Matthew 6:28
And why take you thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Why take ye thought for raiment?—The question might well be asked of every race of the whole family of man. Yet we ought not to forget its special pointedness as addressed to a people who reckoned their garments, not less than their money, as part of their capital, and often expended on them the labour of many weeks or months. (Comp. Matthew 6:20; James 5:2.)

Consider the lilies of the field.—Here again we may think of the lesson as drawn immediately from the surrounding objects. The hill-sides of Galilee are clothed in spring with the crown imperial, and the golden amaryllis, and crimson tulips, and anemones of all shades from scarlet to white, to say nothing of the commoner buttercups and dandelions and daisies; and all these are probably classed roughly together under the generic name of “lilies.” And these, with what we may reverently speak of as a love of Nature, the Lord tells His disciples to “consider,” i.e., not merely to look at with a passing glance, but to study—to learn, as it were, by heart—till they have realised every beauty of structure and form and hue.

Matthew 6:28-30. And why take ye thought — Why are you anxious about raiment? Consider the lilies of the field — Observe not only the animal, but, what is yet much lower, the vegetable part of the creation, and mark how the flowers of the meadows grow; they toil not — To prepare the materials of their covering; nor do they spin — Or weave them into garments. “The expression ου κοπια, here rendered, they toil not, denotes rural labour, 2 Timothy 2:6; and therefore is beautifully used in a discourse of clothing, the materials of which are produced by agriculture.” — Macknight. Even Solomon in all his glory — In his royal magnificence, and when sitting on his throne of ivory and gold, 1 Kings 10:18; was not arrayed like one of these — Namely, in garments of so pure a white, and of such curious workmanship, as one of these lilies presents to your view. The eastern princes were often clothed in white robes, (and they were generally accounted a magnificent apparel; see Esther 8:15, Daniel 7:9;) and therefore Calmet and Doddridge properly refer this dress of Solomon to the whiteness of the lilies, rather than to tulips of various colours. or a purple kind of lily, supposed by Ray (On the Creation, page 107,) to be here intended by κρινα, the word we render lilies. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, &c. — If an inanimate thing, so trifling in its nature, and uncertain in its duration, is thus beautifully adorned, will not God take care to clothe you, who are more valuable, as ye are men endowed with reason, but especially as ye are my servants and friends? The grass of the field, is a general expression, including both herbs and flowers. Dr. Campbell renders the original expression, τον χορτον, the herbage, and observes, that it is evident from the lily being included under the term, that more is meant by it than is signified with us by the word grass; and he quotes Grotius as remarking that the Hebrews ranked the whole vegetable system under two classes, עצ, gnets, and עשּׁב, gnesheb, the former including all sorts of shrubs, as well as trees, and the latter every kind of plant, which has not, like trees and shrubs, a perennial stalk. Which to-day is — Namely, in the field; and to-morrow is cast into the oven — The word κλιβανον, here rendered the oven, is interpreted by some a still, for distilling herbs; but “there is no reason,” says Macknight, “to alter the translation, since it appears from Matthew 13:10, that they used some kind of vegetable substances for fuel, particularly tares, which, if they were annuals, might be sufficiently dry for immediate use by the time they were cut down, as the herb of the field is here said to be; or to-morrow, in the text may mean, not the day immediately after the herbs are cut down, but any time soon after, the expression being proverbial, and easily admitting of this signification.” Dr. Campbell is of the same mind, observing that he had not seen a vestige of evidence in any ancient author, that the art of distillation was then known, or any authority, sacred or profane, for translating the word κλιβανος, a still. He thinks the scarcity of fuel in those parts, both formerly and at present, fully accounts for their having recourse to withered herbs for heating their ovens. It accounts also, he supposes, for the frequent recourse of the sacred penmen to those similitudes, whereby things found unfit for any nobler purpose, are represented as reserved for the fire. Add to this, Shaw (Trav. page 25,) and Harmer (chap. 4. obs. 6,) inform us, that myrtle, rosemary, and other plants, are made use of in Barbary to heat their ovens. Our Lord, to check every kind of distrust of the divine providence, and to encourage confidence therein, adds, O ye of little faith — Or, O ye distrustful, as Campbell renders the word ολιγοπιστοι, observing, that “it is quite in the genius of the Greek language to express, by such compound words, what in other languages is expressed by a more simple term.” It is hardly necessary to observe here, that “it does not follow from our Lord’s application of the expression, O ye of little faith, that it is an exercise of faith to sit with our arms folded, expecting support from the divine providence, without any action of our own; but after having done what prudence directs for providing the necessaries of life, we ought to trust in God, believing that he will make our labours effectual by his blessing.” It is remarked here by Dr. Doddridge, that the word αμφιεννυσιν, rendered clothe the grass of the field, properly implies the putting on a complete dress, that surrounds the body on all sides; and beautifully expresses that external membrane, which (like the skin in a human body) at once adorns the tender fabric of the vegetable, and guards it from the injuries of the weather. Every microscope in which a flower is viewed, gives a lively comment on this text.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.Consider the lilies of the field - The fourth consideration is taken from the care which God bestows on lilies. Watch the growing of the lily. It toils not, and it spins not; yet night and day it grows. With a beauty with which the most splendid monarch of the East was never adorned. it expands its blossom and fills the air with fragrance. Yet this beauty is of short continuance. Soon it will fade, and the beautiful flower will be cut down and burned. God "so little" regards the bestowment of beauty and ornament as to give the highest adorning to this which is soon to perish. When He thus clothes a lily - a fair flower, soon to perish - will he be unmindful of his children? Shall they dear to His heart and imbued with immortality - lack that which is proper for them, and shall they in vain trust the God that decks the lily of the valley?

Even Solomon in all his glory ... - The common dress of Eastern kings was purple, but they sometimes wore white robes. See Esther 8:15; Daniel 7:9. It is to this that Christ refers. Solomon, says he, the richest and most magnificent king of Israel, was not clothed in a robe of "so pure a white" as the lily that grows wild in the field.

28. And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider—observe well.

the lilies of the field, how they grow: they toil not—as men, planting and preparing the flax.

neither do they spin—as women.

See Poole on "Matthew 6:30". And why take ye thought for raiment,.... Having exposed the folly of an anxious and immoderate care and thought, for food to support and prolong life, our Lord proceeds to show the vanity of an over concern for raiment:

consider the lilies of the field or "the flowers of the field", as the Arabic version reads it, the lilies being put for all sorts of flowers. The Persic version mentions both rose and lily; the one being beautifully clothed in red, the other in white. Christ does not direct his hearers to the lilies, or flowers which grow in the garden which receive some advantage from the management and care of the gardener; but to those of the field, where the art and care of men were not so exercised: and besides, he was now preaching on the mount, in an open place; and as he could point to the fowls of the air, flying in their sight, so to the flowers, in the adjacent fields and valleys: which he would have them look upon, with their eyes, consider and contemplate in their minds,

how they grow; in what variety of garbs they appear, of what different beautiful colours, and fragrant odours, they were; and yet

they toil not, or do not labour as husbandmen do, in tilling their land, ploughing their fields, and sowing them with flax, out of which linen garments are made:

neither do they spin; the flax, when plucked and dressed, as women do, in order for clothing; nor do they weave it into cloth, or make it up into garments, as other artificers do.

And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they {m} toil not, neither do they spin:

(m) By labour.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 6:28. Καὶ περὶ ἐνδύμ.] the new object of care placed first in the sentence.

καταμάθετε] consider, observe: occurring nowhere else in the New Testament, frequent in Greek writers, Genesis 24:21; Genesis 34:1; Job 35:5.

κρίνον, שׁוּשָׁן, lilies generally, various kinds of which grow wild in the East, without cultivation by human hands (τοῦ ἀγροῦ). There is no reason to think merely of the (flower) emperor’s crown (Kuinoel), or to suppose that anemones are intended (Furer in Schenkel’s Bibellex.); the latter are called ἀνεμῶναι in Greek.

πῶς] relatively: how, i.e. with what grace and beauty, they grow up! To take πῶς αὐξ. interrogatively (Palairetus, Fritzsche), so that οὐ κοπ., etc., would form the answer, is not so simple, nor is it in keeping with the parallel in Matthew 6:26. They toil not, neither (specially) do they spin, to provide their raiment. The plurals (αὐξάνουσιν, etc., see the critical remarks) describe the lilies, not en masse, but singly (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iv. 3. 12, ad Anab. i. 2. 23), and indeed as though they were actual living persons (Krüger on Thuc. i. 58. 1). Comp. in general, Schoemann, ad Isaeum ix. 8.Matthew 6:28-30. Lesson from the flowers. καταμάθετε, observe well that ye may learn thoroughly the lesson they teach. Here only in N.T., often in classics. Also in Sept[43], e.g., Genesis 24:21 : The man observed her (Rebekah), learning her disposition from her actions.—τὰ κρίνα, the lilium Persicum, Emperor’s crown, according to Rosenmüller and Kuinoel; the red anemone, according to Furrer (Zscht. für M. und R.) growing luxuriantly under thorn bushes. All flowers represented by the lily, said Euthy. Zig. long ago, and probably he is right. No need to discover a flower of rare beauty as the subject of remark. Jesus would have said the same thing of the snowdrop, the primrose, the bluebell or the daisy. After ἀγροῦ should come a pause. Consider these flowers! Then, after a few moments’ reflection: πῶς, not interrogative (Fritzsche), but expressive of admiration; vague, doubtful whether the growth is admired as to height (Bengel), rapidity, or rate of multiplication. Why refer to growth at all? Probably with tacit reference to question in Matthew 6:27. Note the verbs in the plural (vide critical note) with a neuter nominative. The lilies are viewed individually as living beings, almost as friends, and spoken of with affection (Winer, § 58, 3). The verb αὐξάνω in active voice is transitive in class., intransitive only in later writers.—κοπιῶσιν, νήθουσιν: “illud virorum est, qui agrum colunt, hoc mulierum domisedarum” (Rosenmüller). The former verb seems to point to the toil whereby bread is earned, with backward glance at the conditions of human growth; the latter to the lighter work, whereby clothing, the new subject of remark, is prepared.

[43] Septuagint.28. for raiment] The birds are an example of God’s care in providing food, the flowers of His care in providing apparel.

the lilies of the field] identified by Dr Thomson (Land and Book, p. 256), with a species of lily found in the neighbourhood of Hûlêh. He speaks of having met with “this incomparable flower, in all its loveliness … around the northern base of Tabor, and on the hills of Nazareth, where our Lord spent His youth.” Canon Tristram (Nat. Hist. of the Bible) claims this honour for the beautiful and varied anemone coronaria. “If in the wondrous richness of bloom which characterises the Land of Israel in spring any one plant can claim preeminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side.”Matthew 6:28. Πῶς αὐξάνει, how they grow) sc. to a great height.—οὐ κοπιᾷ, they toil not) Toil is remotely, spinning intimately connected with procuring raiment, as sowing and reaping are with food.Verse 28. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:26, 27. Luke's is longer and seemingly more original. But in the absence of external evidence, it must always be a matter of opinion whether Matthew has compressed the longer form of the words, or vice versa. And why take ye thought for raiment? In vers. 25-27 our Lord had spoken of food; in vers. 28-30 he speaks of dress. He insists on the needlessness (ver. 28) and on the comparative uselessness (ver. 29) of anxiety about it, since even the king who had the greatest opportunities could not vie in clothing with a single lily. Flowers have this glorious clothing (ver. 30), though they are so perishable: much more shall you be clothed. Consider (ver. 26, note). The lilies (τὰ κρίνα). Though there are many kinds of lilies in Palestine, and some of brilliant colouring (particularly the purple and white Huleh lily found round Nazareth), yet none of them grows in such abundance as to give the tone to the colouring of the flowers generally. It seems, therefore, probable that the word is employed loosely. So, perhaps, in the LXX. of Exodus 25:31, 33, 34, and other passages, where it represents the "flowers" (פֶּרַח) on the candlestick. It appears, too, that שׁושֶׁן ("lily," Authorized Version in Canticles) is also used by the Arabs of any bright flower. If a single species is to be thought of, Canon Tristram would prefer the Anemone coronaria of our gardens, which is "the most gorgeously painted, the most conspicuous in spring, and the most universally spread of all the floral treasures of the Holy Land" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 464, edit. 1877). Of the field. Matthew only in this phrase (but cf. ver. 30, note). Its insertion emphasizes the spontaneity of origin, the absence of cultivation, the "waste" as not grown for the comfort or pleasure of man. How they grow. Professor Drummond's beautiful remarks upon this verse ('Natural Law,' etc.) do not belong to exegesis, but to homily, for the stress of our Lord's words lies on "grow," not on "how;" he is thinking of the fact, net the manner of their growth. They toil not; to produce the raw material. Neither do they spin; to manufacture it when produced. "Illud virorum est, qui agrum colunt; hoc mulie-rum domisedarum" (Wetstein).
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