Matthew 6:27 MEANING

Matthew 6:27
(27) One cubit unto his stature.--The Greek for the last word admits either this meaning (as in Luke 19:3, and perhaps Luke 2:52) or that of age (as in John 9:21; John 9:23, and Hebrews 11:24). Either gives an adequate sense to the passage. No anxiety will alter our bodily height, and the other conditions of our life are as fixed by God's laws as that is, as little therefore dependent upon our volition; neither will that anxiety add to the length of life which God has appointed for us. Of the two meanings, however, the last best satisfies the teaching of the context. Men are not anxious about adding to their stature. They are often anxious about prolonging their life. Admit the thought that our days are but "as a span long" (Psalm 39:5), and then the addition of a cubit becomes a natural metaphor. It is to be noted that in the parallel passage in St. Luke (Luke 12:26) this appears as "that which is least," and which yet lies beyond our power.

Verse 27. - Luke 12:25 almost verbally. While ver. 26 insisted on the needlessness of anxiety, since, though birds show it not, they are provided for, ver. 27 insists on its uselessness, since after all it can effect so little. You wish to lengthen your life by it if only to a trifling extent; but you cannot do so. Which of you by taking thought (ver. 25, note) can add one cubit? "Hic videtur similitude petita esse a studio, quod erat trecentorum cubitorum: ἡλικία est cursus vitae" (Wetstein). Unto his stature. So even the Revised Version; but the Revised Version margin "age," and so most modern commentators (cf. the rendering preferred by the American Committee, "the measure of his life"). "Age"

(1) is so much nearer the immediate subject, preservation of life,

(2) is so much more frequent an object of anxious care,

(3) gives so much more suitable a meaning to "cubit," a most trifling addition (Luke 12:26), that it is, without any doubt, the true meaning of ἡλικία (cf. John 9:21-23; Hebrews 11:11; cf. Psalm 39:5).

6:25-34 There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.Which of you by taking thought,.... As Christ argued before, from the unnecessariness of anxious thoughts and cares, about the provisions of life; so here, from the unprofitableness of them; it being impossible for a man, with all his care and thought, to

add one cubit unto his stature, or "to his age"; so the word is rendered, John 9:21 to the days of his life, he is so solicitous about; for a cubit may as well be applied to a man's age, as an "hand's breadth" is to his days, Psalm 39:5. Nor is it so reasonable to think, that Christ should be speaking of making such an addition to a man's height; though that, to be sure, is an impossible thing: since the far greater part of Christ's hearers must be come to their full growth, and could not hope to have any addition made to their height; though they might hope to add to their days; much less such a monstrous one as that of a cubit, and which is a strong reason against the other sense of the word, and for this: for our Lord is speaking of something very small, which men cannot do; as appears from what Luke says, Luke 12:26 "If ye then be not able to do that which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?" Whereas, to add a cubit to a man's height, is a great deal:

"the stature of a middling man (says (f) Bartenora) is three cubits.''

And to add one more, makes a large addition to his stature; but to apply this to a man's age, is a small matter, and yet is what men cannot do: the sense of the words is this, that no man, by all the care and thought he can make use of, is ever able to add one cubit, or the least measure to his days; he cannot lengthen out his life one year, one month, one day, one hour; no, not one moment.

(f) In Misn. Erubim, c. 4. sect. 5. & Negaim, c. 13. sect. 11.

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