|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:22-30 A soul under Satan's power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power. There are two great interests in the world; and when unclean spirits are cast out by the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of sinners to a life of faith and obedience, the kingdom of God is come unto us. All who do not aid or rejoice in such a change are against Christ.
Verses 25-37. - Our Lord shows the monstrous character of their accusation, and urges the need of a complete change at heart.
(1) An a priori argument that such an action on Satan's part, as they suppose, would be self-destructive (vers. 25, 26).
(2) An argumentum ad hominem. The Pharisees cannot logically and morally acknowledge that their disciples' miracles are performed by Divine help without acknowledging that Jesus' miracles are also. But then they ought to recognize what this implies-that the kingdom of God has come (vers. 27, 28).
(3) This last alternative is true; for how otherwise can they explain the fact of Satan's captives being released (ver. 29)?
(4) An appeal to them and to the bystanders to be decided (ver. 30).
(5) Therefore he warns them solemnly against committing the sin for which there is no forgiveness (vers. 31, 32).
(6) Why be surprised at this language? Their words show that they need a complete change at heart (vers. 33-35).
(7) Is this to make too much of words? It is by words that men will be judged (vers. 36, 37). Verse 25. - Vers 25, 26, parallel passages: Mark 3:24, 25; Luke 11:17, 18. And Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 9:4, note), and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. According to Mark 3:23, our Lord begins with the direct retort, "How can Satan cast out Satan?" But while that gives, of course, our Lord's thought, it is very unlike his method, which is to begin his reply with a parabolic saying. And every city. Matthew only. Or house divided against itself. It is worth noticing that, apart from all metaphor, the peasants' houses in some districts of Palestine are built of such poor material as to easily give way and burst in half (cf. Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' p. 390, edit. 1887). Shall not stand. Neither kingdom, town, nor family can endure such self-destruction; no, nor an individual. There is, too, the further thought that Satan is more than a mere individual; that he is bound up with his kingdom, and his kingdom with him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jesus knew their thoughts,.... He not only heard their blasphemous words, but was privy to their secret thoughts; he knew their vile malicious intentions and designs, with what view they expressed themselves in this manner, on purpose to reproach him, and set the people against him, contrary to the inward light of their minds, and dictates of their consciences; who must, and did know the contrary of what they said: and regarding the inward frame of their minds, as well as their words, and which is a proof of his omniscience, and so of his deity, and consequently of his Messiahship,
said unto them the following parables, as Mark calls them, Mark 3:23 or proverbial expressions:
every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; a government, in which there is a disagreement between the chiefs of it, and the body of the people, or where one part is opposed to the other, or in which a civil and intestine war is begun and prosecuted, cannot continue in any comfortable situation, and flourishing state, but must come to nothing: this is a maxim that has been so often fatally verified, that no one will doubt the truth of it; and the same holds true of lesser communities, of cities, and families:
and every city, or house, divided against itself, shall not stand. If citizens fall out with their magistrates, or one with another, and turn out, and disfranchise each other; and if the heads of families, and the respective branches thereof, quarrel with, and divide from one another, a dissolution of the whole must ensue; and the same may be said of the kingdom and government of Satan. These, it is very likely, were common sayings among the Jews, and they might be very easily understood by them; and are very appropriately produced by Christ to illustrate the present case, and confute the vile and blasphemous suggestions of the Pharisees: a proverbial expression, much like to these, is to be read in the writings of the Jews, , "every house, in which there is a division, at the end shall come to desolation" (u).
(u) Derech Eretz, c. 5.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
25. And Jesus knew their thoughts—"called them" (Mr 3:23).
and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand—"house," that is, "household"
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