Matthew 11 COMMENTARY (Pulpit)

Matthew 11
Pulpit Commentary
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
Verse 1. - Matthew only. And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end. The same formula recurs in Matthew 7:28; Matthew 13:53; Matthew 19:1; Matthew 26:1. In all five cases it marks the end of important speeches.

(1) The sermon on the mount (Matthew 5-7:27);

(2) the charge to the disciples (Matthew 10:5-42);

(3) the parables (Matthew 13:1-52);

(4) discourses to the disciples (Matthew 18.);

(5) prophecies about the end of the world, etc. (Matthew 24, 25.). (Cf. Introduction, p. 3 ). for the bearing that this has upon the sources of the Gospel.) Of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence. Whence? We have no knowledge. Perhaps the place had been named in the original context, from which the discourse was derived. Ch. 9:35 suggests that it was some place on his journey (cf. Alford), but our verse in itself implies rather some fixed centre of work, e.g. Capernaum. To teach and to preach in their cities. If he ceases to speak at length, it is that he may begin more aggressive work (cf. Matthew 7:28, 29; Matthew 13:53, 54). Their. It is hardly by accident that the word recurs, with the same reference, as it seems, to the Jews generally, in the passages just quoted (cf. Matthew 12:9, note).
Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,

(1) Vers. 2-6: The Baptist's question, and its answer: the Coming One has come.

(2) Vers. 7-15: Jesus' recognition of the greatness of John as herald.

(3) Vers. 16-19: Yet both John and he himself are rejected.

(4) Vers. 20-24: Woe on those who disregard the signs of God's work. Verses 2-6. - The Baptist's question, and its answer. Parallel passage: Luke 7:18-23. Verse 2. - Now when John had (omit, with the Revised Version) heard in the prison; i.e. Machaerus (Schurer, 1. 2:27; comp. Matthew 3:1, note; Matthew 14:1, note). Matthew alone tells us that he was already in prison. The works of Christ; of the Christ (Revised Version); τοῦ Ξριστοῦ. Not the proper name, but the official title (Matthew 1:16, 17, notes). The title may be merely due to the evangelist's narrative, or may represent the actual terms in which the message was brought to John. It brings out the pathos of the situation. John had prepared the way of the Christ, and had at the baptism taken part in his anointing. Yet of all the works that the Christ now did there was none to set his kinsman and herald free. He sent two of his disciples; by his disciples (Revised Version). Possibly the slight difference between διά, the true reading here, and δύο, which is genuine in Luke, points to the common source (observe here a Greek source) having been written, but with the close similarity in sound this need not have been the case. Observe that the true reading lays slightly more emphasis on the fact of the inquiry coming from John himself (vide infra). "Sent by" is the equivalent of the Hebrew שלח ביד (Exodus 4:13; 1 Samuel 16:20; 1 Kings 2:25; comp. also Revelation 1:1).
And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?
Verse 3. - And said unto him. The question was brought from John; the answer is sent back to him (ver. 4). This points to the cause of the question lying ultimately, not with his disciples, but with himself. Although John might justly fear that they would follow him rather than Jesus (cf. Matthew 9:14, note), yet he seems to have made this inquiry for his own sake. He who stood on the Jewish side of the threshold of the kingdom (ver. 11) did not understand the methods by which the King was acting, and thus his faith was tried (comp. Tertullian, 'Adv. Marc.,' 4:18). In this he recalls his great prototype, whose plans seemed to have failed and his boldness to have done no good (1 Kings 19:13, 14). To both the answer implied that success was assured to quiet spiritual work. Art thou (emphatic) he that should come? he that cometh (Revised Version); ὁ ἐρχόμενος (comp. Matthew 3:11, note). The title was probably derived from Psalm 118:26, and would become the more known from the LXX. of Habakkuk 2:3 (comp. Hebrews 10:37), and perhaps also from a directly Messianic interpretation of Genesis 49:10. Or do we look for. The word (προσδοκῶμεν) contains no thought of looking about for, but only of earnest expectation. Another? Ἕτερον, and so in Luke 7:19; but ἄλλον in Luke 7:20 (where, however, Westcott and Heft margin reads ἕτερον). Observe that in both records the evangelist's own summary of John's message speaks of a difference in kind, but that in the form given by the messengers (Luke 7:20) it is only a matter of a second person coming (comp. Galatians 1:6, 7; 1 Corinthians 12:8, etc.; 1 Corinthians 15:39, etc.). John's disciples, that is to say, are represented as failing to catch the point of their master's question whether he must look, after all, for a Messiah who acts differently from the way in which Jesus acts.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Go and shew John again those things which ye do hear and see:
Verse 4. - Jesus; and Jesus (Revised Version, with even the Received Text). Answered and said unto them. He makes no verbal self-defence, but appeals to the effects of his work. Observe that a similar appeal to effects of the same character as those mentioned here - restoration to normal powers and bringing spiritual truths home to the poorest - is still the great argument for the Messiahship of Jesus. Go; go your way (Revised Version); πορευθέντες (cf. ver. 7). And show John again; and tell John (Revised Version); for ἀπαγγέλλω does not in itself contain the idea of bringing word in answer to an inquiry, but merely emphasizes the source or place from which the message comes (Matthew 8:33; cf. Bishop Westcott on 1 John 1:2, 5). Those (the, Revised Version) things which ye do hear and see. Observe that in Luke

(1) the order of the verbs is reversed;

(2) the tense is not the present, as here, but the aorist, the miracles being regarded from the point of time when the disciples had returned to John. The present tense in Matthew brings out what St. Luke had already indicated by his preceding explanatory verse that the messengers arrived when the Lord was actually performing miracles.
The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
Verse 5. - The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear (and, Revised Version), the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. The first and the last of the examples selected by our Lord are fulfilments or' prophecy (Isaiah 61:1). Observe that

(1) the words are taken from the LXX. (εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοις... τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν), which, perhaps, represents a different reading from the Massoretic text (cf. Cheyne, in loc., 'Critical Note').

(2) Our Lord reverses the order of the expressions, taking the restoration of sight to the blind as the commencement of a series of physical miracles, and thus making spiritual work the climax.

(3) He does not quote Isaiah's phrase, "liberty to the captives," although the quotation of its context could not but suggest it to John, the reason being, it would seem, that he desired to call John's attention away from the more political part of Messiah's work to that which alone forms the basis of permanent political improvement - the restoration of the individual.

(4) In accordance with this is the fact that when he was laying stress on the character of his adherents as the one qualification for sharing in his kingdom, he alluded to the same passage of Isaiah (vide Matthew 5:3-5). John was not wholly emancipated from the Jewish tendency to regard the external results of the kingdom; our Lord's mind dwelt rather on the internal results. Although John's difficulty had been felt when he heard of the works (ver. 2, note), our Lord only said in reply, "Tell him of my works." It was an old message, and yet a new one. In the nature of those works, when fully understood, lay the true solution of his difficulty. Observe that here also Christ adds a Beatitude (ver. 6). The blind (Matthew 9:27, note), (and the lame. The "and" is doubtless genuine here, its omission in some manuscripts being due to the parallel passage in Luke. Observe the rhythm, "blind and lame," "lepers and deaf," "and dead and poor." Perhaps this is the result of oral transmission. The lame walk (Isaiah 35:6). The dead are raised up. "Quod novissime factum erat juveni Nainitico" (Bengel; and so Ellicott, 'Hist. Lects.,' pp. 181, 183, edit. 1861). The gospel; good tidings (Revised Version text [not margin], probably to suggest to English readers the reference to Isaiah 61:1).
And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Verse 6. - And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended (Matthew 5:29, note) in me; shall find none occasion of stumbling in me (Revised Version). But exhibits perfect trust under delay and disappointment (James 1:12).
And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?
Verses 7-15. - Jesus recognition of the greatness of John as herald. Vers. 7-11: parallel passage: Luke 7:24-28. Verse 7. - And as they departed; and as these went their way (Revised Version). Fulfilling his command (ver. 4). It' we may combine the language of St. Matthew and St. Luke ("when the messengers of John were departed"), we may say that they had left the circle immediately round our Lord, but were hardly further than the outskirts of the crowd. What went ye out into the wilderness to see? to behold (Revised Version); θεάσασθαι (cf. θέατρον,). It almost suggests that they went out as though to see a spectacle. They were stirred by no deeper motive. Bengel compares John 5:35. A reed shaken with the wind? If the reed referred to by our Lord was the papyrus, which still grows freely in certain parts of the Jordan valley, the description of this plant in 'Rob Roy on the Jordan,' ch. 17, is specially interesting: "There is first a lateral trunk, lying on the water and half-submerged. This is sometimes as thick as a man's body, and from its lower side hang innumerable string-like roots from three to five feet long, and of a deep purple colour .... These pendent roots... retard much of the surface-current where the papyrus grows On the upper surface of the trunks the stems grow alternately in oblique rows;, their thickness at the junction is often four inches, and their height fifteen feet, gracefully tapering until at the top is a little round knob, with long, thin brown, wire-like hairs eighteen inches long, which rise and then, recurving, hang about it in a thyrsus-shaped head." He also says, "The whole jungle of papyrus was floating upon the water, and so the waves raised by the breeze were rocking the green curtain to and fro." This explained "a most curious hissing, grinding, bustling sound, that was heard like waves upon a shingly beach," as "the papyrus stems were rubbing against each other as they nodded out and in." It is, however, much more probable that the reed referred to was "the Arundo donax, a very tall cane, growing twelve feet high, with a magnificent panicle of blossom at the top, and so slender and yielding that it will lie perfectly flat under a gust of wind, and immediately resume its upright position." It grows especially on the western side of the Dead Sea (cf. Tristram, 'Natural History of the Bible,' p. 4,37, edit. 1889). To our Lord's question no answer was needed. John had rejected the overtures of the nationalists (John 1:19-21), and had not feared to rebuke a king (Matthew 14:4).
But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses.
Verse 8. - Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings' houses. Menahem the Essene was by the wish of Herod the Great made deputy to Hillel in the Sanhedrin, but afterwards left his office. "Whither did he go out? Abai said. He went out to destruction. Rabba said, He went out for the service of the king. There is also a Baraitha [i.e. an 'uncanonical' Mishna] to this effect, that Menahem went out for the service of the king, and there went out with him eighty pairs of disciples clothed in Syrian robes" (Talm. Bab., 'Chagigah,' 16b, edit. Streane). It has been conjectured, though hardly on sufficient evidence, that our Lord was thinking of this case; but the Talmudic passage at least illustrates the gorgeousness of the apparel of the courtiers, and suggests the luxury of living that St. Luke speaks of ("They which are gorgeously apparelled, and live delicately, are in kings' courts"). It is, however, only fair to Menahem to say that Gratz ('Geschichte der Judaer,' 3. p. 230, edit. 1877) is able to suppose that he merely went back again to his solitude.
But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.
Verse 9. - But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? But wherefore went ye out? To see a prophet? (Revised Version). Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. Our Lord accepts their estimate of John, but says that it is insufficient. He thus passes on to show the relation in which John stood to himself. John was more than a prophet such as they thought of, for he was "the subject as well as the vehicle of prophecy" (Alford), and was the immediate forerunner of the great King. More than; much more than (Revised Version). Περισσότερομν is probably neuter, for this not only agrees with τι, but emphasizes the thought more than the masculine (cf. Matthew 12:6, note).
For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
Verse 10. - For. Omitted in the Revised Version. It is here an explanatory gloss, though genuine in Matthew 3:3. This is he, of whom it is written. Our Lord justifies his assertion of John's unique position. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Malachi 3:1, not from the LXX., but freely from the Hebrew, which runs, "Behold, I send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me." Observe in Matthew

(1) "thy way"

(2) "before thee," instead of "before me;"

(3) the first clause is made to end with nearly the same phrase as the second, Matthew's form is the more rhythmical, perhaps because of oral repetition (cf. Introduction, p. 10.). Luke (Luke 7:27), save for the omission of ἐγώ, is the same; Mark (Mark 1:2) only omits ἐγώ and "before thee." Christ does not hesitate to apply to himself a prophecy of the coming of God, nor did the early Church shrink from recording this of him. Such an application of an Old Testament passage Bengel calls "luclentissimum argumentum Deitatis Christi." (On this subject, cf. Bishop Westcott, Add. Note on Hebrews 3:7.)
Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
Verse 11. - Verily. Matthew only. This solemn asseveration (Matthew 5:18, nine) would the more remind them of their duty towards John; and, if its force may be extended to the next clause, call their attention the more forcibly to his being only the herald of better things. I say unto you, Among them that are born of women (Job 14:1) there hath not risen. These last words have the emphasis in the Greek, οὐκ ἐγήγερται, i.e. to work and energy as a prophet (Luke 7:16; Matthew 24:11, 24). A greater than John the Baptist. This seems almost less praise than ver. 9. But our Lord probably intended to tacitly meet the objection that Moses or Abraham was to be listened to rather than John (cf. Matthew 3:9, note). Notwithstanding (yet, Revised Version) he that is least (but little, Revised Version, ὁ δὲ μικότερος: cf. μείζων, Matthew 18:1) in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. The weakest Christian is greater in privileges than the greatest of the Old Testament saints. John could preach repentance, but the joys of redemption he knew nothing cf. He is therefore judged according to the rule, "Minimum maximi mains est maximo minimi" (cf. Holtzmann, 'Hand-Commentar,' p. 134).
And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
Verse 12. - It is curious that in St. Luke's account of this speech of our Lord's he should omit our vers. 12-14 (on ver. 15, see note there), thus leaving out all Christ's plainer and more direct teaching about the relation of John to himself. St. Luke places (Luke 16:16) our vers. 12 and 13 in what appears to be merely a cento of sayings. Possibly the original occasion has been recorded by neither evangelist, but in Matthew the passage certainly brings out the thought upon which our Lord was insisting on this occasion. And. Slightly adversative (δέ), for there is a change of subject. Christ urges his hearers to more definitely range themselves under his banner. From the days of John the Baptist until now. Yet this was not more than a few months! Possibly the sentence had become modified in oral teaching, so as to include many years, say up to A.D. or 60. St. Luke's ἀπὸ τότε is easy enough. Observe the implied success of John's work as herald. He so prepared the way that men were eager to enter the kingdom which he had said was at hand. The kingdom of heaven. The realm ruled over by Messiah, of which the then community of believers was the earnest (vide Introduction, p. 25.). Suffereth violence (βιάζεται). In Luke it is middle, "Every man entereth violently into it;" and though it is certainly passive here, St. Luke's phrase compels us to understand the reason of the violence to be entrance into the kingdom. The kingdom is not ill treated, but it is as it were taken by storm (Meyer). Nosgen strangely understands the phrase to mean that the kingdom is set forward with power, and he would apparently see in "the violent" a special reference to our Lord and John. And the violent; and men of violence (Revised Version); καὶ βιασταί: only they; men whose mind is made up and who care not what force and power they employ to attain their object. Take it by force; ἁρπάζζουσιν αὐτήν, "grasp it for themselves," like rough and violent bandits seizing their prey. Weiss sees in this verse blame of the politico-Messianic endeavours to hasten the completion of the kingdom. This explanation is good in itself (cf. John 6:15), but disconnects the verse from its context. Our Lord is describing the energy with which some souls are pressing in, and urging the need of such energy if salvation is to be obtained.
For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
Verse 13. - For. It is only right that there should be such a seizing of the kingdom of heaven, for in a certain sense the function of the prophets and the Law ceased with John. All. Not one alone, but all, however various their teaching. The prophets and the law. In Luke (Luke 16:16) the Law is mentioned first, because the context is there dealing chiefly with the Law. Here our Lord has said that John was more than a prophet, and he naturally continues to speak of prophets first. The mention of the Law comes in almost as an afterthought, and yet without it the Jews might have fallen back on the Law when the prophets failed them (cf. ver. 11, note). Prophesied. Including the ideas both of predicting Messiah and of making known the will of God (cf. Matthew 5:19, note). Until John. The message of the written Word was considered as active - the prophets and the Law still spoke - until, in tact, he came who was the close of that epoch.
And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
Verse 14 - In Matthew only. And if ye will receive it. Our Lord gives the information plainly, but doubts if it will be of any use to them. Will (θέλετε). For the reception of a truth depends upon the attitude of the will In this case to acknowledge John as Elijah would mean to accept the present consequences of that reformation which Elijah was to bring about (Malachi 4:6). But "the human will has a natural disinclination to cultivate and sharpen the conscience in combination with the knowledge of the law, has no desire to look into this mirror, and men as a rule desire to have quite a different picture of themselves from that which conscience shows them" (Marten-sen's 'Christian Ethics,' 1. § 119). It. My statement. Not him, i.e. John, with Revised Version margin. This (αὐτός). He and no other (ch. 1:21). Is Elias. In spiritual work, not in identity of person (John 1:21). (On the Jewish expectation of the return of Elijah, see Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' on Matthew 17:10.) Which was for to come; which is to come (Revised Version). The phrase ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι) is perhaps best understood, not as an independent remark by our Lord about Elijah, but as a current saying, representing the popular expectation of him, and adopted by our Lord, who gave it his own interpretation. It can hardly point also to a yet future coming of the prophet. But compare Bishop Westcott, on John 1:21, and Schurer, II. 2:156.
He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
Verse 15. - He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. A solemn exhortation, often spoken by our Lord at the close of an utterance. See Matthew 13:9 (equivalent to Mark 4:9), 43; Mark 4:23; Luke 14:35 (comp. Mark 8:18; Luke 9:44; Revelation 2. and 3; 13:9). It means - You are all formed by nature to learn God's commands; answer, therefore, to your powers, and obey him. See Psalm 40:6 (cf. Hebrews 10:5).
But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows,
Verses 16-19. - Yet both John and he himself are rejected, though the results of their efforts were such as to fully justify the apparent difference of their methods. Parallel passage. Luke 7:31-35. Verses 16, 17. - But. In contrast to the obedience asked for in ver. 15, this generation closes its ears. Whereunto shall I liken. A common rabbinic phrase, which is often found in the fuller form recorded in Luke, "Whereunto shall I liken... and to what are they like?" (see Matthew 7:24, note). This generation?. It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented. There are two ways of understanding the illustration which our Lord here uses.

(1) Many modern commentators (e.g. Meyer; Trench,' Studies,' p. 148) insist on the grammar and on the historical order in which the complaints are made, and believe that the Jews correspond to the pipers and the mourners, while it is John that refuses to rejoice, and our Lord that will not be sad.

(2) But the more usual interpretation is preferable. For

(a) in an illustrative saying one has chiefly to regard its general sense;

(b) in vers. 18, 19 the action of John and of our Lord in "coming" corresponds to the activity of the children;

(c) this interpretation seems much more in accordance with the context. The verses are therefore to be understood as meaning- John mourned in urging repentance, our Lord rejoiced in gospel liberty and preaching, but both alike were only ridiculed by the Jews. Markets; marketplaces (Revised Version); for there is no thought of the children helping their elders in traffic. And calling (which call, Revised Version) unto their fellows. Addressing them, but not necessarily noisily (Luke 6:13; Luke 13:12).
And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented.
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, He hath a devil.
Verse 18. - For John came neither eating (Matthew 3:4) nor drinking (Luke 1:15), and they say, He hath a devil; i.e. he is possessed of strange and melancholy fancies (see Bishop Westcott on John 7:20).
The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.
Verse 19. - The Son of man (Matthew 8:20, note) came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold (ἰδού, simply demonstrative, as in the LXX. of 1 Samuel 24:12; 2 Samuel 24:22) a man gluttonous (a gluttonous man, Revised Version, for the Greek, ἄνθρωπος φάγος, merely reproduced the original Semitic order), and a wine-bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners (Matthew 9:10, note). A friend. The idea of affection, which through common use of the words has fallen so much into the background both in the Greek φίλος and our English "friend," is brought out clearly in the Syriac roh'mo, which is, perhaps, the very word that our Lord spoke. But; and (Revised Version); καί: i.e. and yet, whatever you may say. Wisdom; i.e. the Divine wisdom, by which all creation was made (Proverbs 8:22-31; Wisd. 7:22), and which is the source of all true understanding (Proverbs 8:12-16), particularly of the will of God (Wisd. 7:27, 28; comp. Luke 11:49, "The Wisdom of God" speaking in Scripture). Is justified (ἐδικαιώθη). The aorist is used either as expressing what is wont to happen (Madvig, § 111, Romans a), or perhaps as expressing the completeness of the justi fication, (cf. ἐβλήθη, John 15:6). Nosgen, contrary to New Testament usage, under stands ἐδικαιώθη as meaning "is condemned because of her works" ("So haben sie die Weisheit... um ihrer Werke willen ve rurtheilt"), but the ordinary interpreta tion holds good that she is acquitted of any error or wrong. Of her children; works (Revised Version); ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς, with the Sinaitic manuscript and the original hand of the Vatican, besides some of the versions. The common reading, τέκνων, has come from Luke. In these words lie the chief difficulty of this difficult sentence. Of (ἀπό) may be used of agents (comp. James 1:13; James 5:4: Luke 6:18, almost as though it were ὑπό), but it is more natural to understand it here of the causes or reasons for the verdict. And ἀπό thus gives au excellent sense. Our Lord says that the Divine Wisdom is justified in the minds of men from the results she brings about. Of what is he thinking? Doubtless moral results, and probably those found in the change that might be seen in the publicans and sinners of which he has just been speaking. The Divine Wisdom, which appeared to the careless and unsympathetic so strange and changeable in her methods, is, notwithstanding, pronounced to be in the right, because of the results of her activity, the men and the women brought under her influence. These κανιναὶ κτίσεις (2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 6:15) are always the best justification of misunderstood plans. While, however, this seems the best interpretation of the sentence as recorded in Matthew, it must be confessed that in Luke it appears more natural to understand "her children" as those who justify her; and further, this was probably St. Luke's own interpretation. For he seems to purposely give an explanation of the apothegm in the verses (Luke 7:29, 30) by which he joins the equivalent of our vers. 16-19 to the equivalent of our ver. 11. He there tells us that all the people and the publicans "justified God," having been baptized with the baptism of John, but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected God's plan towards them, not having been baptized by him. Wisdom's children justified her; others did not. Anyhow, ἔργων would appear to be the more original of the two terms, for with the explanation preferred above, τέκνων would be very easily derived from it. It may, indeed, be due to a more primitive confusion between עֹבָדָהָא ("her works," cf. Ecclesiastes 9:1) and עַבְדָּהָא ("her servants," Hebrew עֶבֶד), this last word being commonly rendered δοῦλοι, and, perhaps through παῖδες, even υἱοί and τέκνα (cf. Reseh, ' Agrapha,' p. 277), but even then it is unlikely that the former and harder reading should be only due to a mistake for the latter. That the harder and metaphorical should be changed into the easier and more literal, even as early as St. Luke's time, appears much more probable.
Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:
Verses 20-24. - Woe on those who reject him. The parallel passage, Luke 10:12-15, comes almost at the close of the commission to the seventy. It is represented in the commission reported by St. Matthew by Matthew 10:15 alone, which is almost verbally identical with ver. 24. It is possible that St. Matthew or the author of the source used by him did not care to interrupt the subject of ch. 10. by inserting more of these verses there, even though that place more nearly represented their original position. Observe that here they are connected with the rejection of John and of our Lord; in Luke, with the rejection of his disciples and of himself in them. Verse 20. - In Matthew only. It seems to be a kind of introduction, like ver. 7a, perhaps marking vers. 20-24 as a fresh section in the discourses. It serves more particularly as an explanation why our Lord especially mentioned these cities. Then began he to upbraid (Matthew 5:11, note; comp. also Mark 16:14) the cities wherein most of his mighty works (Matthew 7:22, note) were done, because they repented not. "Quilibet auditor Nov. Test. est nut multo beetler (ver. 11) ant multo miserior antiquis" (Bengel).
Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.
Verse 21. - Woe unto thee, Chorazin. The modern Kerazeh, two miles from the northwest bank of the sea of Galilee. Among its ruins are the remains of a synagogue. The corn of both it and Kephar Ahim (probably Capernaum)was so excellent as to make R. Jose say that, had they been nearer Jerusalem, it would have been used for the temple offerings (Talm. Bab.,' Menachoth,' 85a; see Neubauer, 'Geogr.,' p. 220. There appears, however, to be a slight doubt about the reading of both names, see Rab-binoviez, 'Var. Lect.,' in loc.). Woe unto thee, Bethsaida. Schurer (I. 2:14; compare, however, II. 1:136) thinks that this is probably not identical with the large town Bethsaida Julias on the east bank of the Jordan as it enters the sea of Galilee. It is, perhaps, Khan Minyeh (Nosgen), and if so was a little south-west of Capernaum. For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon. The transposition of parts of these clauses in the Revised Version approaches more closely the order of the Greek, and better Dreserves the double emphasis there given. Tyro and Sidon (Ezekiel 28.). They would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes (Jonah 3:6; Daniel 9:3; Esther 4:1; comp. also Job 2:8; 2 Samuel 3:31; and Ezekiel's description of the effect of Tyre's punishment upon her princes, 26:16).
But I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.
Verse 22. - But; πλήν: howbeit (Revised Version). Setting this aside (comp. Bishop Lightfoot, on Philippians 3:16); whatever might have been does not matter; this shall be. I say unto yon, It shall be more tolerable for Tyro and Sidon at the day of judgment (Matthew 10:15, note) than for you. "Pessimis pejores event et insanabiliores" (Wetstein).
And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
Verse 23. - And thou, Capernaum (Matthew 4:13, note), which art exalted unto heaven; Shalt thou be exalted unto heaven? (Revised Version); Μὴ ἕως οὐρανοῦ ὑψωθήσῃ; i.e. Shalt thou be raised high in public estimation, as thou thinkest, who art so proud of thy share in the busy and gay life on the lakeside? Shalt be brought down to hell; thou shalt go down unto Hades (Revised Version). The change of voice in the two clauses (ὑψωθήση... καταβήσῃ) may imply that if thou 'art indeed raised, it will be by Another; but if thou fallest, it will be by thyself. Observe that our Lord's words are an adaptation of Isaiah's address to the King of Babylon (Isaiah 14:13-15). For if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom (transposed in the Revised Version, as in ver. 21), it would have remained until this day. In this verso the stress lies on the effect of the moral attitude; in ver. 21, on the moral attitude itself.
But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.
Verse 24 (see notes supra, vers. 20-24 and Matthew 10:15).
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.
Verses 25-27. - Parallel passage: Luke 10:21, 22, where the verses are recorded immediately after the return of the seventy. We know no other occasion which would be so likely to evoke this utterance. Although it is just possible that the seventy returned when our Lord was addressing the people in the manner related in the preceding verses of this chapter, it seems much more likely that a sense of a moral and not of a temporal connexion guided St. Matthew in his arrangement. What is true in a time of success (Luke 10:17, 18) is equally true in a time of failure (vers. 20-24). Observe the difference in the style of ver. 27 (Luke 10:22) from that of vers. 25, 26, suggesting the use of another, apparently Johannine, source. But this must have been added before either St. Matthew or St. Luke incorporated the passage. Observe that the comparatively early date thus indicated for Johannine phraseology suggests that the language and form of the Fourth Gospel underwent a long process of development before St. John completed his work. Verse 25. - At that time; season (Revised Version); ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ καιρῷ. St. Luke's phrase ("in that very hour," ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ) is more precise, definitely connecting the utterance with the return of the seventy. St. Matthew's refers rather to that stage or period in his ministry (cf. Matthew 12:1; Matthew 14:1). Jesus answered. Only in Matthew. If we could suppose this to be the original context of the passage, the" answer" would probably refer to some expression of astonishment or complaint at his solemn statement in vers. 20-24. Professor Marshall's derivation of both "answered" and "rejoiced" (Luke) from a common Aramaic original (Expositor, April, 1891) appears very strained. And said, I thank thee; better, as the Revised Version margin, praise (ἐξομολογοῦμαί σοι). There is no thought of gratitude, but of publicity in assent (Luke 22:6), in confession (Matthew 3:6) and in acknowledgment (Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:11), and thus of praise (Joshua 7:19; Ezra 10:11 (Lucian); 2 Chronicles 30:22; Romans 15:9). It implies a profession of personal acceptance by Christ of God's methods. "I profess to thee my entire and joyful acquiescence in what thou doest." Hence St. Luke introduces the utterance by ἠγαλλάσατο, adding τῷ πνεύματι τῷ ἁγίῳ, thus giving us a glimpse of the unity of purpose and feeling inherent in the Trinity, even during the time that the Word "tabernacled among us." O Father. Father occurs in Matthew 6:9; Matthew 26:39; Luke 23:34, 46; John 11:41; John 12:27; John 17:1; in fact, in all the recorded prayers of our Lord except Matthew 27:46, which is a quotation, and where the phrase, "My God, my God," emphasizes his sense of desolation. The word expresses perfect relationship and intimate communion. It points to the trust, the love, and the obedience of Christ, and to the depth of natural affection and confidence (if we may say so) between him and the First Person of the Trinity. It suggests mercies in the past, care in the present, and provision for the future. Lord of heaven and earth. Acts 17:24, by St. Paul, who may have derived it from these words of our Lord (Resch, ' Agmpha,' p. 150), or perhaps from Psalm 146:6 or Isaiah 42:5. As "Father" was the note of personal relationship, so is this of sovereign majesty. Christ unites the thought of God's love to himself with that of his ownership of all creation, thus paving the way for the main subject of the prayer - his Father's method of dealing with men of various kinds and tempers. Because; that (Revised Version), perhaps as more idiomatic with "thank." But ὅτι here gives, not the contents of the "thanksgiving," but the reason for it. Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. The laws by which religious impressions are received, whether ultimately for good or for evil (2 Corinthians 2:15, 16; John 9:39), are here attributed to God. Observe that the sentence is not a kind of hendiadys, but that Christ accepts his Father's action in both directions. The one is the subject of his entire acquiescence as much as the other. Hast hid... hast revealed. The aorists (cf. ver. 19, note) may be understood here as either

(1) describing what took place in each case, or

(2) regarding God's action as a whole from the standpoint of the hereafter (cf. Romans 8:29, 30). These things. The truths respecting Christ's teaching and work. In this context the reference would be to the general contents of vers. 2-24. From the wise and prudent; i.e. as such (there is no article). For mental excellence and intelligence (vide infra)in themselves cannot grasp spiritual truths, but are, on the contrary, often means by which the veil between man and God is made thicker. On the difference between "wise" (σοφοί) and "prudent" (συνετοί, understanding, Revised Version), see Bishop Lightfoot, on Colossians 1:9. (For the general truth, cf. Job 37:24; 1 Corinthians 1:19-27.) And hast revealed them (Matthew 13:11, note); for even the most guileless heart has no power to see spiritual truths unless God draws back the veil. Unto babes (νηπίοις). The thought is of their helplessness and dependence. In comparison with the Pharisees and scribes, all our Lord's disciples were little more (cf. Matthew 11:16).

Matthew 11:26 Verse 26. - Even so; yea (Revised Version); ναί. A renewed acceptance of the immediately preceding facts. Father. In ver. 25, Πάτερ: here, ὁ Πατήρ. There the term referred more directly to God as his own Father; here to him as Father of all, notwithstanding the methods he used. For. Giving the reason of Christ's acceptance. That (Revised Version margin) would make this clause closely dependent on the preceding. But this seems unnatural. So; i.e. in this double method. It seemed good (it was well-pleasing, Revised Version) in thy sight (εὐδοκία ἐγένετο); literally, it was good pleasure before thee - an Aramaism equivalent to "it was thy will" (compare the Targum of Judges 13:23; 1 Samuel 12:22 [רעוא קדם יו]; see also Matthew 18:14). The phrase implies, not merely that it seemed good to God, but that, in a sense, it was his pleasure. For the workings out of the laws of truth must give pleasure to the God of truth. (On the aorist ἐγένετο, see ver. 25, note.)

Matthew 11:27 Verse 27. - All things. Not in the widest sense, for this would forestall ch. 28:18 but all things that are required for my work of manifesting the truth. The utterance is thus both closely parallel to John 8:28, and also in most intimate connexion with the preceding verses. God's twofold action in hiding the truth from some and revealing it to others is, our Lord says, all of a piece with my whole work. This is all arranged by my Father, and the knowledge of God by any man is no chance matter. Are delivered unto me; have been delivered (Revised Version); rather, were delivered (παρεδόθη). Here also it is possible to interpret the aorist from the standpoint of the hereafter (ver. 25, note); but, as it is immediately followed by the present tense, it more probably refers to some time earlier than that at which our Lord was speaking. The time of his entrance on the world naturally suggests itself. Observe when bringing out his dependence upon his Father, our Lord lays stress on the notion of transmission (παρεδόθη); but in Matthew 28:18, where he is bringing out his post-resurrection greatness (Philippians 2:9), he merely mentions his authority as an absolute gift (ἐδόθη). Notice the contrast implied in παρεδόθη to the Jewish παράδοσις. The Pharisees boasted that their tradition came from God, though through many hands; Christ claimed to have received his from God himself. Of (ὑπό). For the transmission was immediate; there were no links between the Giver and the Receiver (cf. Bishop Lightfoot, on Galatians 1:12). My Father; me... my. Observe the double claim; his unique position as Teacher is due to his unique relation by nature. And no man knoweth; i.e. with a gradual, but at last complete, perception (ἐπιγινώσκει). In the Gospels this word is used of the knowledge of God and of Christ in this verse alone, though such a reference is especially suited to its meaning of perfection of know. ledge (cf. Bishop Lightfoot, Colossians 1:9). The Son. Not "me," because Christ wished to bring out more clearly his unique relation to God, and thus to emphasize the impossibility of any one, even an advanced disciple, fully knowing him. But the Father. Not "his Father." It may be that Christ wishes to include the suggestion that after all there is a sense in which his Father is the Father of all men, but more probably, by making ὁ πατήρ completely parallel to ὁ υἱός, he wishes to suggest that the full idea of Sonship and Fatherhood is nowhere else so fully satisfied. Neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. The connexion is - You may think this (i.e. ver. 25) strange, but I alone have that knowledge of God which enables me to understand his ways; I alone, yet others also, if I reveal him to them. As St. Luke expressed it in his form of our ver. 19, "Wisdom is justified of her children" (comp. also John 14:9). To whomsoever. Though but a babe (ver. 25). Will reveal; willeth to reveal (Revised Version); βούληται... ἀποκαλύψαι. Not "is commanded," for Christ claims equality (see Chrysostom). Notice the idea of plan and deliberation, and not that of mere desire, unable, perhaps, to assign a reason for its existence (θέλω); cf. Philemon 1:13, 14.
Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.
All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.
Verse 27 And says that all his work is due to and conditioned by the Father.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Verses 28-30. - In Matthew only. Ver. 28: An invitation to all who need him, and an unconditioned promise of welcome. Ver. 29: A summons to submit to his teaching, and a promise that those who do so shall find rest in it. Ver. 30: For his "service is perfect freedom." Notice the sharp contrast between the width of this invitation and the apparent limitation of the preceding statement (ver. 27). The truths of prevenient grace and man's free-will may not be separated. Verse 28. - Come (δεῦτε); Matthew 4:19, note. There is less thought of the process of coming than in the very similar invitation in John 7:37. Unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden. The toilers and burdened (οἱ κοπιῶντες καὶ πεφορτισμένοι). Our Lord purposely did not define in what the toil and burden consisted; for he would include all, from whatever quarter their toil and burden came. But since the spiritual is the central part of man (Matthew 5:3, note), the more that the toil or burden is felt there so much the stronger would our Lord's reference to it be. He would therefore be inviting most especially those that toil in legal ways of righteousness (Romans 10:2, 3), and are burdened under Pharisaic enactments (Luke 11:46). And I. Emphatic (κἀγώ). However others may treat you. Will give you rest (a)napau/sw u(ma = ). Not to be identified with the phrase in ver. 29 (see there). As contrasted with παύω (see Bishop Lightfoot, on Philemon 1:7 and on Ignat., 'Ephesians,' § 2), ἀναπαύω refers to temporary rather than permanent cessation from work, and it thus especially connotes refreshment of body and soul obtained through such rest. In confortuity with this we find ἀνάπαυσις regularly used in the LXX. as a translation of sabbathon ("sabbath-keeping," e.g. Exodus 16:23, for which σαββατισμός comes in Hebrews 4:9 as an equivalent). The thought, therefore, here is not that those who come to Christ will have no more work, but that Christ will give them at once such rest and refreshment of soul that they may be fit for work, should God have any in store for them.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
Verse 29. - Vers. 29, 30 have so much in common with both the language and the thought of Ecclus. 51:26, 27, that probably this passage was in our Lord's mind. It is noteworthy that most of the other signs of acquaintance with Ecclesiasticus are found in the Epistle of St. James (cf. Edersheim, in the 'Speaker's Commentary' on Ecclesiasticus, p. 22). Take my yoke upon you. For there is work to be done, therefore enter on it. The yoke is the service that Christ gives us to do, and therefore implies more than his teaching. This, however, is so important a part of his service, both in itself and as being the means of knowing what he wishes done, that Christ speaks of it as though almost identical with his yoke. (On the figure of the yoke, compare a note by Professor Ryle and Mr. James, in 'Psalms of Solomon,' 7:8, suggesting that our Lord was contrasting his yoke with the yoke of minute legal observance laid upon the people by the scribes and Pharisees. For a detailed description of the yoke and plough used now in Palestine, see an article by Dr. Post in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration for 1891, p. 112.) And learn of me. The figure of the oxen passes into that of the scholars. The "of" is slightly ambiguous, and may refer to Christ as the Example from which they may draw the lesson for themselves (Matthew 24:32), or as the Teacher who will himself instruct them (Colossians 1:7). The second meaning is more suitable here. (For the thought, comp. John 8:31.) For. The reason why they should learn from him and no other teacher. He alone was what he claimed to teach, therefore he alone could teach it properly, and therefore from him alone could they learn that type of character which they ought to develop. I am. Observe the claim. It is almost greater than that of ver. 27. Meek. Primarily, as regards God (Matthew 5:5, note). Receiving in my degree whatever yoke my Father puts on me. And lowly in heart. As regards men. Observe that meek and lowly correspond, though the order is reversed, to "He humbled himself and became obedient" (Philippians 2:8, where ἐταπείνωσεν ἑαυτόν does not refer to the Incarnation (ἐκένωσεν ἑαυτόν), but to his relation to others in this world). In heart (Matthew 5:8, note). "Lowly in heart" very nearly corresponds to "he that is of a lowly spirit." Such a person as Christ's experience shows (Philippians 2:9) "shall obtain honour" (Proverbs 29:23). And ye shall find rest unto your souls. In this learning and service. The words are taken from Jeremiah 6:16 (not the LXX.; cf. also Ecclus. 6:28), where they form the promise given to those that ask for the old paths and walk in the good way of the Divine commandments. But these roads were now more clearly made known in Christ. Observe the full force of the two expressions, I will give you rest (ver. 28), and Ye shall find rest. The tired comers are at once refreshed by Christ; these accept his service and teaching, and in performing it find further rest. The first rest may be termed the peace of justification; the second, that of sanctification. Both are obtained through Christ alone, yet they are not to be confused, much less identified, with one another.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Verse 30. - For. The fact of my giving work will not prevent this rest, but the contrary. My yoke is easy (χρηστός); suave, Latin; "sore" (Wickliffe); "sweete" (Rheims). And so are God's judgments (Psalm 119:39, ' Psalms of Solomon,' 8:38). Contrast Ecclus. 28:19, 20. And my burden is light. For "his commandments are not grievous" (1 John 5:3). "Omnia levis suut caritati" (Augustine, in Meyer).

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