|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:13-18 To this parable our Lord added a solemn warning. Ye cannot serve God and the world, so divided are the two interests. When our Lord spoke thus, the covetous Pharisees treated his instructions with contempt. But he warned them, that what they contended for as the law, was a wresting of its meaning: this our Lord showed in a case respecting divorce. There are many covetous sticklers for the forms of godliness, who are the bitterest enemies to its power, and try to set others against the truth.
Verse 17. - And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the Law to fail. "Yet think not," went on the Master, "that, though things are changing, the Divine Law will ever fail. The mere temporary and transitory regulations will, of course, give place to a new order, but not the smallest part of one letter of the Divine moral Law will fail." "One tittle." This is the rendering of a Greek word the diminutive of "horn," which denoted the horn or extremity of a Hebrew letter, by the omission or addition of which - to give an instance - the letter d becomes the letter r; thus with the horn it is ד, daleth, d; without the horn ר, resh, r. The heresiarch Marcion (second century) here, in his recension of St. Luke, changes the text thus: "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than for one tittle of my sayings to fail." Marcion, who refused fallow the Divine origin of any part of the Old Testament, was afraid of the testimony which this assertion of our Lord would give to the Divine authority of the Pentateuch. In illustration of his saying that the moral Law given to the Jews was changeless, and while earth endured would never fail, the Master instances one grave chapter of the Law with which there had been much tampering-that of divorce. "See," he said, "the new state of things which I am now teaching, instead of loosening the cords with which the old Law regulated human society, will rather tighten them. Instead of a laxer code being substituted, I am preaching a yet severer one. My law of divorce is a severer one than that written down by Moses."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass,.... This is said by Christ, lest it should be thought by his saying, that the law and the prophets were until John, that they were no longer, nor of any more use; but were now abrogated and laid aside; whereas heaven and earth might sooner pass away, and the whole frame of nature be dissolved:
than one tittle of the law to fail; which, and the prophets, in all the precepts, promises, types, figures, prophecies, &c. thereof, had their full accomplishment in the person, miracles, obedience, sufferings, and death of Christ; see Matthew 5:18.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. it is easier, &c.—(See on Mt 5:17, 18)
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