|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.
Verse 29. - Parallel passages: Mark 3:27; Luke 11:21, 22. Mark is practically identical with Matthew. Luke ("the strong man armed," etc.) is more detailed and vivid, and is perhaps the original form of the saying. Or else; or (Revised Version); i.e. if this be not the case, that the kingdom of God is come upon you, how else do you explain what has happened, the fact of Satan's instruments being taken from him? How can one enter into a strong man's house; the house of the strong man (Revised Version). (For the article, cf. Matthew 1:23, note.) And spoil (ἁρπάσαι) his goods. Carry off his household tools and utensils (τὰ σκεύη αὐτοῦ). Except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. This is more than merely the conclusion. It is an emphatic statement that he will do this, yes, utterly plunder (διαρπάσει) the whole house. The interpretation of the parable is self-evident: the strong man is Satan; his vessels are those afflicted by him; the one who binds, etc., is Christ. For Christ's appearance and work, even before the Crucifixion and Resurrection, bound Satan in this respect. Observe that there is probably a tacit reference to Isaiah 49:25, which at any rate now received a fulfilment.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Or else, how can anyone enter into a strong man's house,.... This is another argument of Christ's proving that his casting out of devils could not be by Satan, but by the Spirit of God; for if he did not act by any superior power to Satan's, and such by which he was able to master, overcome, and bind him, he could never
spoil his goods, as he did; or dispossess devils out of the bodies or souls of men: just as if a man should enter into another man's house, who is strong and robust, with a design to spoil his goods, who would never make use of the man himself to do it, and can never be thought to effect it, unless he has a power superior to his, and uses it;
except he first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house: by the "strong man", is meant the devil, see Isaiah 49:24 who is powerful and mighty, as appears from his nature, being an angel, though a fallen one, excelling in strength human creatures; from his names, such as the roaring lion, the great red dragon, leviathan, &c. from the extent of his dominion, here called "his house"; which reaches to the whole posse of devils, and world of men; whence he is called the prince of the power of the air, and the prince of this world, and the god of it; and from his works and actions, in and over the bodies and estates of men, by divine permission; which might be exemplified in the case of Job, and the demoniacs in the time of Christ; and in and over the souls of men, not only over wicked men, but men under a show of religion, as antichrist and his followers; yea, saints themselves, and even over Adam in a state of innocence; but Christ is stronger than he, and attacked him, and dispossessed him of the bodies of men; and restraining him from doing them any hurt, enters into the souls of men, dethrone him, and leads him captive, who led others; and keeps him from doing them any damage; as he will in the latter day "bind" him and shut him up in prison a thousand years; and also "spoils his goods", or "vessels", and "his house"; the palace of Satan, by taking bodies and souls out of his possession; by awakening the conscience, enlightening the mind, working upon the affections, subduing the will, and implanting principles of grace and holiness in the heart; and so making it a fit habitation for God, which spoils it for the devil: in all which, Satan can never be thought to have any hand; and therefore the suggestion that Christ casts out devils by his assistance, even out of the bodies of men, has no show of reason in it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
29. Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house—or rather, "the strong man's house."
and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.
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