Matthew 10:15
Truly I say to you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) For the land of Sodom and Gomorrha.—The thought implied in the previous verse is now expressly asserted. The cities that stood out, in the history of the world, as most conspicuous for their infamy, were yet less guilty (as sinning less against light and knowledge) than those who rejected the messengers of the King. The same comparison reappears with the addition of Tyre and Sidon in Matthew 11:21.

In the day of judgment.—The phrase, like the Old Testament “day of the Lord,” is wider in its range than the thoughts we commonly connect with it, and includes the earlier and more earthly judgments, as well as that which is the great consummation of them all.

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.It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom ... - The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone on account of their great wickedness.

They occupied the place afterward covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the southeast, Genesis 19:24-25. Christ said that their punishment will be more "tolerable" - that is, more easily borne - than that of the people who reject his gospel. The reason is, that they were not favored with so much light and instruction. See Matthew 11:23-24; Luke 12:47-48. Sodom and Gomorrah are often referred to as signal instances of divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. See 2 Peter 2:6; Jde 1:7.

15. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable—more bearable.

for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city—Those Cities of the Plain, which were given to the flames for their loathsome impurities, shall be treated as less criminal, we are here taught, than those places which, though morally respectable, reject the Gospel message and affront those that bear it.

Directions for the Future and Permanent Exercise of the Christian Ministry (Mt 10:16-23).

Ver. 11-15. Our Lord had before set them their limits, and appointed them their work, and directed them as to their accoutrements for their journey; here he directeth them their methods. Luke hath much of the same instructions, Luke 10:4-6, but applied to the seventy, not to the twelve. Mark hath something of them applied to the twelve, Mark 6:10,11.

And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place. And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city. The method Christ set them was, when they came into any of the cities of Israel, to inquire if there were any worthy persons in it, and thither to go, and there to abide (if they did not find they were mistaken) until they left that place; and when they came into a house to salute it, wishing all peace and happiness to it; if they found themselves welcome, to preach to it the gospel of peace. But if they found themselves unwelcome, and discerned that the people of the city, or of that house, did not care for their company, and refused to hear them, they should not make themselves or the gospel a burden to them, but show their contempt of those who contemned the gospel, and the ministry of it, by shaking the dust off their feet as a testimony against them. Then he concludes, telling them, that the Lord would so grievously at last revenge such contempt, that the condition of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah, who were destroyed by fire and brimstone, Genesis 19:24, would at the last day be more tolerable than theirs. This is the sum, by which our Saviour doth obviate the solicitous thoughts which might from his former words arise in their minds. How shall we live, going amongst strangers, if we carry nothing with us? Saith our Saviour, When you first come into a town or city, do not inquire for the inns that entertain strangers, but who is worthy, worthy of such guests; so Hebrews 11:38; a Song of Solomon of peace, Luke 10:6; who are accounted the most pious and religious persons in that town or city, or best affected to the gospel. (He hereby hints, that John the Baptist and his ministry had had such success, that in most places there were some such persons.)

Worthy doth not in our ordinary discourse signify always a meritorious person, but a person excelling, either in religion or knowledge, or moral virtue. Such persons our Lord presumes would entertain those who came upon so kind an errand to their houses. He commands them to go, and when they came to a house to salute it, to say, Peace be to this house; which was the Jews’ ordinary salutation; under the notion of peace they comprehended all good. But,

let your peace come upon it (I conceive) comprehends more, viz. preach the gospel of peace unto it; or, my peace shall be upon it, I will bless that house. But if you find you are misinformed, or mistaken, your peace shall return unto you; you have done your work, and you shall have your reward. If they will

not receive you, nor hear your words; if they declare any contempt of you, and will not hear the glad tidings of the gospel;

when ye depart out of that house or city,

shake off the dust of your feet. This was more than a sign of contempt of them; we read of Nehemiah 5:13, that he shook his lap, and said, So God shake out every man from his house, and from his labour, that performeth not this promise. We have but one instance of this practice of the apostles, Acts 13:51. Mark adds, for a testimony against them: a testimony of God’s despising them who despised his grace, and of the vengeance of God that should come upon them for that contempt. For he adds,

it shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, the last judgment, than for that city: their condemnation will be more dreadful, as having sinned against greater light, and fairer offers of greater grace, than ever they had. Verily, I say unto you,.... This was not all the punishment that should be inflicted on such despisers of the Gospel of Christ, and the ministers of it; as not to enjoy that peace and prosperity wished for by the apostles, and to be declared to be on an equal foot with Heathen cities and countries: but they were to suffer everlasting punishment in the world to come; which is here asserted by Christ in the strongest manner, saying:

it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than for that city. The inhabitants of the land of Sodom and Gomorrha are the rather mentioned, because, as they were very notorious and abominable sinners, so their temporal punishment was well known, exemplary and awful, though not that, but their future damnation is here regarded, of which the Jews made no doubt; for they say (y),

"the men of Sodom have no part in the world to come; as it is said, Genesis 13:13 "the men of Sodom were wicked, and sinners, before the Lord exceedingly": they were "wicked" in this world, and "sinners" in the world to come;''

meaning, that by this passage is designed their double punishment in this, and the other world. But though their punishment was very tremendous, and they will suffer also "the vengeance of eternal fire", as Jude says; yet, their punishment will be milder, and more tolerable, than that of the inhabitants of such a city, that rejects the Gospel of the grace of God: as there are degrees in sinning, for all sins are not alike, as the Stoics say; so there will be degrees in suffering; the sins of those that are favoured with the Gospel, are greater than those who only have had the light of nature, and so their torments will be greater. The inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrha, though they sinned against the light of nature, despised the advice and admonitions of Lot, and ill treated the angels, yet will be more mildly punished than the wicked Jews, who rejected Christ, and his Gospel, and despised his apostles, and ministers; because they sinned not against so much light, and such means of grace, and knowledge, as these did; see Lamentations 4:6 which is thus paraphrased by the Targumist, and may be aptly applied to the Jews in Christ's time:

"the sin of the congregation of my people is greater than the sin of Sodom, which was overturned in a moment; and there dwelt no prophets in it to prophesy, and turn it to repentance.''

The time referred to, signified by "the day of judgment", respects not the destruction of Jerusalem, which was a very severe judgment on that people, but the general judgment, at the end of the world, which is appointed and fixed by God, though unknown to angels and men. The phrase is Jewish, and often to be met with in their writings, who use it in the same sense; particularly in the book of Zohar (z), mention is made of , "the day of judgment", when there will be no pollution in the sanctuary.

(y) Misn. Sanhedrim, c. 11. sect. 3. Hieros. Sanhedrim, fol. 29. 3.((z) In Gen. fol 13. 3. & 16. 1.

Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 10:15. Γῇ Σοδ., κ.τ.λ.] the land (those who once inhabited the land) where Sodom and Gomorrah stood. The truth of this asseveration is founded on the principle in morals, that the more fully the will of God is proclaimed (Luke 12:47; Matthew 11:20 ff.), the greater the guilt of those who resist it. Notice how the resurrection of the wicked also is here assumed (John 5:29); observe likewise how Jesus’ words bespeak the highest Messianic self-consciousness.Matthew 10:15. γῇ Σ. καὶ Γ.: Sodom and Gomorrah, a byword for great iniquity and awful doom (Isaiah 1:9), γῇ, land for people.—ἀνεκτότερον: yet the punishment of these wicked cities, tragic though it was, or the punishment still in store, more endurable than that of city or village which rejects the message of the kingdom. This may seem an exaggeration, the utterance of passion rather than of sober judgment, and a dangerous thing to say to raw disciples and apprentice missionaries. But the principle involved is plain: the greater the privilege rejected the greater the criminality. The utterance reveals the high value Jesus set on the good tidings He commissioned the Twelve to preach.15. Comp. ch. Matthew 11:24.Matthew 10:15. Ἀνεκτότερον, more tolerable) Therefore it is worse not to believe the Gospel, than to imitate the men of Sodom; see ch. Matthew 11:22; Matthew 11:24. There appears to be an hypallage, viz.: that city shall, on the day of judgment, undergo a heavier punishment than the land of Sodom and Gomorrha either endured of old, or shall receive at the judgment. If merely a brief[463] repulse shall be so heavily punished, what shall be their fate who resist more obstinately.

[463] In the original, “Si perbrevis repulsa tam graviter punietur:” where “perbrevis,” “very short,” does not imply that the impenitence and unbelief of the persons indicated was of short continuance, but that their actual refusal to receive the Gospel occupied only the same time as the brief visit of the Apostles whom they rejected.—(I. B.)Verse 15. - Parallel passage: Luke 10:12 (the seventy). Similar words are used by our Lord in his apostrophe of Capernaum (Matthew 11:24, where see note). The combination in Luke 10:11 and 12-15 of both the contexts is an instructive warning against accepting the present position of our Lord's sayings as the final indication of the occasion upon which they were delivered. Verily. (For the idea of acquiescence that always underlies this word - even in the case of so solemn a matter as the present - comp. Matthew 5:18, note.) I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha. Whose inhabitants were the typical example of the worst of sinners (Deuteronomy 32:32; Isaiah 1:10; Ezekiel 16:46; Revelation 11:8). "The men of Sodom have no part in the world to come" (Mishna, 'Sanh.,' 10:3). In the day of judgment. Luke has "in that day;" cf, Matthew 7:22. In the only two passages in the LXX. (Proverbs 6:34; Isaiah 34:8) where, as it seems, our phrase occurs, it refers, not to the judgment of all, good and bad alike, but to that of the wicked alone. So also in 2 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:7; and possibly also in Matthew 12:36, but not in 1 John 4:17 (the only passage where it is not anarthrous). Than for that city. Observe that this verse implies that the wicked dead are still in existence, and are waiting for their final judgment; also that in the judgment of the wicked there will be degrees of punishment.
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