Matthew 10:10
Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.
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(10) Scrip.—The practical obsoleteness of the word in modern English makes it necessary to remind readers of the New Testament that the “scrip” or wallet was a small basket carried on the back, or by a strap hanging from one shoulder, containing the food of the traveller. So David carried in his scrip the five smooth stones from the brook (1Samuel 17:40). Such a basket was looked on as the necessary equipment even of the poorest traveller, yet the apostles were to go without it. St. Mark adds, what was implied in this, “no bread.”

Neither two coats.—Commonly, the poorer Eastern traveller carried with him the flowing plaid-like outer garment (the modern abba), with one “coat” or tunic next the skin, and one clean one as a change. That simplest of all the comforts of life they were in this work of theirs to dispense with.

Neither shoes, nor yet staves.—The apparent contradiction between these words and St. Mark’s “nothing except a staff only,” “be shod with sandals,” is explained by what has been said above. They were to have none of the reserved comforts of common travellers, no second staff in case the first should break, no second pair of shoes in which to rest the worn and weary feet. The “sandals” were the shoes of the peasant class.

Experience (and, we may add, the Spirit that teaches by experience) has led the Christian Church at large to look on these commands as binding only during the mission on which the Twelve were actually sent. It is impossible not to admire the noble enthusiasm of poverty which showed itself in the literal adoption of such rules by the followers of Francis of Assisi, and, to some extent, by those of Wiclif; but the history of the Mendicant Orders, and other like fraternities, forms part of that teaching of history which has led men to feel that in the long-run the beggar’s life will bring the beggar’s vices. Yet here, as in the case of the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount, the spirit is binding still, though the letter has passed away. The mission work of the Church has ever prospered in proportion as that spirit has pervaded it.

For the workman is worthy of his meat.—It is a singular instance of the varied application of the same truth, that these words—which our Lord makes the ground of His command that men should make no provision for the future and commit themselves to their Father’s care—are quoted by St. Paul (1Timothy 5:18) as a plea for an organised system for the maintenance of the ministers of the Church. The same law fulfils itself in many ways—now by helping to pay the hire of the labourer, now by the full confidence that the payment may be left to God, and to the grateful hearts of men.

10:5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent. His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase their condemnation.Nor scrip - That is, knapsack.

This was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck.

Neither two coats - See the notes at Matthew 5:40.

Neither shoes - The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See the notes at Matthew 3:11.

Mark says, in recording this discourse, "but be shod with sandals." Between him and Matthew there is an apparent contradiction, but there is really no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their "wearing" the sandals which they probably had on, but only forbids their "supplying themselves with more," or with "superfluous ones." Instead of making provision for their feet when their "present" shoes were worn out, they were to trust to Providence to be supplied, and "go as they were." The meaning of the two evangelists may be thus expressed: "Do not procure anything more for your journey than you have on. Go as you are, shod with sandals, without making any more preparation."

Nor yet staves - In the margin, in all the ancient versions, and in the common Greek text, this is in the singular number - "nor yet" a staff. But Mark says that they might have a "staff:" "Jesus commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only." To many this would appear to be a contradiction. Yet the "spirit" of the instruction, the main thing that the writers aim at, is the same. That was, that they were "to go just as they were, to trust to Providence, and not to spend any time in making preparation for their journey. Some of them, probably, when he addressed them, "had staves," and some had not. To those who "had," he did not say that they should throw them away, as the instructions he was giving them might seem to require, but he suffered them to take them (Mark). To those who had not, he said they should not spend time in procuring them (Matthew), but "they were all to go just as they were."

The workman is worthy of his meat - This implies that they were to expect a proper supply for their needs from those who were benefited. They were not to make "bargain and sale" of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but because they were "worthy" of it, and had a right to it.

10. Nor scrip for your journey—the bag used by travellers for holding provisions.

neither two coats—or tunics, worn next the skin. The meaning is, Take no change of dress, no additional articles.

neither shoes—that is, change of them.

nor yet staves—The received text here has "a staff," but our version follows another reading, "staves," which is found in the received text of Luke (Lu 9:3). The true reading, however, evidently is "a staff"—meaning, that they were not to procure even that much expressly for this missionary journey, but to go with what they had. No doubt it was the misunderstanding of this that gave rise to the reading "staves" in so many manuscripts Even if this reading were genuine, it could not mean "more than one"; for who, as Alford well asks, would think of taking a spare staff?

for the workman is worthy of his meat—his "food" or "maintenance"; a principle which, being universally recognized in secular affairs, is here authoritatively applied to the services of the Lord's workmen, and by Paul repeatedly and touchingly employed in his appeals to the churches (Ro 15:27; 1Co 9:11; Ga 6:6), and once as "scripture" (1Ti 5:18).

Ver. 9,10. Our Saviour having in the last verse commanded them to give freely, they might reasonably be thinking that they had need to provide well for their journey. No, saith our Saviour,

Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass, & c. That this was but a temporary precept, the will of God concerning them for this short journey, appeareth from Luke 22:35,36, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip, & c. They were to finish this journey in a short time, and much provision would have been a hinderance to their motion. Besides, our Saviour designed to give them an experience of the providence of God, and to teach them to trust in it; as also to teach people that the labourer is worthy of his hire, and that God expects that his ministers should not live of their own, but upon the altar which they served; so as at once he taught his apostles not to be covetous, nor overmuch solicitous, and people to provide for those who ministered to them in things spiritual. I pass over what others have critically observed concerning the words, that being not my proper work. Mark saith, Mark 6:8,9, that he commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse: but be shod with sandals; and not put on two coats. From whence is plain that the staves forbidden in Matthew were either staves for defence, or to bear burdens upon, not merely travellers’ staves. The sum is, in this their first journey, which they were soon to despatch, he would have them trust God for protection and sustenance, and load themselves with nothing more than necessary.

Nor scrip for your journey,.... This the Jews call "tarmil": and which their commentators (n) say, is a large leathern bag, in which shepherds and travellers put their food, and other things, and carried with them, hanging it about their necks; so that the disciples were neither to carry money with them, nor any provisions for their journey:

neither two coats; one to travel in, and another to put on, when they came to their quarters: they were not allowed change of raiment; either because superfluous, or too magnificent to appear in, or too troublesome to carry:

nor shoes, only sandals, as Mark says; for there was a difference between shoes and sandals, as appears from the case of the plucking off the shoe, when a man refused his brother's wife (o): if the "shoe" was plucked off it was regarded; but if the "sandal", it was not minded: this was the old tradition, though custom went against it. Sandals were made of harder leather than shoes (p), and sometimes of wood covered with leather, and stuck with nails, to make them more durable (q); though sometimes of bulrushes, and bark of palm trees, and of cork (r), which were light to walk with.

"Says R. Bar bar Chanah (s), I saw R. Eleazar of Nineveh go out on a fast day of the congregation, , "with a sandal of cork".''

Of what sort these were, the disciples were allowed to travel with, is not certain:

nor yet with staves: that is, with more than one staff, which was sufficient to assist them, and lean upon in journeying: for, according to Mark, one was allowed; as though they might take a travelling staff, yet not staves for defence, or to fight with; see Matthew 26:55. Now these several things were forbidden them, partly because they would be burdensome to them in travelling; and partly because they were not to be out any long time, but were quickly to return again; and chiefly to teach them to live and depend upon divine providence. Now, since they were to take neither money, nor provisions with them, and were also to preach the Gospel freely, they might reasonably ask how they should be provided for, and supported: when our Lord suggests, that they should not be anxiously concerned about that, he would take care that they had a suitable supply; and would so influence and dispose the minds of such, to whom they should minister, as that they should have all necessary provisions made for them, without any care or expense of their's:

for the workman is worthy of his meat; which seems to be a proverbial expression, and by which Christ intimates, that they were workmen, or labourers in his vineyard, and they, discharging their duty aright, were entitled to food and raiment, and all the necessaries of life: this to have, was their due; and it was but a piece of justice to give it to them, and on which they might depend. So that this whole context is so far from militating against a minister's maintenance by the people, that it most strongly establishes it; for if the apostles were not to take any money or provisions with them, to support themselves with, it clearly follows, that it was the will of Christ, that they should live by the Gospel, upon those to whom they preached, as the following words show: and though they were not to make gain of the Gospel, or preach it for filthy lucre's sake; yet they might expect a comfortable subsistence, at the charge of the people, to whom they ministered, and which was their duty to provide for them.

(n) Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 2. sect. 8. & in Celim. c. 16. 4. & 24. 11. & Negaim. c. 11. sect. 11. (o) T. Hieros. Yebamot, fol. 12. 3. T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 102. 1. & Menachot, fol. 32. 1.((p) Gloss. in T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 101. 1. & Bartenora in Misn. Yebamot, c. 12. sect. 1.((q) Misn. Yebamot, c. 12. sect. 2. Maimon. Bartenora in Sabbat, c. 6. sect. 2. & Edayot, c. 2. sect. 8. (r) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 78. 2. Gloss. in ib. Maimon. Hilch. Shebitat. Ashur, c. 3. sect. 7. (s) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 78. 2. Juchasin, fol. 81. 1.

Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his {d} meat.

(d) God will provide you with food.

Matthew 10:10. Μή] sc. κτήσησθε, with which εἰς ὁδόν is to be connected. Πήρα, a bag slung over the shoulder, see Duncan, Lex. Hom. ed. Rost, s.v.

δύο χιτῶνας] two under-garments, either with a view to wear both at one time (Mark 6:9), or only one while carrying the other with them in case of need.

ὑποδήματα] namely, for the requirements of the journey, besides the pair already in use. The question whether, as Lightfoot and Salmasius think, it is shoes in the strict sense of the word (ὑποδήματα κοῖλα, Becker, Charicl. p. 221) that are here meant, or whether it is ordinary σανδάλια (Mark 6:9), is, judging from the usual Oriental mode of covering the feet, to be decided in favour of the sandals, which the Greeks also called by the same name as that in the text (Pollux, VII. 35 ff.).

μηδὲ ῥάβδον] nor a staff to carry in the hand for support and self-defence (Tob 5:17), an unimportant variation from Mark 6:8.

ἄξιος γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] a general proposition, the application of which is of course evident enough. Free and unembarrassed by any ὑλικῆς φροντίδος, εἰς μόνην δὲ βλέποντες τὴν ἐγχειρισθεῖσαν αὐτοῖς διακονίαν (Euth. Zigabenus), such as is represented by the matters just specified, they are to rely upon God’s care of them, who will cause them to realize in their own experience how true it is that the labourer is worthy of His support.

Matthew 10:10. πήραν, a wallet for holding provisions, slung over the shoulder (Jdt 13:10, πήραν τῶν βρωμάτων).—δύο χιτῶνας): not even two under-garments, shirts; one would say very necessary for comfort and cleanliness in a hot climate, and for travellers along dusty roads. In Mark the prohibition seems to be against wearing two at the same time (Matthew 6:8); here against carrying a spare one for a change. Possibly we ought not to take these instructions too literally, but in their spirit.—ὑποδήματα: this does not mean that they were to go barefooted, but either without a spare pair, or without more substantial covering for the feet (shoes) than the light sandals they usually wore—mere soles to keep the feet off the hard road. Lightfoot (Hor. Heb.) distinguishes between the two thus: “usus delicatoris fuerunt calcei, durioris atque utilioris sandalia”. He states that there were sandals, whose soles were of wood, and upper part of leather, the two joined by nails, and that they were sometimes made of rushes or the bark of palms.—ῥάβδον: not even a staff! That can hardly be meant. Even from the romantic or picturesque point of view the procession of pilgrim missioners would not be complete without a staff each in their hand. If not a necessity, at least, it was no luxury. Mark allows the staff, creating trouble for the harmonists. Grotius suggests: no second staff besides the one in hand! Glassius, quoted by Fritzsche in scorn, suggests a staff shod with iron (scipio) for defence. Ebrard, with approval of Godet, thinks of two different turns given to the Aramaic original בי אם מטה = either “if you take one staff it is enough,” or “if, etc., it is too much”. Really the discrepancy is not worth all this trouble. Practically the two versions come to the same thing: take only a staff, take not even a staff; the latter is a little more hyperbolical than the former. Without even a staff, is the ne plus ultra of austere simplicity and self-denial. Men who carry out the spirit of these precepts will not labour in vain. Their life will preach the kingdom better than their words, which may be feeble and helpless. “Nothing,” says Euthy., “creates admiration so much as a simple, contented life” (βίος ἄσκευος καὶ ὀλιγαρκής).—ἄξιοςτ. τροφῆς: a maxim universally recognised. A labourer of the type described is not only worthy but sure of his meat; need have no concern about that. This is one of the few sayings of our Lord referred to by St. Paul (1 Corinthians 9:14), whose conduct as an apostle well illustrates the spirit of the instructions to the Twelve.

10. scrip] A wallet such as David wore when he went to meet Goliath. It was fastened to the girdle. Cp.

“Though not with bag and baggage, yet with scrip and scrippage.” Shakspeare.

“And in requital ope his leathern scrip.” Milton.

two coats]=two tunics. See ch. Matthew 5:40. In like manner the philosopher Socrates wore one tunic only, went without sandals, and lived on the barest necessaries of life. Xen. Mem. i. 6. 2.

shoes] Rather, sandals.

Matthew 10:10. Πήραν, scrip) in which bread and other articles of food were kept; see Mark 6:8.—μηδὲ ῥάβδον, nor staff) In Mark 6:8, we read “but one staff.” He who had no staff, was not to care about procuring one, for our Lord says “do not procure he however who possessed a staff, might take it with him, for convenience, not defence.—ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης, κ.τ.λ., for the labourer is worthy, etc.) On the other hand, the hire is worthy of the labourer.—τροφῆς, food) This word includes all the articles which are enumerated in Matthew 10:9-10.

Matthew 10:10Staves (ῥάβδους)

But the proper reading is staff, (ῥάβδον)

The workman is worthy, etc. Matthew 10:11, There abide, etc.

"The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," a tract discovered in 1873 in the library of the monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre at Constantinople, by Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, is assigned to the date of 120 a.d., and by some scholars is placed as early as 100 a.d. It is addressed to Gentile Christians, and is designed to give them practical instruction in the Christian life, according to the teachings of the twelve apostles and of the Lord himself. In the eleventh chapter we read as follows: "And every apostle who cometh to you, let him be received as the Lord; but he shall not remain except for one day; if, however, there be need, then the next day; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. But when the apostle departeth, let him take nothing except bread enough till he lodge again, but if he ask money, he is a false prophet." And again (ch. 13): "Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy like the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, then, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high-priests....If thou makest a baking of bread, take the first of it and give according to the commandment. In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first of it and give to the prophets; and of money and clothing, and every possession, take the first, as may seem right to thee, and give according to the commandment."

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