Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.Chap. 6:1-18.] The Third division of the Sermon, in which the disciples of Christ are warned against hypocritical display of their good deeds, by the examples of abuses of the duties of almsgiving (ver. 2), praying (ver. 5), and fasting (ver. 16).
1.] The discourse of our Lord now passes from actions to motives; not that He has not spoken to the heart before, but then it was only by inference, now directly.
δικαιοσύνη] not ‘benevolence,’ or ‘alms,’ as צְדָקָה in Rabbinical usage,—for this meaning is never found in the N.T., and in the apocryphal reff. a distinction is made, though the two are coupled closely together. Besides, here we have ἐλεημοσύνη treated of as a distinct head below. It is best then to render δικ., righteousness, as in ch. 5:20, as a general term including the three duties afterwards treated of.
The words πρὸς τὸ θεαθ. clearly define the course of action objected to:—not the open benevolence of the Christian who lets his light shine that men may glorify God, but the ostentation of him whose object is the praise and glory coming from man. ἔστι γὰρ καὶ ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων ποιοῦντα, μὴ πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι ποιεῖν· καὶ μὴ ποιοῦντα ἔμπροσθεν πἀλιν, πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι ποιεῖν. Chrysostom, Hom. xix. 1, p. 245.
εἰ δὲ μήγε does not apply to προσέχετε, so as to mean, ‘if ye do not take heed;’ but to μὴ ποιεῖν, and means, if ye do. That this is so, is clear from the reff. On the force of the γε, modifying the condition expressed in the εἰ, and concentrating it on the example given, see Klotz ad Devar., p. 527, and ante, p. 308.
2-4.] First example. Almsgiving.
2. μὴ σαλπίσῃς] A proverbial expression, not implying any such custom of the hypocrites of that day, but the habit of self-laudation, and display of good works in general. οὐχ ὅτι σάλπιγγας εἶχον ἐκεῖνοι, ἀλλὰ τὴν πολλὴν αὐτῶν ἐπιδεῖξαι βούλεται μανίαν τῇ λέξει τῆς μεταφορᾶς ταύτης, κωμῳδῶν ταύτῃ καὶ ἐκπομπεύων αὐτούς. Chrys. Hom, xix. 1, p. 245. Meyer remarks that the word σαλπίσῃς is tuba canas, not tuba cani cures, and must therefore refer to what the person himself does: but all verbs of action may surely refer to action per alterum, so that this does not decide the point. Many Commentators, among whom are Calvin and Bengel, think that the words are to be taken literally; and mentions this view: φασὶ δέ τινες ὅτι ὑποκριταὶ τότε διὰ σάλπιγγος συνεκάλουν τοὺς δεομένους. But Lightfoot says, “Non inveni, quæsiverim licet multum serioque, vel minimum tubæ vestigium in præstandis eleemosynis.” See his note, containing an account of the practices of the Jews in giving alms;—and many illustrative passages in Tholuck; among which may be mentioned Cic. ad diversos xvi. 21, ‘te buccinatorem fore existimationis meæ.’
For the classical senses of ὑποκριτής, see Lexx. The N.T. sense, connected with that of “actor,” is unknown to classic Greek, and first found in the LXX. See reff.
ἔμπρ. σου] According to the way in which the former verse is taken, these words are variously understood to apply to the trumpet being held up before the mouth in blowing (as Meyer), or to another person going before (Thol., .).
συναγωγαῖς can hardly bear any sense but synagogues, see ver. 5: and if so, the literal meaning of σαλπίσῃς cannot well be maintained. The synagogues, as afterwards the Christian churches, were the regular places for the collection of alms: see Tholuck and Vitringa de Synag. vet. iii. 1. 13.
ἀπέχουσιν] have in full,—exhaust: not have their due reward: see reff. Plutarch in Solon (.) says, that he who marries for pleasure, and not for children, τὸν μισθὸν ἀπέχει.
3.] σοῦ, emphatic: see ch. 5:48.
μὴ γνώτω] Another popular saying, not to be pressed so as to require a literal interpretation of it in the act of almsgiving, as De Wette and others have done, but implying simplicity, both of intention and act. Equally out of place are all attempts to explain the right and left hand symbolically, as was once the practice. The sound sense of Chrysostom preserves the right interpretation, where even Augustine strays into symbolism: πάλιν ἐνταῦθα οὐ χεῖρας αἰνίττεται, ἀλλʼ ὑπερβολικῶς αὐτὸ τέθεικεν. εἰ γὰρ οἷόν τέ ἐστι, φησί, σεαυτὸν ἀγνοῆσαι, περισπούδαστον ἔστω σοι τοῦτο, κἂν αὐτὰς δυνατὸν ᾖ τὰς διακονουμένας χεῖρας λαθεῖν. Hom. xix. 2, p. 246.
4. ὁ βλ. ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ] Not to be rendered as if it were τὰ (or σε) ἐν τῷ κρ., or εἰς τὸ κρυπτόν, but as the Eng. Vers., seeth in secret: as we say, in the dark; ἐν introducing the element, or sphere, in which.
5-15.] Second example. Prayer.
5. φιλοῦσιν] not so well solent, as amant: they take pleasure, or love: see reff. and Winer, § 54. 4. The meaning solere for φιλεῖν is undoubtedly found: see Tholuck here.
ἑστῶτες] No stress must be laid on this word as implying ostentation; for it was the ordinary posture of prayer. See 1Samuel 1:26. 1Kings 8:22 is perhaps hardly a case in point, 2Chronicles 6:13 being a more specific statement. The command in Mark (11:25) runs, ὅταν στήκετε προσευχόμενοι.… See also Luke 18:11, Luke 18:13. Indeed, of the two positions of prayer, considering the place, kneeling would have been the more singular and savouring of ostentation. The synagogues were places of prayer; so that, as Theophyl. (Thol.), οὐ βλάπτει ὁ τόπος, ἀλλὰ ὁ τρόπος καὶ ὁ σκυπός.
6. εἴσελθε κ.τ.λ.] Both Chrysostom and Augustine caution us against taking this merely literally, τί οὖν; ἐν ἐκλησίᾳ, φησίν, οὐ δεῖ προσεύχεσθαι; καὶ σφόδρα μέν, ἀλλὰ μετὰ γνώμης τοιαύτης. πανταχοῦ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς τὸν σκοπὸν ζητεῖ τῶν γιγνομένων. ἐπεὶ κἂν εἰς τὸ ταμιεῖον εἰσέλθῃς, καὶ ἀποκλείσας, πρὸς ἐπίδειξιν αὐτὸ ἐργάσῃ, οὐδέν σοι τῶν θυρῶν ὄφελος. ὅρα γοῦν καὶ ἐνταῦθα πῶς ἀκριβῆ τὸν διορισμὸν τέθεικεν εἰπὼν “ὅπως φανῶσι τοῖς ἀνθρώποις.” ὥστε κἂν τὰς θύρας ἀποκλείσῃς τοῦτο πρὸ τῆς τῶν θυρῶν ἀποκλείσεως κατορθῶσαί σε βούλεται, καὶ τὰς τῆς διανοίας ἀποκλείειν θύρας. Hom. xix. 3, p. 247. ‘Parum est intrare in cubicula, si ostium pateat importunis, per quod ostium ea quæ foris sunt improbe se immergunt, et interiora nostra appetunt.’ De Serm. Dom. l. ii. c. 3 (11), vol. iii. Cf. Psalm 4:4.
7. βατταλογήσητε] a word probably without any further derivation than an imitation of the sounds uttered by stammerers, who repeat their words often without meaning (κατὰ μίμησιν τῆς φωνῆς, ). Suidas, , and others, supposed it derived from a certain stammering Battus, Herod. iv. 155. But the name of this Battus seems to have been given from the circumstance; παῖς ἰσχνόφωνος καὶ τραυλός, τῷ οὔνομα ἐτέθη Βάττος. We have βατταρίζω and its derivatives with the same signification; and Æschines called Demosthenes βάταλος (περὶ στ. p. 288. 17 Bekker). Hence the sense has generally been held to be, ‘do not make unmeaning repetitions.’ But most of the Fathers (see the passages in Thol., and in Suicer sub voce) understand by βαττ., the praying περὶ τὰ ἀνωφελῆ τε καὶ μάταια (so Greg. ), or λέγειν τὰ διεφθαρμένα ἔργα, ἢ λόγους, ἢ νοήματα ταπεινὰ τυγχάνοντα (), or ὅταν τὰ μὴ προσήκοντα αἰτῶμεν παρὰ τῷ θεῷ δυναστείας κ. δόξας: &c. Taking the word in its largest meaning, that of saying things irrelevant and senseless, it may well include all these.
ἐθνικοί] ‘Prece qua fatigent virgines sanctæ minus audientem carmina Vestam?’ Hor. Od. i. 2. 26. ‘Nisi illos (Deos) tuo ex ingenio judicas, Ut nil credas intelligere nisi idem dictum est centies.’ Ter. Heaut. v. 1. What is forbidden in this verse is not much praying, for our Lord Himself passed whole nights in prayer: not praying in the same words, for this He did in the very intensity of His agony at Gethsemane; but the making number and length a point of observance, and imagining that prayer will be heard, not because it is the genuine expression of the desire of faith, but because it is of such a length, has been such a number of times repeated. The repetitions of Paternosters and Ave Marias in the Romish Church, as practised by them, are in direct violation of this precept; the number of repetitions being prescribed, and the efficacy of the performance made to depend on it. But the repetition of the Lord’s Prayer in the Liturgy of the Church of England is not a violation of it, nor that of the Kyrie Eleison, because it is not the number of these which is the object, but each has its appropriate place and reason in that which is preeminently a reasonable service. Our Lord was also denouncing a Jewish error. Lightfoot quotes from the Rabbinical writings, ‘Omnis qui multiplicat orationem, auditor.’ Hor. Hebr. in loc. Augustine puts admirably the distinction between much praying and much speaking: ‘Absit ab oratione multa locutio; sed non desit multa precatio, si fervens perseverat intentio. Nam multum loqui, est in orando rem necessariam superfluis agere verbis; multum autem precari, est ad eum quem precamur diuturna et pia cordis excitatione pulsare. Nam plerumque hoc negotium plus gemitibus quam sermonibus agitur; plus fletu, quam affatu.’ Ep. cxxx. 10 (20), vol. ii. And Chrysostom, in one of his finest strains of eloquence, comments on this verse: μὴ τοίνυν τῷ σχήματι τοῦ σώματος, μηδὲ τῇ κραυγῇ τῆς φωνῆς, ἀλλὰ τῇ προθυμίᾳ τῆς γνώμης τὰς εὐχὰς ποιώμεθα· μηδὲ μετὰ ψόφου καὶ ἠχῆς καὶ πρὸς ἐπίδειξιν, ὡς καὶ τοὺς πλησίον ἐκκρούειν, ἀλλὰ μετὰ ἐπιεικείας πάσης καὶ τῆς κατὰ διάνοιαν συντριβῆς καὶ δακρύων τῶν ἔνδοθεν. Hom. xix. 3, p. 248. Those who have the opportunity should by all means read the whole passage, which is too long for insertion in a note.
8. οἶδεν γάρ] εἰ οἶδε, φησίν, ὧν χρείαν ἔχομεν, τίνος ἕνεκεν εὔχεσθαι δεῖ; οὐχ ἵνα διδάξῃς, ἀλλʼ ἵνα ἐπικάμψῃς· ἵνα οἰκειωθῇς τῇ συνεχείᾳ τῆς ἐντεύξεως, ἵνα ταπεινωθῇς, ἵνα ἀναμνησθῇς τῶν ἁμαρτημάτων τῶν σῶν. Chrys. Hom. xix. 4, p. 249. ‘Ipsa orationis intentio cor nostrum serenat et purgat, capaciusque efficit ad accipienda divina munera, quæ spiritualiter nobis infunduntur.’ August. de Serm. Dom. ii. 3 (14).
9-13.] The Lord’s Prayer.
9.] There is very slender proof of what is often asserted, that our Lord took nearly the whole of this prayer from existing Jewish formulæ. Not that such a view of the matter would contain in it any thing irreverent or objectionable; for if pious Jews had framed such petitions, our Lord, who came πληρῶσαι every thing that was good under the Old Covenant, might in a higher sense and spiritual meaning, have recommended the same forms to His disciples. But such does not appear to have been the fact. Lightfoot produces only the most general common-place parallels for the petitions, from the Rabbinical books.
With regard to the prayer itself we may remark, 1. The whole passage, vv. 7-15, is digressive from the subject of the first part of this chapter, which is the discouragement of the performance of religious duties to be seen of men, and is resumed at ver. 16. Neander (Leben Jesu, p. 349, note) therefore supposes that this passage has found its way in here as a sort of accompaniment to the preceding verses, but is in reality the answer of our Lord to the request in Luke 11:1, more fully detailed than by that Evangelist. But to this I cannot assent, believing our Lord’s discourses as given by this Evangelist to be no collections of scattered sayings, but veritable reports of continuous utterances. That the request related in Luke should afterwards have been made, and similarly answered, is by no means improbable. (That he should have thus related it with this Gospel before him, is more than improbable.) 2. It has been questioned whether the prayer was regarded in the very earliest times as a set form delivered for liturgical use by our Lord. The variations in Luke have been regarded as fatal to the supposition of its being used liturgically at the time when these Gospels were written. But see notes on Luke 11:1. It must be confessed, that we find very few traces of such use in early times. Thol. remarks, “It does not occur in the Acts, nor in any writers before the third century. In Justin Mart. we find, that the προεστώς prays ‘according to his power’ (Apol. i. 67, p. 83, ὁ πρ. εὐχὰς ὁμοίως κ. εὐχαριστίας ὅση δύναμις αὐτῷ ἀναπέμπει).… Cyprian and make the first mention of the prayer as an ‘oratio legitima et ordinaria.’ ” An allusion to it has been supposed to exist in 2Timothy 4:18, where see note. 3. The view of some that our Lord gave this, selecting it out of forms known and in use, as a prayer ad interim, till the effusion of the Spirit of prayer, is inadmissible, as we have no traces of any such temporary purpose in our Saviour’s discourses, and to suppose any such would amount to nothing less than to set them entirely aside. On the contrary, one work of the Holy Spirit on the disciples was, to bring to their mind all things whatsoever He had said unto them, the depth of such sayings only then first being revealed to them by Him who took of the things of Christ and shewed them to them. John 14:26.
οὕτως] παραδίδωσι τύπον εὐχῆς, οὐχ ἵνα ταύτην μόνην τὴν εὐχὴν εὐχώμεθα, ἀλλʼ ἵνα ταύτην ἔχοντες πηγὴν εὐχῆς ἐκ ταύτης ἀρυώμεθα τὰς ἐννοίας τῶν εὐχῶν. Euthym. Considering that other manners of praying have been spoken of above, the βατταλογία and the πολυλογία, the οὕτως, especially in its present position of primary emphasis, cannot well be otherwise understood than thus, i.e. ‘in these words,’ as a specimen of the Christian’s prayer (the ὑμεῖς holds the second place in emphasis), no less than its pattern. This, which would be the inference from the context here, is decided for us by Luke 11:2, ὅταν προσεύχησθε, λέγετε.
Πάτερ ἡμῶν] This was a form of address almost unknown to the Old Covenant: now and then hinted at, as reminding the children of their rebellion (Isaiah 1:2: Malachi 1:6), or mentioned as a last resource of the orphan and desolate creature (Isaiah 63:16); but never brought out in its fulness, as indeed it could not be, till He was come by whom we have received the adoption of sons.
‘Oratio fraterna est: non dicit, Pater meus, tanquam pro se tantum orans, sed Pater noster, omnes videlicet una oratione complectens, qui se in Christo fratres esse cognoscunt.’ Serm. lxiv. 4 App. vol. v. pt. ii. ἀπὸ δὲ τούτου καὶ ἔχθραν ἀναιρεῖ, καὶ ἀπόνοιαν καταστέλλει, καὶ βασκανίαν ἐκβάλλει, καὶ τὴν μητέρα τῶν ἀγαθῶν ἁπάντων ἀγάπην εἰσάγει, καὶ τὴν ἀνωμαλίαν τῶν ἀνθρωπίνων ἐξορίζει πραγμάτων, καὶ πολλὴν δείκνυσι τῷ βασιλεῖ πρὸς τὸν πτωχὸν τὴν ὁμοτιμίαν, εἴ γε ἐν τοῖς μεγίστοις καὶ ἀναγκαιοτάτοις κοινωνοῦμεν ἅπαντες. Chrysost. Hom. xix. 4, p. 250.
ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς] These opening words of the Lord’s Prayer set clearly before us the status of the Christian, as believing in, depending upon, praying to, a real objective personal God, lifted above himself; to approach whom he must lift up his heart, as the eye is lifted up from earth to heaven. This strikes at the root of all pantheistic error, which regards the spirit of man as identical with the Spirit of God,—and at the root of all Deism; testifying as it does our relation to and covenant dependence on our Heavenly Father.
The local heavens are no further to be thought of here, than as Scripture, by a parallelism of things natural and spiritual deeply implanted in our race (compare Aristotle, περὶ οὐρ. i. 3, πάντες γὰρ ἄνθρωποι περὶ θεῶν ἔχουσιν ὑπόληψιν, καὶ πάντες τὸν ἀνωτάτω τῷ θείῳ τόπον ἀποδιδόασι καὶ βάρβαροι καὶ Ἕλληνες ὅσοιπερ εἶναι νομίζουσι θεούς, δηλονότι ὡς τῷ ἀθανάτῳ τὸ ἀθάνατον συνηρτημένον), universally speaks of heaven and heavenly, as applying to the habitation and perfections of the High and Holy One who inhabiteth Eternity.
ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου] De Wette observes: ‘God’s Name is not merely His appellation, which we speak with the mouth, but also and principally the idea which we attach to it,—His Being, as far as it is confessed, revealed, or known.’ The ‘Name of God’ in Scripture is used to signify that revelation of Himself which He has made to men, which is all that we know of Him (ὄνομα τοίνυν ἐστὶ κεφαλαιώδης προσηγορία τῆς ἰδίας ποιότητος τοῦ ὀνομαζομένου παραστατική. Orig. (Thol.)): into the depths of His Being, as it is, no human soul can penetrate. See John 17:6: Romans 9:17. ἁγιάζω here is in the sense of keep holy, sanctify in our hearts, as in ref. 1 Pet. τὰ σεραφὶμ δοξάζοντα οὕτως ἔλεγον Ἅγιος ἅγιος ἅγιος, ὥστε τὸ ἁγιασθήτω τοῦτό ἐστι δοξασθήτω. Chrys. Hom. xix. 4, p. 250.
10. ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου] ‘Ut in nobis veniat, optamus; ut in illo inveniamur, optamus.’ Aug. Serm. lvi. c. 4 (5), vol. v. pt. i. Thy kingdom here is the fulness of the accomplishment of the kingdom of God, so often spoken of in prophetic Scripture; and by implication, all that process of events which lead to that accomplishment. Meyer, in objecting to all ecclesiastical and spiritual meanings of ‘Thy kingdom,’ forgets that the one for which he contends exclusively, the Messianic kingdom, does in fact include or imply them all.
γενηθήτω τὸ θ. σου] i.e. not, ‘may our will be absorbed into thy will;’ but may it be conformed to and subordinated to thine. The literal rendering is, Let thy will be done, as in heaven, (so) also on earth.
These last words, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς, may be regarded as applying to the whole of the three preceding petitions, as punctuated in the text. A slight objection may perhaps be found in the circumstance, that the kingdom of God cannot be said to have come in heaven, seeing that it has always been fully established there, and thus the accuracy of correspondence in the particulars will be marred. It is true, this may be escaped by understanding, May thy kingdom come on earth, so as to be as fully established, as it is already in heaven. So that I conceive we are at liberty to take the prayer either way.
11. τὸν ἄρτ. κ.τ.λ.] ἡμῶν—as ‘created for us,’ ‘provided for our use by Thee:’ τὸν διʼ ἡυᾶς γενόμενον, Euthym. The word ἐπιούσιον has been very variously explained. Origen says of it, πρῶτον δὲ τοῦτʼ ἰστέον, ὅτι ἡ λέξις ἡ ἐπιούσιος παρʼ οὐδενὶ τῶν Ἑλλήνων οὔτε τῶν σοφῶν ὠνόμασται, οὔτε ἐν τῇ τῶν ἰδιωτῶν συνηθείᾳ τέτριπται, ἀλλʼ ἔοικε πεπλάσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν εὐαγγελιστῶν. The derivations and meanings given may be thus classified (after Tholuck). I. ἐπί, εἶναι: and that, either (1) from the participle, as παρουσία, μετουσία, περιουσία, or (2) from the subst. οὐσία. Against both, an objection is brought that thus it would be ἐπούς., not ἐπιούς.; but this is not decisive; we have ἔποπτος and ἐπίοπτος, ἐπιανδάνω, ἐπίουρα, &c. Against (2) it is alleged that adjectives from substantives in -α and -ια end in -αιος or -ώδης,—ὡραῖος, ἀγοραῖος, βίαιος, and from οὐσία not οὔσιος but οὐσιώδης: συνούσιος, περιούσιος, not being from οὐσία but from the fem. particip. But this is not always so: we have πολυγώνιος from γωνία, ὑπεξούσιος from ἐξουσία, and ἐνούσιος and ἐξούσιος from οὐσία:—while περιούσιος itself is derived by some from οὐσία. II. ἐπί, ἰέναι: and that, either (1) from the fem. part. ἡ ἐπιοῦσα, understanding ἡμέρα, or (2) from ὁ ἐπιών, understanding χρόνος. (1) has much apparently in its favour. In the N.T., LXX, and Josephus, ἡ παροῦσα, ἡ προσιοῦσα, and this expression itself are often found in this elliptic sense. Jerome found for this word, in the Gospel according to the Hebrews, “mahar (מָחָר) quod dicitur crastinus.” (So also crastinum .) The objection brought against it (Salmas. Suicer), that, viz., from the analogy of δευτεραῖος, τριταῖος, ποσταῖος, &c. does not seem valid to disprove the existence of the more general possessive adj. in -ιος. But the great objection to this derivation is in the sense: which would then be in direct opposition to ver. 34. Nor does it answer this to say, that by making to-morrow’s bread the subject of prayer we divest ourselves of anxiety respecting it; since our Lord’s command is not to feel that anxiety at all. The same objection will apply to (2) ὁ ἐπιὼν χρόνος, or to giving (as Grot. al.) a wider sense to ἡ ἐπιοῦσα, as meaning all future time, according to the Hebr. usage of מָחָר. (Cf. venturum or venientem .) Nor will σήμερον bear the Hebraistic interpretation of ‘from day to day,’ יוֹם יוֹם. Add to this that independently of the discrepancy with ver. 34, Salmasius’s objection to this sense, ‘quid est ineptius, quam panem crastini diei (and we may say à fortiori ‘omnis futuri temporis’) nobis quotidie postulare?’ seems to me unanswerable. Returning then to the derivation from εἶναι, which has in its favour the authority of the Greek fathers, especially of Origen, and of the Peschito (indigentiæ nostræ), Tholuck thinks it most probable that it is formed after the analogy of περιούσιος, from the substantive οὐσία. The substantive signifies not merely existence (as alleged in the 1st edn. of this work), but also subsistence, compare Luke 15:12, where τὸ ἐπιβάλλον μέρος τῆς οὐσίας is a curious illustration of this word. And even were οὐσία existence only, it would still be open for us to take the meaning of the Greek fathers, ὁ ἐπὶ τῇ οὐσίᾳ ἡμῶν κ. συστάσει τῆς ζωῆς συμβαλλόμενος,—Theophylact: similarly , Basil, Nyss., and Suidas, and the Etym. Mag. Thus ἐπιούσιος will be required for our subsistence—proper for our sustenance, after the analogy of ἐπίγαμος, ‘fit for marriage,’ ἐπιδόρπιος, ‘proper for the banquet,’ &c. So that ὁ ἄρτος ὁ ἐπιούσιος will be equivalent to St. James’s τὰ ἐπιτήδεια τοῦ σώματος (2:16), and the expressions are rendered in . by the same word. Thus only, σήμερον has its proper meaning. The τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν in Luke 11:3 is different; see there.
It yet remains to enquire how far the expression may be understood spiritually—of the Bread of Life. The answer is easy: viz. that we may safely thus understand it, provided we keep in the foreground its primary physical meaning, and view the other as involved by implication in that. To explain ἐπιούσιος (as Orig. ), ὁ ἐπὶ τὴν οὐσίαν τῆς ψυχῆς κατατασσόμενος, and understand the expression of the Eucharist primarily, or even of spiritual feeding on Christ, is to miss the plain reference of the petition to our daily physical wants. But not to recognize those spiritual senses, is equally to miss the great truth, that the ἡμεῖς whose bread is prayed for, are not mere animals, but composed of body, soul, and spirit, all of which want daily nourishment by Him from whom all blessings flow. See the whole subject treated in Tholuck (pp. 353-371): from whom much of this note is taken. Augustine well says (Serm. lviii. 4 (5), vol. v. pt. 1): ‘Quicquid animæ nostræ et carni nostræ in hac vita necessarium est, quotidiano pane concluditur.’ The Vulg. rendering, supersubstantialem (substituted for the old lat. quotidianum), tallies with a large class of patristic interpretations which understand the word to point exclusively to the spiritual food of the Word and Sacraments.
12. τὰ ὀφειλ.] i.e. sins, short-comings, and therefore ‘debts’ = παραπτώματα, ver. 14. Augustine remarks (contra Epist. Parmeniani, l. ii. c. 10 (20), vol. ix.): ‘Quod utique non de illis peccatis dicitur quæ in baptismi regeneratione dimissa sunt, sed de iis quæ quotidie de seculi amarissimis fructibus humanæ vitæ infirmitas contrahit.’
ὡς καί] Not ‘for we also,’ &c. (as in Luke, καὶ γὰρ αὐτοὶ ἀφ.) nor ‘in the same measure as we also,’ &c. but like as (quippe; not exactly nam, cf. Klotz ad Devar. p. 766. Hartung, Partikellehre, i. p. 460) we also, &c.; implying similarity in the two actions, of kind, but no comparison of degree. See especially the first ref., where manifestly while the kind of act was the same, the degrees were widely different.
‘Augustine uses the testimony of this prayer against all proud Pelagian notions of an absolutely sinless state in this life’ (Trench); and answers the various excuses and evasions by which that sect escaped from the conclusion.
ἀφήκαμεν here implies that (see ch. 5:23, 24) the act of forgiveness of others is completed before we approach the throne of grace.
13.] The sentiment is not in any way inconsistent with the Christian’s joy when he πειρασμοῖς περιπέσῃ ποικίλοις, James 1:2, but is a humble self-distrust and shrinking from such trial in the prospect. As Euthym. says: παιδεύει ἡμᾶς ὁ λόγος μὴ θαῤῥεῖν ἑαυτοῖς, μηδʼ ἐπιπηδᾷν τοῖς πειρασμοῖς ὑπὸ θαῤῥότητος … μὴ ἐπαγομένων μὲν τῶν πειρασμῶν παραιτητέον αὐτούς· ἐπαγομένων δὲ ἀνδριστέον. The leading into temptation must be understood in its plain literal sense: see ποιήσει σὺν τῷ πειρασμῷ καὶ τὴν ἔκβασιν, 1Corinthians 10:13. There is no discrepancy with James 1:13, which speaks not of the providential bringing about of, but the actual solicitation of, the temptation. Some (e.g. on ch. xxvi. 41, Thl. on Luke 22:46, Aug., Bengel, al.) have attempted to fix on εἰσενέγκῃς and εἰσελθεῖν εἰς πειρ. the meaning of bringing into the power of, and entering into, so as to be overcome by, temptation. But this surely the words will not bear. ἀλλά must not be taken as equivalent to εἰ δὲ μή, q. d. ‘but if thou dost, deliver,’ &c., but is rather the opposition to the former clause, and forms in this sense, but one petition with it,—‘bring us not into conflict with evil, nay rather deliver (rid) us from it altogether.’ In another view, however, as expressing the deep desire of all Christian hearts to be delivered from all evil (for τοῦ πονηροῦ is here certainly neuter, though taken masculine by Chrys., Thl., Erasm., Beza, al.; the introduction of the mention of ‘the evil one’ would seem here to be incongruous. Besides, compare the words of St. Paul, 2Timothy 4:18, which look very like a reminiscence of this prayer: see note there) these words form a seventh and most affecting petition, reaching far beyond the last. They are the expression of the yearning for redemption of the sons of God (Romans 8:23), and so are fitly placed at the end of the prayer, and as the sum and substance of the personal petitions. So Augustine very beautifully says (Ep. cxxx. c. 11 (21), vol. ii.): “Cum dicimus libera nos a malo, nos admonemus cogitare, nondum nos esse in eo bono, ubi nullum patiemur malum. Et hoc quidem ultimum quod in dominica oratione positum est, tam late patet, ut homo Christianus in qualibet tribulatione constitutus in hoc gemitus edat, in hoc lacrymas fundat, hinc exordiatur, in hoc immoretur, ad hoc terminet orationem.”
The doxology must on every ground of sound criticism be omitted. Had it formed part of the original text, it is absolutely inconceivable that all the ancient authorities should with one consent have omitted it. They could have had no reason for doing so; whereas the habit of terminating liturgical prayers with ascriptions of praise would naturally suggest some such ending, and make its insertion almost certain in course of time. And just correspondent to this is the evidence in the var. readd. We find absolutely no trace of it in early times, in any family of mss. or in any expositors. The Peschito has it, but whether it always had, is another question. Stier eloquently defends its insertion, but solely on subjective grounds: maintaining that the prayer is incomplete without it, and asserting the right of such “innere Kritit” to over-ride all evidence whatever. It is evident that thus we should have no fixed principles at all by which to determine the sacred text: for what seems to one critic appropriate and necessary, is in the view of another an incongruous addition. It is quite open for us to regard it with Euthymius as τὸ παρὰ τῶν θείων φωστήρων κ. τ. ἐκκλησίας καθηγητῶν προστεθὲν ἀκροτελεύτιον ἐπιφώνημα, and to retain it as such in our liturgies; but in dealing with the sacred text we must not allow any à priori considerations, of which we are such poor judges, to outweigh the almost unanimous testimony of antiquity. The inference to be drawn from the words of St. Paul, 2Timothy 4:18, is rather against than for the genuineness of the doxology. The fact that he there adds a doxology, different from that commonly read here, seems to testify to the practice, begun thus early, of concluding the Lord’s prayer with a solemn ascription of glory to God. This eventually fell into one conventional form, and thus got inserted in the sacred text.
14, 15.] Our Lord returns (γάρ) to explain the only part of the prayer which peculiarly belonged to the new law of love, and enforces it by a solemn assurance. On the sense, cf. Mark 11:25, and the remarkable parallel Sir. 28:2: ἄφες ἀδίκημα τῷ πλησίον σου, κ. τότε δεηθέντος σου αἱ ἁμαρτίαι σου λυθήσονται. See Chrysostom’s most eloquent appeal on this verse, Hom. xix. 7, p. 255, end.
16-18.] Third example. Fasting. Another department of the spiritual life, in which reality in the sight of God, and not appearance in the sight of man, must be our object. While these verses determine nothing as to the manner and extent of Christian fasting, they clearly recognize it as a solemn duty, ranking it with almsgiving and prayer; but requiring it, like them, (see ch. 9:14-17,) to spring out of reality, not mere formal prescription.
16. ἀφανίζουσιν] “Chrys. διαφθείρουσι, ἀπολλύουσι: Homb., Hammond, colorem auferre, comparing Antiochus, Hom. 55 de invidia, τὸ πρόσωπον ἐξαφανίζει, pallorem inducit: Erasm., Fritzsche, e conspectu tollere: Elsner, Meyer, to hide, cover up, viz. in mourning costume. But in later Greek the meaning is deformare, to disfigure, (which the exterminare of the . may also mean,) as is shewn in many examples cited by Le Clerc h. l., Valcknär on Phœniss. 373, Schäfer ad Dion, de comp. verb. p. 124. In Stobæus, Serm. lxxiv. 62, Nicostratus uses it of women who paint: πόῤῥω δʼ ἂν εἴη καὶ τοῦ δεηθῆναι γυνὴ ὑγιαίνουσα καὶ ψιμυθίου καὶ ὑπʼ ὁφθαλμῷ ὑπογραφῆς καὶ ἄλλου χρώματος ζωγραφοῦντος καὶ ἀφανίζοντος τὰς ὄψεις ‘which be-paints and disfigures the faces.’ The allusion is therefore not to covering the face, which could only be regarded as a sign of mourning, but to the squalor of the uncleansed face and hair of the head and beard, as the contrast of washing and anointing shews.” Tholuck: and this certainly appears to be the right view, especially when we compare vv. 19, 20 below. But he seems too hastily to have assumed the meaning in the passage from Stobæus: for there the verb may just as well signify covering, plastering over, as disfiguring. The Etym. Mag. says ἀφανίσαι οἱ παλαι οὐχὶ τὸ μολῦναι ὡς νῦν, ἀλλὰ τὸ τελέως ἀφανῆ ποιῆσαι. Suidas, on the other hand, ἀφανίσαι οὐ τὸ μολῦναι καὶ χρᾶναι δηλοῖ, ἀλλὰ τὸ ἀνελεῖν καὶ ἀφανὲς ποιῆσαι: but it is possible that he may be speaking of its classical sense, as suggested by Le Clerc, who does not however, as Tholuck asserts, cite any examples of the other meaning.
17.] i.e. ‘appear as usual:’ ‘seem to men the same as if thou wert not fasting.’ It has been observed that this precept applies only to voluntary and private fasts, (such as are mentioned Luke 18:12,) not to public and enjoined ones. But this distinction does not seem to be necessary; the one might afford just as much occasion for ostentation as the other.
19-34.] From cautions against the hypocrisy of formalists, the discourse naturally passes to the entire dedication of the heart to God, from which all duties of the Christian should be performed. In this section this is enjoined, 1. (vv. 19-24) with regard to earthly treasures, from the impossibility of serving God and Mammon: 2. (vv. 25-34) with regard to earthly cares, from the assurance that our Father careth for us.
19, 20.] It is to be observed that the qualifying clauses, ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, ἐν οὐρανῷ, belong in each case to the verb θησαυρίζετε, not to the noun θησαυρούς.
βρῶσις] more general in meaning than rust—the ‘wear and tear’ of time, which eats into and consumes the fairest possessions. The θησαυρίζετε θησ. ἐν οὐρ. would accumulate the βαλλάντια μὴ παλαιούμενα, θησαυρὸν ἀνέκλειπτον of Luke 12:33, corresponding to the μισθός of ch. 5:12, and the ἀποδώσει σοι of vv. 4, 6, 18. Cf. 1Timothy 6:19: Tobit 4:9.
διορύσσουσιν] usually joined with οἰκίαν, as ch. 24:43.
21.] The connexion with the foregoing is plain enough to any but the shallowest reader. ‘The heart is, where the treasure is.’ But it might be replied, ‘I will have a treasure on earth and a treasure in heaven also: a divided affection.’ This is dealt with, and its impracticability shewn by a parable from nature.
22, 23. ὁ λύχνος] as lighting and guiding the body and its members: not as containing light in itself. Similarly the inner light, the conscience, lights the spirit and its faculties, but by light supernal to itself.
ἁπλοῦς, clear, untroubled in vision, as the eye which presents a well-defined and single image to the brain. πονηρός, perverse, as the eye which dims and distorts the visual images. φωτεινὸς … σκοτεινός: in full light, as an object in the bright sunshine; in darkness, as an object in the deep shade. The comparison is found in Aristotle. Topic, i. 14 (Wetst.), ὡς ὄψις ἐν ὀφθαλμῷ, νοῦς ἐν ψυχῇ: in Galen, and Philo de Mund. Opif.
εἰ οὖν κ.τ.λ.] If then the light which is in thee is darkness, how dark must the darkness be! i.e. ‘if the conscience, the eye and light of the soul, be darkened, in how much grosser darkness will all the passions and faculties be, which are of themselves naturally dark!’ The opposition is between τὸ φῶς and τὸ σκότος. This interpretation is borne out by the Vulgate: ‘Ipsæ tenebræ quantæ erunt!’ by Jerome: ‘Si sensus, qui lumen est, animæ vitio caligatur, ipsa putas caligo quantis tenebris obvolvetur!’ and by Chrysostom: ὅταν γὰρ ὁ κυβερνήτης ὑποβρόχιος γένηται, καὶ ὁ λύχνος σβεσθῇ καὶ ὁ ἡγεμὼν αἰχμάλωτος γένηται, ποία λοιπὸν ἔσται τοῖς ὑπηκόοις ἐλπίς: Hom. xx. 3, p. 264, and Euthymius: εἰ οὖν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί, ὅ ἐστιν ὁ νοῦς, ὁ δωρηθεὶς εἰς τὸ φωτίζειν καὶ ὁδηγεῖν τὴν ψυχήν, σκότος ἐστί, τουτέστιν ἐσκότισται, λοιπὸν τὸ σκότος, τὸ ἀπὸ τῶν παθῶν, πόσον ἔσται, εἰς τὸ σκοτίζειν τὴν ψυχήν, σκοτισθέντος τοῦ ἀνατέλλοντος αὐτῇ φωτός. Augustine (de Serm. Dom. ii. c. 13 (46), vol. iii.) renders it similarly, but understands σκότος to refer to a different thing: ‘Si ipsa cordis intentio, qua facis quod facis, quæ tibi nota est, sordidatur appetitu rerum terrenarum … atque cæcatur: quanto magis ipsum factum, cujus incertus est exitus, sordidum et tenebrosum est!’ So too the Syr. . versions; and Erasm.: “Si ratio excæcata id judicat imprimis esse expetendum, quod vel contemnendum, vel neglectui habendum, in quas tenebras totum hominem rapiet ambitio reliquæque animi perturbationes, quæ suapte natura caliginem habent!”—Bucer, Luther. Stier expands this well, Reden Jesu, i. 208, edn. 2, “As the body, of itself a dark mass, has its light from the eye, so we have here compared to it the sensuous, bestial life (ψυχικόν) of men, their appetites, desires, and aversions, which belong to the lower creature. This dark region—human nature under the gross dominion of the flesh—shall become spiritualized, enlightened, sanctified, by the spiritual light: but if this light be darkness, how great must then the darkness of the sensuous life be!” The usual modern interpretation makes τὸ σκότος πόσον a mere expression of the greatness of the darkness thereby occasioned, and thus loses the force of the sentence.
24.] And this division in man’s being cannot take place—he is and must be one—light or dark—serving God or Mammon.
δουλεύειν] Not merely ‘serve,’ but in that closer sense in which he who serves is the δοῦλος of, i.e. belongs to, and obeys entirely, ὁ Ἰὼβ πλούσιος ἦν· ἀλλʼ οὐκ ἐδούλευε τῷ μαμωνᾷ, ἀλλʼ εἶχεν αὐτὸς καὶ ἐκράτει, καὶ δεσπότης, οὐ δοῦλος ἦν. Chrysost. Hom. xxi. 1, p. 269. See Romans 6:16, Romans 6:17.
ἢ γαρ … ἢ … is not a repetition; but the suppositions are the reverse of one another: as Meyer expresses it, ‘He will either hate A and love B, or cleave to A and despise B:’ ὁ εἷς and ὁ ἕτερος keeping their individual reference in both members. μισεῖν and ἀγαπᾷν must be given their full meaning, or the depth of the saying is not reached: the sense ‘minus diligo, posthabeo’ (Bretschneider) for μισεῖν would not bring out the opposition and division of the nature of man by the attempt.
μαμωνᾷ] Chaldee, מָמוֹנָא, (from אָמַן, confisus est,) riches. ‘Congruit et Punicum nomen, nam lucrum Punice mammon dicitur.’ August, in loc. Mammon does not appear to have been the name of any Syrian deity, as Schleusner asserts. Tholuck has shewn that the idea rests only on the testimony of Papias, an obscure grammarian of the eleventh century. Schl. refers to Tertullian, who, however, says nothing of the kind (see adv. Marc. iv. 33, vol. ii. pp. 439 ff., which must be the place meant, but not specified by Schl.).
25. διὰ τοῦτο] A direct inference from the foregoing verse: the plainer, since μεριμνάω (the root being μερίζω) is ‘to be distracted,’ ‘to have the mind drawn two ways.’ The E. V., ‘Take no thought,’ does not express the sense, but gives rather an exaggeration of the command, and thus makes it unreal and nugatory. Be not anxious, would be far better. In Luke 12:29 we have μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε, where see note. τῇ ψυχῇ = περὶ τῆς ψυχῆς, dat. commodi. See ver. 28.
οὐχὶ ἡ ψ.] τοῦτο εἶπε δηλῶν ὅτι ὁ τὸ πλεῖον δοὺς ἡμῖν καὶ τὸ ἔλαττον δώσει. πλεῖον δὲ τὸ μεῖζον λέγει. Euthymius.
26. τὰ πετ.] The two examples, of the birds and the lilies, are not parallel in their application. The first is an argument from the less to the greater; that our Heavenly Father, who feeds the birds, will much more feed us: the second, besides this application, which (ver. 30) it also contains, is a reproof of the vanity of anxiety about clothing, which, in all its pomp of gorgeous colours, is vouchsafed to the inferior creatures, but not attainable by, as being unworthy of, us. Notice, it is not said, μὴ σπείρετε—μὴ θερίζετε—μὴ συνάγετε;—the birds are not our example to follow in their habits, for God hath made us to differ from them—the doing all these things is part of our πόσῳ μᾶλλον διαφέρετε, (Luke 12:24,) and increases the force of the à fortiori; but it is said, μὴ μεριμνᾶτε—μὴ μετεωρίζεσθε. τί γοῦν ὠφελήσεις οὕτως ἐπιτεταμένως μεριμνῶν; κἂν γὰρ μυρία σπουδάσῃς, οὐ δώσεις ὑετὸν οὐδὲ ἥλιον οὐδὲ πνοὰς ἀνέμων, οἷς ὁ σπόρος καρπογονεῖ. ταῦτα γὰρ ὁ θεὸς μόνος δίδωσιν. Euthymius.
ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν, not αὐτῶν:—thus by every accessory word does our Lord wonderfully assert the truths and proprieties of creation, in which we, his sons, are His central work, and the rest for us. τοῦ οὐρ., and afterwards τοῦ ἀγροῦ, as Thol. remarks, are not superfluous, but serve to set forth the wild and uncaring freedom of the birds and plants. I may add,—also to set forth their lower rank in the scale of creation, as belonging to the air and the field. Who could say of mankind, οἱ ἄνθρωποι τοῦ κόσμου? Thus the à fortiori is more plainly brought out.
27.] These words do not relate to the stature, the adding a cubit to which (= a foot and a half) would be a very great addition, instead of a very small one, as is implied here, and expressed in Luke 12:26, εἰ οὖν οὐδὲ ἐλάχιστον δύνασθε, κ.τ.λ.,—but to the time of life of each hearer; as Theophylact on Luke 12:26, ζωῆς μέτρα παρὰ μόνῳ τῷ θεῷ, καὶ οὐκ αὐτύς τις ἕκαστος ἑαυτῷ ὁριστὴς τῆς ζωῆς. So Hammond, Wolf, Rosenm., Kuinoel, Olsh., De Wette, Meyer, Stier, Tholuck, &c. &c.: and the context seems imperatively to require it: for the object of food and clothing is not to enlarge the body, but to prolong life. The application of measures of space to time is not uncommon. See Psalm 39:5: Job 9:25: 2Timothy 4:7. In Stobæus, xcviii. 13, we have cited from Mimnermus, ἡμεῖς δʼ οἷά τε φύλλα φύει πολυάνθεμος ὥρη " ἔαρος, ὅτʼ αἶψʼ αὐγὴ αὔξεται ἠελίου, " τοῖς ἴκελοι, πήχυιον ἐπὶ χρόνον ἄνθεσιν ἥβης " τερπόμεθα. Alcæus ( x. 7) says, δάκτυλος ἁμέρα: and Diog. Laert. viii. 16 (Thol.) σπιθαμὴ τοῦ βίου.
28.] καταμάθετε, implying more attention than ἐμβλέψατε: the birds fly by, and we can but look upon them: the flowers are ever with us, and we can watch their growth. These lilies have been supposed to be the crown imperial, (fritillaria imperialis, κρίνον βασιλικόν, Kaiserkrone,) which grows wild in Palestine, or the amaryllis lutea, (Sir J. E. Smith, cited by F. M.,) whose golden liliaceous flowers cover the autumnal fields of the Levant. Dr. Thomson, “The Land and the Book,” p. 256, believes the Huleh lily to be meant: “it is very large, and the three inner petals meet above, and form a gorgeous canopy, such as art never approached, and king never sat under, even in his utmost glory. And when I met this incomparable flower, in all its loveliness, among the oak woods around the northern base of Tabor, and on the hills of Nazareth, where our Lord spent His youth, I felt assured that it was this to which He referred.” Probably, however, the word here may be taken in a wider import, as signifying all wild flowers. πῶς is not interrogative, but relative: how they grow. 29.
29.] We here have the declaration of the Creator Himself concerning the relative glory and beauty of all human pomp, compared with the meanest of His own works. See 2Chronicles 9:15-28. And the meaning hidden beneath the text should not escape the student. As the beauty of the flower is unfolded by the Divine Creator-Spirit from within, from the laws and capacities of its own individual life, so must all true adornment of man be unfolded from within by the same Almighty Spirit. See 1Peter 3:3, 1Peter 3:4. As nothing from without can defile a man, (ch. 15:11,) so neither can any thing from without adorn him. Our Lord introduces with λέγω ὑμῖν His revelations of omniscience: see ch. 18:10, 19.
30. τὸν χόρτον] The wild flowers which form part of the meadow-growth are counted as belonging to the grass, and are cut down with it. Cut grass, which soon withers from the heat, is still used in the East for firing. See “The Land and the Book,” p. 341. The pres. part. denotes the habit. “κλίβανος, or Att. κρίβ., a covered earthen vessel, a pan, wider at the bottom than at the top, wherein bread was baked by putting hot embers round it, which produced a more equable heat than in the regular oven (ἰπνός), Herod, ii. 92: Aristoph. Vesp. 1153.” Wilkinson and Webster’s note.
32. οἶδεν γάρ] This 2nd γάρ brings in an additional reason: see Xen. Symp. iv. 55.
33. ζητεῖτε πρῶτον] Not with any reference to seeking all these things after our religious duties, e.g. beginning with prayer days of avarice and worldly anxiety, but make your great object, as we say, your first care. δικαιοσύνην
δικαιοσύνην] Not here the forensic righteousness of justification, but the spiritual purity inculcated in this discourse. τήν δικ. αὐτοῦ answers to ἡ τελειότης αὐτοῦ, spoken of in ch. 5:48, and is another reference to the being as our Heavenly Father is. In the Christian life which has been since unfolded, the righteousness of justification is a necessary condition of likeness to God; but it is not the δικ. αὐτ. here meant. ταῦτα πάντα, these things, all of them—the emphasis being on the genus—all such things: πάντα ταῦτα, all these things—‘the whole of the things mentioned’—the emphasis being on πάντα,—the fact that all without exception are included. See Winer, § 18. 4.
προστεθ.] There is a traditional saying of our Lord, αἰτεῖτε τὰ μεγάλα, καὶ τὰ μικρὰ ὑμῖν προστεθήσεται· καὶ αἰτεῖτε τὰ ἐπουράνια, καὶ τὰ ἐπίγεια προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν. Fabric. Cod. Apocr. i. 329. (Meyer.)
34. ἡ γὰρ αὔρ.] for the morrow will care for it, viz. for ἡ αὔριον mentioned above: i.e., will bring care enough about its own matters: implying,—“after all your endeavour to avoid worldly cares, you will find quite enough, and more of them when to-morrow comes, about to-morrow itself: do not then increase those of to-day by introducing them before their time.’ A hint, as is the following κακία, that in this state of sin and infirmity the command of ver. 31 will never be completely observed.
ἀρκετὸν—κακία: thus, οὐκ ἀγαθὸν πολυκοιρανίη, Il. β. 204. And the same construction frequently occurs, both in Greek and Latin authors.