Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And he arose from thence, and cometh into the coasts of Judaea by the farther side of Jordan: and the people resort unto him again; and, as he was wont, he taught them again.Chap. 10:1-12.] Reply to the Pharisees’ question concerning divorce. Matthew 19:1-12.
1. καὶ πέραν] Our Lord retired, after His discourses to the Jews in Joh_10 and before the raising of Lazarus, to Bethany (John 1:28; John 10:40) beyond Jordan, and thence made his last journey to Jerusalem; so that in the strictest sense of the words He did come into the borders of Judæa and beyond Jordan.
2-9.] See notes on Matt., with whose account ours is nearly identical. Compare however our vv. 3, 4, 5 with Matt. vv. 7, 8, 9, and we have testimony to the independence of the two reports—for such an arbitrary alteration of arrangement is inconceivable.
4.] ἐπέτρεψεν is emphatic. Moses gave an express permissory injunction.
7.] Our Lord makes Adam’s saying His own: in Matt. it is attributed to ὁ ποιήσας ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς. The parallel is most instructive.
10-12.] In Matt. this saying forms part of the discourse with the Jews. Here again Mark furnishes us with the exact circumstantial account of the matter. On the addition, Matt. vv. 10-12, see notes there.
We may notice, that Mark omits Matt.’s κατὰ πᾶσαν αἰτίαν in ver. 2,—and his μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ in ver. 11; as also does Luke (16:18). The one omission seems to involve the other. The report here gives the enquiry without this particular exception. As a general rule, Mark, so accurate in circumstantial details, is less exact than Matt. in preserving the order and connexion of the discourses.
12.] This verse corresponds to ὁ ἀπολελυμένην γαμήσας μοιχᾶται in Matt. ver. 9—but it is expressed as if the woman were the active party, and put away her husband, which was allowed by Greek and Roman law (see 1Corinthians 7:13), but not by Jewish (see Deuteronomy 24:1: Jos. Antt. xv.7.10). This alteration in the verbal expression may have originated in the source whence Mark’s report was drawn. On μοιχᾶται, Grotius remarks, ‘Mulier, cum domina sui non sit, si, marito relicto, ad aliud matrimonium se conferat, omnino adulterium committit, non interpretatione aliqua, aut per consequentiam, sed directe: ideo non debuit hic addi, ἐπʼ αὐτόν.’
13-16.] The bringing of children to Jesus. Matthew 19:13-15.Luke 18:15-17Luk_18:15-17. The three are nearly identical:—from Matt., we have the additional reason καὶ προσεύξηται, and from Mark, ἐναγκαλ. αὐτά.
13. παιδία] Not only children, but as in Luke, infants (βρέφη): and our Lord was not to teach them, but only to touch, and pray over them. This simple, seemingly superstitious application of οἱ προσφέροντες (perhaps not the mothers only) the disciples, interrupted in their converse on high and important subjects, despise and reprove.
14.] We can hardly read our Lord’s solemn saying, without seeing that it reaches further than the mere then present occasion. It might one day become a question whether the new Christian covenant of repentance and faith could take in the unconscious infant, as the old covenant did:—whether when Jesus was no longer on earth, little children might be brought to Him, dedicated to his service, and made partakers of his blessing? Nay, in the pride of the human intellect, this question was sure one day to be raised: and our Lord furnishes the Church, by anticipation, with an answer to it for all ages. Not only may the little infants be brought to Him,—but in order for us who are mature to come to Him, we must cast away all that wherein our maturity has caused us to differ from them, and become like them. Not only is Infant Baptism justified, but it is (abstractedly considered;—not as to preparation for it, which from the nature of the case is precluded) the normal pattern of all baptism; none can enter God’s kingdom, except as an infant. In adult baptism, the exceptional case (see above), we strive to secure that state of simplicity and childlikeness, which in the infant we have ready and undoubted to our hands.
16.] κατευλόγει, like all such compounds, is more forcible and complete than the simple verb would have been. It may be rendered He fervently blessed them. 17-31.
17-31.] Answer to an enquirer respecting eternal life, and discourse thereupon. Matthew 19:16-30. Luke 18:18-30. On the different form of our Lord’s answer in Matt., see notes there. As it here stands, so far from giving any countenance to Socinian error, it is a pointed rebuke of the very view of Christ which they who deny His Divinity entertain. He was no ‘good Master,’ to be singled out from men on account of His pre-eminence over his kind in virtue and wisdom: God sent us no such Christ as this, nor may any of the sons of men be thus called good. He was one with Him who only is good, the Son of the Father, come not to teach us merely, but to beget us anew by the divine power which dwells in Him. The low view then, which this applicant takes of Him and his office, He at once rebukes and annuls, as He had done before in the case of Nicodemus: see John 3:1 ff. and notes. The dilemma, as regards the Socinians, has been well put (see Stier ii. 283, note):—either, “There is none good, but God: Christ is good: therefore Christ is God;”—or, “There is none good, but God: Christ is not God: therefore Christ is not good.”
With regard to other points, the variations in the narratives are trifling, but instructive—εἰ δὲ θέλ. εἰς τ. ζ. εἰς. τήρ. τ. ἐντ. λέγει αὐτῷ, Ποίας; ὁ δὲ Ἰης. εἶπεν Τό. (Matt.) = τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας (Mark and Luke) without any break in the discourse. Similarly, in Matt., the young (Matt.) ruler (Luke) asks, ver. 20, τί ἔτι ὑστερῶ; but in Mark and Luke, Jesus says to him (and here with the remarkable addition of ἐμβλ. αὐτ. ἠγ. αὐτ.), ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ (or σοι λείπει). Such notices as these shew the point at which, not short of which nor beyond which, we may expect the Evangelists to be in accord; viz. in that inner truthfulness of faithful report which reflects to us the teaching of the Lord, but does not depend on slavish literal exactitude; which latter if we require, we overthrow their testimony, and most effectually do the work of our adversaries.
17.] εἰς ὁδόν, out of the house, ver. 10, to continue His journey, ver. 32. The running and the kneeling are both found in the graphic St. Mark only.
19.] Mark here takes exactly the commandments of the second table,—μὴ ἀποστ. standing for the tenth. Matt. adds their summary (ἀγαπ. τ. πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτ.), omitting (with Luke) μὴ ἀποστ., perhaps on account of μὴ κλ. having gone before.
21.] Notice the graphic details again, of looking on him and loving him.
ἄρας τὸν στ. is added here.
22.] ἦν γὰρ ἔχων—so also Matt.
23-31.] Here our ver. 24 is a most important addition; the rest is much alike in the three. In that verse we have all misunderstanding of our Lord’s saying removed, and “the proverb,” as Wesley well observes (Stier ii. p. 290), “shifted to this ground: ‘It is easier for a camel, &c. than for a rich man to cast off his trust in his riches.’ ” Yet the power of divine grace can and does accomplish even this.
24.] τέκνα is remarkable and a trace of exactitude: see John 21:5:—so also περιβλ. ver. 23.
26.] This reiterated expression of dismay, after the explanation in ver. 24, need not surprise us. The disciples were quite as well aware as we must be, if we deal truly with ourselves, that οἱ τὰ χρήματα ἔχοντες and οἱ πεποιθότες ἐπὶ χρήμασιν are too nearly commensurate, for the mind to be relieved of much of its dread at the solemn saying which preceded.
Of the καί at the beginning of a question, Kühner remarks, on Xen. Mem. p. 117 (in Meyer) “cum vi auctiva ita ponitur, ut is qui interrogat cum admiratione quadam alterius orationem excipere, ex eaque conclusionem ducere significetur qua alterius sententia confutetur.”
28.] Here is an instance of a saying of Peter’s reported, without any distinction indicating that he had a share in the report.
See note on Matt. for the promise here made to the Apostles.
29, 30.] Here our report is most important. To it and Luke we owe νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ, without which the promise might be understood of a future life only:—and to it alone we owe the particularizing of the returns made, and the words μετὰ διωγμῶν, which light up the whole passage, and shew that it is the inheritance of the earth in the higher sense by the meek which is spoken of;—see 1Corinthians 3:21, 1Corinthians 3:22. Observe mothers—nature gives us only one—but love, many (see Romans 16:13). We do not read, fathers, perhaps because of our high and absorbing relation to our Father in heaven, cf. Matthew 23:9. On καὶ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, Bp. Wordsw. observes, “See above, 8:35, where this phrase (not found in the other Evangelists, see Matthew 16:25: Luke 9:24) is inserted by St. Mark. Perhaps it made a greater impression upon his mind, because he had formerly shrunk from suffering ἕνεκεν τ. εὐαγγελίου. (See Acts 13:13; Acts 15:38.) St. Mark also alone here inserts our Lord’s words, μετὰ διωγμῶν, perhaps from a recollection that he had been once affrighted by persecution from doing the work of the Gospel: and desiring to prepare others to encounter trials which for a time had mastered himself.”
Here follows in Matt. the parable of the Labourers in the vineyard, ch. 20:1-16.
This was (see Matthew 16:21; Matthew 17:22) the third declaration of His sufferings which the Lord had made to the disciples, and it was His going before them, accompanied most probably by something remarkable in his gait and manner—a boldness and determination perhaps, an eagerness, denoted in Luke 12:50, which struck them with astonishment and fear. See an interesting note here in Wordsw.
Observe, that ἦσαν and ἀναβαίνοντες must not be taken together. “They were in the way, as they went up to Jerusalem.”
32.] ἤρξατο, anew: He again opened this subject.
33.] The circumstances of the passion are brought out in all three Evangelists with great particularity. The ‘delivery to the Gentiles’ is common to them all.
34.] ἐμπτ. Mark and Luke:—σταυρῶσαι, Matt. only, which is remarkable, as being the first intimation, in plain terms, of the death He should die. The ἄρας τὸν στ., so often alluded to, might have had now for them a deep meaning—but see Luke ver. 34. After τοῖς ἔθν. the subject of the verbs (ἐμπ., μαστ. &c.) is τὰ ἔθνη.
35-45.] Ambitious request of the sons of Zebedee: our Lord’s reply. Matthew 20:20-28, where see notes throughout, and especially on the difference in our ver. 35. The two accounts of the discourse are almost verbatim the same, and that they came from one source is very apparent. Even here, however, slight deviations occur, which are unaccountable, if the one had actually before him the writing of the other. Besides, we have the whole additional particular of the baptism, with which He was to be baptized: see note on Matt.
38.] Observe the present tenses, πίνω and βαπτίζομαι. The Lord had already the cup of His suffering at His lips: was already, so to speak, sprinkled with the first drops of spray of His baptism of blood [or they may be merely official, ‘that I am to drink of and to be baptized with’].
42.] οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν, those who are reputed to rule,—who have the title of rulers, not ═ ‘those who rule,’ which God alone does.
46-52.] Healing of blind Bartimæus on departure from Jericho. Matthew 20:29-34.Luke 18:35-43Luk_18:35-43. On the three accounts referring to one and the same miracle, see on Matt. I will only add here, that a similar difference of number between Matt. and Mark is found in the miracle in the neighbourhood of Gergesa, ch. 5:2.
46.] Βαρτ. patronymic. בַּר טִמְאי:—so Bartholomew, ch. 3:18, Barjesus, Acts 13:6.
48.] See on Matt. vv. 30, 31.
50.] ἀποβαλών, κ.τ.λ.,—signs of an eye-witness, which make us again believe, that here we have the literally exact account of what took place.
51.] Ῥαββουνί = רַבּוֹנִי, Master, or My Master, see ref. John. It was said (Drus. in Meyer) to be a more respectful form than ῥαββί.
52.] In Matt. only, Jesus touches him. The account here and in Luke seems to correspond better with the wonderful strength of his faith. Our Lord healed by a word in such cases, see Matthew 8:10-13: ch. 7:29, and other places. Luke adds, δοξάζων τὸν θεόν,—and that all the people seeing him gave glory to God: see also Luke 19:37.