|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-14 It is not new for a minister to meet with unkind returns for good-will to a people, and diligent and successful services among them. To the cavils of some, the apostle answers, so as to set forth himself as an example of self-denial, for the good of others. He had a right to marry as well as other apostles, and to claim what was needful for his wife, and his children if he had any, from the churches, without labouring with his own hands to get it. Those who seek to do our souls good, should have food provided for them. But he renounced his right, rather than hinder his success by claiming it. It is the people's duty to maintain their minister. He may wave his right, as Paul did; but those transgress a precept of Christ, who deny or withhold due support.
Verse 7. - Who goeth a warfare, etc.? In this and the following verses he adduces six successive arguments to prove the right of a minister to be supported by his congregation.
1. From the ordinary laws of human justice (ver. 7).
2. By analogy, from the Law of Moses (vers. 8-10).
3. A fortiori, from the obligations of common gratitude (ver. 11).
4. From their concession of the right to others who had inferior claims (ver. 12).
2. From the Jewish provision for the maintenance of priests (ver. 13).
6. By the rule laid down by Christ himself (ver. 14). Goeth a warfare. Analogy from the payment of soldiers (2 Corinthians 10:4). At his own charges. The word used for "cost" means literally rations (Luke 3:14; Romans 6:23). Planteth a vineyard. Analogy from the support of the vine dressers (Matthew 9:37). Feedeth a flock. Analogy from the support of shepherds (1 Peter 5:2). The two latter classes of labourers are paid in kind in the East to this day.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges?.... Some people have done so, as did the Habessines (e), and the ancient Romans (f); though before the apostle wrote this, the senate had made an act, that the soldiers should have a stipend from the public; and this being now so common, and universally obtaining everywhere, the apostle puts the question he does; and his meaning is, that since ministers of the Gospel are the good soldiers of Jesus Christ, and are engaged in a warfare state, in fighting the good fight of faith, against his enemies, and those of his church, it is but reasonable that their charges should be bore, and they maintained at the public expense:
who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? The church of Christ is a vineyard, it is often so called in Scripture; ministers are planters, vinedressers, and labourers in it; and as the mystical Solomon, the owner of the vineyard, ought to have his thousand, the cultivators of it, the keepers of the fruit, should have their two hundred, Sol 8:12
Or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? The churches of Christ are compared to flocks of sheep; the ministers of the word are pastors, or shepherds, who have the care and oversight of them, and feed them with knowledge and understanding; and it is but right and just that they enjoy the fruit of their labours, and have a proper and suitable maintenance, as it is that he who feeds a flock should eat of the milk which that produces.
(e) Ludolph. Hist. Ethiop. l. 2. c. 14. (f) Liv. Hist. l. 4. prope finem. Alex. ab Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 6. c. 22.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. The minister is spiritually a soldier (2Ti 2:3), a vine-dresser (1Co 3:6-8; So 1:6), and a shepherd (1Pe 5:2, 4).
of the fruit—The oldest manuscripts omit "of."
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