|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:18-22 One of the scribes was too hasty in promising; he proffers himself to be a close follower of Christ. He seems to be very resolute. Many resolutions for religion are produced by sudden conviction, and taken up without due consideration; these come to nothing. When this scribe offered to follow Christ, one would think he should have been encouraged; one scribe might do more credit and service than twelve fishermen; but Christ saw his heart, and answered to its thoughts, and therein teaches all how to come to Christ. His resolve seems to have been from a worldly, covetous principle; but Christ had not a place to lay his head on, and if he follows him, he must not expect to fare better than he fared. We have reason to think this scribe went away. Another was too slow. Delay in doing is as bad on the one hand, as hastiness in resolving is on the other. He asked leave to attend his father to his grave, and then he would be at Christ's service. This seemed reasonable, yet it was not right. He had not true zeal for the work. Burying the dead, especially a dead father, is a good work, but it is not thy work at this time. If Christ requires our service, affection even for the nearest and dearest relatives, and for things otherwise our duty, must give way. An unwilling mind never wants an excuse. Jesus said to him, Follow me; and, no doubt, power went with this word to him as to others; he did follow Christ, and cleaved to him. The scribe said, I will follow thee; to this man Christ said, Follow me; comparing them together, it shows that we are brought to Christ by the force of his call to us, Ro 9:16.
Verses 19-22. - Parallel passage: Luke 9:57-62. The would-be followers. (On this section, cf. by all means Trench, 'Studies in the Gospels,' pp. 156-167: 1867.) Notice that St. Luke
(1) places it almost at the beginning of the Great Episode, calling attention by it to the qualifications required of those who would follow the Lord Up to Jerusalem;
(2) adds a third example. So far as we have materials for deciding, the chronological position found in St. Matthew seems more probable. Verse 19. - And a certain scribe came; Revised Version, and there came a scribe. Contrast the order in ver. 2. There the leper was recognized as such before ever he came near, an emphasis being laid on him and his actions by the addition of "Behold;" here the official position is of but secondary importance. A certain; a (Revised Version); εϊς. The Hebrew numeral not uncommonly stands for an indefinite article (cf. Matthew 9:18. [Westcott and Hort]; 26:69). Trench's "one scribe... with, perhaps, an emphasis on the 'one' to mark how unfrequent such offers were," is tempting, but improbable. Scribe. St. Matthew alone records his profession. Perhaps because the distinction of Jewish classes presented itself more vividly to his mind than to St. Luke's. And said unto him; Master; better, with the Revised Version margin, teacher (διδάσκαλε). It may be that he recognized one who was superior in an important branch of his own occupation, or, less probably, that he willingly accorded to him a title due to his occupation (cf. John 3:2; and infra, Matthew 12:38). I will follow thee; ἀκολουθήσω (not ἐγὼ ἀκολουθήσω σοι). Self is placed in the background; he is wholly taken up with that which he proposes doing. Whithersoever thou goest. Though, as a scribe, he would naturally prefer quiet. Contrast John 6:66 (περιεπάτουν). But the discomforts would be greater than he expected. Observe, however, that there is no sign. in him of that φιλαργυρία of which he has been accused (Cram. Cat.). Trench strangely favours the suggestion that he was Judas. Is Revelation 14:4 a reminiscence of this offer?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And a certain Scribe came,.... "As they went in the way", Luke 9:57 to go to the sea side, in order to take shipping, and pass to the other shore;
and said unto him, Master, or Rabbi, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. One would have thought, that this man desired in good earnest to be a disciple of Christ, were it not for Christ's answer to him, who knew his heart: from whence it appears, that he, seeing the miracles which Christ wrought, and observing the fame of him among the people, began to think that he would be generally received as the Messiah; and by joining himself to him, promised himself much ease, honour, and wealth. These seem to be the motives, which prevailed upon him to take so sudden and hasty a step; for he did not wait to be called to follow Christ, as the other disciples were, but offers himself to be one; that is, to be one of his intimates, one of his apostles; and besides, he rashly promises to do that, which he knew nothing of, and which in some cases is impossible to be done.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. And a certain scribe came, and said unto him, Master, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
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