Matthew 13:12
For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
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(12) Whosoever hath, to him shall be given.—The words have the ring of a proverb applicable, in its literal meaning, to the conditions of worldly prosperity. There fortune smiles on the fortunate, and nothing succeeds like success. Something like that law, our Lord tells His disciples, is to be found in the conditions of spiritual growth in wisdom. They had some elements of that wisdom, and therefore, using their knowledge rightly, could pass on to more. The people, including even scribes and Pharisees, were as those that had few or none, and not using even the little that they had, were in danger of losing even that. The faithless Jew was sinking down to the level of a superstitious heathen. The proverb accordingly teaches the same lesson as that which we afterwards find developed in the parables of the Talents and the Pounds.

13:1-23 Jesus entered into a boat that he might be the less pressed, and be the better heard by the people. By this he teaches us in the outward circumstances of worship not to covet that which is stately, but to make the best of the conveniences God in his providence allots to us. Christ taught in parables. Thereby the things of God were made more plain and easy to those willing to be taught, and at the same time more difficult and obscure to those who were willingly ignorant. The parable of the sower is plain. The seed sown is the word of God. The sower is our Lord Jesus Christ, by himself, or by his ministers. Preaching to a multitude is sowing the corn; we know not where it will light. Some sort of ground, though we take ever so much pains with it, brings forth no fruit to purpose, while the good soil brings forth plentifully. So it is with the hearts of men, whose different characters are here described by four sorts of ground. Careless, trifling hearers, are an easy prey to Satan; who, as he is the great murderer of souls, so he is the great thief of sermons, and will be sure to rob us of the word, if we take not care to keep it. Hypocrites, like the stony ground, often get the start of true Christians in the shows of profession. Many are glad to hear a good sermon, who do not profit by it. They are told of free salvation, of the believer's privileges, and the happiness of heaven; and, without any change of heart, without any abiding conviction of their own depravity, their need of a Saviour, or the excellence of holiness, they soon profess an unwarranted assurance. But when some heavy trial threatens them, or some sinful advantage may be had, they give up or disguise their profession, or turn to some easier system. Worldly cares are fitly compared to thorns, for they came in with sin, and are a fruit of the curse; they are good in their place to stop a gap, but a man must be well armed that has much to do with them; they are entangling, vexing, scratching, and their end is to be burned, Heb 6:8. Worldly cares are great hinderances to our profiting by the word of God. The deceitfulness of riches does the mischief; they cannot be said to deceive us unless we put our trust in them, then they choke the good seed. What distinguished the good ground was fruitfulness. By this true Christians are distinguished from hypocrites. Christ does not say that this good ground has no stones in it, or no thorns; but none that could hinder its fruitfulness. All are not alike; we should aim at the highest, to bring forth most fruit. The sense of hearing cannot be better employed than in hearing God's word; and let us look to ourselves that we may know what sort of hearers we are.Whosoever hath ... - This is a proverbial method of speaking.

It means that a man who improves what light, grace, and opportunities he has, shall have them increased. From him that improves them not, it is proper that they should be taken away. The Jews had many opportunities of learning the truth, and some light still lingered among them; but they were gross and sensual, and misimproved them, and it was a just judgment that they should be deprived of them. Superior knowledge was given to the disciples of Christ: they improved it, however slowly, and the promise was that it should be greatly increased.

12. For whosoever hath—that is, keeps; as a thing which he values.

to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance—He will be rewarded by an increase of what he so much prizes.

but whosoever hath not—who lets this go or lie unused, as a thing on which he sets no value.

from him shall be taken away even that he hath—or as it is in Luke (Lu 8:18), "what he seemeth to have," or, thinketh he hath. This is a principle of immense importance, and, like other weighty sayings, appears to have been uttered by our Lord on more than one occasion, and in different connections. (See on [1288]Mt 25:9). As a great ethical principle, we see it in operation everywhere, under the general law of habit; in virtue of which moral principles become stronger by exercise, while by disuse, or the exercise of their contraries, they wax weaker, and at length expire. The same principle reigns in the intellectual world, and even in the animal—if not in the vegetable also—as the facts of physiology sufficiently prove. Here, however, it is viewed as a divine ordination, as a judicial retribution in continual operation under the divine administration.

Ver. 11,12. Mark saith, Mark 4:11, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables. Luke saith no more than, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables. Only, Matthew 8:18, he saith,

Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have. Because it is given to you, &c; given by my Father: God, according to the good pleasure of his will, hath given to some persons to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, more than to others. Some here distinguish concerning the things which concern the kingdom of God. The laws of his kingdom, they say, are delivered plainly viz. those things which are necessary to be known in order to our salvation are delivered plainly, so as we may understand them. But there are other things that belong to his kingdom not so necessary to be known in order to salvation, these God giveth to some only to know. I cannot agree to this notion. God manifested in the flesh is the great mystery of the gospel, the mystery hid from ages, yet I am sure the knowledge of Christ as such is necessary to salvation. I therefore think the emphasis lieth upon know.

1. There is a more general and confused knowledge of a thing; and there is a more distinct, clear, particular knowledge.

2. There is a mere notional knowledge, and there is a more effective, experimental knowledge.

To you my Father hath given eternal life, and, as means in order to it, to know more clearly, particularly, and distinctly the things that concern the kingdom of God; to know and to believe in me, who am the Saviour of the world: my Father hath no such special and particular kindness for the generality of this people, and therefore he hath not given to them the same aids and assistance.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: by him that hath, some understand, he that hath and maketh use of what he hath, and that is plainly the sense of it Matthew 25:29, where it is the epiparabola, or conclusion of the parable about the talents. But though the preceding parable plainly leadeth to such a sense there, yet the preceding words seem as directly to lead to another sense here, and what is the more natural and proper signification of the word hath, which most naturally signifies to have a thing in our possession. He that hath, therefore, in all reason signifies, he that hath that which, Matthew 13:11, is said to be given. He that hath the saving knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. To him that doth not so much come to hear me out of curiosity, and comprehends by his understanding something of my will, but hath a heart that embraces and receiveth me, so as he believeth in me. To him that hath the seed of God in him as in good ground.

Shall be given: that is expounded by the next words,

and he shall have more abundance; he shall have more grace, a more full, and clear, and distinct knowledge of me, and the things which concern my kingdom.

But whosoever hath not, hath not the seed of God, a true root of grace, in whom the seed of my word hath not fallen as in good ground, but only as in the highway, or in thorny or stony ground,

from him shall be taken away even that which he hath. How can that be?

Answer: It must not be understood of things in the same nature and kind; Luke expounds it, Matthew 8:18, by o dokei ecein, that which either to himself or to others he seemeth to have. He that hath not a truth of grace may think he hath: his hope and opinion of himself shall fail. Others may, from his gifts and parts, think he hath. God shall unmask him, taking away his common gifts, or suffering him to fall into and be overcome by foul temptations. His gifts and parts shall decay, his moral righteousness will abate by God’s just dereliction of him, and withholding his restraining grace.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given,.... Whoever has the true grace of God implanted in him, has a saving knowledge of Christ, and a spiritual acquaintance with the doctrines of the Gospel, shall have more grace given him; he shall grow in the knowledge of Christ, and the Spirit of truth shall lead him into all truth:

and he shall have more abundance: of grace, light, knowledge, and experience: all grace shall be made to abound towards him; he shall be filled with all the fulness of God, and shall arrive to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; and his light shall shine more and more unto the perfect day.

But whosoever hath not: the truth of grace, nor a spiritual knowledge of Christ, nor any experience of the doctrines of the Gospel,

from him shall be taken away, even that he hath, or "that which he seemed to have", as Luke expresses it; for everything besides true grace is a mere show, and has no solidity in it; as natural parts, human learning, and a form of knowledge and of truth in the law, the national church state of the Jews, with all the outward privileges appertaining thereunto, all which may be here meant; and even speculative notions of the Gospel, the external gifts of the Spirit, the means of grace, the Gospel of the kingdom of God, and the ministry of it, which in process of time were wholly taken from these people.

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Matthew 13:12. Proverbial saying derived from the experience of ordinary life (Matthew 25:29): The wealthy man will become still richer even to superabundance; while the poor man, again, will lose the little that still remains to him; see Wetstein. In this instance the saying is used with reference to spiritual possessions, and is applied thus: With the knowledge you have already acquired, you are ever penetrating more deeply and fully into the things of God’s kingdom; the multitude, on the other hand, would lose altogether the little capacity it has for understanding divine truth, unless I were to assist its weak powers of apprehension by parabolic illustrations. The contrast between the two cases in question is not to be regarded as consisting in uti and non uti (Grotius), being willing and not being willing (Schegg).

For the passive περισσεύεσθαι, to be in possession of a superabundance, see on Luke 15:17.

ὅστις ἔχει is the nominative absolute, as in Matthew 7:24, Matthew 10:14. ἔχειν and οὐκ ἔχειν, in the sense of rich and poor, is likewise very common in classical authors, Ast, ad Plat. Legg. V. p. 172; Bornemann, ad Xen. Anab. vi. 6. 38.

Matthew 13:12. his moral apothegm is here given only in Matt. It contains a great truth, whether spoken or not on this occasion. For the construction, vide at Matthew 10:14.—περισσευθήσεται: again in Matthew 25:29, where the saying is repeated. This use of the passive in a neuter sense belongs to late Greek.

12. Cp. ch. Matthew 25:29.

Matthew 13:12. Ἔχει, hath) to have, signifies to be rich. He who hath rejoices in this as his distinguishing criterion, viz. that he is one that hath, and becomes day by day more sure of perseverance.—περισσευθήσεται, he shall be rendered more abundant[604]) and shall surpass his former self.[605]—ὅστις οὐκ ἔχει, whosoever hath not) The conjunction ὅτι (because), in Matthew 13:13, refers to this, and μήποτε (lest at any time), in Matthew 13:15, to ἀρθήσεται (shall be taken away).—καὶ ὃ ἔχει, even that which he hath) shall be taken away.—ἀρθήσεται, shall be taken away) Even though he hear, yet he shall not hear; and that which he hath heard shall at length (undoubtedly after the judgment) be so taken away from him, that he shall be as if he had never heard anything. The damned shall be tortured with ignorance, and the thirst for knowledge.

[604] E. V. Shall have more abundance.—(I. B.)

[605] “This is the case in things temporal, and much more so in things spiritual.”—B. G. V.

Verse 12. - Matthew only in this context, but found in the parallel passages shortly after the explanation of this parable - Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18. The same saying is found in Matthew 25:29 (the talents) and Luke 19:26 (the pounds). For. The reason of God's action spoken of in the preceding verse. It is based on the following principle. Whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. The last phrase (Matthew only) is probably dub to a reminiscence of the form in which the saying was uttered at a much later period in our Lord's ministry, where it arises naturally out of the parable (Matthew 25:29). But whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. A paradox. What he already possesses, if it is so small as to be not worth speaking of, shall be lost to him. Luke's "thinketh he hath" calls attention to the superficial character of the man's mind. The unfit ground loses the seed it receives (cf. the remarks at the beginning of this chapter). Matthew 13:12
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