|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:20-26 Here begins a discourse of Christ, most of which is also found in Mt 5; 7. But some think that this was preached at another time and place. All believers that take the precepts of the gospel to themselves, and live by them, may take the promises of the gospel to themselves, and live upon them. Woes are denounced against prosperous sinners as miserable people, though the world envies them. Those are blessed indeed whom Christ blesses, but those must be dreadfully miserable who fall under his woe and curse! What a vast advantage will the saint have over the sinner in the other world! and what a wide difference will there be in their rewards, how much soever the sinner may prosper, and the saint be afflicted here!
Verse 26. - Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! Dean Plumptre, with great force, remarks that these words "open a wide question as to the worth of praise as a test of human conduct, and tend to a conclusion quite the reverse of that implied in the maxim, Vox populi, vox Dei. So did their fathers to the false prophets. A good instance of this is found in 1 Kings 18:19, where Queen Jezebel honours the false prophets. See, too, King Ahab's conduct to such men (1 Kings 22.), and Jeremiah's bitter plaint respecting the popularity of these false men (Jeremiah 5:31). At this point, according to St. Luke's report, the Master paused. It would seem as though he was fearful lest the awful woes foretold as the doom of the rich, the powerful, and the persecutor, should impart a too sombre hue to the thoughts which his followers would in coming days entertain of the world of men about them. He would have his own think of the circle outside the little world of believers with no bitter and revengeful thoughts, but rather with that Divine pity which he felt and showed to all poor fallen creatures. 'See now," the Master went on to say, 'notwithstanding the wee which will one day fall on the selfish rich and great ones of earth, and to whom you, my people, will surely be objects of dislike and hate, while you and they are on earth together, the part you have to play with regard to these is steadily to return love for hate."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe unto you when all men shall speak well of you!.... The word "all", is left out in the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic; Persic: and Ethiopic versions, and is wanting in many copies, though it is in the Alexandrian copy; and the meaning is, it looks ill in persons, when the men of the world, wicked men, all of them, or the greater part of them, applaud and commend them; for this can never be, if they are truly religious persons, and are faithful to their principles, and upright in their practices; and do not connive at, or comply with the errors and evil ways of wicked men; for it is no bad sign, to have the good word of good men, and therefore these must be excepted, and the passage must be limited to bad men;
for so did their fathers to the false prophets; they spoke well of them, and heaped favours, riches, and honours upon them, that they might prophesy unto them things; 1 Kings 22:6, smooth things and deceit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. all … speak well of you—alluding to the court paid to the false prophets of old (Mic 2:11). For the principle of this woe, and its proper limits, see Joh 15:19.
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