|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:13-16 We should receive the word of God with affections suitable to its holiness, wisdom, truth, and goodness. The words of men are frail and perishing, like themselves, and sometimes false, foolish, and fickle; but God's word is holy, wise, just, and faithful. Let us receive and regard it accordingly. The word wrought in them, to make them examples to others in faith and good works, and in patience under sufferings, and in trials for the sake of the gospel. Murder and persecution are hateful to God, and no zeal for any thing in religion can excuse it. Nothing tends more to any person or people's filling up the measure of their sins, than opposing the gospel, and hindering the salvation of souls. The pure gospel of Christ is abhorred by many, and the faithful preaching of it is hindered in many ways. But those who forbid the preaching it to sinners, to men dead in sin, do not by this please God. Those have cruel hearts, and are enemies to the glory of God, and to the salvation of his people, who deny them the Bible.
Verse 15. - Who both killed the Lord Jesus; emphatic, to point out the greatness of their wickedness. And their own prophets; or, as some manuscripts read, and the prophets. This crime was often laid to the charge of the Jews: thus, by our Lord, "Ye are witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets" (Matthew 23:31); and by the protomartyr Stephen, "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" (Acts 7:25.) And have persecuted us; literally, driven us out, as Paul and Silos were expelled from Thessalonica. And they please not God, but are contrary to all men. The hatred and contempt which the Jews bore to other nations is noticed by Tacitus, Juvenal, and other heathen writers. Thus Tacitus writes of them: "They are faithful to obstinacy, and merciful toward themselves, but toward all others are actuated by the most irreconcilable hatred (odium humani generis)." And Juvenal says, "They will not show the road to one who was not of their religion, nor lead the thirsty person if uncircumcised to the common spring." Perhaps, however, the apostle refers here, not to the enmity of the Jews to the human race in general, though perfectly cognizant of their bigotry and intolerance; as this enmity was a perversion of their peculiar distinction as he people of God; but rather to their opposition to his preaching the gospel to the Gentiles - to their extreme reluctance that the Gentiles along with themselves should be admitted into the kingdom of God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who both killed the Lord Jesus,.... For though Pilate condemned him to death, and the Roman soldiers executed the sentence, yet it was through the malice and envy of the Jews that he was delivered to him, who brought charges against him, and insisted upon the crucifixion of him; and who are therefore said to have taken him with wicked hands, and crucified and slain him; and to have killed the Prince of life, and to have been the betrayers and murderers of him; and therefore it is no wonder that such persons should persecute the followers of Christ, whether in Judea or elsewhere:
and their own prophets; whom God sent unto them; these they not only mocked and misused, and persecuted, but many of them they put to death, as Isaiah and others; and though this was done by their fathers, yet the present generation were the children of them that killed the prophets; and showed themselves to be of the same principles, and by their practices approved of what they had done: hence our Lord addresses the city of Jerusalem thus, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killest the prophets", Matthew 23:31. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the phrase "their own", and so does the Alexandrian copy; but it stands in the Syriac and Arabic versions, and is rightly retained, it having an emphasis in it; these prophets being of their own nation, born among them, and raised up in the midst of them, and sent unto them particularly, and yet were so used; and therefore it need not seem strange that they should treat in an ill manner persons of a lower character, that did not agree with them; the consideration of which serves to support under reproach and persecution; see Matthew 5:12.
And have persecuted us; the apostles of Christ; have drove us out of our own country, and pursued us from place to place, and caused us to flee from one city to another:
and they please not God: though they reckoned themselves his chosen people, the favourites of heaven, and whom God delighted in; but neither their persons nor their actions were pleasing to him, their carnal minds being enmity to him, to his law and to his Gospel; and they in the flesh, or in an unregenerate estate, and without faith in Christ, without which it is impossible to please God, and their actions such as before described:
and are contrary to all men; not only Christians, but Heathens; to all the Gentiles, who are called all men, the nations of the world, the world, and the whole world; they were contrary to these, both in their religious and civil principles, and had an aversion to them, of which the following is a full instance.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
15. the Lord Jesus—rather as Greek, "Jesus THE Lord." This enhances the glaring enormity of their sin, that in killing Jesus they killed the Lord (Compare Ac 3:14, 15).
their own—omitted in the oldest manuscripts.
prophets—(Mt 21:33-41; 23:31-37; Lu 13:33).
persecuted us—rather as Greek (see Margin), "By persecution drove us out" (Lu 11:49).
please not God—that is, they do not make it their aim to please God. He implies that with all their boast of being God's peculiar people, they all the while are "no pleasers of God," as certainly as, by the universal voice of the world, which even they themselves cannot contradict, they are declared to be perversely "contrary to all men." Josephus [Against Apion, 2.14], represents one calling them "Atheists and Misanthropes, the dullest of barbarians"; and Tacitus [Histories, 5.5], "They have a hostile hatred of all other men." However, the contrariety to all men here meant is, in that they "forbid us to speak to the Gentiles that they may be saved" (1Th 2:16).
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