Matthew 10:18
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
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(18) Ye shall be brought before governors and kings.—The words are significant as looking forward (if we assume the unity of the discourse) to that future work among the Gentiles upon which the Twelve were told that they were not as yet to enter. “Rulers” stands always in the New Testament for the governors (proconsuls, procurators, and others) of the Roman Empire. “Kings” at least includes, even if it does not primarily indicate, the emperors themselves.

Against them.—Rather, unto them. The word is simply the dative of the person to whom we address our testimony, not involving necessarily any hostile or even reproving purpose.

10:16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.And ye shall be brought ... - This prediction was completely and abundantly fulfilled, Acts 5:26; Acts 12:1-4; Acts 23:33; Acts 26:1, Acts 26:28, Acts 26:30. Peter is said to have been brought before Nero, and John before Domitian, Roman emperors; and others before Parthian, Scythian, and Indian kings. They were to stand there to bear a testimony against them; or, as it might be rendered, to them. That is, they were to be "witnesses to them" of the great facts and doctrines of the Christian religion; and if they rejected Christianity, they would be witnesses "against" them in the day of judgment. The fulfillment of this prophecy is a signal evidence that Christ possessed a knowledge of the future. Few things were more improbable when this was uttered than that the fishermen of Galilee would stand before the illustrious and mighty monarchs of the East and the West. 18. And ye shall be brought before governors—provincial rulers.

and kings—the highest tribunals.

for my sake, for a testimony against them—rather, "to them," in order to bear testimony to the truth and its glorious effects.

and the Gentiles—"to the Gentiles"; a hint that their message would not long be confined to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. The Acts of the Apostles are the best commentary on these warnings.

Ver. 17,18. The last word, Gentiles, maketh it plain, that our blessed Lord is not here arming his disciples so much against any opposition they were like to meet with upon this their first going out, for they were not to go to the Gentiles, as those they should meet with some years after his ascension; yet not excluding what they should meet with from the Jews, for what is said about delivering up to the councils and scourging in the synagogues seemeth to have a particular reference to the Jews. This scripture was most eminently fulfilled, as to the apostles, Acts 4:1-3 &c Acts 5:27 6:12: and as to being brought before governors and kings, there are instances enough in the Acts, more in ecclesiastical stories. Neither do I think our Saviour hath in these words any reference to the distinction of their councils amongst the Jews; he only designed to let them know the time would come, when, for their owning him, and preaching his gospel, they should be brought before all sorts of magistrates, and in all kinds of courts. That phrase,

and they will scourge you in their synagogues, hath mightily perplexed some, especially such as have dreamed religious synagogues too holy places for such offices: but there is no need that we should take the term synagogues here for the places of their worship, it doth as well signify, in their conventions; and there are some that think that they had, adjoining to their synagogues, a place in which they punished offenders upon the account of religion; certain it is, 2 Corinthians 11:24, that Paul was five times scourged by the Jews according to their law, Deu 25:3. For a testimony against them and the Gentiles: a testimony for me, that is expressed in those words, for my sake; and against them, whether Jews or Gentiles. A testimony against them in the day of judgment, eiv marturion, hence our terms of martyr and martyrdom, the one signifies a witness, the other a testimony.

And ye shall be brought before governors,.... Meaning Roman governors; so Paul was had before Gallio, Felix, and Festas; for judgments relating to life and death were to be taken away, and were taken away from the Jewish sanhedrim; and as they themselves say (f), forty years before the destruction of the second temple, which was much about the time of Christ's death: so that what power they had, was only with regard to lesser matters, and to inflict lesser punishments, as beating and scourging: if they sought to take away life, they were obliged to bring the cause before the governors of the Roman provinces, who are here intended:

and kings for my sake; as Herod, Agrippa, Nero, Domitian, and others, before whom one or other of the apostles were brought; not as thieves, or murderers, or traitors, and seditious persons, or for having done any wrong or injury to any man's person or property; but purely for the sake of Christ, for the profession of their faith in him, and for preaching his Gospel; of all which they had no reason to be ashamed, nor were they:

for a testimony against, or "to"

them, and the Gentiles; that is, that thereby they might have an opportunity of bearing a testimony to the truths of the Gospel, which would be either to the conviction and conversion of many Gentiles, as well as Jews; or would be a testimony which would stand against them another day, both against the Jews, who charged, and accused them, and brought them before the Heathen kings and governors, to punish them with death; and against those Gentile magistrates, and others, who should join with them in rejecting the Gospel, and putting them to death for preaching it: so that they should have no pretext or excuse; since the Gospel had been faithfully and clearly preached to them, and they had despised it, and evil treated the ministers of it. This confirms what is before observed, that this passage refers to an after mission.

(f) Hieros. Sanhedrim, fol. 18. 1. & 24. 2. Juchasin, fol. 26. 2. & 51. 1. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrim. c. 14. sect. 13.

And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
Matthew 10:18. Καὶδέ] and … but (always separated except in the epic poets), is of the nature of a climax, introducing still another circumstance, whereupon δέ follows this new and emphasized thought. Hartung, Partikell. I. p. 181 f.; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 645; Baeumlein, Partik. p. 148 f.

ἡγεμόνας] comprises the three kinds of provincial chief magistrates, propraetors, proconsuls, and procurators. Fischer, de vit. Lex. N. T. p. 432 ff.

εἰς μαρτύριονἔθνεσιν] as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles, i.e. those wrongs and that violent treatment have this as their object, that (through your confession and demeanour) a testimony regarding me may be given to the Jews and the Gentiles. Comp. Matthew 8:4, Matthew 24:14. Let it be observed: (1) that it is arbitrary to refer εἰς μαρτύριον, as is usually done, merely to the last point, καὶ ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας, etc., seeing that everything, in fact, from παραδώσουσι onwards, belongs to one category and has one common aim; (2) that αὐτοῖς, therefore, cannot point to the ἡγεμόνας and βασιλεῖς, to whom it is commonly referred (Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek), though not in keeping with the distinction expressed by καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, for the truth is, the procurators and kings were Gentiles also; but that, as is at once suggested to the reader by this adding on of καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, it rather refers to the Jews (Maldonatus, Bengel, Lange, Hilgenfeld, Schegg, following Theophylact), who (αὐτῶν, Matthew 10:17) are the active subjects of παραδώσουσι, μαστιγώσουσιν, and partly also of ἀχθήσεσθε; (3) that, according to the context, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, to the Gentiles, refers to the ἡγεμόνας and βασιλεῖς, and their Gentile environment; (4) and lastly, that the further reference of μαρτύριον is to be gathered from ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ: a testimony of me, regarding my person and work. The dative case, however, is that of reference as regards the μαρτύριον; to define more specifically would be an unwarrantable liberty. This is applicable to the view adopted since Chrysostom: εἰς ἔλεγχον αὐτῶν (Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Beza, Maldonatus, Kuinoel), although this is included in that general reference.

Matthew 10:18. ἡγεμόνας, provincial governors, including the three degrees: Propraetors, Proconsuls, and Procurators. From the point of view of the evangelist, who conceives the whole discourse as connected with the Galiean mission confined to Jews, the reference can only be to Roman governors in Palestine. But in Christ’s mind they doubtless had a larger scope, and pointed to judicial tribulations in the larger, Gentile world.—εἰς μαρτύριον. The compensation for the incriminated will be that, when they stand on their defence, they will have an opportunity of witnessing for the Master (ἔνεκεν ἐμοῦ) and the Cause. Observe the combination καὶ δὲ in first clause of this verse, καὶ before ἐπὶ ἡγεμόνας, δὲ after it. It introduces a further particular under a double point of view, with καὶ so far as similar, with δὲ so far as different (Bäumlein, Schulgram., § 675, also Gr. Partikeln, 188, 9). A more formidable experience.

18. governors] Such as Felix and Festus at Cæsarea, the Prætors or Duumviri at Philippi (Acts 16:20), the Politarchs at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6).

kings] As Herod Agrippa or the Roman Emperor.

Matthew 10:18. Δὲ, but) The particle is here used epitatically,[467] to denote a further step in the subject announced.—ἈΧΘΉΣΕΣΘΕ, ye shall be brought) The apostles did not come ultroneously to the rulers, they were brought.—αὐτοῖς, against them) sc. the Jews, in contradistinction to the Gentiles mentioned immediately afterwards,—καὶ τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, and the Gentiles) This chapter therefore already contemplates matters more remote, and refers to the apostolate after our Lord’s ascension.

[467] See Append, on Epitasis. An emphatic addition to an enunciation already made.—ED.

Verse 18. - And; yea and (Revised Version); καὶ... δέ. Ye shall be brought. Transposed in the Revised Version with the following words, because the stress of Christ's saying lies, not on his followers being brought to trial, but on the high position of their judges. This marks both the extreme importance that their enemies will attach to them, and the lengths to which these will go. Before governors; i.e., probably, representatives of others in supreme power. Such were Felix and Festus, the praetors at Philippi (hardly the politarchs at Thessalonica, for this was a free city), and Gallio at Corinth. But perhaps ἡγεμών is here used in the narrower sense of procurator, in which case of the above names only the first two ought to be mentioned, for Gallio was a proconsul (ἀνθύπατος). And kings. The supreme authorities themselves. So especially Nero (2 Timothy 4:16), and even Herod Agrippa II. (Acts 25:13, sqq.), for he was autocratic in his kingdom, save that he owed allegiance to the power that gave it to him. For my sake (Matthew 5:11, note). St. Peter ("for the Lord's sake... king... governors," 1 Peter 2:13, 14) possibly refers to this utterance, but by using the singular, "king," recalls more definitely the one political organization with which his readers would be brought into contact in Asia Minor, the Roman emperor and his representatives. For a testimony against (to, Revised Version) them and (to, Revised Version) the Gentiles. Them. Not the Jews (Bengel, Meyer, and perhaps also the Revised Version), but the governors and kings. For (a) the parallel passage, Mark 13:9, omits "the Gentiles;" (b) the parallel passage, ch. 24:14 (vide supra), runs, "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world [possibly, too, the word employed, οἰκουμένη, has special reference to the Roman empire] for a testimony unto all the Gentiles." Both passages show that the Lord is not here thinking of the Jews, but only of the Gentiles and rulers from among them. Against; to. A witness to these Gentile rulers of what the gospel really does for men, and of their consequent responsibility; cf. Matthew 8:4, note; also the parallel passage, Luke 21:13. Eusebius, referring to out' Lord's words, gives a striking illustration in his 'Mart. Pal.,' 6. Matthew 10:18
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