Matthew 12:19
He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
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(19) He shall not strive, nor cry.—The words point to the pervading calmness which had impressed itself upon the mind of the Evangelist, and which stood out in marked contrast to the wrangling of Jewish scribes, the violence of Roman officers, yet more, it may be, to that of false prophets and leaders of revolt, such as Judas of Galilee had been. St. Matthew had probably known something of each of those types of character, and felt how different that of the Christ was from all of them.

12:14-21 The Pharisees took counsel to find some accusation, that Jesus might be condemned to death. Aware of their design, as his time was not come, he retired from that place. Face does not more exactly answer to face in water, than the character of Christ drawn by the prophet, to his temper and conduct as described by the evangelists. Let us with cheerful confidence commit our souls to so kind and faithful a Friend. Far from breaking, he will strengthen the bruised reed; far from quenching the smoking flax, or wick nearly out, he will rather blow it up into a flame. Let us lay aside contentious and angry debates; let us receive one another as Christ receives us. And while encouraged by the gracious kindness of our Lord, we should pray that his Spirit may rest upon us, and make us able to copy his example.He shall not strive ... - He shall not shout as a warrior.

He shall be meek, retiring, and peaceful. Streets were places of concourse. The meaning is, that he should not seek publicity and popularity.

19. He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. These words declare the meekness, and gentleness, and modesty of our blessed Saviour. His meekness, that he should not do his work in any passion or roughness, nor carry on his kingdom with any strife or violence. Therefore when the Pharisees took counsel against him, he made no opposition, but peaceably withdrew, until the time came when he was to be delivered; and then he as meekly yielded up himself, rebuking Peter for but drawing a sword for him, and healing his ear which he had wounded. His not crying, nor lifting up his voice, or suffering his voice to be heard in the streets, might either signify his meekness, not crying out to stir up any sedition; or not setting a trumpet to his mouth, when he had wrought a miracle, that people might take notice of it; instead of it he charged the persons healed not to publish it.

He shall not strive,.... Or contend in a wrangling way, as the disputers of this world do about words to no profit, and for the sake of victory only, and popular applause, but shall choose rather to withdraw, than to carry on a controversy to a great length, to little purpose; or, as men litigate a point in a court of judicature, where one is plaintiff, and the other defendant. In the Hebrew text it is, "he shall not cry"; he shall not act the part of a plaintiff; he shall not complain, or bring in any charge, or accusation against any, but choose rather to suffer wrong, than to contend: thus signifies such a cry, as is a complaint of injustice, Isaiah 5:7 and a plaintiff, one that brings an action against another (l): but Christ did not so, he would not accuse to the Father, nor complain against his most implacable enemies, but left that to Moses, in whom they trusted; "nor cry", or, as in the Hebrew text, lift up; that is, his voice, in a clamorous way, using reviling and opprobrious language, or menaces and threatenings; but, on the contrary, he silently put up all abuses, and patiently bore every affront, and behaved peaceably, quietly, committing himself and cause to a righteous God.

Neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets; or, as in the Hebrew text, "nor cause his voice to be heard in the street": the sense is the same, and the meaning is, that he sought not worldly honour, popular applause, and to be seen of men; he did nothing in an ostentatious way, said nothing in his own commendation, was never heard to praise himself, and chose that others should be silent concerning him: for this does not so much regard the lowness of his voice, as if that was not so sonorous as to be heard without doors, when he preached within, as his modest mein and suitable deportment; nor the places where he usually ministered, which was sometimes in the street, as well as in an house, or on a mountain, or by the sea side, or in the temple, and the synagogues. The Ethiopic version here is very wrong, "no man shall hear his voice in the synagogues"; for his voice was often heard there.

(l) Vid. Cocc. Heb. Lex. in rad.

He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
Matthew 12:19-20. Contrast to the conduct of the Jewish teachers. He will not wrangle nor cry (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 337), and so on.

The bruised reed and smoking wick represent those who are spiritually miserable and helpless (Matthew 11:5), whom Christ does not reduce to utter hoplessness and despair, but (Matthew 11:28) to whom He rather gives comfort, and whose moral life He revives and strengthens. And seeing that Matthew 12:17 refers to Matthew 12:16, they cannot be taken to represent the sick, whom Jesus heals (Hengstenberg). For those figures, comp. Isaiah 36:6; Isaiah 58:6; Isaiah 43:17.

ἕως ἂν ἐκβάλῃ κ.τ.λ.] until He shall have led forth to victory the judgment announced by Him, i.e. until He shall have finally accomplished it at the last day. For with this holding of the assize is associated the subjection to it of every hostile power. The final holding of it is the victory of the judgment.

In ἐκβάλῃ, forced out, is implied the idea of violent effort, overcoming the resistance offered. The words, however, do not correspond to the לֶאֱמֶת יוֹעִיא מִשְׁפָּט, Isaiah 42:3, but to the עַד־יָשִׂים בָּאָרֶץ מִשְׁפָּט, Matthew 12:4, as is evident from ἕως, and from the words καὶ τῷ ὀνόματι, etc., which follow. But this is a very free quotation made from memory, with which, however, the expression in Matthew 12:3 (יוציא) is at the same time blended.

19, 20. These verses describe the gentleness and forbearance of Christ. He makes no resistance or loud proclamation like an earthly prince. The bruised reed and the feebly-burning wick may be referred to the failing lives which Jesus restores and the sparks of faith which He revives.

Matthew 12:19. Φωνὴν αὐτοῦ, His voice) sc. from the house. This example of the lowliness and meekness of Jesus aptly precedes the manifestation of His severity in Matthew 12:34; thus also He wept when about to enter Jerusalem, and then expelled them that bought and sold from the temple.

Verse 19. - He shall not strive, nor cry. In Isaiah the clause is, "He shall not cry aloud nor lift up his voice (לא יצעק ולא ישא);" and so the LXX. But "strive" would represent one very frequent connotation of "cry aloud" and its synonyms, for in Eastern lands disputants use their voice much more loudly than we do. This close connexion between the two ideas is seen also in the Syriac Version of Isaiah,. where "lift up his voice" is translated narib, a word meaning primarily "he shall strive," and only secondarily "he shall lift up his voice." It is possible, but not probable, that Matthew's "strive" is taken directly from narib, adopting its primary and commoner meaning, and transposed. Neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets. A slight paraphrase of the original, "nor cause his voice to he heard in the street," perhaps due to different vocalization of the Hebrew. Matthew 12:19
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