|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:53-58 Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter's son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ's favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.
Verse 55. - Is not this the carpenter's son? In Mark, "the carpenter, the son of Mary," which may possibly be a doctrinal correction, made to avoid representing our Lord as the son of Joseph, but is more probably the earlier form of the narrative (due to immediate and, perhaps, local knowledge), which St. Matthew, or one of those who transmitted the source he used, avoided out of a feeling of reverence. In the Apocryphal Gospels our Lord is not represented as a carpenter himself, but as helping Joseph by miraculously lengthening a piece of wood which Joseph had cut too short (e.g. 'Pseudo-Matthew,' § 37; 'Gospel of Thomas,' first Greek form, § 13; contrast Justin Martyr, Dial. with Trypho,' § 88). Is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren (Matthew 12:46). Probably sons of Joseph by a former wife (see Bishop Lightfoot's classical dissertation in 'Galatians'). James. Afterwards "bishop" of Jerusalem (Galatians 1:19; Acts 15:13), and the author of the Epistle. And Joses; Joseph (Revised Version), which is also probably right in Matthew 27:56. Joses is the Graecised form (see Westcott and Hort, 'Append.'). And Simon, and Judas. Probably the author of the Epistle.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Is not this the carpenter's son?.... Meaning Joseph, who was by trade a carpenter, and whose son Jesus was supposed to be; and who very probably was now dead, which may be the reason he is not mentioned by name. The Greek word here used, signifies any mechanic, or artificer. The Syriac expresses it by a word, which signifies both a carpenter and a blacksmith; and Munster's Hebrew Gospel renders it, , "the blacksmith's son". But the generally received notion of the ancient Christians is, that he was a carpenter, and that Jesus was brought up to the same business, which lay in making ploughs and yokes (q). This also appears, from the answer the Christian schoolmaster at Antioch gave to Libanius the sophister; who being big with expectation of Julian the apostate's getting the victory, asked the schoolmaster, what he thought the carpenter's son was doing? To which, after a short pause, he replied; O sophister! the Creator of all things, whom thou callest the carpenter's son, is making a coffin for Julian; who accordingly died in a few days after (r). The Jews make mention of one Abba Joseph, "the builder", or carpenter (s); but whether the same, is not certain. What they here say, was no doubt by way of derision and contempt; and yet the same phrase is used by them of a person of great note and fame, for his wisdom and knowledge: thus speaking of a difficult point, they (t) say,
"no carpenter", or smith, or a carpenter's son, can solve this: says R. Shesheth, I am neither a carpenter, nor a carpenter's son, and I can solve it.
The gloss upon it is,
"a wise man, the son of a wise man.
Is not his mother called Mary? Plain Mary, without any other title, or civil respect; a poor spinstress, that got her bread by her hand labour: the Jews say (u), she was a plaiter of women's hair, and treat her with the utmost scorn,
And his brethren; not strictly so, but either the sons of Joseph by a former wife; or Mary's, or Joseph's brothers or sisters sons, and so cousins to Christ; it being usual with the Jews to call such, and even more distant relations, brethren:
James; the son of Alphaeus, or Cleophas, one of Christ's disciples,
Matthew 10:3 called the Lord's brother, Galatians 1:19 and the same that wrote the epistle that bears his name:
and Joses; or Joseph, as the Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel read; and which two names are one and the same: hence, in Talmudic writings, we often read of R. Jose, who is the same with R. Joseph (w): this Joses is, by Dr. Lightfoot, conjectured to be the same with Joseph, called Barsabas, who was put in nomination for apostleship, after the death of Judas, Acts 1:23.
And Simon; or Symeon, the son of Cleophas, who is said (x) to succeed James, as bishop of Jerusalem, and to be Christ's cousin, being son of Cleophas, the brother of Joseph, the supposed father of Christ:
and Judas; the same that is called Lebbaeus, and Thaddaeus,
Matthew 10:3 and the brother of James, Luke 6:16 and the same that wrote the epistle that goes by his name. The Jews ought not to have made these remarks, since many of their great doctors were of mean parentage; as R. Zachariah was a butcher's son (y), and R. Jochanan a blacksmith's son (z); hence that advice of R. Juda ben Bethira (a),
"take heed that ye do not reproach the sons of the common people, for from them comes forth the law.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
55. Is not this the carpenter's son?—In Mark (Mr 6:3) the question is, "Is not this the carpenter?" In all likelihood, our Lord, during His stay under the roof of His earthly parents, wrought along with His legal father.
is not his mother called Mary?—"Do we not know all about His parentage? Has He not grown up in the midst of us? Are not all His relatives our own townsfolk? Whence, then, such wisdom and such miracles?" These particulars of our Lord's human history constitute the most valuable testimony, first, to His true and real humanity—for they prove that during all His first thirty years His townsmen had discovered nothing about Him different from other men; secondly, to the divine character of His mission—for these Nazarenes proclaim both the unparalleled character of His teaching and the reality and glory of His miracles, as transcending human ability; and thirdly, to His wonderful humility and self-denial—in that when He was such as they now saw Him to be, He yet never gave any indications of it for thirty years, because "His hour was not yet come."
And his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas?
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