Matthew 12:12
Parallel Verses
New International Version
How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

New Living Translation
And how much more valuable is a person than a sheep! Yes, the law permits a person to do good on the Sabbath."

English Standard Version
Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.”

New American Standard Bible
"How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

King James Bible
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
A man is worth far more than a sheep, so it is lawful to do what is good on the Sabbath."

International Standard Version
How much more is a human being worth than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on Sabbath days."

NET Bible
How much more valuable is a person than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“How much greater is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is legal to do good on the Sabbath.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Certainly, a human is more valuable than a sheep! So it is right to do good on the day of worship."

Jubilee Bible 2000
Therefore, how much more is a man worth than a sheep? So that it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days.

King James 2000 Bible
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

American King James Version
How much then is a man better than a sheep? Why it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

American Standard Version
How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day.

Douay-Rheims Bible
How much better is a man than a sheep? Therefore it it lawful to do a good deed on the sabbath days.

Darby Bible Translation
How much better then is a man than a sheep! So that it is lawful to do well on the sabbath.

English Revised Version
How much then is a man of more value than a sheep! Wherefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day.

Webster's Bible Translation
How much then is a man better than a sheep? wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

Weymouth New Testament
Is not a man, however, far superior to a sheep? Therefore it is right to do good on the Sabbath."

World English Bible
Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath day."

Young's Literal Translation
How much better, therefore, is a man than a sheep? -- so that it is lawful on the sabbaths to do good.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

12:9-13 Christ shows that works of mercy are lawful and proper to be done on the Lord's day. There are more ways of doing well upon sabbath days, than by the duties of worship: attending the sick, relieving the poor, helping those who need speedy relief, teaching the young to care for their souls; these are doing good: and these must be done from love and charity, with humility and self-denial, and shall be accepted, Ge 4:7. This, like other cures which Christ wrought, had a spiritual meaning. By nature our hands are withered, and we are unable of ourselves to do any thing that is good. Christ only, by the power of his grace, cures us; he heals the withered hand by putting life into the dead soul, works in us both to will and to do: for, with the command, there is a promise of grace given by the word.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 12. - How much then is a man better than a sheep? (Matthew 6:26; Matthew 10:31). Wherefore it is lawful to do well (to do good, Revised Version) on the sabbath days. He answers their question about healing (ver. 10) by enunciating a general principle which would cover more. "Doing good" (perhaps merely "well-doing," Acts 10:33; 1 Corinthians 7:37; but probably "doing good to" another, cf. Luke 6:26, 27; and the parallel passages here, ἀγαθοποιῆσαι η}' κακοποιῆσαι) is to be one test by which the duty of resting or of working on the sabbath is to be determined.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

How much then is a man better than a sheep?.... As a rational creature must be better, and more excellent, than an irrational one, more care is to be taken of, and more mercy shown unto, the one, than the other: even the health of a man is preferable to the life of a beast; and if it is lawful to give food to a beast, and make use of means for its relief, and for the lifting it up out of a ditch, when fallen into it on the sabbath day, "wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days", to men; to do acts of beneficence and humanity to them, among which must be reckoned healing of diseases and infirmities: and particularly, if it is lawful to take a sheep out of a ditch on the sabbath day, it must be right to restore to a man the use of his hand on such a day; and especially to one that gets his bread by his hand labour, as it is very likely this man did. This was such a strong way of arguing, that the Jews could not well object to it; and it appears, that they were confounded and put to silence; for, as Mark observes, "they held their peace": and indeed they allow of everything to be done where life is in danger, though not otherwise: they say (h),

"they may take care of the preservation of life on the sabbath; and if he is prepared for it, lo! this is praiseworthy, and there is no need to take a licence from the sanhedrim: as when a man sees a child fallen into the sea, he may spread a net, and bring him out; and if he is prepared for it, lo! this is praiseworthy, and there is no need to take a licence from the sanhedrim, though he was fishing: if he sees a child fallen into a ditch, he may rake into the mud and bring him out; and if he is prepared for it, lo! this is praiseworthy, and there is no need to take a licence from the sanhedrim, though he had set a ladder ready.''

It is said of Hillell (i), that

"he sat by a window to hear the words of the living God, from the mouth of Shemaia and Abtalion; and they say that that day was the evening of the sabbath, and the winter solstice, and the snow descended from heaven; and when the pillar of the morning ascended, (when it was daylight,) Shemaia said to Abtalion, brother Abtalion, all other days the house is light, but today it is dark, perhaps it is a cloudy day: they lift up their eyes, and saw the form of a man at the window; they went up, and found upon him snow the height of three cubits; they broke through and delivered him; and they washed him, and anointed him, and set him over against his dwelling, and said, very worthy is this man , "to profane the sabbath for him".''

And if it was lawful to dig a man out of the snow, and do these several things for him on the sabbath day, why not cure a man of a withered hand, and especially when done by a word speaking, and without any labour?

(h) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 84. 2.((i) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 35. 2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

12. How much then is a man better than a sheep?—Resistless appeal! "A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast" (Pr 12:10), and would instinctively rescue it from death or suffering on the sabbath day; how much more his nobler fellow man! But the reasoning, as given in the other two Gospels, is singularly striking: "But He knew their thoughts, and said to the man which had the withered hand, Rise up, and stand forth in the midst. And he arose and stood forth. Then said Jesus unto them, I will ask you one thing: Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? to save life or to destroy it?" (Lu 6:8, 9), or as in Mark (Mr 3:4), "to kill?" He thus shuts them up to this startling alternative: "Not to do good, when it is in the power of our hand to do it, is to do evil; not to save life, when we can, is to kill"—and must the letter of the sabbath rest be kept at this expense? This unexpected thrust shut their mouths. By this great ethical principle our Lord, we see, held Himself bound, as man. But here we must turn to Mark, whose graphic details make the second Gospel so exceedingly precious. "When He had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, He saith unto the man" (Mr 3:5). This is one of the very few passages in the Gospel history which reveal our Lord's feelings. How holy this anger was appears from the "grief" which mingled with it at "the hardness of their hearts."

Matthew 12:12 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Heals on the Sabbath
11And He said to them, "What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will he not take hold of it and lift it out? 12"How much more valuable then is a man than a sheep! So then, it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." 13Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand!" He stretched it out, and it was restored to normal, like the other.…
Cross References
Matthew 10:31
So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Luke 14:1
One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
Treasury of Scripture

How much then is a man better than a sheep? Why it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.

is a.

Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, …

Luke 12:24 Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither …

it is.

Mark 3:4 And he said to them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, …

Luke 6:9 Then said Jesus to them, I will ask you one thing; Is it lawful on …

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