And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Matthew 12:22-30.
(See on Mt 12:22-45.)
14. dumb—blind also (Mt 12:22).See Poole on "Luke 11:18" Matthew 10:25.
By whom do your sons cast them out? by whose help? or in whose name? for the Jews pretended to cast out devils, and to heal those that were possessed with them; which they did sometimes, by making use of the names of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and sometimes of the name of Solomon: Josephus (q) speaks of many in his time, who had this power of healing; and he himself saw one Eleazar, in the presence of Vespasian, his children, officers, and soldiers, cure many that were possessed of devils: and his method was, by putting a ring to the nose of the possessed, under the seal of which, was a root directed to by Solomon, and thereby brought out the unclean spirit; and as soon as the man was healed, he adjured the devil never to return more; at which time he made mention of the name of Solomon, and rehearsed the enchantments written by him: the said Eleazar, to give a specimen of the efficacy of his art, set a cup full of water upon the ground, and commanded the devil when he went out of the man, to turn it over, as a sign that he had left the man, and the devil immediately obeyed his order: now if these sons of theirs cast out devils, which they would not say were done by the help of the devil, or in his name, why should they ascribe the ejection of devils by Christ, to a diabolical assistance?
therefore shall they be your judges; or "judges against you", as the Arabic version; or "shall reprove you", as the Ethiopic; convict and condemn you; See Gill on Matthew 12:27.And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)19. by whom do your sons cast them outf] The “pupils of the wise” might be called the ‘sons of the Pharisees’ just as the youths in the
Prophetic schools were called ‘sons of the Prophets.’ The reality of the Jewish exorcisms is not here necessarily admitted (Acts 19:13). It was enough that the admitted pretensions to such powers among the Pharisees justified this incontrovertible argumentum ad hominem.Verse 19. - By whom do your sons cast them out? therefore shall they be your judges. But he goes further in his skillful line of argument. "I am not the only one," said Jesus, "who claims to cast out devils. There are those in the midst of you, your sons, who make a similar assertion. Have they too entered into a league with this evil angel?" A question has been raised respecting these professed exorcists of evil spirits whom Jesus here styles "your sons." Who were they? Some, notably the older patristic expositors, have supposed that our Lord here alluded to his own apostles, to whom a measure of this power over unclean spirits was certainly given. Others, that they are identical with the "pupils of the wise," disciples of the great rabbinical schools, such as were presided over by the famous doctors of the Talmud. This is quite possible; but we have no proof that professional exorcists were pupils in any of the known rabbinical schools. It is more likely that by this general term Jesus alluded to the exorcists. These were, at this period of Jewish history, numerous. They are alluded to in Acts 19:13; by Josephus ('Ant.,' 8:02, 5); mention of them is also specially made in the Talmud, which even describes something of their mode of procedure. Our Lord seems to affirm in some cases, to a certain extent, the efficacy of the power of these exorcists. "These, Jews like yourselves," argued Jesus, "some of them, you know, belonging to your own Pharisee sect, - these have in certain cases apparently driven out the evil spirit of insanity: you do not accuse them, do you, of working with an evil angel?" Godet, in the next seven verses, has suggested a new line of interpretation, which, while generally preserving the traditional exposition of the various details, supplies the connecting thought between ver. 23 ("He that is not with me is against me," etc.) and the verses which precede and follow. This, apparently, has never been done satisfactorily by any commentator. Indeed, some, e.g. De Wette and Bleek, are frank enough to confess that they abandon the attempt. In these seven verses Jesus draws two pictures, in which he contrasts one of those expulsions of evil spirits which he works with that of a cure worked by an exorcist.
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