Matthew 12:25
And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:
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(25) Jesus knew their thoughts.—The Searcher of Hearts saw the meaning of the whispers and the looks of real or affected horror, and now enters on a full answer to the charge. Of all the accusations brought against Him this was the one that caused the greatest Pain, and drew forth the most indignant answer. He had restored peace and joy, freedom of reason and will to those who had lost them, had been doing His Father’s work on earth, and He was accused of being in league with the powers of evil. The work of healing was represented as the bait of the Tempter luring men to their final destruction.

Every kingdom divided against itself.—The answer assumes, as the teaching of the New Testament does from first to last, the existence of a kingdom of evil, compact and organised, with a distinct unity of purpose. The laws which govern the life of other kingdoms are applicable to that also. Its head and ruler was not likely to enter on a work which was self-destructive. Reason, calmness, peace, these were not his gifts to men.

Matthew 12:25-26. And Jesus knew their thoughts — “It often happens, that through ignorance or weakness men form wrong judgments of things;” a conduct which, though censurable, admits of some excuse: “but when wrong judgments proceed from evil dispositions, then, indeed, do they become highly culpable. Therefore, to show that the judgment which the Pharisees passed at this time upon our Lord’s miracles was of the latter kind, the evangelist observes, that Jesus knew their thoughts: he knew that the wickedness of their hearts, and not the weakness of their understandings, had led them to form the opinion they had uttered, if it was their real opinion; or rather, to affirm it contrary to the conviction of their minds, which was the reason that, at the conclusion of his defence, he reprimanded them in the sharpest manner.” And said, Every kingdom divided against itself &c. — He proceeds to demonstrate the absurdity of their calumny, by an argument drawn from the common affairs of life: —

As if he had said, “If evil spirits assist me in working miracles for the confirmation of my doctrine, they do what they can to promote the spiritual worship and ardent love of the true God, and, as effectually as possible, excite men to the practice of universal justice, benevolence, temperance, and self-government; all these virtues being powerfully recommended by my doctrine. But thus to make the evil spirits fight against themselves, is evidently to make them ruin their own interest; unless it can be thought that the strength and welfare of a society is advanced by jarring discord and destructive civil wars. Your judgment, therefore, of my conduct, is palpably malicious and absurd.” — Macknight. The word Beelzebub signifies the lord or master of flies. This was the great idol of the Ekronites; and from his name we may infer that they considered him as having the command of the various insects wherewith, in those warm climates, they were infested, and which ofttimes gathered into such swarms as proved both a noisome and a deadly plague. The Greeks, likewise, had a god, whose title was μυιαργος, Muscarum venator, The destroyer of flies. But he was in no great reputation among them, their country not being subject to this sort of calamity. The Ekronites being near neighbours to the Jews, the great veneration which they had for this idol made him the object both of the horror and detestation of the devout worshippers of the true God. Accordingly, to express in what detestation they held him, they appropriated his name to the most hateful being in the universe, calling the devil, or the prince of the evil angels. Beelzebub; for the next verse shows, that Beelzebub and Satan are different names of the same person; and consequently that Satan was considered as the prince of those demons who were cast out by Christ, and who are elsewhere represented as his angels. The word in the Greek is Beelzebul, which signifies, the lord of a dunghill, and seems to be a contemptuous change of the former name, by which it was intimated, that the noblest of the heathen deities were more fit to dwell on a dunghill than to be worshipped in a magnificent temple.

12:22-30 A soul under Satan's power, and led captive by him, is blind in the things of God, and dumb at the throne of grace; sees nothing, and says nothing to the purpose. Satan blinds the eyes by unbelief, and seals up the lips from prayer. The more people magnified Christ, the more desirous the Pharisees were to vilify him. It was evident that if Satan aided Jesus in casting out devils, the kingdom of hell was divided against itself; how then could it stand! And if they said that Jesus cast out devils by the prince of the devils, they could not prove that their children cast them out by any other power. There are two great interests in the world; and when unclean spirits are cast out by the Holy Spirit, in the conversion of sinners to a life of faith and obedience, the kingdom of God is come unto us. All who do not aid or rejoice in such a change are against Christ.And Jesus knew their thoughts ... - To know the thoughts of the heart belongs only to God, Psalm 139:2; Jeremiah 17:10.

Every kingdom ... - Their subtle and cunning device was completely foiled, and Jesus made their argument recoil on their own heads. A kingdom or a family can prosper only by living in harmony. The different parts and members must unite in promoting the same objects. If divided - if one part undoes what the other does - it must fall. So with the kingdom of Satan. It is your doctrine that Satan has "possessed" these whom I have cured. It is also your doctrine that he has helped me to cure them. If so, then he has helped me to undo what he had done. He has aided me to cast himself out - that is, to oppose and discomfit himself. At this rate, how can there be any stability in his kingdom? It must fall, and Satan must have less than human prudence.

25. And Jesus knew their thoughts—"called them" (Mr 3:23).

and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand—"house," that is, "household"

See Poole on "Matthew 12:26".

And Jesus knew their thoughts,.... He not only heard their blasphemous words, but was privy to their secret thoughts; he knew their vile malicious intentions and designs, with what view they expressed themselves in this manner, on purpose to reproach him, and set the people against him, contrary to the inward light of their minds, and dictates of their consciences; who must, and did know the contrary of what they said: and regarding the inward frame of their minds, as well as their words, and which is a proof of his omniscience, and so of his deity, and consequently of his Messiahship,

said unto them the following parables, as Mark calls them, Mark 3:23 or proverbial expressions:

every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; a government, in which there is a disagreement between the chiefs of it, and the body of the people, or where one part is opposed to the other, or in which a civil and intestine war is begun and prosecuted, cannot continue in any comfortable situation, and flourishing state, but must come to nothing: this is a maxim that has been so often fatally verified, that no one will doubt the truth of it; and the same holds true of lesser communities, of cities, and families:

and every city, or house, divided against itself, shall not stand. If citizens fall out with their magistrates, or one with another, and turn out, and disfranchise each other; and if the heads of families, and the respective branches thereof, quarrel with, and divide from one another, a dissolution of the whole must ensue; and the same may be said of the kingdom and government of Satan. These, it is very likely, were common sayings among the Jews, and they might be very easily understood by them; and are very appropriately produced by Christ to illustrate the present case, and confute the vile and blasphemous suggestions of the Pharisees: a proverbial expression, much like to these, is to be read in the writings of the Jews, , "every house, in which there is a division, at the end shall come to desolation" (u).

(u) Derech Eretz, c. 5.

{5} And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand:

(5) The kingdom of Christ and the kingdom of the devil cannot abide together.

Matthew 12:25-30. The theory shown to be absurd.

25. Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation] Not that civil disputes destroy a nation, but a nation disunited, rent by factions, in the presence of a common enemy must fall. Here Satan’s kingdom is regarded as warring against the kingdom of God.

Matthew 12:25. Ἐνθυμήσεις, thoughts) most bitter ones; cf. Matthew 12:34-35.——βασιλεία, kingdom) First the kingdom of Satan is treated of, then his house, and, in ver 26, Satan himself; whose kingdom contains wicked men, whose house, devils.—οὐ σταθήσεται, shall not be established, shall not be made to stand) sc. by its master or lord. Ammonius[570] says: σταθῆναι μέν ἐστι τὸ ὑφʼ ἑτέρου· στῆναι δὲ, τὸ κατʼ ἰδίαν ῥώμην, καὶ προαίρεσιν, i.e. σταθῆναι is to stand by means of another, but ΣΤῆΝΑΙ is to stand by its own strength and will.

[570] Not the author of the Ammonian Sections, but AMMONIUS, the son of Hermias, a Peripatetic philosopher, disciple of Proclus, who flourished in the sixth century. His work, De differentia dictionum, is to be found in a Greek dictionary, published in folio at Venice in 1497; and it is also printed in a collection of ancient Grammarians which appeared in quarto at Leyden in 1739.—(I. B.)

Verses 25-37. - Our Lord shows the monstrous character of their accusation, and urges the need of a complete change at heart.

(1) An a priori argument that such an action on Satan's part, as they suppose, would be self-destructive (vers. 25, 26).

(2) An argumentum ad hominem. The Pharisees cannot logically and morally acknowledge that their disciples' miracles are performed by Divine help without acknowledging that Jesus' miracles are also. But then they ought to recognize what this implies-that the kingdom of God has come (vers. 27, 28).

(3) This last alternative is true; for how otherwise can they explain the fact of Satan's captives being released (ver. 29)?

(4) An appeal to them and to the bystanders to be decided (ver. 30).

(5) Therefore he warns them solemnly against committing the sin for which there is no forgiveness (vers. 31, 32).

(6) Why be surprised at this language? Their words show that they need a complete change at heart (vers. 33-35).

(7) Is this to make too much of words? It is by words that men will be judged (vers. 36, 37). Verse 25. - Vers 25, 26, parallel passages: Mark 3:24, 25; Luke 11:17, 18. And Jesus knew their thoughts (Matthew 9:4, note), and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation. According to Mark 3:23, our Lord begins with the direct retort, "How can Satan cast out Satan?" But while that gives, of course, our Lord's thought, it is very unlike his method, which is to begin his reply with a parabolic saying. And every city. Matthew only. Or house divided against itself. It is worth noticing that, apart from all metaphor, the peasants' houses in some districts of Palestine are built of such poor material as to easily give way and burst in half (cf. Thomson, 'Land and the Book,' p. 390, edit. 1887). Shall not stand. Neither kingdom, town, nor family can endure such self-destruction; no, nor an individual. There is, too, the further thought that Satan is more than a mere individual; that he is bound up with his kingdom, and his kingdom with him. Matthew 12:25
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