|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:1-6 The design of Christ in giving himself for us, is, that he may purchase to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works; and true religion is the strongest bond of friendship. Here are earnest exhortations to several Christian duties, especially contentment. The sin opposed to this grace and duty is covetousness, an over-eager desire for the wealth of this world, with envy of those who have more than ourselves. Having treasures in heaven, we may be content with mean things here. Those who cannot be so, would not be content though God raised their condition. Adam was in paradise, yet not contented; some angels in heaven were not contented; but the apostle Paul, though abased and empty, had learned in every state, in any state, to be content. Christians have reason to be contented with their present lot. This promise contains the sum and substance of all the promises; I will never, no, never leave thee, no, never forsake thee. In the original there are no less than five negatives put together, to confirm the promise: the true believer shall have the gracious presence of God with him, in life, at death, and for ever. Men can do nothing against God, and God can make all that men do against his people, to turn to their good.
Verse 2. - Be not forgetful to entertain strangers (or, of hospitality): for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Allusions to this duty are frequent in the Epistles; its exercise would be of especial importance, in those days of persecution, towards scattered and destitute brethren as well as towards missionaries, though it by no means appears that it was meant to be confined to "them that are of the household of faith." Possibly some of the wavering Hebrew Christians might be becoming less ready to open their doors to the persecuted from fear of "reproach" in Jewish circles. The allusion of the latter part of the verse is evidently to Abraham and Lot (Genesis 18. and 19.). At any time the visits even of our fellow-men may be to us as visits of angels, as being messengers of God's purposes for good when least expected. And especially to be noted are our Lord's own words, "He that receiveth you receiveth me," etc., and "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:40).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,.... By whom are meant, not unconverted men, who are strangers to God and Christ, and the covenants of promise; nor saints, who are as pilgrims and strangers in this world; but such as are of another country, and are unknown; and even though wicked men, they are not excluded; though such as are obliged to quit their own country for righteousness sake are chiefly designed; all strangers in distress are meant, and hospitality is to be exercised towards them; which lies negatively in doing nothing to distress them, and positively in providing food, raiment, lodging, &c. for them, and in comforting, counselling, and directing them in all matters in which they may stand in need thereof: and that this is a duty, appears from the light of nature, and practices of the Heathens, Acts 28:2, from the express law of God, Deuteronomy 10:19 and many others made in favour of strangers, binding on the Jews; from the sundry exhortations to it in the New Testament, Romans 12:13 and from the exhortation here not to forget it; and from the great regard which Christ will show to such as mind it, and his disregard to others at the last day: the persons who are to exercise it are not only the ministers of the Gospel, who should be given to hospitality; but all the saints, even the meaner sort are not exempted, but should use it according to their ability; though it is chiefly binding on those that are rich. And this should not be forgot, but pursued and followed after; it should be frequently performed; men should be given, and used to it; it should be done without grudging, and in a friendly and loving manner:
for thereby some have entertained angels unawares; as Abraham, Genesis 18:1, he knew them not to be angels at first; they appeared as men, and he treated them as such; but they were angels, yea, one of them was Jehovah himself; and hereby he received many favours, Genesis 18:10, and Lot, Genesis 19:1 who knew not that they were angels he took into his house; but they were, and he was delivered by them from the burning of Sodom; yea, some have unawares, this way, entertained Christ himself, Luke 24:15 and indeed, entertaining of his members is entertaining him, Matthew 25:38. It is an observation of a Jewish writer (r) upon the first of these instances;
"from hence we learn (says he) how great is the strength (or virtue) of the reception of travellers (or hospitality), as the Rabbins of blessed memory say, greater is , "hospitality", than the reception of the face of the Shechinah.''
And this is said to be one of the six things which a man enjoys the fruit of in this world, and for which there remains a reward in the world to come (s).
(r) R. Abraham Seba in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 18, 4. (s) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 127. 1.
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