Matthew 9:13
Parallel Verses
New International Version
But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

New Living Translation
Then he added, "Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: 'I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.' For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners."

English Standard Version
Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

New American Standard Bible
"But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

King James Bible
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners."

International Standard Version
Go and learn what this means: 'I want mercy and not sacrifice,' because I did not come to call righteous people, but sinners."

NET Bible
Go and learn what this saying means: 'I want mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Go learn what this says, 'I require mercy and not a sacrifice', for I have not come to call the righteous but sinners.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Learn what this means: 'I want mercy, not sacrifices.' I've come to call sinners, not people who think they have God's approval."

Jubilee Bible 2000
Therefore go ye and learn what this is, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, for I am not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.

King James 2000 Bible
But go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

American King James Version
But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

American Standard Version
But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Go then and learn what this meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice. For I am not come to call the just, but sinners.

Darby Bible Translation
But go and learn what [that] is -- I will have mercy and not sacrifice; for I have not come to call righteous [men] but sinners.

English Revised Version
But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice: for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.

Webster's Bible Translation
But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Weymouth New Testament
But go and learn what this means, 'It is mercy that I desire, not sacrifice'; for I did not come to appeal to the righteous, but to sinners."

World English Bible
But you go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' for I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

Young's Literal Translation
but having gone, learn ye what is, Kindness I will, and not sacrifice, for I did not come to call righteous men, but sinners, to reformation.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

9:10-13 Some time after his call, Matthew sought to bring his old associates to hear Christ. He knew by experience what the grace of Christ could do, and would not despair concerning them. Those who are effectually brought to Christ, cannot but desire that others also may be brought to him. Those who suppose their souls to be without disease will not welcome the spiritual Physician. This was the case with the Pharisees; they despised Christ, because they thought themselves whole; but the poor publicans and sinners felt that they wanted instruction and amendment. It is easy, and too common, to put the worst constructions upon the best words and actions. It may justly be suspected that those have not the grace of God themselves, who are not pleased with others' obtaining it. Christ's conversing with sinners is here called mercy; for to promote the conversion of souls is the greatest act of mercy. The gospel call is a call to repentance; a call to us to change our minds, and to change our ways. If the children of men had not been sinners, there had been no need for Christ to come among them. Let us examine whether we have found out our sickness, and have learned to follow the directions of our great Physician.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 13. - The first half of the verse comes in Matthew only. But go ye and learn. A common rabbinic phrase based on the fact that the disputants would not always have the cumbrous rolls of Scripture actually with them. These Pharisees pro-reseed to be students of Scripture, but had not yet learned the principle taught in this passage. What that meaneth, I will have (I desire, Revised Version) mercy, and not sacrifice. Mercy (ἔλεος). In the original connexion of this quotation (Hosea 6:6) the words are without doubt (but cf. Dr. Taylor's 'Gospel in the Law,' p. 10) an expression of God's desire that his people should show mercy rather than only perform external sacrifices, and this meaning is probably intended by our Lord here also. The connexion will then be either

(1) "I wish you to show mercy rather than perform external actions, for only thus will you resemble me in my coming to call sinners;" or

(2) "I wish you to show this mercy, and therefore I practise it myself." The former seems the more natural. It is, however, possible that our Lord disregards the original context of the words, and uses them only as a summary of an important truth, that God prefers to show mercy rather than to insist on sacrifice. This would make excellent sense here, viz. "Learn the true principle by which God acts, free grace, for it is on this that I have acted in coming to call sinners." (So nearly Dr. Taylor, op. cit., p. 3.) The sentence is quoted again in Matthew 12:7, where the original thought of the words seems more certainly applicable. For I am not come; for I came not (Revised Version). Christ refers to his historic coming in the Incarnation rather than to his abiding presence (cf. also Matthew 5:17). To call the righteous, but sinners (καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλ ἁμαρτωλούς). The English generic article in the first term spoils the anarthrous expression of the Greek by lessening the contrast between the two classes. Dr. Taylor suggests the rendering, "not saints, but sinners" (op. cit., p. 4). To repentance. Omitted by the Revised Version and Westcott and Herr. From the parallel passage in Luke.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

But go ye and learn what that meaneth,.... , "go and learn", is a phrase used by the Jews (a), when they are about to explain a passage of Scripture, and fetch an argument from the connection of the text. So the phrase , "what that is", or "what that meaneth", is Talmudic, as, "what is it?" , "what is that which is written?" , "what is the Scripture?" that is, what is the meaning of it? Our Lord speaks in their own dialect, and tacitly reproves their ignorance of the Scriptures; and instead of finding fault with him, and his conduct, he intimates, it would better become them to endeavour to find out the meaning of that passage in Hosea 6:6 "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice"; which, if rightly understood, was sufficient to silence all their cavils and objections: and which words are to be taken, not in an absolute and unlimited sense; for sacrifices even of slain beasts, which were offered up in the faith of Christ's sacrifice, and were attended with other acts of religion and piety, were acceptable to God, being his own institutions and appointments; but in a comparative sense, as the following clause in the prophet shows; "and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings"; and so the sense is given in the "Chaldee paraphrase", after this manner: "for in those that exercise mercy is my good will and pleasure", or "delight", "more than in sacrifice": and the meaning is, that God takes more delight and pleasure, either in showing mercy himself to poor miserable sinners; or in acts of mercy, compassion, and beneficence done by men, to fallen creatures in distress, whether for the good of their bodies, or more especially for the welfare of their souls, than he does even in sacrifices, and in any of the rituals of the ceremonial law, though of his own appointing: and therefore must be supposed to have a less regard to sacrifices, which were offered, neither in a right manner, nor from a right principle, nor to a right end; and still less to human traditions, and customs, which were put upon a level, and even preferred to his institutions; such as these the Pharisees were so zealous of. The force of our Lord's reasoning is, that since his conversation, with publicans and sinners, was an act of mercy and compassion to their souls, and designed for their spiritual good; it must be much more pleasing to God, than had he attended to the traditions of the elders, they charge him with the breach of: besides, what he was now doing was the end of his coming into this world, and which was answered hereby;

for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance. The phrase, "to repentance", is not in the Vulgate Latin, nor in Munster's Hebrew Gospel, nor in the Syriac, Ethiopic, and Persic versions; but is in the Arabic, and in the ancient Greek copies, and is very justly retained. The "repentance" here designed, is not a legal, but an evangelical one: which is attended with faith in Christ, with views, at least hopes of pardon through his blood, and springs from a discovery and sense of his love: it lies in a true sense of sin, and the exceeding sinfulness of it, by the light of the Spirit of God; in a godly sorrow for it, and hearty loathing of it; in real shame and blushing for it, ingenuous confession of it, and departing from it; all which is brought on, influenced, heightened, and increased, by displays of the love of God through Christ. The persons called to this are not the "righteous"; meaning either such who are really so, because these are already called to it, though, whilst in a state of imperfection, daily need the exercise of this grace; or rather such who are so in their own opinion, and in the sight of men only, not in the sight of God, which was the case of the Scribes and Pharisees, and very few of these were called and brought to repentance; but "sinners", even the worst, and chief of sinners, who, as they stand in need of this grace, and when thoroughly convinced, see they do; so Christ came into this world as prophet and minister of the word to "call" them to it: which call of his does not suppose that they had a power to repent of themselves; for this man has not, he is naturally blind, and do not see his sin; his heart is hard and obdurate, and till his eyes are opened, and his stony heart taken away by a superior power to his own, he will never repent; though he may have space, yet if he has not grace given him, he will remain impenitent. No means will bring him to it of themselves, neither the most severe judgments, nor the greatest kindnesses, nor the most powerful ministry; repentance is entirely a free grace gift: nor does the call of Christ imply the contrary; which may be considered either as external, as a preacher of the word, and as such was not always attended to, and effectual, but often slighted and rejected: or as internal, being by the power of his grace effectual; for he who called to repentance, as a minister of the word, as a prince and a saviour, was able to give it, and which none but a divine person is able to do. The Jews have a saying (b) of

"shepherds, collectors of taxes and "publicans", , "that their repentance is difficult".''

Now, since this was the end of his coming into the world, his conduct in conversing with publicans and sinners was in all respects highly to be justified.

(a) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 5. 1. & Sanhedrim, fol. 86. 1. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora pr. neg. 116. Vid. Maimon. Hilchot Melachim, c. 5. sect. 11. (b) T. Bab. Bava Kama, fol. 94. 3.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

13. But go ye and learn what that meaneth—(Ho 6:6),

I will have mercy, and not sacrifice—that is, the one rather than the other. "Sacrifice," the chief part of the ceremonial law, is here put for a religion of literal adherence to mere rules; while "mercy" expresses such compassion for the fallen as seeks to lift them up. The duty of keeping aloof from the polluted, in the sense of "having no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness," is obvious enough; but to understand this as prohibiting such intercourse with them as is necessary to their recovery, is to abuse it. This was what these pharisaical religionists did, and this is what our Lord here exposes.

for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance—The italicized words are of doubtful authority here, and more than doubtful authority in Mr 2:17; but in Lu 5:32 they are undisputed. We have here just the former statement stripped of its figure. "The righteous" are the whole; "sinners," the sick. When Christ "called" the latter, as He did Matthew, and probably some of those publicans and sinners whom he had invited to meet Him, it was to heal them of their spiritual maladies, or save their souls: "The righteous," like those miserable self-satisfied Pharisees, "He sent empty away."

Matthew 9:13 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus Calls Matthew
12But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13"But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
Cross References
Hosea 6:6
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

Matthew 12:7
If you had known what these words mean, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the innocent.

Mark 2:17
On hearing this, Jesus said to them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Mark 12:33
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."

Luke 5:31
Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

Luke 5:32
I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."

1 Timothy 1:15
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners--of whom I am the worst.
Treasury of Scripture

But go you and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

go.

Matthew 12:3,5,7 But he said to them, Have you not read what David did, when he was …

Matthew 19:4 And he answered and said to them, Have you not read, that he which …

Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, Did you never read in the scriptures, The stone …

Matthew 22:31,32 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that …

Mark 12:26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have you not read in the …

Luke 10:26 He said to him, What is written in the law? how read you?

John 10:34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, You are gods?

I will.

Proverbs 21:3 To do justice and judgment is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice.

Hosea 6:6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God …

Micah 6:6-8 With which shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the …

to call.

Matthew 18:11-13 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost…

Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, They that are whole have no …

Luke 5:32 I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Luke 15:3-10 And he spoke this parable to them, saying…

Luke 19:10 For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Romans 3:10-24 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…

1 Corinthians 6:9-11 Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of …

1 Timothy 1:13-16 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but …

but.

Matthew 3:2,8 And saying, Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand…

Matthew 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the …

Matthew 11:20,21 Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works …

Matthew 21:28-32 But what think you? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the …

Isaiah 55:6,7 Seek you the LORD while he may be found, call you on him while he is near…

Luke 15:7 I say to you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner …

Luke 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his …

Acts 2:38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you …

Acts 3:19 Repent you therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out…

Acts 5:31 Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, …

Acts 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified …

Acts 17:30,31 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commands all …

Acts 20:21 Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward …

Acts 26:18-20 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and …

Romans 2:4-6 Or despise you the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long-suffering…

1 Timothy 1:15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ …

2 Timothy 2:25,26 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure …

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; …

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