Matthew 6:33
But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(33) Seek ye first the kingdom of God.—The context shows that the words point to the “seeking” of prayer, rather than of act, though the latter meaning is, of course, not excluded. What is thus to be sought is “the kingdom of God” (the change from the less personal “kingdom of heaven” is significant), the higher spiritual life in its completeness, for ourselves and for others; and with it we are to seek “His righteousness,” that which, being perfect beyond the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, must be His gift to us, and therefore to be sought in prayer. One who seeks for this may well be content to leave all else in his Father’s hands. Even without his asking “they shall be added unto him” in such measure as is best for him. Among the few traditional sayings ascribed to our Lord of which we can think as probably an authentic report of His teaching, is one to the same effect quoted by Origen and Clement of Alexandria,” Ask great things, and little things shall be added to you: ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added to you.”

Matthew 6:33. But — You my disciples have more important business to employ your minds about, and have higher hopes to encourage you. Therefore seek ye first — That is, in the first place, and with the greatest earnestness and concern, as being the principal things, the kingdom of God — As described Romans 14:17, namely, that God, reigning in your heart, may fill it with the holiness above described, and the happiness consequent thereon; and, in order thereto, his righteousness — Not your own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God by faith. Compare Romans 10:3; Php 3:9. For it seems most natural to interpret the expression of that way of becoming righteous which the gospel proposes, and by which alone we can be put in possession of the kingdom of God on earth, or in heaven. And all these things shall be added unto you — For if you seek, as now directed, the kingdom of God, first and principally, all things pertaining to this life shall, in the course of the divine providence, be bestowed on you as far as they can contribute to your real welfare, and more you would not desire.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.For after all these things do the Gentiles seek - That is, those destitute of the true doctrines of religion, and unacquainted with proper dependence on Divine Providence, make it their chief anxiety thus to seek food and clothing. But you, who have a knowledge of your Father in heaven; who know that He will provide for your needs, should not be anxious. Seek first His kingdom; seek first to be righteous, and to become interested in His favor, and all necessary things will be added to you. He has control over all things, and He can give you what you need. He will give you what he deems best for you. 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you—This is the great summing up. Strictly speaking, it has to do only with the subject of the present section—the right state of the heart with reference to heavenly and earthly things; but being couched in the form of a brief general directory, it is so comprehensive in its grasp as to embrace the whole subject of this discourse. And, as if to make this the more evident, the two keynotes of this great sermon seem purposely struck in it—"the KINGDOM" and "the RIGHTEOUSNESS" of the kingdom—as the grand objects, in the supreme pursuit of which all things needful for the present life will be added to us. The precise sense of every word in this golden verse should be carefully weighed. "The kingdom of God" is the primary subject of the Sermon on the Mount—that kingdom which the God of heaven is erecting in this fallen world, within which are all the spiritually recovered and inwardly subject portion of the family of Adam, under Messiah as its Divine Head and King. "The righteousness thereof" is the character of all such, so amply described and variously illustrated in the foregoing portions of this discourse. The "seeking" of these is the making them the object of supreme choice and pursuit; and the seeking of them "first" is the seeking of them before and above all else. The "all these things" which shall in that case be added to us are just the "all these things" which the last words of Mt 6:32 assured us "our heavenly Father knoweth that we have need of"; that is, all we require for the present life. And when our Lord says they shall be "added," it is implied, as a matter of course, that the seekers of the kingdom and its righteousness shall have these as their proper and primary portion: the rest being their gracious reward for not seeking them. (See an illustration of the principle of this in 2Ch 1:11, 12). What follows is but a reduction of this great general direction into a practical and ready form for daily use. The kingdom of God, and his righteousness, in this verse, are terms comprehensive of whatsoever appertaineth to the honour and glory of God, either as means, or as the end. Let your principal care and study be how to get to heaven, and how to promote the kingdom of God in the world; to bring your hearts into subjection to the will of God, that the kingdom of God may be within you, and how to bring others to the obedience of faith and of the will of God. And for the things of this life, it shall fare with you as it did with Solomon, 1 Kings 3:12, who asked not riches and honour, but had them. You shall have for your necessities, Psalm 37:4 Mark 10:30 1 Timothy 4:8. But seek first the kingdom of God,.... Meaning either the Gospel, and the ministration of it; in which sense this phrase is often used, see Matthew 21:43 and which is diligently to be sought after, and into; to be constantly attended on, and to be preferred to our necessary food, to raiment, or riches, or any enjoyment of life: or else the kingdom of glory, which is prepared by God, and is his gift; for which he makes his people meet here, and will introduce them into it hereafter.

And his righteousness; the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel, and is what gives a right and title to the kingdom of heaven. This is not the righteousness of man, but of God; and is no other than the righteousness of Christ; so called, because he is God who has wrought it; it is what God approves of, accepts, and imputes, and which only can justify in his sight, and give an abundant entrance into his kingdom and glory. Heaven is to be sought for in the first place, as the perfection of the saints' happiness; and Christ's righteousness is to be sought for, and laid hold on by faith, as the way and means of enjoying that happiness; without which, there will be no entering into the kingdom of heaven.

And all these things shall be added unto you: of the free bounty, goodness, and liberality of God, without your thought and care, and much less merit; even "all these things", meat, drink, clothing, or whatsoever worldly sustenance else is necessary for you: which are not parts of the happiness of saints, only appendages thereunto; which they have over and above what they are, or should be chiefly seeking after. The Hebrews (r) say,

"that no good sign will be shown to Israel, until they return and "seek" three things: "afterwards the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord"; , "this is the kingdom of heaven"; and "David their king", according to its literal sense; "and shall fear the Lord and his goodness"; this is the house of the sanctuary, as it is said, "this goodly mountain", and Lebanon.''

(r) Jarchi & Kimchi, in Hosea 3.5.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 6:33. Ζητεῖτε δέ] now states what they ought to do, instead of indulging that care forbidden in Matthew 6:31.

πρῶτον] in the first place, before you strive after anything else; your first striving. In that case a second is, of course, unnecessary, because their food, their drink, and their raiment προστεθήσεται. But in the πρῶτον the subordinate striving after something is not even “darkly” sanctioned (de Wette); on the contrary, and notwithstanding the πρῶτον, this striving is excluded as much by Matthew 6:32 as by καὶπροστεθ. Accordingly, that first striving is the only one.

The simple ζητεῖτε is distinguished from ἐπιζητ. not in respect of degree, but only in such a way that the latter points out the direction of the striving. Hence ἐπιζητεῖν ἐπί τινα, 2 Samuel 3:8. Comp. note on Romans 11:7; Php 4:7.

τὴν βασιλ. καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ] (see the critical remarks) where the αὐτοῦ belonging to both substantives refers, according to Matthew 6:32, to God, and is meant to convey the idea that what is to form the object and aim of our striving is the Messianic kingdom, the becoming partakers in it, the being admitted into it, and the moral righteousness which God imparts to the believer to assist him to attain the kingdom.

ταῦτα πάντα] See Matthew 6:31-32. The distinction between ταῦτα πάντα and πάντα ταῦτα lies merely in this, that in the former it is the demonstrative idea on which the emphasis is placed, whereas in the latter it is the idea of universality that is so. See Winer, p. 510 [E. T. 686]. Comp. Lobeck, ad Aj. 1023; Saupp, ad Hipparch. VI. 5.

προστεθήσεται] will be added, namely, to the moral result of your striving. Comp. the saying of Christ handed down by Clement, Origen, and Eusebius: αἰτεῖτε τὰ μεγάλα, καὶ τὰ μικρὰ ὑμῖν προστεθήσεται· καὶ αἰτεῖτε τὰ ἐπουράνια, καὶ τὰ ἐπίγεια προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν (Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. i. p. 329), which differs from our passage in the generality of its terms, and in having αἰτεῖτε.Matthew 6:33. Ζητεῖτε, seek ye) the kingdom which is nigh at hand, and not difficult of acquisition.—πρῶτον, first) He who seeks that first, will soon seek that only.—βασιλείαν, kingdom.δικαιοσύνην, righteousness) Heavenly meat and drink are opposed to earthly, and thus also raiment; and, therefore, St Luke in his twelfth chapter leaves raiment to be understood at Matthew 6:29, and righteousness at Matthew 6:31, although righteousness also filleth; see ch. Matthew 5:6.[296]—ΑὐΤΟῦ, his) sc. righteousness.—See the note on Romans 1:17.—ταῦτα, these things) An instance of Litotes.[297]—ΠΡΟΣΤΕΘΉΣΕΤΑΙ, shall be added unto) These things are a προσθήκη or appendage of the life and body (see Matthew 6:25); and still more so of the kingdom (see Luke 12:32).

[296] Sc. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be FILLED.” See also Gnomon in loc.—(I. B.)

[297] The word used in the original is ταπείνωσις, concerning which John Albert Burk says, in his Explanation of the Technical Terms employed in the Gnomon—

“LITOTES, Μειωσις, Ταπεινωσις, EXTENUATIO, quæ singulæ in Gnomone passim allegantur, vix ac ne vix quidem differunt.”

For explanation and examples, see Appendix.—(I. B.)Verse 33. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:31, which is shorter. But; i.e. in contrast to such seeking as he has just spoken cf. Our Lord at length gives a distinct promise that if God's cause is made the first aim, all the necessaries of life shall be provided. Seek ye first. The difference between ζητεῖν here and ἐπιζητεῖν in ver. 32 seems to be only that the latter points out more clearly the direction of the search. First. If the search for earthly things be put into a secondary place, it may be allowable. The kingdom of God, and his righteousness; his kingdom and his righteousness (Revised Version). "Of God" must almost certainly be omitted with א (B); cf. Westcott and Hort, 'App.' The first phrase represents rather the external, the second the internal aim. Seek ye the spread and accomplishment of God's kingdom; seek ye personal conformity to his standard of righteousness. Both thoughts are of fundamental importance for this "sermon" (kingdom, cf. Matthew 5:3, 10, 19, 20; Matthew 6:10; righteousness, especially Matthew 5:17-20), which treats essentially of the way in which the subjects of the Divine kingdom should regard the Divine righteousness and conform to it. And all these things shall be added unto you; cf. the apocryphal saying of our Lord, repeated by Origen (Clem. Alex.), "Jesus said to his disciples, Ask great things, and the small shall be added to you; and ask heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added to you" (Westcott, 'Introd.,' App. C; Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 230, etc.; cf. also 1 Kings 3:11-14; Mark 10:29, 30; 1 Timothy 4:8).
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