|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
6:9-15 Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Pr 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.
Verse 12. - And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Forgive; a change in God's relation to us and our sins. No plea is urged, for the atonement had not yet been made. Our debts (τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν) parallel passage in Luke, τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν). It is probable that Matthew took one meaning, perhaps the more primary, and Luke another, perhaps the more secondary (cf. Gesenius, Thes,' s.v. הוב, and Professor Marshall, Expositor, IV. 3:281), of the original Aramaic word (חובא); but, as "debtors" comes in the next clause, it seems reasonable to suppose that Matthew represents the sense in which our Lord intended the word to be understood. Luke may have avoided it as too strongly Hebraic a metaphor, even though he does use ὀφειλέται of men in relation to God (Luke 13:4). The 'Didache,' 8, gives the singular, ὀφειλήν (cf. infra, Matthew 18:32), which Dr. Taylor ('Lectures,' p. 62) thinks is preferable. The singular, especially with "debtors" following, would very naturally be corrupted to the plural. Sins are termed "debts," as not rendering to God his due (Matthew 22:21; cf. 25:27). As we; Revised Version, as we also (ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς). In the same way as we have - a comparison of fact, not of proportion (cf. Matthew 8:13; Matthew 18:33). (For the thought, cf. Ecclus. 28:2.) Luke's "for we ourselves also" (καὶ γὰρ αὐτοί) lays more stress on our forgiving others being a reason for God forgiving us. Forgive; Revised Version, have forgiven, in the past (aorist). Luke's present is of the habit. Our debtors. Luke individualizes (παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And forgive us our debts,.... Nothing is more frequent in the Jewish writings than to call sins "debts"; and the phrase, of forgiving, is used both of God and men. Thus the prayer of Solomon is paraphrased (y) by the Targumist:
"and hear thou the petition of thy servant, and of thy people Israel, which they shall make before this place; and do thou receive it from the place of the house of thy Shekinah, from heaven; and do thou accept their prayer , "and forgive their debts".''
So Joseph's brethren signify to him, that it was their father's orders to say unto him, "forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin"; which is rendered by the Chaldee paraphrasts (z) , "forgive the debts" of thy brethren, and their sins. Accordingly, by "debts" are meant sins here, as appears from Luke 11:4 where it is read, "and forgive us our sin". These are called "debts"; not because they are so in themselves, for then it would be right to do them; debts should be paid; they are not debts we owe to God, but are so called, because on account of them we owe satisfaction to the law and justice of God: the proper debts we owe to God are love, obedience, and gratitude; and in default of these, we owe the debt of punishment. Now these debts are numerous, and we are incapable of paying, nor can any mere creature pay them for us; wherefore, we are directed to pray, that God would forgive them, or remit the obligation to punishment we lie under, on account of sin. This petition supposes a sense, acknowledgment, and confession of sin, and of inability to make satisfaction for it; and that God only can forgive it, who does, for Christ's sake, and on account of his blood, sacrifice, and satisfaction: what is here requested is a manifestation and application of pardon to the conscience of a sensible sinner; which, as it is daily needed, is daily to be asked for. The argument, or reason used, is,
as we forgive our debtors; which is to be understood not so much of pecuniary debtors, though they are to be forgiven, when poor and unable to pay; but of such who have offended, or done real injuries to others, either by word or deed: the injuries of enemies, the unkindness of friends, all sorts of offences, are to be forgiven by us; and not only so, but we are to pray to God to forgive them also. Now this is mentioned, not as if our forgiving others is the cause of God's forgiving us, or the model of it, or as setting him an example, or as if his and our forgiving were to be compared together, since these will admit of no comparison; but this is an argument founded upon God's own promise and grace, to forgive such who have compassion on their fellow creatures.
(y) Targum in 2 Chron. 21. (z) Targum Onkelos & Jon. ben Uzziel in Gen. l. 17. Vid. Targum in 1 Chron. 18. & in Cant. i. 1. & in Gen. iv. 13. & passim.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. And forgive us our debts—A vitally important view of sin, this—as an offense against God demanding reparation to His dishonored claims upon our absolute subjection. As the debtor in the creditor's hand, so is the sinner in the hands of God. This idea of sin had indeed come up before in this discourse—in the warning to agree with our adversary quickly, in case of sentence being passed upon us, adjudging us to payment of the last farthing, and to imprisonment till then (Mt 5:25, 26). And it comes up once and again in our Lord's subsequent teaching—as in the parable of the creditor and his two debtors (Lu 7:41, 42, &c.), and in the parable of the unmerciful debtor (Mt 18:23, &c.). But by embodying it in this brief model of acceptable prayer, and as the first of three petitions more or less bearing upon sin, our Lord teaches us, in the most emphatic manner conceivable, to regard this view of sin as the primary and fundamental one. Answering to this is the "forgiveness" which it directs us to seek—not the removal from our own hearts of the stain of sin, nor yet the removal of our just dread of God's anger, or of unworthy suspicions of His love, which is all that some tell us we have to care about—but the removal from God's own mind of His displeasure against us on account of sin, or, to retain the figure, the wiping or crossing out from His "book of remembrance" of all entries against us on this account.
as we forgive our debtors—the same view of sin as before; only now transferred to the region of offenses given and received between man and man. After what has been said on Mt 5:7, it will not be thought that our Lord here teaches that our exercise of forgiveness towards our offending fellow men absolutely precedes and is the proper ground of God's forgiveness of us. His whole teaching, indeed—as of all Scripture—is the reverse of this. But as no one can reasonably imagine himself to be the object of divine forgiveness who is deliberately and habitually unforgiving towards his fellow men, so it is a beautiful provision to make our right to ask and expect daily forgiveness of our daily shortcomings and our final absolution and acquittal at the great day of admission into the kingdom, dependent upon our consciousness of a forgiving disposition towards our fellows, and our preparedness to protest before the Searcher of hearts that we do actually forgive them. (See Mr 11:25, 26). God sees His own image reflected in His forgiving children; but to ask God for what we ourselves refuse to men, is to insult Him. So much stress does our Lord put upon this, that immediately after the close of this prayer, it is the one point in it which He comes back upon (Mt 6:14, 15), for the purpose of solemnly assuring us that the divine procedure in this matter of forgiveness will be exactly what our own is.
Matthew 6:12 Parallel Commentaries
Matthew 6:12 NIV
Matthew 6:12 NLT
Matthew 6:12 ESV
Matthew 6:12 NASB
Matthew 6:12 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible