is described in Mt. 7:23; 25:41. “The furnace of fire” agrees with Lk. 16:24; Apoc. 19:20; 20:9; cf. Dan. 3:6, while the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” are a sign of the great torments suffered, and of despair [cf. Mt. 8:12]. “Then shall the just shine” is not a mere figure expressing the happiness of the just, but a statement of their real glory [cf. Dan. 12:3; Ps. 38:4; 39:7; 104:4; Wisd. 3:7; 1 Cor. 15:41]. “As the sun” is the brightest luminary experimentally known in this world, its light and brightness represent the unspeakable glory of the just, as well as their happiness. “In the kingdom of their Father” expresses, on the one hand, that the just are the children of God, and therefore dwell in the Father’s house, and, on the other, that Christ shall have surrendered his kingdom before that period into the hands of his Father [cf. 1 Cor. 15:24], The importance of the doctrine is again emphasized by the words, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”

44. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure.] 6. The treasure, α. As the preceding parables illustrate the efficient force of the kingdom, so do the two following describe its moral power or its desirability [Caj.]; but there is this difference between them. that in one parable the kingdom is sought, while in the other it is found as if by accident [Caj. Jans. Sylv. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab.]; in the one we see its beauty, in the other its many advantages [Chrys. Thom.].

β. The “kingdom” is like a treasure, because it incloses countless and numberless goods, as the treasure implies countless and numberless riches [cf. Ps. 18:11; 118:127; Prov. 8:11; Job 28:15–19; Wind. 7:9]. It is like a “hidden” treasure because its value is not recognized by a soul not illumined by supernatural grace [cf. Acts 9:6; Br.]. The finder “hid it,” and thus in the supernatural order the finder must make a careful use of grace [Mald.]. “For joy thereof” [Vulg. Chrys. Euth. Fil.] rather emphasizes “his” joy according to the analogy of “his” fear [cf. Mt. 14:26; Lk. 24:41; Acts 12:14; recent commentators], than the joy over the treasure. But while the treasure and the joy it causes are expressions of the excellency of the kingdom, the sacrifices it demands are indicated by the fact that the finder “selleth all that he hath.” Though according to Rabbinic law [Surenhus. leg. mischn. iv. p. 113] the treasure belongs to the buyer of the field, Jesus does not pronounce his judgment on the manner in which the finder of the treasure acted, just as he employed the parable of the unjust steward without approving of his proceedings [cf. Lk. 16:8].

γ. “The kingdom of heaven” in this parable and the following is Christ himself as the head of the Church [Hil. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Salm.], or the canon of Sacred Scriptures [Jer. Orig. Pasch. Alb.], or the revealed truths of faith in general [Chrys. Theoph. Euth.], or the desire after heavenly things [Greg.], or charity, or the state of the evangelical counsels [Salm. Sylv. Bar. Lap. Schegg, etc.].

45. Again the kingdom of heaven.] 7. The pearl. The seeking after the pearl presupposes a general knowledge of its excellency together with an ignorance of the individual object; thus should all men endowed with ordinary intellectual faculties appreciate in general the worth of truth and goodness, though they may doubt, for a time, about what is really true and good. The parable insists on the necessity of being a prudent merchant, of investing all one’s goods in the purchase of the precious pearl [cf. Br. Chrys. Theoph. Greg. hom. xi. in evang.], which is according to the evangelist the “one pearl of great price,” and therefore worthy of notice even among the pearl-kind. The relation of this parable to the foregoing, and the various meanings of “the kingdom have been considered in the last section.

47. Again the kingdom of heaven.] 8. The net. This parable refers principally to the state of the Messianic kingdom “at the end of the world” [cf. v. 49], and shows that preaching on the part of the ministers and faith on the part of the hearers are not sufficient for salvation [cf. Chrys. Jans. Bar.]. The “net” is a drag, or draw-net, which sweeps the bottom of the water and permits nothing to escape it; it represents the teaching and believing Church [Orig. Hil. Chrys.], and may be conceived as being woven of the apostolic doctrine, the testimony of miracles, and the predictions of the prophets [Theoph. Jer.]. The fishermen implied in the parable are the apostles and their successors in the ministry [cf. Mt. 4:19; Mk. 1:17; Lk. 5:10]. “The sea” is the world with its storms, its instability, and its many bitternesses [cf. Jans. Chrysol. serm. 47], and in particular the waters of baptism may be regarded as the waters in which the fish are caught [Br.]. The net was “cast into the sea” when our Lord gave his disciples the commission to teach all nations [Br.]; it is a “gathering together of all kinds of fishes” because there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile, Greek and barbarian, rich and poor. The net will be “filled,” when after the fulness of the Gentiles has entered, all Israel shall be saved [cf. Rom. 11:25, 26], when the gospel shall have been preached to all nations Mt. 24:14]. The gospel does not say that all fish, or men, shall be caught, but that the net shall be full. Then follows the process of separation in the Church as well as in the fisherman’s trade: “they chose out the good into vessels, but the bad [i. e. the putrid and maimed] they cast forth”; there is this difference, however, that in the Church the separation is effected by “the angels” [verse 50], not by the fishermen, and again that the wicked are not merely rejected from the kingdom, but “cast into the furnace of fire, [where] there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” The torment and despair indicated by this expression have been pointed out above; we may add here that Jesus repeats this threat of eternal punishment with a frightful frequency [cf. Mt. 5:20 ff.; 8:12; 10:28; 12:32; 13:42, 50], so that these words must be feared rather than explained [Greg.].

51. Have ye understood.] 9. Conclusion. As if to show that for the present there is no need of further parables, the evangelist records here our Lord’s question concerning the disciples’ understanding of what has been said, and the disciples’ affirmative answer which is true of their limited knowledge before the coming of the Holy Ghost. Jesus then continues, and draws a practical conclusion regarding the use the apostles must make of their knowledge. “Therefore” is not merely an asseverative particle in the Greek original [cf. Euth.]; nor does it connect with the parable of the treasure-trove, as if the apostles had to be like the householder because the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure [cf. Aug. qu. in evang. Mt. 16; Mald.]; but it connects with the affirmative answer of the apostles [Chrys. Jans. Sylv. Bar. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. “Every scribe” is not every scribe in the Jewish sense, but the scribe “instructed in the kingdom of heaven,” or better “enrolled as a disciple for the kingdom of heaven.” Concerning the Greek word here rendered “instructed,” cf. Mt. 27:57; 28:19; Acts 14:21; in the Greek text the kingdom is construed personally as if it were the teacher of the apostles, so that Euth. explains it as “the king of heaven.” The “new things and old” represent the revelation of the New and Old Testament [cf. Orig. Hil. Jer. Chrys. Cyr. Euth. Pasch. Fab. Dion. Salm. Caj. Mald.], or the teaching of the New Testament confirmed by the authority of the Old [Theoph.], or the Old Testament in the light of the revelations of the New [Thom.], or the truths referring to the old and the new man, i. e. to the unregenerate and the regenerate [Alb. Pasch. Salm.], or the truths concerning the horrors of punishment and those referring to the happiness of the kingdom [Greg.], or truths already known and truths as yet unknown, but explained by means of the known [Bar. Sylv.], or truths in plenty and abundance of all kinds [cf. Jans. Mald. Bar. Lap. Calm. Lam. Arn. Fil. Knab.; Cant. 7:13]. According to this last view the expression is proverbial [cf. Mald.]. The order “new things and old” is either owing to the proverbial character of the expression, or to the importance of the subject [Aug. civ. dei, xx. 4], or to the order to be observed in teaching, or even to that followed in learning [cf. Knab.].

2. Illustrative Facts, Mt. 13:53–14:12

53. And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these parables.] We need not assume here a transition to another great division of the gospel [cf. 11:2; 19:1; 26:1], as if the evangelist stated the result of Christ’s ministry in Capharnaum in the seven parables and described the failure of his Judean ministry in the discourse of c. 25. The division: 11:2–13:52, ministry in Capharnaum; 13:53–18:35, ministry in Galilee; 19:1–25:46, ministry in Judea, etc. was not intended by the evangelist [cf. Zeitschr. f. prot. Theologie, 1856, p. 10; Wichelh. p. 236]. The gospel simply passes from discourse to action, illustrating especially the doctrine of the parables, first by Christ’s rejection in Nazareth [13:53–58], secondly by the violent death of John the Baptist [14:1–12].

a. Christ’s rejection in Nazareth. α. How can the present passage of the first gospel be harmonized with its seeming parallel of the third [Lk. 4:16–30]? Aug. Chrys. Fab. Jans. Mald. Bar. Sylv. Lap. Grimm, Schanz, Cornely, etc. contend that the two gospels refer to the same incident, the time of which must be determined either by the third or the first gospel. Both of these views are open to serious difficulties. Again, the third gospel mentions incidents connected with our Lord’s visit to Nazareth not only different from those recorded in the first and second [Mk. 6:1 ff.], but incompatible with them; e. g. the miracles related in the first and second gospel cannot be placed before the attempted violence [Lk. 4:23] nor after it, while the violence narrated by Luke is hardly compatible with the peaceful narratives of Matthew and Mark. Then, why should Matthew especially, intent as he is on proving the guilt of the Jews, omit the violence of the men of Nazareth, if he narrated the visit to Nazareth described in the third gospel? Finally, it is highly probable that Jesus gave his fellow citizens more than one opportunity of entering the kingdom. Arn. Schegg, Bisp. Fil. Keil. Ed. Storr, Wieseler, Ebrard, Godet, Krafft, Tisch. Knab. etc. are therefore justified in assuming that the gospels speak of two different visits of Jesus to Nazareth, the first [Lk. 4:16–30] occurring about December of our Lord’s first year of public life, the second nearly a year later Mt. 13:53 ff.; Mk. 6:1 ff.].

β. But how harmonize Mk. 6:1 ff. with the present passage of the first gospel? According to the second gospel a number of events intervene between the parables and the visit to Nazareth [cf. 4:35–6:1], while the first gospel narrates the visit immediately after the parables. But the connecting clause is not so stringent in the first gospel as to exclude the events narrated in Mk. 4:40–6:1 from between the parables and the rejection in Nazareth.

54. And coming into.] γ. “His own country” is the city of Nazareth where Jesus had been brought up, and where his mother lived [cf. Mt. 2:23]. When teaching in “their synagogues” [cf. 4:23.], the people were amazed and said: How came this man [a term of contempt; cf. Jn. 6:42] by this wisdom in his words and power in his action [cf. Orig. Br. Alb. Caj. Dion. Tost. Mald. Bar. Lap.], or by his knowledge and power to work miracles [Chrys. Theoph.]? In any case, Jesus must have wrought the miracles mentioned in verse 58 before his appearance in the synagogue. The Greek word rendered “carpenter” may mean a worker in iron, stone, wood, gold, silver, or any other material [cf. Caj. Mald. Bar.], though it refers more frequently to the “carpenter”; Hil. Ambr. Bed. are of opinion that Joseph was a smith, and that our Lord worked at the same trade [cf. Mk. 6:3], but Justin [c. Tryph. 88], Theodoret [E. H. iii. 18], Suicer [cf. Thes. ii. p. 1255], Evang. infantiæ [Arab. c. 38; Tisch. p. 201], Evang. Thomæ [græce c. 13; Tisch. p. 152], testify that Joseph was a carpenter, and according to Mk. 6:3 Jesus followed the same trade, though Orig. [c. Cels. vi. 36] must have had a different reading of Mark before him, since he says that Jesus is not called “carpenter” anywhere in the gospel. Concerning the “brethren” and the “sisters” of the Lord, see 12:47. James, called James the Less, was son of Alpheus [Mt. 10:3; Lk. 6:15; Mk. 3:18; Acts 1:13] and of Mary Cleophas [Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:40; Lk. 24:10; John 19:25]; he was also the “brother of the Lord” [Gal. 1:19], and brother of St. Jude [Lk. 6:16; Acts 1:13; Jude 1]; he was, moreover, “one of the Twelve” [Mt. 10:3], and surnamed the Just [Euseb. H. E. ii. 23]; he was finally first bishop of Jerusalem [Eus. H. E. ii. 1], and as such took a prominent part in the first Council of Jerusalem [Acts 15:13, 19], received the news of Peter’s release from prison [Acts 12:17], and was favored by a special vision of our Lord [1 Cor. 15:7]. Jude, also called Thaddeus or Lebbeus [Mt. 10:3], and Simon the Zealot [Mt. 10:4], too belonged to the Twelve [cf. Cornely, Introd. iii. pp. 595, 649]. The “sisters” must have been related to Jesus in the same manner as the “brethren”; usually, two are named [cf. Thilo. cod. apocr. p. 363], either Mary Salome and Mary Cleophas [Epiphan. Theoph.], or Ester and Tamar Hippol. ap. Niceph. ii. 3]. Though their wonder and their question [vv. 54, 56] should have led to a different result, “they were scandalized,” not as if in strict logic they had derived Christ’s wisdom and miracles from the devil [Tost. Dion. Mald. Arn.], but their envy [Chrys. Jer.] and the common human weakness which always despises the known and familiar [cf. 1 Kings. 16:11; 17:28; Jn. 4:44; Lk. 4:25 f.; Jer. Theoph. Euth. Thom. Dion. Seneca, De ben. iii. 3; Pliny, Hist. nat. xxxv. 36; Grotius] did not permit the rude inhabitants of Nazareth to submit in humble faith to their reputed equal or inferior. This throws additional light on the complete obscurity of the hidden life. The repetition of what had been said on the occasion of Christ’s previous visit to Nazareth [Lk. 4:24] agrees well with similar repetitions of other sayings [cf. Mt. 7:16 and 12:33; Mt. 5:29 and 18:8; Lk. 8:16 and 11:33]. The “unbelief” of Nazareth was not a physical, but a moral impediment of our Lord’s miracles. Chrys. Euth. Jer. Bed. Pasch. are of opinion that Jesus did not work more miracles because he did not wish to increase the guilt of the unbelievers, already inexcusable by reason of those that had been wrought in their city; but the text assigns their unbelief as the reason of our Lord’s limited beneficence.

1. At that time the tetrarch.] b. The death of John the Baptist. While the last incident illustrates the rejection of Jesus on the part of the common people, the present passage shows the failure of the higher classes to acknowledge the Messias; both cases, however, verify the parable of the sower whose seed falls by the wayside, on rocky soil, and among thorns. At the same time, the following event typifies our Lord’s violent death through the influence of the Pharisees [cf. John 4:1], and thus confirms the predictions recorded Mt. 10:38; 12:14, 39. The parallel between the death of the Baptist and his own, Jesus establishes in Mt. 17:12. The present passage gives first introductory information; secondly, the relation of Herod to John; thirdly, the injustice of Salome and Herod against John; fourthly, the behavior of John’s disciples.

α. Introductory information. “At that time,” viewed in the light of Mk. 6:14 and Lk. 9:7, refers to the period when the apostles had been sent to preach [Mt. 10:8], and when Jesus himself was teaching and preaching [Mt. 11:1]. “Herod the tetrarch,” according to Mk. 6:14 “king Herod,” on account of his Roman readers [cf. Cicero, Verr. iv. 27 “reges Syriæ”], was Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great by Malthace, a queen of Samaritan extraction, and brother of Archelaus [Jos. B. J. I. xxviii. 4]. In the first will of his father he was appointed king, in the second tetrarch over Galilee and Perea [Jos. Ant. XVII. viii. 1]. He married, probably from political motives, the daughter of the Arabian king Aretas; but having, on a visit to his half-brother Herod Philip [not the tetrarch of that name, but another son of Herod the Great, disinherited by his father], become enamored of Philip’s wife Herodias [niece of her husband, and daughter of Aristobulus, who was put to death by his father Herod], he prevailed on her to leave her husband and live with him. This step, accompanied by a stipulation of putting away the daughter of Aretas, involved him in a war with his father-in-law, which, however, did not break out till a year before the death of Tiberius [A. D. 37, U. C. 790; Jos. Ant. XVIII. v. 1–3], but in which he was totally defeated and his army destroyed by Aretas, by way of punishment, according to the Jews, for the death of the Baptist [Jos. ibid.]. He is described as a cunning, ambitions, proud, and luxurious ruler, who followed the external ceremonial of the Jews, but adhered in thought and practice to the principles of the Gentiles [Kirchenlex. i. 290]. At the beginning of Caligula’s reign, he and his wife went to Rome to complain of the assumption of the royal title by Agrippa, son of Aristobulus; but Caligula, having heard the claims of both, banished Antipas and Herodias to Lyons in Gaul [A. D. 39; his rule had begun A. D. 4], whence he was afterwards removed to Spain, the place of his death [Jos. Ant. XVIII. vii. 1, 2]. The following events probably took place at Machærus [cf. 11:2], a frontier fortress between Perea and Arabia, though the Perean town Livias or Julias [Beth Haram, the modern Beit-haran] was also of considerable importance [Ed. i. p. 657]. “The fame of Jesus” reached Herod so late, partly on account of his Perean residence, partly by reason of his worldly life [Theoph. Thom.], though we need not assume that Herod had never before heard of Jesus. “His servants” may, according to the Greek text, be his courtiers or friends [cf. Gen. 41:37; 1 Kings. 16:15–17; Dan. 2:7; Diod. xvii. 36]. When the wonders of Jesus became the topic of conversation [Lk. 9:8], the bad conscience of Herod betrayed itself; for his words show that his thoughts must have often dwelt on the murder of the Baptist, while they form a splendid testimony to the martyr’s greatness. “Therefore” agrees with Jn. 10:41: “John indeed did no sign.”

3. For Herod had apprehended John.] β. Herod and John. Josephus [Ant. XVIII. v. 2] assigns only political reasons for the retention of the Baptist, but the evangelist distinctly says “because of Herodias his brother’s wife.” This marriage concerning which John boldly stated, “it is not lawful for thee to have her,” was wrong for several reasons: first, the former husband of Herodias, Philip, was still alive [Jos. Ant. XVIII. v. 4; according to Jos. Ant. XVII. i. 2; XVIII. v. 1, 4; B. J. I. xxviii. 4, it was Herod, but the Jewish historian may have employed the family name instead of the proper name, just as he calls Antipas by the name of Herod in Ant. XVIII. i. 5, and as in B. J. I. xxviii. 4 he enumerates two Herods among the sons of Herod the Great; there is no difficulty in admitting two Philips among Herod’s sons, since we find among them also an Antipas beside Antipater. Schleussner, Ewald, Volkmar, Keim, Schürer are therefore not justified in admitting a misstatement in the first and second gospel; cf. Mk. 6:17]; secondly, the former wife of Antipas was still living, and fled to her father Aretas, when hearing of the intended union of her husband with Herodias [Jos. ibid.]; thirdly, Herod and Herodias were related within the forbidden degrees of consanguinity [cf. Lev. 13:16; 20:21]. As it is not probable that Herod himself went to hear the Baptist, the latter’s stern words must have been reported to the tetrarch by his spies. Concerning Machærus, see 11:2. That John’s imprisonment was in great part due to the instigation of Herodias follows from verse 8, while verse 5 shows that Herod had thought long before of putting John to death, a design that originated again with Herodias according to Mk. 6:19, 20 [cf. Dion. Tost.]. The main obstacle to John’s death lay in the people, “because they esteemed him as a prophet,” or according to the meaning of the Greek phrase, “they adhered to him, defended him as a prophet” [Schegg, Schanz, Weiss, Knab; cf. Acts 20:24; Phil. 2:29 against the more common explanation]. Euth. already notices the straits of Herod between the importunities of his wife and the fear of the people.

6. But on Herod’s birthday.] γ. Salome, Herod, and John. Scripture knows only of two birthday celebrations, that of Pharaoh [Gen. 40:20] and that of Herod; these two men are equal in their feasts, as they are rivals in their impiety [Jer. Orig. Pasch. Thom.]. Though in one passage of the Mishna [Aboda zara i. 3; cf. Lightfoot, p. 328; Wünsche, p. 175] the גכוסיא is distinguished from the birthday, and apparently applied to the day of accession to power [Grotius, Paulus, Wieseler, Hausrath, Keim; cf. Ps. 2:7; 1 Kings. 13:1], still in Midrash Shemoth R. and in two passages of Jonathan ben Uzziel [cf. Wünsche], the word signifies birthday; the earlier Greeks distinguished between γενέθλια, the birthday of the living, and γενέσια, the anniversary celebration of the memory of the dead [cf. Phrynichus, Hesych. Ammonius, Suicer, Thes. under γενέθλια], but in later Greek γενέσια is used for birthday [cf. Jos. Ant. XII. iv. 7; Passow]. “The daughter of Herodias” by her first husband Philip was Salome [Jos. Ant. XVIII. v. 4], born about A. D. 10, so as to be nearly 20 years old at the time of the feast; she afterwards married her uncle Philip, tetrarch of Iturea and Trachonitis, and he dying childless, she became the wife of her cousin Aristobulus, son of Herod, king of Chalcis, by whom she had three sons, Herod, Agrippa, and Aristobulus; when she crossed a river in winter time, she fell in, and her head was severed from her body by two floating cakes of ice [Nicephor. H. E. i. 20]. She “danced before them,” performing probably a pantomime, and thus “pleased Herod” both by her ready contribution to the joys of the feast [Knab.] and her lasciviousness. Though the Babylonians, the Persians, and the Greeks were accustomed to such dances during festive meals, the Romans allowed this only in later times [cf. Cic. pro Muren. vi. 13; De off. iii. 19, 75; Ambr. Jer. Chrys.]. In the joy of seeing his new marriage so well offset before his guests, in the stupor of his drunkenness and the greed of his baser passions, Herod is impelled to make the rash promise to the damsel.

8. “But she being instructed,” or better “urged on,” “by her mother” whom she consulted [Mk. 6:21], demanded “the head of John the Baptist,” according to the custom still prevalent among Oriental, and especially barbarous, nations to deliver the head of the decapitated [Wetstein]. “The king,” so called either according to his popular title or in the general meaning of “ruler,” “was struck sad,” not merely feigning sadness [cf. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Fab. Tost. Caj.], but really feeling it, since the enormity of the demand made him realize the sacrifice he must make to the anger of an adulteress [cf. Ecclus. 25:22] in spite of his fear of the people [verse 5], of his love for the Baptist [Mk. 6:20], and his horror of the enormous crime [cf. Schanz]. Yet these considerations are overcome by the passion of Herod for Herodias, by his false conscience concerning the oath, and by his human respect before his guests, not one of whom had the moral courage or uprightness of remonstrating against the unjust proceedings [cf. Jans. Knab. Br.]. “And his [John’s] head was brought in a dish” apparently while the feast was going on, so that it cannot have taken place in the capital Tiberias [cf. Holtzm.], but must have occurred in the royal palace built by Herod the Great near Machærus [Jos. B. J. VII. vi. 2]. Jer. relates that Flaminius was expelled by the Roman censors from the “curia” because he had ordered, during a feast, the execution of a condemned criminal in order to please a woman who had never witnessed such a scene. The same writer [cont. Rufin, iii. 42] and Nicephorus [H. E. i. 19] relate that the head of the Baptist was treated with indignity by Herodias and Salome after the latter had “brought it to her mother.” Jesus allowed this violence to be done to the Baptist, because the latter had to be his precursor in death as well as in life.

12. “And his disciples came.”] δ. The disciples. Since according to 11:2 the disciples had access to the prisoner, the officials were not unwilling to give up to them the body of the reputed prophet. “And [they] came and told Jesus,” probably to warn him [cf. 11:2 ff.] of a similar fate, or because they knew the secret wishes of their decapitated master.

b. Progress of the Kingdom within the Apostles, 14:13–20:28

α. The Apostles learn and profess the Divinity of Jesus, 14:13–36.

13. Which when Jesus had heard.] Hil. Orig. Jer. see in the death of the Baptist the end of the Old Testament, so that after that event the Jews as a nation are rejected, and our Lord’s main work is concerned with the instruction of his apostles in order to purge their Messianic ideas of all Pharisaic admixture. Consequently, the evangelist shows first how they are led to know and profess the divinity of Jesus [14:13–36]; secondly, how they are separated from the Pharisees [15:1–16:12]; thirdly, how they are subjected to Peter’s primacy [16:13–17:26]; fourthly, how they must behave as princes of the Church [18:1–20:28]. It must also be noted that Peter’s confession [16:18] is really the climax of this part, since the preceding sections lead up to it, and the succeeding ones are based on it. That the apostles appear more intelligent of heavenly truth in the first gospel than they are according to the second agrees perfectly with the different scope of the two evangelists: the first depicts the guilt of the Jews by showing that their countrymen easily understood the doctrine of Jesus, while the second explains to his Roman readers the curious fact that the Jews rejected their own Messias, by showing that even the apostles found it difficult to adjust their Messianic ideas with the doctrine and person of our Lord. Another feature peculiar to the first gospel is the prominence it gives to the person of Peter; the reason lies in the necessity of accounting for the organization of the Church as distinct from that of the Synagogue.

The divinity of our Lord is learned and professed after a double miracle, consisting of the multiplication of loaves [14:13–21], and the walking on the sea [14:22–36].

1. The multiplication of loaves. “When Jesus had heard” not only the death of John [cf. Chrys. Jer. Pasch. Tost. Mald. Bar. Lap.], not only the expressions of Herod [cf. verse 2; Thom. Salm. tom. vi. tract. 26; Jans. Bisp. Schegg, Arn. Keil], but both; while the disciples of John “came” [verse 12], the report of Herod’s apprehensions, too, arrived cf. Euth. Schegg, Keim, Schanz, Arn. Fil. Alf.]. Beside the reason for Christ’s retirement, indicated by Mt., there was also the wish of giving his apostles a little rest [Mk. 6:30–35]. “He retired” not through fear [Jer.], but because his hour had not yet come [Orig. Chrys. Euth.]; though the enemies could have done nothing against him [Schegg; cf. Jn. 7:30; 8:20; Keil], still the apostles needed further instruction, and the time of grace for the people as a body had passed [Schanz]. The “desert place apart” was the great plain southeast of Bethsaida, on the eastern shore of Lake Genesareth [Lk. 9:10]. Bethsaida, or “house of fishing,” from the great shoals of fish attracted thither by the hot springs, called also “Julias” after the daughter of Augustus, was built by Philip the tetrarch, on both sides of the Jordan [so that we are not obliged to assume a Bethsaida west of the lake], about two miles above the Sea of Galilee. The multitudes “out of the cities” around the lake, fording the Jordan before it enters the sea [there is a ford even now], “followed him [Jesus] on foot,” and rounding the northern extremity of the lake, by a journey of about two hours, came to the place for which the apostles’ boat headed, even before our Lord’s arrival. “Coming forth” not from the boat, as Tost. Mald. Bar. infer from Mk. 6:33, but from “a desert place apart,” as Dion. Caj. Jans. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab. maintain on account of Jn. 6:3, 5, Jesus saw the multitude, had compassion on them, healed their sick, and taught them much [Mk. 6:34], speaking of the kingdom of God [Lk. 9:11].

15. “When it was evening” refers to the so-called first evening [3–6 o’clock], while verse 23 refers to the second [6–9 o’clock], a distinction based on Jos. [B. J. VI. ix. 3] and confirmed by 5:6. “His disciples” are anxious for the multitudes, and admonish therefore their Master first that the place is without provisions, “a desert place”; secondly, that the day is nearly over, “the hour is now past; thirdly, that the people must go into the surrounding farms and villages to buy provisions; this is followed by our Lord’s address first to the disciples, “give you them to eat” [Aug. De cons. evang. II. 46 n. 96; Euth. Bed. Thom. Jans. Lam. Bar.], and then to Philip concerning the means of feeding the multitudes [Jn. 6:5], an event in no way incompatible with the synoptic account [cf. Strauss, Baur, Hilgf.]. Neither the words to Philip in the fourth gospel, nor those addressed to the apostles [“they have no need to go, give you them to eat”] serve merely to manifest the greatness of the miracle [cf. Jer.], or to show the need of miraculous aid [cf. Euth.]; but drawing attention to the great powers given to the apostles [Mt. 10:18; Mk. 6:13; Lk. 9:6], they excite their faith in the power of Jesus [cf. Schanz, Bengel, Knab.]. Next follows the question, “How many loaves have you?” [Mk. 6:38], and then the accurate statement of the present resources: “Five loaves and two fishes.”

19. “Upon the grass” corresponds with Mark’s “green grass” [6:39], and confirms John’s “the pasch, the festival day of the Jews, was near at hand” [6:4]. “Looking up to heaven,” not to indicate the origin of his power [cf. Hil.], nor to obtain power for the following miracle [cf. Orig.], but to show his equality with the Father [Chrys.], and to teach us whence we must expect our necessaries of life [Tost.]; “he blessed” not merely after the manner of pronouncing a blessing before meals [Ed. i. p. 684], but with the power of the Father [Gen. 1:22], who by his blessing gave the power to increase and multiply [Br. Knab.]. The form of the loaves rendered their breaking easy; since he “gave the loaves to his disciples, and [since] the disciples [gave them] to the multitudes,” the miracle happened in the hands of the apostles [cf. Hilar.], either by a process of creation or a substantial change of alien matter into bread [cf. Tost. qu. 103 in Mt. 14], so that the disciples almost touched with their hands an event inexplicable as an allegory [cf. Orig. Hil. and partly Jer. Fab. Salm. Jans. Bar. Lap.], or a myth owing its origin to Old Testament narratives [cf. Rationalists], but intelligible only by admitting a miraculous interference of omnipotent power [cf. Hil Thom.]; thus the disciples learned the limitless help they might expect in their ministry from their divine Master.

20. The evangelist notes two effects [Thom.]: first, “they did all eat, and were filled”; secondly, “they took up what remained, twelve full baskets of fragments.” The first effect is emphasized by “the number of them that did eat,” for they were “five thousand men, besides women and children,” a manner of counting well known from the Pentateuch [cf. Mald.]. The second effect is illustrated by the custom of the Jews to carry a basket [cf. Juven. Sat. iii. 14; vi. 542], not in memory of the Egyptian bondage [cf. Ps 80:6], nor for commerce [cf. Schanz], but to keep a supply of legally clean food on hand, and to have a legally pure bed [cf. Ed. i. p. 684]. Cyr. draws a parallel between the multiplication of loaves in the desert and the rain of manna.

22. And forthwith Jesus obliged his disciples.] 2. The walking on the water. First Jesus walks on the water; then, Peter; thirdly, they are in Genesar. a. Jesus walks on the water. “Jesus obliged his disciples,” i. e. constrained them on account of their too great, and not wholly supernatural, affection for him [Chrys. Jer. Euth.], so that they would have remained, had he not shown great determination. He wished them “to go up into the boat, and go before him over the water,” not merely to avoid the multitude [cf. Chrys.], nor to avoid an occasion of vainglory [cf. Alb. Thom. Jans.], but probably that they might not be carried away by their Messianic expectations on seeing the attempt of making him king [Jn. 6:15; cf. Schanz]. “He went into a mountain [εἰς τὸ ὄρος] alone to pray” in order to teach us the proper preparation for prayer, requiring first, solitude [Chrys. Thom.]; secondly, quiet and peace of mind, “having dismissed the multitude” [Thom.]; thirdly, elevation of soul, “into a mountain” [Thom.]; at the same time, Jesus prays not because he needs it, but because he is the high priest of the New Testament [Cyr.; cf. Jn. 17:9 ff.]; as such he prays before all the most important steps in the founding of the Church, e. g. the election of the apostles [Lk. 6:12], the promise of the primacy [Lk. 9:18], the Eucharistic discourse [Jn. 6:35]. “When it was evening” refers to the second evening [6–9 o’clock]. “The boat” had been directed towards Capharnaum [Jn. 6:17], by way of Bethsaida [Mk. 6:45], so that its first course was towards the northwest; but “the wind was contrary,” blowing from the northeast, and “tossed [the boat] with the waves,” so that after a rounded course of 25 or 30 furlongs [Jn. 6:19] the boat was “in the midst of the sea,” the whole breadth of which was about 40 stadia or furlongs [Jos. B. J. III. x. 7].

25. “The fourth watch of the night” corresponds, near the vernal equinox, to 3–6 A. M.; the Jews had only three night-watches [cf. Lightfoot, in l.], but after the Roman conquest by Pompey they often followed the division of their conquerors [Schöttgen, Wünsche, Keil, Arch. p. 367; Winer, R. W. ii. p. 130]. “Walking upon [ἐπί] the sea” does not mean “along the shore” [cf. Paulus], since the preposition means “on the bank” only with verbs of rest [cf. Jn. 21:1, 4], never with verbs of motion; besides, the whole context is against this meaning. Why should the apostles “seeing him walking” on the shore be “troubled”? why say, “it is an apparition”? why cry “out for fear”? These details are as many proofs that they saw something wholly unusual. The belief in apparitions, or ghosts, was common to the Jews and Gentiles [cf. Tob. 8:3; Bar. 4:35; Scholz, Götzendienst, p. 84]. It was only when the need of the disciples was seemingly at its highest that Jesus said, “Be of good heart; it is I; fear ye not.” During the first storm our Lord had kept near the apostles though he was asleep, during the second he was even bodily absent [cf. Chrys. Cyr. Theoph.]; but in both instances he proves that he watches over the boat of the apostles, the Church, whether he is absent or present, whether he seems to sleep or is awake [cf. Hil. Jer. Theoph. Bed. Pasch. Fab. Salm. Lap. Sylv.].

28. And Peter making answer.] b. Peter walks on the water. Trench [Miracles, p. 279] and Alf. blame Peter for his presumption, but Jer. Chrys. Aug. [De verbo dei, serm. 13] are loud in the praises of his faith and ardor. The petition to do by the will of the Master what the latter did by his nature [Jer.], to obtain by the efficacious command [Caj.] of the Lord what no prophet and saint of the Old Testament had been able to grant, shows a great progress in the faith of him that had not thought of asking for the miraculous multiplication of loaves. When Peter “was afraid” on “seeing the wind strong,” he rendered himself unworthy of our Lord’s help by his distrust, and therefore “began to sink.” Another prayer, “Lord, save me,” procures him the efficacious assistance of Jesus, but teaches him also the source of his weakness and his strength: the former lies in himself, the latter in the divine help which is coextensive with his faith [cf. Chrys. Jer. Bed.], a most important lesson for the future chief pastor [cf. Thom.]. Hil. Bed. Theoph. Pasch. Br. find a parallel between the present weakness of Peter’s faith and that manifested a year later, in his denial of the Master. Both occur on Friday night—for since the eucharistic discourse was delivered on Saturday [Jn. 6:60], the multiplication of loaves must have occurred on Thursday [Jn. 6:22 ff.], the incidents between the miracle and the discourse occurring on Friday—both happen after a stupendous miracle affecting the substance of bread, both again after a popular attempt to make Jesus king.

32. “The wind ceased” as soon as Jesus and Peter “were come up into the boat”; John’s [6:21] text may be rendered “they willingly received him,” though it seems to imply also a miraculous transference of the boat to the shore [cf. Jans. Calm.]; the adoration recorded in the first gospel may have occurred during the entrance of our Lord [Chrys. Euth.]. The adoration of the disciples and their profession, “thou art the Son of God,” may be understood in a wider sense, since “Son of God” is applied in the Old Testament to special friends and servants of God [cf. Ex. 4:22; Dent. 32:18; Is. 1:2; 31:20; 2 Kings. 7:14 [?]; 1 Par. 22:10; 3 Kings. 5:5; etc.], and in this sense adoration is nothing but the special reverence shown them [cf. Dion. Caj. Jans.]; but the preceding stupendous miracles, the recognition of Jesus as the Messias after Mt. 9, the progressive character of the first gospel, the express doctrine of Jesus placing himself above the sabbath and the temple, render it extremely probable that “Son of God” must be taken in its strict sense, and that the adoration is an act of “cultus latriæ” [Theoph. Jer. Calm. Knab. Schanz, etc.] in spite of the apostles’ crude knowledge of the Holy Trinity. For “they that were in the boat … and adored him” were the apostles [cf. Orig. Euth. Mald. Arn. Schegg, etc.], including, at most, a few sailors [Schanz].

34. And having passed the water.] c. In Genesar. “The country of Genesar” was a fertile district, with a mild climate, on the western shore of the lake [also called the Lake of Genesaret], between Dalmanutha and Magdala, nearly four miles long and half as broad, described by Josephus as an earthly paradise [B. J. III. x. 8]; its modern name is El-Ghuweir. “The men of that place” were most anxious that their friends and neighbors should derive all possible temporal advantage from our Lord’s presence; nothing is said about their spiritual condition. “The hem” signifies again the fringes of his garment, by the touch of which the woman was healed, according to Mt. 9:20–22. This is the fourth general description of our Lord’s ministry [cf. 4:24; 9:35; 9:1]; it follows in each case a series of events grouped together, topologically, not chronologically.

β. The Apostles are separated from the Pharisees, 15:1–16:12.

1. Then came to him from Jerusalem.] This section may be divided into three parts: first, the hypocrisy of the Pharisees is made manifest, 15:1–20; secondly, the men of good will are not rejected, 15:21–39; thirdly, the leaven of the Pharisees is proscribed, 16:1–12. On the whole, the evangelist describes the relation of three classes to our Lord: the disciples advance in his knowledge, the multitudes seek mainly for temporal benefits without caring for spiritual enlightenment, the scribes and Pharisees become more determined in their opposition to Jesus, and in their endeavors to paralyze his influence with the masses.

1. Hypocrisy of the Pharisees. This is laid open first by Christ’s words concerning legal cleanness; secondly, by his doctrine on true purity, vv. 10–20. a. Legal cleanness. Here we have first the charge of the enemies, secondly, the answer of Jesus, α. The charge. “Then” indicates that the Pharisees made their attack when our Lord confirmed his doctrine by innumerable miracles. “From Jerusalem” they came at the bidding of the authorities in the capital, as it seems. Already Chrys. notes that these scribes and Pharisees were worse than the others, because they had greater influence with the common people. In order to attack the Master the more seriously, the conduct of the disciples is blamed: “Why do thy disciples transgress?” “The ancients” here are not the “ancients of the people” [cf. Bleek, Schegg], but the forefathers of the present generation [cf. Heb. 11:2]. Though the scribes [cf. Fritzsche,] and the priests [cf. Chrys.] had to be of a certain age, the tradition could not have derived its binding force from this. “The tradition of the ancients” may be identified with the oral teaching of the Jewish doctors, based on Deut. 4:14; 17:10. It was esteemed higher than the written law [1 Par. 2:55], and traced back by the Jews to their oldest scribes, and even to the time of Moses [Schöttgen, Wünsche]. It is true that St. Paul calls his doctrine a “tradition” [παράδοσις; cf. 2 Thess. 3:6; 1 Cor. 11:2; 2 Thess. 2:15], but Gal. 1:14 he connects “the tradition of the ancients” with the forefathers, just as Josephus does [Ant. XIII. x. 6], and as Christian commentators have taught [cf. Mald. Jans.]. As to the authority of this tradition, its words have more weight than those of the prophets [Berachoth, fol. iii. 2; Lightfoot], and whosoever eats with unwashed hands is worse than he that commits fornication [Sota, fol. iv. b; Wünsche, p. 181]. The process of the Jerusalem scribes consisted, therefore, first in attacking the conduct of the disciples, secondly, in accusing them of disregarding a sacred law of the synagogue, thirdly, in proving their charge by a particular case: “for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.” This tradition was based on Lev. 15:11 ff.; according to Shabbath [xiv. b], it emanated from Solomon, who was praised for it by a voice from heaven [Prov. 23:15; 27:11], though no trace of it exists previous to the Sibylline books [iii. vv. 591–593; about B. C. 160; cf. Ed. ii. p. 13]. Hill el and Shammai, shortly before the time of our Lord, had reinforced the custom of the washing of hands [cf. Lightfoot, in 1.], which had fallen into oblivion [Shabbath, iii. 4], so that about the time now under consideration it had become a religious rite [Wünsche]. The disciples did not transgress this custom on principle [Chrys.], since their Messianic ideas were as yet not sufficiently developed. To “eat bread” has the general meaning of taking a meal.

3. But he answering.] β. Our Lord’s answer. Jesus does not contend that the apostles had done well, nor that they had not done evil, nor again that the custom of washing was worthy of blame [cf. Euth. Mald. Knab.], but he shows that the enemies had no right to make the charge, being themselves guilty of a more grievous fault: they place the word of men above that of God, they “transgress the commandment of God for [their] tradition.” To prove this charge, Jesus first cites a commandment of God, and then the corresponding Pharisaic tradition. In the citation of the commandment “honor thy father and mother” [cf. Ex. 20:12; Deut. 5:16], he follows the manner of the Jewish doctors [cf. Wünsche, p. 184; Ed. ii. 21] by adding the sanction fixed for the transgression of the law: “he that shall curse father or mother, let him die the death” [Ex. 21:17]; at the same time, this addition is already a hint that the “tradition of the ancients” on this point is equivalent to cursing one’s father and mother [Knab. Jer.]. In order to understand the corresponding word of man, we must first keep in mind the signification of “gift” [corban according to Mk.]: it is something rendered sacred, and therefore illicit for profane use, by being vowed to God [cf. Surenhusius, iii. 130; Nedarim, viii. 7; Lightfoot in Mt. 15:5; Ed. ii. 21; Wünsche, 185; Levy, Neuhebr. Wörterb. iv. 371; Nedarim, ix. 1; v. 6]. Secondly, the passage rendered “the gift whatsoever proceedeth from me, shall profit thee” explained according to the Greek text means: “by whatever thou couldst have been benefited by me, is a gift” vowed to God [Chrys. Orig. Theoph.]. Orig. and Jer. tell us that it was a deceit practised by debtors pressed for payment, to say: “all I have is a gift,” or “all my goods are consecrated by vow to God.” This scheme was in course of time adopted by children who refused to support their poor parents.

Applying now what has been said to the passage under discussion, we obtain two possible meanings: First, verse 5 may be an ellipse, so that verse 6 expresses the words of our Lord thus: But you say: “whosoever shall say to father or mother, ‘Whatever of mine might benefit thee is consecrated to God, fulfils the law.’ ” And yet, he surely does not honor his father or mother [cf. Euth. Jans. Arn. Schegg, etc.].

Secondly, both verse 5 and 6 may express the words of the Pharisees, thus: But you say: “Whosoever shall say to father or mother, ‘Whatever of mine might benefit thee, is already consecrated to God,’ shall not [i.e. is not bound to] honor his father or mother” [cf. Orig. Mald. Bisp. Schanz, Keil, Weiss, Knab. etc.].

We need not assume that the Pharisees formally expressed the prohibition to honor one’s parents in the case in question, but they expressed it implicitly, so that our Lord’s inference is justified: “you have made void the commandment of God for your tradition.” By this process the children were not bound to give anything to God, but they merely placed themselves in a condition in which they could not licitly help their parents, since they had consecrated to God whatever they might have wished to use for their father or mother [Lightfoot]. The Pharisees are “hypocrites,” because they wished to seem to observe even the least law, while they broke the greatest [Euth. Mald.]; they seem to be one thing and are another [cf. Dion.]. Since according to Acts 7:51 and 28:25 the later Jews exhibited the vices of their parents, the words of Isaias [29:13] are fulfilled mainly in the Pharisees, but in a measure also in the people. The evangelist follows the lxx. version in his citation of the prophet’s passage, not the Hebrew text; the version agrees with the original substantially, but differs from it in manner. We may render the Greek text: “teaching the commandments of men as [their] doctrines.” “In vain do they worship,” because they do not merit by it [cf. James 1:26], or because their worship has no internal motive [Meyer] based on truth [Schegg]. “In vain” is not found in the Hebrew text; its insertion in Greek version is accounted for by assuming that the Seventy read different vowels in one word (וְתֹהוּ instead of וַתְּהִי], or that the phrase “in vain” is needed in Greek and Latin to express the sense contained in the Hebrew original.

10. And having called together.] b. True purity. Here we have first the words of Jesus to the multitude; secondly, his first reply to the disciples; thirdly, his second answer to the disciples; α. Words to the multitude. At the approach of the Pharisees the multitudes appear to have withdrawn, probably through respect; but Jesus calls them, and addresses them in the gravest language [Chrys.], honoring them [Theoph.] more than the scribes and Pharisees [Euth.]. “Not that which goeth into the mouth” does not apply only to legally clean kinds of food [cf. Jans.], nor does it imply that the law concerning clean and unclean must be understood spiritually [cf. Orig.]; without maintaining that in these words Jesus either abrogated the Mosaic law, or prepared the way for such an abrogation [cf. Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Jans. Bar. Calm.], we may believe that no kind of food as such defiles a man, though it may do so by reason of the condition or state in which a man may find himself [cf. Orig. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Caj. Mald.], so that the eating may become an act of disobedience or gluttony. These vices do defile, because they have their seat in the heart [cf. Fab. Dion.], and therefore are comparable to “what cometh out of the mouth.”

12. Then came his disciples.] β. First answer to disciples. “The Pharisees … were scandalized” not at their refutation by Jesus [vv. 3–9; cf. recent writers], but at the words of Jesus spoken to the multitudes [verse 11; cf. Orig. Chrys. Euth. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Dion. Caj.]. The disciples draw our Lord’s attention to this,—most natural in itself, since the Pharisees anxiously looked for a charge against Jesus,—first, because they themselves were surprised at their Master’s bold words [Chrys. Theoph. Pasch. Jans.]; secondly, because they still esteemed the Pharisees highly and regarded their good will as desirable [cf. Knab.]. While Jesus satisfies the difficulty of the disciples, he also heals their secret wound which they had not expressly manifested. He predicts the uprooting of “every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted,” i. e. of the teaching and traditions of the ancients that did not contain the word of God [Hil. Sever, in cat. Euth. Theoph. Br. Alb. Thom. Fab. Tost. Arn.]; or rather of the scribes and Pharisees about whom the disciples had been concerned [Orig. Jer. Caj. Jans. Bar. Lap. Sylv. Lam. Schegg, Grimm, Schanz, Theod. mops. in cat.]; or better still of the Pharisaic sect, men and doctrine, as such, which could not boast of any heavenly origin [Chrys. Pasch. Dion. Bisp. Fil. Knab.]. The last view is the more probable because the people of Israel is repeatedly compared to a vineyard or a plantation of God [cf. Is. 5:7; 60:21; 61:3; Ps. 91:14; 143:12; etc.], even where there is question of its destruction [Is. 5:5, 6; cf. Jn. 15:2; Acts 5:38; Ignat. ad Trall, xi. 1; ad Philadelph. iii. 1]. Since, then, the ruin of the Pharisees has been determined by God, the disciples ought not to be concerned about their being scandalized: “let them alone,” they are unworthy of your interest [cf. Lap. Lam. Schegg, Weiss]. In their bereavement of God’s enlightenment, they are blind themselves, and still attempt to lead the blind, drawing them into their own ruin represented by the pits, or the badly covered cisterns, in Palestine [cf. Schanz].

15. And Peter answering, said.] γ. Second answer to the disciples. The difficulty of the disciples, springing from their esteem of the Pharisees, has been removed; but their trouble about the harmony of Christ’s doctrine with the Jewish law still remains [cf. Theoph.]. Hence Peter as the mouthpiece of the disciples and their leader [cf. Chrys.] asks for further explanations: “expound to us this parable.” Thus the inquiring disciples are contrasted with the blind Pharisees, an antithesis that was of less importance to the second evangelist, and has therefore been neglected by him [Schanz]. Jesus first expresses his surprise at their not “understanding” the nature of real purity; “you also” is said with reference to the Pharisees and the multitude. The word rendered “privy” corresponds to a Greek word that seems to be of Macedonian origin and occurs only Mk. 7:19; but the rendering agrees with the explanation of Euth. Bar. Sylv. Lam. Already Jer. notes the difficulty raised by some against our Lord’s words, “whatsoever entereth the mouth goeth into the belly”; Pasch. thinks that Jesus spoke thus, signifying that food does not enter our moral life, but only our physical constitution; Br. and Jans, draw attention to the fact that he does not say “the whole of whatsoever,” but only “whatsoever,” because part of all food “goeth into the belly.” As “the things which proceed out of the mouth” are opposed to “whatsoever entereth the month,” so is “from the heart” opposed to “into the belly.” But it does not follow from this that “heart” must be taken in its physical sense, since all food in its process of assimilation passes through the heart in its physical sense; “heart” is here the centre of our moral life. “Evil thoughts” are first mentioned because they are the root of all evil; then follow sins against the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth commandments, and to these are added “blasphemies,” signifying sinful expressions employed to confirm false testimony [cf. Knab.], or insulting words against God and man generally [Jans. Sylv.], or again insults of the neighbor [Lam. Schanz], or finally, in accordance with strictly scriptural language, curses against God [Knab.; cf. Mt. 12:31; 26:65; Mk. 2:7; 3:29; 14:64; Jn. 10:33; Apoc. 13:1, 5; etc.]. For the sake of emphasis and clearness, Jesus then repeats, “these are the things that defile a man”; “to eat with unwashed hands,” may be a sign of rusticity [Br.], but it “doth not defile a man.”

21. And Jesus went from thence.] 2. Men of good will not rejected. The ruin of the blind leaders and of those led by them has been announced, so that the evangelist considers it incumbent on him to show the affection of our Lord for the chosen people [cf. Euth. Pasch.], first by his reluctance to aid the Gentiles [vv. 21–28], secondly by his feeding the multitude even without their asking him [vv. 29–39]. a. The Syrophenician woman. We notice first the petitioner and the petition; then, the Lord and his disciples; thirdly, the Lord and the Gentile, α. The petitioner and the petition. “Jesus went from thence,” i. e. from the land of Genesar [Mt. 14:34], “and retired,” partly to seek solitude [Euth. Schegg, Keil] and partly to avoid the persecutions of the Pharisees [cf. Orig. Arn. Meyer, Weiss, Alb. Lap. Lam.] and of Herod [Mt. 14:13; 4:12], “into [not merely “towards”; cf. Mk. 7:24, 31] the coasts of Tyre and Sidon”; these names denote the land of Phenicia, being its two most celebrated cities [cf. 27:3; 47:4; Ez. 27:8; Joel 3:4; Zach. 9:2; 1 Mach. 5:15; Mt. 11:21; Mk. 3:8; Lk. 6:17; etc.]. This visit of a Gentile country does not conflict with our Lord’s order that his apostles on their first missionary excursion should not go “into the way of the Gentiles” [cf. Mt. 10:5], since he himself was not bound by this order [Chrys.] and since he did not enter Phenicia to preach there [Chrys. Theoph.]; on the other hand, Christ’s hardness towards the Gentile woman does not conflict with the history of the centurion [Mt. 8:5, 11, 12], because the latter lived among Jews and was their benefactor. The event foreshows the future call of the Gentiles [cf. Orig. Hil. Theoph. Euth. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Salm. Jans. Lap. Grimm, iv. p. 554]. Since the name of Jesus was well known in these parts [cf. Mt. 4:24; Lk. 6:17], he did not obtain the desired privacy [Mk. 7:24], but “a woman of Canaan,” whose name was Justa [Hom. Clem. ii. 19], “came out of those coasts” to meet him. The Chanaanites [cf. Gen. 10:15], driven by the Jews to the northern regions of Palestine, had retained possession of Tyre and Sidon, and were considered the national enemies of the Hebrews. St. Mark describes the woman as a “Gentile” by religion, and as a “Syrophenician,” i. e. belonging to the Syrian province of the Roman empire, and to the Phenician. race. There is no good reason for believing that the woman was a proselyte [cf. Hil.]; from the curse of Chanaan down to her personal relations, all is against her. Nevertheless, “crying out, [she] said to him: Have mercy on me,” an expression of her intense compassion, but also of her own suffering brought on by that of her daughter [cf. Chrys. Schanz]. “O Lord, thou Son of David” is the address employed by the woman in imitation of what she had heard. “My daughter [Bert nice; cf. Hom. Clem. iii. 73] is grievously troubled by a devil,” not as if the woman distinguished between a good and a bad possession, or between the dependence on a seemingly good spirit and that on a bad one [cf. Schegg; Philem. ap. Stob. eel. ph. p. 196], but she merely urges the grievousness of her affliction [Orig. Euth. Schanz, Knab.; cf. Alb.].

23. Who answered her not a word.] β. Jesus and the disciples. Our Lord’s silence is not owing to mere abstraction [cf. Schegg], but to the fact that this was the most inoffensive manner of refusing the favor [Hil.]. The happy importunity of the woman [Chrys.] occasions a direct refusal, which was not intended as a mere trial of faith [cf. Chrys. Arn.], but as a manifestation that the call of the Gentiles was to be postponed till after the passion and resurrection [Jer. Euth. Theoph.]; this does not imply that our Lord did not know from the start what he was about to do [cf. Schanz]. The disciples, accustomed to see Jesus comply with the requests of petitioners at once [cf. Mt. 8:16; 14:35, 36], “came and besought him, saying: Send her away,” i. e. grant her petition; but their motive is not only pity for the woman, but also the desire to be rid of her importunity: “for she crieth after us” [cf. Jer. Theoph.]. They advance this reason because they know that Jesus wishes to remain unknown [cf. Mk. 7:24]. The answer of Jesus, whether the woman heard it [cf. Chrys. Euth.] or not [Schanz], fully agrees with Mt. 10:6, and shows that our Lord, in obedience to his Father and in compliance with the prophecies [cf. Knab.], must live and preach among the Jews, while the Gentiles must wait for the ministry of the apostles [cf. Jn. 10:16; Eph. 2:17].

25. But she came and adored him.] γ. Our Lord and the Gentile. Her adoration implies her kneeling at his feet [Mk. 7:25], an event that happened after Jesus had entered a house [cf. Mk. 7:24; Zacharias chrysol. Salm. Jans. Lap. Calm. Lam. Knab.], though Aug. [De cons, evang. ii. 49, 103] and Arn. think the first meeting occurred in the house, and the healing outside. The devout act of the woman showed great confidence and humility [cf. Salm. tom. vi. tract. 29]. Our Lord’s answer is apparently hard, but considers the Gentile in the light of Is. 56:10, 11, and calls her by the name usually applied to the Gentiles by the Jews [cf. Lightfoot, Jans. Mald. Lap. Lam. Schanz, Fil. Knab.], as it is now applied to Christians by Mohammedans. The idea of a pet dog is wholly foreign to the passage [cf. Schegg], for the Greek diminutive accords well with the later Greek and the old Arabic inscriptions found in the Hauran [cf. Z. d. m. G., 1873, tom. 27, pp. 304 ff. 355 ff.], so that they must have been usual also in the Aramaic. Though nearly all maintain that the woman caught Jesus, as it were, in his own words [cf. Jans. Lap. Chrys. Pasch. Br.], by claiming to be treated as dogs are treated by their master, there is some difference of opinion concerning the exact meaning of the woman’s first words: Some regard the Greek particle ναὶ, rendered “yea,” as affirming all Jesus had said [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Salm. Mald.]; others see in it an exception taken by the woman to our Lord’s words, and explaining it as “not so” [Schegg]; the latter render the following Greek conjunctions καὶ γὰρ by “but” [ἀλλά] while the former interpret the same as meaning “for also,” or “also” [γάρ is wanting after καί Mk. 7:28, and occurs in Mt. only in B], and these certainly merit the preference. It is worthy of note that Jesus admired the faith of Gentiles only [the centurion and the woman], but never of Israelites [cf. 8:10]. The other virtues showed by the woman had their root in her faith [cf. Caj.], so that they are praised implicitly. “Be it done” are words expressing the greatest power, since they show that Jesus has no need of prayer to perform his miracles [Cyr.]; this manifestation of his power is elicited by humble and persevering prayer [cf. Thom. Ecclus. 35:21; Ps. 101:18; John 2:4].

29. And when Jesus had passed away.] b. Second multiplication of loaves. In general, the evangelist contrasts here the numberless cures and miracles wrought for Israel with the scarcity allowed the Gentiles, and the ardent faith of the Gentiles with the want of faith among the Jews. The section contains three parts: first, a journey of our Lord, vv. 29–31; secondly, the feeding of the four thousand, vv. 32–38; thirdly, another journey of the Lord, v. 39. α. Northern journey of Jesus. “Jesus … passed away from thence,” performing the longest journey recorded in the history of the public life of our Lord [from Tyre through Sidon, along the road across Lebanon towards Damascus, across the Leontes, into the midst of the mountains of Decapolis, and finally by a circuitous westward journey to the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee; cf. Mk. 7:31], of which Matthew mentions only the beginning [“thence”] and the end [“nigh the sea of Galilee”]. “The dumb” renders a Greek word meaning either “deaf” or “dumb”; “the maimed” [κυλλούς] are not those “without hands” [cf. Euth.], but those who have the use of only one hand [Jer.], just as the lame may have the perfect use of one foot [cf. Jn. 5:3; Jans.]. “They cast them down at his feet,” not to give them a suppliant posture [cf. Schegg], but because the bearers were careless and in a hurry [cf. Knab. Schanz, Holtzm.]. “He healed them” to fulfil the prophecy of Is. 35:6, and to manifest his power and glory [Dion.] not less than his goodness and mercy [Jans.], “so that the multitudes marvelled” at the number and the greatness of the miracles, and “glorified the God of Israel,” because many false gods were venerated where our Lord wrought the miracles. Theoph. and others compare the bodily infirmities here enumerated with our spiritual diseases.

32. And Jesus called together.] β. Feeding of the four thousand. The “compassion on the multitudes” expressed by Jesus may spring from one fact, the multitude’s three days’ continuance with Jesus in spite of their want of food [Jans. Mald, etc.]; or from two facts, first the multitude’s three days’ stay with our Lord, secondly their present want of food, which may have given out on the third day [cf. Schegg]; or again from three facts, the perseverance of the multitude, their actual want, and their danger on the way if they should be dismissed without food [Thom.]. Jesus thus addresses his disciples before the miracle, not merely to give an example to superiors how to consult their inferiors, nor to emphasize the greatness of the miracle [cf. Jer.], but to try and excite the faith of the disciples by suggesting the memory of the first multiplication of loaves [Chrys. Theod. mops, in cat. Theoph. Jans.]. “Whence then should we have so many loaves in the desert” shows that the disciples do not think of the first multiplication of loaves, owing to their slowness of belief so often reprimanded by Jesus [cf. Mt. 16:7f.; Mk. 8:17 ff.; Chrys. Theod. mops. Theoph. Thom. Fab. Jans. etc.]. While the second question, “How many loaves have you?” is another attempt to recall the memory of the past and excite the faith of the disciples, it also tends to fix the exact amount of food the apostles had on hand [Jans.] and thus to prove that we ought not to be solicitous for food and drink [cf. Chrys.]. “Seven” reminds some commentators of the seven gifts of the Holy Ghost, the seven works of mercy, etc. [cf. Lap. Sylv. lib. vi. c. iv. qu. 12, 15; Salm. tom. vi. tract. 31]. The apostles show some advancement, because they do not add here, “but what are these among so many?” [cf. Jn. 6:9; Chrys.].

The history of the miracle itself corresponds almost exactly with that of the first multiplication: the multitudes are made to sit down; Jesus blesses, breaks, and gives to the disciples; the multiplication happens in the disciples’ hands [cf. Mt. 14:19; Jn. 11:41, 42]; and since the disciples seem to be wholly forgetful of a former multiplication in the present history, several recent writers [Schleiermacher, Neander, Wendt, Weiss, Beischlag] are of opinion that the miracle happened only once [cf. Holtzm.]. But in the first place, there are a number of discrepancies between the first and second miracle: the first happens after one day’s stay with Jesus, the second after three; in the first the multitudes sit on the grass [paschal-time], in the second they sit “upon the ground” [summer-time]; in the first there are five thousand men, in the second four thousand; in the first five loaves, in the second seven; in the first two fishes, in the second “a few little fishes”; in the first twelve baskets, in the second seven [cf. Hil. Orig. Jer. Knab.]. Secondly, our Lord himself expressly distinguishes between the two multiplications of loaves in Mk. 8:19, 20 and Mt. 16:9, 10. Thirdly, if the second occurrence of the miracle in the gospel were a mere repetition of the first, it should, according to the ordinary course of events, magnify the event, while it does the contrary.

Holtzm.’s contention that these accounts have first an ethico-social purpose [cf. Ex. 16:2–36; Num. 11:4–9; 3 Kings 17:7–16; 4 Kings 4:38–41; Mich. 7:15; Midrash Kohelet, i. 9; Deut. 18:15], showing that in the Christian community there should be equality of all classes during the celebration of the Lord’s supper [cf. 2 Cor. 8:13–15; Acts 20:7; Jud. 12]; secondly, a religious purpose, illustrating how, by a few words of life, great multitudes are satisfied [cf. 1 Cor. 14:19]; and thirdly, another religious purpose, prefiguring the Lord’s supper [cf. Mt. 14:15 and 26:20; Mk. 14:22 and Mt. 26:26; 1 Cor. 11:21–25; 10:3, 16; etc.],—this contention does not affect the foregoing reasons for a real distinction of the two events, though Holtzm. attempts to strengthen his position by drawing attention to the impossibility of a multiplication of loaves and its opposition to the hard ascetic life of Jesus and the disciples [cf. 1 Cor. 4:11]. “Seven baskets” helps the memory in two ways: first, to distinguish the second multiplication of loaves from the first in which twelve baskets full of fragments remained; secondly, to remember the seven loaves, for the numerical agreement of baskets and loaves in the second miracle resembles that of baskets and apostles in the first [Chrys.].

39. And having dismissed the multitude.] γ. Another journey of the Lord. The miracle ends like the first multiplication of loaves, by our Lord’s withdrawing from the multitude, both to avoid their praise [Chrys.] and not to sanction their expectations of a glorious Messias [Knab.]. The terminus of this voyage is “Magedan” [It. Vulg. Jer. Aug.], or Magadan [א B D Lachm. Tisch. Trg.], or Magdala [rec. etc.]. According to the ordinary rule the reading “Magdala” is suspicious because it involves less difficulty of locating the place. But Schegg and Delitzseh agree that Magadan is not Semitic, and may have been the corrupt pronunciation of Magdala. At any rate, Lightfoot [Cent. Chorogr. Marco præm. p. 413] is wrong when he locates the place a sabbath journey from Chamnath Gadara on the Jordan, and on the east side of the lake [cf. Alf.]; nor can it be identified with Megiddo [cf. Ewald and several ap. Lap.], which is too far inland [Robinson, iii. 414]; but most probably it is the Migdal of the Old Testament [מִגְדַּל־אֵל, tower of God], situated in the tribe of Nephtali [Jos. 19:38], three miles from Tiberias, west of the lake [Robinson, iii. 530 ff.; Schuster, ii. 137; Guérin, Galilee, i. p. 204 f.], called Magdala about the time of Christ, and is probably identical with the modern el-Medjel [Robins, ii. 396]. In Mark [8:10] our Lord is said to have come into the parts of Dalmanutha, which is a variant of Magdala [Rénan, Bulletin de l’Acad. des Inscr. 1866, tom. ii. pp. 265–267; Lutteroth, iv. p. 76, n. 1], or denotes el-Minye in the northeastern corner of the plain of Genesar [Zeitschr. d. Palestina-Vereins, ii. 1879, pp. 59 ff.], or the limestone rocks near Magadan, said to be called even now “Talmanutha,” unless we locate it on the present ruins of ‘Ain el Barideh [the cold spring; Porter, Keil].

1. And there came to him the Pharisees.] 3. Another conflict. The passage may be divided into two portions: first, it considers the sign from heaven, vv. 1–4; secondly, the leaven of the Pharisees, vv. 5–12. a. The sign from heaven. “The Pharisees and Sadducees” were not so opposed to one another as not to combine against the person and doctrine of Jesus [cf. De Wette, Strauss, Weiss, Scholten], just as after the time of Christ all his enemies unite against him and his, in spite of their difference of condition and opinion [cf. Orig. Theoph. Mald.]. Scandalized at his humble exterior [Hil. Pasch.], they renewed their attack on him so often that the present case is not merely a second account of Mt. 12:38 [cf. Strauss, De Wette, B. Bauer, Volkmar, Weizsäcker, Bleek, Scholten]. The demand of the enemies was a “tempting,” because they intended to say that he was unable to prove his mission if he refused the sign [Jans.]; and if he granted it, they intended to ascribe it to Beelzebub [Fab.]. To say that “a sign from heaven” could not have been imputed to Beelzebub [cf. Orig.], while the other miracles could be explained in that way [cf. 2 Thess. 2:9, 10; the Egyptian sorcerers], is against the express declarations of Jesus [cf. Mt. 12:24 ff.; 9:34]. The great Messianic sign from heaven [cf. Is. 7:11; Joel 2:29–31] is the incarnation itself.

Since in Mk. 8:12 no reference to the horizon occurs, many copies of the first gospel have omitted all mention of it; the passage cannot be regarded as an interpolation from Lk. 12:54–56 on account of the notable difference between Mt. and Lk. Lightfoot [cf. Wünsche, p. 193] maintains that the Jews were most intent on observations of the horizon, so that the connection of a red evening sky with fair weather, and of a red and lowering [“the lowering sky is red”] morning sky with stormy weather must have been well known. If, then, the Pharisees know how to interpret the “face of the sky,” they ought also to understand “the signs of the times,” i. e. the miracles of Jesus with their logical consequences [Chrys. Euth.], or the present fulfilment of the Messianic prophecies [Jer. Bed. Alb.], or both these taken together [Pasch. Br. Thom. Fab. Dion. Jans. Mald. Lap. Hil.], or the general Messianic expectations at the time of Christ [Fab. Dion.], or the ministry of John the Baptist together with the great gathering of the multitudes around the precursor and our Lord [cf. Mt. 4:17; 5:17 ff.; 7:22 ff.; 9:15–17; 11:3, 27; 12:8, 28, 42; etc. Knab.]. The Jewish people is therefore “a wicked … generation” because it “seeketh after a sign” for a bad purpose; it is an “adulterous generation” because it has been unfaithful to God and adheres to the devil [Theoph.; cf. Jn. 8:44; Knab.]. “The sign of Jonas” is the same as in 12:39. “He left them, and went away,” without dismissing them according to his custom, because they were unworthy of it [cf. Hil.].

5. And when his disciples were come.] b. The leaven of the Pharisees. The first sentence may be taken in three different ways: first, “when the disciples were come … they had forgotten to take bread” before starting to cross the lake [Keil; the Greek text may be thus rendered, but not necessarily]; secondly, “when the disciples were come … they forgot to take bread when journeying onward from the lake” [Vulg.; but the Greek text does not bear this rendering]; thirdly, “when the disciples departed … they forgot to take bread” [Greek text; Mk. 8:14; Orig. Mald. Jans. Lap. Lam. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.].

The reason of this oversight was not the total detachment of the disciples from earthly goods [cf. Jans.], but most probably their hurry to comply with the sudden command of the Master [cf. Schegg, Fil.]. “The leaven” was, among the Jews, a common metaphor signifying evil and inordinate affections [cf. Lightfoot in l.; Wünsche, p. 193], because they corrupt the whole man as a little leaven corrupts the whole mass [Jer.]; in the case of the Pharisees, their human traditions corrupt the law as well as the observers of the law [cf. Mt. 15:3–9; Orig. Theoph. Euth.]. “They thought within themselves” [Vulg. Orig.] must be rendered, “they said to one another” [cf. Mk. 8:16; Jans. Mald. Lap. etc.]: “Because we have taken no bread,” does he say this [Jans. Schegg, Bisp. Fil. Schanz, Weiss, Keil, Knab.]; the eastern shore of the lake was less fertile, less thickly inhabited, less attached to the cause of Jesus than the western, so that the disciples’ solicitude for food seems natural. Chrys. adds that the disciples detested the bread of the Gentiles; there is hardly any reason for thinking of a special bread of the Pharisees, which could not have been procured on the eastern shore for want of Pharisees there [Schanz]. The disciples are reprehended for two things: first they understand a spiritual doctrine carnally; secondly, they are solicitous for earthly things [Jans.]. While doing this, our Lord performs four acts: he shows his divine wisdom, he corrects their error, he recalls the past, he teaches them the truth [Alb.]. To correct their solicitude the more effectively, Jesus reminds them of the double multiplication of loaves [14:17–21; 15:34–38], so as to render them hopeful for the future by the recollection of the past [Chrys.]. Finally, Jesus states expressly that he had spoken of the “doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” and the evangelist testifies that the apostles understood this admonition, so that they are now separated from the Pharisaic traditions.

γ. The Apostles placed under the Primacy of Peter, 16:13–17:26

13. And Jesus came into the quarters.] In this section we have first Peter’s confession, vv. 13–20; secondly, Peter’s rebuke, vv. 21–28; thirdly, Peter’s presence at the transfiguration, 17:1–13; fourthly, the necessity and power of faith, vv. 14–20; fifthly, Peter’s tribute money, vv. 21–26.

1. Peter’s confession. We must first consider its preliminaries, secondly the act itself, thirdly the consequent promises, a. Preliminaries. After the apostles have been severed from the Pharisees, they need an authority which they must obey and on which they may rely: Jesus is to be their head in the future, and he will exercise his power by his vicar. A knowledge of his person and nature is therefore of vital importance for the disciples in general, and especially for him who is to represent his authority among men. The importance of the appointment is indicated by the prayer which our Lord uttered before this action [cf. Lk. 9:18], as he had prayed before the election of the apostles [cf. Lk. 6:12].

Cesarea Philippi” was a town in Gaulonitis at the foot of Mount Libanus, not far from the source of the Jordan, a day’s journey from Sidon; it had been called Laish [Judg. 18:7, 29], and afterwards Dan, but in later times Paneas or Panias, from the mountain Panium, under which it lay [Jos. Ant. XV. x. 3]. The tetrarch Philip enlarged it and gave it the name of Cesarea in honor of Tiberius [Jos. Ant. XVIII. ii. 1; cf. Euseb. H. E. vii. 17]. In later times King Agrippa further enlarged it and called it Neronias in honor of the emperor Nero [Jos. Ant. XX. ix. 4]. This must not be confounded with the Cesarea Stratonis situated on the Mediterranean, and occurring Acts 10:1. According to Mk. 8:27 [cf. Lk. 9:18] and the Greek text of Matthew the following questions must have been asked on the way. Sylv. [cf. Grimm, iii. p. 621] sees a special providence in the fact that the primacy of the Church was first promised outside the Jewish territory, since this foreshows the future conversion of the Gentiles. Stray testimonies concerning the divine sonship of Jesus had been given already [Jn. 1:49; 6:70; Mt. 14:33], but their meaning was not certain beyond doubt.

Who do men say,” i. e. men excluding the scribes and Pharisees; having thus recalled the opinion of others concerning the person of Jesus, the disciples would naturally strive to excel them in their own estimate of the Master [cf. Chrys.]. “The Son of man is the title adopted from Daniel 7:13 [cf. Mt. 8:20; 9:6; 10:23; 11:19; 12:8; etc.], perhaps through motives of humility [cf. Jer. Jans. etc.]. “Some John the Baptist” is in accord with the belief of Herod [Mt. 14:2]; “other some Elias,” according to the general opinion of the Jews [cf. Mt. 17:10; 11:14] based on Mal. 4:5, 6 [cf. Ecclus. 48:10, 11]; “and others Jeremias,” perhaps because Jesus was as free in his blame of the Jewish leaders as Jeremias had been [Mald. Jans.], but more probably because according to 2 Mac 2:1–12; 15:13–16 Jeremias had hidden the ark of the covenant, so that his return, together with the restoration of the ark, was expected about the time of the Messias, an opinion that seems to be confirmed by 4 Esdr. 2:18 [cf. 1:10]; “or one of the prophets” appears to be one of the great earlier prophets of Israel grown mightier by his resurrection [cf. Mt. 14:2], or it is the prophet promised in Deut. 18:15 [cf. Jn. 1:21; 6:24], Within a year from this time the wretched people will be so misled as to demand Christ’s death from the Roman governor. “You” signifies that the disciples ought to distinguish themselves in their knowledge of the Master, having been long with him, and witnessed many miracles [Chrys.].

16. Simon Peter answered.] b. Peter’s formal profession. “Simon Peter” had distinguished himself by his profession after the eucharistic discourse [Jn. 6:70]; seeing now some hesitation on the part of his fellow apostles, he breaks forth into his profession to prevent any other less dignified answer [Chrys. Sylv. Grimm, iii. p. 625], at the same time complying with that special divine illumination and inspiration which the words of Christ ascribe to him. “Thou art Christ,” or the Messias; the parallel accounts [Mk. 8:29; Lk. 9:20] emphasize the Messiasship as the main point of Peter’s profession, since the readers of the second and third gospel identify the Messianic dignity with the divinity. The Jewish readers of the first gospel had no such definite idea of the identity of the two terms, so that the evangelist must add “the Son of the living God.” That this must be understood of natural sonship is evident from the following considerations: first, this truth could not be known except by revelation [“flesh and blood hath not revealed it to thee, but my Father who is in heaven”], while sonship in the Old Testament meaning could be known without revelation; secondly, in the immediate context Jesus speaks of his Father in heaven, and we may suppose that he uses the terms in the sense which Peter gave them; thirdly, the Greek article before “Son” emphasizes the expression so as to raise its meaning above that usually given to it; fourthly, Jesus is called “the Son of God” in opposition to John the Baptist, Jeremias, or any of the prophets, all of whom were sons of God by adoption; fifthly, the addition of “living” before “God” does probably not merely serve to distinguish the true God from the false gods [cf. Schanz, etc.], but represents Christ’s divine sonship as flowing from the very life of God, and therefore as natural [Orig. Caj. Sylv.; cf. Hil. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Thom. Mald.].

Chrys. Aug. [serm. 76, 1], Ambr. [de incarn. c. iv.], Jer. Alb. Thom. Dion. Schegg are of opinion that Peter professed the belief in the divine sonship of Jesus in the name of all apostles. But this can be admitted only in the sense that the other apostles either later on embraced or actually, but accidentally, held the belief expressed by Peter, or that Peter held even at that time a certain superiority over his fellow apostles [cf. Jn. 1:42; Mt. 8:14; 10:2; Lk. 5:2 ff.]. To say that Peter formally expressed the actual belief of the other apostles involves either a previous consultation of the apostles, or on the part of Peter a knowledge of the secrets of hearts; neither of these conditions is known to have existed. The gospel rather favors the view that Peter professed the belief in Christ’s divinity in his own name only: when Peter answers for all, his words indicate this [cf. Jn. 6:69, 70]; but far from presenting such an indication, the present passage pronounces blessed only Peter for the divine revelation with which he has been favored: “Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jona.” Hil. [ad c. xiv. n. 17], Opt. [De schism. Donat. vii. 3], Aster, amas. Basil, seleuc. [orat. 25, 4], Jans. Mald. Bar. Tost. Lap. Sylv. Knab. etc. are therefore right in maintaining that this profession of faith in Christ’s divinity was a personal act, not a corporate expression.

17. And Jesus answering.] c. Christ’s words to Peter. These proclaim first Peter’s blessedness, secondly his dignity as rock of the Church, thirdly his power of the keys, fourthly his power to bind and loose, α. Peter’s blessedness. “Simon Bar-Jona” [Bar-Jona does not mean “son of a dove” nor does it allude to the prophet Jonas, for the better codd. of Jn. 1:42; 21:15; 21:16, 17 read “son of John,” and in 2 Par. 28 the lxx. render the Hebrew “John” by “Jona”] is in opposition to Peter’s words “Christ the Son of the living God.” “Blessed art thou” because by God’s special benefit thou art possessed of a knowledge that is life eternal [Jn. 17:3; Thom. Sylv.]. “Flesh and blood” is said of man not aided by the special assistance of God [1 Cor. 15:50; Ecclus. 14:19]; Peter has not found the truth by the light of reason, nor is he the disciple of man [cf. Gal. 1:16; Eph. 6:12], but he is taught by the heavenly Father [cf. Mt. 11:27; Jn. 6:44, 45]. “I say to thee” is parallel to Peter’s profession: as thou hast professed my divinity, I shall reveal thy dignity [cf. Leo, serm. iv. 2].

β. Peter the rock of the Church. “Thou art Peter” [Rock], “and upon this rock”: in the Greek and the Latin text the word expressing “rock” is masculine in the first place, and feminine in the second [Petrus, petra; πέτρος, πέτρα]. But since Jesus spoke Aramaic, all difficulty vanishes, there being only one word [כֵּף or כֵּיפָא]. The Greek writer [and the Latin translator followed him] saw that the feminine noun could not well be employed as the name of Simon, while the masculine noun agreed less with the idea of foundation-stone or firm rock [see, however, Horn. H. η. 270, γ. 288, π. 411; Pind. Nem. xi. 26; Sophocl. Oed. C. 19, 1595; Philoct. 272; Diod. Sic. i. 32], a meaning expressed by the feminine form [cf. Grot.]. “Church” is regarded by Bleek, Holtzmann, Harnack as a later interpolation, because Jesus usually spoke of “the kingdom” or “the kingdom of heaven.” But as “the kingdom” is an Old Testament expression [cf. 1 Par. 28:5; Ps. 21:31; Abd. 21] employed by Jesus [cf. Jn. 18:36; etc.], so is קָהָל [rendered by the lxx. ἐκκλησία], corresponding to our church, an Old Testament expression [Num. 15:3; 20:4; Deut. 23:2–4; 1 Par. 28:8; Mich. 2:5] denoting the holy convocation of Israel. If, then, the former expression could be appropriated by our Lord, why not the latter? Finally, since Israel is often called “the house of the Lord” in the Old Testament [cf. Num. 12:7; 7:7; Os. 7:1; 9:8, 15], the metaphor of “building” my Church was naturally enough employed by Jesus [cf. 1 Cor. 3:9 ff.; Gal. 2:9; Eph. 2:10; 1 Tim. 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Pet. 2:5]. Nor is there any difficulty about the meaning of the metaphor: the Church of Christ is to be built on the rock in question, as on its foundation. The rock will be to the Church what the foundation is to the building; will give it, therefore, stability, and firmness [cf. Mt. 7:24], and unity. Now since the stability, firmness, and unity of the Church, as of every society, are supplied by the ruling authority, it follows that the rock must be the seat of authority in the Church; and since the foundation must remain as long as the building, the rock on which the Church is built must persevere as long as the Church is to last.

The next point to be discussed concerns the identity of the rock on which the Church is to be built. Opinions: First, the rock is Jesus himself. Reasons: α. when Jesus said “thou art Peter [Rock], and upon this rock I will build my Church,” he may have pointed to himself while pronouncing the second clause [Schöttgen, Schultz, Chrysander, etc.]. β. According to 1 Cor. 3:11 there is no foundation beside Christ Jesus. γ. According to 1 Cor. 10:4 Christ is the rock. δ. The difference of gender in the Latin and Greek text between Petrus and Petra, πέτρος and πέτρα. ε. Cassiodorus [in Ps. 45:5], the author of the explanation of the fifth penitential Psalm [n. 36; in the works of Gregory the Great], Theodoret [in 1 Cor. 3:11], and Primasius [in Apoc. 21] understand the foundation-rock of the Church to be identical with Christ. But (a) the difference of gender in the Latin and Greek text between Petrus and Petra, πέτρος and πέτρα, has been explained already, (b) As to 1 Cor. 3:11 and 10:4, and the patristic writers, Christ is surely the primary foundation-rock of the Church, as he alone can forgive sins by his own power [Chrys.]. But as he has communicated the power of forgiving sins to his ministers, so he may have delegated one of his ministers to be his vicar in the office of foundation of the Church, (c) That Christ did communicate this vicarious office of “rock of the Church” to Peter, himself remaining the primary foundation, is expressly maintained by Leo [serm. iv. 2; in ep. x. 1], August. [Retract, i. 21; etc.], Jer. [in Mt. 7:26; 16:18]; Rab. Druthm. Anselm. laud. Zachar. Chrys. Thom. (d) There must be some relation between “Rock” in the first clause of Christ’s address to Peter, and “rock” in the second [especially, since he calls it “this rock”], unless we assume that our Lord’s words had a wholly arbitrary meaning; the assumption that our Lord pointed to himself does not change this alternative.

Secondly, the rock on which Jesus declared he would build his Church is the faith professed by Simon Peter, whether we take it as the doctrine “thou art Christ, the Son of the living God,” or as the profession of the doctrine, “Simon Peter answered and said.” Reasons: (a) The Church is really based on the divinity of Jesus Christ, is sustained by the profession of this truth, has always upheld this belief, and is one by this profession. (b) Hil. [in lib. vi. de trinit. n. 36], Ambr. [de incarn. c. v. n. 34], Chrys. Leo [serm. iii. c. 2, 3], Aug. [tract, vii. in Joh. n. 14], Cyr. [l. iv. in Is. c. 44, v. 23; cf. Ballerini, De vi ac ratione primatus, c. 12, ed. 1845, pp. 71–78; Palmieri, De Rom. Pontifice, pp. 246, 247] identify the rock on which the Church is built with the faith of Peter in Christ’s divinity or its profession.

But on the other hand: [a] No society has ever received its stability, its firmness, and its unity by a certain doctrine or by its profession; the permanent adherence of a society to a doctrine, or its permanent profession of the same, is rather the effect of the social principle of unity than this principle itself. [b] All the foregoing Fathers maintain, either in the context of the cited passages or in other passages, that Peter is the rock on which the Church has been built: Hil. [in h. 1; in Ps. 131, n. 4; in Ps. 141], n. 8; in lib. vi. de Trinit. n. 20], Ambr. [in Luc. lib. vi. n. 70; de virginit. c. 16, n. 105; de fid. lib. iv. c. 5, n. 56; enarrat. Ps. 40 n. 30], Chrys. Leo [serm. iii. c. 2, 3], Aug. [ad Ps. 30, serm. ii. n. 5; in Ps. 100, serm. iii. n. 2, 7; Ps. 138 n. 22], Cyr. Alex, [in 1.]. The foregoing Fathers, therefore, somehow identified the faith or its profession with the person of Peter, as in point of fact Christ called rock of the Church not Peter as such, but Peter illumined by the revelation of Christ’s divinity, Peter conspicuous by his profession of this faith. Peter’s faith in Christ’s divinity, or his profession of this faith, is therefore the rock of the Church in two ways: first, meritoriously, since Peter merited thereby to become rock of the Church; secondly, in part also formally, since Peter endued with this faith and its profession became the rock of the Church cf. Palmieri, De roman. pontif. 1877, p. 252; Natalis Alex. H. E. tom. iii. p. 99; sæc. i. diss. iv. n. 3]. [c] Weiss and Holtzmann among the more recent Protestant commentators grant that this second view, so common among the older Protestant theologians, must be abandoned.

Thirdly, we need not delay over those who attempt to combine the first and second opinion [Glassins], nor over those who regard the college of apostles as the foundation of the Church [Apoc. 21:14], nor again over those who make the apostles and the prophets the rock of the Church [Eph. 2:20], nor finally over those who seek the foundation of the Church in the body of the faithful. The first and the second opinions are rejected by the foregoing arguments; the third opinion has been implicitly considered where we investigated in what sense Peter can be said to have made his profession of faith in the name of all apostles; the fourth opinion has no foundation whatever in the present passage, and the same must be said of the fifth. It is true that some writers ask, how every Christian may become a Peter, by believing and professing like Peter [cf. Orig. in Matt. tom. xii. n. 10, 11; Theoph. Rab. Pasch. Druthm. Erasm.]; but as the question how we can become an apostle like Peter presupposes that Peter is a true apostle, so does the question of the foregoing writers imply that Peter is really the foundation of the Church; for starting from this supposition, they apply our Lord’s words to the inner life of all Christians.

Fourthly, the rock on which the Church is built is the apostle Peter. Reasons: a. The words taken in their literal sense do not admit another explanation: “thou art Rock, and upon THIS rock.…” Jesus could not have expressed himself more obscurely, had he not intended to build his Church on Peter; he could not have stated his meaning more clearly, if he meant to build his Church on Peter. b. All that follows is addressed to Peter, and there is no sign that our Lord changes his subject. c. External evidence is all in favor of this explanation: first, before the rise of Arianism, no other opinion was expressed [cf. Tert. de præscript. hær. 22; Cypr. ep. 71, 3; ad Jubai. n. 10; Firmilian. ep. ad Cypr. n. 16; Orig.]; secondly, when the Arian heresy rose, the patristic writers began to extol Peter’s belief in and profession of Christ’s divinity in the highest terms, but, as we have seen, though regarding this faith and profession as meritoriously the foundation of the Church, they held it as formally so only in so far as it was inherent in the person of Peter; thirdly, those writers who maintained that Jesus himself was the rock of the Church understood this of the principal foundation, for they all regarded Peter as the foundation of the Church by participation; fourthly, those writers who used the passage in an ascetic sense presupposed that Peter was the rock of the Church; fifthly, to these may be added Bas. [cont. Eunom. ii. 4; in Is. c. ii. n. 66], Gregor. naz. [or. 22], Chrys. Euth. and others as enumerated by Palmieri [De Romano Pontifice, Romæ, 1877, pp. 225–278], Schrader [De unitate Romana, Friburg, 1862, pp. 140 ff.]; Passaglia [De prærogativis b. Petri, Ratisb. 1850, 1. ii. cc. 3–10, 14]; Ballerini [De vi ac ratione primatus, c. 12, Monasterii Westph. 1845, pp. 71–78]; Natal. Alex. [H. E. tom. iii. p. 99, Paris, 1730]; Suar. [Defens. fidei cath. adv. anglic. sect, errores, lib. iii. cc. 10–12]; Bellarm. [De Romano Pontifice, lib. i. cc. 10–13]; sixthly, among the learned Protestants of more recent times Bengel, Kuinoel, Rosenmüller, Dodwell, Michaelis, Parkhurst, Fritzsche, Bloomfield, Alford, Mansel, Holtzmann, Weiss, Meyer, regard the rock of the Church as identical with the person of Peter.

Keil, Wichelhaus, Zeller, etc. grant to Peter only a primacy of honor, esteeming him first among equals, while Hammond, Camero, Rosenmüller, Bengel, Bloomfield, and Mansel place his primacy in the fact that he was the first to preach the gospel to both Jews and Gentiles [Acts 2:14 ff.; 10; 15:7]; but according to the former view Peter would be rather the façade than the foundation of the Church, and according to the latter he would be the layer of the corner-stone instead of being the foundation. Meyer, Weiss [p. 393], Huther [Briefe Petri, 3d ed. 1867, pp. 2 f.], etc. admit the primacy of Peter, but deny that it passed over to his successors; as if after Peter’s death the Church could have remained without a foundation; in connection with this point, Harnack [patr. apostol. opp.; 1 Clem. i. 5] and Hilgenfeld [Zeitschrift f. w. Th. 1877, p. 508] reject the denial of Lipsius and Zeller that Peter was ever in Rome. Bleek, Holtzmann, and Harnack are probably more logical, when they deny that Jesus really uttered the words to Peter as they are recorded in the first gospel; but then they proceed on a principle already rejected where we treated of the authenticity of the gospel. Mk. 8:33; 9:35; 10:44; Mt. 16:23, the expressions of St. Paul about the apostolate and his behavior toward St. Peter do not contradict the solemn declaration of Peter’s primacy [cf. Holtzm.].

The gates of hell” in the Old Testament repeatedly signify “the gates of death” or “hades” [cf. Is. 38:10; Job. 38:17; Ps. 9:15; 106:18], so that the expression signifies the house or palace of death to which the souls of the dead must repair. If, then, death “shall not prevail against it,” i. e. either the Church [Hil. in Ps. 130, n. 4; Caj. Mald, etc.] or both the Church and the rock [Orig. Pasch. Leo ep. ad episc. Vienn. x. 1], it shall stand forever [Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Keil, Weiss, Mansel, Holtzm. etc.; cf. 1 Cor. 15:26, 55]. But since “the gates of hell” may have a wider meaning in the New Testament than in the Old, since the Greek expression rendered “shall not prevail against it” implies the idea of an attack [cf. Ex. 17:11; 4 Kings 24:2; 2 Par. 8:3; 17:5; Is. 24:20; 15:18; Dan. 11:21; Wisd. 7:30], since again the parable in Mt. 7:25 clearly implies a hostile attack against the house built on a rock, and since finally both our Lord and the apostles warn us repeatedly to beware of the attacks of our enemy, the devil [cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Eph. 6:12; 1 Petr. 5:8; Apoc. 4:8; 20:14]: for these reasons we may explain the passage “the kingdom or city [cf. Gen. 22:17; 24:60; Ex. 20:10; Deut. 5:14; 12:12; 15:7; Esth. 3:2; 4:2; 5:9, 13; etc.] of the devil shall not overcome it” [cf. Orig. Caj. Mald. Bar. Arn. Knab. etc.]. The attacks of the enemy consisting in the inroad of heresies [Orig. Jer. Br. Druthm. Zach. Alb. Thom.], in divers persecutions [Theoph. Cyr. Rab.], in temptation to sin [Euth. Br. Pasch. Thom.], and even in temporal afflictions [Dion.], the victory of the Church implies not only her gift of perpetuity, but also that of infallibility.

γ. Peter’s power of the keys. “And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of, heaven” agrees well with the figure of a house. Euth. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Druthm. Zach. Thom. explain this power of the keys given to Peter as the power of admitting into the Church; but since commonly the power of the keys signifies supreme dominion [cf. Is. 22; Apoc. 1:18; 3:17], the keys being in the hands of the supreme ruler, and since this meaning of the expression is even upheld by the Rabbinic writers. [cf. Wünsche, p. 195], Christ gave to Peter in the power of the keys not only the power of admitting and excluding, but also the highest power of ruling the kingdom, second only to that of our Lord himself [Chrys. Caj. Jans. Mald. Suar. Bar. Sylv. Bellarm. Lap. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.].

δ. Peter’s power to bind and loose. The supreme power of Peter is further determined in the words, “whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven.” This power to bind and to loose is not merely the power to preach the gospel, though the latter contains the norm of admission into and exclusion from the kingdom [Keil, Düsterdick, Müller]; nor is it merely the power to communicate from the treasure-house of the kingdom or to withhold these spiritual goods from men [cf. Schegg]; nor again is it merely the power to forgive sins and remit its punishments [cf. Tert. de pudicit. c. xxi.; Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Bed. Rab. Druthm. Thom. Dion. Grimm, 3. p. 648], but it implies supreme legislative and judicial power in the kingdom [Caj. Suar. Jans. Lap. Sylv. Bar. Calm. Arn. Reischl, Fil. Knab. Palm. l. c. p. 265]. For the words of our Lord must be explained not from a stray passage in Diodorus Siculus [i. 27] and Josephus [B. J. I. v. 2], but from the common language of the Jewish doctors whose terminology had become known to the common people together with the Pharisaic precepts [cf. Mt. 5:34–36; 15:2, 5; 19:3; 23:2–4, 16–22; Acts. 21:24; 2 Cor. 11:24; Num. 30:3, 10; Dan. 6:8, 9, 14, 16]. Even though the expression “to bind” or “to loose” meant nothing among the Jews but the authoritative declaration of what was licit or illicit according to the Mosaic law, the power of thus authoritatively interpreting the teaching of Christ and his spirit would imply legislative power. But as Morinus [Commentar. hist, de disciplina in administr. sacr. pœnitent. lib. i. c. viii. Antuerp. 1682, p. 19], Wünsche [p. 196], and Ed. [ii. p. 85] maintain, the expressions “to bind” and “to loose” denote authoritative declarations on all that refers to religion and practice, so that our Lord rightly extended Peter’s power to bind and to loose all things “whatsoever” in the kingdom of God [cf. Lightf. Schöttgen, Wetstein, Wünsche, Fritzsche, Ahrens, Steitz, Meyer, Weizsäcker, Grimm, Keim, Knab. etc.].

This great promise to Peter is immediately followed by Christ’s prohibition to “tell that he was Jesus the Messias.” Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Jer. Thom. Jans. Mald. Calm, believe that before the resurrection Jesus did not urge his divinity upon his followers lest they might be scandalized at his coming sufferings. But the prohibition concerns the manifestation not of his divinity, but of his Messiasship; the corrupt Messianic ideas of the Jews did not permit him to appear publicly as the Messias, since the people would have attempted to realize the temporal Messianic kingdom they generally expected [cf. Mt. 8:4; 8:12–15; John. 6:15].

21. From that time Jesus.] 2. Peter’s rebuke. In this section we have first the scandal of Peter, vv. 21–23; then the description of the Christian cross, vv. 24–28. a. Scandal of Peter. “From that time” denotes the period when Jesus had been acknowledged by Peter as the Son of the living God; it was some time after the third Easter in Christ’s public life, about ten months before his death. “Jesus began to show” clearly what till then he had only hinted at [cf. Jn. 2:19; 3:14]: “that he must go to Jerusalem,” according to the will of his Father [cf. Mt. 17:10, 21; 20:18; 26:54; Lk. 24:25–27, 46], “and suffer many things from the ancients, and scribes, and chief priests,” i. e. from the civil, religious, and learned authorities of the nation [cf. Mt. 2:4]. The slowness of the apostles to understand the clear words “he must … be put to death, and the third day rise again” [cf. Mk. 9:31; Lk. 18:34] may be explained first as agreeing with the general obscurity of prophecies before their fulfilment; secondly, the prophecy was contrary to the apostles’ wishes, and therefore hard to believe; thirdly, they might suspect that Jesus spoke in a parable, and this the more, because Os. 6:2, 3 employs a similar metaphor; finally, the minds of the apostles at the time of the passion were so disturbed that they could hardly be expected to recall even the clearest prophecies. That Jesus predicted his resurrection clearly is seen from Mt. 28:6; Lk. 24:6–8.

22. “And Peter taking him” apart, “began to rebuke him,” but was interrupted after the first words. “Lord, be it far from thee” is a strong expostulation [cf. Jer. 1 Mach. 2:21]; “this shall not be unto thee” is either explanatory of the foregoing words [Grot.], or a prayer [Fritzsche,], or again a confident declaration on Peter’s part [Alf.]. “Who turning,” either to Peter with a stern countenance, or from Peter in indignation. “Go behind me,” i. e. out of my sight. “Satan” is addressed to the devil, according to Hil. Chrysol. [serm. 27], and Marcellus [cf. Euseb. cont. Marcell. i. 2], so that our Lord said: “Go behind me [Peter]; Satan, thou art a scandal to me”; but the context demands that the word be referred to Peter. Not as if Peter had pronounced his words at the suggestion of the devil, nor as if “Satan” in the New Testament too could be regarded as an appellative meaning “adversary” [Num. 22:22; 1 Kings. 29:4; 2 Kings 19:23; 3 Kings 5:18, etc.; cf. Orig. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Jer. Bed. etc.]; but because Peter, speaking from human affection for Jesus, suggested what the devil himself had suggested in the temptation [Mt. 4:3–9], so that the apostle materially at least furthered the devil’s cause [cf. Chrys. Euth.]. Hence Peter was “a scandal” unto Jesus, savoring “the things that are of men,” i. e. measuring them according to a human standard, not estimating them according to the light of revelation.

24. Then Jesus said to his disciples.] b. The Christian cross. “If any man will come after me” denotes that Christ does not force men to become his disciples [Chrys.]. “Let him deny himself” by disregarding his inordinate affections for pleasure and honor, and for all the sources of pleasure and honor [cf. Gregor. hom. in. evang. xxxii. 2; Chrys. Theoph. Mald. Jans. Sylv. Lap.], and let him show in word and deed that “Christ liveth in him” [Gal. 2:20; cf. Orig. Chrys. Jer. Rab. Pasch. Thom.]. The follower of Jesus must not only “deny himself,” but also “take up his cross” [cf. Mt. 10:38] as those condemned to death were wont to do. “And follow me” is not a mere equivalent of self-denial and carrying the cross [cf. Jans.], but denotes also the necessity of perseverance in both [Lap.] and the manner in which both must be fulfilled [Euth.; cf. Heb. 12:2–4; 1 Pet. 2:21]. Alb. shows that Jesus adds three reasons for following him in self-denial and the carrying of the cross: First, this is the only way to be saved [cf. Mt. 10:39]; just as the only way to renew and multiply the grain of corn is to sow it and thus seemingly to destroy it, so the only way to find life is to lose it [cf. Gregor. hom, in evang. xxxii. 4]. Secondly, it is the only profitable manner of life, for the “gain of the whole world” cannot, either in intensity [Euth.], or in duration [Br.], be compared with “the loss of [one’s] own soul”; one cannot profitably exchange any earthly good whatever for a happy eternity. Thirdly, it is the only secure manner of life, “for the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father” [cf. Jn. 17:5; Mt. 24:30] “with his angels” [cf. Mt. 24:31; Mk. 13:27; 1 Thess. 4:15], “and then will he render to every man according to his works,” a reward described in Mt. 25:34, 41; Rom. 2:9, 10. Jesus urges the foregoing three reasons by another consideration: “Some of them that stand here … shall not taste,” or experience [cf. Jn. 8:52; Heb. 2:9], “death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” In the Old Testament the coming of God signifies his special manifestation either by way of justice or mercy [cf. Is. 3:14; 26:21; 30:27; 35:4; 40:10; 42:13; 51:14; 66:15, 18; Mich. 1:3; Hab. 3:3; etc.]. The “coming of the Son of man” mentioned in the present passage must therefore refer to a special manifestation of the Son of man. Some commentators referred to by Orig. and Cyr. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Br. Mald. Bar. Sylv. Lap. Kilb. see in this manifestation the transfiguration which is told immediately after the present passage; but first, the preceding verse leads us to expect a manifestation of justice, not of mercy; secondly, an event happening “after six days” would have hardly been introduced by the phrase “there are some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death”; thirdly, in his transfiguration the Son of man did not come “in his kingdom.” One or more of these reasons militate against the opinion that the “coming of the Son of man” refers to the foundation of the Church [cf. Gregor. hom. in evang. xxxii. 5; Bed. Rab. Thom. Jans. Lam. who adopt this view on account of the parallel passages Mk. 8:39; and Lk. 9:27 without giving its full weight to the context of the first gospel]; or that ‘it refers to the time after the resurrection [Caj.]; or to the three foregoing events [Alb.]; or to two of them [Bed. Rab. Thom.]; or to the last judgment; or to the ascension, to the manifestation of grace in the Church militant, and to the transfiguration [Dion.]; or even to the contemplation and knowledge of the Word [Orig.]. If we identify the “coming of the Son of man” with the manifestation of his justice in the destruction of Jerusalem, we satisfy not only the three considerations already stated, but follow the analogy of 24:3 ff. where the last judgment is connected with the destruction of Jerusalem [cf. Calm. Schegg, Bisp. Arn. Reischl, Grimm iv. p. 20; Schanz, Fil. Keil, Mansel, Knab. etc.].

1. And after six days.] 3. Peter’s presence at the transfiguration. In this section we consider first the transfiguration proper, vv. 1–3; secondly, the words spoken during the transfiguration, vv. 4–6; thirdly, the occurrences after the transfiguration, vv. 7–13. a. The transfiguration proper. The connection of this event with the preceding passage consists in the manifestation of the glory that will follow the suffering of Jesus, and the self-denial and cross of the disciples. “After six days” according to the first and the second gospel [Mk. 9:1] is parallel to “about eight days” of the third [Lk. 9:28]; St. Matthew and St. Mark count only the intermediate days, while St. Luke adds the first and last also [cf. Aug. de cons. ev. ii. 56, 113; Chrys. Euth. Hil. Thom. etc.]; or St. Luke gives “about” the number; or again counts parts of days as whole days [Jans.]. “Jesus taketh unto him Peter,” the head of the apostles, “and James,” the first martyr among the apostles, “and John his brother,” the virgin among his brethren; we find these same disciples privileged at the resuscitation of the dead child [Mk. 5:37; Lk. 8:51] and in the garden of Gethsemani [Mt. 26:37]. “And bringeth them up into a high mountain apart,” in order to pray [Lk. 9:28]; since they descended the following day [Lk. 9:37], the transfiguration must have happened during the night, so that the disciples are naturally represented as overcome with sleep [Lk. 9:32]. The mountain was Hermon or Thabor [Orig. in cat. ad. Ps. 88:13; Euseb. cæsar. ibid.], or Hermon [Stanley, Sin. and Palest, p. 399; Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 231], or one of the mountains bordering the lake [Alf.], or Thabor [Cyr. of Jerusal. cat. xii. 16; Jer. ep. xlvi. 12; cviii. 13; Damasc. de transfig.; Bed. Mald. Bar. Lap. Arn. Holzammer, Mislin, Sepp. das. heil. Land, ii. 114; Grimm, etc.].

Reasons for the last opinion: First, Josephus [B. J. II. xx. 6; VI. i. 8; Vit. n. 37] shows that the top of Thabor was bare at the time of Christ, whatever may have stood upon it at the time of Antiochus the Great [b. c. 218; cf. Polyb. v. 70, 6]; secondly, Thabor is about a journey of twenty hours away from Cesarea Philippi, so that it could be easily reached in six days by Jesus and the disciples; thirdly, on descending from the mountain Jesus encounters the multitudes and the scribes, together with his nine disciples, who had attempted an exorcism [cf. Mk. 9:13], all of which would have been impossible in the vicinity of Cesarea, where the scribes were very few, and where the disciples had been forbidden to exercise their miraculous powers [Mt. 10:6]; fourthly, immediately after the transfiguration Jesus and his disciples journey in Galilee [5:21; Mk. 9:29]; fifthly, Thabor is a “high” mountain, measuring 1, 748 or 1, 755 or 1, 868 feet in height; it is also repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament [cf. Judg. 4:6; 8:18; Ps. 88:13; 46:18; Os. 5:1].

2. “And he was transfigured,” not in the figure or form of his body [cf. Cyr. Euth.], but “his face did shine as the sun, and his garments became white as snow,” so that he manifested a few dim rays of the glory connaturally due to his. body on account of the hypostatic union [cf. Hil. Br. Caj. Pasch. Greg., moral, xxxii. 6]. The impression produced on the apostles may be inferred from the words of Peter and John written many years after the event [2 Pet. 1:16–18; Jn. 1:14; 1 Jn. 1:1 f.]. “And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias”: the latter had never died, and appeared therefore in his own body, while Moses either rose from the dead [cf. Jer. auct. de mirabil. S. Script, iii. 10; Bar. Sylv. Suar. in 3am. qu. 45, disp. 32, sect. 2, n. 7; Tol. in c. ix. Luc. annot. 61], or his soul assumed an apparent body as happens in apparitions of angels [cf. Thom. 3 p. qu. 45, a. 3, ad 2; Tost. in c. xvii. qu. 54]. The disciples recognized the two Old Testament persons by revelation [Mald.], or from the words in which Jesus addressed them [Theoph. Jans. Suar. l. c. n. 10; Sylv.], or again from their description in the Old Testament [Grimm, iv. p. 39; Schanz], or finally from the traditional Jewish description of their persons [Euth.]. Moses and Elias appeared at the transfiguration, first, because that event was to prefigure the future coming of Jesus in his glory, and this latter will be preceded [Apoc. 11:3–6] by the advent of Moses and Elias [Jans. Mald.; but the two witnesses of Apoc. 11:3–6 are more commonly identified with Enoch and Elias; cf. Suar. l. c. disp. 55, sect. 3, n. 2]; secondly, Moses and Elias represent the law and the prophets of the Old Testament, as well as the living and the dead, so that they testify to Christ’s power over life and death [cf. Jer. Hil. Rab. Pasch. Dion. Jans. Mald.], and to the fulfilment of law and prophecy in his person [Chrys.]. Luke [9:31] tells us the subject of the patriarchs’ conversation with our Lord; it was a new confirmation for the apostles of the coming suffering and death of the Master.

4. And Peter answering, said.] b. Words at the transfiguration. Lk. 9:32 renders it clear that Peter began to speak [“answering,” cf. 9:25] when Moses and Elias were about to withdraw. Chrys. thinks that the apostle invited Jesus to remain forever on Thabor, being overcome with heavenly delight [Orig.], and not fully realizing his own words [Lk. 9:33; Mk. 9:5]; Rab. infers from Peter’s words the delight awaiting us in our future life, when we shall see Jesus in his full glory. God himself furnished a better tabernacle than Peter’s could have been, by “a great cloud” overshading them [cf. Orig. Theoph.]. The manifestation of God’s presence in a cloud is too well known to need comment [cf. Ex. 16:10; 19:9; 24:15; 33:9; 3 Kings 8:10; Ps. 103:3; etc. Mald. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Br. Jans, etc.]. “Overshaded them,” not the disciples, but Jesus and his two visitors [Jans. Knab.], because the “voice” came “out of the cloud.” The testimony “this is my beloved Son” confirms Peter’s testimony [16:16]; the words have been considered in 3:17. The clause “hear ye him,” alluding to Deut. 18:15, confirms our Lord’s previous prediction of his own suffering as well as his instruction on the self-denial of his disciples. “The disciples … were very much afraid,” an incident fully agreeing with the feeling of several saints of the Old and New Testament in the presence of God’s special manifestation [cf. Is. 6:5; Ez. 2:1; Dan. 7:15; 10:8; Apoc. 1:13, 17; etc.].

7. And Jesus came and touched them.] c. After the transfiguration. The touch of Jesus brought about the fearlessness enjoined by his words [cf. Jer.]. “Tell the vision [cf. Acts 7:31; Ecclus. 43:1] to no man,” a prohibition given not for fear of scandal at the following suffering and death [cf. Jer. Chrys. Euth. Bed. etc.], nor on account of the apostles’ weakness, who needed the special infusion of the Holy Ghost in order to preach Christ’s glory [cf. Hil. Thom.], nor to avoid offence on the part of those disciples that had not been present on Thabor [Damasc. Corder. cat. Luc. p. 257], nor finally to teach humility [cf. Alb. Dion.]; but the prohibition was based on the same necessity of not arousing the people’s expectations of a glorious Messias which we found in 16:20 [Schanz, Knab. etc.]. The question “why then do the scribes say that Elias must come first” does not show doubt on the part of the questioners concerning the truth of the Pharisaic doctrine [cf. Meyer]; nor does it prove that the apostles had come to the knowledge of our Lord’s Messiasship only on Thabor [cf. Orig. Chrys. Euth. Jans.]; nor does it show that the disciples identified the apparition of Elias during the transfiguration with his promised coming before the advent of the Messias [cf. Weiss; Mal. 4:5, 6]; nor did the questioners believe that Christ had already come in his glory [cf. Jer.]; nor were they in doubt whether John the Baptist [cf. 11:14] was the promised Elias, since they must have understood the words of the scribes in their literal sense [cf. 16:6 ff.]; but since Jesus had just then mentioned his resurrection [“till the Son of man be risen from the dead”], the disciples thought that his advent in glory was near at hand, and therefore inquired about the coming of Elias according to the teaching of the scribes [cf. Jans. Knab. Lightf. Wünsche, Weber, System der altsynag. paläst. Theol. p. 337 f.].

As Mal. 3:1; 4:5, 6 distinguishes two advents of the Messias and two precursors, so does Jesus in his answer distinguish the two precursors; first, he speaks about Elias: “Elias indeed shall come,” before the second advent, “and restore all things,” preparing all hearts for the coming of the Lord [cf. Rom. 11:25 ff.; Just. Orig. Vict. Chrys. Jer. Aug. and all later Catholic writers of weight]; secondly, “Elias is already come,” before my first advent, in the person of the Baptist [cf. 11:14 ff.], “and they knew him not” cf. 11:16 ff.], “but have done unto him whatsoever they had a mind” [cf. 4:12; 11:18; Jn. 4:1]. The Baptist’s sufferings prefigure those of the Lord, for “so also the Son of man shall suffer from them” [cf. 14:1 ff.], so that the Baptist was the precursor of the Messias in death as well as in life. “Then the disciples understood that he had spoken to them of John the Baptist,” identifying him with the Elias that had already come, not with the Elias that was to come before the second advent.

14. And when he was come to the multitude.] 4. Power of faith. Here we have first a prayer addressed to Jesus, then the answer to the prayer, and finally an instruction given to the disciples.

a. Prayer. “When he was come to the multitude,” i. e. the day after the transfiguration [cf. Lk. 9:37]. “Lord have pity,” first because I pray for “my son”; secondly, “he is a lunatic, and suffereth much.” It is evident from v. 17 that the boy was also possessed, and the second gospel [cf. Mk. 9:14–29] adds that he was dumb and suffered “from his infancy.” Jans, is of opinion that all his suffering was the effect of his possession, but Caj. Schanz, Knab. maintain that the possession was added to his natural infirmities, his epilepsy and dumbness. No doubt, the devil aggravated the natural affliction of the sufferer considerably, for the father testified “he falleth often into the fire, and often into the water.” “I brought him to thy disciples” shows that the father knew of the miracles wrought by them; “they could not cure him” states only the fact without implying blame of the apostles or doubt concerning the power of Jesus [cf. Cyr.]; according to Mk. 9:21, 22 the faith of the petitioner seems to have been very feeble, so that his lack of faith may have been the cause of the apostles’ failure [cf. Mt. 13:58].

16. Then Jesus answered and said.] b. Grant of the petition. “O unbelieving and perverse generation” is addressed not to the whole human race [cf. Orig.], nor to the father alone [Jer. Euth. Theoph.], nor to the disciples alone [Hil. Meyer, Arn. Bisp.], but to all present [cf. Deut. 32:5; Phil. 2:15], including the people seduced by the suggestions of the scribes [Chrys. Cyr. Br. Thom. Jans. Mald. Lap. Bar. Schegg], the father showing such a weak faith [cf. Mk. 9:21; Chrys. Mald.], and the disciples who had failed in the cure of the sufferer [Pasch. Dion. Fab. Caj. Calm. Schanz, Fil. Knab. Keil]. “How long shall I be with you,” not as if our Lord had wished to suffer the death of the cross rather than remain with them [cf. Chrys. Cyr.]; but he complained of their slowness to comply with his ardent longing for their spiritual welfare [Jer. Jans. Mald.], manifesting at the same time his lovingkindness in the words, “Bring him hither to me.” “And Jesus rebuked him,” not the boy [cf. Theoph. Rab.], nor his sinfulness [cf. Bed. Pasch. Thom.], nor both the devil and the boy [cf. Euth.], nor the devil or the boy indiscriminately [cf. Jer. Bisp.]; but the rebuke was directed to the devil alone, as is distinctly stated in the second and third gospel [Mk. 9:24; Lk. 9:43; Cyr. Dion. Fab. Caj. Jans. Mald. Calm. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. The miracle was both an exorcism and a miraculous cure of the boy’s natural infirmities.

18. Then came the disciples to Jesus.] c. Instruction of the disciples. When Jesus had entered a house [Mk. 9:2], the disciples inquired after the cause of their failure, having either not heard [cf. Schegg] or not fully understood [cf. Schanz] the foregoing words of the Master about their unbelief. “Because of your unbelief,” Jesus repeats in presence of the disciples; the devil may have given such striking signs of his power [cf. Mk. 9:19, 25] as to make the apostles hesitate in their faith [cf. James 1:6, 7]. “Faith as a grain of mustard seed” does not denote great and extraordinary faith [cf. Pasch. Jer. Thom. Bed. Sylv. Br.], though the kingdom of heaven is compared to a grain of mustard seed [cf. Mt. 8:31], and though St. Paul [1 Cor. 8:2] represents the faith sufficient to move mountains as something remarkable; nor does the expression signify a lively and vehement faith similar to the qualities of the mustard seed when crushed [cf. Euth. Dion. Fab. Caj. Jans.]; nor again a fruitful and growing faith like the fruitfulness and growth of the mustard plant [cf. Br. Bar.]; for in all these meanings there would be no reason for comparing the faith to a grain of mustard seed rather than to mustard seed in general. Recalling the smallness of the grain of mustard seed [cf. Mt. 8:31 f.], we must here understand by “faith as a grain of mustard seed” even the least amount of sincere faith [Chrys. Hil. Mald. Calm. Arn. Reischl, Bisp. Grimm, Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.], a meaning that also agrees better with the context [cf. Mald.]. Nor is there any discrepancy between the words of Jesus thus understood and those of St. Paul [1 Cor. 8:2]: the faith of miracles implies first the theological virtue of faith; secondly, the application of that universal faith to one particular object concerning which the thaumaturgus firmly believes that God will hear him; thirdly, a firm trust and confidence in the will of the wonder-worker as to the success of his undertaking [cf. Suar. De fid. disp. viii. sect. i. 3, 6]. The words of Jesus view this faith intensively, and assert that the least amount of it suffices to perform any miracle; the apostle views the same faith extensively, or as to its contents, and maintains that it embraces “all faith,” i. e. all kinds of faith. We need not then assume a hyperbole in our Lord’s words [Bar. and Sylv. against Mald.]. “This mountain” does not mean the devil [cf. Hil. Jer. Theoph. Bed. Br.], but it partly refers to the mountain at the foot of which the words were spoken [cf. Mt. 17:1], partly it alludes to a well-known proverb [cf. Zach. 4:7; Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1653; Lightf. in Mt. 21:21; Wünsche, p. 204] according to which the moving of mountains expressed extraordinary and incredible deeds of strength. There is no need to inquire why the apostles did not move mountains in their later life [cf. Theoph. Thom.], though Chrys. testifies that some saints did transfer mountains, as is well known of Gregory of Neocesarea [cf. Bed. ad Marc. xi. 23]; the Lord’s words merely mean, “Nothing shall be impossible to you.”

The following verse is wanting in א* B 33 e ff syr [cu her] sah cop [cd] æth [rom] Eus [can], and is therefore omitted by Tisch. W H Weiss; but the omission rests on too little testimony, while the interpolation of the verse out of the second gospel is improbable on account of the discrepancy. “This kind” does not refer to all devils [cf. Chrys. Euth. Thom. Grimm], for many of them were expelled by the mere command of the exorcists [cf. Acts 16:18; Lk. 10:17; 9:49]; but it denotes specially wicked demons [Jer. Leo, serm. 87, 2; Bed. Pasch. Alb. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Bar. Calm. Arn. Schegg, Reischl, Fil. Knab. etc.]. “Prayer and fasting” are needed on the part of the possessed person [Chrys.], on the part of the exorcist or the wonder-worker [Orig.], on the part of both the demoniac and the exorcist [Theoph. Euth.]. It is as reasonable that the possessed person should make use of spiritual weapons against his spiritual enemies, as that the exorcist should attain to a closer union with God by prayer and victory over his inordinate affections before beginning to grapple with God’s enemies.

21. And when they abode together in Galilee.] 5. Peter’s tribute money. As Peter’s profession of Christ’s divinity was followed by the prediction of the passion, and this in turn by the transfiguration; so is the manifestation of Christ’s glory in the exorcism followed by another prediction of the passion, and this again by a new miracle confirming the apostles in their faith. The present section treats, therefore, first of the second prediction of the passion, and then of the miracle connected with Peter’s tribute money.

α. Second prediction of the passion. “When they abode together in Galilee” indicates that Jesus endeavored to make his apostles familiar with his coming suffering in their own country where they felt more secure. “Into the hands of men” shows either the indignity of the coming suffering or its atrocity; “to fall into the hands of men” was regarded as the greatest misfortune by the prophets [cf. Mich. 7:6; 1 Par. 21:13]. “They were troubled exceedingly,” because they did not yet understand the mystery of the cross [cf. Mk. 9:31; Lk. 9:45; Hil. Chrys.]; in spite of this sadness, there is no such resistance as we find in 16:22.

23. And when they were come to Capharnaum.] b. The didrachma. “They that received the didrachmas” were not collecting a Roman contribution [cf. Jer. Jans. Mald. Lap. Bar. Sylv. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Wieseler], but the temple tribute [Hil. Baron, ad ann. 33, n. 30; Lam. and nearly all recent writers]; this is clear, first from the amount collected which was exactly the yearly temple tribute; secondly, nothing is known of a yearly Roman contribution about the time of Jesus Christ [cf. Wieseler, Chronol. Synopse, p. 265; Beiträge, p. 109]; thirdly, the argument of our Lord in v. 24—“the kings of the earth, of whom do they receive tribute or custom? of their own children or of strangers?”—would be of no force if there had been question of tribute payable to an earthly king, since our Lord was no child of the Roman rulers; but he was the Son of God, and therefore free from contributions payable to God. It was commanded by Moses that every male of twenty years and upwards should pay at the time of the census half a side for the expense of public worship [Ex. 30:12 ff.]; after the return from the captivity this tax was made the third of a sicle [2 Esdr. 10:32], subsequently it was increased to half a side each year [Jos. Ant. III. viii. 2], and about the time of our Lord it was levied even among the Jews out of Palestine [Jos. Ant. XIV. vii. 2; x. 8; XVI. vi. 2; xviii. 9; Phil, de mon. lib. ii. 3]; finally, after the destruction of Jerusalem the proceeds were assigned to Jupiter Capitolinus [Jos. B. J. VII. vi. 6]. The money was collected between the 15th and 25th of Adar [about Febr.], and during that time there were centres where common money might be exchanged for the temple currency in all towns of the land [Phil, ad Cai. 23; ii. 568], though Nisibis and Nahardea appear to have been the principal centres of collection [Jos. Ant. XVIII. ix. 1].

Didrachma” in the lxx. version is equivalent to the Hebrew shekel, but Josephus and Aquila agree with the evangelist in using it for the “half-shekel”; the drachma was about 15c. or 7½d., the didrachma about 30c. or 15d., the sicle or stater [cf. verse 26] about 60c. or 30d. They “came to Peter” because they had a holy reverence for Jesus [Jer. Theoph. Euth. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Jans. Fil.], and they knew that Peter either was the head of the disciples, or at least enjoyed a great familiarity with the Master [Euth. Alb. Caj.]; whether they asked through malice [Jer.], or deceit [Pasch.], or in order to tempt [Alb.], or sincerely, can hardly be determined; since they said “your Master,” they hardly thought that Jesus would exempt himself from the tax on account of his Messianic claims [cf. Meyer, Arn. Bucher], though they may have doubted about his course of action on account of his common opposition to the Pharisaic traditions.

24. “He said, Yes,” without thereby indicating that Jesus had paid the temple tribute in the preceding years; the whole passage determines nothing about our Lord’s past conduct in this regard. “Jesus prevented him,” thus showing his watchfulness over his disciples. The immediate conclusion of our Lord’s question is that he himself, “the Son of the living God” [16:10], is free from the temple tribute [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Hil. Jer. Bed. Rab. Br. Thom. Caj. Mald. Jans. Lam. etc.]; secondarily, but only by way of theological inference, it may be concluded that also the apostles, as members of Christ’s household, are free [cf. Fab. Jans. Mald. Lap. Sylv. Calm.]. The second inference is confirmed, as far as Peter is concerned, by the words “that we may not scandalize them,” though Jesus may have spoken here as in Mk. 4:30 or Jn. 3:11. He lives us, at any rate, a lesson not to urge the law of Christian liberty where it might give spiritual offence to the little ones, and to discriminate between the times when we may use it [cf. Chrys.].

26. “When thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater,” either created there [Dion. Mald. Arn.], or placed there by the ministry of angels, or casually taken up by the fish and not yet swallowed [cf. Sylv. Calm.]; the money is thus procured miraculously, not as if the common purse of the apostles [cf. Jn. 12:6] had been exclusively for the use of the poor [cf. Thom.], nor as if it had been empty just then [cf. Mald.], but because Jesus intended to satisfy the demands of the tax-gatherers without yielding up his own privilege, and at the same time to confirm the apostles in their faith by showing his knowledge and power [cf. Jer.]. “Give it to them for me and thee,” not merely because thou alone among the apostles are bound to pay like myself on account of thy residence in Capharnaum [cf. Schanz], but because of thy dignity as rock of the Church [cf. Chrys. Jer. Suar. Defens. fidei cath. adv. angl. sect, error, lib. iv. c. v. n. 9].

δ. Conduct of the Apostles as Princes of the Church, 18:1–20:28

1. At that hour the disciples came to Jesus.] In this part we possess the special instruction of the disciples on several points of Christian discipline: first, on their relation to the little ones, 18:1–14; secondly, on their care of sinners, 18:15–35; thirdly, on matrimony and virginity, 19:1–15; fourthly, on voluntary poverty, 19:16–30; fifthly, on the working of grace, 20:1–16; sixthly, on suffering and the cross, 20:17–28.

1. Relation to children. This consists especially in two points: first, we must become like children, vv. 1–5; secondly, we must care for children, vv. 6–14.

α. Christian childhood. “At that hour” connects the present passage with the preceding; not as if the incident of Peter’s tribute money had given rise to the question among the apostles concerning their greatness in the kingdom, since this discussion had occurred on the way [cf. Mk. 9:32], and the tribute money was paid in Capharnaum; nor as if convinced of Peter’s preference, they had inquired into its reasons [cf. Chrys.]; nor again, as if the rebuke of Peter had made them doubt concerning the previous promises [cf. Mt. 16:23; Pasch. Sylv.]; but the discussion arose in connection with Christ’s prediction of his coming death after which they expected the establishment of the Messianic kingdom [cf. Jans. Calm. Knab.]. “The disciples came to Jesus saying” may be harmonized with Mk. 9:32, 33, either by assuming that on being asked by Jesus concerning their conversation on the way the disciples first were ashamed of confessing their weakness as the second gospel has it, and later on they regained their courage as the first gospel implies [cf. Jans. Bar. Arn. Fil.]; or by seeing in the account of the first evangelist a summary of the event, so that the question was asked by the disciples in thought, not in word [cf. Knab. Mt. 8:5 ff.]. “The greater in the kingdom of heaven” is not the greater in the other world [cf. Euth. Thom. Bar.], nor the greater in the exercise of supernatural virtue [cf. Schegg], but the greater in the expected earthly kingdom of the Messias; otherwise the disciples would not have been ashamed of their conversation on the way [cf. Mk. 9:32 f.], nor would Jesus have inculcated humility in his answer [cf. Jer. Mald.]. “Calling a little child,” Jesus teaches his disciples not merely in words, but also by sight. “Unless you be converted” from your earthly ambition, and become “as little children” in simplicity, purity, and humility [cf. Chrys. Orig. Euth. Hil. Jer.; Jn. 5:44; 1 Cor. 3:18; 2 Cor. 3:5; Mt. 5:48], you shall not even “enter the kingdom of heaven.” After this implicit rebuke Jesus answers the question of the disciples directly: “Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven”; of the different virtuous qualities of the child, it is humility that is singled out by our Lord as the measure of our greatness in the kingdom of heaven [cf. Br.; Mt. 7:22]. “And he that shall receive,” i. e. assist in any way [Mald.], “one such little child,” not one resembling a child in humility and simplicity [cf. Chrys. Jer. Rab. Pasch. Br. Dion. Jans. Bar.], nor one of the apostles [Calm.], but primarily a child in years [Fab. Bar. Arn.; Lk. 9:47 f.; Mk. 9:35], secondarily a child by disposition [cf. Lap. Schegg, Fil. Knab.], “in my name,” or on account of my wish and my precepts [Chrys. Knab.],—there is no direct statement that the one to be received ought to be a child for the name of Christ [cf. Schanz], though this is implied,—“receiveth me,” because he loves me in the person of the child.

6. But he that shall scandalize.] b. Care of children. “But he that shall scandalize,” i. e. not merely offend or injure, in opposition to the foregoing assistance [cf. Chrys.], but induce to sin [cf. context]; “one of these little ones that believe in me” is not necessarily one recently converted to the faith [cf. Orig. Euth. Theoph. Dion.], nor an humble person [cf. Jans.]; nor a child in manners, in humility and simplicity [cf. Mald.]; but the expression may refer to those children in years that have attained the age of discretion [Knab. against Keil], so that they may truly be said to believe in Jesus. The “mill-stone” is according to the Greek text of the heavy kind, belonging not to a hand-mill, but to a mill worked by asses. “It were better for him” [cf. Mt. 5:22], not merely because the spiritual evil of scandal is greater than the temporal evil of drowning [cf. Br. Dion. Jans. Lap. Bar. Sylv. Calm. Fil.], nor because the punishment of drowning is less than that which God will inflict for the sin of scandal [cf. Chrys. Jer. Thom. Dion. Grimm, iv. 129],—for this might be said about the evil of any sin and its eternal punishment compared with any temporal evil,—but the expression indicates that the greatest punishment is due to the sin of scandal, in order to show the malice of the sin by the greatness of the punishment. The latter is the more enormous, because death is unavoidable on account of the “depth of the sea” and the “mill-stone”; and also because drowning was an unusual manner of inflicting death among the Jews [cf. Ex. 1:22; Jos. B. J. I. xxii. 2; Ant. XIV. xv. 10; cont. App. i. 34].

7. “Wo to the world because of scandals,” seeing that it is thus exposed to be easily seduced to sin [cf. Theoph. Mald. Jans. Sylv. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.]. “It must needs be that scandals come,” on account of the present condition of fallen human nature scandals are morally certain to come [cf. Chrys.]; therefore precautions should be taken [cf. Orig.]. “But nevertheless wo to that man by whom scandal cometh” is a threat calculated to render scandal less frequent [Knab.]. “If thy hand or thy foot” are expressions that have been explained in vv. 29, 30; hand and foot are named because scandal usually comes from outside. “It is better” renders the meaning of the Greek text accurately, though its letter reads καλόν ἐστιν … ἤ, which Meyer and Schegg explain as containing two statements: “it is good … and better than.” But this is against the analogy of Ps. 117:8; Os. 2:11; Jon. 4:3, 8 [cf. Winer, 35, 2]. The extreme care with which scandal must be avoided is a corollary of its intrinsic malice and its frightful punishments.

10. Jesus now adds three reasons why we ought to care for the little ones. α. Care of guardian angels. “See that you despise not,” is an admonition that has borne its fruit in the course of time [compare the fate of the children of slaves at our Lord’s time], though we have not yet reached perfection in this regard. “One of these little ones” does not mean a disciple or apostle [cf. Calm.], even though the apostle work for others [cf. Pasch.], nor does it refer to the just in general [cf. Mald.], or to the imperfect [cf. Dion.], or to the humble [cf. Jans. Sylv.], or equally to children in years and in disposition [cf. Schegg, Grimm, Schanz, Fil.]; but the expression denotes directly the children in years [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Thom. Lam.], and by inference only the children in disposition [cf. Knab.]. “Their angels in heaven” supposes that they have angels deputed for their special protection [cf. Jer. Hil.], just as in the Old Testament we read of angelic protectors of nations and provinces [cf. Ex. 23:20; Dan. 10:13; 12:1], of angelic patrons of the just in great dangers [cf. Gen. 16:7; 24:7; 32:1; 48:16; 3 Kings. 19:5; Tob. 3:25; Judith 8:20; Ps. 90:11; Dan. 3:49; 2 Mach. 11:6; etc.], and as in Acts there is question of the angel of Peter [Acts 12:15]. Though it cannot be inferred from our passage that there are as many angels as there are children [cf. Caj.], the common opinion holds that every soul has its special angel guardian [cf. Jer. Jans. Mald.]. The fact that the angels of the little ones “always see the face of my Father who is in heaven” does not imply that they are more excellent than the angels of others [cf. Mald.], but alluding to the privileged character of the most familiar servants standing in the presence of the king [cf. 1 Kings. 10:8; 2 Kings. 24:19 heb.], it shows the power of the angelic protectors and their great dignity [cf. Caj.]. The Jewish and Rabbinic traditions concerning the guardian angels may be seen in Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum, i. p. 389; ii. p. 370; Schegg, ii. 450; Wünsche, p. 212 [cf. K. L. iii. 584 ff.].

11. β. The care of the Son of man. Not only the guardian angels, but the Son of man himself cares for the little ones, and therefore all the disciples are bound to the same care, especially since “the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.” This verse is omitted in א B D L some minusc. e ff sah cop Hil Juv Ti W H, but it is found in most codd. and versions. Most commentators regard it as an interpolation from Lk. 19:10; but though it does not contain anything that is specifically proper to children, it fits very well into the present context, since children run the greatest danger to be led into sin [cf. Rab. Bed. Thom.].

12. γ. The care of the heavenly Father. “What think you” renders the audience attentive to what is to follow [cf. 17:25]; since the Old Testament employs this illustration taken from shepherd life, Jesus may have used it repeatedly [cf. Lk. 15:4 ff.]. Whether “an hundred sheep” represented a great number [cf. Jans. Bengel, Meyer], or a small number of sheep in Palestine [cf. Schegg]; they do not typify all reasonable creatures, the “ninety-nine” being the angels, and “that which is gone astray” the human race [cf. Hil. Gregor. hom. in ev. xxxiv. 3; Rab. Pasch. Br. Dion, etc.]; nor are the “ninety-nine in the mountains” the proud, and “that which is gone astray” the humble [cf. Thom.]; but without urging the particulars of the parable too much, we may see in the “ninety-nine” the just, and in “that which is gone astray” the sinner [cf. Jer.], so that the “hundred” represent all the disciples of the Lord. Thus the divine care and love for us become more manifest [cf. Jans. Mald.]. “He rejoiceth more for that than for the ninety-nine that went not astray,” not as if he made little of the latter, but because experience [cf. Caj.] shows that a sudden change of feeling effects such a joy [cf. Euth.]. The other term of comparison is “the will of your Father,” who does not permit his children to be despised [cf. Jer.], since he does not wish that any “one of these little ones should perish,” but desires really and sincerely their eternal salvation [cf. Thom.]. Thus the apostles are gradually urged on to develop zeal for souls.

15. But if thy brother shall offend.]. 2. Care of sinners. This part treats first of fraternal correction, vv. 15–20; secondly, of fraternal forgiveness, vv. 21–35. α. Fraternal correction. “If thy brother” in Christ [cf. Gal. 3:27 ff.] shall offend “against thee,” i. e., commit any sin, because all sins are against us, being against our Father in heaven [cf. Rab. Br. Thom. Dion. Caj. Calm. Jans. Mald. Lap. Sylv. Schegg, Schanz]; “against thee” may also mean “within thy knowledge” [cf. Aug. serm. 81, 10; Zach. chrys. Anselm. laud. Alb.]; or “against thee” is an interpolation from Lk. 17:4, since Pasch. testifies that in his time it was wanting in several codd. of the Vulgate.

That there can be no question of a personal offence follows, first, from the general character of our Lord’s discourse; secondly, from the ineptitude of an offended person to serve as monitor of the offender. Our Lord is not content with our not scandalizing others, but he wishes us also to aid those that have already fallen. Hence the positive precept: “Go and rebuke him,” which, however, does not bind when fraternal correction is evidently useless, or when it brings on us or the Church grave inconveniences. “Between thee and him alone,” to spare the feelings of the offender [cf. Aug. serm. 82, 8], lest the sinner should become worse by the manifestation of his fault [Thom. Chrys. Alb. Dion. Caj. Jans.], or defend his sin and become obdurate in evil [Jans. Lam.].

If he shall hear thee,” practically, by obeying thy monition [cf. 4 Kings 22:13], “thou shalt gain thy brother” not merely as a friend [cf. Chrys. Euth.], but for the Church, and for life eternal, a gain that will be to thy own advantage [cf. Jer. Rab. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion. Caj. Lap. Bar. Sylv. Arn. Fil.]. “If he will not hear thee,” thou must not consider thyself free from thy duty, but “take with thee one or two more,” not to increase his shame, nor to have witnesses that thou hast fulfilled thy duty, nor to have witnesses before the ecclesiastical tribunal, if thou must proceed to it; but “that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand” [cf. Deut. 19:15; Jn. 8:17; 2 Cor. 13:1; Heb. 10:28], i. e. that he may be convinced by the multiplied testimony of the necessity to change his life [cf. Dion. Mald. Sylv. Schanz, Knab.]. “If he will not hear them, tell the Church,” not indeed the Synagogue [cf. Beza, Calv. Fritzsche, Keil, Weiss, Mansel], but the Church of Christ [16:18]; nor again the whole multitude of the faithful, including their superiors [cf. Tert. apologetic, c. 39; Thom. Bar. Jans.; 1 Cor. 5:3, 4], but the Church represented in its superiors [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Alb. Fab. Caj. Mald. Lap. Lam. Calm. Arn. Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Knab. Ed. ii. p. 123]. If it be not against the nature of the Church to be represented by an authority constituted by the community [cf. Meyer], it cannot be against its nature to be represented by an authority instituted after the manner of the apostles [cf. Schanz]. That the former kind of representation is not understood by Jesus follows first from its being wholly unknown among the Jews, so that the disciples could not understand our Lord’s words in that sense; secondly, from what Jesus had said according to Mt. 16:18; thirdly, from the power with which he is about to invest his apostles [cf. next verse]. “If he will not hear the Church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican,” i. e. as the heathen and publican is to the Jew [cf. Lightfoot ad h. l.], in order that he may not contaminate his brethren [Jans.], and that he may feel ashamed of his condition when he sees himself thus separated from his friends [cf. 1 Cor. 5:5, 6, 13; 2 Cor. 2:6, 7; Knab.].

18. That the voice of the Church does not remain without its effect follows from the promise, “amen I say to you,” not to the offended [cf. Orig. Aug. Theoph. Grotius], nor to the body of the faithful [cf. Thom. Bleek, Keim, Ahrens, Weiss], but to you, my apostles [Hil. Jer. Br. Alb. etc.]; for the apostles were the only representatives of the Church then present, the whole context is concerned with the apostles alone [18:1; cf. Mk. 9:32], and again the first gospel denotes the apostles by the name disciples [cf. 10:1, 2]. “Whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven; and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven” [cf. 16:19]. Comparing this promise with that given to Peter, Orig. first remarks that in Peter’s promise we read “in the heavens” [ἐν οὐρανοῖς], while here we have the singular “in heaven” [ἐν οὐρανῷ]; secondly, Peter receives the power of the keys besides that of binding and loosing, and besides the privilege of being the rock of the Church [cf. Orig. Pasch.]. Since, then, Peter’s prerogatives are not annulled by the present passage, it follows that the other apostles received the power of binding and loosing in dependence on and in subordination to Peter’s privilege; since Peter alone could not bind and loose all that needed to be bound and loosed in the Church, Jesus gave that power also to the apostles, leaving Peter as rock of the Church and therefore as head of his brethren. J What has been said about the meaning of the power to bind and to loose in 16:19 receives additional light from the present context; for as there is question of an accused sinner, the power to hind implies evidently the power of retaining or binding his sins, of punishing them, and of excommunicating the guilty; while the power to loose implies the power to remit his sin, and to condone his punishment [cf. Palmieri, Keil, Weiss].

19. “Again I say to you” does not merely add another remedy against scandal [cf. Knab.]; nor does it express another privilege of the Church besides that of binding and loosing, viz. the power of impetration [cf. Caj. Keil]; nor again does it merely add to the foregoing privilege of the apostles that of having their prayers answered by God [cf. Fil. Weiss]; nor does it merely manifest the advantages of union with the Church, as the preceding passage shows the curse of being separated from it [cf. Schegg]; nor does it merely show the merit of charity in opposition to the foregoing sin of scandal [cf. Euth.]; nor does it purport to show the reward of union and concord, as the preceding verse treats of disunion and enmity [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Hil. Jer. Rab. Dion. Bar. Calm. Schanz]; but it proves the power of the apostles to bind and loose [Alb.], by an argument “a minori ad maius,” i. e. it infers from their power of prayer that of their judicial sentence [cf. Jans. Lam. Knab.]. The strength of this argument increases, because “two of you” is not limited to the apostles and their successors in the episcopacy, but refers to all the faithful, as is clear from the general principle “where there are two or three.…” It does not follow from this that “to you” of the preceding verse also must be understood of all the faithful, and that consequently all the faithful received the power of binding and loosing [cf. Weiss]. For the second “to you” occurs in the “a minori” part of the argument, so that the full force of the inference lies in the comparison of two terms on each side: first, “you as common Christians” is compared with “you as apostles”; secondly, “infallible power of impetration” is compared with “infallible effect of judicial sentence.” In other words, the prayer of common Christians has an infallible effect in heaven; therefore the judicial sentence of apostles must have its infallible ratification in heaven.

20. “In my name” does not merely mean that they are gathered together because they are Christians [cf. Weiss], or because of my commandments [cf. Cyr. Euth.], or for some end connected with my interests [cf. Jans.], or for the honor and glory of my name [cf. Dion.]; but according to the Greek εἰς τὸ ἐμὸν ὄνομα, the prayers must be said for that same end to which the name of Jesus tends, or Jesus himself, in as far as his aims and wishes and office are revealed to us [cf. Knab.]. “There I am in the midst of them,” not merely by my presence, and essence, and power, but also by a special assistance of my grace [Caj.], directing the hearts and wills of those who pray [Br.], and making their prayer my own [Jans.; cf. Rom. 8:26]. We see from this why many prayers remain unheard, since they ask for something hurtful [Chrys.], or are not offered with the proper trust in God, or again are offered without the required fraternal union [Thom.]. On the other hand, this passage illustrates the power and dignity of councils where there are many prelates gathered in the name of Christ [cf. Mald. Jans. Lap. Calm.]. According to Jewish tradition [cf. Mal. 3:16], two or three assembled in judgment or to study the law were favored with the visible presence of God [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 218; Ed. ii. p. 124].

21. Then came Peter unto him.] b. Fraternal forgiveness. Here we have first a statement of doctrine, vv. 21, 22; secondly, its illustration by means of a parable, vv. 23–35. α. Doctrine on forgiveness. This is not merely the addition of a new topic of instruction [first fraternal correction, next fraternal forgiveness; cf. Schegg]; nor is it a mere explanation of the degree of forgiveness the necessity of which is taught in the foregoing passage [cf. Jans. Arn. Grimm, Fil. Keil]; nor is it a mere supplement to the preceding doctrine on fraternal correction [cf. Schegg]; nor can the proper nexus between the preceding passage and the present be found in Lk. 17:4 [cf. Mald. Lap. Reischl]; but we have here, as it were, a third step in our duties to our neighbor: first, he must be kept from erring; secondly, he must be corrected after erring; thirdly, he must be kindly received and forgiven on his return [cf. Alb. Knab.]. “Then came Peter unto him and said,” as the mouthpiece of the apostles [cf. Euth.]. “Till seven times” is selected by Peter, either because it is a holy number [Br.; cf. Gen. 4:15; Lev. 26:21; Prov. 24:16], or because it is about double what the scribes allowed; for according to the Rabbis it is dangerous to forgive twice, and not allowed to forgive four times [Yoma fol. 86, 2; Schöttgen, Wünsche, p. 219; Ed. ii. p. 125; cf. Am. 2:1; Job 33:29], so that Peter must have considered “seven-times” as something most liberal [cf. Chrys. Euth.]. The rendering “seventy times seven times” [Theoph. Jer. Bed. Rab. Alb. Jans. Schegg, Schanz, Grimm, Reischl, Fil. Weiss, Knab.] is more faithful to the original text and more mindful of the Hebrew manner of using multiples [cf. Dan. 7:10; Apoc. 5:11; etc.] than the rendering “seventy-seven times” [Orig. Aug. serm. 83. 3; Arn. Bisp. Ewald, Hilgenfeld, Meyer, Keim], which seems to be based on symbolic considerations and on Gen. 4:24.

23. Therefore is the kingdom of heaven.] β. Parable. “Therefore” denotes that on account of its doctrine on forgiveness the kingdom of heaven is illustrated by the following parable [cf. Euth. Jer. Schanz]. Literally the Greek text may be translated “royal man” or “human king” instead of “king,” because the Hebrews denoted an earthly king by “king of flesh and blood” so as to distinguish him from the king of heaven and earth [cf. Wünsche, p. 219]. “Servants” are not slaves, but all the royal officers filling places of trust, and according to Oriental terminology they include all the subjects of the king, even the ministers of state [cf. Alf.]. At the time of our Lord the Jews calculated according to the Attic talent, so that “ten thousand talents” were equivalent to about $12,000,000, or sixty million fcs. or £2,250,000 [Ed. ii. p. 294]. If the Hebrew talent had been in use, the amount would have been nearly twice as great. The enormous debt serves to impress one with the grievousness of guilt contracted by sin.

25. “His lord commanded that he should be sold,” as was allowed by the old Roman law [Becker-Marquardt, ii. 1, p. 57, 107; v. 1, p. 176 f.; Schanz], by the custom of Oriental despots [cf. Dan. 6:24; Esth. 16:18; Herod, iii. 119], and probably also by Jewish law [cf. 4 Kings. 4:1; Job 24:9], though Ex. 22:2 treats of thieves, and Lev. 25:39, 47 of one’s selling one’s self either to an Israelite or a stranger in case of need. The threatened punishment was the utmost that could be inflicted [Mald.], and the lord probably intended only to induce the servant to have recourse to supplication [Chrys.]. “That servant falling down” acknowledges his indebtedness, and in his affliction promises more than he can hope to accomplish; he is forgiven, not because there is hope that he can gain the sum of money he owes [cf. Orig.], but on account of his good will [Chrys.]. “The lord … forgave him the debt,” thus granting more than the servant had dared to ask for, just as God acts with us [cf. Chrys. Theoph.]; such a donation was not wholly against the custom of Oriental princes whose prodigality is well known; even Roman emperors were at times guilty of extravagance: Nero, e.g., allowed the Persian prince Tiridates during his visit to Rome daily 200,000 drachmas, and on his departure the emperor gave him a present of fifty million drachmas [Dio. 63, 2, 6; Suet. Nero, 60; Tacit, h. i. 20].

28. “An hundred pence” is equivalent to about $16–20, or £3–4; his fellow-servant’s debt amounts, therefore, to about the 600,000th part of his own. “He throttled him” does not mean “he dragged him before the judge” [cf. Meyer, Arn. Weiss, Keil], but “he ill-treated him.” “His fellow-servant falling down, besought him” so as to recall his own wretched condition from which he had escaped [cf. Orig.]. “His fellow-servants,” the fellows of both servants, “seeing what was [being] done, were very much grieved … and told their lord [exactly] all that was [had been] done.” Chrys. and Euth. develop the guilt of the servant; for though there was great inequality between his own and his fellow-servant’s indebtedness, and great equality between his and his friend’s supplication, there was the greatest difference between his cruelty and his lord’s mercy. The lord first rebukes the servant for his wickedness; secondly, he recalls the benefit bestowed on him; thirdly, he infers the duty of the servant towards his fellow-servant [Thom.], a duty not indeed to forgive the debt, but at least to have “compassion also on thy fellow-servant” [Caj.], a duty not springing from justice, but from equity [Dion. Caj. Sylv.; cf. Lap.]; fourthly, “his lord being angry, delivered him to the torturer,” not merely to the prison, but to the place in which according to Roman custom the debtors were subjected to corporal chastisement [cf. Liv. ii. 23; Gellius, noct. att. xx. 1] in order to extort their hidden treasures or to move their friends to compassion and to payment in their stead. Since neither of these events could be expected according to the text of the parable, and since the servant himself could not hope ever to pay his debt, the clause “until he paid all his debt” does not state a mere condition. Schegg], nor does it prescind from the future payment or non-payment [cf. Keil], nor does it imply that the payment was made [cf. Fab.], but it denotes simply endless torture for the ungrateful debtor [Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Pasch. Br. Thom. Dion. Mald. Jans. Lap. Bar. Sylv. Calm. Arn. Bisp. Reischl, Schanz, Fil. Weiss, Knab.].

35. “So also shall my heavenly Father do to you, if you forgive not every one his brother from your hearts” or in all sincerity [cf. Jer.; Mt. 6:12, 14, 15]. In this authentic explanation of the parable we are taught, first, that our sins against God are infinitely greater and more numerous than our neighbors’ offences against us; secondly, that God will not extend his mercy to us, if we are not merciful to our neighbor [Euth.]; thirdly, that we must always be ready to forgive our neighbor. The other details of the parable, the selling of wife and children [v. 25], the sadness of the fellow-servants [v. 31], and the recall on the part of the king of his former benefit [v. 34] are mere embellishments; the text does not therefore show either that on our committing a grievous sin of inclemency towards our neighbor, our former sins, already forgiven, revive as to their guilt and their punishment [cf. Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Aug: serm. 83, 6, 7; de bapt. c. Donat. i. 12, n. 20; iii. 13; Gregor. dial, lib. iv. c. 60; Bed. Rab. Zach. Pasch.], or that the former sins revive at least improperly in the new sin, since its malice is increased by the ingratitude we show for our own forgiveness [Thom. 3 p. qu. 88 a. 2; Caj. Mald. Alb. Dion. Jans. Bar. Lap. Sylv. Tost. qu. 140 in c. xviii. Mt.]. The irrevocability of God’s favors is therefore not touched in the parable [cf. Thom. 3 p. qu. 88, a. 1, 3; Suar. in 3 p. qu. 88, disp. 13].

1. And it came to pass when Jesus had ended.] 3. Matrimony and virginity. Here we have first Christ’s doctrine concerning the indissolubility of matrimony, vv. 1–9; secondly, his praise of virginity, vv. 10–12; thirdly, his blessing on both states, vv. 13–15. α. Indissolubility of matrimony. “When Jesus had ended these words” is both a form of transition [cf. Mt. 7:28; 11:1; 13:53] and a mark that the Galilean ministry has reached its end [cf. Mk. 10:1; Lk. 9:51]. “He departed from Galilee,” as he had done several times previously [cf. Mt. 23:37]; “and came into the coasts of Judea beyond Jordan,” i. e. he came into the coasts beyond Jordan, and by this way he proceeded into Judea [Orig.; cf. Mk. 10:1; Mt. 4:15, 25], though some cities beyond Jordan were reckoned as belonging to Judea [Ptolem. 5, 16, 9]. That Jesus did not omit his works of charity on account of the incredulity of the masses, is clear from the fact that “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them there.” “There came to him the Pharisees,” being either representatives of their whole class or known from former occasions, as is shown by the article in most Greek codd.; “tempting him,” they proposed a question, tending to bring Jesus into opposition with one of the leading parties of the scribes. For the school of Shamai interpreted the words of Deut. 24:1עֶרְוַת דָּבָר so that, the wife could be dismissed only for some indecency [ערות דּבר], while the school of Hillel explained the passage so as to allow divorce “for every cause”; according to R. Akiba if the husband chanced to meet a more attractive partner, according to Bartenora if the wife had burnt or oversalted a meal, the separation might take place [cf. Gittin, cc. 9, 10; Surenh. iii. p. 358; Ed. ii. p. 358, not. 2]. The school of Hillel had on this point most followers [cf. Jos. Ant. IV. viii. 23; XVI. vii. 3; Vit. 76; Phil, de legg. iii. 5], so that the negative answer of Jesus which the questioners expected, would place him in opposition to the bulk of the scribes, and even to Herod Antipas, who had arrested and put to death John the Baptist for expressing similar views [cf. Mt. 16:1 ff.]; an affirmative answer would tend to lessen the authority of Jesus as a strict moralist in the eyes of the people. From the text it can hardly be determined whether the questioners were followers of Hillel [cf. Schanz] or of Shamai [cf. Knab.]. The second and third gospel do not state the point in which the temptation consisted, because their readers would have hardly understood it; according to them the temptation consists in trying to make our Lord contradict Moses, in making him condemn what Moses had allowed.

The answer of Jesus avoids the snare in either case: for he appeals to Moses [Gen. 2:24], either against Moses [Deut. 24:1 ff.], or against the Pharisaic traditions, thus placing his decision on the level of inspired authority. “Have you not read that he who made man [the Creator; cf. Mald.] from the beginning [cf. Gen. 1:1; Eccles. 3:11; Is. 41:4] made them male and female? “From the beginning” modifies “made them male and female” [Euth. Jans.], and since the work of God is a manifestation of his will, he willed in the beginning, at least, that one man should be united to one woman, so that polygamy is excluded [cf. Chrys. Jer. op. imp. Theoph. Euth. Mald. Jans. Arn. etc.]; Jer. sees here also a rejection of second marriage. “And he said,” i. e. God said according to the gospel, though in Genesis Adam appears to be the speaker inspired by God [Aug. de nupt. ii. 4]; the words may even be put in the mouth of the inspired writer, so that we need not admit here a connection different from that in Genesis [cf. Orig.]. “They shall be two in one flesh” or unto one flesh [cf. Gen. 2:7], because they constitute one principle of generation, fully subject to the will of either of the component parties [Jans.]. “Therefore,” is the logical inference, “now they are not two, but one flesh” [one ethically, Orig. Jer. Bed. Mald.; one physical principle, Aug. op. imp.], so that it is as unnatural to separate them as it is to mutilate a human body [Chrys.]. And to add a positive precept to the natural law, Jesus concludes, “what therefore God hath joined together,” by his institution of matrimony and its indissolubility [not by a fatalistic union in heaven; cf. Wünsche, p. 222], “let no man,” but only God himself, “put asunder.”

This answer really forestalls the Pharisees’ exception “why then did Moses command to give a bill of divorce, and to put away?” In his answer Jesus first corrects an inaccuracy implied in the question of the Pharisees. Moses commanded “to give a bill of divorce” in case of separation, but he only “permitted you to put away your wives” [Caj. Jans.]; secondly, Jesus gives the reason for this permission, “by reason of the hardness of your heart,” i. e. to avoid greater evils, such as murder or constant cruelty [cf. Jer. Br. Theoph. Euth. Jans.]; thirdly, but “from the beginning it was not so,” so that the abolition of the Mosaic dispensation must be expected in the New Testament, the covenant of preëminent sanctity [cf. Is. 11:4–9; 54:10 ff.; 65:18; Ez. 37:26; etc.] and of a changed heart [cf. Ez. 11:19; 36:26]; fourthly, the New Testament law is proclaimed, preceded by the common introductory form of Christ’s laws, “and I say to you” [cf. Mt. 5:22, 28, 32, 34, 39, 44]: “whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.”

That Jesus maintains here the indissolubility of marriage follows first from his manner of arguing in vv. 4–6, where he appeals to the primitive state of matrimony; secondly, from the answer of the Pharisees in v. 7 who oppose the permission of Moses [Deut. 24:1] to our Lord’s answer; thirdly, from the answer of Jesus to the exception of the Pharisees, in which answer he does not correct their interpretation of his words, but corroborates it; fourthly, from the absurdity that would follow from the words of Jesus if divorce were allowed in case of adultery, since they would place the guilty party in a more advantageous position than the innocent; fifthly, the same follows from the words of the apostles in verse 10, since they also understand Jesus to speak of marriage as indissoluble; sixthly, in other passages our Lord and the apostles insist on the indissolubility of marriage [cf. Mk. 10:11; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:10], which could not have been done, had there been an exception. How, then, can we reconcile the clause “except it he for fornication” with this view of the case?

The interpretation of the Protestant and Greek writers who see in them an exception in which divorce is permitted has been excluded by the foregoing arguments.

The different answers [cf. Mt. 5:32] may be reduced to five heads: first, Ptolem. [ep. ad Floram], Athenagor. [leg. 33], and Tert. [Marc. iv. 34; monog. 9] do not acknowledge the clause in the present passage, so that Berlepsch and Keim omit it in their text; Hug, Gratz, Weisse, Volkmar, Schenkel, Holtzm. regard it as at least suspicious; but the genuineness of the clause is too well attested to be called in question, though its many variants render it difficult to determine the true reading.

Secondly, the Greek word rendered “fornication” is by many explained as meaning idolatry, or fornication before marriage [cf. Acts 15:20, 29; 21:15], or concubinage [cf. 1 Cor. 5:1; Patrizi], so that our Lord’s words are equivalent to “whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be on account of the invalidity of his marriage, and shall marry another, committeth adultery.” But according to this explanation Jesus should have commanded separation in case of “fornication”; again, fornication “here seems to be identical with עֶרְוַת דָּבָר [Deut. 24:1], which has none of the preceding meanings; finally, the Fathers derive commonly the Catholic doctrine on imperfect divorce [a thoro] from Mt. 5:32 and 19:9, a deduction rendered impossible by the foregoing interpretation.

Thirdly, other authors understand “fornication” in the sense of adultery [cf. Jn. 8:3, 41; lxx. in Ecclus. 26:12; Jer. 3:9; Ez. 16:16 ff.; Am. 7:17; Os. 3:3], but they explain the phrase “put away his wife” of imperfect divorce [a mensa et thoro, non a vinculo]. The text reads then, “whosoever shall put away his wife [which is in no case allowed, except for adultery, when there may be separation ‘a thoro et mensa,’] and shall marry another, committeth adultery” [Jer. Bell. Jans. Fr. Luc. Palm.]; or it reads, “whosoever shall put away his wife ‘a thoro et mensa’ except for adultery, commits adultery [because he needlessly exposes his partner to the sin of adultery]; and whosoever shall marry another, after dismissing the first for any reason whatever, committeth adultery” [Mald.]. The chief reasons against this interpretation are, first, the violence it appears to do to the text, by involving it at least most considerably; and secondly, the circumstance that the scribes and Pharisees would not have been able to understand our Lord in this sense, because they knew nothing of separation “a thoro et mensa,” or of divorce in its wider sense.

Fourthly, there are authors who grant that Jesus spoke of divorce in its proper sense, and that he tolerated it exceptionally “for fornication”; but they distinguish the term “whosoever,” limiting its extent by the texts of the second and third gospel, and by the words of St. Paul [Mk. 10:11; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7:10]. What had been tolerated during the period of transition from the Jewish to the Christian dispensation was wholly forbidden in the later inspired writings. Some of the difficulties which we above urged against the interpretation of the Protestants and the Greeks appear to militate also against this interpretation.

Fifthly, a last class of commentators understand “fornication” in the sense of “adultery,” “divorce” in its strict meaning, and “whosoever” in its fullest extent; but they take “except” in the sense of “excluding the case of” or “I say nothing as to,” so that our Lord signified his intention to reserve the doctrine on the case of adultery for a future occasion [Mark, Luke, and Paul]. This view appears to fit best into the context: When asked whether a man might put away his wife “for every cause,” Jesus had shown from Genesis that according to the natural and positive divine law divorce was not allowed from the beginning; that God permitted it only to avoid greater evils in case of עֶרְוַת דָּבָר; prescinding, therefore, from this one case [i.e. “except it be for fornication” “whosoever shall put away his wife, … and shall marry another, committeth adultery” [cf. Comment. on 5:32, where another solution must be given on account of the difference of circumstances]. We need not here repeat the testimonies of the earliest writers maintaining the indissolubility of marriage: cf. Just. apol. i. 15; Athenagor. legat. 33; Theophil. Autol. iii. 13.

10. His disciples say unto him.] b. Virginity. The apostles show that they consider Christ’s answer as implying a most heavy burden, more difficult to carry than the state of celibacy. The expression “the case” is in Greek the same as the word rendered “cause” [” for every cause”] in verse 3; we may understand the apostles’ exception, raised only after returning to their house [cf. Mk. 10:10], as equivalent to “if the condition of a man with his wife” [Grimm], or “if it be thus with the cause of divorce of a man from his wife” [cf. Meyer, Schanz], or again “if the original ground and principle of the relationship of man and wife be such” [Euth. Alf. etc.]. Jesus does not further delay over the indissolubility of marriage, alluded to in the protasis of the apostles’ exception, but he begins to speak of what they had maintained in their apodosis; for “this word” in the clause “all men take not this word” does not refer to the foregoing law on divorce [cf. Hofmann, Keil; verse 12 would then only suggest an escape from the burden of marriage], but to the words “it is not expedient to marry.” “To whom it is given” implies not only a special light of the intellect, for the intellectual conviction might be arrived at by way of reasoning [cf. 1 Cor. 7:32 ff.], but also an inspiration and help of the will, which will be given to those who ask for it in the proper way [cf. Chrys. Euth. Jer.]. The persons expected to ask for the favor are reduced to three classes [verse 12]: First, the eunuchs by necessity on account of a natural defect; secondly, the eunuchs by necessity springing from the malice and violence of men; thirdly, the eunuchs by choice based on their love for the kingdom of heaven [cf. 1 Cor. 7:26]. After giving the three possible explanations of the three classes of eunuchs according to which either all are eunuchs in the literal sense, or the first two are eunuchs proper, while the third class consists of eunuchs in a metaphorical sense, or again all three classes are eunuchs in a metaphorical sense, Orig. himself favors the third explanation [cf. Schegg]. While the first two classes of eunuchs may be taken both literally and figuratively [i.e. men having no natural inclination to marry, Theoph. Jer. Br. Schegg; and men prevented from marriage by human law, Br. Schegg], the third class must be taken figuratively only [cf. Mt. 5:29, 30; 18:8, 9]. The parallelism demands that in all cases perpetual celibacy is observed; the clause “for the kingdom of heaven” indicates not the absolute necessity of celibacy in order to enter the kingdom, but the greater safety and case of entering on account of the celibacy [cf. Jans. Caj. etc.]; at the same time the words of Jesus imply that in the true kingdom there will be such spiritual eunuchs.

12. For the kingdom.] “He that can take it, let him take it,” are not words without commendation for perpetual celibacy, nor are they full of reproach for the celibacy of the pricsthood [cf. Weiss], nor are they without the implicit promise of the gift of perpetual celibacy for some at least [cf. Weiss, Meyer]; but they stir us up to struggle for this gift as the better and securer path to the kingdom [cf. Chrys. Jer. Hil. Euth. Theoph. Bed. Rab. etc.; the patristic eulogy of perpetual virginity may be found in the passages indicated in Alzog’s Patrologie, Index s. v. Jungfräulichkeit; the opinion of the pagan world may be learned from Hor. Od. i. 2, 27; Liv. i. 10; Plutarch, num. 10; Cicero, p. Font. 17]. Since perpetual virginity is not enjoined by Jesus, but only recommended, we have here a clear distinction between evangelical counsel and precept.

13. Then were little children presented.] c. Both states are blessed. The present passage is not merely an additional instruction of the apostles on Christian family life [cf. Schanz, Knab.], but it illustrates our Lord’s view on both the state of matrimony whose fruit he blesses, and of virginity represented by the innocent children [cf. op. imp. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Thom.]. “Then” seems to connect this incident with the preceding [cf. Mk. 10:13], or with verse 2 [Schanz], though it does not do so necessarily [cf. Lk. 18:15]. “Little children” are not merely spiritual children [cf. Orig.; 1 Cor. 3:1], but the Greek word employed by the third evangelist [Lk. 18:15] signifies newly born children [cf. Lk. 2:12, 16; Acts 7:19], though the word may have here a wider meaning [cf. 2 Tim. 3:15]. “That he should impose hands upon them” accords with the Jewish custom of presenting the children for this purpose to the ancients in Jerusalem [cf. Ugolini, thesaur. antiq. vol. iv. p. 826; Thom. Jans. Mald.]; as the miraculous effects of our Lord’s physical contact were well known, the parents had in this case a special inducement for presenting their children to him [Pasch. Thom. Jans. Mald.]. The mention of prayer is omitted in the parallel texts of the second and third gospel, but is already implied in the touch of our Lord [cf. Gen. 48:14, 15]. “The disciples rebuked them,” not as if they had considered it useless to bless little children who did not understand what happened to them [cf. Alb. Keil]; but either because they thought it below the dignity of the Master to deal with such little infants [Chrys. Theoph. op. imp. Pasch. Jans. Mald. Lap. Fil.], or because they did not wish the Master to be too much molested in this manner [Ber. Bed. Rab. Alb. Thom. Schanz, Grimm, v. p. 263].

14. “But Jesus said to them” may be compared with Mk. 10:14, where it is stated that Jesus was indignant over the apostles’ behavior. The parents are encouraged in their attempt by the words “suffer the little children …,” and they must have felt most consoled when they heard “for the kingdom of heaven is for such,” i. e. not only for those like children in simplicity and humility [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. op. imp. Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. Jer. Rab. Ambr.], but also for the children themselves [cf. Chrys. Schanz, Knab.]. Lk. 18:17 and Mk. 10:15 add here in a somewhat different form the exhortation on spiritual childhood given Mt. 18:3. The present passage shows that little children are capable of receiving spiritual blessings, and therefore admonishes parents not to delay their baptism, without which they cannot be saved [cf. Jn. 3:5]. “When he had imposed hands upon them” is supplemented by Mk. 10:16, according to which passage he embraced the children. “He departed from hence” implies that he left the house in which the children had been presented [cf. Mk. 10:10 f.; 10:17].

16. And, behold, one came.] 4. Christian poverty, vv. 16–30. Here we have first the incident of the young man, vv. 16–22; secondly, Christ instructs the disciples about the necessity of poverty, vv. 23–26; thirdly, the reward of poverty is described, vv. 27–30.

a. The rich young man. “Behold, one,” according to Lk. 18:18 “a ruler” and therefore either the prefect of a synagogue or a member of the Sanhedrin; he must have been of the former condition on account of his youth [verse 20]. He “came” or, according to the second gospel [Mk. 10:17], ran to our Lord and knelt before him. “Good Master …” is not a question put through mere legal pride and a vain desire of excelling in the Messianic kingdom [cf. Hil. op. imp. Pasch.], nor is it asked in order to tempt our Lord [cf. Hil. Jer. Ambr. in Luc. op. imp. Bed. Rab.], but in all sincerity of heart [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Mald. etc.]. The former views are excluded by the reverence of the young man [Mk. 10:17], by the silence of the gospels about his bad will [cf. Mt. 16:1; 19:3; 22:35; Mk. 8:11; 10:2; Lk. 10:25; 11:16], by our Lord’s love for the young man [Mk. 10:21], by his question concerning his further needs [verse 20], and by his sadness on departing [verse 22]. The Rabbis appear to have much discussed the question what particular good works would bring one surely to life eternal [cf. Lightfoot, Schöttg. Wünsche], so that the question is almost equivalent to a Christian youth’s inquiry concerning his state of life [cf. Schegg, Schanz].

17. “Why askest thou me concerning good?”—or as several codd. read, “why callest thou me good?” in accordance with Mk. 10:17 and Lk. 18:18 as well as with our Lord’s words “one is good”—taken with the following statement, “one is good, God,” is by some writers regarded as an allusion to our Lord’s divinity. The argument may be expressed thus: God alone is good; but thou callest me good; therefore thou must acknowledge me as God. At any rate, the words contain a general principle of morality, representing God alone as essentially, efficiently, exemplarily, and finally, the greatest good [cf. Alb. Fab.]. Next, this general principle is expressed in more particular terms: “keep the commandments.” “If thou wilt” indicates that the young man had his free choice, and therefore a free will. “Which” shows that the young man thought our Lord referred to certain particular commandments. Our Lord in answer refers to the decalogue by citing five of its commandments concerning the substance of our good works [cf. Ex. 20:12–16], and adding a sixth concerning their form [Lev. 19:18; Rom. 13:9; cf. Alb. Thom.]. Jesus cites from the second table not merely because it implies the observance of the first [cf. Tost, in c. xix. qu. 124; Sylv.], but because we cannot expect to love God the invisible more easily than man whom we see [cf. 1 Jn. 4:20]. The love of our neighbor inculcated in verse 19 implies perfection indeed, but not the perfection of the evangelical counsels advised in verse 21, so that the words “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” are not an interpolation from 22:39 [cf. Orig. Pasch. Weiss].

Young man” is not a mere inference from the clause “from my youth” [א B L Ir. Cypr. Jer. Lachm. Tisch. omit the last clause, so that Schanz regards it as an interpolation from Mk. and Lk.], nor from the preceding precept “honor thy father and thy mother”; for if this were the case, the evangelist would have used it in verse 16, too. “All these have I kept from my youth” is not a falsehood [cf. Jer. op. imp. Bed. Rab. Fab.]; for if it were, Jesus would not have loved the speaker [cf. Mk. 10:21; Alb.], nor could the young ruler have asked, “what is yet wanting to me?” There are according to the words of Christ two goals that can be reached: “if thou wilt enter into life” [verse 17], and “if thou wilt be perfect” [verse 21]; hence there must also be two ways: keep the commandments” [verse 17], and “sell what thou hast” [verse 21]; and there are two rewards promised: “enter into life” [verse 17], and “thou shalt have a treasure in heaven” [verse 21]. These differences show first that the selling one’s property and the following of Jesus is not merely identical with the love of the neighbor enjoined in Christ’s first answer [cf. Keil]; nor is it merely a trial of the young man, necessary in his particular case [cf. Meyer, Weiss, Keil, Ed. ii. 341]. If the sale of one’s property were identical with the perfect observance of the commandments, all would be bound to rid themselves of their earthly goods; again, if it had been necessary for the young man in particular, Christ’s first answer would have been false, the differences of the two answers would be unreasonable, and it would still follow that in the kingdom of Christ there are persons who, on account of their peculiar disposition, must sell all, give it to the poor, and follow Christ. In other words, in the kingdom of Christ there must be devout persons whom our Lord characterizes as wishing “to be perfect,” who must sell what they have, and give it to the poor; who consequently must abstain from marriage, since they cannot provide for their offspring; who must follow Jesus either spiritually by perfect obedience to his representatives [cf. Orig. Jer. Chrys. Bed. Euth. Mald.], or even bodily by embracing an apostolic life as the ruler was called upon to do. “The young man … went away sad,” for having “great possessions,” his love of wealth was greater than his wish to be perfect; he preferred the “great possessions” to the “treasure in heaven.”

23. Then Jesus said to his disciples.] b. Necessity of poverty. Jesus first declares the great difficulty a “rich man” has to “enter the kingdom of heaven,” since riches of themselves demand the whole attention of man, and they lead moreover to pride and the gratification of the lower passions [cf. 1 Tim. 6:9, 10, 17; Chrys. Hil. Aug. civ. dei, V. xii. 3]; secondly, our Lord urges his first statement by a proverbial expression which denotes the great difficulty of something [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 232; Ed. 2. p. 342]. Similar hyperbolic proverbs we find in Prov. 17:12; Ecclus. 22:18; Jer. 13:23. The expression of our Lord cannot be explained by assuming that the Greek word rendered “camel” means a large cable rope [κάμιλον; cf. Cyril, Theoph. Euth.], for this meaning of the word occurs only in Suidas and a scholiast of Aristophanes [Vesp. 1030] and seems to have been invented to escape the fancied difficulty here [cf. Liddell and Scott’s Lex. sub voce; Passow, Gr. Wörterb.; Knab. Schanz, Weiss]; nor can our Lord’s expression be explained by making the “eye of a needle” a low, narrow gate [cf. Alb. Thom. Caj. Lady Dulf Gordon, Letters from Egypt, London, 1865, p. 113], or a narrow mountain pass [cf. Furrer, Schenkel’s B. L. iii. p. 476]. The reasons against this explanation may be found in Keim [3:33, Anm. 4], Wetzstein [Sitzungsbericht der philos. philolog. u. histor. Klasse der Münchener Ak. 1873, pp. 581–596], Delitzsch [p. 254 f.], Titus Tobler [Das Nadelöhr, Ausland, 1877, n. 1], and Socin [Zeitschrift des d. Palæstina-Vereins, 1891, p. 34]. In Act. Petri et Andreæ [Tisch. p. 164 f.] Peter is said to have actually made the experiment with the “eye of a needle” in presence of a doubting rich man.

25. “The disciples wondered very much,” not because they considered it more difficult for a poor man to enter the kingdom than for a rich man with all his resources [cf. Meyer, Berlepsch, Schegg], for this is contradicted by the whole context; the sentiments of the disciples sprang on the one hand from their knowledge that all men were most addicted to earthly goods [cf. Aug. Chrys. Jans. Arn. Bucher, Keil, Lutter.], and on the other from the Rabbinic doctrine that poverty was worse than all the Egyptian plagues taken together, worse than any other misfortune that could befall man, that it was among the three afflictions on account of which life was not life, and among the four by reason of which the living ought to be numbered among the dead [Ed. ii. p. 342; Wünsche, p. 231]. Under such circumstances the disciples had not much hope for the success of their Master [cf. Chrys. Euth.]. “And Jesus beholding” reassures his disciples first by his benign look [Euth.]; then comes the formal declaration “with men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible,” i. e. men of themselves are unable to work out their salvation, but the grace of God is always ready to assist them [cf. Jans. Ez. 36:26, 27; Gal. 2:20], so that even a rich man can be saved [Orig. Chrys.]. The generalization of this saying in the early Church proves nothing against the foregoing explanation [cf. Clem.; 1 Cor. xxvii. 2; Just. Apol. i. c. 18, 19; epist. ad Diogn. c. 9; Theoph. ad Autol. ii. 13; Orig. c. Cels. v. 14].

27. Then Peter answering.] c. Reward of poverty.” Answering” must be taken in the meaning we have seen several times; “Peter” speaks in agreement with 16:22; 17:4; 18:21. “We have left all things …” is not said from fear as if their possessions had been too small to deserve much reward [cf. Euth. Caj. Jans.], or as if they had not complied with the Master’s injunction, because they had “left all things” instead of selling them and giving the proceeds to the poor [cf. Mald.]; on the contrary, Peter was full of confidence, being conscious of having complied with the Master’s wishes [cf. Orig. Jer. Gregor. horn. 5 in evang.; Lap. etc.] and, at the same time, encouraged by the preceding words of kindness [Schegg, Schanz]. “All things” left by the disciples were not merely their actual possessions, but also their families and occupations [cf. Orig. Chrys. Euth.]. “What therefore shall we have” is not found in the parallel passages of the second and third gospel, since Mark and Luke do not wish to represent this apparent weakness of the apostles [cf. Schanz].

Amen I say to you” emphasizes the following promise of Jesus; “you who have followed me” implies already that they had left their earthly possessions in order to share the labors and blessings of the Lord [cf. Br. Jans.]. This clause must not be joined with “in the regeneration” [cf. Hil. op. imp. Hil.]; for “regeneration” does not here mean “baptism” [cf. Tit. 3:5.]; nor does it directly refer to the resurrection [cf. Aug. Theoph. Euth.]; but rather to the second advent of the Lord [cf. Chrys. Jer.], which was often predicted in the Old Testament [Is. 9, 30, 60, 65; Ezech. 47, 48; cf. 2 Pet. 3:13; Apoc. 21:1; Rom. 8:19], and the concomitant circumstances of which the Jews expected even at the first coming of the Messias [cf. Buxtorf, Wünsche, Langen, Judenthum, pp. 420 ff.; 498]. In the New Testament the event is sometimes described as a new creation [2 Pet. 3:5–13] and again as a new birth [Rom. 8:17 ff.]. “The Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty,” because his glory will then be manifest to all; his authority is expressed by his sitting posture. “You also shall sit” when I shall be in my glory, as you are now the coöperators in the foundation of my kingdom. “On twelve seats,” not as if “twelve” denoted all those that will follow Jesus in voluntary poverty till the end of time [cf. Tost. qu. 205; Lap. Sylv. Jans.], nor as if “twelve” meant mere universality [cf. Aug. civ. dei, 20:5]; but “twelve” signifies the body of the apostles [1 Cor. 15:5], so that it neither includes Judas nor excludes Matthias and Paul [cf. Jer. 18:7–10; Ezech. 33:13–15, where occur such conditional promises]. “Judging” does not mean merely to point out the heavenly inheritance to the entering blessed [cf. Schegg], nor has it the meaning of 1 Cor. 6:3 or Mt. 12:41 ff., where there is question of men judging the angels and of the men of Ninive rising in judgment against the Jewish nation [cf. Chrys. Euth.]; though the word rendered “judging” has in Greek also the meaning of “ruling as king” [cf. 1 Kings 8:5 f.; 4 Kings 15:5], it has this signification with a special view of the king’s judicial power, so that the apostles will be really the fellow judges of our Lord in his glory, always dependent on his will [cf. Thom. Caj. Lap. Fab. Jans. etc.]. “The twelve tribes of Israel” are not only the members of unbelieving Israel [cf. Orig. Chrys. Jer. op. imp. Auth. Mald. Pasch. Dion.], but embrace the whole of Israel, so that Jesus describes the dignity and reward of the disciples truly indeed, but in terms easily understood by them; and since the Israelities commonly typify all Christ’s faithful [cf. Gal. 3:29; Rom. 4:12; 11:17; Phil. 3:3], the disciples will be the judges of all the faithful [cf. op. imp. Bed. Rab. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion. Jans. Macd. Lap. Arn. Schegg, Fil. Knab. Keil].

29. “And every one that hath left house … for my name’s sake” forms the transition from the apostles to all the faithful who for the sake of Christ’s principles and for the love of his person [cf. Mk. 10:29; Lk. 18:29] have made a sacrifice similar to that of the apostles [Chrys. op. imp.], or at least partially so [cf. Orig. August. Mald. Jans.]. Mark and Luke distinguish the reward more clearly into that of this life, “an hundredfold,” and that of the next, “life everlasting,” so that the second member is not merely an explanation of the “hundred-fold” [cf. Weiss]. “An hundred-fold” in this life means either spiritual blessings of whatever kind [cf. Jer. Bed. Jans. op. imp. etc.], or even temporal advantages that will far outweigh the temporal goods abandoned [cf. Chrys. Euth. Orig. Br. Jans. Fab. Lap. etc.]. The first evangelist needed not state the distinction between the temporal and eternal reward as clearly as the second and third evangelist, because he and his readers regarded the temporal felicity in the Messianic kingdom as a matter of course [cf. Schanz].

30. “And many that are first shall be last …” does not refer to the first and last in time [cf. Orig. Theoph. Mald. Meyer, Arn.], but in rank and dignity [cf. Chrys. Euth. Erasm. Mald. Jans. Luc. etc.]; since Jesus bad spoken about the prominent rank of the apostles and the faithful who have made sacrifices for him, he now warns them, not to presume, but to consider that they may fall and become the last in the kingdom. The words should not therefore be connected with the following parable [cf. Jans. Calm. Arn. Schegg], nor do they directly refer to the rejection of the Jews who were first called [cf. Theoph. Pasch. Lam.], nor again do they answer a tacit exception of the apostles arguing that they cannot judge the Jewish dignitaries and learned scribes [Lap.]; but their meaning is exemplified by the fall of Judas and the conversion of the penitent thief [cf. Bed. Rab.].

1. The kingdom of heaven.] 5. Distribution of grace. In the Greek text and in several Latin codd. the parable is connected with the preceding passage by the conjunction “for”; it does not indeed formally explain the saying “many that are first, shall be last,” since this statement finds its explanation in the preceding words where those first in dignity in the kingdom of heaven are mentioned. But the parable adds another view in which the first may become last: our works are worthy of a supernatural reward not on their own account, but because they are dignified by the grace of God; hence our merit cannot be measured by the length of time during which we labor, or by the greatness of our enterprises, but is proportioned to the divine grace from which our works spring, so that in this respect also those that are seemingly first may be last. “The kingdom of heaven is like” signifies that what happens in the kingdom of heaven is like the following parable. “Who went out early in the morning” agrees with the Oriental custom according to which the workmen go in the morning to the market-place in order to be hired for the day [cf. Fil.]. The Hebrew day was divided into twelve hours, counting from sunrise to sunset, so that the length of the hours differed in winter and summer. “A penny a day” [in our money about 15 c. or 7½ d.] seems according to Tob. 5:14, 15 to have been a day’s wages; the Rabbinic sources do not lend additional weight to this opinion, and Tac. i. 17 does not say that this was the daily allowance of the Roman soldiers, though we know that they received during the time of the republic annually 120 pennies, which salary was raised by Cæsar to 225, and by Domitian to 300 pennies [Marquardt, Handbuch d. röm. Alt. iii. 2; pp. 76, 77]. The sixth hour is our noon, the third hour is midway between noon and sunrise, the ninth hour midway between noon and sunset. In the case of the later laborers the sum of the hire is not specified, but the householder promises to give “what shall be just.”

8. “When evening was come,” or when it was the latter part of the day, about sunset. “The steward,” usually one of the slaves [cf. Arist. œc. i. 5], was to pay “the laborers” “their hire,” or the sum representing “what shall be just,” “beginning from the last” and continuing “even to the first.” The Greek expression for “these have worked but one hour” cannot be rendered “these have spent here but one hour” [cf. Acts 15:33; 18:23; 2 Cor. 11:25; Eccles. 6:12 (lxx.); Arn. Fil. Meyer], since the Greek verb has that meaning only when it is connected with an expression of distance or place [cf. Tob. 10:7 (lxx.); James 4:13; Acts 20:3]; besides, the Greek verb signifies “to work” also in Ruth 2:11 (lxx.), so that its meaning in the present case is not without parallel [cf. Schleusner, Thesaur. iv. p. 391; Schegg, Schanz, Keil, Weiss, etc.]. “Friend” lessens the rebuke which the householder administers to “one” of the murmurers; “is thy eye evil” agrees with the Hebrew manner of expressing liberality and benevolence by “a good eye,” while “an evil eye” denotes avarice and envy [cf. Deut. 15:9; Prov. 22:9; 23:6; 28:22, all in heb.].

16. “So shall the last be first, and the first last” does not signify that those who become last from being first are excluded from life eternal, since all laborers alike receive “a penny” or a day’s wages [cf. Jans.]; it is therefore not very probable that Jesus speaks here of the Jews and the Gentiles, as if he predicted the rejection of the former and the call of the latter [cf. Jans. Bar. Luc. Vasqu.], an opinion already advanced by Jer. and further developed by Bed. Rab. “The first” are rather those that are seemingly first on account of their dignity, their office in the Church, their earthly greatness, their time in the service of God, while they are really “last” in the sight of God, in the time of admission to their reward, in the supernatural merits of their works [cf. Gregor. hom. 19 in evang. n. 4; Caj. Aug. Chrys. Mald. Bellarm. etc.]. “Many are called, but few chosen” does not appear to be an interpolation from 22:14 [cf. א B L Z 36 sah cop Tisch W H Schanz, Keim, Weiss], since its presence is attested not merely by its exegetical difficulty, but also by good extrinsic authority [C D N unc 13 it vlg syr arm æth Or Chrys. Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Fil. Knab.]. But “few” does not refer to the few that are predestined, “ante prævisa merita,” nor “many” to the many predestined, “post prævisa merita” [Suar. De deo uno et trino, lib. 2. c. 20, n. 12, 17; Vasqu. 1 p. disp. 90; cf. Lap.], for there is nothing in the preceding parable to justify this explanation; nor can the words refer to those who are called to life eternal almost by right, but who fail to attain it [cf. Schegg], for this also is against the preceding parable, in which all receive their penny; “many,” therefore, must be the multitude of souls called in an ordinary manner, and “few” are those that receive extraordinary graces so as to attain to the highest sanctity [cf. Caj. Arn. Meyer, Knab. etc.]. It has already been noted by Chrys. that we cannot urge the meaning of every detail in the parable, as if all the blessed were to receive the same amount of glory; even among the laborers there are first and last, though all receive substantially the same amount.

Coming to the application of the parable, the householder is either God the Father [Iren. Chrys. Jer. Greg. Bed. Euth.], or Jesus Christ [Orig. Hil. op. imp. Theoph.]; the vineyard denotes the economy of salvation [Orig.], or the commandments of God and his Christ [Chrys. Hil. Jer. Euth. Theoph.], or the church [Orig. Gregor. Bed.], just as in the Old Testament the house of Israel was typified by a vineyard [cf. Deut. 32:32; Is. 5:2 ff.; Jer. 2:21; Ez. 15:2; Os. 10:1]; the different hours represent the different ages of the world [from Adam to Noe, from Noe to Abraham, from Abraham to Moses, from Moses to Christ, from Christ to the end], or the different ages of man [childhood, youth, manhood, advanced age, old age]; the former opinion is advocated by Orig. Hil. Opt. Milevit. op. imp. Greg. Bed., while the latter is held by Chrys. Jer. Naz. Theoph. Euth. Mald. Arn. Fil. The laborers are not the Jews and Gentiles, or the Pharisees and the apostles [cf. Lap. Lam. Calm. Jans. Schegg], for in that case the different hours cannot be explained satisfactorily; nor are the laborers those that are called to a life of perfection and refuse to follow their call [Fil.], for all receive a reward; nor again are they the tepid souls of the kingdom [cf. Mald.], for the laborers in the parable are not described as bad workmen; but they seem to represent men called by grace at different times of life, because the work and reward of such fit best into all the circumstances of the parable [cf. Chrys. Basil, reg. brev. 224; Euth. Br. Fab. Aug. serm. 49, 2; Mald. Arn. Fil.]. No one need therefore despair [Br.], since there is hope even at the eleventh hour [Theoph. Euth.]. Though the sameness of reward of all laborers might be explained as denoting the same eternity of the heavenly reward [Aug. serm. 343, 4], or the same objective beatitude of the saints which is God’s own essence [Thom. Lap. Euth.]; and though the murmuring of some of the laborers might be understood as expressing the ardent desires of the patriarchs of the Old Testament [cf. Gregor. Rab.], it is preferable to abstain from urging these details of the parable [cf. Chrys.].

17. And Jesus going up to Jerusalem.] 6. Value of suffering, vv. 17–28. In this section we have first the third prediction of our Lord’s passion, vv. 17–19; secondly, the incident of the mother of the sons of Zebedee, vv. 20–23; thirdly, an instruction on Christian humility, vv. 24–28.

a. Third prediction of the passion. “And Jesus going up to Jerusalem” indicates the continuation of the journey of Mt. 19:1; our Lord may have already crossed the Jordan and been on the way to Jericho. “Going up to Jerusalem” agrees with the general manner of expressing the journey to the capital of a country, though Jerusalem was actually higher than the desert of the Jordan [cf. Jn. 11:54] from which Jesus was receding [cf. 3 Kings 12:27, 28; Ps. 121:4; Lk. 2:42; 18:38; Jn. 2:13; 5:1; etc.]. He “took the twelve disciples apart,” because he could not predict his passion in presence of the multitude [Chrys.], seeing that even the disciples were disturbed thereby [Euth.]. The Greek codd. add “on the way” to “and said to them.” The attention of the disciples is elicited by the words “Behold, we go up to Jerusalem”; then follows for the third time the prediction of his passion in order that the disciples may be convinced of its voluntariness on the part of Christ, and that they may be less disturbed by its enormity [cf. Chrys. op. imp.].

The prophecy contains the following points: a. “The Son of man shall be betrayed to the chief priests and the scribes,” the traitor is not yet further determined; b. “they shall condemn him to death” [cf. 16:21]; c. “and shall deliver him to the Gentiles,” to Pilate and the Roman soldiers; d. the purpose of this act is expressed by “to be mocked and scourged and crucified,” where the manner and circumstances of his death are clearly indicated [cf. 16:21 ff.; 17:22 f.], though the expression cannot be regarded as the usual form of condemnation [cf. Schegg], because crucifixion being the punishment of slaves was commonly accompanied by the foregoing ill treatment [cf. Marquardt, v. 1, p. 192; Jos. B. J. V. xi. 1]; e. “and the third day he shall rise again,” or as many codd. read, “shall be raised up,” a reading that agrees accurately with those passages in which the Father is said to have raised the Son from the dead [cf. Acts 2:24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 13:30, 33; Rom. 4:24; 8:11; 10:9; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:15; etc.]. Since the prediction is so clear, we can hardly see how the disciples “understood none of these things that were said” [Lk. 18:34], though we must not lose sight of their difficult position.

20. Then came to him.] b. The sons of Zebedee. “Then “connects the following petition with the mention of the resurrection, after which the foundation of the Messianic kingdom was expected [cf. Jer. Bed. Alb. Lap. Lam. Calm.], or with 19:28, where the disciples are promised to sit on twelve seats, judging the twelve tribes of Israel [cf. Pasch. Mald. Lap. Calm. Arn.], or at least with the belief that Jesus would found the Messianic kingdom [cf. Euth. Alb.]. “The mother of the sons of Zebedee “was Salome [cf. Mt. 27:56; Mk. 15:14; op. imp. Thom. Jans. Mald, etc.], who also belonged to the pious women that ministered to our Lord [Mt. 27:55; Mk. 15:41]. “With her sons” does not mean that the mother of her own accord offered the following petition [cf. Mald. Calm. Ambr.], but since according to Mk. 10:35 the sons are the petitioners, and since Jesus addresses his answer to the sons, the mother either expressed the silent wish of the sons, or the two sons expressly deputed their mother to intercede for them [cf. Aug. De cons. ii. 64; Gregor. Jer. Pasch. Lap. Sylv. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.], believing that the petition would thus excite less jealousy among their fellow disciples, and that the pleading of a mother who had deserved the gratitude of the Master by her ministering unto him would be heard more easily than their own [cf. Pasch. Jans. Tost, in c. xx. qu. 54, 55, 72]. “Adoring” expresses the reverential and humble attitude of Salome; “asking something of him” agrees with the habit of petitioners who doubt about their being heard, and who therefore endeavor first to obtain a general promise to have their petition granted before they express it, just as did Solomon’s mother [3 Kings 2:20; Mald. Jans. Lap. Fil. Knab.].

21. “What wilt thou?” asks Jesus, thus showing a greater wisdom than Solomon did in rashly promising his mother to fulfil her wishes before he knew them. “The one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left” agrees with the Oriental custom, according to which the first place of honor was to the right of the king, and the second to his left [cf. Jos. Ant. VI. xi. 9; Wetstein, Schöttgen, Wünsche]; Peter, whom alone the sons of Zebedee feared, since they had repeatedly been preferred to all the other disciples [cf. Mk. 5:37; Mt. 17:1], would thus be removed from his place of prominence [cf. Chrys.]. It cannot be maintained that they asked for a merely spiritual favor consisting in a greater nearness to Jesus [cf. Orig. op. imp.]; they desired a temporal blessing, whether they expected the Messianic kingdom without death intervening [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth.], or only after the resurrection [Jer. Bed. etc.]; in any case, the petition sprang from their faith in the Messiasship of our Lord, from their ambition, and from the motherly affection and anxiety of Salome [cf. Ambr. Do fide, v. 5; Jer. Grimm, v. p. 294]. “You know not what you ask,” because, in the first place, the kingdom of the Messias is not an earthly one, and secondly, its dignities are not distributed by favor, but according to the merit of suffering [cf. Chrys. Euth. Jans.]. “Can you drink the chalice” [cf. Is. 51:17; Jer. 49:12; 51:7] is an allusion to the Hebrew feasts, in which the father of the family gave to each one his portion of wine [cf. Jans. Mald.]; “which I shall drink,” i. e. can you die in obedience to your duty even the death of a martyr [Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Jer. Mast. Polyc. xiv. 2, etc.]. The words of Jesus imply that no man by his own strength can drink his chalice. “We can” is according to Jans, and Lam. a rash promise, but it contains at any rate the first expression on the part of the disciples that they are prepared to suffer with Jesus [cf. Schanz].

23. “My chalice indeed you shall drink” is a prediction actually verified in both James [cf. Acts 12:2], put to death first among the apostles, and John, who was scourged [Acts 5:40, 41], banished, and immersed in boiling oil for the sake of Jesus [Tert. De præscript. c. 36; Jer. advers. Jovin. i. 26; Bed. Br. Jans. Caj. etc.]. That the tradition concerning the sufferings of John was formed merely to show the verification of Christ’s words [cf. Rich. Adalb. Lipsius, Die apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, i. p. 487] is a mere “a priori” statement never proved by any authority equal to that by which the tradition is supported. “To sit on my right … is not mine to give to you, but to them for whom it is prepared by my Father” does not place “you”—which is not found in the Greek codd.—in opposition to “them for whom it is prepared by my Father” [cf. Mald.], as if Jesus had said that he could not give this favor to the sons of Zebedee, but that he must give it to those predestined by the Father; nor, secondly, does it establish an opposition between “you” and those that have merited this favor by their virtuous life [cf. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Ambr. Jer. Bed.], since in this case the preparation by the Father is wholly neglected; but it implies an opposition between Jesus and the heavenly Father, just as we find it in Jn. 6:44; 17:6, 11; Rom. 8:30; 1 Cor. 1:9; 7:15, 17; Gal. 1:6, 15; 5:8; Eph. 1:11; 1 Thess. 4:7; 5:24; etc., an opposition according to which the words of power and providence are attributed to the Father, not to the Son or to the Holy Ghost, though Jesus clearly expresses his equality in power with the Father in Jn. 17:10 and Lk. 22:29, 30. Jesus says nothing as to whether the sons of Zebedee are predestined by the Father for the high place they seek after; Hil. thinks it is reserved for Moses and Elias, others ascribe it to Peter and Paul, others again think that no creature can obtain it, seeing that even the angels stand in God’s presence as ministering spirits [cf. Chrys. Cyr. Theoph. Jans.].

24. And the ten hearing it.] c. Instruction on Christian humility. “And the ten hearing it” implies that the petition was uttered in their presence; they must have receded a little, while “moved with indignation against the two brethren” they gave vent to their jealousy in low murmurs [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Br. Alb. Caj. Jans. Lap. Calm, etc.], so that “Jesus called them to him” in order to give them the needed instruction. He rebukes neither the two nor the ten, but shows them the way to true greatness in his kingdom [cf. Orig. Jer.]. “The princes of the Gentiles,” not content with ruling, “lord it over them,” “and they that are greater,” or the magnates, “exercise [their] power over them” in a tyrannical manner [cf. Orig. Chrys. Jans.]. “It shall not be so among you” in the kingdom of God; not only will all tyranny be excluded, “but whosoever will be the greater among you, let him be your minister,” following the opposite course of the worldly magnates; “and he that will be first among you,” holding a place parallel to the princes of the Gentiles, “shall be your servant,” or rather your slave. As, therefore, the secular rulers seek their own advantage in ruling their subjects, so must the rulers in the kingdom seek only the advantage of their subjects whose servauts they are. “Even as the Son of man is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister,” by relieving the temporal and spiritual needs of the world, so must his disciples be always ready to assist the needs of men. “To give his life” for his sheep agrees with the character of the good shepherd. “A redemption” renders a Greek word [λύτρον] expressing not merely the idea of “protection against death” [cf. Ritschl], but the “price of redemption” paid for some one; for the lxx. render by this word the Hebrew expressions meaning ransom [cf. Ex. 21:30; 30:12; Num. 35:31; 3:51; Lev. 25:24; Is. 45:13; Prov. 6:35; 13:8], so that the life of Jesus is really the ransom paid for our redemption from sin [cf. 1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; 1 Pet. 1:18, 19]. “For many” does not here signify “for all” [cf. Euth. Jans. Lap. Calm.], though “many” with the article signifies “all” in Rom. 5:15, 19 [cf. vv. 12, 18]; but here the article is wanting in Greek, and the expression is parallel to Jn. 17:20 and 10:15, where Jesus speaks of those that are actually saved. That Jesus gave his life really as a ransom “for all” men follows from 1 Tim. 2:6 and 1 Jn. 2:2 [cf. Rom. 5:18; 2 Cor. 5:15].

c. Completion of the Kingdom of God, 20:29–28:20.

29. And when they went out.] This section contains first, three symbolic facts, 20:29–21:22; secondly, the history of our Lord’s last encounter with the Pharisees and their rejection, 21:23–23:39; thirdly, our Lord’s last instructions to the apostles, 24:125:46; fourthly, the history of the passion and the resurrection, 26:1–28:15; fifthly, the final mission of the apostles to all nations, 28:16–20.

α. Three symbolic facts, 20:29–21:22.

The section naturally falls into three divisions: first, the healing of the two blind men, vv. 29–34; secondly, the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem, 21:1–16; thirdly, the withering of the fig-tree, vv. 17–22.

1. The healing of the two blind men. “When they went out from Jericho “on the journey from Perea to Jerusalem mentioned 19:1 and 20:17; the distance of the city from the Jordan was a little more than one third of the way from the river to Jerusalem [cf. Jos. B. J. IV. viii. 3]. “A great multitude “seems to have surrounded our Lord again when he had ended the instruction of his disciples recorded in the foregoing section. “And behold two blind men “seems at first to contradict the parallel records in the second and third gospel.

St. Luke speaks of one blind man healed when Jesus approached Jericho [Lk. 18:35], St. Mark also speaks of only one blind man healed when Jesus left Jericho [Mk. 10:46], and St. Matthew tells of two blind men healed when Jesus left the city. Since the circumstances of the three narratives are identical, we cannot well admit three different miracles in the three gospels [cf. Orig. Euth.]; nor can we well assume that the blind man of the third gospel is distinct from the blind man of the second and first gospel; the second gospel must mention only one of the two that occur in the first gospel,—either because his misery was better known [Aug. De cons. ii. 65, 125; Alb. Thom. Mald. Jans. Lap. Calm. Arn. Fil.], or because he became better known in the early Church [Schegg, Grimm, v. p. 305],—though such a double miracle is admitted by Aug. [l. c. 126] Jans. Calm. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Cornely [Introd. iii. 295]. We have, therefore, only one miracle; the discrepancy of the gospels as to the number of blind men may be explained in either of the two foregoing ways, and the apparent discrepancy as to the time and place of the miracle by admitting that one blind man met Jesus when he entered the city, and followed him till he left it, being in the mean time joined by another petitioner [Mald. Lap. Schanz, Fil. Sylv.; cf. Jans. Ambr. etc.]. To say that Luke premised the healing of the blind man merely in order to connect the conversion of Zacheus immediately with his parables in 19:1–27 [cf. Keil, Grimm, v. p. 303]; or that the third evangelist thus disposed his material because the tradition on this point had been somewhat obscured when he wrote [cf. Schegg], is equivalent to admitting a misstatement in the inspired text; for the third gospel expressly says: “when he drew nigh to Jericho.”

30. “O Lord thon Son of David” shows their real faith in our Lord’s Messiasship [cf. 9:27]. “The multitude rebuked them,” not because they publicly professed their belief in Jesus [cf. Hil.], nor because they appeared to ask Jesus for alms [cf. Caj.], nor again because they interrupted our Lord’s discourse [cf. Dion. Lam.], nor because they were despised as common beggars [cf. Schegg]; but the multitude did not wish to see our Lord’s progress impeded by these petitions [Euth.; cf. Thom. Jans. Mald. Lap.]. The earnestness of their prayer manifests itself by their crying “out the more,” repeating the same words, in spite of the rebuke of the multitude and the seeming indifference of Jesus [cf. Chrys. op. imp. Alb.]. “What will ye that I do to you” are words calculated to increase the hope of the petitioners and the faith of the multitude [cf. Chrys.]. While Jesus here shows the power of prayer [Br.], he is also careful to place the miracle beyond all reasonable doubt [Jans.]. “And Jesus … touched their eyes,” thus acting according to his humanity; “and immediately they saw,” manifesting his divinity [cf. Thom.]. The blind men did not return to their beggar-stand, but they “followed him,” full of thanksgiving, and all the people praised God [cf. Lk. 18:43]. According to Ambr. the blind men typify the Gentile world; according to Br. and Thom. they represent both Jews and Gentiles; according to Gregor. [Hom, in ev. ii. 8] they serve as models for all converts, who must imitate Jesus after their intellect has been enlightened by grace; according to Greg, again [l. c.] and Jans, they typify the whole human race sitting in blindness and misery, till Jesus came and healed them [cf. Jans. Lap. Sylv. lib. vi. c. 38, qu. 2].

1. And when they drew nigh to Jerusalem.] 2. Triumphal entrance into Jerusalem. According to the synoptic gospels the entrance into Jerusalem is connected with our Lord’s journey outlined in 19:1 and 20:17–19. The fourth gospel is more explicit, showing that our Lord had retired to Ephrem [Jn. 11:53 f.], and that he entered Jerusalem from Bethany [Jn. 12:1 ff.]. The opinion that Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday, the tenth day of Nisan, is not merely based on Christian typology, but has numerous supporters among commentators [cf. Jans. Lap. Lam. Reischl, Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Wieseler, Chronologische Synopse, p. 391; Beiträge, p. 264; Keil, Keim, Mansel, Ed. etc.], and a solid foundation in the gospels. The typical importance of the tenth day of Nisan consists in two facts: first, on that day the paschal lamb had to be set aside [Ex. 12:3; cf. Jans. Lap. etc.]; secondly, on the same day, Josue crossed the Jordan with the whole people of Israel, and entered the promised land [Jos. 4:19; cf. Jans.]. The foundation in Scripture for the opinion is found first in Jn. 12:1, where Jesus is said to have come to Bethany six days before the pasch [or before the fourteenth day of Nisan; cf. 13:1; Num. 33:3; Jos. 5:11; Num. 28:16; Ezech. 45:21; Jos. Ant. III. x. 5], and therefore on Friday, the eighth day of Nisan; the following day Jesus remained in Bethany and partook of the supper that was prepared for him [cf. Jn. 12:1 ff.], and the day after [Jn. 12:12], or on Sunday, the tenth of Nisan, he entered Jerusalem [cf. Grimm, v. pp. 350, 368]. Another confirmation of this opinion may be drawn from the second gospel: the entrance into Jerusalem is told, 11:1–11; the following section, 11:12–19, refers to the day after the entrance, and 11:20–14:1 to two days after the event; now this last day was two days before the pasch [cf. Mt. 26:2; Mk. 14:1], or before Thursday, the fourteenth day of Nisan. Therefore the triumphal entrance into Jerusalem had taken place on Sunday, the tenth day of Nisan.

Bethphage” means house of figs [Lightfoot, Centuria chorographica, c. 37; Buxtorf, Lex. chald. p. 1691], or house of meeting [or cross-road, Onomastic. sacr. ed. De Lagarde, 173, 58; 182, 94; 201, 50; Bar-Alii Lex. syro-arab.], or house of the cheek-bone [cf. Onomast. l. c.; Thesaur. syr. ed. Payne Smith, p. 493; Lightfoot, l. c.; Orig. Jer. Buxtorf, Lex. chald. p. 1692], or house of the spring; it lay so near Jerusalem that it was at times reckoned as forming part of the city [Lightfoot, l. c.; Wünsche, p. 240], though its exact site is not quite certain: some identify it with Bethany; others place Bethany a little off the road from Jericho to Jerusalem, and Bethphage on the road; others again locate it on the southwestern side of Mount Olivet near the top of the mountain; others still between the summit of the mountain and Bethany. “Mount Olivet” [Olivetum means an olive-yard], or the Mount of Olives, is named from the abundance of olives which it produces, though it abounds also in figs and dates; it lay less than a mile east of Jerusalem [Jos. Ant. XX. vi.], though Acts 1:12 testifies that it is a sabbath journey to the top of the mountain [Lightfoot, l. c. c. xl.]. “Then” shows the importance of the event that is taking place; “two disciples,” i. e. Peter and John in accordance with Lk. 22:8 [Jans. Lap. Ed.], or Peter and Philip [Ambr. Bed. Rab.], or again a representative of Peter as the apostle of the Jews and of Paul as the apostle of the Gentiles [cf. Orig. Jer. Theoph. Pasch.], or finally two disciples unknown to us [Mald.]. “Go ye into the village,” into Bethphage [Just. c. Tryph. 53], not into Bethany [cf. Weiss]. “That is over against you” appears to allude to the place where the road from Bethany to Jerusalem passes obliquely across a ravine; for there is an ancient village nearly diametrically opposite the spot where the descent into the ravine on the Bethany side begins; it is here that the disciples seem to have been sent across the ravine at right angles into the village “over against you,” while Jesus and his companions crossed obliquely, so as to meet the two messengers on emerging from the ravine. “You shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her” is peculiar to the first gospel, but is not owing to a fictitious doubling of the animal on the part of Matthew [cf. Ewald, Holtzm.]; nor to a misunderstanding of the Messianic prophecy [cf. De Wette, Strauss, Hilgenf.], though the first evangelist records the fact, because it serves to show the fulfilment of the prophecy more clearly. The symbolic application of the two animals to the Jews and Gentiles [cf. Just. c. Tr. 53; Orig. Chrys. Jer. Cyr. of Alex. op. imp.], or to Samaria and the Gentiles [Hil.], or to the two sexes [Ambr.], is not merely invented to account for the presence of the two [cf. Meyer], but has been derived from Matthew’s historical record of the event. Among the ancient Hebrews the ass was much esteemed [cf. Judg. 10:4; 12:13, 14; Gen. 22:3; Ex. 4:20; Num. 22:21; Gen. 49:14; 3 Kings 4:26; 2 Par. 1:14; Pss. Salom. 17], and though later on it was replaced by the horse [cf. Robins, i. 347; ii. 128; iii. 290; etc.], it did not lose its symbolic meaning in Oriental eyes, especially when it was preferred to the horse on such a solemn occasion [cf. Chrys.].

2. “Loose them and bring them to me” shows that it was not owing to the entreaties of his disciples that Jesus on this occasion abandoned his accustomed manner of travelling on foot, in order to enter triumphantly into Jerusalem [cf. Neander, De Wette, Weizsäcker]. “And if any man” reports the manner of action enjoined by Jesus; in verse 6 the evangelist briefly tells us that “the disciples going did as Jesus commanded them,” while Mk. 11:6 and Lk. 19:34 state expressly that they were asked the stated question, and gave the prescribed answer. “The Lord hath need of them” because the presence of the mother must quiet the colt. “Spoken by the prophet” refers to the one prophetic Spirit in whom all the prophets spoke; the words cited are partly those of Isaias [62:11]: “Tell the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy Savior cometh,” and partly those of Zacharias [9:9]: “Behold, thy king will come to thee, the Just and Savior; he is poor, riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” [cf. Mald. Calm. Lap. Beng. Alf. etc.]; but Yprens. Natal. Bened. 14. etc. contend that the citation substantially agrees with the prophecy of Zacharias. Though Jn. 12:15, “Fear not, daughter of Sion,” may give the substance of the prophet’s introduction, “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem”: we fail to see why we should appeal to such a general quotation from Zacharias, when the words occur almost literally in Isaias.

5. “The daughter of Sion” denotes the inhabitants of Sion. “Thy king” refers to the Messianic king mentioned by Ezech. 21:27. “To thee” shows that the visitation is to be for the advantage of Sion [cf. Is. 9:6]. “Meek” is another rendering of the Hebrew word translated “poor”; that the two ideas are connected is easily seen. The meekness shows itself externally by the very manner in which Jesus enters the city, for he comes “sitting upon an ass, and [i.e.] a colt the foal of her that is used to the yoke” [cf. Chrys. Euth.]. The ass was the type of humility and peace, while the horse represented war and earthly greatness. That the prophecy was regarded by the Jews as referring to their king Messias is clear from Raym. Martin. [Pugio fidei, p. iii. dist. iii. c. 16, 1], Galatinus [De arcanis cath. verit. lib. viii. c. ix. 10, 2, 6], Lightfoot [ad h. l.], Wetstein, Schöttgen [hor. Hebr. i. p. 169; ii. pp. 101, 104, f.; 139, 169, etc.], Reinke [Messianische Weissagung. iv. pp. 115–119].

7. “They … laid their garments upon them” not merely to prepare both animals for any one of the company that might be called upon to ride with Jesus [cf. Schanz], but because they did not know which of the two was to be used by the Master [Euth. Meyer, Knab.]. “And made him sit thereon” does not refer to the two animals, as if Jesus had sat first on the one and then on the other [cf. Theoph. Br. Caj. Dion. Lap. Sylv.],—an opinion excluded by the three parallel accounts of the triumphal entrance [Mk. 11:7; Lk. 19:35; Jn. 12:14], and by the authority of most commentators,—or as if the two were mentioned figuratively, since the plural is often used in Sacred Scripture instead of the singular [cf. Gen. 8:4; 19:29; 23:6; Mt. 2:20; 26:8; 27:44; Lam.]; but “upon them” refers to the garments of the apostles [Euth. Br. Jans. Mald. Tost. qu. 17, Calm. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Meyer, Langen, Knab. etc.]. This agrees also with the law of consecrating the firstlings to God and of using for sacred duties only those animals that had not yet borne the yoke [cf. Num. 19:2; Deut. 21:3; 1 Kings 6:7]. Jesus showed his power over the hearts of men by moving the multitude to break forth into the greatest manifestations of honor: they “spread their garments in the way” as it was usual to do at the entrance of a king [4 Kings 9:12, 13; Robinson, ii. 383; Wetstein, Schöttgen, Wünsche]; “others cut boughs from the trees and strewed them in the way,” a common practice observed in solemn processions [cf. 1 Mach. 13:54; 2 Mach. 10:7; Judith 15:12 (Greek text); Targ. Esther, 9:15]. There is no foundation for the opinion [cf. Wünsche, ad 1.] that the first evangelist borrowed this description from the ceremonial of the feast of tabernacles.

9. “And the multitudes that went before and that followed” seem to be the two crowds of people, one come from Jerusalem to meet our Lord, and the other accompanying him from Bethany [cf. Jn. 12:12, 13]. “Hosanna” does not signify “redemption of the house of Israel,” or “glory,” or “grace” [cf. Hil.], or “hymn” [Euth. Theoph.]; nor is it an interjection [Aug. in Joan, tract, li. 2]; but it means, as Orig. Jer. Aquil. Symm. Theoph. rightly interpret it, “save now,” or “save we pray,” being the Hebrew הוֹשִׁיעָהכָא [cf. the imperative הוֹשַׁע כָא, and the Aram. אושׁע כא]. “To the son of David” should not be changed to “O son of David” [dub eg lich wil cf. Pasch.] so as to be a prayer to Jesus for the multitude [cf. Iren. Orig. Hil. Ambr. Jer.], instead of being a prayer of the multitude for the success of our Lord’s Messianic work [Jans. Mald. Lap.; cf. Deut. 22:28; Jos. 10:6; Judg. 7:2; 1 Kings 25:26; Pss. 44:4; 85:16]. “Blessed is he,” or “may God bless him,” “that cometh in the name of the Lord,” or, since the name of the Lord stands for the Lord himself, “that cometh in union with the Lord,” revealing himself to his people, and that acts, therefore, as his special ambassador; if we arrange the clauses differently, we may interpret, “blessed in the name of the Lord is he that cometh,” which agrees with the custom of blessing in the sacred name [cf. Num. 6:27; Deut. 21:5; 2 Kings 6:18]. “Hosanna in the highest” is not an appeal to the angels for their intercession in heaven [cf. Fritzsche, Euth.]; nor does it mean “thou who art in the highest heavens, save we pray” [cf. Jans. Vatabl. Calov. Beng. Kuinoel]; but rather “from the highest heavens save we pray the Messias” [cf. Mald. Lap. etc.]. The words are taken from Ps. 117:26, and were therefore part of the great Hallel, which consisted of Pss. 112–117 [113–118]; the Hallel was recited during the paschal supper, and on the feasts of dedication, of the new moon, and of tabernacles [cf. Buxtorf, Lex. chald. p. 992; Surenhusius, ii. p. 274, c. 4, 5], so that the people were well acquainted with the passage, though they must have been impelled by a special movement of the Holy Ghost to apply it to our Lord.

10. “The whole city was moved” not with admiration, but with envy and indignation, so that they broke forth into the question, “Who is this?” in spite of their clear knowledge of him [cf. Mt. 26:63; 27:40–43; Jn. 10:33; 19:7; 12:19]. “This is Jesus the prophet” is the depressed answer of the simple people to the proud questioners of Jerusalem; the belief in our Lord’s Messiasship is no longer professed, though there appears to be some national pride in his being a Galilean like the greater number of the crowd; hence the addition “from Nazareth of Galilee.”

12. “And Jesus went into the temple” so as to fulfil the manifestation predicted by Mich. 3:1–3, and to present himself as the paschal lamb to be slain on the coming solemnity [Thom.]. “And cast out all them” must not be identified with the purging of the temple told in Jn. 2:13, as if either the synoptists [cf. Lücke, Neander, De Wette, Bleek, Weizsäcker] or the fourth evangelist had erred [cf. Baur, Hilgenfeld, Schenkel, Keim, etc.]; Mark 11:11 ff. shows that the cleansing of the temple happened on Monday, the day after the triumphal entrance into the city. “That sold and bought in the temple” alludes to the practice of keeping in the court of Gentiles for sale all the necessaries for the temple service and for sacrifices, such as wine, salt, flour, incense, and victims [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.]. On the days of the paschal solemnity the disorder was of course greater than usual. “The tables of the money-changers” supplied the Israelites with the sacred coin [Ex. 30:13] which every member of the Synagogue must annually pay for the temple and divine worship [cf. 17:23]; they appear to be referred to in the Talmud [cf. Surenhusius, Shekalim, i. 6; ii. p. 179]. “The chairs of them that sold doves” contained the sacrifices that must be offered by the poor, the needy mothers after childbirth, and those suffering from the flux [cf. Lev. 5:7, 11; 12:8; 15:14]. The abuse thus tolerated by the Jewish priests and the imposing influence of the person of our Lord are well described by Jer. Bed. Pasch. Alb. op. imp. Thom. Mald. Lap.

13. “My house shall be called a house of prayer” is quoted from Is. 57:7, where “shall be called” means “shall be”; the second part, “you have made it a den of thieves,” alludes to 7:11. Our Lord’s indignation seems to be owing less to greed of the Jews, than to the desecration of the temple and the scandal; Orig. Jer. Mald, think that the merchants and money-changers were miraculously impeded from resisting Jesus, but Schanz considers such a miraculous influence superfluous. Br. Alb. Dion, apply this action of our Lord morally to his treatment of simoniacal and unworthy members of the Church; Hil. Bed. Jer. Pasch. Lap. [cf. 1 Cor. 6:15] see in it a warning to keep our interior temple of the Holy Ghost free from all desecration, while others take it as an example of what God requires us to do in our material churches.

14. “There came to him the blind and the lame in the temple,” because he was as friendly and charitable to them as he was terrible to the offending traffickers [cf. op. imp. Bed.]; thus he worked in the sight of the whole nation precisely the miracles foretold as characteristic of the Messianic time [Is. 35:5, 6; Jans.], and at the same time he showed that he had the right of doing in the temple what he had done [Schanz]. “And the chief priests [cf. 2:4] and scribes seeing the wonderful things that he did,” the cleansing of the temple and the healing of the sick, and perceiving [cf. 9:2; Mk. 2:5; Rom. 11:22; etc.] “the children crying … were moved with indignation,” so that they endeavored to hinder at least those public signs of our Lord’s recognition that could be impeded. “Hearest thou what these say” is probably not intended as a dilemma calculated to make Jesus either claim the royal dignity or compromise himself before the multitudes [cf. Jer. Caj. Jans.], but the question shows how far the priests and scribes were from believing in the Messianic claims of our Lord, since they characterize the words of the children as lies and blasphemies [cf. Pasch. op. imp.]. “Out of the mouth of infants [cf. Jer. 6:11; 9:20; Lam. 1:5; 4:4] and of sucklings [cf. 2 Mach. 7:27] thou hast perfected praise,” or thou hast founded or prepared strength or might [Heb.]; the old versions [lxx. Jer. æth ar syr] render the Hebrew by “praise” or “glory” [cf. Ps. 29:1; 96:7; 68:35; 2 Par. 30:21], so that the passage means, “even the children acknowledge and proclaim thy praise and glory” [cf. Agell. Del. Hupf.].

16. Since Jesus appeals to a psalm of God’s praise [8:3], in order to justify the joyous acclamations of the children, he shows that their testimony really tends to the glory of God [Jans.], without, however, necessarily claiming to be God himself [cf. Mald. Arn.]. Nor does it follow from our Lord’s words that the passage of the Psalm [8:3] is a Messianic prophecy, since it justifies the action of the children sufficiently, if it gives a moral principle on which it can be based; e.g. God himself accepts the praise of children; therefore it is fit that his Messias, too, should receive that homage. Mt. 22:42; Lk. 22:37; and Jn. 13:18 show that Messianic prophecies proper are usually quoted with greater clearness and emphasis. The context of the quotation, “because of thy enemies, that thou mayest destroy the enemy and the avenger,” was clear enough to show the questioners why the triumphal entrance and the joyful cries of the children were permitted.

17. And leaving them.] 3. Withering of the fig-tree. “And leaving them he went out of the city,” because he was so poor that no one in the large city offered him hospitality [Jer.], or because no one in the city dared to receive him on account of his enemies [cf. John 9:22; Dion.], or again because he did not wish to imperil any one in the city by staying with him [Caj.], or finally because he had left the city in mind and soul already on account of its infidelity [op. imp.]. “Into Bethania,” the house of dates [common], or of misery [cf. Schegg, Grimm], the modern el Azariyeh [el Azir], or the place of Lazarus, lay on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives, about a mile from the summit, and a little more than two miles from Jerusalem [fifteen stadia; cf. Jos. Ant. XI. xviii.; Robins, ii. 309 ff.], near the usual road from Jericho to Jerusalem [Mk. 10:46; 11:1], close to Bethphage; “and remained there,” or, as the Greek text has it, “spent the night there.” As on Sunday [Mk. 11:11], so Jesus went on Monday night to Bethania, and on Tuesday we find him again in the city [Mk. 11:27; Mt. 21:23; Lk. 20:1]. “And in the morning” must be understood of Monday morning according to Mk. 11:11, 12, while the admiration of the apostles at the withering of the tree [verse 20] falls on Tuesday morning [cf. Mk. 11:20]; the first evangelist gives a summary of the events. “He was hungry,” not merely spiritually after the souls of men [cf. op. imp. Br.], nor merely fictitiously [cf. Chrys. Euth. Mald.], nor preternaturally [cf. Tost, quest, cii. in c. xxi.; Jans. Lap.], but bodily, really and naturally [cf. Mt. 4:2], whether it was due to his great temperance, or to his prolonged prayer during the previous night, or to any other natural cause.

19. “And seeing a certain fig-tree” standing alone “by the wayside, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only”; in spite of his divine omniscience Jesus commonly acted as prudent men would act, so that this seeming disappointment cannot astonish us. But there is a double difficulty, if we compare our account with the statement of the second gospel [Mk. 11:13], that “it was not the time for figs”; for, first, how could Jesus prudently expect to find figs on the tree? secondly, how could he curse the fig-tree for not bearing fruit out of season?

Explanations: 1.) That Jesus intended only to symbolize the coming rejection of Israel in the history of the fig-tree can hardly be maintained by those who adhere to the literal meaning of the passage. 2.) If the Greek term rendered “time” in the second gospel be translated as “a good season,” as if the evangelist had wished to say that it was a bad year for figs, a good tree should have borne at least some figs, so that our Lord was justified both in approaching the tree, and in cursing it for its barrenness; but the events happened near Easter, a season that is commonly without figs. 3.) Pliny [Hist. nat. xvi. 49] indeed states that the fig-tree bears fruit before leaves, so that Jesus would have inferred the presence of fruit from the leaves; but the author appears to speak of immature fruit which Jesus would have hardly sought to eat. 4.) The crop of the fig-tree may be distinguished into an earlier and later one. The first is ripe about June, with straggling ripe specimens towards the end of March; the second in autumn, with extraordinary specimens in December, and early the following spring; these last are said to be unfit for eating. But no prudent man would curse a fig-tree for not bearing such uncommonly early or late fruit. 5.) Perhaps the remark of Josephus [B. J. III. x. 8; cf. op. imp.], that near the Sea of Galilee the fig-tree bears fruit ten months of the year, may serve to answer the present question: Jesus, accustomed to the Galilean seasons, expects fruit on the tree, since its leaves proclaim it as a fruit-bearing specimen; but he finds not even the beginning of fruit which ought to have been present even in the more severe climate of Judea; hence he rightly says, “May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever.” The vital sap ceased at once to ascend in the tree, so that the evangelist could write: “And immediately the fig-tree withered away.”

The symbolic character of the event is commonly admitted: the fig-tree represents the Jewish nation [Is. 6:13; Ez. 19:10; Os. 10:1; cf. Jer. 24:1 ff.; Os. 9:10; Mich. 7:1; Is. 5:1–10]; the leaves represent not the letter of the law as opposed to the spirit [cf. Br. Theoph.], nor the national pride of the people as being the chosen people of God [cf. Hil.], nor the words of the prophets remaining without works [cf. Alb.], nor the external worship of the ceremonial law [cf. Caj.], nor the Pharisaic traditions [cf. Jer. Bed. etc.], but the divine privileges that God himself had conferred on Israel [cf. Schegg, Arn. Schanz, Knab.]; for the leaves of the fig-tree are not blamed by our Lord. The withering of the tree symbolizes, therefore, the rejection and destruction of Israel [cf. 11:16; Ez. 15:2; 19:12]. Orig. op. imp. Theoph. Jans. Lap. etc. apply the symbolic meaning also to Christians: their leaves, or the sign of their supernatural life, is their faith; but without fruit or works, faith alone will be of little avail.

20. “And the disciples seeing it wondered” must be referred to the next morning, as we see from the second gospel [Mk. 11:20]. “How is it presently withered away” does not inquire after the reason or the meaning of the event, but concerns only the fact [cf. Euth. Theoph. Thom. Aug. serm. 77, 7; Jans.]. “If you shall have faith and stagger not” shows the supreme importance of a trustful confidence in our prayer [cf. Chrys.]. “If you shall say to this mountain,” i. e. to the Mount of Olives, since the miracle had happened in its immediate vicinity; but even Zach. 4:7 shows that the Hebrews proverbially denoted a difficulty by a mountain, so that moving a mountain is equivalent to overcoming an obstacle [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 245; Ed. ii. p. 376; cf. Mt. 17:19]. “And all things … you shall receive” confirms Mt. 7:7; James 1:6; Theoph. and Thorn, remark that this promise is made to those that ask for useful or necessary things, and Br. draws attention to the fact that the apostles later on really possessed the power of obtaining everything by prayer. Jer. Chrys. Bed. Pasch. Jans, note how necessary these signs were in order to strengthen the faith of the apostles for the time of the coming passion; they must know that Jesus had not only the power to bring back to life as shown in the case of Lazarus, but also the power to kill and destroy. Finally, it must be added that in the symbol not everything can be applied to the truth symbolized, since in that case the rejection of Israel would be without any hope, while the apostle [Rom. 11:25, 26; cf. 17–20] shows that there is hope for the house of Israel after the times of the Gentiles shall have been fulfilled.

β. Final Encounter with the Pharisees and their Rejection, 21:23–23:39

In this section we have first the history preparatory to the last contest with the scribes and Pharisees, 21:23–22:14; secondly, the formal contest, 12:15–46; thirdly, the formal rejection of the scribes and Pharisees, 13:1–39.

1. Events preparatory to the last contest [21:23–22:14] are first the Pharisees’ question after our Lord’s authority, 21:23–27; secondly, the parable of the two sons, 21:28–32; thirdly, the parable of the wicked husbandmen, 21:33–46; fourthly, the parable of the marriage feast, 22:1–14. Throughout this part the position of Jesus in regard to the scribes and Pharisees grows clearer.

23. And when he was come into the temple.] a. Our Lord’s authority and its source. “The chief priests and the ancients of the people,” joined according to the parallel accounts with the scribes [cf. Mk. 11:27; Lk. 20:1], represented all the classes of the Sanhedrin, and were most probably deputed by that body to question Jesus [cf. John 1:19]. After his countless miracles, his approval by the Baptist, and his victorious disputes with his adversaries, this question betrayed certainly the greatest insolence and malice. “By what authority” does not inquire whether it is by divine or diabolical authority [cf. Jer. Orig.], but rather whether by divine or human authority [cf. Chrys. op. imp.], or whether by virtue of the prophetic, or the Messianic, or any other assumed dignity [cf. Knab.]. “And who hath given thee this authority?” It would be blasphemy to say that God has done so, and all human authority should pass through our hands [cf. Schanz]. “These things” refers not merely to the cleansing of the temple [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Alb. Caj. Jans. Lap.; cf. John 2:19], nor to his miracles which the scribes and Pharisees endeavored to hide rather than make more public [cf. Knab.], nor merely to his teaching [cf. Grot. Beng. Schegg]; but to all Jesus had done and said during the last few days [Hil. op. imp. De Wette, Bleek, Weiss, Keim, Keil, Schanz, Knab.]. Perceiving their malicious dilemma through which they endeavored to implicate him in the guilt of blasphemy, or bring him under their own jurisdiction, “Jesus, answering” by another question, forced them to choose between silence and self-condemnation.

24. “One word” may mean, according to a Hebrew idiom, “one thing” [cf. Jans. Fil.], or “one answer” [Arn. Schanz, Weiss, Knab.]. “The baptism of John” signifies his whole ministry and authority [cf. John 1:33; Mald, etc.]; “whence was it” is a question intimately connected with the questions asked of Jesus: if John’s baptism was of God, then the authority of Jesus too is of God [cf. Mt. 3:2]. “They thought within themselves,” or they debated with one another; if there were question of their secret thoughts, the evangelist could not have known them without a special revelation. “Why then did you not believe him” does not merely mean, “Why were you not baptized by him” [cf. Jer.], but “Why did you not receive his testimony concerning me?” [cf. John 1:29]. “We are afraid of the people” is not necessarily the figure called “aposiopesis,” explained by the following clause “for all held John as a prophet” [cf. Fritzsche, etc.]; but it may be the apodosis to the foregoing condition, meaning “then we must live in future in fear of the people” [cf. Schegg, Weiss, Keil, Schanz, Knab.]. “All held John as a prophet” means “all adhered to him as being a true prophet” [cf. Mt. 14:5]. The Pharisees’ reverence for John is only a compelled one, forced on them by the multitude [cf. Chrys.]. “We know not” was a falsehood, for they had inquired into the claims of John [cf. Jn. 1:19], and implied a serious neglect of their duty, since they could know the Baptist’s character by applying the divinely appointed method [cf. Deut. 18:21, 22; Jn. 1:27, 30; Mt. 3:11], as they were bound to do in their capacity of leaders of the people. “Neither do I tell you” implies that they know the true answer and are unwilling to give it; so Jesus knows his authority and its source, but is there and then unwilling to reveal it [cf. Jer. Jans.].

28. But what think you?] b. Parable of two sons. In the first case the evangelist marks the contrast between the kind address, “son,” of the father, and the rude answer, “I will not,” of the son. The “sir” of the second son illustrates his hypocritical reverence for his father. Before making the application of the parable, Jesus tasks the Pharisees themselves to give their judgment concerning the sons. Instead of “the first” some codd. read “the last”; if this reading be adhered to, in spite of its being wrong, the Pharisees must be said to have intentionally given the wrong answer, in order to frustrate the effect of the parable. The two sons do not signify the Pharisees who despised the preaching of John and were converted later on, and the publicans and sinners who first listened to the Baptist but did not enter the kingdom [cf. Hil.]; nor do they represent the Gentiles who first refused to obey the natural law, but then entered the kingdom, and the Jews who first promised obedience [Ex. 19:6], and then refused to enter the kingdom [Orig. Chrys. Jer. Theoph. Euth. Bed. Rab. op. imp. etc.]; but they represent the publicans and sinners, on the one hand, and the scribes and Pharisees, on the other [Theoph. in cat. Br. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Lam. Arn. Bisp. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.]. That this is the true meaning is clear from the words of Jesus, “The publicans and the harlots shall go into the kingdom before you”; a converted publican was among the twelve, and Lk. 7:50 tells of the true conversion of a harlot. The manner in which the sinners precede the Pharisees is described by the words: “For John came to you in the way of justice,” not merely living according to the just prescriptions of the Mosaic law, and according to the highest principles of the inner life [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Mald.; 2 Pet. 2:21], but also teaching you the way of justice [cf. Lk. 3:12 ff.] and of inward sanctity [cf. Mt. 3:8]; “and you did not believe him,” though his teaching was confirmed by his example, while the “publicans and the harlots believed him.” By way of moral application, the meaning of this parable may be extended to Gentiles and Jews; to priests and laymen; to religious and seculars [cf. Orig. Theoph. Jans. Lap. Salm. tom. vii. tract. 35]. The words “shall go into the kingdom of God before you” show that there is hope left for the persons Jesus addresses [cf. Chrys. Theoph.], and admit even that the Jews will enter after the fulness of the Gentiles, but they do not expressly state this doctrine [cf. Orig. Alb.].

33. Hear ye another parable.] c. The wicked husbandmen. In this parable Jesus assigns as the cause of the Jewish rejection not merely their past unwillingness to do penance, but also their coming deicide [Caj. Jans.]. The comparison of the people to a vineyard is well known even in the writings of the Old Testament [cf. Is. 5:2; Ps. 79:9; Deut. 32:32; Is. 17:11; Jer. 2:21; Ez. 15:1–6; 19:10; Os. 10:1; cf. Mt. 20:1], so that the Pharisees could not misunderstand the parable; they really pronounced therefore their own condemnation. “There was a man an householder” begins the enumeration of the innumerable benefits conferred on the Jewish people, who are the choice plant of God as the “vineyard” is the choice property of man. He “made a hedge round about it” in order to guard it against the wild beasts that were wont to break into vineyards [cf. Caut. 2:15; Ps. 79:14]; applied to the people the hedge signifies the Mosaic law [cf. Theod. her. in cat. Theoph. Euth.], or God’s special protection and providence [cf. Ambr. Orig. Br. Jans.], or the special protection of the guardian angels [cf. Jer. Pasch.], or finally the Holy Land with its retirement from the world [cf. Hil.]. “Dug in it a press,” consisting of an upper trough for pressing out the grapes and a lower receptacle for receiving the juice flowing from the upper part; applied to the Jews, it may signify their altar [cf. Orig. Jer. Theoph. Jans. Lap.], or the prophets filled with the Spirit of God [Hil. op. imp. Thom.]. “And build a tower,” to watch the crops and to furnish recreation; it represents in the parable Mount Sion [Theod. her. in cat.], or the temple [Orig. Chrys. Jer. Pasch. Br. Jans. Lap.], or the excellence of the law [Hil. op. imp.], or the secure dwelling-place of the Jews [Caj.]. “And let it out to husbandmen,” who were to pay their rent in kind [cf. Mk. 12:2]; the husbandmen signify the priests and doctors, and in general the civil and religious superiors of the Jewish people [cf. Orig. Theod. her. op. imp. Theoph.]. “And went into a strange country” may be regarded as a mere ornament of the parable, though it may indicate that after establishing the Synagogue, God did not so often appear visibly to his people [cf. Orig. Lap. Calm. tom. vii. tract. 36], or it may denote the patient longanimity of God towards his people [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Schegg], or again it may typify the liberty God left the husbandmen to cultivate the vineyard according to their own will [cf. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Jans.]. “That they might receive the fruits thereof,” i. e. the part of the fruit belonging to the lord according to the contract [cf. Mk. 12:2; Lk. 20:10]. “The husbandmen laying hands on his servants, beat one,” e. g. Jeremias, “killed another,” e. g. Isaias, “and stoned another,” e. g. Zacharias between the temple and the altar [cf. Acts 7:52; Heb. 11; Jer. Orig. Theoph. Br. Pasch. Jans.]. “Again he sent other servants” shows the loving patience of the householder [cf. 7:25; 11:7; 25:4; 26:5; 29:19; 44:4; Os. 6:5; Am. 2:1; etc.]. “And last of all he sent to them his son” shows the height of his love and patience. “Let us kill him” corresponds accurately with the actions and words of the Jewish authorities as related by Jn. 11:47–50 [cf. Caj. Arn.].

Thus far Jesus has described what had actually occurred before he spoke; now he begins to prophesy: “they cast him forth out of the vineyard,” either by crucifying him outside the city walls [cf. Heb. 13:12; Theoph. Euth. Hil. Jer. Br. Thom. Jans. Lap. Fil.], or by excommunicating him from the Synagogue and delivering him into the hands of the Gentiles [cf. Orig. Caj. Ollivier, La Passion, Paris, 1891, p. 19 f.; Knab.]. “They say to him,” considering as yet the Romans as the husbandmen, themselves as the prophets, and the people of Israel as the son [cf. Ex. 4:22]: “He will bring those evil men to an evil end,” as it happened in the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans [cf. Theoph. Lap.], “and will let out his vineyard to other husbandmen that shall render him the fruit in due season,” as happened in the appointment of the apostles and representatives of the Church [cf. Mt. 10:2 ff.; 16:18; 18:18]. It was most fit that the high priests and Pharisees should thus pronounce their own condemnation [cf. Orig. Theod. her. hil. Lap.]. According to the second and third gospel, the Sanhedrists received this judgment from the lips of Jesus, and according to St. Luke [20:16], they rejected it with “God forbid.” Probably all happened first as told in the first gospel; then Jesus repeated the Sanhedrists’ judgment as stated in the second and third gospel, but in such a tone of voice that they understood it applied to them, upon which they pronounced their “God forbid.”

42. What has thus far been inculcated by way of parable is now confirmed by reference to Old Testament prophecy [Ps. 117:22]: “The stone which the builders,” the authorities of the Synagogue, “rejected, the same is become the head of the corner,” thus giving firmness and unity to the whole building [cf. Orig.], as Christ is the foundation and the unifying principle of the Church [cf. Hil. Jer. Br. Theoph. Euth. Jans. Mald. etc.]. “By the Lord this has been done,” requiring his omnipotent power; “this” does not refer to “corner” [cf. Cyr. Theoph. Euth.], or to “the head of the corner” [cf. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Weiss], but to the whole preceding event [cf. Jans. Mald. Lam. Arn. Fil. Keil, Knab.], since it must be so understood in the Hebrew text of the psalm. To men, indeed, it seems strange that when the long-expected Messias finally came, he was rejected and maltreated by those very persons whom he came to save and exalt [cf. Is. 28:16; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:4–8; Schöttgen, i. p. 174; ii. p. 605]. Then follows the announcement of the punishment that shall befall the wicked husbandmen who are now clearly identified with the Sanhedrists: first, “the kingdom of God shall be taken from you,” so that the Jews shall be no longer the chosen people, “and shall be given to a nation yielding the fruits thereof” [cf. Mt. 3:9; 8:11, 12; 12:41–45; Gal. 5:22; Eph. 5:9; Rom. 6:22; Gal. 5:22; Lap. etc.]; secondly, your punishment will not be merely a negative one, but you shall be utterly ruined, for “whosoever shall fall on this stone,” by being scandalized at it and rejecting it [cf. Is. 8:6–14], “shall be broken” [cf. Lk. 2:34]; thirdly, that there may be no chance of escaping from this punishment, “on whosoever it shall fall,” and the Messianic stone cannot but fall on the chosen people, “it shall grind him to powder”; not as if the former wound were curable, and the latter incurable [cf. Jer. op. imp. Bed.], for the Greek text of the latter passage literally means “it shall scatter him like chaff,” thus indicating the judicial separation of the bad from the good that shall be effected by the Messias [cf. Mt. 3:12]. The words containing the second and third punishment are not an interpolation from Lk. 20:18 [cf. Tisch. D 33, Cant. Verc. Corb. Orig.], for they are too well attested, and they ought to follow the words of the Psalm immediately, if they were copied from the third gospel [cf. Schanz, Knab.].

45. The effects of the parable are briefly stated by the evangelist: first, “they knew that he spoke of them”; secondly, they sought “to lay hands on him,” thus becoming worse instead of improving by the words of our Lord; thirdly, “they feared the multitudes,” so that here again it is mere self-love that keeps the Sanhedrists from destroying Jesus [cf. Alb.]. The parable may be applied by way of accommodation to the priests and prelates of the Church, and to every individual who has the care of the vineyard of his soul [cf. Orig. Ambr. Salm. Lap. Jans.].

1. And Jesus answering.] d. Third parable. In the first parable we saw that the Pharisees and scribes were in a less advantageous condition than the publicans and the harlots; in the second, we saw the kingdom of God taken away from them, and themselves utterly ruined; in the present parable, it is predicted that not only the scribes and Pharisees will be ruined, but the nation also, while not all of the Gentiles who enter the kingdom will be saved. “And Jesus answering” must be taken in the wide meaning which we saw in 11:25 and 12:38; the expression hardly connects with the secret thoughts of the adversaries [cf. Caj. Fil. Meyer, Arn. Bucher], but with the last words of Jesus, so that the emphasis lies on “spoke again in parables” [cf. Schegg, Weiss, Schanz], though in the present case the parable did not serve to conceal the truth [cf. Mt. 13:13 ff.]. “The kingdom of heaven is likened,” i. e. what happens in the kingdom of heaven resembles the following events. The “king” is God the Father; “his son” or the bridegroom is Jesus the Messias [cf. Ps. 44; Jn. 3:29; Mt. 9:15]; for as in the Old Testament the Synagogue was represented as the bride of God [cf. Is. 1:1; 2:2; Ez. 16:8], and idolatry was described as fornication or adultery, so is the Church predicted [cf. Os. 2:19] and represented as the spouse of Christ [cf. 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:25–27]. “Made a marriage” can be said of the father, because the Father prepared the Church for the Son [cf. Jn. 6:44; 17:6, 9, 11, 12, 24]. “To call them that were invited to the marriage” agrees with the alleged double invitation of the ancients [cf. Esth. 5:8 and 6:14; Echa rabbati, iv. 2; Suet. Claud. 39; Wetstein, Wünsche, Rosenmüller, Morgenland, v. p. 192]; without determining here whether this custom really existed, the Jews had been invited to the Messianic kingdom by the call of Abraham, by the covenant near Sinai [cf. Ex. 19:5], by the many prophets that were sent them between the time of Moses and that of Malachias [cf. Is. 2:2 f.; Chrys. Euth. Hil. Caj. Schanz]. The first “servants” sent to call to the wedding were therefore not either Moses or the prophets [cf. Orig. Theoph. Jer. op. imp. Br. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Fab. Mald. Lap. Calm. Grimm, Fil.], but they must have been contemporaries of Jesus, such as the Baptist, the twelve, the seventy [Chrys. Theod. her. Euth. Hil. Caj. Salm. Jans. Lam. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.], since they were sent when the marriage feast was ready. “Again he sent other servants,” showing an astounding patience and forbearance in spite of his royal dignity; but God the Father actually followed this course with the Jewish people, who were even after the death of Christ and the descent of the Holy Ghost again evangelized by the apostles, announcing that the lamb of God had been slain, that the sacraments produced their full effect, “and that all things were ready.”

5. The invited guests are now divided into two classes: first, those indifferent to the marriage, and intent on their own pleasure and profit: “they neglected, and went their ways, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise”; secondly, those apparently irritated and offended by the marriage [cf. Schegg], of whom the evangelist says: “and the rest laid hands on his servants, and having treated them contumeliously, put them to death.” History shows that the body of the Jewish nation was divided into these two classes, and the New Testament abounds in examples especially of the second class: Acts 5:40, 41; 8:1; 9:24, 29; 12:3; 13:50; 14:5, 18; 17:5, 13; 18:6, 12; 21:28; 22:22; 2 Cor. 11:24; 1 Thess. 2:14–16; etc. “His armies” which the king sent in his anger were the Roman troops under Titus [cf. Orig. Chrys. Jer. op. imp. Br.], just as in the Old Testament the armies executing the divine judgments are called the hosts of God [cf. Is. 13:3; Ez. 29:18]. “Then he saith to his servants … they that were invited were not worthy,” as has been seen from their behavior towards my servants; the unworthiness of the Jews may be found in their empty pride of being sons of Abraham, as the Baptist had pointed out, and in their expectation of a royal Messias who would come in pomp and glory [cf. Rom. 10:3]. “Go ye therefore into the highways,” or more correctly, “the corners of the streets” where one street intersects another; strangers were wont to congregate in these places. “Both good and bad,” i. e. both those that “do by nature those things that are of the law” [Rom. 2:14], and those that violate the natural law, are “gathered together” by the servants so that the grace of God brings even those to the Church that have led a bad life previously to their call. The plenitude of the marriage feast is therefore not destroyed by the bad will of the invited guests; thus by the sin of the Jews “salvation is come to the Gentiles” [cf. Rom. 11:11, 12].

11. “A man who had not on a wedding garment” does not necessarily imply that all the guests were supplied by the king with a garment suitable for the feast [cf. Arn. Reischl, Fil.], just as in Persia those about to appear before the king are supplied with a special garment [Kaftan; cf. Rosenmüller, Morgenland, v. p. 75 ff.]; this circumstance would surely be mentioned in the parable, and the behavior of the guest would be almost incomprehensible [cf. Olsh. Kistem. Arn. Bucher, Reischl]. The king did not demand a precious garment, but merely a decent dress, such as all the guests could have put on before appearing at the feast [cf. Schanz, Knab.]. In the parable the nuptial garment does not represent faith alone [cf. old Protestant writers; Zahn-Wichelhaus, etc.], but, primarily, sanctifying grace [cf. Eph. 4:24; Col. 3:10–12; Gal. 3:27; 1 Cor. 13:1 ff.; op. imp. Br. Alb.]; secondarily, all those gifts and characteristics necessarily presupposed by, or connected with sanctifying grace, such as the indwelling of the Holy Ghost [Ir. Hil.], the infused virtues [Orig. Jer.], a knowledge and love of Christ [Aug. Thom.], internal regeneration by the Holy Ghost [Mansel], a truly Christian life of justice and holiness [Tert. Orig. Chrys. Ambr. Jer.; cf. Weiss, Mald.]. Friend” [cf. 20:13], “how camest thou in hither not having on a wedding garment,” well knowing that by doing so thou wouldst insult me, my son, and the other guests? If garments had been provided by the king, for all the guests, the servants would probably have been responsible for the decent attire of all present [cf. Arn. Reischl, Fil.]. Caj. draws attention to the quiet dignity of the king’s words who does not utter a reproach, but merely states the fact. “But he was silent” shows according to Greg. that no excuse will be of any avail in the divine judgment, and according to Chrys., that God will not condemn any man who has not previously condemned himself. Here again we see that there shall be bad mixed with the good in the Church till the time of judgment [cf. 13:25, 47]; “weeping and gnashing of teeth” agrees with 8:12 and 13:42; “bind his hands and feet” so that he may not be able to escape from his place of punishment, where all those shall be bound unwillingly who have here willingly borne the bonds of their sinful passions [cf. Greg. hom. xxxviii. 13; Lk. 16:24]; “exterior darkness” alludes to the well-lit dining-room outside of which there was intense darkness; the context shows that the punishment of the guest consisted not merely in being deprived of the feast.

14. “Many are called, but few are chosen” does not refer to the guests that had actually come to the marriage feast [cf. Aug. serm. xc., xcv.; Greg. Rab. Alb. Calm. Arn.], since we cannot explain the one guest ejected as denoting the greater part of the guests, without doing violence to the obvious meaning of the text. Nor does it refer to both the guests that had refused to come and those that had come [cf. Thom. Caj. Salm. tract. 37, Jans. Lam. Fil.]; for besides the violence it does to the plain meaning of the text, as already shown, this interpretation gives two different significations to the term “called” at least, if not to both “called” and “chosen.” “Many are called, but few are chosen” refers, therefore, to the whole parable, so that the “called” are those repeatedly invited, and the “few chosen” are the invited guests that actually came [Orig. Theoph. Knab. etc.]. Since the parable refers to the Jewish nation, it denotes that few of its members will enter the kingdom of the Messias, a doctrine fully agreeing with the predictions of the prophets [cf. Is. 10:21; Amos 3:12], and with the utterances of St. Paul [Rom. 11:5, 7; 1 Cor. 1:27; Eph. 1:4; 1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:12; cf. James 2:5; 1 Pet. 1:1; 2:9; 2 Pet. 1:10]. The complete doctrine of the parable encourages, therefore, the hearers of Jesus, since it shows that some of them will be saved [cf. Mald. Lap. Sylv. Schegg]; at the same time it warns those entering the kingdom of the Messias not to presume, since some of them will be lost; whether the number of the lost in the kingdom is greater than, or equal to, or less than, the number of the saved is not determined by the parable.

15. Then the Pharisees going, consulted.] 2. The last contest, vv. 15–46. We have here first, a political attack, vv. 15–22; secondly, an attack of the scoffers, vv. 23–33; thirdly, a religious or theological attack, vv. 34–46. The first attack is made by the Pharisees and the Herodians; the second by the Sadducees; the third by the scribes belonging to the Pharisees.

a. The political attack. In explaining the meaning of this question, Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Pasch. Jans. Mald. Lap. and Jer. draw attention to the tenet of Judas of Galilee [cf. Acts 5:37] and his followers [cf. Jos. Ant. XVIII. i. 1], that the Jews ought not to subject themselves to the Roman taxation. This doctrine appeared to have a religious basis, since Deut. 17:15 forbids the rule of a foreigner in Israel; this religious patriotism appears also in the proud answer of the Jews that, being the seed of Abraham, they had never yet served any one [cf. Jn. 8:33]. Owing to these circumstances, the questioners no doubt expected a negative answer which would involve Jesus in difficulties with the Roman governor. Even an affirmative answer would prove ruinous to him, since it would estrange him from the multitude [cf. Orig. Chrys. Euth. Thom. Caj. Jans. Mald. Arn. Fil. Wetstein, Weiss, ed. ii. p. 385].

Insnare him in his speech” does not mean that they endeavored to catch him in their question, but rather in his answer [cf. Lam. Schanz, Knab.]. “They sent to him their disciples,” since they themselves were suspected by Jesus, while the disciples might succeed more easily in eliciting an answer. “The Herodians” are not a religious party [cf. Tert. Epiph. Philastr. Euth. Hitzig, Ewald, Geiger, Hausrath]; nor are they a peace-party, quietly subject to the Roman dominion for peace’ sake [cf. Orig. Jer. Chrys. Mald. etc.]; much less are they soldiers of Herod [cf. Jer. Chrys.]; but they favor the subjection of the whole of Palestine to the family of Herod, so that they flatter either the Romans or the Jews, according to the exigencies of their schemes [cf. Mk. 3:6; 8:15; 12:13; Wetst. Meyer, Schegg, Weiss, Langen, Keim, Keil, Aberle, etc.]. The answer of our Lord, whether negative or affirmative, would implicate him with Herod also, so that the Herodians would prove ready witnesses, in case Jesus should return to Galilee. Alb. notes that they praise Jesus for four things: first, his dignity of teacher; secondly, his love of truth; thirdly, his solid doctrine; fourthly, his fearless uprightness [cf. Chrys. Euth. Jer. Br. Caj.]. By their clumsy flattery they hoped to force Jesus into a decision which other masters in Israel were afraid to give [cf. Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Euth.]. “Is it lawful” according to the Mosaic legislation [cf. Deut. 17:15; Michael. Mosaisch. Recht, iii. p. 154] “to pay tribute to Cæsar” in spite of God’s sovereign and sole rule over Israel? Judas the Galilean had been put to death for holding the negative view on this subject [cf. Acts 5:37; Jos. Ant. XVIII. i. 1; B. J. II. viii. 1; Ant. XVIII. i. 6; XX. v. 2; Jer. in Tit. 3:1], and though the Pharisees secretly adhered to the same view, they would have gladly seen their opponent ruined for openly professing the doctrine of his countryman [cf. Chrys. Jer.].

18. Jesus first shows his questioners that he fully knows their evil intentions [cf. Euth. Jer. Jans.], thus confounding them in order to save them, while they flatter in order to destroy [cf. op. imp.]. Secondly, though our Lord could have refused to answer on the plea of their bad will, he chose to give the true answer without implicating himself. The “coin of the tribute,” or the “penny,” which they offered him was equivalent to about 16 c. of our money [cf. 18:28]. “Whose image and inscription is this” may have been taken by the questioners of Jesus as a sign of his ignorance; they answer therefore sincerely, “Cæsar’s,” not suspecting that they furnish our Lord with the material needed to answer their question. That the inference of Jesus, “Render therefore to Cæsar the things that are the Cæsar’s,” is strictly logical follows from the then generally received principle that only the territorial lord had the power of coining money [cf. 1 Mach. 15:6; Wünsche, p. 256; Lightfoot, Wetstein, Caj. Jans. Lap.]. Without inquiring whether the Roman rule over Palestine is just or unjust, Jesus shows that it is practically an acknowledged fact, and that the Jews must patiently bear its consequences. Lest the religious duties might seem to suffer from these obligations, Jesus adds, “and to God the things that are God’s,” so that both kinds of obligation must be fulfilled; in case of collision of duties, the greater must prevail [cf. Rom. 13:1 ff.; 1 Tim. 2:1 f.; 1 Pet. 2:13 f.]. Tert. [De idolol. c. 15] has applied this doctrine to our soul, which is the image and likeness of God, and must therefore be returned to God. “And hearing this they wondered” at our Lord’s wisdom, but instead of believing, they were confirmed in their unbelief, “and leaving him, went their ways” [Jer. Pasch.] in the consciousness of their defeat [Br.].

23. That day there came to him.] b. The attack of the scoffers. “That day” shows that the following attack must have taken place on Tuesday; “the Sadducees” have been described in 3:7; “who say there is no resurrection” agrees with Mk. 12:19 and Lk. 20:27, and renders the common Greek text, while א B D M S Z Or Tisch etc. leave out the Greek article, so that their reading must be rendered, “there came to him the Sadducees, saying, there is no resurrection,” and if one supposes that the readers of the first evangelist were well acquainted with the tenets of the Sadducees [cf. Jos. Ant. XVIII. i. 4; B. J. II. viii. 14; Acts 23:8], the latter reading is to be preferred. “And asked him, saying” introduces the proof “ex absurdo” of the Sadducees for their statement that there is no resurrection. The law to which they refer is contained in Deut. 25:5, and ordains that in case a man leaves no offspring [cf. Num. 27:1], his brother is to marry his wife, and the first-born of this marriage must be regarded as the offspring of the deceased husband. This was no new legislation, since we meet it already in Gen. 38:8, and even among heathen nations [cf. Grimm, ii. 161 ff.; Ewald, Alterthümer, 1849, pp. 276 ff.; Rosenmüller, Morgenland, v. p. 81; Kleuker, Zend-Avesta, iii. 226; Peschel, Völkerkunde, iii. ed. 1876, p. 241, 24]. On this law the Sadducees base an absurd case of conscience [cf. Chrys. Euth. Orig.], and they point out that it must be solved in an absurd way, if there be a resurrection: i. e. either the wife must be common to all seven brothers, which would be against decency, or she must belong to only one brother, which would be against justice [cf. op. imp. Pasch.]. Though Wetstein [ad h. l.] and Wünsche [p. 265] give Rabbinic passages that describe the future life of man in an almost spiritual manner, Weber [System der altsynagogalen paläst. Theologie,. p. 383 f.] gives other passages in which our future is pictured in a most carnal way [cf. Lk. 14:14, 15]. The gospel of Luke [14:14, 15] and the present question of the Sadducees show that the latter of the foregoing views was advocated by the questioners of our Lord. It is quite possible that the Sadducees had repeatedly argued against the Pharisees in this same manner, and some writers even suggest that they may have been induced by the Pharisaic party to advance their argument against their common opponent [Fab. Knab.].

29. Jesus omits all mention of the improbability of the case they have proposed, but answers them in two ways: first, “you err not knowing the Scriptures,” in which not only the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the body [cf. Job 19:25–27; Is. 26:19; Ezech. 37:3 f.; Dan. 12:2], but also the spirituality of our future life is described [cf. Ps. 16:11; 48:16; Is. 35:10; 51:6; etc.]; secondly, you err, not knowing “the power of God,” who can give us a life free from all carnal desires and carnal works in a state where there is no more need of them [cf. Euth. op. imp.]. Both these errors are further developed by our Lord, who shows the true doctrine concerning both points: First, as to the power of God, “in the resurrection” the men shall not marry, and the women shall not “be married” or given in marriage [cf. Greek text]; but both “shall be as the angels of God in heaven”; not as if the angels had material bodies [cf. Meyer, Weiss], nor as if the blessed in heaven after the resurrection would be without sex [cf. Orig. Hil. Athan. Chrys. Basil. and many in Aug. De civ. dei, xxii. 17,] but either because they “shall be as the angels in heaven” who have no carnal and sexual functions [cf. Tert. Jer. Aug. Euth.; 1 Cor. 15:35 ff.; Phil. 2:10; Lk. 20:36; etc.], or because they shall be in heaven, as the angels of God are in heaven [cf. Salm. Knab.], and in heaven there shall be no carnal or sexual activity [cf. 1 Cor. 15:44]. Secondly, as to the ignorance of Scripture manifested by the Sadducees, Jesus appeals to a passage in the books of Moses [cf. Ex. 3:6, 15; 2 Tim. 3:16], probably not so much because the Sadducees did not admit any other book of the Old Testament canon [cf. Orig. Hil. Pasch. Alb. Fab. Salm. Caj. Jans. Lap. Lam. Calm.], as in order to argue from the same source from which the Sadducees had argued against him [cf. Euth. Theoph. Jans. Knab. etc.].

31. The proximate inference from the two premises of our Lord is that the soul is immortal [cf. Jer. Pasch. Thom. Fab. Caj.]; hence different ways have been suggested to arrive at the further conclusion of a future resurrection: first, the Jews identified the doctrine of resurrection with that of immortality [cf. 2 Mach. 12:43–46], so that the Sadducees denied the resurrection solely because they did not admit any immortality, and again Sacred Scripture made death the consequence of sin, so that after the destruction of sin, death, too, must cease, at least, by a happy resurrection [cf. Caj. Jans. Mald. Arn. Schegg, Fil.]. Secondly, if the soul is to live forever, the body must do so, and share with the soul reward or punishment as it has shared with the soul its good and bad actions [Jer. Alb. Jans. Calm.]. Thirdly, the soul has a natural inclination for the body, so that we cannot suppose that God will leave this inclination unsatisfied for all eternity [Thom. Caj. Jans.]. Fourthly, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not merely the souls of these patriarchs, but both their body and soul, so that according to our Lord’s words both must still live [cf. Salm. tom. 8, tract. 61; Mald.], and this the more because God made a covenant with them when they were still in their bodies [cf. Mald. Lap.]; so that the patriarchs may now be said to live, because life is due to their body and their soul, just as Adam may be said to have died when he incurred the guilt of death [Euth. Theoph. Caj. Mald. Salm.]. Fifthly, the argument may be considered as an “argumentum ad hominem” against the Sadducees, who may have proved their doctrine from the fact that God is nowhere called the God of the dead, but only of the living, which principle Jesus now urges against them. That the Sadducees considered themselves overcome is plain from two facts: first, “the multitudes were in admiration at his doctrine,” for it was on account of the multitudes that our Lord had given a clear answer to this question [cf. Alb.]; secondly, the Pharisees heard of his victory in which “he had silenced the Sadducees.”

34. But the Pharisees hearing.] c. The theological attack. The Pharisees had been overcome in their political assault, but seeing the admiration of the multitude for the answers of Jesus, they feel bound to destroy our Lord’s authority by confounding him in public. “Silenced,” according to the Greek text, might be rendered “muzzled” [cf. Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9; 1 Tim. 5:18]. “The Pharisees … came together” in order to deliberate about their course of action [cf. Ps. 2:2]; the result of this council is given in the words “and one of them”; for they agreed to depute a delegate instead of approaching Jesus in a body. “A doctor of the law” occurs only here in the first gospel, while the third gospel employs the term more frequently; etymologically considered, the Greek word for “doctor of the law” denotes one learned in the law, while “scribe” denotes one versed in Scripture. Hence some think that the scribes explained the law in the synagogues, while the doctors explained it in the schools and in private assemblies, or that the scribes explained matters of doctrine, while the doctors taught matters of practice [cf. Calm.], or that the scribes explained the Haggada, while the doctors were concerned with the Halacha [cf. Schanz]; but since the Scripture and the law were practically identical for the Jews [cf. Jn. 10:37; 15:25; 7:49; 12:34; 1 Cor. 14:21], the doctors of the law must have been identical with those learned in the Scriptures, a conclusion that is confirmed by Mk. 12:28, where the “doctor of the law” is called “one of the scribes,” and also by Lk. 11:52, 53, where the two titles are indiscriminately applied to the same class of persons [cf. Knab.].

35. “Tempting him” appears to contradict the second gospel [Mk. 12:32, 33], in which the scribe seems to have been sincere in his question; the discrepancy cannot be explained by contending that the Pharisees acted hypocritically, while their representative was fully sincere [cf. Pasch. Sylv. Schanz], nor by maintaining that the questioner tempted Jesus in a good sense, as the queen of Saba had tempted Solomon [cf. 3 Kings 10:1; Lam. Aug. De cons. evang. ii. 73, 141; Lap.], for both these explanations do violence to the text of St. Matthew. The scribe may have come with an evil intention, and may have been changed or perhaps wholly converted after the answer of Jesus [cf. Chrys. Aug. Theoph. Euth. Pasch. Thom. Dion. Salm. Sylv.]. The Jewish doctors enumerated 613 commandments [cf. Surenhusius, p. iv. p. 291], 248 of which were positive [equal to the number of bones in the human body], and 365 negative [equal to the number of days in the year]. These commandments were distinguished into great and small ones [cf. Schöttgen, Wünsche, Wetstein, ad v. 19], but practically it was hard to decide whether a given precept was great or small. The Greek text admits a double interpretation: first, what kind of commandment is a great one in the law, a question inquiring after the criterion according to which a great commandment might be distinguished from a small one [cf. Arn. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Meyer, Weiss]; secondly, which particular precept is the greatest in the law, an interpretation favored by our Lord’s answer and the parallel text of the second gospel [Mk. 12:28]. Both points were much disputed among the Jewish doctors, so that Jesus could not answer the question in either sense without incurring the odium of some of the doctors.

37. Jesus escapes the snare by drawing attention to the great principles of morality, instead of entering into the Rabbinic discussions on the ceremonial law; for no Jewish doctors could under any circumstances have denied the paramount importance of the moral obligations that were the soul of all external observances. The law which Jesus cites is taken from Deut. 6:5; according to the first gospel we read “with thy whole mind” instead of the original “with thy whole strength,” while Mk. 12:30 and Lk. 10:27 combine the expressions of Deut. and St. Matthew, reading “with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength,” and “with all thy strength, and with all thy mind.” The verb “love” in both Greek and Latin text denotes the love of esteem rather than the love of affection. The manner of love described by the evangelists has found various explanations: first, the single clauses express different faculties or parts of man, but nearly every commentator of note has his own manner of explaining them [cf. Orig. op. imp. Thom. Theoph. Alb. Dion. Caj. Salm. Sylv.]; secondly, the “heart” denotes our will, the “soul” the lower faculties, the “mind” our whole way of thinking and willing, so that we must love God with our whole will, and with our lower faculties, and in both ways we must love him completely or with all our strength [cf. Aug. De doctr. christ. i. 22; op. imp. Salm. Jans. Knab.]; thirdly, the different clauses only indicate that our love for God must be supreme, i. e. that we must not adhere to anything contrary to God, that God alone must be our last end, that he must be our greatest good in appreciation at least [cf. Mald. Lap. Jans. c. 81, comment. in concord. evang.].

39. “And the second” commandment in dignity as well as in width “is like to this”; because man must be loved as being the image of God [Orig. op. imp. Alb. Thom. Fab. Dion.], so that the love of our neighbor extends as far as the likeness of God extends [cf. Tost. quæst. 278, in c. xxii.; Sylv.]. “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” requires first, that we must love the neighbor for the same motive for which we love ourselves; secondly, that we must wish our neighbor the same kind of good we desire for ourselves [cf. Aug. De vera relig. xlvi. 87; Mald. Mt. 7:12]. Then Jesus adds the reason why the two foregoing precepts are the greatest: “On these two commandments dependeth” [cf. Is. 22:23–25] “the whole law and the prophets,” i. e. the whole moral law; for these two laws contain all other moral laws [cf. Theoph. Rab. Br.], they are the end of all other laws [cf. 1 Tim. 1:5; Rom. 3:19; Alb. Thom. Caj.], they are the motives for the observance of all the other laws [cf. Dion. Lap.], and they give the form to all morally good actions [cf. Rom. 13:10; Alb. Thom. Caj.].

41. “The Pharisees being gathered together” had approached Jesus when their representative was proposing his question, probably in order to be present at our Lord’s confusion. “They say to him, David’s” agrees with their general tradition based on 2 Reg. 23:3–5 [heb.], as may be inferred from Jn. 7:42; Ps. Sal. 17. The following argument shows two points: first, that the Jews believed David to be the author of Ps. 109; secondly, that they regarded the psalm as Messianic. If either of these conditions had been wanting, they would have had an easy victory over Jesus. That the later Jewish writers denied the Davidic authorship of the psalm and its Messianic bearing [cf. Jer. Tert. Just. c. Tryph. n. 33; Agell. in Ps. 109; Mald. etc.] is due to dogmatic tendencies; the contention of some modern writers that Jesus argued here merely “ad hominem,” so that the objective truth of the foregoing two statements does not follow from this passage, offers violence to the words of the evangelist. “If David then call him Lord, how is he his son,” is a question that forces the Pharisees to an acknowledgment that their Messianic ideas are not in agreement with the inspired writings of the Old Testament. Schegg is of opinion that the Jews knew the right answer to our Lord’s question, but that they were unwilling to give it, in order not to be insnared by Jesus; but the gospel expressly states: “And no man was able to answer him a word,” so that it hardly leaves room for Schegg’s opinion. Chrys. and Aug. point out that the Pharisees preferred to remain in their proud ignorance rather than be taught by their opponent; they had experienced their own inferiority to Jesus so often that “neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.” Our Lord therefore addresses now the multitudes who may still profit by his words [cf. Chrys.].

1. Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes.] 3. Formal rejection of the scribes and Pharisees. Jesus first points out the contrast between their principles and practice, vv. 1–12; secondly, he directly impeaches the Pharisees, vv. 13–39.

a. Contrast between principles and practice. The first portion of this section is directed to the multitudes, vv. 1–7, the second to the disciples, vv. 8–12.

α. Address to the multitudes. Both the multitudes and the disciples had been present at the discomfiture of the Pharisees, so that they were well prepared to hear the following doctrine. “On the chair of Moses” agrees with the Rabbinic manner of expressing succession in the office of teaching [cf. Vitringa, De synag. vet. Franequeræ, 1696, p. 165]; it was applied to the Sanhedrin in a special manner [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 271], and since the Pharisees and scribes exercised the greatest authority in the Sanhedrin [Jos. Ant. XVIII. i. 4; Schürer, The Jewish people in the Time of Jesus Christ, div. ii. vol. i. p. 179, Edinburgh, 1885], they may be said to “have sitten on the chair of Moses.” By this concession Jesus shows that he is no adversary of the law [Theoph. Sylv.], that he is not opposed to the highest Jewish authority [Calm.], that he does not act through ambition or hatred [Chrys. Cyr. Euth.], and at the same time he thus renders his words against his opponent more effective [cf. Schanz, Knab.]. “All things therefore whatsoever they shall say to you” should not be restricted by divers conditions such as “if they command what Moses taught” [Br. Alb. Mald. Arn.], or “if they teach well” [Pasch.], or “if they do not command anything contrary to the law of Moses” [Dion. Jans. Lap. Sylv. Calm.], or finally, “if they act according to the duties of their office” [Lam. Fil.]; for such a restriction would constitute the people the supreme judge of their moral obligations [cf. Aug. De doct. christ. iv. 27, 59; c. Faust. xvi. 29; ep. cv. 5, 16; cf. Schanz, Knab.]. “Observe and do” can hardly be referred to the observance in the heart and the execution in deed [cf. Alb. Thom.], or the observance of the negative and the positive precepts [cf. Caj.], but seems to urge the need of constant and faithful compliance with all obligations. But the practice of the Pharisees is far removed from their principles: “according to their works do ye not.”

3. The last statement is further proved by our Lord: first, “they say and do not. For they bind heavy and insupportable burdens,” by multiplying the regulations of the Mosaic law about needless details [cf. Acts 15:10; Ed. i. pp. 100 f.]; “and lay them on men’s shoulders; but with a finger of their own they will not move them,” refusing not only to lighten the burden for their fellow men by assistance or example [cf. Mald. Ed. i. p. 101; ii. p. 408]. but also to act according to their own teaching [Chrys. Euth. Knab.]. Secondly, besides this harshness to others and indulgence to self, the Pharisees are ambitious and strive after vainglory: “All their works they do for to be seen of men: for they make their phylacteries broad”; phylacteries [derived from a Greek verb meaning “to guard,” because they were considered as helps “to guard the law,” or as “guards against evil,” something like amulets; cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 274; Schürer, The Jewish People, div. ii. vol. ii. pp. 113 ff. Edinburgh, 1885] or Tephillin [prayer-straps] were dice-shaped, hollow parchment cases, containing the passages Ex. 13:1–10, 13:11–16; Deut. 6:4–9; 11:13–21 written on parchment rolls. Their use was founded on the passages Ex. 13:9, 16; Deut. 6:8; 11:18, which the Jews interpreted literally, though Jer. Pasch. Theoph. believe that God intended them figuratively, only obliging the Jews to keep the law always before their eyes and to observe it in practice. Every male Israelite had to put on the phylacteries, at least during the morning prayers, excepting on Sabbaths and holy days; one was fastened to the upper part of the left arm, and another to the forehead just below the hair [cf. Schürer, l. c.]. The Pharisees appear to have enlarged the cases to an abnormal size, and to have worn them especially in public [cf. Jos. Ant. IV. viii. 13]. “And enlarge their fringes” or tassels of hyacinth-blue or white wool, which every Israelite by reason of the prescription in Num. 15:37 ff., Deut. 22:12, had to wear at the four corners of his upper garment. They were to be used “that ye may look upon them and remember all the commandments of the Lord and do them” [cf. Schürer, l. c. p. 111 f.; Buxtorf, Lex. chald. col. 654]. “The first places at feasts” were those to the right hand and to the left of the host, and among the Persians and Romans the middle seats [cf. Lk. 14:8 ff.; Jos. Ant. XV. ii. 4; Marquardt, v. 1, p. 312]; “the first chairs in the synagogues” were at the extreme end of the synagogue, towards which all the worshippers turned. “Rabbi” was at first a respectful address, but developed into the title of the more eminent scribes; according to Maimonides [cf. Wetstein], Simon the son of Hillel was the first that was called Rabbi; according to the Aruch [cf. Lightfoot], this honor belongs to the older Gamaliel. At the time of Christ the title was almost new, since the older doctors are commonly known by their mere names [cf. Jn. 1:38; Schürer, The Jewish People, div. ii. vol. i. p. 315, Edinburgh, 1885].

β. Address to the disciples. “But be not you called Rabbi” is addressed especially to the apostles, in order to warn them that they must not covet this title through vainglory or ambition [Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Caj. Jans.]. Jesus adds two reasons why the foregoing title should not be coveted: first, “one is your master,” so that Christians ought to feel ashamed of being addressed by the same title as Jesus Christ; secondly, “all you are brethren,” so that again any title implying preference ought to cause pain rather than pleasure [cf. 1 Cor. 4:7]. “And call none your father upon earth,” as the Jewish students used to call their masters [cf. 4 Kings 2:12; Buxtorf, s. v. אָבָּא; Lightfoot], whom they often praised and admired excessively; the reason is similar to that of the preceding prohibition: “for one is your father, who is in heaven,” since from him alone you have your natural and supernatural life, and since he alone has the full right to the honor due to a father [cf. Mal. 1:6]. That Jesus forbade not the material use of the titles “Rabbi” and “father” is plain, first, from the fact that God himself applies the name “father” to men in the fourth commandment; secondly, from the Scriptural usage of calling disciples “sons” [cf. Prov. 1:8, 10, 15; 2:1; 3:1; 4:1; etc.], so that their masters are implicitly called “fathers”; thirdly, from the circumstance that St. Paul calls himself “doctor of the Gentiles” [1 Tim. 2:7], speaks of his children in Christ [1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:18; 2 Tim. 2:1; Phil. 1], and that St. Peter calls Mark his son [1 Pet. 5:14]. “Neither be ye called masters,” or more correctly “leaders” of a school or party [cf. Buxtorf, s. v. מוֹרֶה], a tendency that seems to have manifested itself in the early church of Corinth when the new converts began to claim Paul, or Cephas, or Apollo as their leader [cf. 1 Cor. 1:12, 13]; the reason for this prohibition is again drawn from the fact of Christ’s universal leadership [Acts 3:15; 5:31; Heb. 12:2; 2:10]. Jesus then again points out that one’s greatness in the Church will consist in being the servant of one’s brethren [cf. Mt. 18:4; 20:25], a principle that is repeatedly and in various forms expressed by the apostle of the Gentiles [cf. 1 Cor. 3:5; 12:7; Rom. 12:6 f.; Eph. 4:11, 12]. Finally, our Lord expresses in almost proverbial language the principle that self-exaltation leads to humiliation, and self-abasement to real greatness. The life of Jesus Christ illustrates this truth [Phil. 2:8, 9; cf. Heb. 2:9], and both the Old Testament [Job 22:29; Prov. 29:23; Ez. 17:24] and the New inculcate it [Lk. 1:52, 53; 14:11; 18:14; 1 Pet. 5:5, 6; James 4:10].

13. But wo to you, scribes and Pharisees.] b. Impeachment of the scribes and Pharisees. Here we have first the eight solemn woes, vv. 13–33; secondly, the lamentation over Jerusalem, vv. 34–39.

a. The eight woes. According to Lk. 11:39 ff. Jesus pronounced a similar discourse on his way to Jerusalem; Mald. is therefore of opinion that the first evangelist, following his topical arrangement of material, transferred the whole discourse to its present place; but Mk. 12:38–40 and Lk. 20:46, 47 testify that Jesus really spoke against the scribes and Pharisees on Tuesday before his passion; it is therefore preferable to consider the report of the first evangelist as more complete than that of the second and third [cf. Aug. De cons. evang. ii. 75, 144; Meyer, Keil, Weiss], so that Jesus repeated on this occasion in the hearing of the Pharisees and the multitudes some of his former condemnations. Orig. Pasch. Jans. etc. draw attention to the circumstance that the woes against the unbelievers at the end of our Lord’s public life correspond with the beatitudes of the believers at its beginning.

Opinions do not agree as to the number of woes; some authors number seven woes, others eight, in accordance with their view on the genuineness or the interpolation of verse 14. E F G H K M S U V Γ Δ Π b c f ff2 h syr [both] æth Chr Dam Op Hil Jer [allusion] hub [marg] theod ken rush tol fuld [with a slight omission], the desire of conforming the text with the apocalyptic number of threats and punishments in the codd. where the verse is omitted, the eight beatitudes, speak in favor of the genuineness of the verse, so that it is retained by Bisp. Fil. etc.; on the other hand, א B D L Z a e ff1 g1, 2 Or Eus Ti W H Rab Pasch Druth Alb, the inversion of verses 13 and 14 in many codd. in which the latter verse is retained, the additional punishment in verse 14 against the analogy of the other woes, the interruption of the connection, and the fact that its interpolation from Mk. 12:40 or Lk. 20:47 is more easily explained that its omission in so many codd., favor the interpolation of the verse, so that it is regarded as inserted from the second or the third gospel by Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Keil, Weiss, Knab. etc.

Alb., omitting verse 14, regards the first two woes as directed against false doctrine, the second two as aimed against a wicked life; according to Thom. Jesus first impeaches the scribes and Pharisees for their hypocritical religion [vv. 13–24], then for their hypocritical purity [vv. 25–28], and finally for their hypocritical piety [vv. 29 ff.].

[α] Hypocritical religion. “The kingdom of heaven” does not refer directly to the treasure of blessings promised to the faithful observers of the law [cf. Schegg], but means the Messianic kingdom in accordance with the common language of the first gospel; those that are going in [that wish to go in; cf. Alb. Chrys. Euth.], you suffer not to enter,” not merely by imposing your heavy burdens on them [cf. Chrys. Mald.], which would rather incline them to seek the light burden of the kingdom, but by your doctrine and practice [Schanz], as well as by your express opposition to the gospel of the kingdom, manifested on countless occasions [cf. Mt. 9:11, 34, 36; 11:16 ff.; 12:14, 24; 15:2 f.; etc.; Orig. Hil. Pasch. Theoph. Alb. Fab. Jans. Knab. etc.]. “You devour the houses of widows,” though the Scriptures enjoin their special care and protection [Ex. 22:22; Deut. 14:29; 16:11, 14; 24:17; etc.], and punish their oppression with special punishments [cf. Is. 1:17, 23; 5:28; Ez. 22:7, 25]; and this you do “praying long prayers”—or according to the Greek text, “and for a pretence making long prayers”—in public places and on the corners of the streets, so that you easily deceive the weaker sex [cf. op. imp. Thom. Dion. Mald. Lap.]. “For this you shall receive the greater judgment,” being guilty not only of injuring the widows, but also of a most impious hypocrisy [cf. Caj.].

15. “You go about the sea and the land to make one proselyte,” whether he become a proselyte of the gate [i. e. a worshipper of one God and an observer of the seven Noachic precepts], or a proselyte of justice [i. e. a subject of circumcision and the ceremonial law]; though Wünsche doubts the Pharisaic proselytism, its historical truth is fully attested [cf. Jos. Ant. XIII. ix. 1; 18:3:5; 20:2:4; B. J. 2:17:10: Vit. 23; Ed. ii. p. 411; etc.]. “You make him the child of hell twofold more than yourselves,” not indeed because he relapses generally into paganism [cf. Jer. Fab. Dion. Lap.], but because, in the first place, you set him a bad example which he shortly surpasses in wickedness [cf. Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Jans. Mald. Lam.]; secondly, you teach him your own vices without correcting in him the vices of the Gentiles [cf. Orig. Hil. op. imp. Thom. Caj. Fil. Schegg]; thirdly, you teach him enough of the law to render him more guilty before God for his transgressions [cf. 2 Pet. 2:21; Alb.]; fourthly, you render him more unfit for the Messianic kingdom [cf. Just. c. Tryph. n. 122; Arn. Weiss]; fifthly, you puff him up with pride and with an empty self-conceit [cf. Keil].

16. “The gold of the temple” is either the golden decoration of the temple [Hil. Theoph.], or the golden appointment of the temple [Theod. her. in cat. Euth.], or the gold in the temple treasury [Jer. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Mald. Jans. Lap. Calm.]. The distinction between the temple and the gold of the temple in swearing is made, first, because the Pharisees really esteemed the gold more than the temple [cf. Apolinar. cat.]; secondly, because the multitude became thus more impressed with the sanctity of the offerings to the temple [cf. Calm.]; thirdly, because the person swearing could not build another temple, but could be held to the payment of a certain amount of gold, which the Pharisees coveted above all else [cf. Jer. Theoph. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom.]; fourthly, in fine, because the gold of the temple appeared to be more closely related to God than the whole temple building with its many more or less indifferent chambers and implements, and a valid oath must be sworn by the name of God, or by something closely related to God [cf. Surenh. iv. p. 306; Jans. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.]. The doctrine on the oath is more fully developed in Mt. 5:33–36. Our Lord next shows the folly of the Pharisaic doctrine: since the temple sanctifies the gold, and the altar sanctifies the gift on the altar, both temple and altar must be more holy than the gold and the gift on the altar [cf. Orig.]. The inference is evident: whether we swear by the altar, or by the temple, or by heaven, or by any creature, we always swear by the living God present in all creatures [cf. Jans. Lam. Knab.].

23. “You tithe” does not mean “you exact tithes” [cf. Jer.], but “you pay tithes” [cf. op. imp. Pasch. Dion.]; “mint” or spearmint [sweet-scent], occurring only here and Lk. 11:42, denotes the aromatic herb used by the Greeks and Romans as a remedy against flatulency, and a condiment for food [cf. Buxtorf, s. v. מִינְתָּא]; “anise,” or the common dill, is an umbelliferous plant, producing a small flower of a bright brown color, and a flattened elliptical fruit, both plant and fruit serving among the ancients as condiment [cf. Buxtorf, s. v. שׁיבחא]; “cummin” is a plant like fennel, bearing seeds of a bitterish, warm taste, with an aromatic flavor, which was used with salt as a sauce [cf. Is. 28:25, 27]. The custom of paying tithes existed as a religious duty among most ancient nations, and was embodied in the Mosaic law [Lev. 27:30, 32; Num. 18:21; Deut. 12:6 f.; 14:22 f.]. When the Jewish nation became subject to foreigners, the burden of tithes made itself very much felt, so that the Israelites were naturally inclined not to press the letter of the law; the punctiliousness of the Pharisees became therefore more remarkable. But meanwhile they neglected “the weightier things” or the more important obligations [cf. Orig. Theoph. Schanz, Knab.], whether they were more difficult to practise or not [cf. Fritzsche, Weiss]. “Judgment” gives to every one his own; “mercy” gives to the neighbor that help and assistance which is not demanded by justice; “faith” does not refer to the theological virtue of faith [cf. ancients], but denotes fidelity among men [Alb. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Calm. Lam. etc.]: these same duties are urged by Mich. 6:8 [cf. Zach. 7:9; Is. 1:17]. Jesus does not blame the faithful observance of the foregoing small obligations, but he insists on our following the objective order of importance in our observance of the legal precepts: “These things you ought to have done.” This is still more clearly expressed in the words, you “strain out a gnat,” or you filter your wine and other drinks that you may not swallow any unclean insects and animalcula [cf. Lev. 12:2–3; 11:42], “and swallow a camel,” which is not only unclean [cf. Lev. 11:4; Deut. 14:7], but proverbially the greatest among unclean animals [cf. Mt. 19:24].

25. Wo to you, scribes and Pharisees.] [β] Hypocritical purity. “You make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish [cf. Mk. 7:4], but within you are full of rapine,” may be understood as a parable, meaning “you take care of the outward form, and neglect the inward spirit” [cf. Vulg. Jer. Mald. Lam.]. But the Greek text reads: “you make clean the outside of the cup and of the dish. but within they are full of [the goods gotten by] rapine and excessive greed,” so that we have here another instance in which the Pharisees observe the practices of the ceremonial law, while they neglect the duties of justice. Jesus, adapting his language to the levitical law of purity [cf. Num. 19:22], shows that the outside of the cup and the dish will be defiled by the impure contents, thus reversing the Pharisaic principle that the impurity of the cup and the dish communicates itself to the contents [cf. Chrys. Lam. Schanz, Knab.]. Our Lord now proceeds to show that this internal impurity obtains in the case of the Pharisees: “you are like to whited sepulchres,” which were newly whitewashed on the fifteenth day of Adar, four weeks before the pasch. [cf. Surenh. ii. p. 176, 403; i. p. 282], that the festive pilgrims might not incur the legal pollution of seven days by inadvertently coming into contact with any sepulchre [cf. Num. 19:16; Lev. 13:45; Is. 57:14; Ez. 39:15], and thus be prevented from eating the paschal lamb. Though this whitening of the sepulchres had mainly a religious purpose, it gave the graves a decorous external appearance: “which outwardly appear to men beautiful.” Thus the saintly appearance of the Pharisees is only an outward semblance, which ought to be regarded as a sign of warning, indicating their interior corruption.

29. Wo to you, scribes and Pharisees.] [γ] Hypocritical piety. “That build the sepulchres of the prophets” [cf. Surenh. ii. pp. 102, 183]; even to-day the Holy Land shows the remnants of several reputed prophet-sepulchres, especially the cavities found on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, which still bear the name “sepulchres of the prophets” [cf. Robins. Palest. ii. 175 ff.; Schuster-Holzammer, i. pp. 163 ff., 463, 575 f.; ii. 297]. The spirit with which these monuments were erected is described in the words: “we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets”; it is therefore the spirit of proud self-righteousness claiming to be better than the “fathers.” Though only one murder of a prophet is mentioned in Scripture, we need not recur to the Apocrypha in order to explain the present passage [cf. Orig.], but may appeal to the language of Acts 7:52; Heb. 11:37. “Wherefore you are witnesses against yourselves,” first, because “you are the sons” [not only according to the flesh, but also in your disposition of heart] “of them that killed the prophets” [cf. Orig. Chrys. Br. etc.], and must therefore share their judgment; secondly, because you seek to kill me who am greater than a prophet, so that your condemnation of your fathers applies doubly to yourselves [cf. Jans. Lap. Bloomf.]. “Fill up” is not necessarily explained as the future [cf. Lap.], but may be taken as the imperative, which is often thus used in a rhetorical manner [cf. Knab.]. “The measure of your fathers,” who have slain the servants and the prophets, is really filled up by the murder of the Lord and of him whom all the prophets predicted [Jer. Pasch. Br.]. Finally, Jesus repeats the words of the Baptist against the Pharisees [cf. Mt. 3:7]; “the judgment of hell” is, according to the Rabbinic manner of speaking [cf. Wetstein, Wünsche, p. 296], that judgment in which the condemnation to hell is pronounced.

34. Therefore behold, I send to you.] β. Lament over Jerusalem. “Therefore” does not refer back to the measure of iniquity which the Pharisees were bidden to fill [cf. Jer. Euth. Lam. Keil, Weiss, etc.], nor to the measure of iniquity together with the hypocritical protestation that they would have acted differently from their fathers [cf. op. imp. Pasch. Alb.], but it regards the threatening judgment of hell, which includes the foregoing points of reference [cf. Knab. Schanz]. The connection then is: “Because you are a generation of vipers that will not flee from the judgment of hell, therefore I send … and you will put to death.” Theoph. Euth. Mald. see in Christ’s sending of prophets a manifestation of his divinity. “Prophets, and wise men, and scribes” denotes according to some the apostles, because they united in themselves the characteristics and duties of the foregoing three classes [cf. Hil. op. imp. Br. Mald. Fil.]; but according to others, they denote three different classes of ministers in the early Church, endowed with different gifts of the Holy Ghost [cf. 1 Cor. 12:8 f.; Eph. 4:11; Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Caj. Lam.]. “Some of them you will put to death,” cf. the persecutions mentioned in Acts 5:40, 41; 7:54 f.; 12:1; 13:45; 2 Cor. 11:24; “and crucify,” cf. the death of Peter, and Andrew, and Simon the brother of the Lord [cf. Eus. H. E. II. xxiii. 5; III. i. 1; III. xxxiii. 2]; “and some you will scourge in your synagogues,” according to the manner of inflicting that punishment as has been shown by Vitringa [De synag. vet. pp. 774 f.]; “and persecute from city to city,” cf. the case of St. Paul [Acts 17:13], and the writings of St. Justin [c. Tryph. n. 17, 108]. “That upon you may come” signifies not mere futurity [cf. some mentioned by Euth. Mald.], but real purpose both on the part of the offenders, who willingly and knowingly commit their misdeeds in spite of the predicted punishment, and on the part of God, who provides for the wicked an occasion of practically manifesting their evil disposition [cf. op. imp. Pasch. Thom.; Is. 6:10]. “The just blood” denotes the blood shed unjustly [cf. Jon. 1:14; Jn. 3:19]. “That upon you may come the just blood” signifies that the punishment for the unjust shedding of all the innocent blood may befall you [cf. Mt. 27:25; Acts 18:6; Jos. 2:19; 2 Kings 1:16]. “Upon the earth” may refer to the Old Testament passages [Job 16:19; Is. 26:21; Ezech. 24:7], in which the blood not absorbed by the earth appears to be a continual accusation against the murderer.

35. “From the blood of Abel the just even unto the blood of Zacharias the son of Barachias,” i. e. from the just one slain that is first mentioned in Scripture to the last one mentioned; for the murder of Abel is told Gen. 4:8, while the murder of Zacharias is reported in 2 Par. 24:21, the books of Paralipomenon occupying the last place in the Hebrew canon. There is some difficulty, however, about Zacharias the son of Barachias: first, the name in our gospel exactly agrees with the name of the eleventh of the minor prophets [cf. Zach. 1:1; Is. 8:2], but there is no record whatever of his having been killed between the temple and the altar, and not being a priest he can hardly have died in a place reserved for priests only [cf. Chrys.]; secondly, the father of the Baptist cannot be meant [cf. Orig. Bas. Nyss. Protev. Jac. c. 23; Epiph. xxvi. 12; Theoph.], for nothing is known of his later history; thirdly, the Zacharias slain during the Roman war [cf. Jos. B. J. IV. v. 4] cannot be meant here [cf. Hug, Credner, Gfrörer, Keim, Weiss, etc.], for he was the son of Baruch, and it cannot be maintained that the first evangelist added the words “whom you killed between the temple and the altar” to the words of Jesus, as he must have done if he refers to this Zacharias who died thirty-five years after Christ’s death; fourthly, Jesus cannot refer to an unknown Zacharias who may have been killed in the manner described during the invasion of Pompey [cf. Lutteroth, iv. 298 f.], for such an unknown person would hardly have been mentioned by our Lord in the present impressive passage; fifthly, we must therefore adhere to the opinion very common among the ancient writers [Jer. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap.], and almost common among the recent interpreters, that Jesus refers here to the Zacharias mentioned in 2 Par. 24:21.

Reasons: first, this Zacharias was slain between the temple and the altar according to the commands of king Joas [cf. Jos. Ant. IX. viii. 3]; secondly, this Zacharias died praying for vengeance, even as the blood of Abel cried up to heaven [cf. 2 Par. 24:22]; thirdly, the death of this Zacharias is recorded at the end of the Old Testament canon [Hebrew text], just as the death of Abel is recorded first [but cf. Cornely, i. p. 28], so that Jesus simply sums up all the unjust murders from the first to the last [cf. Jans. Bisp. Schegg, Fil. Keil, Weiss, Mansel, etc.]; fourthly, the murder of this Zacharias was very notorious among the Jews, who regarded it as worthy of and as actually followed by a special vengeance [Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Wünsche, p. 297; Ed. ii. p. 414].

The exception that this Zacharias was the son of Joiada [cf. 2 Par. 24:21], and not of Barachias, can be satisfied in various ways: first, the father may have had two names, Joiada and Barachias, according to a common usage among the Jews [cf. Grot. Beng. Glass. patr.]; secondly, both names have the same meaning, the righteous and the blessed, and hence in the gospel of the Nazarenes we find Joiada instead of Barachias [cf. Jer.]; thirdly, Barachias may have been father, and Joiada grandfather of Zacharias; fourthly, the first evangelist in his Aramaic gospel may have omitted the father’s name entirely, so that its presence may be due to the Greek interpreter of the gospel; finally, the view advocated by Schegg, Schanz, Keil, etc. that the evangelist himself, by a slip of memory or of the pen, erroneously wrote Barachias for Joiada cannot be reconciled with the inerrancy of the Bible.

36. “All these things” are to be revenged on the present generation, because its crimes surpass all the murders of the Old Testament in intensity [op. imp. Br. Caj. Mald. Calm. Schegg], and resemble them in kind [Jer. Lap. Calm.]. “Shall come upon this generation” cannot, in the first place, be understood as if, distinguishing between the generation of the good and the wicked, Jesus had declared that the generation of the wicked [“this generation”] should bear all the punishment [cf. Jer. Bed. Pasch.]; for in that case no particular punishment would be announced for the Jews as the context demands. Secondly, “this generation” are the Jews living at the time when Jesus spoke, in as far as they constitute with the former Jewish generations one moral body, and are therefore in temporal punishments their rightful heirs [cf. Gen. 15:16; Ex. 17:8; 1 Kings 15:2; Ez. 16; 23]. Thirdly, when the long delayed punishment finally came upon the generation that had filled the measure of iniquity, it appeared as if all the sins of former generations not yet visibly punished were visited on this one generation, though actually it received not even the full amount of its own retribution [cf. op. imp. Thom. Alb. Mald. Jans.].

37. Passing now from the fate of the seducers to that of the seduced, Jesus breaks forth in the loving exclamation of his reluctant justice: “Jerusalem, Jerusalem,” thus showing the pain caused him by the coming judgment of the impenitent capital [cf. Chrys. Hil. op. imp. Theoph. Alb.]. “Thou that killest the prophets” expresses the customary manner of action of the city, which has become one of its characteristics. “How often” does not refer to the whole history of Israel [cf. Orig. Hil. Jer. op. imp.], nor to the whole people [cf. Baur, Hilgenf. Schegg, Keim], but to the city of Jerusalem [Chrys. Euth. Theoph.]. The synoptic gospels therefore know of repeated visits of our Lord to Jerusalem [cf. Schanz, Knab.]. “As the hen doth gather her chickens” in order to afford them safety against impending danger [cf. Eurip. Herc. fur. 70 f., Wetst. Schöttg. Wünsche], so have I tried to avert thy coming punishment [cf. Chrys. Cyr. Euth. Jer. Bed. Br. Caj. Pasch. Lap. Sylv. Aug. in Ps. 58. serm. 1, n. 10; in Ps. 90, serm. 1, n. 5]. “Thou wouldst not” shows that the city had all the necessary helps of grace for its conversion, and that its guilt and subsequent punishment were the effects of its own perverse will. “Your house” is not the temple which would be called the house of God [cf. Jer. Theoph. Euth. Pasch. op. imp. Alb. Mald. Arn. Fil.], but the city of Jerusalem [Br. Caj. Jans. Lap. and most recent authors]. “Shall be left to you desolate,” i. e. bereft of God’s special protection granted to you as long as you were his people; the rejection of the capital implies the rejection and destruction of the nation predicted in Mt. 2:17; 31:16. “You shall not see me henceforward,” because my ministry among you has come to its end, so that the temporal ruin of your city and nation is now unavoidable. “Till you say, Blessed is he …” refers either to the forced confession of Christ’s divine mission on the day of the last judgment [Chrys. Theoph. Hil. Euth. Mald. Lap. Lam.], or to the willing confession of the same truth on the same occasion by the Jewish converts [cf. op. imp. Caj. Jans. Lap.], or to the future conversion of Israel predicted also by the apostle of the Gentiles [cf. Rom. 11:2, 25], or to the only way of penance always open for the Jews who may spiritually save themselves by entering the kingdom of Christ, or finally to all or several of these ways taken together [cf. Bed. Thom. Arn. etc.]. Most probably the evangelist here intended to show the Jews sufficient grounds of hope not to make them despair, but to induce them to conversion [cf. Jer. Orig.].

γ. Eschatological Discourse, 24:1–25:46

1. And Jesus being come out of the temple.] In this section we have first an introduction, 24:1–14; secondly, an instruction on the coming fate of Jerusalem, vv. 15–21; thirdly, an instruction on the second advent of our Lord, vv. 22–35; fourthly, repeated warnings to be ready for the second coming, 24:36–25:30; fifthly, the norm and sentence of the last judgment, vv. 31–46.

1. Introduction. The opening clause must be read thus: “And Jesus being come out, went away from the temple” [cf. Alb. Jans. Mald. Greek text], so that he in a manner fulfilled the prediction, “your house shall be left to you desolate” [cf. op. imp. Alb.]. The second and the third gospel [cf. Mk. 13:1–37; Lk. 21:5–36] show that our Lord went out of the city towards Bethany according to his custom, and that he seated himself on the Mount of Olives over against the temple, where the four leading disciples, Peter, James, John, and Andrew, moved by the sad prediction concerning the coming fate of Jerusalem, pointed out to him the massive blocks and solid structure of the temple [Orig. Hil. Theoph. Thom. Dion. Fab. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Sylv.], and asked when that desolation of which he spoke should take place. With the answer to that question this chapter begins. “Do you see all these things” refers especially to the beautiful structure of the temple, which has been described by Josephus [B. J. V. v. 6; VI. iv. 8; Ant. XV. xi. 3; cf. Tac. hist. v. 8; Wetstein, ad h. l.]. The Herodian temple had been begun 734 or 735 U. C. [20 or 19 B. C.], and was finished about 780 or 781 U. C. [27 or 28 A. D.]. “There shall not be left here a stone upon a stone” is especially impressive, since the size of some of the stones in the walls was enormous. The foundations consisted of blocks of white marble, some of which were forty-five cubits long, six cubits wide, and five cubits high; the foundation was sunk to an astonishing depth, and filled up with stones of immense size and very durable. Being closely mortised into the rock with great ingenuity, they formed a basis adequate to the support of the intended structure, and the stones were put together with such skill that the smallest interstices were joined with iron cramps. That the prediction was fulfilled to the letter is plain from the fact that excepting the towers of Phasael, Hippicus, and Mariamne, which were spared in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city Jerusalem had been, and how well fortified, all the rest of the walls was so thoroughly levelled to the ground by those who dug it from the foundations, that there was left nothing to show the place had ever been inhabited [cf. Jos. B. J. VII. i. 1]. Neither Adrian, nor Julian, nor any other, was able to build upon its site [cf. Socrates, H. E. iii. 20; Sozomenus, H. E. v. 22; Chrys. adv. Jud. v. 11; Naz. orat. v. 4; Theodoret. hist. iii. 15; Maimonid. Taanith, c. 5; Lightfoot, Ammian. Marcell. rerum gest. lib. xxiii. 1], and now that very site has become a matter of uncertainty. According to Ezech. 11:23, the glory of the Lord went forth from the temple after giving warning of its coming first destruction, and now the Lord himself [cf. Jn. 1:14] left the temple before its second destruction after urging most emphatically the necessity of repentance, and after teaching its manner [cf. Knab.].

3. “When he was sitting on mount Olivet,” almost in the very spot where the Roman siege of the city began [cf. Jos. B. J. V. i. 3]; and at the very same time of the year, before the Passover [cf. Jos. B. J. VI. ix. 3]; thousands of the Jews were killed by the same manner of death which they were now about to inflict on our Lord [Jos. B. J. v. 1; Wordsw.]. “The disciples came to him privately,” i. e. not in hearing of the multitudes. “When shall these things be” introduces the question which the disciples put to Jesus. Whether their question concerns three different events [cf. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Mald. Fil.], i. e. the destruction of Jerusalem, the second coming, and the last judgment; or only two events, the second advent and the judgment being identical [cf. Chrys. Theoph. op. imp. Jans. Lap.], is of little importance, since the apostles identified all with the destruction of Jerusalem [cf. Euth. Pasch. Br. Thom. Jans. Mald. Lap. Lam. Arn. Schegg, etc.]. “Thy coming” renders a Greek word that signifies “presence” in 2 Cor. 10:10; Phil. 2:12; “advent” in 1 Cor. 16:17; and “the second advent of the Lord” in 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 2:19; etc.

4. And Jesus answering said to them.] Opinions. First, Jesus determines the time of the destruction of Jerusalem [Hil. Chrys. Alb. Thom. Dion. Tost. (in c. xxiv. qu. 45 f.); Jans. Weiss]; but the events of vv. 7, 9–12 can hardly be satisfactorily explained as preceding the destruction of the city. Secondly, the time of the end of the world is here determined [Cyr. Jer. Br. Caj. Fab. Iren. adv. hær. v. 25; Greg. hom. i. in ev.]; but though vv. 10–14 refer to the end [cf. 2 Thess. 2:3], the wars and persecutions spoken of in the other vv. cannot be signs of a coming event, unless we are prepared to call “sign” a most indefinite and indifferent event. Thirdly, this same consideration holds against those who refer our Lord’s words partly to the coming destruction of Jerusalem, partly to the end of the world [Bed. Mald. Lap. Sylv. Lam. Arn. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, Fil. Mansel, op. imp. Aug. ep. ad Hesych. ep. 199, al. 80]. Fourthly, Jesus did not therefore reply directly to the questions of the disciples, but instead warned, them to keep themselves ready for the coming events [cf. Euth. Dion. Pasch. Lam. Thom. Knab.].

Four kinds of danger are especially pointed out as threatening the spiritual welfare of the disciples.

5. First, “many will come in my name,” as did Simon Magus [Jer. Hil. Alb.], Dositheus the Samaritan [Orig. Theoph. Pasch.], Menander and his disciple [Euth.], Cleonius and Varisuas [op. imp.], Theudas [Jos. Ant. XX. v. 1], the impostors that appeared under the governorship of Felix [Jos. Ant. XX. viii. 6; B. J. II. xiii. 5; Acts 21:38], and the deceiver under the governorship of Porcius Festus [Jos. Ant. XX. viii. 10; B. J. IV. iii. 14; VI. v. 2]; after the destruction of Jerusalem there came deceivers “saying, I am Christ,” of whom Fil. numbers twenty-five [cf. La question du Messie et le Concile du Vatican], Buck as many as twenty-nine. That this part of the Lord’s answer does not refer to the destruction of Jerusalem is clear from the fact that the false Christs appeared only after that event.

6. Secondly, “you shall hear of wars and rumors of wars,” a prediction that refers not merely to the seditions and disturbances mentioned by Josephus [Ant. XVIII. ix. 1; XX. iii. 3; v. 3, 4; B. J. II. xii. 1, 2; cf. Wetstein, ad h. l.], nor to the Syrian commotion under Florus [cf. Chrys. Theoph. op. imp. Thom. Jans. Tost. Calm.]. For the predicted events are more definitely described in what follows: “nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom”; even if the latter part is not a fuller development of the foregoing, its broad generality cannot be limited to the war of the Romans and Parthians [Tacit. Annal. xii. 13, 14, 44; xiii. 6–8, 34; xiv. 23; xv. 1, 2, 25; Suet. Ner. 39] and to Vitellius expedition against Aretas [Jos. Ant. XVIII. v. 3; cf. Wetstein], nor to the disturbances in Cæsarea, Scythopolis, Ascalon, Ptolemais, Alexandria, Damascus [cf. Jans.], even if the contention between Otho and Vitellius after the death of Nero, and between Vitellius and Vespasian [cf. Calm.], be added. This becomes the more evident if we consider the consequences of these wars; for the “famines” cannot be identified with the Palestinian famine in the reign of Claudius [cf. Acts 11:28; Jos. Ant. III. xv. 3; XX. ii. 5; v. 2], nor are the “earthquakes” those that destroyed Colossæ, Laodicea, Pompeii [cf. Tac. Ann. xiv. 27; xv. 22], or Crete, Smyrna, Miletus, Chios, Samos [cf. Grotius, ad h. l.; Calm.]. “Now all these are the beginnings of sorrows,” or, according to the Greek text, “of the pangs of childbirth,” a term often used in Holy Scripture to denote the most intense suffering [cf. Ps. 47:7; Is. 13:8; 21:3; 4:31; 6:24; 13:21; Ez. 30:16; Os. 13:13; Mich. 4:9, 10; etc.], so that the coming pain will exceed the preceding indefinitely [cf. Mald.]. The appropriateness of the figure in the present case has been shown by Theoph. [cf. Buxtorf, p. 700; Schöttgen, ii. p. 509 f., 550; Weiss, Schegg, Schanz, Keil].

9. Thirdly, to these external afflictions, there shall “then,” or at the same time, be added most severe persecution with every sort of affliction, and death, and a general hatred of the Christian name for Jesus’ sake; this implies that the Christian religion will be spread throughout the whole earth. Concerning the hatred of the Christian name, see Jn. 15:18, 19; Tacit. Annal. xv. 44. What is worse than all outward persecution is the fact that many shall “be scandalized,” “and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.” The mutual betrayal of Christians during the persecution of Nero is mentioned by Tacitus [l. c.], and St. Paul too complains of false brethren [2 Cor. 7:5; 11:26; cf. Chrys.].

11. The fourth danger is still greater: “many false prophets shall rise” teaching heretical doctrines [cf. 2 Cor. 11:13, 15; Phil, 3:2; Col. 2:18; Gal. 5:12; 1 Tim. 1:20; 4:1 f.; Gal. 1:8; Tit. 3:10; Acts 20:30; 2 Jn. 10–11; etc.], and thereby “shall seduce many”; the foregoing passages of the inspired writers show also how dogmatic tolerance is regarded by the Holy Ghost. “Because iniquity hath abounded” owing to the foregoing four causes, “the charity of many,” i. e. not the love of the neighbor only [cf. 2 Tim. 4:16; Theoph. Euth. Pasch. Mald. Calm. Arn. Schanz], but also the love of God which is opposed to iniquity [cf. Jer. Br. Thom. Tost. Caj. Jans. Lap. Schegg, Fil. Knab.], “shall grow cold,” an expression agreeing with Apoc. 3:16. On the other hand, he that shall persevere to the end,” not merely to the end of time, or to the time of the second advent, but to death, “he shall be saved,” not merely from temporal death by migrating to Pella, but from eternal perdition. “And this gospel,” or the glad tidings of the kingdom, “shall be preached in the whole world,” a prediction not wholly fulfilled before the destruction of Jerusalem [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Hil. Thom. Tost. Jans. Lam. Calm.], in spite of the stupendous missionary labors of the apostle of the Gentiles which he described in his epistles [Rom. 1:8; 10:18; Col. 1:6; 1 Thess. 1:8]; it cannot therefore even partially be referred to the destruction of the Holy City [cf. Alb. Dion. Fil.], but must be interpreted of the second coming of Jesus. This is clear first from the fact that Jesus himself distinctly named “the whole world,” so that the expression cannot be limited to the Roman empire or to the part of the world known to the speaker; secondly, from the additional clause, “and then shall the consummation come.” Our Lord does not say that “the consummation” shall follow the preaching of the gospel in the whole world immediately, but he states that the consummation shall not come before the universal announcement of the glad tidings [cf. Aug. ep. 197, ad Hesych. Mald. Pasch.]. Jesus thus mingles truths of consolation with the terrible prediction of the coming judgment.

15. When therefore you shall see.] 2. Destruction of Jerusalem. “When therefore” forms a transition to the answer of the disciples’ question concerning the time of the destruction of Jerusalem [cf. Caj. Fab. Knab.], and not of that about the period of the second advent [cf. Is. adv. hær. v. 25; Hil. Alb. Dion. Keil]. “The abomination of desolation” may be explained of the Roman armies surrounding Jerusalem [Orig. Aug. ep. 199, 28; Chrys. op. imp. Pasch. Thom. Caj. Jans. Lap.], or of a statue of Titus or of Cæsar erected in the temple [Theod. her. Theodoret. in cat. Euth. Theoph. Fab.], or of the equestrian statue of Adrian placed in the Holy of Holies [cf. Jer. etc.], or most probably of the murders and crimes committed in the temple by the zealots during the Roman war [cf. Jos. B. J. IV. v. 1; iii. 10; vi. 3; Sylv. Tost. qu. 98; Calm. Lam. Schanz, Arn. Fil.]. “Which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet” does not refer to Dan. 11:31 fulfilled in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes [cf. 1 Mach. 1:49–64; 2 Mach. 6:29], nor to Dan. 12:11, which contains expressions similar to the preceding passage [cf. Schanz], but to Dan. 9:27, interpreted of the destruction of the temple even by Josephus [Ant. X. xi. 7; B. J. IV. v. 2; IV. iv. 3; VI. ii. 1; cf. Orig. Jer. Fab. Caj. Mald. Lap. Lam. Arn. Grimm, v. p. 610; Schöttgen, Wünsche]. “Standing in the holy place” must, according to the foregoing explanation, be understood of the temple, and not of the whole city, or still less of the whole land of Palestine. “He that readeth, let him understand,” is not an addition by the evangelist, though in the parallel phrase of the second gospel [Mk. 13:14] Daniel is not named [cf. Jans. Arn. Fil. Weiss]; but the words form part of our Lord’s address to the disciples, who warns them to consider the prophecy of Daniel more attentively [cf. Euth. Pasch. Dion. Fab. Tost. Caj. Sylv. Schegg, Schanz]. With similar exhortations to attention in the more important parts of our Lord’s discourses, we are well acquainted.

16. “Let them flee to the mountains,” either in Judea itself or east of the Jordan [cf. Schegg, Weiss]; owing to the many caverns, the mountains would afford sufficient shelter to the unhappy fugitives [cf. Judges 6:2; 1 Kings 13:6; 22:1]. The rapidity of the flight is further described by two examples: first, “he that is on the housetop” according to the Oriental manner of the Jews, “let him not come down to take anything out of his house,” but let him either flee from roof to roof, though owing to the fences surrounding the roof this would have been a slow way of proceeding [cf. Deut. 22:8]; or let him descend by the exterior stairway and flee without entering the house [cf. Wünsche, p. 309], but there is serious doubt about the existence of such exterior stairways leading up to the roof; or finally, let him descend and flee without carrying anything out of the house with him [cf. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.]. Secondly, “he that is in the field,” and works with his upper garment thrown off, “let him not go back to take his coat”; not as if there were question of going into the house for the garment [cf. Chrys. Euth. Meyer], but the workman must not so much as turn around for his coat, though it be not customary to appear in the streets without the upper garment [cf. Schanz, Knab.]. That the Christians acted according to the words of our Lord may be seen in Eusebius [H. E. iii. 5], and in Josephus [B. J. II. xx. 1, 3 f.; Vit. 7]; the special revelation said to have been given them before the flight may have determined the place to which they fled, or may have indicated the precise time when they had to flee [cf. Schanz].

19. Since the flight must be so rapid, “wo to them that are with child, and that give suck in those days” [cf. Chrys. Euth.]; for even they shall not be spared, though women in these conditions usually find mercy with the conquerors [cf. Lap.]. Again, “pray that your flight be not in winter,” when the days are short and the roads bad, “or on the sabbath,” when according to the law no journey over two thousand cubits is allowed [cf. Lightfoot, ad Luc. xxiv. 50; Orig. Chrys. Euth. Theoph.]; for though in danger of death, this sabbath law did not bind [cf. Schöttgen, i. p. 212; 1 Mach. 2:41; Jos. Ant. XII. vi. 2; XIV. iv. 2; XVIII. ix. 2], the Christian converts might feel scrupulous about making use of such a liberty [cf. Jos. Ant. XIII. xii. 4; XIV. iv. 2].

21. “There shall be then great tribulation,” a prediction fully verified in the Jewish wars [cf. Chrys. Joseph. B. J. proœm. 4; V. x. 5; xi. 1; VI. ix. 3; Euseb. H. E. III. v. 7]. “Such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be,” compares the tribulation of the coming destruction not only with all the Jews had suffered or will suffer [cf. Aug. ep. ad Hesych. 199, 30], but also with all the national calamities of other peoples [cf. Lap.], and moreover refers to the tribulation of the last judgment [cf. op. imp. Anselm. laudun. Caj. Mald. Gord. Sylv. Schegg, Schanz. etc.]. That the last judgment is referred to follows first from the typical relation between the tribulations of Jerusalem’s destruction and those at the end of time; secondly, from the following verse, according to which “for the sake of the elect those days shall he shortened.” For, on the one hand, the prohibition laid on Agrippa not to fortify Jerusalem according to his own plans [cf. Jos. Ant. XIX. vii. 2], the burning of their provisions by the besieged Jews themselves [cf. Jos. B. J. V. i. 4], the free abandonment of their last intrenchments [cf. Jos. B. J. VI. viii. 4], the testimony of Titus that mere human force could not have conquered the strongholds of the Jews [cf. Jos. B. J. VI. ix. 1; Arn. Fil. Mansel], all these events only hastened the complete destruction of the unhappy Jewish victims, whose misery had reached such a point that one could hardly expect to see it protracted [cf. Jos. B. J. V. xiii. 7; VI. iii. 3, 4]. Again, even if it be granted that God in his mercy did not protract the days of suffering of Jerusalem to their natural length, their shortening was not “for the sake of the elect,” since all Christians had fled to Pella [Euseb. H. E. iii. 5; cf. Chrys. Euth. Br. Thom. Calm.]; and the possible future converts [cf. Theoph. Pasch. Lap. Jans. Arn.] can hardly be called “the elect.”

22. And unless those days had been shortened.] 3. The last judgment. Here we have first, certain warnings concerning Christ’s second advent, vv. 22–28; secondly, a description of the second coming, vv. 29–35. a. Warnings. According to the divine decrees, the shortening of those days has already been determined, so that Jesus speaks of it as a past event. “No flesh” does not include all living things, but only all men [cf. Gen. 6:12; Is. 40:5; 66:23; Ez. 20:48; Rom. 3:20; Acts 2:17; 1 Cor. 1:29]. “For the sake of the elect” whom God does not wish to be too much afflicted, nor to be induced to sin, “those days shall be shortened” in number [Jer. Knab. etc.], not in their individual length as in Josue’s time the day was lengthened miraculously [cf. Jos. 10:13; Aug. ep. 199, 30; Fritzsche, Lightfoot]. “Then” does not form a mere transition to the last judgment concerning which most commentators agree in explaining what follows [cf. Chrys. Euth. Theoph. Jer. Thom. Jans. Mald. Arn. Bisp. Fil. etc.], for we have seen that the preceding verses refer to the same subject; nor does it continue our Lord’s prediction of Jerusalem’s destruction [cf. Lap. Calm. Weiss, Ed. Mansel], for the deceivers mentioned by Josephus [Ant. XX. viii. 6] are no sufficient evidence that the foregoing explanation is false; but “then” indicates the causal nexus between the predicted tribulations and the rise of false Christs, for in great public calamities such prophecies of immediate safety are wont to be heard. Hence the warning “do not believe him,” “if any man shall say. to you, Lo here is Christ, or there.”

24. “And shall show great signs and wonders” agrees well with 2 Thess. 2:9, 10, where the signs of antichrist are mentioned as being the result of the devil’s power [cf. 2 Cor. 11:15], while it does not agree at all with the deceivers mentioned by Josephus [Ant. XX. v. 1; viii. 6; B. J. II. xiii. 4; VI. v. 2; VII. xi. 1], who only promised to show signs without actually doing them [cf. Calm. Weiss, Ed.]. Though the works of antichrist, like those of the devil, cannot be real miracles, they are at least preternatural events, and calculated to deceive especially the simple [cf. Aug. De civ. dei, xx. 19; Thom. Jans. Arn. Suar. De virt. relig. lib. ii. c. viii. n. 6 f.; c. xvi. n. 2 f.]. “Insomuch as to deceive” does not express the intention of the wonder-workers [cf. Arn.], but the actual result of their ministry [cf. op. imp. etc.]. These deceivers are therefore distinct from those mentioned in verse 5, who only seduce many [cf. Chrys.]. Jesus then repeats his warning, insisting that we are not to believe these false prophets in whatever manner they may appear, whether “in the desert” like the Baptist, or “in the closets,” i. e. in the retirement of their private houses [cf. Mald. Knab.].

27. To warn the disciples still more earnestly against believing the false prophets, Jesus describes his own advent: “as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be,” not only in its simultaneous manifestation in all places [cf. Chrys. Euth. Theoph.], nor merely in its self-evidence, forcing conviction on all [cf. Hil. Br. Tost. Jans.], but also in its glory [Jer. Pasch.], in its aerial character [cf. 1 Thess. 4:16; Jans.], and probably its suddenness [cf. Schanz, Ebrard]. “Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together” cannot be applied to the city of Jerusalem, or the Jewish people and the Roman military eagles [cf. Calm. Wetstein, Lightfoot, Ed. ii. p. 449], for such a transition would be too abrupt; nor can it be interpreted of the collection of the bad [cf. Bisp. Schanz, De Wette, Hengstenb.], or of the wicked world in general [cf. Keil], who are to be judged by the saints and the angels [cf. Reischl], since this interpretation also would break the continuity of the context; for the same reason we must reject the interpretation of the text as applying to the moral rottenness that necessarily follows a gathering of false teachers [cf. Schegg], or to the return of the souls of the saints to their glorified bodies [cf. Br.]; following the connection of the verse with its context, we understand the present passage of the second coming of Christ and the gathering of the saints around him [cf. Chrys. op. imp. Hil. Jer. Alb. Thom. Dion. Fab. Mald. Arn. Fil. Lucas in The Month, Feb. 1891, pp. 256–267; etc.].

The incongruity of comparing our Lord with a dead body has been explained variously: first, this comparison implies a relation to Christ’s passion and death [cf. Orig. Theoph. Jer. Ambr. in Luc. xvii. 37; Pasch. Thom. Dion. Lap.], a relation most probable in this passage, since our Lord will return with the marks of his five wounds still visible on his body [cf. Lucas in The Month, Feb. 1891, pp. 256–267]; secondly, the passage is said to imply a relation to Christ in the Holy Eucharist, where he is comparable to a dead body [cf. Ambr. Euth. Sylv.]; thirdly, Christ in his second advent is comparable to a dead body, because he will exercise the office of judge with a sadness and sorrow similar to that of his funeral [cf. Sylv.]; fourthly, Christ in his second coming is compared to a dead body, because the saints will gather around him like eagles [cf. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Caj. Jans.] in the place of his passion and death [cf. Hil. Pasch.]; fifthly, the expression may be merely proverbial [cf. Job 39:30; op. imp. Mald. Sylv. Lam. Calm.], signifying that the saints will gather around Christ after his second advent with the promptness and the certainty with which eagles gather wheresoever there is a dead body, no further similitude between Christ and the dead body or between the saints and the eagles being implied [cf. Knab.].

29. And immediately after the tribulation.] b. Manner of second coming. “Immediately after the tribulation of those days” of antichrist [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Pasch.], of which the destruction of Jerusalem is only a type; those who explain the preceding part of the destruction of Jerusalem (Jans. Lap. Weiss) find it hard to explain “immediately.” Though the following description about the darkening of the sun, etc. agrees with the Old Testament prophecies of Is. 13:9 ff.; 34:2 ff.; Joel 2:30 f.; Zach. 14:5 ff.; 4:23 f.; Ezech. 32:7 f.; Agg. 2:6 f.; Soph. 1:15, we cannot infer that its substance is mere poetry [cf. Lutter.], or that it refers to a change of the social and political world [cf. Arn.], or to the overthrow of idolatry [cf. Dorner], or to the persecution of the Church [cf. Aug. ep. 199, 39; Pasch.], or to a series of evils coming upon the Jews and the city of Jerusalem [cf. Calm. Wetstein, Kuinoel, E. J. Meyer]; but the words of our Lord must be taken in their natural and obvious meaning, especially since Rom. 8:19–22 and 2 Pet. 3:12, 13 also predict great physical changes for the end of time. “The sun shall be darkened” not merely by the glory of Christ’s second coming, which is preceded by the darkening of the sun [cf. Jer. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Bed. Pasch. Br. Thom.], but its light shall really be diminished, at least for the inhabitants of the earth [cf. Epping in Stimmen, 1886, vol. 30, p. 303; Mazzella, De deo creatore, n. 1429; Jungmann, Tract. de novissimis, Ratisbonæ, 1871, p. 286; Katschthaler, De regni divini consummatione seu eschatologia, Ratisbonæ, 1883, p. 569; Hundhausen, ad 2 Petr. 3:10]. The prediction “and the stars shall fall from heaven” cannot be explained of the disappearance of the stars on account of a brighter light [cf. Thom. Caj. Jans. Lap.], but must denote a more remarkable physical phenomenon visible on the earth at least. “The powers of heaven shall be moved” cannot be explained of the angels astonished at the general ruin of the universe [cf. Chrys. Orig. Theoph. Euth. Jer. Greg. Hom, in ev. i. 2; Bed. Br. Alb. Thom.], nor of the foundations or the corners of the heavens [cf. Mald. Lap. Sylv.], nor again of the forces that keep the heavenly bodies in their relative position [cf. Caj. Arn. Fil. Keil, etc.], but must according to Scriptural terminology refer to the stars of heaven [cf. Is. 34:4; 4 Kings 17:6; 21:3; 23:4, 5; 8:2; Dan. 8:10 (Theod.); Jans. Lap. Calm. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. etc.].

30. “The sign of the Son of man” is Christ in his glorified body [op. imp. Alb. Calm.], or the sign of the cross [Cyril of Jerusalem, cat. xv. 22; Chrys. Ps. Aug. in append, serm. 155 (al. in app. 49); Theoph. Euth. Jer. John Damasc.; Bed. Pasch. Thom. Fab. Dion. Tost. qu. 168; Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Schegg, Arn. Bisp. Grimm, Reischl, Fil. etc.], or the sign of the cross together with the instruments of the passion [Dion.], or simply a sign of Christ’s triumph [Jer. Bed. Thom.], or a sign not clearly defined, but known to God alone [Fab.; cf. Orig.]. “Then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn,” i. e. not only the Jews [cf. Chrys. Br.], nor only the sinners and unbelievers [cf. Orig. op. imp. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap.], but all men on earth [Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab.; cf. 1 Cor. 4:4]; this event will not follow the general resurrection [cf. Arn.], but precede it [cf. 1 Thess. 4:15; Lk. 21:26]. “The Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty” is also mentioned in Dan. 7:13; 1 Thess. 4:15; 2 Thess. 1:7, 10; Apoc. 1:7, and the divine judge is connected with the clouds of heaven in Ps. 17:11; 96:2; Is. 19:1; Nah. 1:3. “He shall send his angels with a trumpet,” not as if every angel were to have a trumpet, but the sound of trumpets will accompany the sending out of the angels [cf. 1 Cor. 15:54; 1 Thess. 4:15; Ex. 19:16; 2 Kings 6:15; Ps. 46:6]. As in the Old Testament the Israelites were called to their public assemblies by trumpet sound [cf. Num. 10:2; Ex. 19:16, 19; Joel 2:1; Jer.], and as especially the law was given at the sound of trumpets [Ex. 19:16, 19], and the day of Atonement and the year of the jubilee were announced by the trumpet [cf. Lev. 23:24; 25:9; Num. 10:2; Joel 2:1; Is. 27:13], so will the last solemn assembly of the people, the judgment on the observance of the law, and the last and permanent day of Atonement be announced by the sound of trumpets. The nature of this trumpet sound and its effects are more clearly described by the Apostle [cf. 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:15] and his commentators [cf. Cornely, Comment. in 1 Cor. l. c.].

31. The work of the angels consists in gathering “his elect from the four winds” or the four parts of the world; “from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them” either denotes the souls no longer in their bodies, but already received into heaven [cf. Orig. Pasch. Br. Fab.], or it is parallel to the preceding expression, signifying the different parts of the world, which it describes, according to appearance, as touched by the heavens [cf. Deut. 4:32; 30:4; Euth. Bed. Dion.). Nothing is mentioned here about the death of those that shall be found alive at the time of the second advent; 1 Thess. 4:4–17; 1 Cor. 15:51, 52, and 2 Cor. 5:2–5 favor the opinion that these men will not pass through death, a view commonly held by the Greek Fathers, while among the Latin Fathers Aug. speaks doubtingly, Ambr. insists on the death of all men, and the others either do not touch this question, or agree with the Greeks [Delattre, Le second avènement de Jésus-Christ, Louvain, 1881; Cornely, Comment. in 1 Cor. p. 506 ff.; Comm. in 2 Cor. p. 141 f.].

32. Our Lord now passes to the consoling view of the last judgment: “from the fig-tree learn a parable,” or the doctrine that can be derived from observing it; “When the branch thereof is now tender, … you know that summer is nigh,” bringing with it the more agreeable season of the year as well as the harvest: “So you also, when you shall see all these things” that are to precede the destruction of Jerusalem and the second advent, or more probably the signs preceding the latter only, “know ye that it,” i. e. the destruction of Jerusalem and the second coming, or more probably the second advent alone, or the spiritual harvest and resting time [cf. Br. Chrys. Theoph.], “is nigh, even at the doors.” The sign is given on the fig-tree, because the fig-tree is one of the last trees to put forth its leaves, so that it will not deceive the spectator [cf. op. imp.]; the comparison becomes more striking if we remember that among the Jews the harvest began with the second day of the pasch, while summer began early in May [cf. Schanz]. “This generation,” in the following verse, does not denote the human race [cf. Jer. Mald.], nor the race of the faithful [cf. Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Euth.],—for either of these two meanings is out of place in such a solemn prediction,—nor does it apply to the race of our Lord’s contemporaries [cf. Theoph. Schegg, Schanz, Keil, Weiss], who did not see the second coming of Jesus except in type; nor can it have a double meaning, signifying the Lord’s contemporaries in connection with Jerusalem’s destruction and the Jewish people in connection with the second advent [cf. Bisp. Reischl, Fil.], for such a double literal sense is generally rejected by commentators; but “this generation” simply refers to the Jewish race [cf. Br. Arn. Auberlen, Dorner, Jer. Knab.]. That “this generation” can signify “this race” is plain from Num. 10:30; 13:28; Lev. 20:18; Ps. 43:20; 77:10; 111:2; Deut. 32:5; Ex. 12:14; etc.; while the singular phenomenon of the Jews’ separate existence in spite of their dispersion among all nations is a partial fulfilment of our Lord’s prediction [cf. Knab.]. Finally, lest the disciples might doubt about the certainty of Christ’s prophecies, he solemnly confirms them, declaring that all creation shall fail more easily than his words [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Jans.; Is. 51:6; Lk. 16:17; Mt. 5:18], or that heaven and earth shall indeed be changed [cf. 2 Pet. 3:7 f.], but that his word shall stand forever [cf. Is. 55:11; Jer. Bed. Pasch. Caj. Mald. Lap. Lam. Bisp. Arn. Schanz, Schegg, Fil. Knab.].

36. But of that day and hour no one knoweth.] 4. Warnings to be ready. Jesus warns us to be ready, first, by a comparison with the days of Noe, 24:36–42; secondly, by a comparison with the goodman of the house, 24:43, 44; thirdly, by the parable of the wise and the foolish servant, 24:45–51; then by the parable of the ten virgins, 25:1–13; fifthly, by the parable of the talents, 25:14–30.

a. The days of Noe. The first motive to keep ready for the second advent is the uncertainty of its time in spite of its infallible certainty of occurrence. “The Father alone” is said to know the time of the second coming, and this statement is further emphasized by the words of Mark [13:32] and the reading of several codd. of Matthew [א B D Min. Verss. Orig. Hil. Chrys. op. imp. Lachm. Tisch.], “nor the Son.” It is certain that the Son both as God and man knows the time of the last judgment [cf. Mt. 11:27; Col. 2:3; etc.]. Why, then, does Jesus seemingly disclaim this knowledge? First, it cannot be said that Jesus did not know the time of the second coming as long as he dwelt in his mortal body, or that he spoke of experimental knowledge [cf. Orig. Pasch.]; for theologians do not commonly admit such an ignorance on the part of Christ, and the mere lack of experimental knowledge would not justify our Lord’s profession of ignorance. Secondly, some writers think that Jesus disclaimed his knowledge of the time of the last judgment, because he did not know this from himself, by virtue of his human nature, in a natural manner, by right of his humanity [cf. op. imp. Alb. Caj.], or because the work of creation and of providence, and therefore also the determination of the last day, belongs by appropriation at least to the Father [cf. Mald.]; thirdly, the more common opinion maintains that Jesus did not know the time of the second coming in his capacity as messenger to and teacher of man [cf. Tost. Lap.], so that his statement was calculated to prevent further inquiry concerning this point on the part of the disciples [cf. Acts 1:7].

38. Since the time of the second advent is so thoroughly unknown, it shall come wholly unexpected; as before the flood men were wholly absorbed in the life of this world, its pleasures and duties, without heeding the building of the ark and the preaching of Noe, so shall the last day find men wholly taken up with earthly thoughts and aspirations. Whether we may infer from this passage that there shall be a period of peace between the tribulations of antichrist and the last day in which the wicked will forget the lesson of the previous suffering [cf. Orig. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Br. Lap.], or may suppose that the continued bad life of the wicked is owing to the fact that only the good will suffer during the tribulations of antichrist [cf. Schegg, Schanz, Knab.; 1 Thess. 5:3], can hardly be determined.

40. The suddenness of the coming is further illustrated by the separation between men engaged in the same kind of labor: of two working in the field, of two turning the same millstone, one shall be gathered by the angels for the kingdom [cf. 1 Thess. 4:16], and the other shall be left for eternal punishment. According to travellers, the Oriental women even now turn the upper millstone with their right hand, passing its handle from one to the other, just as the female slaves did of old [cf. Ex. 11:5; Is. 47:2; Job 31:10; Eccles. 12:3]. The inference Jesus draws from all this is the need of extreme watchfulness; the suddenness of Christ’s coming is also urged in 1 Thess. 5:2.

43. But this know ye.] b. The goodman of the house. Jesus again urges the necessity of watchfulness by an argument “a minori ad maius,” calling attention to what a householder would do if he knew of the approach of thieves; the Greek text has here pluperfects, stating: “he would certainly have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken open” [cf. Caj. Lap.]. In a matter of infinitely more importance, the disciples must therefore be “ready,” i. e. in such a state of mind and heart that the angels may be able to gather them at any time into Christ’s kingdom.

45. Who thinkest thou.] c. The wise and the wicked servant. The same truth is inculcated first by the figure of a wise and faithful servant: from the “servant” we learn the kind of watchfulness that is needed; a “faithful” servant depends wholly on the will of his master, and does not seek his own advantage [Chrys.; cf. 1 Cor. 4:2]; a “wise servant” knows how to use the proper means in every particular service [cf. Chrys. Rom. 10:2; Mt. 10:16; 7:6]. “Whom his lord hath appointed over his family” denotes in the first place the apostles called to rule the Church of God; secondly, all the followers of the apostles in their office of governing, directing, teaching, and sanctifying the Church [cf. Orig. Chrys. Br. Caj. Lap.]; thirdly, all men, since all have received a certain amount of talents to trade with in the interest of the Master [cf. Mt. 25:21, 23]. The good servant, who is constant and persevering, is placed by the Lord “over all his goods,” so that he receives not only the highest dignity [cf. Chrys.], but will be honored by the Master according to the faithfulness and the prudence shown in his service [cf. Bed. Dan. 12:3]. “But if that evil servant” or if that servant be evil; “shall say in his heart,” or think within himself; “my lord is long in coming suggests that the second advent will not be early, and that some of the servants will become remiss on account of the delay [cf. 2 Pet. 3:4 ff.]. The wicked servant will show his carelessness in two ways: first in his injustice towards his charge, for he “shall begin to strike his fellow-servants”; secondly, in self-indulgence, for he “shall eat and drink with drunkards.” Instead of furnishing his charge with the necessaries of life, he gives them blows; instead of making them serve their common Master, he makes them drunkards [cf. Bed.].

50. The wicked servant intends to adjust his administration before the coming of the lord, but “the lord of that servant shall come in a day that he hopeth not, and at an hour that he knoweth not,” i. e. wholly unexpectedly; our very ignorance of the time of our Lord’s coming is therefore again urged as an argument for our constant readiness [cf. Chrys.]. “And shall separate him” alludes to the custom of Oriental rulers to split in two, or cut to pieces with the sword, the servant caught in his crime, not waiting for a formal trial [cf. Dan. 13:55; Orig. Caj. Schanz, Fil. Knab. etc.]. Then leaving his parabolic language, our Lord continues, “and appoint his portion with the hypocrites”; for professing a holy life, devoted to the service of the Master, the servant has really led a most wicked life [cf. Caj. op. imp.]. The state of punishment is described here as before [cf. 13:42]: “There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

1. Then shall the kingdom of heaven.] d. Parable of the ten virgins. In the preceding parables our Lord has warned us to be ready for his coming in a negative manner, i. e. by not living in the state of sin; now he adds two parables in which he describes the positive conditions of our readiness. “Then” refers to the time of the second advent and the subsequent judgment; “shall the kingdom of heaven be like” signifies here as before [cf. 13:24; 18:23; etc.], “then shall happen in the kingdom something like the event described in the following parable.” The number “ten” is used in the parable, not to indicate our five internal and five external senses [cf. Jer. Greg.], nor probably on account of the perfection of the number [cf. Dion.], nor on account of its expressing universality [cf. Thom. Jans. Mald. Lap. Schanz], but because the Jews often employed this number to denote an indefinite amount of individuals [cf. Lightfoot, ad h. l.; Gen. 31:7; Lev. 26:26; Num. 14:22; Lk. 19:13; Knab. etc.]. The “virgins” in the parable do not signify merely those that have kept their virginity [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Schanz], though it is true that the parable accidentally teaches the insufficiency of virginity alone; nor do the “virgins” symbolize the whole human race whether believing or unbelieving [cf. Jer. Hil.], for the unbelievers cannot be said to go to meet our Lord; but the word denotes all the believers in Christ [cf. op. imp. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Br. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Calm. Schegg, Aug. serm. 93, 2; Greg. hom. in ev. 12], for as Jesus is the bridegroom [cf. Mt. 9:25], so is the Church his bride [cf. Eph. 5:25 f.; 2 Cor. 11:2], including every believing soul.

Who taking their lamps” or torches made by winding rags about a piece of iron, and fastening it to a thick wooden staff; the oil was poured on the wick, the vessels containing the oil not forming part of the torch. The lamps and the oil signify not faith alone [cf. op. imp. Dion. Jans. Mald. Fil.], but either faith enlivened by good works [cf. Hil. Chrys. Orig.], or good works done with due charity [cf. Greg, the Great], or both external communion with the Church and internal participation of its supernatural life consisting in sanctifying grace [cf. Knab. Hil. Theoph. Br.]. “Went out” is not a mere proleptic expression to denote what the virgins did after the bridegroom’s coming was announced, nor does it refer to the respective homes of the ten virgins [cf. Jans.], but it implies a solemn procession either from the house of the bride to meet the bridegroom coming with his companions to fetch the bride, or from the house of the bridegroom to meet him on returning with the bride to his own house. Usually, the marriage feast took place in the house of the bridegroom [cf. Smith, B. D. s. v. marriage]. “To meet the bridegroom and the bride,” or as most Greek codd. and Method. Bas. Chrys. Dam. Aug. [serm. 93, 6; qu. 59 ex 83] read, “to meet the bridegroom,” a reading adopted by most recent commentators; if “the bride” be retained, the virgins must have awaited the procession on its way back to the house of the bridegroom. The bride may signify our Lord’s human nature [cf. Hil. Thom.], or the Church triumphant cf. Dion. Mald.]; Caj. rejects the latter view, because the coming of the bridegroom is verified at the hour of death in the case of every individual.

2. “Five of them were foolish” because they did not provide for the future [cf. Caj.], “and five wise” because they had taken the necessary precautions [cf. Jans.]. This is expressly set forth in the words of the evangelist: “the five foolish … did not take oil with them,” except what was actually in their lamps, so that they did not anticipate the possibility of a delay on the part of the bridegroom; similarly, the “wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps,” thus being prepared for the coming delay. “The bridegroom tarrying” indicates that Jesus will not come immediately [cf. Chrys. Jer. Pasch. Br. Thom. Jans. Mald.]; “they all slumbered,” or were heavy with sleep, since it was night-time. The sleep of the virgins cannot signify the state of tepidity [cf. Orig. op. imp. Keil], since the prudent virgins also slept [cf. Aug. Pasch.]; nor can it well signify the sleep of death [cf. Chrys. Hil. Jer. Aug. Greg. Euth. Bed. Pasch. Br. Thom. Dion. Jans. Lap. Arn.], since we cannot suppose that at the time of the second advent no men will be alive [cf. 24:30, 31]; the sleep has therefore been explained with greater probability as referring to the venial sins into which all men are constantly betrayed [cf. Caj.], or to the burden of our daily cares and anxieties [cf. Schegg, Schanz], or again to the state of forgetfulness of the Lord’s promised coming [cf. Mald. Fil. Knab.], or finally it has been regarded as a mere embellishment of the parable without any special meaning.

6. “And at midnight” shows again the extraordinary delay of the bridegroom, since usually the festivities occurred in the evening; parabolically, midnight either signifies the unexpectedness of the second advent [cf. Aug. serm. 93, 8; Br. Theoph. Caj. Jans. Mald.], or it shows that the Lord’s coming will happen in the night [cf. Chrys. Jer.]; the second view does not harmonize well with Mt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:15. “There was a cry made,” probably not by the companions of the bridegroom, but by the spectators; otherwise the foolish virgins could hardly have expected to buy their oil in time; in its parabolic meaning, this cry denotes the sound of the trumpet and the mighty voice of the angel. “Trimmed their lamps,” i. e. drew up the wick and replenished it with oil which had been almost wholly consumed while they slept. “Give us of your oil” is merely added to complete the parable, since in the last day there can be no question of such a petition on the part of the wicked; it shows, however, the tardy repentance of the sinners [cf. Lap. Knab.]. The answer of the wise virgins shows that no one can expect to be saved by the merits of his neighbor [cf. Jer. Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Dion. Jans.]. “Lest perhaps there be not enough” implies that even the just shall have to fear the divine judgment, though they be not conscious of great sins [cf. 1 Pet. 4:18; 1 Cor. 4:3; Br. Pasch. Alb. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald.]. “Whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came,” so that the time for penance is over at the time of the second advent [cf. Jn. 9:4; Jer. Pasch.]. “They that were ready went in with him,” according to the intention of both bridegroom and virgins [cf. Pasch.]. “The marriage” is the feast described in Apoc. 19:7, 9.

11. “At last come also the other virgins,” according to the parable, though the wicked will certainly never return to the gates of heaven; but the greatness of their loss is indicated by their pleading, “Lord, lord, open to us,” while the irreparability of their fate is shown by the words of the bridegroom, “I know you not.” The bridegroom knows only those united to him by the bond of sanctifying grace [cf. Rom. 6:3; Jn. 15:4; Col. 2:19]. Jer. warns us not to exceed the bounds of sound interpretation in explaining the parable: we cannot, e.g., infer from the five wise and the five foolish virgins that only one half of the believers will be saved [cf. Caj.]; nor must we seek a special meaning for the vessel in which the virgins carried their oil, nor for those that sold the oil [cf. Knab.]. The lesson inculcated by the parable is stated with impressive earnestness: “Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.” Our ignorance of the time of our Lord’s coming is therefore most useful, because it is calculated to keep us watchful and attentive in our supernatural life [cf. Chrys.].

14. For even as a man.] e. Parable of the talents. According to the third gospel [Lk. 19:12–26] Jesus proposed a parable of talents in Jericho. Mald. thinks that the first evangelist, according to his topical arrangement, transferred the parable to its present context; but the parables of Matthew and Luke are so different in several points that Chrys. Jans. Lap. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab. regard them as distinct. St. Matthew’s parable teaches us how to prepare for the coming of the Lord, by making proper use of the talents intrusted to us. “For even as” introduces the parable, but there is no corresponding apodosis; the latter may be easily supplied thus: “so shall it be in the kingdom of heaven.” “A man going into a far country” represents our Lord ascending into heaven [cf. Theod. her. in cat.; Theoph. op. imp. Cyr. Caj. Calm. Lap.], for he thus absented himself, as it were, after leaving his spiritual treasures to be administered by his servants. The value of the talent has been considered in connection with 18:24. The “servants” are in the first place all those intrusted with the government, teaching, and sanctification of the Church [cf. Sever. in cat. Euth. Theoph. Orig. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Schanz]; secondly, all men that have received certain supernatural gifts and graces from God [cf. Thom. Jans. Arn. Fil.]; thirdly, all men in so far as they have received certain natural gifts of body, soul, fortune, etc. [Chrys. Greg. Jer. Pasch. Jans. Mald. Lap. Calm.].

15. The “talents” have been variously explained: Hil. sees in the three classes the Jewish Christians, the Gentile Christians, and the unbelieving Jews; Jer. refers the five talents to our five senses, the two talents to our intellect and good works, and the one talent to our intellect alone [cf. Pasch. Greg. hom. 9 in evang.]; Alb. sees in the five talents human nature, grace, knowledge, power, and wealth; in the two talents, nature and grace; in the one talent, nature alone [cf. Tost. qu. 131 in c. xxv.]. “To every one according to his proper ability” probably serves only to complete the parable according to what usually happens among men, without having any parabolic meaning as to our spiritual life. For if the talents be taken in their most general signification, they include the “proper ability”; if they be taken in the meaning of supernatural gifts, the latter are not distributed either according to the natural endowments of the subject, nor according to his coöperation with the preceding grace; for, in the first place, our coöperation also belongs to the talents, and in the second place, God is always perfectly free in the distribution of his grace [cf. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Caj. Hil. Theoph. Euth.]. It may, however, be maintained that the talents, in so far as they refer to the “gratiæ gratis datæ” and to our state of life, are distributed according to the disposition of the subject, at least in the ordinary way of divine providence [cf. Lap.].

Immediately,” if construed as in our text, shows that the lord did not determine the manner in which the servants were to use their talents; if taken with the following sentence [cf. Cyr. etc.], it indicates the readiness with which the first servant went to trade with his talents. The gain of 100% cannot surprise us according to Marquardt [2:7] and Janssen [Geschichte des deutschen Volkes, 1878, i. pp. 390 ff.]. “He that had received the one … hid his lord’s money,” which was evidently against the wishes of the lord, since one servant might have kept the money of the lord in this way; in the spiritual life we hide the Lord’s talent, if we receive his grace in vain [cf. 2 Cor. 6:2], if we do not use God’s gifts either for our own or our neighbor’s advantage [cf. Hil. Br.], if finally we employ God’s gifts only for temporal advantages [cf. Greg. Theoph. Bed.].

19. “After a long time” indicates again the delay of our Lord, but also admonishes us that in his reckoning with us he will judge us according to our opportunities in life [cf. Greg.]. The first servant approaches the lord with confidence; but he begins by mentioning the number of talents intrusted to him, to show that his gain is ultimately due to the lord’s generosity [cf. op. imp. Mald.], and then states the number of talents acquired in trading, because the lord expects a profit proportionate to the talents received [cf. Jans.]. “Because thou hast been faithful over a few things” forms a transition from the parable to the truth taught by it; for an earthly lord would hardly call five talents “a few things,” while they are “few” compared with the heavenly goods and joys [1 Cor. 2:9; Knab.]. “Enter thou,” as we enter into what is much greater than we; “into the joy of thy lord,” or the blessedness of God himself [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Thom. Caj.]. The second servant approaches the lord with the same confidence as the first, he gives his account with the same humility, he is praised in the same terms, and receives the same reward. God does not recompense the external splendor or success of the work, but the servant’s faithfulness and industry [cf. Jer. Pasch. Jans.; 1 Cor. 3:8].

24. “He that had received the one talent” was guilty of idleness, and since he felt guilty, he broke forth into abuse of the lord instead of humbly conciliating him [cf. Jer. Bed. etc.]. “Thou art a hard man,” though not an unjust one; the servant refers here to the principle that whatever grows on a man’s field is his property, no matter who has cultivated and sown the field. “Where thou hast not strewed,” is by some explained as meaning “where thou hast not winnowed” [cf. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Weiss, Keil], though the Greek word does not have the latter meaning in any known passage, and the alleged tautology is in keeping with the Hebrew idiom. “And being afraid” to lose the talent in trading, and to receive a severe punishment for the loss, “I went and hid thy talent in the earth.” The idle servant thus endeavors to show that his manner of acting had been most prudent. “His lord answering” calls the servant first “wicked,” because he has dared to accuse his master of hardness; secondly, “slothful,” because his sloth has been the real cause of not trading with the intrusted talent; thirdly, he says, “thou knewest that I reap where I sow not …” For without admitting the truth of the servant’s charges, he urges an “argumentum ad hominem” against him. Fourthly, he indicates the simplest and safest manner in which he might have employed the talent, and in which he ought to have used it, if his charge of hardness were true. This does not imply that this manner of trading would have been the best or most profitable one. Fifthly, the lord disposes of the talent that had not been used: “Take ye away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him that hath ten talents.” It is true that man deprives himself of many future graces by neglecting those that God offers him, and God may call others to repentance, while he permits the former to fall deeper and deeper [cf. Calm.]; but it is clear that the same grace is not taken from the one and given to the other, so that this part of the parable expresses merely what one would expect the lord of the servant to do [cf. Mald.].

Similarly we reject the reference of the words, “For to every one that hath …” to the judgment, since in the judgment no one receives any new merits; they may be understood of this world, in which the faithful coöperator with grace receives new graces, consolations, and other spiritual helps [cf. Knab.]; according to Greg. they refer to charity, which brings the other gifts with it, but without which the other spiritual gifts are useless; according to Jer. Bed. Pasch. they refer in the same manner to faith and a sincerely good will; according to Mald. to sanctifying grace. In the sixth place, the lord disposes of the wicked and slothful servant: “the unprofitable servant cast ye out into the exterior darkness” [cf. 5:29 ff.; 8:12; 13:42; 18:9; 22:13; 24:51].

The Fathers and commentators note here several points: the servant is thus punished for mere neglect of the good he was expected to do [cf. Chrys. Aug. serm. 339, 4; Greg.]; he neglected to trade with only one talent [cf. Jans. Lap.]; he did not lose the talent, but restored it entire to his lord [cf. Aug. in Ps. 38:4]. What, then, must those expect that lose their talent, that neglect many talents, that add positively evil deeds to their neglect? Clem. of Alex. Orig. Chrys. Jer. Schegg, Fil. etc. refer the unwritten expression “be ye prudent bankers” to this parable; but Hom. Clem. [ii. 51; iii. 50; xviii. 20], Clem. of Alex. [Strom. ii. 4, 15; vi. 10, 81; vii. 15, 90; cf. Resch, Agrapha, Leipzig, 1889, pp. 121 ff.] explain the foregoing expression of the prudent choice between good and bad, between truth and falsehood, while Orig. Jer. Chrys. Cyr. of Alex. [cf. Resch, l. c. pp. 119 f.], Cassian [collat. i. c. 20; cf. coll. ii. c. 9] refer it to 1 Thess. 5:21, 22.

31. And when the Son of man.] 5. The last judgment. After the parables concerning the uncertainty of its time, Jesus now describes the judgment itself [cf. Alb.]. a. Gathering and separation. “The Son of man” shall be the judge, according to Dan. 7:13; Jn. 5:27. “In his majesty” denotes the glory with which Jesus shall come again to fulfil his duty of judge. “All the angels” shall form his heavenly court [cf. 1 Thess. 1:7], shall be his servants and ministers even as they served him in his state of humiliation [cf. Deut. 33:2; Zach. 14:5], and shall be the witnesses at the last trial just as many of the angels were the witnesses of men’s virtues and vices [cf. Chrys.]. “Then” emphasizes the opposition between the time of Christ’s glory and that of his humiliation. “Shall he sit,” because it was customary for the judge to sit, for the parties to stand [cf. Ps. 9:5, 8]. “The seat of his majesty” may be a bright cloud such as appeared on his ascending into heaven [cf. Acts 1:9, 11; Mald.], or it may be formed by the angels that are called thrones, or by the virtues of the saints, or by the Church [cf. Orig. op. imp. Bed. Grimm]. “All nations” does not exclude Christians [cf. Hilgenf. Weizs. Volkm. Keim], nor is it limited to Christians alone [cf. Lact. Instit. vii. 20; Jer. Euth. Grimm, Weiss], but it extends to all peoples [cf. Chrys. Bed. Thom. Mald. Lap. Arn. Schanz, Fil. Knab.]; all nations is more expressive than all men, for it distinctly points to the vast numbers of different peoples with their national peculiarities and glory. “He shall set” by a process of division between good and bad that shall then take place. “The sheep “agrees with the name “good shepherd” [cf. Ez. 34:23]; the good are called sheep on account of their meekness and patience [cf. op. imp.], their simplicity and innocence [cf. Br.], their usefulness and obedience [cf. Alb. Thom.], their fertility and generally pleasant character [cf. Jans. Lap.]; “the goats” signify the bad on account of their sterility and uselessness [cf. Chrys. Theoph. Hil.], their lust and uncleanness [cf. Jer. Euth. Pasch. op. imp. Alb. Jans. Lap.], and because the sin-offerings of the Old Law consisted of goats [cf. Lam.]. The “right hand” indicates the place of honor [cf. Gen. 48:13; 3 Kings 2:19; Ps. 44:10; 109:1; Eccles. 10:2; etc.].

The theological opinions concerning the valley of Josaphat as the place of the last judgment may be found in Suar. [in 3am p. qu. 59, disp. 53, sect. 2], and in Katschthaler [Eschatologia, p. 383]. There is no proof for this view in Sacred Scripture, since the name Josaphat [valley “God is judge”] in Joel 3:2 is symbolic like the other name, “valley of destruction,” in Joel 3:14. Cyr. [in Joel, l. c.] refers to the opinion as a Jewish fable, and Orig. and Pasch. think that our Lord will appear in judgment by a manner of ubiquitous presence.

b. Sentence of the blessed. “The king” shall first address them “that shall be on his right hand,” both to honor them, and because he is more ready to bless than to condemn. “Blessed of my Father,” i. e. rendered blessed by the benefits of my Father; “possess you,” or according to the Greek text “possess by inheritance,” because they are adoptive sons of God and therefore coheirs with Christ [cf. Rom. 8:17; Mt. 5:5; 19:29; Chrys.]. Though the election of the blessed happened from all eternity [cf. Eph. 1:4; 1 Pet. 1:20], their “kingdom” or abode of eternal happiness was not prepared till the “foundation of the world” [cf. Knab.], so that we cannot adopt the reading of Orig. [in cat.] and Chrys. “before the foundation of the world.” The judge shall immediately add the reason of the happy lot of the blessed, showing by different examples the good works they have practised. The examples are not chosen with a view of securing for the apostles the assistance of the faithful [cf. Schegg], nor do they enumerate all the most painful forms of suffering [cf. Reischl], but they insist on the duty of fraternal charity among the members of the Messianic kingdom. That Jesus chose his examples properly is clear; for first, he made the law of fraternal charity preëminently his commandment [cf. Jn. 13:35; Chrys. Euth. Mald.]; secondly, our love for the neighbor shows our love for God [1 Jn. 4:20], and is the fulness of the law [cf. Gal. 5:14; Rom. 13:8]; thirdly, in the public judgment those reasons should be specially urged that affect the public good of the community [cf. Jans. Lap.]; fourthly, since man is naturally inclined to help his fellow man in suffering, Jesus may be said to have enumerated the easier duties, thus showing that even their fulfilment will not remain without its proper reward [cf. Thom.].

37. “Then shall the just answer” fits in with the human manner in which the judgment is described; Jans. and Lap. think that only the sentence will be uttered in a sensible manner; Thom. and Alb. are of opinion that all will be accomplished by an inner illumination, revealing in a moment to every one his own merits and demerits as well as those of all other men, together with the appropriate judgment [cf. Aug. De. civ. dei, xx. 14; Pasch.]. The question, “When did we see thee hungry” does not betray an ignorance of the words of Christ on the part of the blessed [cf. Mald.], but shows their deep-felt humility [cf. Orig. op. imp. Bed. Rab. Pasch. Thom.], and their astonishment at the greatness of the reward [cf. Alb. Lap.], while it confirms the truth that the reward is given not only after the good works, but also on their account [cf. Mald.]. Christ’s answer urges us on to works of charity: “as long as you did it,” or in so far as you did it, “to one of these,” not of the apostles only [cf. Schegg], but of “my least brethren,” however poor and suffering [cf. Chrys. Hil. Theoph.]; charitable acts done to the more prominent brethren of Christ are not excluded by this [cf. Orig. Thom.]; “you did it to me” [cf. Mt. 10:40], because first you did it for love of me [cf. Pasch.], secondly, you did it to the members of my mystical body [cf. 1 Cor. 6:15; Acts 9:4; 22:7; 26:14], and thirdly, you did it to my brethren and my sisters [cf. Mt. 12:50; Thom.].

41. Then he shall say.] c. Sentence of the cursed. “Depart from me” expresses the separation from God and all that is good, and since the words of God are effective, they produce what they signify [cf. Heb. 4:12]. “You cursed” is in striking opposition to the former sentence “you blessed”; but the blessing came from the Father, while the curse is owing to the malice of the sinners themselves. “Into everlasting fire” signifies, in the first place, a real external cause that will afflict the condemned souls, since it is the same fire that was prepared for the devil and his angels; secondly, since the words form part of the judicial sentence, they must describe the punishment of the wicked as truly as it can be described in human language; thirdly, since our Lord and his inspired writers speak of the eternal mansions, and the marriage feast of the Lamb [cf. Jn. 14:2; Apoc. 19:2], though these words must be understood in an analogical sense, we may also suppose that the fire of hell, though true fire, is analogous to that on earth, and this the more because qualities are attributed to hell-fire which are foreign to all earthly fire [cf. Cornely in 1 Cor. pp. 88 ff.]; fourthly, the opinions of the Fathers concerning the material fire of hell may be seen in Suar. [De angel. viii. 12], Petavius [De angel. iii. 4], Bautz [Die Hölle, Mainz, 1882, pp. 99 f.], Jer. [in Is. 66:24], Aug. [De civ. dei, xxi. 10].

42. The reason for the condemnation is the neglect of that fraternal charity for the exercise of which the good are so abundantly recompensed. The facility of the good omitted [cf. Chrys.] together with the malice of the evil done [op. imp.] are causes that render the punishment especially painful. The answer of the wicked in its eloquent brevity enumerates the various omissions as concisely as possible, thus showing their consciousness of guilt [cf. Caj.] and their general despair of effecting anything good. Since it cannot be supposed that the divine judge will thus reason with the condemned, as if their words could be of any weight, it is clear that here as before the words of the gospel show in a human way what principle will guide the judge in his final sentence, in order that we may prepare ourselves accordingly. Jesus here again identifies himself with the least of his brethren, a spirit that was minutely copied in the life of St. Paul [cf. Pasch.].

46. Finally, after the promulgation of the sentence and its justification in the eyes of the whole world, both sinners and saints shall begin their life of everlasting retribution. The doubt that might have existed concerning the meaning of the former passage, i. e. whether the fire was to be everlasting for the devil and his angels only, or also for men, is now clearly settled: the fire of the condemned will be as everlasting as the life of the just [cf. Theoph. Deut. 30:15, 19]. The name “life” for the dwelling in heaven alludes to the relation of sin to death [cf. Rom. 5:12; 1 Cor. 15:22]; even the Old Testament employs the same language [cf. Dan. 12:2; Wisd. 5:15; 2 Mach. 7:14]. The Rabbis distinguish life eternal for the pious, hell for the wicked, and a short stay in hell for the mediocre [cf. Schöttgen, Wünsche]. Just. [c. Tryph. c. 47] and Clement of Alexandria [Quis div. salv. 40; cf. Anger, l. c. 206, 274] addnce some of our Lord’s words from the apocryphal gospels in explaining the foregoing passage. We have here only the general sentence of the just and unjust, not the individual award of happiness and misery [cf. Jer. 17:10].

δ. History of the Passion and Resurrection, 26–28:15

1. THE SACRED PASSION, 26, 27

1.] The Preparation, 26:1–46

1. And it came to pass.] The history of the passion as told by St. Matthew contains three parts: 1. The preparation; 2. the passion; 3. the immediate effects of the passion. The preparation again contains three sections: a.] The preparation of the enemies, Mt. 26:1–16; b.] the preparation of the apostles, 26:17–35; c.] the preparation of Jesus himself, 26:36–46. The second part, containing the history of the passion proper, is also divided into three parts: a.] The capture of Jesus, 26:47–56; b.] the trial of Jesus, both ecclesiastical and civil, 26:57–75; 27:1–26; c.] the execution, 27:27–50. The third part of the history of the passion, containing its immediate effects, relates events a.] in nature, 27:51; b.] in the realm of the dead, 27:52, 53; c.] and in that of the living [executioners, friends, and enemies], 27:54–66.

1. Preparation for the passion. a.] On the part of the enemies of our Lord. a. Introduction. [1] Throughout the history of the preparation St. Matthew emphasizes the fact that Jesus suffered with full foreknowledge, and therefore freely. Jesus foretells his crucifixion in v. 2, his burial in v. 12, his betrayal in vv. 21 ff., the shedding of his blood in v. 28, the scandal of the apostles and the denial of Peter in vv. 31 ff.; he freely submits to the chalice of his passion in vv. 39 ff., he definitely announces the approach of the enemies in v. 46. The Jewish converts cannot, therefore, have supposed that Jesus suffered by constraint. It is with a view to prevent this impression that the evangelist begins the present section with the precise prediction of Christ’s passion, and of its date and nature, a prediction uttered by Jesus two days before the pasch.

[2] The time of the prediction is determined by the words “when Jesus had ended all these words.” Thom. Bed. Mald. Bisp. Palma, Alf. etc. explain “these words” as referring to all Jesus had said during his public life, so that the clause forms a transition from the office of Teacher to that of Redeemer; Lamy, Keil, etc. apply “these words” to what Jesus had spoken after his solemn entrance into Jerusalem [Mt. 21:12 ff.]; Fil. to what is contained in Mt. 23–25; Pasch. Arn. Weiss to the prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world, 24:25; judging from a similar expression of the evangelist in 7:28; 11:1; 13:53; 19:1, “these words” applies to what has passed in the last few days [Knab.].

[3] The time at which the passion will happen is the pasch; the word “pasch,” Hebrew פֶּסַח, Aramaic פַּסְחָא from the verb פָּסַח, to pass over, signifies the Passover, i. e. the circumstance that the angel who slew the firstborn of the Egyptians passed over the houses of the Israelites [cf. Ex. 12:23, 27]. It was in the night of this passage, and later on in commemoration of this merciful event, that the pasch was immolated and eaten, so that the day of the pasch was the fourteenth day of Nisan [cf. Ex. 12:3 ff., 21; 2 Par. 30:15, 17; 35:1, 6; 30:18; Ex. 12:48; Num. 9:4; Deut. 16:1; Jos. 5:10; 4 Kings 23:21; Lev. 23:5; Num. 28:16; 33:3; Jos. 5:10, 11]. In a wider sense, the name “pasch” was extended to the seven days of the unleavened bread, which began on the fifteenth of Nisan [Deut. 16:2, 3; Jos. Antiq. XIV. ii. 1; XVII. ix. 3; B. J. II. i. 3; VI. ix. 3], and vice versa, the name “days of the unleavened bread,” or “of the Azymes,” was extended to the preceding day, which was properly “the pasch” [Jos. Antiq. II. xv. 1]. Since Jesus was crucified on Friday [Mk. 15:42; Lk. 23:54; Jn. 19:31], and taken prisoner on Thursday evening, “two days” before the pasch of which the evangelist speaks brings us to Tuesday evening. Whether this was the eleventh or the twelfth day of Nisan depends on the interpretation of verse 17, i. e. on the solution of the question whether Jesus celebrated the pasch on the thirteenth or the fourteenth of Nisan.

[4] It is not probable that the clause “and the son of man shall be delivered up” depends on the conjunction “that”; though Jesus had foretold his passion several times before [cf. Mt. 16:21; 20:18], there is no sign that the apostles had become acquainted with the exact day of the coming passion. Notice also the striking parallelism which Jesus establishes between his suffering and the immolation of the pasch, and the no less striking opposition between the day determined by Jesus and the following decree of his enemies.

3. Then were gathered together.] β. The council. In this section the evangelist describes the time, the place, the members, and the resolutions of the council.

[1] The time is indicated by “then,” which points to the time at which Jesus predicted his passion to the apostles. It is true that the enemies had thought of killing Jesus several times before: cf. Mt. 12:14; Mk. 3:6; after the resuscitation of Lazarus they had formally decreed his death [Jn. 11:47–53]. But after that time, Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph, had taught with the greatest effect in the temple, and had especially pronounced on that very day the most formidable denunciations against them [Mt. 21:23 ff., 46; 22:23]. It was, therefore, but natural that the enemies should try under these circumstances to do away with their dreaded opponent. Ancient tradition says that the council was held on Wednesday, on which day the Christians used to fast in honor of this event; cf. Aug. ep. 36, 30 [al. 86]; Theoph. ad Marc. xiv. 1; Clem. Alex. Stromat. vii. 12; Orig. hom. x; in Lev. n. 2; 2 Cels. vii. 21; Tert. de ieiun. c. 2, 10, 13, 14; ad uxor. ii. 4; de orat. c. 19, 23; de fug. in persec. c. 1; de coron. milit. c. 11; Constit. apost. v. 15, 20; vii. 23; Canon. 69 [al. 68]; Ret. Alex. can. 15; Past. Herm. i. 3, simil. 5, c. 1 [cf. Kirchenlexicon, ed. Kaulen, iv. p. 1269]. Hence Dion. Jans. Mald. Lap. Knab. etc. place the council, on Wednesday.

[2] The persons that assembled are, according to the first gospel, the chief priests and ancients, while Mk. 14:1 and Lk. 22:2 substitute the “scribes” instead of the ancients. Regarding the chief priests and scribes, see 2:4; concerning the ancients, see 21:23; 16:21; these latter were those members of the Sanhedrin that did not belong to either the chief priests or the scribes. At any rate, the evangelists name all the classes that constituted the Sanhedrin. It may be difficult to trace the history of this body of men, but the following are at least allusions to what must have developed into the Sanhedrin. In Num. 11:16 Moses elects seventy ancients to share the burden of his office; the ancients appear again in 3 Kings 8:1; 4 Kings 23:1; Ezech. 14:1; 20:1. In Deut. 17:8 ff.; 19:16 ff.; 2 Par. 19:8 there is question of a supreme court in Jerusalem, but the body has no legislative or executive power. During the Persian period this court can hardly have been very powerful: cf. Esdr. 5:5, 9; 6:7, 14; 1:8; 2 Esdr. 2:16; 4:8, 13; 5:7; 7:5. But it is certain that there existed an aristocratic γερουσία at the time of Antiochus the Great [223–187 B. C.]: cf. Jos. Antiq. XII. iii. 3; 1 Mach. 12:6; 11:23; 12:35; 13:36; 14:20, 28; 7:33; 2 Mach. 1:10; 4:44; 11:27; Judith 4:8; 11:14; 15:8; Jos. Antiq. XIII. xvi. 5. When Pompey took Jerusalem [63 B. C.], the monarchical form of authority was abolished, but the high priest retained a προστασία τοῦ ἔθνους [Jos. Antiq. xx. 10]. Gabinius [57–55 B. C.] instituted five Sanhedrin, the seats of four of which were Jerusalem, Gazara, Jericho, and Gadara; they appear to have been juridical assemblies, so that the religious Sanhedrin at Jerusalem must have been limited in power [cf. Jos. Antiq. XIV. v. 4]. Cæsar [47 B. C.] made Hyrcanus II. ethnarch of the Jews, so that the power of the Jerusalem assembly extended again over Galilee [Jos. Antiq. XIV. ix. 3–5]; the next fact we learn is that Herod massacred the members of the Sanhedrin in 37 B. C. [Antiq. XIV. ix. 4; XV. i. 2]. Archelaus reigned only over Judea and Samaria, so that the political authority of the Sanhedrin was again contracted to these narrow limits; but it increased in intensity, so that about the time of our Lord it is represented as the highest judiciary authority [Mt. 5:22; 26:59; Mk. 14:55; 15:1; Lk. 22:66; Jn. 11:47; Acts 4:15; 5:21 ff.; 6:12 ff.; 22:30; 23:1 ff.; 24:20]. After the destruction of Jerusalem attempts were made to restore the Sanhedrin at Jabne, at Tiberias, etc., but in fact the institution disappeared [cf. Schürer, History of the Jewish People, II. i. pp. 163–173].

The Sanhedrin was composed not only of scribes, as the Rabbis would have it, who are in this point opposed by the testimony of Sacred Scripture and of Josephus, but also of the aristocratic Sadducees belonging mainly to the priesthood, and of the Pharisaic leaders. Though Josephus [Antiq. XIV. ix. 4; XV. i. 2] testifies that Herod put 45 members of the Sanhedrin to death, we may conclude from the Mishna, from Num. 11:16, from the number of elders appointed by Josephus himself in Galilee [B. J. II. xx. 5], and from the tribunal established by the zealots in Jerusalem [B. J. IV. v. 4], that the Sanhedrin consisted of 70 or 71 members. They seem to have been chosen by the civil power and by the votes of the Sanhedrin itself, to have been admitted to office by the imposition of hands, and to have held their office for life. The grades of the Sanhedrists are expressed in various ways: the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders; the chief priests, and the scribes; the chief priests, and the elders; the chief priests, and the whole Sanhedrin [cf. Schürer, l. c. pp. 174–179].

Nor is there agreement as to the president of the institution: the Rabbis confer this dignity on a prominent scribe, while Sacred Scripture and the writings of Josephus make the high priest president of the Sanhedrin. The prominent scribes may have been the heads of their party in the assembly. At the time of our Lord, the civil power of the Sanhedrin was confined to the eleven toparchies of Judea, but their religious authority must have extended even to the Jews of the dispersion [cf. Acts 9:2]. On the whole, it appears to have been rather a home-government as distinct from the Roman, than a religious power as distinct from the civil.

Though the usual days of meeting were Monday and Thursday in case of the local courts, nothing is certain about the time of the Sanhedrin’s meetings. Still, there were no regular meetings on feast-days and on the Sabbath, and since the sentence of death had to be pronounced the day after the trial, no capital cases could be tried on the eve of the Sabbath [Schürer, II. i. pp. 180–190]. As to the place of meeting, there is again a discrepancy between the Mishna and Josephus: the former places the Gazith inside the temple court, while the latter locates it near the Xystus, on its temple side [cf. B. J. V. iv. 2; II. xvi. 3; Middoth, v. 4; Sanhedrin, xi. 2; etc.]. The members of the court sat in a semicircle, so that they might be able to see one another. In front of them stood the two clerks of the court, one on the right hand and the other on the left, whose duty it was to record the favorable votes on the one hand and the unfavorable ones on the other. There also sat, in front of them, three rows of disciples, every one having his seat assigned to him. The prisoner was always required to appear in an humble attitude and dressed in mourning. In capital trials all was calculated to favor the accused: the reasons for him must be heard first, no one could speak against him after speaking in his favor, the disciples present might speak in his behalf, a favorable sentence could be pronounced on the day of the trial, an unfavorable one only the day after; the voting began with the youngest, for an acquittal a simple majority was sufficient, while for condemnation a majority of two was required, etc. [cf. Schürer, l. c. pp. 190–195].

[3] The place of the assembly is determined by the words “into the court of the high priest.” Whether “the court” is taken in the sense of house, palace, or of yard [cf. Schanz, Holtzmann, Fricdlieb, Fil. Keil, Weiss], it does not express the usual place of the Sanhedrin’s meeting. “The court” belonged to the residence of the high priest, whose real name was Josephus, but whose surname was Caiphas [from כֵּיפָא, rock, or כַיְפָא depression, or again קיית; cf. Schürer, l. c. p. 199; Josephus, Antiq. XVIII. ii. 2; iv. 3]. Caiphas had been appointed high priest by Valerius Gratus, and remained in office till deposed by Vitellius [18–36 A. D.].

[4] The members of the Sanhedrin took two principal resolutions in the meeting reported by the evangelist: In a previous assembly [Jn. 11:49; cf. Dion. Caj. Jans.], they had decreed the death of our Lord, and now they add “that by subtilty they might apprehend Jesus,” confirming their former resolution to “put him to death.” Secondly, they resolve that this is not to be done “on the festival day,” not as if they intended to do it before [Neander, Hausr.], nor as if only the day of the solemn feast were to be excluded [Wieseler], but the whole feast is meant, from the first day of Azymes to the end of the octave [Jans. Schegg, Fil. etc.]. The reason for this second resolution is not the fear of God, or a prohibition of judicial work on the feast, but the fear of the multitudes whose enthusiasm they had witnessed on the preceding Sunday.

6. And when Jesus was in Bethania.] γ. The scandal. In this section we must study the circumstances of the incident, the identity of the woman, the behavior of the disciples, and the words of our Lord.

[1] The circumstances may be reduced to place and time. [a] The place was in Bethania, in the house of Simon the leper, thus called either because he himself had suffered from leprosy and had been cured, perhaps by Jesus, or because this name attached to the family, a less probable supposition. Bethany [house of dates] is the village of Martha and Lazarus, a mile and a half from Jerusalem, on the way to Jericho, near the Mount of Olives [cf. Lk. 10:38–42; Jn. 11:1, 18].

[b] The time of the incident is involved in greater difficulties. Each of the four gospels records an anointing of our Lord while at table: Mk. 14:3–9 is clearly parallel to the present passage of the first gospel; but it is asked whether the anointing told by Jn. 12:1–11 and Lk. 7:38 is identical with the one we are now considering.

Opinions. i. The rationalistic view, that there was only one anointing which has been told differently by the evangelists according to the different variations of tradition, is not worth refuting.

ii. Hengstenberg and Faillon defend that there was only one anointing, which happened in Bethany, in the house of the Pharisee, Simon the leper, six days before the pasch. They appeal to the identity of circumstances in the four reports of the evangelists as providing the identity of the incident. (1) According to the gospels the anointing was done by a woman, while Jesus was at table in the house of Simon; (2) the ointment is brought in an alabaster box, the action of the woman scandalizes those present, and is defended by our Lord; (3) besides, this anointing is a sign of the highest reverence and the greatest love if it happened only once, but becomes affectation if it was repeated [cf. Corluy, in Joh. c. xi. diss. præv. p. 265 f.].

iii. A third class of authors is by no means convinced by the foregoing arguments; they rather contend that there were three different anointings, the first of which is told in Lk. 7:37–46, the second in Jn. 12:3–8, the third in Mt. 26:6–13 and Mk. 14:3–9. (1) Orig. Aug. Euth. appear to favor this view, though Mald. speaks of Orig. as admitting four different women anointing Jesus. The arguments are based on the difference of circumstances accompanying the accounts in the four gospels. (2) The first anointing took place in Galilee, probably in Naim [Lk. 7:11]; the second in Bethany, in the house of Martha, six days before the pasch [Jn. 12:2]; the third also in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, two days before the pasch [Mt. 26:2; Mk. 14:1]. (3) Again, in the first anointing the woman mingles her tears and kisses with the ointment, Simon alone is scandalized in thought, Jesus defends himself rather than the woman, the disciples are not mentioned; at the second anointing there is no mention of tears and kisses, Judas is the murmurer against whom Jesus defends the woman, while neither Simon the Pharisee nor the sins of the woman are mentioned. The first anointing must therefore be distinct from the second. (4) Similarly the distinction between the first and the third anointing is proved: in the first, the feet alone are anointed, and Simon the Pharisee is the host, while in the third, only the head is anointed, and Simon the leper is the host, because no Pharisee would have communed with Jesus a few days before his death. (5) Finally, the second and the third anointing are distinct, because in the one case the feet only are anointed and wiped with the hair of Mary, while in the other the head is anointed, and the disciples murmur instead of Judas alone.

iv. Others again maintain that there were only two distinct anointings, the first of which happened probably in Galilee, and is told by St. Luke, the second happened six days before the pasch in Bethany, and is told by the other three evangelists. (1) Chrys. and Jer. admit two anointings, though Chrys. regards the accounts of the synoptists as referring to the same event. Ambr. Aug. Bed. Mald. identify the two Simons that occur in the history of the anointings, but they distinguish the anointings [cf. Schanz]. (2) This opinion evidently implies two points: first, that the anointing of Jn. 12:1–11 is identical with that of Mt. 26:6–13 and Mk. 14:3–9; secondly, that the anointing told in Lk. 7:36 is distinct from the preceding. (3) The first point follows from the same murmuring against the action of the woman and the same defence of Jesus, while the anointing of the feet told by St. John does not exclude the anointing of the head told by the first and second evangelist. Besides, these latter place the meeting of the Sanhedrin, but not the anointing, on the second day before the pasch, so that the anointing may have taken place on the sixth day, as St. John has it. (4) That the anointing told in the third gospel [Lk. 7:37–46] is distinct from the anointing related in the other three gospels follows first from the difference of place [Galilee and Bethany], then from the absence of the sinner in the account of the three gospels, thirdly from the difference of the discontented party [Simon in the one case, Judas or the disciples in the other], finally from the circumstance that no valid argument has been advanced against the distinction of these two anointings. (5) The name Simon was so common that it does not imply the identity of the host in the two events, and there is no repugnance in our Lord’s having his feet anointed twice, either by the same person is no repugnance in our Lord’s having his feet anointed twice, either by the same person or by two different persons [cf. Corluy, in Joh. pp. 267 ff.]. We must therefore place this event six days before the pasch, in accordance with the narrative of the fourth gospel.

7. There came to him a woman.] [2] The woman. The fourth gospel is more definite in the description of the events [Jn. 12:3]: “Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair.” Concerning the alabaster box or vase, see Suidas and Herod. iii. 20. It was the usual cruse or pot for ointment, with a long, narrow neck, and sealed at the top. According to Pliny, the ointment kept best in these cruses. As to the nature of the ointment, see Mk. 14:3; Jn. 12:3. The first gospel does not describe “the woman” more accurately, because she must have been well known in the early Palestinian church. St. John identifies her with Mary the sister of Lazarus. Hence the question arises, is Mary the sister of Lazarus the same as Mary Magdalene and the sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Galilee [Lk. 7:38]? [Cf. Acta Sanctorum, Jul. t. v. pp. 187 f.; Faillon, Monuments inédits sur l’apostolat de S. Marie-Madeleine, Paris, 1865, i. pp. 1–283; Corluy, Comm. in Joh. c. xi. Gandavi, 1880, pp. 263–279; etc.]

[a] Though the Greeks celebrate three different feasts [March 31, of the sinful woman; March 18, of the sister of Lazarus; July 22, of Mary Magdalene] of these women, (α) their menologies are of little historical authority; they nowhere suppose three different persons, and far from denying their identity, they call Mary Magdalene the bearer of the ointment. (β) The Latin liturgies from the sixth to the sixteenth century are unanimous in regarding the three women as really identical. (γ) If Mary Magdalene stands among the virgins and widows in the litanies, she holds this place on account of her near relationship to our Lord, not on account of her virginity. (δ) The identity of the three women is supposed in not less than ten passages of the office of July 22, even though Clement viii. intended to remove the passage of the hymn in which the identity is asserted. (ε) The passage in the martyrology of Jerome which assigns the feast of Mary and Martha to January 19 reads in other codd. Marius and Martha, adding various other clauses. On the whole, therefore, the liturgies favor the identity of the three women.

[b] Among the Fathers, (α) Apollinaris, Ephr. Ambr. Chrysol. Jer. and Gregory the Great maintain the identity of the three. (β) Besides, the Concordia Ammonii, Tert. Eus. Ps. Bas. Mopsuest. Andr. Cretensis, Clem. Alex. Paulin. Hil. Aug. identify Mary of Bethany with the sinful woman; and this is the more significant because no single Father distinguishes the sinful woman from Mary Magdalene. (γ) It is true that the Constit. apost. and Joh. Thessalonicensis distinguish Mary of Bethany and Mary Magdalene, and that Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Vict. Antioch. Proclus, Basil. Seleucius, Hesych. distinguish between Mary of Bethany and the sinful woman; but this they did mainly for exegetical reasons, not through historical considerations. The patristic authority as far as it is a witness favors, therefore, the unity of the three women [cf. Corluy, l. c. pp. 272–277]. (δ) It was therefore without good reason that Fab. Stapulensis in the sixteenth century appealed to the Fathers as favoring the distinction of three women; Cliehtovæus, Estius, Anquetinus, Tillemont, Calmet, followed his opinion, but were opposed by the faculty of Paris, Card. Fisher, B. Lamy, Sollerius, Trevet, Mald. Hengstenb. etc.

[c] Coming to the gospels, we shall first briefly state the passages in which the holy women are mentioned, and then add a few remarks by way of commentary. (α) Mary Magdalene is mentioned in Lk. 8:2 as having been freed by Jesus of seven devils and accompanying her Lord in consequence; again in Mt. 27:56, 61; Mk. 15:40, 47; and Jn. 19:25, where she is said to have been present at the crucifixion and the burial of Jesus; finally, in Mt. 28:1; Mk. 16:1, 9, Jn. 20:1 f., 18; Lk. 24:10 we have the history of Easter Sunday. (β) Mary the sister of Lazarus is mentioned in Lk. 10:38–42 as sitting at the feet of Jesus; in Jn. 11:2, 3, 5, 19, 20, 28–33, 45 she occurs in the history of the resuscitation of Lazarus; in Jn. 12:3–8 she anoints Jesus in Bethany. (γ) Finally, the sinful woman is mentioned only by St. Luke, 7:36–50, as anointing the feet of Jesus in the house of Simon the Pharisee. (δ) Reflecting on the foregoing passages, we find a number of points that render the identity of these women highly probable. The devotion accompanying the anointing in Bethany resembles that shown in Galilee; the love of Mary at the feet of Jesus resembles the love of Magdalene under the cross and at the sepulchre; the character of the sinner agrees well with Magdalene’s being possessed with seven devils; the friendship of Mary’s family for Jesus agrees perfectly with their Galilean nationality, so that Mary may be called Magdalene; the aorist tense in Jn. 11:2 shows that Mary had anointed our Lord before (cf. Jn. 6:72; 7:50; 19:39; 21:20), though the fourth gospel does not tell the event, but supposes it known through the gospel of St. Luke. (ε) Besides, we need not admit a distinction of the women on account of what is told about them in the four gospels. St. John calls the woman simply Mary when there is question of events in her household where she need not be distinguished from any other Mary; but when the events occur in public, St. John calls her Mary Magdalene, in order to distinguish her from Mary Cleophas. St. Luke speaks first of the sinful woman [7:36–50], and afterwards of Mary Magdalene [8:2], without stating their identity; but in the same manner does he tell in 5:27 of the call of Levi the publican, and in 6:15 of Matthew’s choice among the twelve, without identifying Levi with Matthew. (ζ) Finally, the sinful woman was not necessarily a public sinner, but she may have lived in sin with a certain individual, so that her company and faithful adherence brought no discredit on Jesus or the apostolic college [cf. Corluy, l. c. pp. 268–272]. On the whole, the gospels appear, therefore, to favor the identity of the sinful woman with Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany. (η) In the East the feet of the arriving guest were washed, and his hair and beard were anointed with oil; but at times the aromatic oil was poured even over his clothes and feet. It was in accordance with this custom that Mary approached Jesus as soon as he reclined at table, broke the neck of the alabaster vase [Mk. 14:3], poured the precious contents over the head of our Lord [Mt. 26:7], and even over his sacred feet, which she wiped with her hair [Jn. 12:3]. The first gospel tells what was ordinary in the action of Mary, the fourth records Mary’s extraordinary devotion and reverence for Jesus.

8. And the disciples seeing it.] [3] The disciples. They first call Mary’s action a waste, and then add a reason why it should have been avoided: the ointment might have been sold for three hundred denarii [Mk. 14:5; Jn. 12:5], about $45.00 in our money, and given to the poor in accordance with the repeated words of praise bestowed upon works of mercy by Jesus himself. The fourth gospel [12:4, 5], mentioning only Judas as the murmurer, does not contradict either the first or the second gospel, according to which “some” [Mk. 14:4] or “the disciples” [Mt. 26:8] were the grumblers; for the “some” and the “disciples” may be a synecdoche [Jer. Jans. Mald.], or the disciples really followed the example of Judas, but through a pure motive of charity [Chrys. Jer. Euth. Aug. Paul. Schegg, Wichelh. Keil]. The explanation that St. John noticed only the action of Judas [Alf.] saves the veracity of the writer, but does not do justice to that of the narrative.

10. And Jesus knowing it.] [4] The Master. Without indicating whether Jesus heard the words of the disciples or made use of his supernatural knowledge, the gospels state, first, the position of our Lord with regard to the interference of the disciples; secondly, his reason for this position; and, thirdly, the promise of reward for Mary’s act of devotion.

[a] The position of Jesus with regard to the action of Mary might surprise us, if it were not supported by the good reasons that follow. They seem to imply that the poor take only God’s place in our acts of charity, so that there is no need of thinking of the poor, when God himself in a manner requires our sacrifice.

[b] That there would be always poor with the apostles followed from Deut. 15:11; Jesus does not compare his mere presence with the presence of the poor, but he compares his bodily needs with those of the poor. His needs he explains as consisting in the necessary preparation of his body for burial. That the body of Jesus would be honored in the burial was predicted by Isaias [53:9], and the manner of anointing dead bodies of honored persons is described 2 Par. 16:14. Between the death and the burial of Jesus there was no time to perform this duty, and when the holy women wished to fulfil the same on Sunday morning, our Lord had already risen. It may be on this account that Mary is said to have really intended her anointing as a preparation for the burial of her Master [Caj. Arn. Bisp. P.], which is, however, more commonly denied [Jans. Mald. Lap. Schegg, Schanz, Keil, Weiss, etc.], so that our Lord regards the action of Mary as a prophetic symbol.

[c] The reward of Mary is certainly great beyond measure, but it is fulfilled to the letter none the less; for where the gospel of Christ’s death and suffering is preached, there is Mary’s memory connected with that of her divine Master [Chrys. Orig.].

14. Then went one of the twelve.] δ. The traitor. The first gospel first determines the person of the traitor; secondly, it records his compact with the enemies; thirdly, it tells of the subsequent state of his mind.

[1] The traitor is Judas Iscariot [10:4], who is called by all evangelists one of the twelve, probably in order to emphasize the sad contrast between his state and his sin [Chrys.]. Moreover, the gospels describe the internal state of the traitor: according to Jn. 6:71 he had ceased to be a true believer about a year before his treason, after the Eucharistic discourse of our Lord; the hope to enrich himself by stealing from the common purse [Jn. 12:6] had kept him thus long in the company of Jesus and his apostles. At the supper in Bethany he murmured against the action of Mary, because the alms which he ostensibly desired to give to the poor did not pass through his hands and afford him the occasion of a new theft. That this was the final occasion for his defection follows from the unchronological order of the supper in the first gospel [against Schegg and Wichelhaus], and the connection the evangelist establishes between the departure of Judas to the chief priests by means of the particle “then”; for it follows from what has been said about the time of the supper that “then” is no mere adverb of time in this passage. Though Strauss, Meyer, etc. see an inexplicable contradiction between Jn. 13:27 on the one hand and Mt. 26:14 and Lk. 22:3 on the other, it must be kept in mind that the fourth gospel speaks already in 13:2 of Judas’ yielding to the snares of the enemy, so that it tells implicitly what the other gospels state explicitly. In any case, the traitor went to the chief priests after their council against Jesus, because his offer changed their manner of proceeding.

[2] The contract. Though any member of the Synagogue not believing in the Messiasship of Jesus was obliged to deliver Jesus into the hands of his enemies, if he could conveniently do so [Jn. 11:56], Judas’ avarice shut his eyes to this duty. Far from acting through any love of Jesus, or any desire of advancing his Messianic claims, as some modern writers have believed, Judas has not even the merit of a blind religious fanatic. The chief priests on their part “appointed” [Vulg. Theoph. Bisp. Arn. Fil.]. or “weighed out” [Schanz, P. Keil, Weiss] for him thirty silver shekels, or $17–20.00 in our money. The idea of weighing in the foregoing verb alludes to Zach. 11:12, which prophecy is fulfilled in the present event; the verb was used on account of the ancient custom of weighing the money instead of counting it, and was retained even when coined money had been introduced. The sum itself was the common price of a slave, whether bought in the market [Lightfoot, Schöttgen, Wetstein, in l.], or paid for by way of restitution [Ex. 21:32]. Mk. 14:11 and Lk. 22:5 show that payment was not then made to Judas. According to Lk. 22:6, Judas had the meanness to give his express assent to the offer of the chief priests.

[3] The subsequent state of Judas’ mind is that required for a continuous act of treason and false friendship. Without assuming that he foresaw or intended all the consequences of his treason, he remained permanently in the condition implied by the question, “What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” This is a fit conclusion to the history of the preparation of the enemies for the passion of Jesus, since it describes the state of Christ’s enemies in all ages.

17. And on the first day of the Azymes.] b.] Preparation of the disciples for the passion. This section contains first an introduction, vv. 17–20; secondly, the prediction of the betrayal, vv. 21–25; thirdly, the institution of the Holy Eucharist, vv. 26–29; fourthly, the prediction of the scandal and of the denial, vv. 30–35.

a. Introduction. This contains first the question of the disciples, v. 17; secondly, the answer of Jesus, v. 18; thirdly, the subsequent action of the disciples, v. 19; fourthly, the action of our Lord and his disciples, v. 20.

[1] The question of the disciples. [a] The literal meaning of this verse does not give us much difficulty. According to Ex. 22:6, the paschal lamb must be immolated on the fourteenth day of the first month [Nisan], and v. 18 of the same chapter enjoins that azymes must be eaten from the evening of the fourteenth to that of the twenty-first day of Nisan. Lev. 23:5 states in the same manner that the Passover of the Lord is on the evening of the fourteenth day, and the solemnity of the Azymes on the fifteenth; unleavened bread must be eaten for seven days, and the first day is to be especially solemn and sacred, so that no servile work must be done on it. Similar injunctions are contained in Num. 28:16–18. According to these texts it would appear that the fifteenth day is the first day of Azymes; but since unleavened bread had to be eaten with the paschal lamb, and since all leaven had to be removed from the houses after noon on the fourteenth, this day was called the first day of Azymes [Jos. Antiq. II. xv. 1; III. x. 5]. According to Lk. 22:8 it is our Lord who gives first the command to Peter and John to go and prepare the pasch; the question of the disciples follows the words of Jesus.

[b] That the pasch must be taken in its usual sense of paschal lamb is clear from the words of the evangelists [Mt. 26:19; Mk. 14:12, 16; Lk. 22:13], of the two disciples [Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:13], and of our Lord himself [Mt. 26:18; Mk. 14:14; Lk. 22:8, 11, 15], who agree in calling it “the pasch” without any qualification; the owner of the supper-room in Jerusalem understands it in the same manner as the three synoptists imply. Besides, the first day of Azymes [Mt. 26:17], or the fourteenth day of Nisan, was the day on which the paschal lamb was eaten, so that Jesus cannot have referred to a paschal supper different from the legal one. That the first day of Azymes cannot be taken as the thirteenth day of Nisan, or signify “before the first day of Azymes,” follows from the third gospel [Lk. 22:7], wherein the day of Azymes is determined by the clause “on which it was necessary that the pasch should be killed”; for this was legally done on the fourteenth. Again, it follows from the second gospel [Mk. 14:12] that the Jews did not postpone their pasch to the fifteenth day of Nisan in the year of our Lord’s death, since it determines the first day of Azymes as that “on which they sacrifice their pasch.”

[c] The opinion of the Fathers on the question we are now considering may be reduced to certain heads: Apollinaris, Clement of Alexandria, and Hippolytus, fragments of whose writings are preserved in the Chronicon Paschale [cf. ed. Dindorf, t. i. p. 13 ff.], contend that our Lord did not celebrate a paschal supper in the last year of his life, but that he suffered on the fourteenth day of Nisan. We have seen that the gospels do not allow us to deny the celebration of the paschal supper in the last year of Christ’s life. The foregoing writers impugned the Judaizing Quartodecimans, and in their zeal to abolish the celebration of the Jewish paschal supper in the Christian community, they exceeded the bounds of truth, while the very existence of their adversaries attests and ancient tradition in the church that Jesus had eaten the pasch on the fourteenth day of Nisan. This error on the part of the orthodox champions must have arisen from the principle that Jesus is our true pasch, stated by St. Paul [1 Cor. 5:7], and repeated by St. Justin [c. Tryph. c. 40, 111] and St. Irenæus [adv. hær. iv. 10; cf. II. xxii. 3]. But as it does not follow from this that our Lord died in the temple where the paschal lamb was immolated, so it does not follow that he died precisely on the day when the immolation of the Jewish pasch happened. But even the temporal coincidence of the eating of the pasch and the death of Jesus may be admitted; for since the pasch was eaten after sunset on the fourteenth day, according to Jewish computation it fell in the beginning of the fifteenth day, towards the end of which our Lord died. Tertullian [adv. Jud. c. 8] could therefore maintain that Jesus died on the first day of Azymes, since his Jewish adversaries were accustomed to begin their fifteenth day with the evening of the fourteenth, on which unleavened bread was eaten with the pasch. This computation of the day, together with the foregoing statement of St. Paul, gave rise to the orthodox Quartodecimans in Asia Minor, who celebrated the commemoration of our Lord’s death on the fourteenth day of Nisan [Epiph. hær. 50, 1, 2; Theodoret.]. The statement of Julius Africanus [M. 10, 89], Ps. Chrys. [M. 59, 747], the Chron. pasch. [M. 92, 537, 541], and of certain other writers [ibid. 536, 537, 1133, qu. 55] is explained in the same manner. Chrys. [in Jo. hom. lxxxiii. 3; in Mat. hom. lxxxiv. al. lxxxv. 2], Epiph. [hær. li. 26], and all the Latin writers [Hilarian. Chronograph. Petr. Damian etc.] that place the death of Jesus on the fourteenth of the month, are really in favor of assigning the crucifixion to the fifteenth; for the Latins call the fourteenth the day of the Full Moon, which according to the Hebrew calculation falls on the fifteenth [Petav. doctr. temp. l. v. c. 16; cf. patr. de evgg. diss. 59; Knab. etc.]. While, therefore, a number of Fathers plainly assert that Jesus ate the supper on the fourteenth and died on the fifteenth day of Nisan; and others, “a priori,” as it were, defend against the Judaizing Quartodecimans that Jesus must have died on the fourteenth; and others again, according to the Jewish manner of computation, begin the day on which Jesus died on the evening of our fourteenth; and still others, following the Roman manner of nomenclature, called the Jewish fifteenth day of the month the fourteenth,—there may be some few who were induced by the apparent doctrine of the fourth gospel to place the day of our Lord’s death on the day on which the Jews ate their pasch [cf. Lact. epit. div. instit. c. 45]. But the authority of these is practically obliterated by that of the foregoing classes.

[d] If we consult the opinion of commentators on the question, we find four principal classes of opinions: First, a number of rationalistic and Protestant writers contend that no harmony between the fourth and the first three gospels is possible: Bretschneider, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Schenkel, etc. follow the synoptic gospels in placing the paschal supper on the fourteenth and the death of our Lord on the fifteenth day of Nisan, while Lücke, Bleek, Meyer, Hase, Ewald, Schleiermacher, Weiss, Beyschlag, Delitzsch, Orelli, Godet, pretend to follow the fourth gospel by placing our Lord’s death on the fourteenth day of Nisan.

Secondly, the other extreme is defended by Lightfoot, Bengel, Kayser, etc. who contend that the supper recorded by Jn. 13 ff. is wholly distinct from that called the pasch by the synoptists; this is not only improbable from an exegetical point of view, but does not even escape the main difficulty, because in Jn. 18:28 the Jews do not wish to enter Pilate’s house for fear of legal uncleanness and consequent impossibility to eat the pasch.

Thirdly, the record of the synoptic gospels must be brought into agreement with the fourth gospel, so that Jesus died on the day on which the Jews ate the pasch: this day is the fourteenth of Nisan, and the supper, which was not the regular pasch, took place on the thirteenth [Calmet, Lang, Erasm. Kuinoel, Winer, Alford, Weizsäcker, Pfleiderer, Grotius, Caspari, Sepp, Lamy, Fouard, Sidney Smith [cf. The Month, March, 1891, p. 377]; or the supper was the real pasch, but happened on the thirteenth, while Jesus died on the fourteenth day of the month [Arn. Schanz, Mansel, Aberle; cf. Tübinger, Quartalschr. 1863, pp. 84 ff.]; or again, the supper was the real pasch and happened on the fourteenth day of Nisan, while the Jews for some reason or other transferred their paschal supper to the fifteenth [Jans. Mald. Petav. Calv. Sealig. Knab. Cornely, Grimm, Ebrard, Milligan; cf. Contemporary Review, 1868, nn. 8, 11]. This last opinion coincides with that we are now defending, excepting the translation of the Jewish paschal supper to the fifteenth day of Nisan which, we shall see, is not required by the fourth gospel.

The fourth opinion harmonizes the fourth gospel with the synoptists, so that the paschal supper falls on the fourteenth day of Nisan, and the death of our Lord on the fifteenth [Schegg, Lichtenstein, patr. Langeu, Tholuck, Hengstenb. Hofmann, Lange, Luthardt, Wieseler, Tolet. Fil. Keil, Corluy, Nösgen, etc.]. The testimony of the synoptists and the patristic view of the matter have already been considered. It only remains to state its agreement with the fourth gospel and with the festal regulations of the Jews.

[e] The fourth gospel favors the opinion that Jesus ate the paschal supper on the fourteenth of Nisan, and died on the fifteenth. For according to Jn. 13:1 the supper was held “before the festival day of the pasch,” i. e. not on the festival day of the pasch [12:1], but on the first day of Azymes; even those who do not admit such a distinction between the festival day and the first day of Azymes must grant that after his residence of many years among Gentiles, and for the sake of his Gentile readers, St. John did not compute his days according to the Hebrew manner of reckoning, so that he expressed the first day of Azymes, and not the thirteenth day of Nisan, by his day “before the festival day of the pasch.”

This is confirmed by an occurrence during the supper [13:29]: When Judas left the supper-room, the disciples believed that he went out to buy the necessaries for the feast; now if the supper took place on the evening of the thirteenth according to our manner of reckoning, why should Judas buy in the night the necessaries for the second day after that time, i. e. for the feast that fell on the fifteenth? To give this passage a reasonable meaning, the feast must have occurred the day after the supper according to our manner of speaking, so that the supper took place on the evening of the fourteenth.

St. John adds a third expression which forces us to place the supper on the fourteenth [18:28]: When the Jews brought Jesus to Pilate, they went not into the hall “that they might not be defiled, but that they might eat the pasch.” The reader knows that this event happened the morning after the paschal supper celebrated by Jesus and his apostles; but the words show that it must have taken place on the morning of the fifteenth day of Nisan. Therefore the paschal supper had been eaten by our Lord on the evening of the fourteenth. But how can we show that this happened on the morning of the fifteenth? The Jews feared to contract a legal impurity that would prevent them from eating the pasch, i. e. from eating either the paschal lamb on the evening of the fourteenth or the offerings called also Chagigah, which were also eaten during the course of the fifteenth [cf. Deut. 16:1, 2; 2 Par. 35:7; 30:22; Mischna, Pesachim, vi. 4; Thesaur. Ugolini, t. ix. pp. 948, 949; Lightfoot, Hor. hebr. in Mt. 26; etc.]. Now the legal impurity they would have contracted by entering Pilate’s house could not have prevented them from eating the paschal lamb, since this was eaten in the evening, after the impurity had ceased [cf. Lev. 15:5 f.; 19 f.; Maimonides, Pesachim, vi. 1]. Hence they feared the impurity, because it would prevent them from eating the Chagigah on the fifteenth, and therefore they brought Jesus to Pilate in the morning of the fifteenth, so that the disciples had eaten the passover with their Master on the fourteenth day of Nisan.

A fourth indication requiring us to place the death of Jesus on the fifteenth, and the paschal supper on the fourteenth, is contained in Jn. 19:14, 31, where Jesus is said to have died on the parasceve of the pasch. Had the evangelist intended to place our Lord’s death on the afternoon of the fourteenth, he could not have placed it on the parasceve of the pasch, because in that supposition Jesus died while the pasch was actually immolated in the temple, and therefore not while it was in course of preparation. Since it is generally acknowledged that both parasceve and its Hebrew and Chaldee equivalent are the common name for Friday, and as, on the other hand, this appellation is not applied to the day before the solemn feast of the Azymes except in the present Jewish calendar and in the Midrash Ruth, there is no reason for departing from the common meaning of the expression in the foregoing passages of St. John.

Finally, the parasceve of the pasch suggests that the solemn feast fell in that year on the parasceve or Friday, just as our Easter Sunday implies the identity of the two solemnities [Jn. 19:31]; the parasceve is followed not by a day of only relative rest, as was the solemn day of the Azymes, but by “a great sabbath-day” on which the regular sabbath rest was observed, a circumstance which again points to Friday as the less rigorous sabbath-day, and therefore the solemnity of the Azymes or the fifteenth day of Nisan.

[f] To show that the death could happen on the fifteenth day of Nisan, we need only point to the authorities according to which the trial, the scourging, the crucifixion, and the burial could take place on the solemn day of Azymes without violation of the Jewish law. No law prohibited trials on feast-days, as may be inferred from Jom Tob, 5:2; Shabbath, i. ff.; the contrary practice actually prevailed, as is seen from repeated occurrences told in the gospels: Mk. 3:1; Mt. 12:9; Lk. 4:29; Jn. 7:31, 32, 45; 10:31, 36. As to the scourging, it was expressly stated that it might take place on a feast-day, but not on a sabbath [Jerusal. Talm. Betza, 5:2]. If the execution of condemned criminals could not have taken place on the feast-day, why should the Jews have adopted the solemn resolution at their council, two days before the pasch, not to kill Jesus on the festival day; for that would have been a matter of course. Besides, why should they have added the reason, “lest a tumult should arise among the people,” if the law provided them with the most effective reason? Moreover, the Mischna [Sanhedrin, x. 3, 4] gives a decree that a certain class of criminals—offenders against legal traditions—should suffer punishment on a festival day, thus interpreting the law of Deut. 17:12, 13. It may be added that most of the actual labor involved in all that has been thus far considered was performed by the Romans. Finally, executed criminals not only could be buried on a festival day, but they had to be buried according to the Mekilta Nezikin 4, and the law of Deut. 21:2, 3. The supper must, therefore, have taken place on the fourteenth, and the death of our Lord on the fifteenth day of Nisan.

18. But Jesus said.] [2] The answer of Jesus. The words “go ye into the city” show that the speakers were not in Jerusalem, but perhaps either in Bethany or on the way [Mald.]. “To a certain man” says the evangelist by way of summary. [Aug. Pasch.], the manner in which the man was determined is described by the other two evangelists [Mk. 14:13, 14; Lk. 22:10, 11]. Jesus employs this manner of determination not to conceal the place of his last supper from Judas [Euth. Fil. Ed. 2. p. 482], but to show his unlimited foreknowledge. It is hard to determine who was the host of our Lord on this occasion; some think of Joseph of Arimathea, others of Nicodemus, others again of Mary the mother of Mark. At any rate, the room appears to be identical with that in which Jesus appeared after his resurrection, in which the Holy Ghost descended on the disciples, and which formed in fact the first Christian church; its traditional site is on Mount Sion, alongside the tomb of David, in a building now occupied by Mohammedan dervishes. Since the unnamed man acknowledged Jesus as “the Master,” he must have been a disciple; “my time” signifies the time fixed by the Father for my passion [Jn. 7:30; 8:20; 13:1]. “With thee,” not, however, with thy family, but “with my disciples,” I make the pasch. These words were calculated to prevent the impression that our Lord wished to join the company of the owner of the house [cf. Jos. B. J. VI. ix. 3].

19. And the disciples did.] [3] Action of the disciples. [a] The paschal lamb. Lk. 22:8 tells us that the disciples were Peter and John. Both Mk. 14:15 and Lk. 22:12 show that the preparations, as far as the room was concerned, were mostly made before the two apostles arrived. The lamb, too, must have been ready, since according to the primitive law it had to be set apart on the tenth day of Nisan [Ex. 12:3]. But the lamb must be presented in the temple between the two evenings, i. e. between three and six o’clock in the afternoon of the fourteenth, where the householder himself slew it. The priests, standing in a row extending to the altar, received the blood in silver basins, which they passed from hand to hand, until at the foot of the altar the blood was poured out, whence it flowed by an underground conduit into the brook Kedron. This took the place of the sprinkling of the blood on the doorposts. The householder then removed the skin and fat from the lamb; the fat was burned on the altar by the priest, the skin was carried home bound about the lamb. As the number of lambs was very great, the persons bringing them were admitted in detachments [Schaff]. The paschal lamb was roasted on a spit made of pomegranate wood, the spit passing right through from mouth to vent. In roasting, the lamb must not touch the oven, otherwise the part touched had to be cut away. The lamb was not to be sodden at all with water, not a bone of it was to be broken, and nothing of it was to remain until the morning.

[b] Ritual observances. Three large unleavened cakes, wrapped in the folds of a napkin, are laid on a salver; on them are ranged the seven articles needed for the passover: a roasted egg instead of the fourteenth day Chagigah; the charoseth, a reddish sweet sauce, made of almonds, nuts, figs, and other fruits, commemorating, it is said, by its color, the hard labor of brick-making imposed on the Israelites, and by its taste, the divine alleviations which Jehovah mingled with the miseries of his people; salt water; the roasted shank-bone of a lamb instead of the paschal lamb; the bitter herbs, lettuce, endive, succory, charchavina, horehound; chervil and parsley. The use of wine, though not mentioned in the law, was strictly enjoined by tradition; even the poorest Israelite must have, at least, four cups, though he were to receive the money for it from the poor-box, or by selling or pawning his coat [Pes. x. 1]. Red wine alone was to be used, but always mixed with water; each of the four cups must contain, at least, the fourth of a quarter of an hin, a hin being equivalent to about one gallon and two pints.

20. But when it was evening, he sat down.] [4] The action of Jesus. [a] The gospel events. It was probably as the sun was beginning to decline that Jesus with ten disciples descended once more over the Mount Olivet into the Holy City [Ed. Temple, its Ministry, etc. p. 194]. It may be well to give here a general view of what the gospels tell us concerning the last supper: 1. Jesus expresses his great desire [Lk. 22:15, 16]; 2. the strife among the disciples [Lk. 24:24–30]; 3. the washing of feet [Jn. 13:1–17]; 4. the announcement of the traitor [Mt. 26:21–25; Mk. 14:18–21; Lk. 22:21–23]; 5. institution of the Holy Eucharist [Mt. 26:26–29; Mk. 14:22–25; Lk. 22:15–20; Jn. 13:31–35]; 6. announcement of the denial [Mt. 26:30–35; Mk. 14:26–31; Lk. 21; 22:31–34; Jn. 13:36–38]; 7. the last words of Jesus [Lk. 22:34–38; Jn. 14 ff.].

[b] Harmony of gospel and ritual. We may now endeavor to combine the gospel incidents with the ritual observances of the Jews.

1. The expression of the desire probably accompanied the entrance of Jesus into the supper-room, or followed this event immediately [Lk. 22:15, 16]. 2. Next, the cups were filled with wine, and Jesus, holding his cup in his hand, pronounced the customary blessing over it [cf. Ed. l. c. pp. 204 f.]; the first cup of wine was then drunk, and each washed his hands by dipping, not by having water poured over them [ibid. p. 204]. When the company took places at table, the strife arose among the disciples [Lk. 24:24–30], and Jesus washed their feet to give an example of humility [Jn. 13:1–17]. 3. The paschal table was then brought forward, and our Lord took some of the bitter herbs, dipped them in the salt water, ate of them, and gave to the others; after this, not to mention the customary breaking of the middle cake, the paschal table is, at present, removed again, so as to excite the curiosity and wonder of the guests. The cup is filled the second time. 4. After the question, “Why is this night distinguished from all other nights?” the difference is explained by the head of the party or family, who tells the national story from Terah to the deliverance from Egypt and the giving of the law. 5. The paschal table is then brought in again, and the paschal lamb, the bitter herbs, and the unleavened bread are explained, the exposition ending with an exhortation to give thanks and praise to the Lord. Hence the company sings the Hallel, or rather its first part, consisting of Pss. 112, 113. [Heb. 113, 114]. 6. Upon this the second cup of wine is blessed and drunk, and the hands are washed the second time [Ed. ibid. p. 207]. 7. One of the unleavened cakes is then broken and thanks given; since at the institution of the Holy Eucharist Jesus first gave thanks and then brake [Mt. 26:26; Mk. 14:22; Lk. 22:19; 1 Cor. 11:24], he cannot have consecrated at this point of time. Pieces of the broken cake, with bitter herbs between them and dipped in the charoseth, are handed to the company. The supper itself, consisting of the unleavened bread with bitter herbs, the so-called Chagigah or festive offering, and of the paschal lamb itself, proceeded now in its regular course, and conversation flowed freely. Not even the wine drunk during this time of the meal was regarded as belonging to the four cups. 8. During this period of the supper, Jesus predicted the treason of Judas [Mt. 26:21–25, Mk. 14:18–21, Lk. 22:21–23]. Since it is probably the unleavened bread with the bitter herbs dipped in the charoseth that the fourth gospel designates as the morsel [Jn. 13:27], the traitor must have left before even partaking of the paschal lamb proper. For the flesh of the lamb was the last meat partaken of; after it nothing more was to be eaten. At present, the Jews conclude the paschal supper with a piece of unleavened cake, which they call the Aphikomen or after-dish. 9. The hands are washed again, the third cup is mixed, grace is said, the wine is blessed and drunk. 10. The door is opened, a prayer against the heathen pronounced, the fourth cup filled, over which they pronounce the second part of the Hallel, consisting of Pss. 114–117. [Heb. 115–118.]. 11. The Hallel is followed by the blessing of the fourth cup and its consumption. The great Hallel was usually sung after the Hallel, though it is not certain of what particular psalms the great Hallel consisted. Opinions vary between Pss. 135. [Heb. 136], 133–135. [Heb. 134–136], 134:4–135. [Heb. 135:4–136]; in any case, Ps. 134. [Heb. 135] seems to be included in the great Hallel. At times, a fifth cup was added, but this is nowhere mentioned in the Talmud. How the gospel narrative must be combined with these latter events will be seen in the respective passages.

21. And whilst they were eating.] β. Announcement of the betrayal. The present section contains first, the general announcement; secondly, the questions of the disciples; thirdly, the specification of the traitor together with the description of his punishment; fourthly, the individual traitor is pointed out.

[1] The general announcement of the betrayal is placed in the time “whilst they were eating,” which agrees exactly with the foregoing harmony. From the bitterness of soul signified by the bitter herbs, Jesus may have taken occasion to express his own bitterness of heart caused by the treason of his disciple. He does not name the betrayer, in order to give him the opportunity of repenting in secret [Chrys. Jer. Theoph. Mald.].

22. And they being very much troubled.] [2] The question of the disciples. The apostles are troubled over the impending misfortune of their Master, and though severally conscious of their innocence, they know the mutability of the human will, and trust the veracity of Jesus more than their own constancy [Or. Jer. Mald.].

23. But he answering, said.] [3] Jesus first specifies the traitor, and then predicts his punishment. [a] The words of Jesus allude to Ps. 40:10; 54:14 [cf. Jn. 13:18; Cyr. Jans. Arn. Fil. P. Schegg]. That Judas became clearly known as the traitor by these words, because he dipped his hand with Jesus in the dish either through impudence [Jer. Bed. Pasch. Theoph. Euth.], or by mere accident [Calm.], cannot be admitted, since according to Jn. 13:25 the traitor was made known to the disciple of love alone. We may therefore suppose that Jesus pointed in these words to one of his immediate surrounding, to one so near that he ate out of the same dish with him. Those at the further end of the table were thus reassured. This supposition is confirmed by the form of the table at which the supper was served. According to almost general custom, it was a quadrangle open on one side for the convenience of the waiters. Our Lord naturally occupied the place of honor, i. e. the middle place on the upper couch. Though Ex. 12:11 enjoins that the supper is to be eaten standing, this law was understood as applying only to the first Passover in Egypt, while in Palestine the supper was eaten reclining in token of the national liberty. Since the guests reclined on the left side, so as to have the right hand free for eating, and since St. John must have occupied the place in front of Jesus, leaning “on his breast at supper” [Jn. 21:20], Judas may have reclined behind our Lord, and Peter next to John on the right side of the quadrangle. The traitor therefore literally dipped his hand in the same dish as our Lord.

[b] Though the son of man freely submits to the fulfilment of the prophecies in which not only his death, but also his betrayal by a disciple is predicted [Ps. 40:10; cf. Jn. 13:18], the punishment of the traitor shall be inevitable nevertheless. Jer. sees here another appeal to the heart of Judas to repent in time. We cannot interpret the words “it were better for him if that man had not been born” as indicating that Judas’ soul existed separately before his conception, and that he would have been happier if he had remained in that state [cf. Jer.]; or that it had been better for Judas to have died in the womb of his mother, before his birth, so as to endure the eternal pain of loss only [Euth. Caj.]; the words mean that Judas’ punishment shall be so great that he himself shall prefer not to exist at all [Mald. cf. Jer.]. This preference of Judas was shown even in this life, by his suicide [cf. Schegg]; but since the words, “it were better for him if that man had not been born,” would not be strictly true, if he ever attained to the beatific vision, they implicitly predict the eternal damnation of the traitor [Br. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Dion. Caj. Jans. Mald. Lap. Calm. Fil. P.; cf. Arn. Schanz].

25. And Judas that betrayed him.] [4] In this last part we have first the question of Judas; secondly, the answer of Jesus. [a] The impudence of Judas in asking the question has been pointed out by Chrys. Br. Jans. It is heightened still more by his addressing Jesus not as “Lord,” but as “Rabbi”; he had lost his faith in Jesus about a year before this time [cf. Jn. 6:71]. Again, the question was probably asked after Jesus had given him the morsel by which he pointed out the traitor to St. John [Jn. 13:26 ff.]; Judas then said in feigned surprise: What, “is it I, Rabbi?” [cf. Mald. Lap. Yprens. Arn. Schegg, Schanz].

[b] Jesus answers in a low tone, so as not to be heard by the other disciples, “Thou hast said it,” and immediately adds in a loud tone of voice, “that which thou dost, do quickly” [Jn. 13:27]. The apostles could therefore justly suppose that Judas went to buy the necessaries for the feast, or to give alms to the poor [Jn. 13:29]. The words “thou hast said it” are not ambiguous in their meaning, but they affirm what Judas had intimated in his question, as is seen in Mt. 26:64; 27:11 [cf. Schöttgen; Lightfoot, Chorographia, c. 82].

[c] Finally, it is commonly asked whether Judas left before the institution of the Holy Eucharist, or received holy communion and was ordained priest. We shall give first the reasons for Judas’ presence at holy communion; secondly, those for his absence; and thirdly, draw attention to the comparative cogency of the arguments.

1. The arguments for the affirmative are drawn from three sources, from Scripture, the Fathers, and the commentators. As to Scripture, it is especially St. Luke who favors the presence of Judas at the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The order of events in his gospel [desire of the pasch, institution of the Eucharist, prediction of the betrayal, strife for the first place, prediction of the denial] implies that Judas left after holy communion; moreover, Jesus says after the consecration of the chalice [Lk. 22:21], “Yet behold, the hand of him that betrayeth me is with me on the table.” Among the Fathers, Jer. Cyr. of Jerusal. Chrys. Ambr. Cypr. Aug. Leo, etc. assume that Judas received communion before his departure. Finally, most of the older commentators agree with this opinion: Jans. Mald. Lap. etc.; the same view is expressed in the hymn “Pange lingua,” where we read: “cibum turbæ duodenæ se dat suis manibus.”

2. The negative answer to the question also is based on Holy Scripture, on the Fathers, and the commentators. As to Scripture, the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John imply that Judas left before the institution of the Holy Eucharist: for Matthew and Mark arrange the events thus: prediction of the betrayal, institution of the Holy Eucharist, abbreviated part containing the desire of the pasch, prediction of the fall of Peter; hence the departure of Judas is implicitly placed between the prediction of his treason and the institution of the Holy Eucharist. The order of the fourth gospel proceeds thus: washing of the feet, prediction of the betrayal and departure of Judas, prediction of the denial, consolatory address; the discourse after Judas’ departure is such that it almost demands the institution of the Holy Eucharist. Besides, we can hardly imagine that Jesus would have given the command, “Drink ye all of it” so peremptorily, if Judas had been in the company. This is the more improbable, because in other passages our Lord is careful to denote the sinfulness of Judas [Jn. 13:11, 18; 6:71]. Among the Fathers, Tatian, Ammonius, Jacob Nisib. [or Aphraates, serm. de pasch. 15], Constit. apostol. [v. 14], Hil. [in Mat.], Rupert, Petr. Comestor, Innocent iii. [De alt. myster. iv. 13], Cyril of Alex. maintain that Judas departed before the distribution of holy communion [cf. Corluy, in Jn. c. xiii. pp. 321 ff.]. Among the commentators, Turrianus, Salm. Bar. Lam. Cornely, Knab. Corluy, etc. defend the same negative view. The arguments advanced, more from a psychological and “a priori” than an exegetical point of view, we shall not here state. They may be seen in the work of Salmeron for the negative side, and in the works of St. Thomas [p. 3 qu. 81, a. 2] and Suarez [in 3am part. disp. 41, sect. 3] for the affirmative.

3. If we summarize the foregoing statements, we see that most ancient commentators defend the affirmative side, most modern the negative; from the Fathers we cannot establish an unexceptionable tradition for either side of the question. It is true that St. Luke follows a more accurate chronological order in the arrangement of the larger sections of our Lord’s life; but in detail, the order of the other evangelists, especially of the eyewitnesses Matthew and John, is preferable to that of Luke alone, and this the more because they agree with the faithful report of the third principal eyewitness, St. Peter. Judas therefore neither received holy communion nor holy orders before leaving the apostolic college.

26. And whilst they were at supper.] γ. Institution of the Holy Eucharist. We shall divide this section into three parts: when was the Holy Eucharist instituted? what is the literal meaning of the gospel narrative? what are the dogmatic truths contained in it?

[1] The precise time of the institution is pointed out in the words connected with both the eucharistic bread and the wine. [a] The point of time at which the eucharistic bread was taken up by our Lord is variously expressed by the inspired sources: “whilst they were at supper” [Mt. 26:26]; “whilst they were eating” [Mk. 14:22]; “when Jesus had said these things” [Jn. 13:21], i. e. when all that was connected with the washing of the feet had been accomplished; “the same night in which he was betrayed” [1 Cor. 11:23]. It is especially owing to the words of the first and second gospel that Bellarm. Fritzsche, Beyschlag, Keim, Godet, etc. identify the eucharistic bread with the so-called bread of affliction mentioned in the first half of the paschal supper. But not to insist on the inconvenience that, according to this view, Jesus would not have eaten the legal pasch, the institution of the Holy Eucharist would surely have been obscured, and the consecration of the bread would have been separated from that of the wine.

[b] The consecration of the chalice is placed “after he had supped” by St. Luke [22:20] and St. Paul [1 Cor. 11:25]. In order, then, to conciliate this statement with that of the foregoing writers, we must suppose that Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist towards the end of the supper, when the supper proper might be said to be over, and when the ritual supper still continued. The Holy Eucharist was therefore not instituted in connection with the cup of the Kiddush, nor with that of the Haggada, the first and second cup, so called on account of the ceremonial portion that preceded them immediately. But it is not easy to decide whether Jesus connected the eucharistic mystery with the third cup, the cup of the blessing [Lightfoot, Paulus, Schäfer, Haneberg, Schegg], or the fourth, the cup of the Hallel [Bickell], or again with the fifth [Langen, Fil.].

It is true that 1 Cor. 10:16 seems, at first, to favor the third cup, because St. Paul calls it “the chalice of benediction.” But this does not refer to the Jewish “cup of the blessing,” which was so named because it followed immediately upon grace after the paschal supper; it rather points to the blessing Jesus pronounced over the chalice before consecration [cf. Lk. 22:17 f.], and to the similar custom of the early church [Doctr. apostol. 9]. It is improbable that our Lord connected the Holy Eucharist with the daily thanksgiving for earthly nourishment which follows every meal; finally, the statement of the inspired writers who place the consecration of the chalice after supper can hardly be reconciled with the supposition that Jesus consecrated the third ceremonial cup.

On the other hand, these words of Matthew and Mark hardly allow us to assume that Jesus consecrated the fifth cup. Not even the command “Drink ye all of this” [Mt. 26:27] implies the necessity of recurring to the fifth; for though the first four were obligatory, and therefore did not demand such an injunction, the eucharistic cup consecrated by Jesus was intended for all, and as such differed from the usual cups proper to each guest. To signify this difference, and make the cup pass from hand to hand, our Lord had to give the express order, “Drink ye all of this.”

These considerations incline ns to identify the eucharistic cup with the fourth ceremonial one, or the cup of the Hallel. Bickell has shown that in the oldest liturgy commonly used in the church before the fifth century, the consecration was preceded and followed by prayers like those surrounding the fourth cup of the paschal supper [cf. Bickell, The Lord’s Supper and the Passover, Engl. transl. by Skene, pp. 70–215; Zeitschrift für katholische Theologie, Innsbruck, 1880, p. 99; Dublin Review, 1889, ii. p. 350]. The middle term in Bickell’s demonstration is the Clementine liturgy, which he believes to be the oldest of the six ancient liturgies known.

[2] The literal meaning of the passage. 1. That the bread used at the last supper was unleavened follows from what has been said about the paschal supper [cf. Ex. 12:18].

2. Our Lord blessed the bread, not God; that the bread is the object of the blessing is clear from the gospel of St. Mark [14:22]: “and taking bread, having blessed, he broke it”; and still more from 1 Cor. 10:16: “the chalice of benediction which we bless.” Similar blessings Jesus pronounced over the five loaves in the desert [Mt. 14:19], over the few fishes on the same occasion [Mk. 8:7; Lk. 9:16], and over his apostles before ascending into heaven [Lk. 24:30].

3. Instead of the blessing pronounced by our Lord according to the first and second gospel, St. Luke [22:19] says, “he gave thanks”; St. Paul [1 Cor. 11:24], “and giving thanks.” But the identity of the blessing and the thanksgiving [Mald.] cannot be inferred from the fact that Matthew and Mark mention the latter before the consecration of the wine, while they place the former before the consecration of the bread [Mt. 26:27; Mk. 14:23]; that Matthew and Mark speak of thanksgiving before the multiplication of the seven loaves [Mt. 15:36; Mk. 8:6], while Mark substitutes blessing before the multiplication of the fishes [Mk. 8:7]; and finally, that Matthew, Mark, and Luke speak of blessing before the multiplication of the five loaves, where the fourth gospel substitutes thanksgiving [Jn. 6:11; Mt. 14:19; Mk. 6:41; Lk. 9:16]; for in Hebrew the same verb [בֵּרֵךְ] expresses both blessing and thanksgiving. Whatever may have been the effect of either blessing or thanksgiving [cf. Alf.], it cannot be maintained that the two actions were identical. The Church therefore justly mentions both actions in her liturgies [“gratias agens, benedixit”], though in the life of our Lord they may have been usually coupled together [cf. Jans. Bell. Est. Lap. etc.]. Nor can it be said that the blessing of the bread effects its secret change into the body of our Lord, which is afterwards only declared in the words “this is my body” [Ambr. Hugo, Lyran.]; or that it formally consists in the words of consecration [Salm.], since “and said” is expressly stated before these words. Whether our Lord used the sign of the cross [Innocent III.; cf. Jn. 3] in blessing the bread cannot be determined with certainty.

4. Concerning the “breaking” of the bread, it must be noted that according to the Jewish ritual it preceded the blessing, so that the action of Jesus, who first blessed and then broke the bread, cannot be identified with any part of the ceremonial supper. Again, the breaking of the bread is not something secondary as, e.g., in 14:19 and 15:36, but is expressly mentioned by the four inspired sources and, moreover, implied in 1 Cor. 11:24, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν κλώμενον. For even supposing that the word κλώμενον is not authentic in the last passage (cf. Comm. in c.), it shows at least a very ancient tradition concerning the meaning of the breaking in the synoptic gospels, and supplies the exact verb wanting in the ellipsis τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν. Ans. laud. Thom. Schanz, Fil. etc. consider the breaking of the bread as a symbol of death.

5. Jesus gave the bread to his disciples not before the consecration [Bonav.], but after consecration; since they were reclining at table, the dish with the broken bread may have been passed around.

6. The words of consecration differ somewhat in the four inspired sources: “This is my body.… For this is my blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins” [Mt.]; “This is my body.… This is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many” [Mk.]; “This is my body which is given for you; do this for a commemoration of me.… This is the chalice the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you” [Lk.]; “This is my body which shall be delivered for you; this do for the commemoration of me.… This chalice is the new testament in my blood; this do ye as often as you shall drink, for the commemoration of me” [Paul]. It is sometimes said that Matthew and Mark give the liturgical formulas of consecration, while St. Paul [1 Cor. 11:23] and St. Luke give the exact words of consecration as uttered by our Lord. The substantial identity of the four forms will be clearly perceived by an explanation of their component parts.

7. The pronoun “this” has found five different explanations even among Catholic writers [cf. Suar. in 3am, qu. 78, a. 1; disp. 58, sect. 7]; omitting the other explanations, we may illustrate the little influence of this exegetical discrepancy on the meaning of the whole sentence by referring to the two principal expositions of “this.” The more common opinion, following St. Thomas, takes “this” substantively, while Scotus, Mald. Ypr. etc. take it adjectively; i. e. the former take it as pointing to the substance present under the species of bread at the time Jesus began to speak, while the latter regard it as denoting that which shall be present under the same species at the end of the sentence. In the former case, the mind of the speaker is directed to what is under his eyes; in the latter, he foresees what shall be there after he has reached the end of the sentence. Both the Latin and Greek text admit of either explanation in the case of the consecration of the bread, while the Latin “this” must be taken adjectively in the consecration of the wine.

8. The substantive verb “is” never means “signifies” or “represents”; if there is a figure of speech in the sentence, the figure is either in the subject or in the predicate, but not in the copula, which always retains its original meaning, but in the order of predication implied by either the subject or the predicate. If I say of a bust, “This is Socrates,” or of a map, “This is Spain,” everybody understands that I am speaking of Socrates as represented in bronze, of Spain as delineated on paper or canvas, but no one doubts about the meaning of “is,” which expresses real identity between the bust and the bronze Socrates, between the map and the geographical representation of Spain. The truth of this principle is not changed in the Scripture expressions: “the seven kine are seven years” [Gen. 41:26, 27]; “the ten horns are ten kings” [Dan. 7:24]; “the rock was Christ” [1 Cor. 10:4]; “the seven stars are the seven angels of the seven churches”; “the field is the world”; “the good seed are the children of the world”; “the tares are the children of the wicked ones”; “the reapers are the angels” [Mt. 13:38, 39]; “these are the two covenants” [Gal. 4:24]; etc. In all of these instances, a real identity between subject and predicate is asserted, but whether the identity must be taken in the univocal or analogical, in the proper or the metaphorical, in the literal or the typical sense, depends on the meaning of the subject and predicate. When our Lord says, e.g., “I am the vine,” he expresses identity between himself and the spiritual vine; when he says, “the seed is the word of God,” he identifies the spiritual seed with the word of God; when the apostle says of Agar and Sara, “these are the two covenants,” he identifies in the typical order of predication the two women with the two testaments. Similarly, to return to the foregoing examples, the rock is identified with Christ in the typical order; the reapers, the tares, the good seed, the field are identified with their respective predicates in the spiritual order of predication; while the kine, the ten horns, the seven stars are taken in the symbolic order of predication. If we read in Ex. 12:11, “it [the paschal lamb] is the Lord’s passover,” the metaphorical meaning of the passover is explained in verse 27: “it is the victim of the passage of the Lord.” That the verb “is” does not mean “signifies,” “represents,” in the Hebrew or Syriac language, on account of the absence in Syriac of a word to express that concept, has been disproved by Card. Wiseman [Horæ Syriacæ, cf. p. 60] who cites forty Syriac words meaning “to signify,” “to represent.”

9. We have already seen that Jesus gave the command “drink ye all of this,” because all had to drink of the same chalice after consecration, not each out of his own cup as they were accustomed to do [cf. Mald.].

10. The clause “blood of the new testament” receives a different meaning according to the meaning given to “testament.” α. It can hardly signify in the present case the object left us by the last will of Jesus Christ; for in this meaning it could not be employed in opposition to the old testament in general, and much less would it be used in opposition to its parallel passage in Ex. 24:8. β. It follows that “testament” must here be taken in the sense of “covenant”; but since in the covenant we may distinguish the object concerning which it is made, the symbol by which it is sanctioned, the document in which it is inscribed, and the condition to be fulfilled [e.g. in a sale we have the object sold, the shaking of hands, etc. as the sign of the sale, the written document, and the price to be paid], we must examine which of these elements is denoted by the “testament” in the present passage.γ. It cannot be the object nor the document; it must therefore be either the price to be paid by the guilty human race [cf. Mald.], or the symbol confirming the new covenant, even as the old testament had been confirmed by the blood of animals [Ex. 24:8; cf. Euth. Rab. Br. Jans. Arn. Schanz, Fil. P.]. δ. In either case, the clause implies the real presence of our Lord’s blood in the consecrated chalice. The name “new testament” well agrees with the repeated promises of the new covenant in the writings of the prophets: 31:31 f.; Ez. 16:60; Os. 2:19; etc. Though “new” is omitted in B L Z, it is found in A C D vlg. and in the gospel of Mark.

11. The difference between the consecration of the chalice as set forth in the first and second gospel on the one hand, and by St. Luke and St. Paul on the other, is not substantial, but at most modal. The former express directly the price and ratification, indirectly the effect; while the latter express the effect, or the sealed and signed new testament, directly, and the price and seal only indirectly. In other words, the gospels of Matthew and Mark read, “this is my blood by which the new testament is sealed and ratified,” while St. Paul and Luke write, “this is the new testament sealed and ratified by my blood.”

12. The clause “which shall be shed” renders the original present participle, which has never the meaning of the future [cf. Winer, Grammatik des neutestamentl. Sprachidioms, 45; in Mt. 6:30 the participle is used after the manner of an adjective; in other cases it denotes what will happen immediately, or surely, or usually], so that several codd. of the Itala and Vulgate rightly retain the present. The pouring out of the blood constituted the essential part of the sacrifice, so that it could be performed by the priest alone [cf. Lev. 1:5, 11, 15; 3:2, 8, 13; 4:5 f.; 16 f.; 5:9; 6:30; 7:2, 14; 8:15; 17:11; Num. 18:17; Deut. 12:27; etc.]. The sacrificial character of the pouring out of the blood in the present passage is confirmed by the New Testament passages in which Jesus is represented as the victim to be immolated for the sins of the world [cf. Jn. 3:14, 16; 10:11, 15; 11:50; Tit. 2:14; Heb. 9:11–14].

13. The words “I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine,” α. allude to the Jewish blessing pronounced over the wine before partaking of it: “Blessed art thou, O Eternal, our God! King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.” β. The words themselves need not have been pronounced over the unconsecrated wine. If they refer to the consecrated cup, our Lord calls the contents “wine,” as in Ex. 7:12 the rod of Aaron is called rod even after being changed into a serpent, and as in Jn. 9:17 the blind man is still called blind even after his eyes had been opened; our Lord could retain the name “wine” with the more reason, because the appearance of wine remained in the cup. γ. But the parallel passage in the third gospel and the context of the passage in the first suggest or rather demand that the words were not pronounced in connection with the consecrated chalice [cf. Aug. Langen]. The parallel passage of St. Luke [22:17, 18] reads: “And having taken the chalice, he gave thanks and said: Take it and divide it among you. For I say to you that I will not drink of the fruit of the vine till the kingdom of God comes.” Immediately after, follows first the consecration of the bread, then that of the wine. What more natural than that Jesus, before consecrating, should instruct his disciples with regard to their manner of behavior after consecration. They are to partake all of the one cup; they are not to wait till Jesus himself had partaken of it, for he will not drink of it; in the kingdom of heaven, however, they will partake of it together. The first of these three injunctions is placed in the first gospel before the consecration of the chalice, while the second and third follow it. The order of the third gospel is here more probable, because it does not necessitate any interruption in the consecration, or any delay after it. δ. The context, too, shows that Jesus did not apply “this fruit of the vine” to the consecrated chalice. For he connects it with what he will drink new with his disciples in the kingdom of his Father. That the consecrated wine could not be thus connected is clear from the following considerations. The “new” does not signify “anew,” or “in a new way,” “in a strange manner” [cf. Chrys. Euth.]. The kingdom of the Father refers to the religious life [Jer.], or to the eucharistic celebration in the new kingdom [Schöttgen], or to the Messianic kingdom [Orig. Naz. Bed. Mald. Schegg, Meyer, etc.], or to the days after the resurrection [Chrys. Euth. Theoph.]. But to judge from other passages in which the joys of heaven are described under the figure of a feast [Lk. 22:30; 12:37; cf. Is. 65:17; 66:22; 2 Pet. 3:13; Apoc. 21:1], Jesus refers here to the spiritual wine of the heavenly joys which he will share with his disciples in the kingdom of his Father forever. Now, the consecrated chalice, or the sacred blood, is nowhere used as the symbol of the heavenly joys, while the foregoing passages show that the partaking of common wine is often employed in this sense. Whether the idea of a loving farewell is connected with the meaning thus far established [cf. Knab.] is of little consequence.

[3] Dogmatic Corollaries. 1. The body of our Lord was truly, really, and substantially present under the appearance of bread; his sacred blood was truly, really, and substantially present under the appearance of wine. α. The true, real, and substantial presence of our Lord’s body under the species of bread, and of our Lord’s blood under the species of wine, follows from the fact that otherwise the words “this is my body,” “this is my blood,” would not be true in their obvious sense. Scotus Erigena, who taught at Paris in the ninth century that “the sacrament of the altar is not the true body and blood of the Lord, but only a memorial,” and Berengarius, who taught in the eleventh century that the “Eucharist is not truly and substantially the body and blood of our Lord, but only a shadow and figure,” are in clear contradiction with the obvious meaning of the words of Jesus. A similar judgment must be pronounced upon the opinion of Carlostadt and Zwingli, who regard the Eucharist as a mere memorial of the body and blood of our Lord; on the followers of Calvin, who deny that our Lord is substantially present in the Blessed Sacrament, and admit only the presence of the virtue of our Lord’s body in the sacramental bread and wine; for while Jesus says, “this is my body,” “this is my blood,” the foregoing heretics say: “I believe that this is the figure of thy body,” “I believe that this contains the virtue or the power of thy blood.” Not even those who assume that in the Holy Eucharist our Lord becomes hypostatically united with the elements of bread and wine escape the cogency of our Lord’s words. For as Jesus cannot say of his heart, “this is my head,” or of his hands, “these are my eyes,” though heart and head, hands and eyes, are hypostatically united with his divine person, so he cannot say of the bread, “this is my body,” even if his divine person becomes hypostatically united with the bread.

β. This consideration is confirmed by the following observation. If the words of Jesus have a figurative meaning in the two expressions “this is my body,” “this is my blood,” the figure must be sought in either the subject or the predicate. It cannot be found in either. Œcolampadius placed the figure in the predicate, so that the word “body” meant symbol of the body, the word “blood” meant symbol of the blood; but not to insist on the fact that this kind of metonymy, which places the object signified for the sign, has been rejected by the Protestants themselves, the context of our Lord’s words plainly excludes this meaning; for Jesus says, “this is my body which is given for you” [Luke, Paul]; “this is my blood which shall be shed for you” [Mark, Luke]. And as it was not the memory, or the figure, or the virtue of our Lord’s body and blood that was given and shed, but the true, real, and substantial body and blood of the Lord, so must the true, real, and substantial body of Jesus be present under the appearance of bread and wine. Nor can it be said that the pronoun “this,” or what is pointed out by “this,” must be taken figuratively, and that the meaning of the words is, “this taken symbolically is my true, real, and substantial body.” We may indeed use this manner of speech when we point to an object known and received as representative of something else, to a statue, e. g., or a picture. But the objects pointed out by Jesus, the bread and wine, were neither known and received as a figure of something else, nor could they be taken in that meaning under the accompanying circumstances. On the contrary, our Lord had insisted most emphatically, about a year before the last supper, that he would give the disciples his flesh to eat and his blood to drink; and before consecrating, he expressly commanded them, “take and eat.”

γ. The tradition of the Church has always been uniform in understanding the words of Jesus at the last supper in their simple and proper sense, without recurring to figure and symbol. When the few stray voices to the contrary mentioned in the preceding paragraph made themselves heard, they were at once drowned by the chorus of the whole teaching and believing body of the Church, the faith of which was at length definitely formulated in the Council of Trent [sess. xiii., xxi., xxii.].

2. The body and blood of our Lord become present under the appearances of bread and wine by transubstantiation, i. e. by a change of the whole substance of the bread into the adorable body of our Lord, of the whole substance of the wine into his sacred blood. This dogma was denied by Berenger, Wicliff, Luther, and is still denied by a number of Protestants, especially Lutherans and Anglicans, who admit the real presence of our Lord’s body and blood in the Eucharist, but contend at the same time that the substance of bread and wine remains. The bad logic of this position may be shown thus: The pronoun “this” points to the substance present in our Lord’s hands; if, then, the bread remains under the eucharistic species, Jesus said, “this [bread] is my body,” i. e. he pronounced a statement that was false. The Council of Trent is therefore right in declaring [xiii. can. ii. chap. iv.] that according to Catholic belief the whole substance of the bread is by virtue of the sacramental words changed into the body of Jesus, and the whole substance of the wine into his sacred blood.

3. The eating of our Lord’s body and the drinking of his blood produce sanctifying grace in the partaker. According to Jn. 6:55–59, “he that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath everlasting life … abideth in me and I in him … shall live by me … shall live for ever.” But all these effects imply sanctifying grace, for in it our supernatural life consists, and it is the seed of life eternal. That the eating and drinking of our Lord’s body are not mere conditions, but real causes in the foregoing passage, is plain from their comparison with the eating of the manna, the real cause of the continued temporal life of the Jews in the desert, and from the emphatic words, “my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.”

4. Jesus offered at the last supper a true sacrifice. According to the words of our Lord, his body was at the last supper given for us, broken for us; his blood was at the same supper shed for us, shed for the remission of sin. But the giving and breaking of our Lord’s body for us, the shedding of his blood for us, for the remission of sin, constitute a real sacrifice. Therefore Jesus offered at the last supper a real sacrifice. The minor premise must be granted by all those who admit that the death of our Lord on the cross was a real sacrifice. The major premise follows, first, from the literal text in which the verbs “given,” “shed” are present participles; again, it follows from the words of St. Luke, according to whom the blood is shed in as far as it is contained in the chalice. For according to the Greek text, the “which” in the words “this is the chalice, the new testament in my blood, which shall be shed for you,” can refer to the chalice only [τοῦτο τὸ ποτήριον ἡ καινὴ διαθήκη ἐν τῷ αἵματί μου τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ἐκχυνόμενον]. Even if we admit, then, the future tense of the Vulgate, our Lord refers to a future shedding of his sacred blood as contained in the chalice; in other words, he predicts the future celebration of the eucharistic sacrifice.

5. The sacrifice of the last supper was substantially the same as the sacrifice on the cross; they differed only in their manner of oblation. At the last supper our Lord offered in an unbloody manner the blood of the new testament. But the blood of the new testament was offered in a bloody manner on the cross. Therefore the unbloody offering at the last supper was identical with the bloody offering on the cross, differing from it only in the manner of oblation. The first of the foregoing statements is plain from the first and second gospel; the second statement is expressed in Heb. 9:13, 14, 15, 16, 28; etc.

6. At the last supper Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist as a true sacrament of the new testament. A sacrament is an outward sign, signifying and conferring inward grace, instituted by Jesus Christ, to last forever. But Jesus instituted at the last supper an outward sign [the species of bread and wine] of inward grace [a food commemorative of the Lord’s passion], to last as long as the command lasts, “do this for a commemoration of me” [in order to confer the grace which it had conferred at the last supper]. Hence the species of bread and wine, containing the true, real, and substantial body and blood of our Lord, is a true sacrament of the new testament, which on account of its form of thanksgiving preceding the consecration is rightly called Eucharist.

7. Jesus instituted at the last supper the eucharistic sacrifice as perpetual. For he commanded his disciples, “do this for a commemoration of me.” But he himself had offered a true sacrifice of his sacred body and blood at the last supper. Therefore his disciples too were to offer the unbloody sacrifice of the Lord’s body and blood for a commemoration of him.

8. Jesus gave at the last supper to his disciples the power to consecrate, i. e. to change the whole substance of the bread into his body, the whole substance of the wine into his blood. This follows from his command to do what he had done; hence they must have the power necessary to fulfil the command. The text does not show which of the orders is to have the power of consecration only, and which shall possess also the power of conferring the power of consecrating on others. Though the inspired writers have not recorded this ordinance of the Lord, ecclesiastical tradition has faithfully kept it.

9. Finally, we maintain that most probably Jesus did not receive holy communion at the last supper. The contrary opinion is said to be held by Jer. Aug. Chrys. Thom. Suar. etc. But as to Jer. [ep. 120, qu. 2, ad Hedib.], the holy Doctor testifies only that our Lord ate and drank at the last supper, not that he partook of the eucharistic bread and wine. The passage of Aug. [De doctr. christ. ii. 3] has at least three various readings [prægustato, per gustatum, per gustum], two of which do not necessitate the assumption that Jesus himself received holy communion. Chrys. Thom. [p. 3, qu. 81, a. 1], Suar. [l. c. disp. 75, sect. 2] appeal to “a priori” reasons why Jesus should have received holy communion. But these arguments are not convincing; it is not true that Jesus gave his disciples an example of everything he commanded them to do. They were, e.g., to teach and baptize all nations, while Jesus confined his ministry to Palestine. The dignity of the sacrament was sufficiently secured by our Lord’s real bodily presence in the same, so that the honor of sacrament did not require his receiving the same. Holy Scripture rather favors the opinion that our Lord did not communicate; the verses which in the third gospel precede the consecration, as well as that which in the first gospel follows it, appear to state in our Lord’s own words that he will not receive communion. Besides, the effects of the Holy Eucharist described in Jn. 6:55–59 seem to preclude our Lord’s reception of the sacrament.

30. And a hymn being said.] δ. Prediction of the scandal and denial. This section, first, gives the circumstances of time and place of the following incidents; secondly, it states the general prediction of the scandal; thirdly, it contains the answer of Peter; fourthly, Peter’s denial is especially predicted; fifthly, the protestations of Peter and of the other apostles conclude the section.

[1] The circumstances regard time and place of the incident. [a] The time is “then,” when they went out to Mount Olivet, a hymn being said. The prediction that follows cannot therefore be identified with that related by Lk. 22:31–34 and Jn. 13:36–38, which occurred in the supper-room [cf. Caj. Schanz, Fil. P.], but must have taken place on the way to Mount Olivet [Lap. Luc. Brug. Olshausen, Knab. etc.], so that Jesus predicted the denial twice, or even three times [Aug.]. The hymn to which there is reference must not be identified with that preserved by the Priscillianists [cf. Aug. ep. 237, al. 253, n. 4], nor with the solemn prayer of Jesus recorded in Jn. 17 [cf. Rab. Thom. Grotius, etc.]; but it is either Ps. 135 [136] [Keil, Ed.], or the great Hallel [Fil.], or the second part of the common Hallel [Paul. burg. Francisc. Luc. Baron. Mald. Lap. Arn. Schegg, Schanz, Weiss, Ed. etc.]. The foundation for the various opinions may be found in Surenh. ii. p. 175; Buxtorf, Lex. Chald. pp. 613 ff.; etc.

[b] The place of the incident is the road to the Mount of Olives. Though the Israelites were forbidden in Ex. 12:22 to leave the house before daybreak following the paschal supper, the context shows that this prohibition was binding only in Egypt, and Josephus [Antiq. XVIII. ii. 2] declares that the Jews understood it as such. Even if the feast had begun, our Lord and his disciples could go out to Mount Olivet, which lay within a sabbath’s journey east of Jerusalem [cf. Acts 1:12; 24:3; Jos. Antiq. XX. viii. 6; B. J. V. ii. 3].

31. Then Jesus saith unto them.] [2] General prediction. Those writers that admit only one prediction of the fall and the scandal refer the “then” not to the preceding verse, but to verse 29. The scandal which the apostles are to suffer will have its motive in the passion and humiliation of their Master, so that their faith shall begin to waver, and doubt shall beset them [cf. Euth. Br. Jans. Caj. Alb. Calm.]. It does not follow from this that they will lose their faith in Jesus. Though this very prediction of their scandal will prove a support of the disciples’ faith in the future, Jesus tempers also its present bitterness in two ways. First, he points out that this trial will be a fulfilment of a Messianic prophecy contained in Zach. 13:7. That the shepherd in that passage is the Messias is clear from the context of the prophecy, especially from 11 and 12:10. But the quotation of the prophecy does not wholly agree with the text: the prophet says, “Strike the shepherd …,” while the evangelist reads, “I will strike the shepherd …,” If it be remembered that in the prophecy God is the speaker who gives the order “Strike the shepherd …,” it follows that the evangelist ascribes immediately to God what the prophet ascribes to him mediately, as it were, God being the moral cause of the action. St. Matthew had good reason for employing this modal difference in his quotation in order to show that the Lord’s passion and the consequent disturbance of the disciples entered into the plan of divine providence. It is probably not so much the weakness of the disciples as the greatness of Christ’s humiliation that is expressed in this prediction [cf. Cyr.]. The second consolation, which Jesus joins with the prediction of the disciples’ scandal, is based on his resurrection and their future meeting in Galilee. This substantial motive of consolation is accidentally augmented by the mention of the native place and the home of the apostles [cf. Cyr. Br. Thom. Jans.]. The words “I will go before you” do not necessarily mean that Jesus will lead the disciples into Galilee, but that he will be there before them. On the other hand, it must not be imagined that our Lord denied in these words his intention of appearing to the apostles in Judea after his resurrection. He merely gave them leave to return to their native province, if their fear of the Jews impelled them to do so, and promised that he would meet them there.

33. And Peter answering.] [3] Three defects are blamed in Peter’s answer: first, he contradicts our Lord too bluntly; secondly, he prefers himself, at least unconsciously, to his fellow-disciples; thirdly, he trusts his own strength too implicitly, forgetful of his weakness shown when walking on the waters of the Sea of Galilee [Mt. 14:30; cf. Chrys. Euth. Pasch. Thom. Jans. Calm. etc.]. On the other hand, Peter shows in these words his fiery temperament, his lively faith in Jesus, and his tender affection for his Master [cf. Jer.].

34. Jesus said to him.] [4] The precision of the prediction regards first the substance of Peter’s fall: “thou wilt deny me thrice,” i. e. as the third gospel [22:34] explains: “till thou thrice deniest that thou knowest me.” Peter’s sin will therefore not necessarily consist in the loss of faith in his Master, but in want of courage to confess his faith in public. The second point which renders the prediction of Peter’s fall so precise is the determination of the time of its occurrence: it will happen “to-day, even in this night” [Mk. 14:30], “before the cock crow” [Mt.; cf. Lk], “before the cock crow twice” [Mk. 14:30]. The apparent discrepancy between Matthew and Luke on the one side and Mark on the other may be explained by the fact that the cock crows twice at night, first about midnight, and then two or three hours later, i. e. about three o’clock A. M. Some speak of a third cock-crow occurring about 5 or 6 A. M., but this does not concern our question. The first crowing was heard by very few, so that the time of the second crowing was commonly called “the cock-crow.” Pliny [Histor. nat. x. 24] places the time of the cock-crow in the fourth night-watch, which nearly agrees with the foregoing computation according to which it falls about 3 A. M. That the ancients generally adopted this appellation of the cock-crow is evident from Macrobius [Saturn. i. 3] and Censorinus [c. xix.], who divide the second half of the night into midnight, the cock-crow, the silence [properly, the cock-silence], and the dawn. The time assigned to Peter’s denial of his Master in the first gospel, “before the cock-crow,” coincides therefore with the time determined by the second gospel, “before the cock crow twice.” It is true that Baba Kama, vii. 7 forbids the keeping of hens in Jerusalem [cf. Lightfoot], and in the Old Testament there is no mention of hens; but it is certain that the rooster came at a very early period from its native northern Persia to the Greeks and Romans, and later on also to the Semitic races [cf. Kremer, Ausland, 1875, II. 2, p. 29; Zeitschr. der deutsch. morgenl. Gesellsch. xxxi. pp. 183 ff.]. At any rate, R. Jehuda speaks already of the stoning of a rooster [cf. Schanz, Schöttgen, Wetstein, Wünsche].

35. Peter saith to him.] [5] Alb. compares Peter’s words with those of Ethai [2 Kings 15:21]. Had Peter prayed for divine assistance instead of relying on his own resources, God would no doubt have prevented his fall; cf. similar predictions [cf. 18:7–10; Ez. 33:13–16]. As it was, Peter learned from his fall humility and compassion with the weakness of others, qualities that were necessary for him in his exalted dignity of vicar of Christ. The other apostles followed Peter in their well-meant protestations of fidelity and unchanging love for their Master; Jesus did not insist further on their future weakness, but compassionating them, he lovingly received their present disposition of heart. It must be remarked again that our Lord predicted the weakness of the apostles because he foresaw their future condition of soul; their weakness was not made necessary by the prediction of Jesus.

36. Then Jesus came with them into a country place.] c. Preparation of Jesus for his passion. This section contains first, an introduction [vv. 36–38]; secondly, it describes the first prayer [vv. 39–41]; thirdly, it tells of the second prayer of our Lord [vv. 42, 43]; lastly, it describes his third prayer [vv. 44–46].

α. The introduction is concerned with three distinct groups of persons: first, with the eight disciples [verse 36]; secondly, with the three disciples [verse 37]; thirdly, with the person of Jesus himself [verse 38].

[1] The eight disciples are left by Jesus in a country place, called Gethsemani. What the first evangelist calls “country place” is described by the fourth gospel [18:1] as situate “over the brook Cedron, where there was a garden.” If we suppose that Jesus and his disciples left Jerusalem by what is now the St. Stephen’s Gate, the Cedron was only 480 feet down the valley, and 160 feet further on, at the foot of Mount Olivet, lay the garden of Gethsemani. The garden itself is at present a quadrangle of about 168 feet by 162. The name Gethsemani signifies, according to its common derivation, “oilpress” [cf. Arn. Schanz, Fil. P. Keil, Weiss], though Schegg contends that it means “fatness of oil.” There are still eight very old olive-trees in the garden; but since Josephus [B. J. VI. i. 1] testifies that Titus and Adrian felled during the siege of Jerusalem [A. D. 135] all the trees within the circumference of 90 stadia around the city, the foregoing trees can hardly have occupied their present ground at the time of our Lord. But they must antedate the entrance of the Mohammedans [A. D. 636], because they pay only one Medine taxes, while the taxes levied on all olive-trees planted after that occurrence amount to one half of their annual produce. The eight trees, each of which measures about 15 or 20 feet in circumference, remind one of the eight disciples left by Jesus in the garden. The present wall around the garden is of unhewn stone, and measures about eight feet in height. The spot of Gethsemani was no doubt identified A. D. 326, when St. Helena was instrumental in restoring all the sacred places of the Passion to their rightful honor. A few years later, Eusebius mentions Gethsemani as a place of prayer, situated on Mount Olivet. St. Jerome, writing sixty years after Eusebius, places Gethsemani at the foot of the Mount of Olives, and says that a church had been built over it. This church still existed towards the end of the seventeenth century, if we may believe the testimony of Theophanes. Antoninus, martyr, and Adamnanus too mention the garden, the former at the end of the sixth century, the latter at the time of the crusades. The very name “Gethsemani” appears to allude to the prophecy of Is. 63:3, where the speaker testifies that he “trod the winepress alone. From Jn. 18:2 it appears that the owner of the place was a disciple of Jesus, since the Master withdrew so often to the garden that it was well known to Judas.

37. And taking with him.] [2] The three disciples whom Jesus takes with him to witness his agony are the three that have seen the resuscitation of Jairus’ daughter, and the mystery of his transfiguration; the faith of the others may not have been able to bear the fearful sight of the agony.

[a] Jesus had felt compassion for the widow at Naim, had felt sorrow over his traitor-apostle, had wept over the death of Lazarus and the fate of the city of Jerusalem. But now “he began to grow sorrowful and to be sad” in a different way: the verb “he began” shows that he was afflicted suddenly, and at his own free choice, by his interior suffering; in the Greek text the two verbs [λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν] “to grow sorrowful and to be sad” form a gradation, the second signifying “to be spent with fatigue, labor of mind and body,” though it is not as forcible as the expression of St. Mark [14:33], “to be cast down with fear” [ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι].

[b] This moment appears to have been pointed out by St. Luke [4:13], when he says that after the temptations the devil left Jesus for a time. But apart from this, there is a certain parallelism between the temptation of Jesus in the desert and his agony in the garden of Gethsemani. In the desert, Jesus refuses the dominion of the whole world offered him at the price of his fidelity to God: in the garden, Jesus freely accepts death for the world in conformity with the will of God; in the desert, the tempter promises pleasure, honor, and riches: in the garden, he threatens pain, ignominy, and poverty unto death; in the desert, Jesus determines to live for God and not for the devil: in the garden, Jesus freely accepts death for the glory of God. For it is plain from Jn. 18:11 that the chalice which Jesus accepts in Gethsemani at the hand of his Father is the death on the cross.

[c] As to the history of the agony, it may be noted that John omits it, though he points out its place [18:1] in the history of the passion; Mark contains the most striking words of our suffering Redeemer, “Abba, Father” [14:36]; Luke gives a summary of the whole, and dwells more on the physical effects [22:44]; Matthew best describes the gradual progress of the internal strife of Jesus, and of his entire resignation to the will of his Father.

38. Then he saith to them.] [3] The person of our Lord, [a] The literal meaning of the words “sorrowful unto death” does not merely point out the sorrow that usually accompanies death [Euth. Mald.], nor does it merely signify a sorrow that will last until death [Hil. Jer. Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. Caj.], but it denotes a sorrow that of itself is sufficient to bring on death [cf. Dion. Fab. Jans. Sylv. Lap.].

[b] Jesus communicates this sorrow to his three disciples, both because he thus finds that consolation which men usually find in speaking of their suffering, and also because he thus emphasizes the command, “stay you here and watch with me.” Not as if he had asked them to watch only for his sake, since they themselves needed it as we shall see presently; but it would have been some relief to the agonizing Saviour to know that his friends watched near him.

[c] The cause of our Lord’s sorrow is not only the miserable condition of his disciples and the Jewish people [Hil. Jer. Pasch. Br.], but it is also the certain and lively foreknowledge of his impending death, of his most shameful and cruel torments, accompanied by a clear insight into the enormous guilt of the innumerable sins of the world which he now assumed, and into the uselessness of his suffering for many souls that would suffer the more grievously in hell on account of his suffering for them.

[d] Concerning the greatness of our Lord’s suffering the following principles may guide us: 1. It is blasphemy to say with Calvin and Melanchthon that Jesus from the time of his agony in the garden to his death on the cross suffered the pains of the damned in hell, or that he feared he would be condemned to eternal punishment. 2. Jesus suffered during his passion only those pains which man can suffer from man in the natural course of things, so that we cannot assume that God gave the devil extraordinary power to afflict our Lord. But he suffered all the torments that man can suffer in this manner: poverty, dishonor, abandonment by friends, physical pain. 3. The sorrow of Jesus over the sins of the world was greater than that of any other man, and greater than that of any other man can be by the ordinary power of God. This sorrow had its root in two causes: Jesus knew the number of the sins, grieving for them all; and at the same time, he had a perfect insight into their malice, 4. The sadness of Jesus over his own torments was not so great as the sorrow of the damned over their sufferings; because the latter grieve over their eternal loss of the vision of God, while Jesus grieved only over a natural misfortune, lasting for a time. 5. The sorrow of Jesus over his own torments was more intense and bitter than any sorrow over any other temporal evil has been and will be; and this sorrow appears to have increased till the death on the cross, when it reached its highest point. 6. The sensible pain suffered by Jesus in his sacred head, hands, feet, and in the rest of his body was by far greater in intensity than any other man has ever suffered or will suffer in the ordinary course of providence. This is a result of the exceptionally perfect complexion of our Lord’s sacred body. The physical pain of Jesus seems to have been inferior to the physical pain suffered in purgatory and hell, where it results from a higher order of causation [cf. Suarez, De mysteriis vitæ Christi, disp. 33].

[e] Commentators have assigned a variety of reasons why Jesus subjected himself to the agony in the garden: 1. To show that he was really man, and suffered death like other men; 2. to show how much he suffered; 3. to expiate the sinful pleasure of the human will and intellect; 4. to show his filial obedience, and his love for us; 5. to comfort us in our sorrows and repugnances, and to show us how these afflictions ought to be overcome; 6. to bear our afflictions, and lighten for us the fear of death [Heb. 2:15; cf. Dion. Jans. Lap. Sylv. Knab.].

39. And going a little further.] β. The first prayer of Jesus. This section contains three parts: first, it determines the place of the prayer and the posture of our Lord; secondly, it gives the words addressed to God; thirdly, it gives the words spoken after the prayer to the three disciples. [1] The preliminaries. [a] Place of the prayer. On the southeast corner outside the garden is the traditional spot, marked by a flat stone, where the three disciples were to stay and watch with our Lord. About ten or twelve paces to the south is the “terra damnata” of the traitor’s kiss. North of the garden, and separated from it by the road that leads to the summit of Olivet, lies the grotto to which Jesus withdrew to pray in his agony. The first gospel describes its distance from the place of the three disciples as “a little further”; the third evangelist determines the same distance as “a stone’s cast.” The actual distance amounts to 215 feet. The grotto is entered on its western side by a descent of eight steps; it measures about 55 feet in length, 29 feet in width, and 10 feet in height. The walls are unadorned, but ancient frescoes and traces of Latin inscriptions are still visible; on its southeast end are three altars lit up by lamps. Over the main altar hangs a picture of the angel strengthening Jesus. Mass is celebrated in the grotto every day, and twice a year [Tuesday after Septuagesima and Wednesday in Holy Week] solemn high mass. The church mentioned by St. Jerome in connection with this grotto, and restored at the time of the crusades, has wholly disappeared during the reign of the Turcs.

[b] Posture during the prayer. The posture of our Lord during his prayer is described by St. Matthew by the words “he fell upon his face,” for which St. Mark has “he fell flat on the ground,” and St. Luke “kneeling down.” Such a posture is ascribed nowhere else to our Lord; the variations of the evangelists may be reconciled by remembering the Oriental manner of kneeling with the face bent to the ground.

My Father.] [2] The prayer to the heavenly Father contains first, a loving address, secondly, an earnest petition, and thirdly, a most complete surrender.

[a] The address shows our Lord’s affectionate love of God even at the time when he is loaded with the heaviest sufferings. The second gospel has preserved the exact word “Abba,” which in the mouth of Jesus was the equivalent of Jahveh.

[b] The petition is expressed in slightly different ways by the three evangelists. Mark says: “All things are possible to thee; remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.” And Luke: “Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me; but yet not my will, but thine be done” [Mk. 14:36; Lk. 22:42]. All evangelists agree, therefore, in the primary object of the petition which they place in the passing of the chalice; but they disagree in the condition which they connect with the petition, [α] The figure of the cup alludes to the usage of sending around the common cup at feasts; every guest was supposed to drink of it, unless he was able to give good reason for letting it pass without partaking of it. [β] Our Lord did not mean the cup of the sufferings which his disciples had to drink after him [Hil.], nor the cup of guilt which the Jews were to contract by crucifying their Messias [Orig. Jer. Epiph. Bed. Pasch. Br. Theoph.]; but primarily the cup of his own passion and death. [γ] Concerning this cup of his passion our Lord expresses not merely an indeliberate desire of his human nature [cf. Schanz], nor is it a mere expression of horror for the impending torments [cf. P.], nor is it a mere prayer for divine assistance to bear the sufferings patiently [cf. Schanz]; but it is a true prayer of Christ’s human nature, expressing his feelings as though he did not know the decrees of divine providence [Mald.]. [δ] The additions “if it be possible” [Mt.], and “all things are possible to thee” [Mk.], must be understood in the light of St. Luke’s addition, “if thou wilt,” i. e. if it be in accord with thy ordinary power, regulated by thy wisdom and will.

[c] The surrender may be understood as a correction of the petition in so far as it expresses entire conformity not merely with the preceptive will of God, i. e. the positive divine commands, but also with the divine counsels and the commands in a wider sense [cf. Petav. Knab. etc.]. The words used by Jesus in signifying his surrender show that the desire contained in his petition is not merely the longing of his inferior sensitive nature, but of his human will, so that the passage has been rightly employed in the controversy against the Monothelites [cf. Petav. De incarn. ix. 6]. Dogmatic theology reconciles the sufferings of Jesus with his beatific vision.

40. And he cometh to his disciples.] [3] The words to the disciples. The historical present places the scene before the reader’s eyes; Peter is addressed, because he had been foremost in his expressions of fidelity. This circumstance shows also that Jesus went after his prayer to the three, not to the eight disciples. The words “What? could you not …” must be understood according to the literal rendering of the Greek and Latin: “Are you thus unable to watch one hour with me?” The words are therefore one question, not two. The words “with me” are emphatic, and may allude to the disciples’ former protestations that they were ready to die with Jesus. The expression “one hour” does not determine the exact length of the first prayer of our Lord; “hour” is often used of a short space of time, as may be inferred from Apoc. 17:12; 18:10, 17, 19. Mald. is of opinion that it signifies in the present instance a very short duration, so as to emphasize the carelessness of the disciples the more. After this rebuke our Lord adds a warning that even the disciples’ own weakness needs their watchfulness and prayer: their watchfulness against the snares of evil, their prayer for advancement in good. Not to enter into temptation does not mean mere victory over temptation [Orig. Jer. Bed. Pasch. Br. Alb. Caj. Dion. Jans. Lap. Lam. Fil.], but rather freedom from the same [Mald. Schegg, Bisp. Schanz, cf. Orig.]. But Jesus does not say that this freedom from temptation must be the direct object of our petition; he rather insists on its being the result of our prayer and of the graces we obtain thereby. The necessity of watchful prayer is further emphasized by the weakness of the flesh, however prompt may be the spirit [Chrys. Hil. Jer. Pasch. Br. Alb. Thom. etc.]. This last saying of the Lord is, however, interpreted by Theoph. and Schegg as containing an excuse of the disciples.

42. Again the second time.] γ. The second prayer.] In this section we have to consider first the words and then the action of our Lord. [1] The words. The second evangelist [14:39] says: “He prayed, saying the same words.” But though the words are substantially the same as in the first prayer, they show at least a greater resignation than those of the first. Jesus expresses his willingness to drink the chalice with all its accidental bitternesses: all the horrors of its physical pain, all the depth of its humiliations, and the whole foreknowledge of its partial uselessness as far as the salvation of souls is concerned.

43. And he cometh again.] [2] The action of Jesus. The restlessness of our Lord agrees perfectly with the behavior of a man in great distress. Though he finds the disciples again asleep, he does not wake them up this time, but renounces the human consolation that he might have obtained from their sympathy. The evangelist well says that their eyes were heavy, a feeling that every one has experienced at the time of sleepiness. The third gospel [22:45] says: “he found them sleeping for sorrow.” The night was by this time well advanced; Peter and John had been busily engaged all the preceding day; and besides all this, the sadness of their Master had affected them in a very sensible way. Many a disciple of Jesus who is loud in the blame of the apostles has slept for a much worse reason while his divine Master endured the mortal agony.

44. And leaving them, he went again.] δ. The third prayer. Here we must first consider our Lord’s words to God; secondly, his words to the disciples. [1] The prayer proper. The want of all help which Jesus experienced in his agony is described by Is. 53:5 and in Ps. 68:21. We have already seen that the words uttered by Jesus in his second prayer were modally different from those of the first prayer. The first gospel says, therefore, that “he prayed the third time,” “saying the self-same word” he had used the second time. The reason for our Lord’s triple prayer is explained by a certain perfection of the number three, as may be seen in the commentaries of Mald. Lap. Sylv. [lib. viii. cap. ii. qu. 15 gives six reasons]. At any rate, Jesus thus teaches us perseverance in prayer, even if we do nothing but repeat the same words, as happens in the devotion of the rosary. The third gospel [22:40 ff.] gives a more detailed account of the agony: “And being in an agony, he prayed the longer. And his sweat became as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground.”

45. Then he cometh to his disciples.] [2] Words to the disciples. These words seem at first to contradict our Lord’s previous address to his disciples, but they may be made to agree in various ways: [a] They are spoken in irony, as when boys that have played during the time of work are bidden to play when the time for eating comes [Euth. Br. Dion. Mald.; cf. Sylv. Theoph. Lam. Calm. Meyer, Keim, Ewald, etc.]. But this manner of speaking to his disciples does not agree with the character of our Lord, least of all at the solemn time when he is about to deliver himself up for them, and when he had given them the greatest mark of his love.

[b] Berl. Arn. Buch. Mansel render the particle τὸ λοιπόν, which is translated by “now” in the English text, as meaning “in future,” so that they read, “You can sleep on another occasion, at some future time; but now the hour is at hand …” It is not only the literal meaning of the Greek text, but also the unsatisfactory meaning of the proffered explanation that renders this opinion improbable.

[c] The Greek expression τὸ λοιπόν excludes also the opinion of Anger and Weiss, who change the first part of the sentence into a question: “Do you sleep now …?”

[d] The explanation of Chrys. and Schanz that Jesus did not wish to urge his exhortation to watchfulness and prayer any further, because he saw that the disciples could not follow it, is not entirely satisfactory. The opinion might be sufficient to explain a mere omission on the part of our Lord to exhort his disciples further to prepare themselves properly for the coming combat, but does not account for his positive warning to do now something else.

[e] The explanation offered by Aug. and adopted by Bed. Pasch. Alb. Thom. Fab. Caj. Jans. Lap. Schegg, Bisp. Fil. P. Knab. seems therefore preferable. Jesus allowed his disciples really a short rest before they were to witness the spectacle of his capture by his enemies. They slept a short time, while he himself who had received sufficient strength from on high to bear his struggle without their sympathy was watching over them. The sinners into whose hands the son of man is about to be delivered are the Jews, now on the point of formally rejecting their Messias and polluting themselves with the crime of deicide. When these sinners under the leadership of Judas approach, Jesus wakes his disciples with the words: “Rise, let us go; behold he is at hand that will betray me.” The liberty of our Lord in undergoing his passion and death is, therefore, emphasized by the evangelist to the last.

2.] The Sacred Passion, 26:47–27:50

A. The Capture of Jesus, 26:47–56

47. As he yet spoke.] This section may be divided into three parts: a. The treason of Judas, vv. 47–50; b. Peter’s defence of our Lord, vv. 51–54; c. the multitudes and the disciples, vv. 55, 56.

a. The treason of Judas. The arrival of the enemies coincides with the last words of our Lord. Judas is called “one of the twelve” as in verse 14; in the following verse he is named “he that betrayed him” as in verse 25; 27:3; Jn. 13:11; 18:2, so that these designations of Judas may have been common in the early Church [cf. Mk. 14:20]. The “great multitude” with Judas consisted of regularly [“with swords”] and irregularly armed [“clubs”] men. According to Jn. 18:3, 12, some of the multitude were Roman soldiers stationed in the castle Antonia [cf. Josephus, B. J. V. v. 8; II. xii. 1; Antiq. XX. v. 3; viii. 11], others were members of the Jewish temple-guard and servants of the chief priests and elders, others again were members of the Jewish council [cf. Lk. 22:52]. The word “sent” is not found in the Greek text; in the latter the preposition “from” depends directly on “came,” so that “Judas … came from the chief priests.”

48. And he that betrayed him.] The sign determining the person of our Lord was necessary, because many of the “multitude,” especially the Roman soldiers, were not acquainted with him personally. But even those who knew Jesus might have made a mistake in the night. The traitor placed this sign in a kiss, i. e. the common manner of saluting friends in the East. The kiss was chosen, not because Judas feared to betray Jesus openly [cf. Orig.], nor because he feared that Jesus would endeavor to escape if he were betrayed openly [cf. Orig. Jer. Chrys.], but because he intended to deceive Jesus by his hypocrisy, relying on our Lord’s goodness [Orig.]. This explanation is suggested by the Greek verb employed in the following clause, “he kissed him affectionately” [cf. Mk. 14:45; Lk. 7:38, 45; 15:20; Xen. Mem. II. vi. 33]. Judas addresses Jesus with the same title as at the last supper [cf. verse 25]. The Greek text shows that Jesus, on his part, addressed Judas as “companion “rather than “friend.” This address, ἑταῖρε, in Hebrew חָבֵּר, is the correlative of Rabbi, though it implied a rebuke [Orig.; cf. Mt. 20:13; 22:12]. The words that follow have received various explanations: [1] the rendering “whereto art thou come?” can hardly be defended as accurate, since the relative pronoun implied in the “whereto” [for what] is not used in Greek as an interrogative, and the assumption of an exceptional meaning of the word in later Greek cannot he proved [cf. Winer, xxiv. 4, p. 157]. [2] Since the Greek relative cannot be identified with the adjectival pronoun, the clause cannot be rendered by way of exclamation, “to what has it come with thee!” “to what depth of crime hast thou descended!” though Fritzsche, Buttmann, Keil, Jans. endeavor to uphold this meaning. [3] Hilar. Remig. Euth. Mald. Meyer, Steinm. Weiss, etc. regard the clause as elliptical, explaining “do that for which thou art come here” [cf. Jn. 13:27]; but, on the one hand, Judas had fulfilled his work, and on the other, all our versions retain the interrogative form of the passage. [4] It seems, therefore, preferable to supply a question, “Friend, do I not know for what thou art come here?” This does justice to the literal meaning of the Greek text, and also to its traditional interpretation. Lk. 22:48 explains these words; the fourth gospel does not mention the kiss, but allows its insertion before 18:4.

51. And behold, one of them.] b. Peter defends Jesus. In this section we must first consider the action of Peter; secondly, the prohibition of our Lord; thirdly, the three reasons he gives for the prohibition, α. In the first point, it must be noted that the evangelist does not name Peter in spite of his known predilection for the prince of the apostles. The faithful must have been well acquainted with the hero of the incident; but it might have been dangerous to consign to writing the name of the rash opposer of authority during Peter’s lifetime. The fourth evangelist alone has, therefore, noted the name. The presence of swords may be explained by the words recorded in Lk. 22:38; whether they are connected with the knives used in the slaughter and the division of the paschal lamb [Chrys. Euth. Jans.] cannot be determined with certainty. Evidently, Peter aimed at the head of Malchus [John; cf. Euth. Jans.], but missed it; according to St. Luke [who tells also of the miraculous cure] and St. John it was the right ear that was cut off. Lk. 22:51 renders it probable that the ear was not wholly separated from the head. It is wrong to infer from the diminutive form ὠγίον that Peter cut off only the lower part of the servant’s ear; for the use of diminutives to signify parts of the face is well known [cf. Grimm, p. 473].

52. Then Jesus saith to him.] β. The prohibition of our Lord. Jesus bids Peter to return his sword into its place, i. e. not merely the girdle, but the scabbard, as is clear from Jn. 18:11.

for all that take.] γ. Here begin the three reasons given by our Lord for his prohibition: [1] The first reason contained in the words “all that take the sword, shall perish with the sword” has been regarded as referring to the Jews by the prediction of whose punishment Jesus endeavors to prevent Peter from interfering any further [Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Keil]. But this opinion does not well agree with the context, and has not found wide acceptance among commentators. Other writers see in the words of our Lord a general principle of law, which alludes, in a way, to Gen. 9:6 and Apoc. 13:10. But according to the law, not those who take the sword are to perish by it, but those who kill with the sword; and again, not all of these latter, but only those who take away life illegally, or against the authority of the law. Now from Mt. 22:3 and Acts 23:5, it is at least doubtful whether Peter recognized the Sanhedrin as the legitimate authority of our Lord, since according to Deut. 18:15, 19, all Jews were bound to obey a prophet who had proved his divine mission. At any rate, Peter cannot have recognized our Lord’s legitimate authority in the mob that came to arrest him, so that his action is self-defence rather than resistance to legitimate authority [cf. Suar. De myster. xxxiv. 3]. Our Lord’s words, then, have no proper meaning, if they are regarded as a legal principle [cf. Theoph. Mald. Lap. Meyer, Reischl, Keil]. We prefer to regard them as a proverb [Jans. Berlepsch, Schegg, Weiss, etc.] similar to Wisd. 11:17, “By what things a man sinneth, by the same also he is tormented.” According to this view, the words show the uselessness of Peter’s defence, without implying a rebuke.

53. Thinkest thou that.] [2] The second reason of our Lord shows the needlessness of Peter’s defence. If help were needed, if Jesus did not wish to surrender himself freely into the hands of his enemies, he might ask his Father unconditionally,—this shows again that he had prayed conditionally in the garden,—and would immediately obtain twelve legions of angels. The number twelve agrees with the number of persons to be defended, our Lord and his eleven disciples. The number of men constituting a legion was not always the same; Polybius has it that the common legion numbered 4200 foot-soldiers and 300 horsemen; but in the more important wars it numbered 5000 foot-soldiers and 300 horsemen. According to 4 Kings 19:35, a single angel slew 185,000 Assyrians almost in the very place where Jesus spoke to Peter, so that Peter’s defence was needless, to say the least.

54. How then shall the scriptures be fulfilled.] [3] The third reason Jesus gives for his prohibition is based on the peril of Peter’s manner of acting. It is opposed to the announcements of the prophets, and therefore in opposition to the divine decrees concerning the sacred person of our Lord. The “that” of the clause “that so it must be done” may be regarded as depending on a participle, “saying” or “stating,” implied in the word “scriptures.” If it be asked what particular scriptures predicted the death of Jesus, Jans. P. point to Is. 53; Mald. Arn. Fil. to Is. 53 and Dan. 9:26; Jer. Pasch. Thom. to Ps. 21 and Is. 53; Orig. to Ps. 108; Schegg to Zach. 13:7; Knab. admits all of these prophecies, excluding, however, Lam. 4:20, the meaning of which he restricts to Sedecias; Schanz believes that there is no reference to any particular prophecy, but that all the prophecies regarding the passion of Jesus are referred to, since the capture of our Lord was the necessary condition preceding the passion.

55. In that same hour Jesus said.] c. The multitude and the disciples. α. Jesus addresses the multitude. The third gospel, 22:52, defines this multitude more minutely as including the chief priests and magistrates of the temple, and the ancients that were come unto him. St. Matthew implicitly points to the same persons; for it was certainly not the soldiers and servants with whom Jesus daily sat teaching in the temple. The fact that our Lord had appeared publicly in the capacity of a teacher shows the falsity of the imputation which the Jews implicitly made against him by their manner of proceeding. Commentators do not agree as to the speaker of the words “Now all this was done …” Yprens. Bengel, Fritzsche, De Wette, Schegg, Bleek, Holtzmann, Hilgenfeld, Weiss, Knab. etc. are of opinion that the evangelist added the words. The manner in which St. Matthew commonly appeals to the prophets, together with the fact that Jesus has mentioned the prophetic scriptures already when speaking to the disciples, render it probable that the present words belong to the evangelist. But Orig. Chrys. Theoph. Euth. Mald. Meyer, Arn. Bisp. Keil, Schanz believe that our Lord spoke the words. Without this addition, the words of Jesus to the multitudes would end very abruptly; again, St. Mark gives the words as spoken by Jesus; finally, they do not well agree with St. Matthew’s manner of appealing to the prophets, since he usually alleges some definite passages.

Then the disciples all leaving him, fled.] β. The disciples. St. Matthew is careful to note this circumstance, since it is an evident fulfilment of our Lord’s prediction. At first all the disciples fled, though Peter and probably John [Jn. 18:16] must have turned back very soon, in order to follow Jesus. The motive of the flight was fear. Sylv. Lap. Salm. [t. 10, tract. 18] believe that the apostles sinned venially in their fleeing from Jesus; Suar. [in 3am p. qu. 46, d. 34, sect. 3, n. 5] maintains that the act of fleeing in itself was good, implying no violation of either natural or positive law, and being directed to a good end; but accidentally it may have been venially sinful, as showing a want of confidence in our Lord, or betraying some hesitation in faith, or occasioning scandal. Knab. is of opinion that the flight may have been an “actus hominis” rather than an “actus humanus,” being nothing but the indeliberate impulse of fear, and therefore neither good nor bad.

B. The Trial of Our Lord

a. The Ecclesiastical Trial, 26:57–27:1

57. But they holding Jesus.] This part contains four sections: α. An introduction, 26:57, 58; β. the night trial before Caiphas, 26:59–64; γ. the sufferings of our Lord, 26:65–75; δ. the morning trial before Caiphas, 27:1.

α. The introductory part is concerned [1] with the enemies; [2] with Peter. [1] The enemies. The gospel states that they led Jesus to Caiphas the high priest, while St. John says that Jesus was led first to Annas the father-in-law of Caiphas, and was sent to Caiphas only after examination [Jn. 18:13, 24]. How are we to explain these different accounts without admitting that they contradict each other? It cannot well be maintained that our Lord was brought first to the house of Annas, and afterwards to that of Caiphas, because the fourth gospel suggests that Peter denied his Master for the first time before the examination, while the synoptists imply that the three denials occurred in the house of Caiphas. Moreover, the synoptists seem to say that Jesus was brought to the palace of the high priest immediately. The statement of the fourth gospel may be explained by admitting that Annas was present in the house of Caiphas, and that our Lord was presented to him, while his son-in-law attended to the gathering of the council. When this had been done, Jesus was led to a different part of the building, where the Sanhedrin had assembled. The first examination before Annas is told by the fourth evangelist alone; the third gospel omits the night trial before Caiphas, but relates the morning trial with more minuteness than either Matthew or Mark, both of whom describe the trial of the night, but only mention that in the morning. The evangelist identifies the “scribes and the ancients … assembled” in verse 59 with the chief priests and the whole council. According to Lk. 23:51 the entirety of the council appears to have been a moral rather than a mathematical one; for Joseph of Arimathea must have been absent. This council may be compared with that in 26:4, where the death of our Lord is decreed.

58. And Peter followed him.] [2] Peter. The fourth gospel tells us how Peter was admitted into the court of the high priest through the intercession of the other disciple who was known to the high priest. St. Matthew ascribes Peter’s action to his desire “that he might see the end.” St. Jerome analyzes the motive of the action, stating that it was done through either love or curiosity Chrys. Ambr. Bed. Pasch. Alb. Jans. Lap. and many others are loud in their praises of Peter’s fidelity, so that Jerome’s alternative may be combined into one motive, i. e. curiosity having its origin in love for his Master.

59. And the chief priests.] β. The night trial. We shall have to consider first the facts connected with the witnesses; secondly, the words and actions of the high priest; thirdly, those of Jesus; fourthly, the sentence.

[1] The witnesses. Meyer, Bisp. Keil, and others are of opinion that Matthew employs the term “false witnesses” from his own point of view, not from that of the Jews; for the second gospel [14:55] relates that they “sought for evidence against Jesus,” and it is quite possible that the first gospel speaks by way of prolepsis. But on the other hand, the Sanhedrin had already decreed the death of Jesus, and since it was well known that true testimony against our Lord could not be procured, St. Matthew characterizes the enemies accurately by ascribing to them the search of false testimony [Br. Alb. Caj. Jans. Lap. Schegg, Schanz, Fil. Knab.]. St. Mark may have omitted this particular, in order not to scandalize the Roman converts by laying bare the depth of Jewish depravity [Schanz]. The words “that they might put him to death” again manifest the entire depravity of the Jewish judges; they do not seek for a punishment that might suit a well-attested crime, but they endeavor to forge a crime that may excuse them legally for inflicting a previously determined punishment. The meeting appears to have been held in the palace of the high priest, and not in its regular locality; but this irregularity is of little importance. If the rules laid d