|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
22:34-40 An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbour as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mould.
Verses 34-40. - Fourth attack: The Pharisees question concerning the great, commandment. (Mark 12:28-34.) Verse 34. - He had put the Sadducees to silence (ἐφίμωσεν, as ver. 12). The Pharisees were informed of, and some of them had witnessed, the discomfiture of the Sadducees (see Luke 20:40); hence they deemed it necessary again to attack Jesus by asking a question which specially appertained to their own teaching. They felt that, if they were ever to compass his overthrow, they must first lower his credit with the people, so that these might no longer care to support or defend him. To succeed in entangling Jesus in a difficulty would not only effect this, but would also gain them a triumph over their adversaries, who had been so completely defeated. Were gathered together; ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, Which may mean, "to the same place," as perhaps Acts 2:1; or "on the same ground, for the same purpose." The former is probably correct. The English versions omit the words (see the rendering of ver. 41, where ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ does not occur). They grouped themselves around Christ, or else gathered in a council chamber, taking combined action against him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
But when the Pharisees had heard,.... Either with their own ears, they being some of them present: or rather from the relation of others, from the Scribes, who expressed their approbation of Christ's answer to the Sadducees; for the Pharisees, with the Herodians, in a body, had left him, and were gone to their respective places of abode; or to them that sent them, being baffled and confounded by him: but now hearing
that he had put the Sadducees to silence, or stopped their mouths, having nothing to reply, which itself, was not disagreeable; for they were as opposite as could be to them in the doctrine of the resurrection, and in other things, and were their sworn and avowed enemies: and yet it sadly gravelled them, that Christ should be too hard for, and get the victory over all sects among them. Wherefore, considering that should he go on with success in this manner, his credit with the people would increase yet more and more; and therefore, though they had been so shamefully defeated in two late attempts, yehey were gathered together in great hurry upon this occasion. The Ethiopic version reads it, "they were gathered to him", that is, to Christ; and so reads the copy that Beza gave to the university of Cambridge: but the other reading, as it is general, so more suitable to the place: they gathered together at some certain house, where they consulted what to do, what methods to take, to put a stop to his growing interest with the people, and how they might bring him into disgrace with them; and they seemed to have fixed on this method, that one among them, who was the ablest doctor, and best skilled in the law, should put a question to him relating to the law, which was then agitated among them, the solution of which was very difficult; and they the rather chose to take this course by setting a single person upon him, that should he succeed, the victory would be the greater, and the whole sect would share in the honour of it; and should he be silenced, the public disgrace and confusion would only fall on himself, and not the whole body, as in the former instances. This being agreed to, they went unto him.
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