|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 13. - And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Luke omits the second half. And lead us not (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς); and bring us not (Revised Version), for εἰσφέρω thinks rather of the issue (cf. Luke 5:18, 19: 12:11) than of the personal guidance. This first clause is a prayer against being brought into the fulness and awfulness of temptation (cf. Matthew 26:41; parallel passage's: Mark 14:38; Luke 22:46). As such it cannot, indeed, always be granted, since in exceptional cases this may be part of the permission given to the prince of this world. So it was in our Lord's case (cf. Matthew 26:41, and context). The words are a cry issuing from a deep sense of our personal weakness against the powers of evil. Into temptation; i.e. spiritual. External trials, e.g. persecution, may be included, but only in so far as they are the occasion of real temptation to the soul. But. Do not bring us into the full force of temptation, but, instead, rescue us now and at any other time from the attack of the evil one (vide infra). Thus this clause is more than a merely positive form of the preceding. It is a prayer against even the slightest attacks of the enemy when they are made. Deliver us (ῤῦσαι ἡμὰς). The thought is not merely preserve (σώζειν τηρεῖν) or even guard (φρουρεῖν, φυλάσσειν) from possible or impending danger, but "rescue" from it when it confronts us. From. If we may press the contrast to Colossians 1:13 (ἐρύσατο... ἐκ), ἀπὸ suggests that the child of God is no longer actually in the power (1 John 5:19) of the evil one. but has been already delivered thence. The peril is, as it were, something outside him (compare, however, Chase, loc. cit.). Evil. So also the Revised Version margin; but the evil one (Revised Version). In itself τοῦ πονηροῦ might, of course, be either neuter or masculine, but in view of
(a) Matthew 13:19,
(b) the many passages in the New Testament where the expression is either certainly or probably masculine; e.g. 1 John 2:13, 14; 1 John 5:18, 19; John 17:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:3;
(c) the many allusions to the masculine reference of this petition shown by Bishop Lightfoot ('Revision,' etc., edit. 1891) and Mr. Chase (lot. cit.) to exist in early Christian literature - there seems little doubt that the Revised Version is right. Chase (loc. cit.) shows that the primary notion of both πονηρός, and its Hebrew equivalent רע, is not malignity (Trench), but worthless ness, essential badness. For thine is the kingdom, etc. Omitted in the Revised Ver sion on overwhelming authority (e.g. א, B, D, Z, Old Latin, Memphitic, "all Greek commentators on the Lord's Prayer except Chrysostom and his followers," Westcott and Hort, 'App., q.v.). In the 'Didache,' §§ 8, 9, 10, however, we find our doxology with very little other variation than the omission of "the kingdom," this itself being explained in the two latter sections by the immediately preceding mention of the kingdom. Similar omissions of one or more of the three terms, "kingdom, power, glory," are found in the Old Syriac, an "African" text of the Old Latin, and the Thebaic. "It was probably derived ultimately from 1 Chronicles 29:11 (Hebrews), but, it may be, through the medium of some contemporary Jewish usage: the people's response to prayers in the temple is said to have been 'Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever'" (Westcott and Hort, loc. cit.). Indeed, it was so usual for doxologies of one kind or another to be added by the Jews to prayers, that, though we cannot for one moment accept the words here as genuine, we must consider it very doubtful in the Lord's Prayer was ever used in Jewish circles without a doxology, or that our Lord, as Man, ever intended it to be so used (cf. further, Taylor, 'Lectures,' p. 64). At all events, the feeling of the Christian Church in using the doxology is fully justified by its contents; for it places us more emphatically than ever in a right relation to God. By our praise to him it induces in us the remembrance that it is to God's kingdom that we belong, having him for King and Source of law; that it is by God's power that we live on earth and stand freed from Satan's grasp; that it is for the furtherance of God's glory that all has been done for us, all wrought in us, all these petitions are now made and all our hopes and aims are directed. Hereafter, as Bengel says. the whole prayer will be doxology: "Hallowed be the Name of our God. His kingdom has come; his will is done. He has forgiven us our sins. He has brought our temptation to an end; He has delivered us from the evil one. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And lead us not into temptation,.... Such a petition as this is often to be observed in the prayers of the Jews (a),
, "do not lead me" neither into sin, nor into transgression and iniquity, , "nor into temptation", or "into the hands of temptation";''
that is, into the power of it, so as to be overcome by it, and sink under it; in which sense the phrase is to be understood here. We are not here taught to pray against temptations at all, or in any sense, for they are sometimes needful and useful; but that they may not have the power over us, and destroy us. There are various sorts of temptations. There are the temptations of God; who may be said to tempt, not by infusing anything that is sinful, or by soliciting to it; but by enjoining things hard and disagreeable to nature, as in the case of Abraham; by afflicting, either in body or estate, of which Job is an instance; by permitting and letting loose the reins to Satan, and a man's own corruptions; by withdrawing his presence, and withholding the communications of his grace; and sometimes by suffering false prophets to arise among his people: his ends in them are on his own account, the display of his power; grace, wisdom, and faithfulness; on account of his Son, that his saints might be like him, and he might have an opportunity of exercising his power and pity: and on his people's account, that they might be humbled; their faith and patience tried; might see their weakness, and need of Christ, and be excited to prayer and watchfulness. There are also the temptations of Satan; which lie in soliciting to evil, suggesting hard and blasphemous thoughts of God, and filling with doubts and fears; which are cunningly formed by him, and are very afflictive. There are moreover the temptations of the world, which arise from poverty and riches, from the men of the world, the lusts of it, and from both its frowns and flatteries: add to all this, that there are temptations arising from a man's own heart. Now, in this petition, the children of God pray, that they may be kept from every occasion and object of sinning; from those sins they are most inclined to; that God would not leave them to Satan, and their own corrupt hearts; nor suffer them to sink under the weight of temptations of any sort; but that, in the issue, they might have a way to escape, and be victorious over all.
But deliver us from evil. This petition, with the Jews, is in this (b) form:
"er egpm ynlyutw, "but deliver me from an evil accident", and diseases; and do not trouble me with evil dreams, and evil imaginations.''
R. Juda, after his prayer, or at the close of it, as is this petition, used (c) to say;
"let it be thy good pleasure, 0 Lord our God, and the God of our fathers, "that thou wouldst deliver us" from impudent men, and impudence; from an "evil" man, and from an "evil" accident; from the "evil" imagination, i.e. the corruption of nature; from an "evil" companion; from an "evil" neighbour; and from Satan the destroyer; and from hard judgment; and from an hard adversary, whether he is the son of the covenant, or is not the son of the covenant.''
And most, if not all of these things, may be very well thought to be comprised in the word "evil" here: particularly Satan may be meant, by "evil", or "the evil one", as the word may be rendered; who is eminently, originally, and immutably evil; his whole work and employment is nothing else but evil: and to be delivered from him, is to be rescued out of his hands, preserved from his snares, and delivered from his temptations. Evil men may also be intended: all men are naturally evil, and unalterably so, without the grace of God; and some are notoriously wicked; from whose company, sinful lusts, and pleasures, to which they are addicted, as well as from their rage and persecution, good men cannot but desire deliverance; as also from the evil of afflictions, and especially from the evil of sin; as that they may be kept from the commission of it; have the guilt of it removed; be preserved from its power and dominion; and, at last, be freed from the very being of it.
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen. This conclusion is left out in the Arabic and Vulgate Latin versions, as it is in Luke 11:4. It stands thus in the Jewish prayers (d),
, "for the kingdom is thine", and thou shalt reign in glory for ever and ever.''
The usual response at the close of prayers, and reading the Shema, instead of "Amen", was (e) this:
"Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom, for ever and ever.''
Which bears some resemblance to this concluding expression, which ascribes everlasting kingdom, power, and glory, to God: which may be considered either as a doxology, or an ascription of glory to God, which is his due; and ought be given him in all our prayers to him; or as so many reasons strengthening our faith in prayer; or as many arguments with God, with respect to the petitions made; since the kingdom of nature, providence, grace, and glory, is his: he is omnipotent, he has power to give us our daily bread; to forgive our sins; to preserve from, support under, and deliver out of temptation; to keep from all evil, and preserve from a total and final falling away: whose glory is concerned in all, to whom the glory of all is, and to whom it must, and shall be given; and all this for ever: and the whole is concluded with the word "Amen"; which is a note of asseveration, of the truth herein contained; is added by way of assent to every petition made; is expressive of an hearty wish, and desire to have all fulfilled; and also of faith and confidence, that they will be answered. And this word being retained, and kept the same in all languages, signifies the unity of the spirit, and faith in prayer, in all the saints, in all ages. I leave this prayer with one observation, and that is, whereas it has been so long, and so often said, that this is the Lord's prayer, it can never be proved that he ever made use of it; and it is certain that he did not make it, as appears from what has been cited out of the Jewish records: the several petitions in it were in being and use before he directed to them; and not only the petitions, but even the very preface and conclusion, are manifestly of Jewish original: what our Lord did was, he took the most proper and pertinent petitions, that had been used by good men among that people; which, with some alterations much for the better, he put together in this order, and gave his approbation of; and that with this view, to point out to his disciples some of the best and most suitable petitions to be made; and to give them a pattern of brevity and conciseness in prayer; and teach them to pray after such a manner, or in some such like words and expressions. This I observe, not to lessen the usefulness of this excellent pattern of sound words; the whole, and every part of it, being exceedingly instructive, and worthy of imitation; but to rectify a vulgar mistake, and to abate the formal and superstitious observance of it.
(a) Seder Tephillot, fol. 3. 1. Ed. Basil. fol. 4. 2. Ed. Amstelod. Shaare Zion, fol. 73. 1. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 60. 2.((b) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 60. 2.((c) Ib. fol. 16. 2.((d) Seder Tephillot, fol. 280. 1. Ed. Basil. (e) Misn. Yoma, c. 4. sect. 1. & 6. 2. T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 56. 1. & Taanith, fol. 16. 2. Seder Tephillot, fol. 70. 2. Ed. Basil.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. And lead us not into temptation—He who honestly seeks and has the assurance of, forgiveness for past sin, will strive to avoid committing it for the future. But conscious that "when we would do good evil is present with us," we are taught to offer this sixth petition, which comes naturally close upon the preceding, and flows, indeed, instinctively from it in the hearts of all earnest Christians. There is some difficulty in the form of the petition, as it is certain that God does bring His people—as He did Abraham, and Christ Himself—into circumstances both fitted and designed to try them, or test the strength of their faith. Some meet this by regarding the petition as simply an humble expression of self-distrust and instinctive shrinking from danger; but this seems too weak. Others take it as a prayer against yielding to temptation, and so equivalent to a prayer for support and deliverance when we are tempted; but this seems to go beyond the precise thing intended. We incline to take it as a prayer against being drawn or sucked, of our own will, into temptation, to which the word here used seems to lend some countenance—"Introduce us not." This view, while it does not put into our mouths a prayer against being tempted—which is more than the divine procedure would seem to warrant—does not, on the other hand, change the sense of the petition into one for support under temptation, which the words will hardly bear; but it gives us a subject for prayer, in regard to temptation, most definite, and of all others most needful. It was precisely this which Peter needed to ask, but did not ask, when—of his own accord, and in spite of difficulties—he pressed for entrance into the palace hall of the high priest, and where, once sucked into the scene and atmosphere of temptation, he fell so foully. And if so, does it not seem pretty clear that this was exactly what our Lord meant His disciples to pray against when He said in the garden—"Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation"? (Mt 26:41).
But deliver us from evil—We can see no good reason for regarding this as but the second half of the sixth petition. With far better ground might the second and third petitions be regarded as one. The "but" connecting the two petitions is an insufficient reason for regarding them as one, though enough to show that the one thought naturally follows close upon the other. As the expression "from evil" may be equally well rendered "from the evil one," a number or superior critics think the devil is intended, especially from its following close upon the subject of "temptation." But the comprehensive character of these brief petitions, and the place which this one occupies, as that on which all our desires die away, seems to us against so contracted a view of it. Nor can there be a reasonable doubt that the apostle, in some of the last sentences which he penned before he was brought forth to suffer for his Lord, alludes to this very petition in the language of calm assurance—"And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work (compare the Greek of the two passages), and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom" (2Ti 4:18). The final petition, then, is only rightly grasped when regarded as a prayer for deliverance from all evil of whatever kind—not only from sin, but from all its consequences—fully and finally. Fitly, then, are our prayers ended with this. For what can we desire which this does not carry with it?
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen—If any reliance is to be placed on external evidence, this doxology, we think, can hardly be considered part of the original text. It is wanting in all the most ancient manuscripts; it is wanting in the Old Latin version and in the Vulgate: the former mounting up to about the middle of the second century, and the latter being a revision of it in the fourth century by Jerome, a most reverential and conservative as well as able and impartial critic. As might be expected from this, it is passed by in silence by the earliest Latin fathers; but even the Greek commentators, when expounding this prayer, pass by the doxology. On the other hand, it is found in a majority of manuscripts, though not the oldest; it is found in all the Syriac versions, even the Peschito—dating probably as early as the second century—although this version lacks the "Amen," which the doxology, if genuine, could hardly have wanted; it is found in the Sahidic or Thebaic version made for the Christians of Upper Egypt, possibly as early as the Old Latin; and it is found in perhaps most of the later versions. On a review of the evidence, the strong probability, we think, is that it was no part of the original text.
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