Matthew 13:35
That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
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(35) I will open my mouth in parables.—The quotation illustrates, much in the same way as those in 8:17, 12:17, St. Matthew’s peculiar way of dealing with the prophetic language of the Old Testament. He found the word “parable” at the opening of a Psalm (Psalm 78:2). The Psalm itself was in no sense predictive, but simply an historical survey of God’s dealings with Israel from the days of the Exodus to those of David. But the occurrence of the word was enough for him. Here was One whose form of teaching answered to that which the Psalmist had described, who might claim the Psalmist’s words as His own; and excluding, as he did, the idea of chance from all such coincidences, he could use even here the familiar formula, “that it might be fulfilled.”

A remarkable various-reading gives, “by Esaias the prophet.” It is found in the Sinaitic MS., and had been used before the time of Jerome by a heathen writer (Porphyry) as a proof of St. Matthew’s ignorance. Old as it is, however, there is no reason for receiving it as the original reading. The mistake was probably that of a transcriber, misled by the word “prophet,” and writing the name after the precedent of Matthew 8:17; Matthew 12:17. If the mistake had been St. Matthew’s, it would stand on the same footing as the substitution of Jeremiah for Zechariah in Matthew 27:9. The Psalm is assigned by the superscription to the authorship of Asaph.

13:31-35 The scope of the parable of the seed sown, is to show that the beginnings of the gospel would be small, but its latter end would greatly increase; in this way the work of grace in the heart, the kingdom of God within us, would be carried on. In the soul where grace truly is, it will grow really; though perhaps at first not to be discerned, it will at last come to great strength and usefulness. The preaching of the gospel works like leaven in the hearts of those who receive it. The leaven works certainly, so does the word, yet gradually. It works silently, and without being seen, Mr 4:26-29, yet strongly; without noise, for so is the way of the Spirit, but without fail. Thus it was in the world. The apostles, by preaching the gospel, hid a handful of leaven in the great mass of mankind. It was made powerful by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts, who works, and none can hinder. Thus it is in the heart. When the gospel comes into the soul, it works a thorough change; it spreads itself into all the powers and faculties of the soul, and alters the property even of the members of the body, Ro 6:13. From these parables we are taught to expect a gradual progress; therefore let us inquire, Are we growing in grace? and in holy principles and habits?That it might be fulfilled - This is taken from Psalm 78:2-3. The sense, and not the very words of the Psalm, are given. Christ taught, as did that prophet - Asaph - in parables. The words of Asaph described the manner in which Christ taught, and in this sense it could be said that they were fulfilled. See the notes at Matthew 1:22-23. 35. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying—(Ps 78:2, nearly as in the Septuagint).

I will open my mouth in parables, &c.—Though the Psalm seems to contain only a summary of Israelitish history, the Psalmist himself calls it "a parable," and "dark sayings from of old"—as containing, underneath the history, truths for all time, not fully brought to light till the Gospel day.

Ver. 34,35. Christ spake all the aforementioned things to the multitude, and also to his disciples, in parables, dark sayings, covering Divine and spiritual truths with fit and proper similitudes; and at this time he delivered himself wholly in this manner to them, though at other times he spake more plainly. He gave us the reason before; and by this way of speaking also he made his own disciples more diligent to attend to what they heard, and more inquisitive after the true sense and meaning of it. And thus, saith the evangelist, that which was spoken by the prophet, Psalm 78:2, was also fulfilled in Christ: not that the psalmist, whether David or Asaph, did there prophesy concerning Christ, for plainly the psalmist intended to relate the history of God’s dealing with the Jews, and their behaviour toward him. Nor was it fulfilled as the type in the antitype, but as a thing of the same nature was done. The prophet delivered himself in dark sayings, so did Christ, but instead of I will utter dark sayings of old, the evangelist hath,

which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world; he means the great and mysterious things of the gospel, hid from ages and generations, Colossians 1:26 1 Corinthians 2:7 Romans 16:25, where it is called the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began. As the psalmist opened his mouth in grave discourses, tending to the good of the people to whom he spake; so Christ taught the people, by revealing the mysteries of the gospel, hid in God from the beginning of the world, as Paul speaks to the Ephesians, Ephesians 3:9.

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet,.... Not Isaiah, as some copies in the times of Jerom read, but Asaph, who is called Asaph the seer, 2 Chronicles 29:30 which is all one as a prophet; vision is one sort of prophecy (d); and there was such a thing as prophesying with harps, psalteries and cymbals, as well as in other ways, and with which Asaph and his sons are said to prophesy, 1 Chronicles 25:1 so that he is very rightly called a prophet by the evangelist, who is cited, saying, Psalm 78:2.

I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world: which Psalm, though a history of the dealings of God with the people of Israel, and of the many deliverances wrought for them, yet as the (e) Jewish writers observe, contain many things in it, expressed in a parabolical and enigmatical way; such as God's furnishing a table in the wilderness, kindling a fire against Jacob, opening the doors of heaven, giving the corn of heaven, and angels' food, and delivering his strength into captivity; and besides, the very historical facts recorded of the people of Israel, were types of things future under the Gospel dispensation: now as Asaph, by divine inspiration, delivered these parables and dark sayings, so Christ expressed the Gospel, and the mysteries of it, in a parabolical way, which were hid in God, and under the shadows of the law; and so were kept secret from the beginning of the world, and from the multitude, though now made known to the apostles, and by them to others, according to the will of God,

(d) R. David Kimchi, Shorash. rad. (e) Aben Ezra & Kirachi in loc.

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.
Matthew 13:35. The circumstance that, on this occasion, Jesus spoke exclusively in parabolic language, was supposed, according to the divine order in history, to be a fulfilling[450] of, and so on.

προφήτου] Asaph, who in 2 Chronicles 29:30 is called הַחֹזֶה (LXX. has ΤΟῦ ΠΡΟΦΉΤΟΥ). The passage referred to is Psalm 78:2, the first half being according to the LXX., the second a free rendering of the Hebrew text,

ἘΡΕΎΓΕΣΘΑΙ] to give forth from the mouth, הַבִּיַע, employed by Alexandrian Jews in the sense of pronuntiare, Psalm 18:2; Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 63 f.

κεκρυμμ. ἀπὸ καταβ. κόσμ.] i.e. ΤᾺ ΜΥΣΤΉΡΙΑ Τῆς ΒΑΣΙΛΕΊΑς, Romans 16:25.

[450] The passage, however, is not a prophecy so far as its historical meaning is concerned, but only according to the typical reference which the evangelist discerns in it. In the original Hebrew it is expressly said במשׁל, not in parables, but in a song of proverbs, the contents of which, however, though historical from beginning to end, “latentes rerum Messiae figuras continebat” (Grotius), and a similar instance of which we meet with afterwards in the discourse of Stephen. Accordingly, the prophet, instructing and warning as he does by means of a typical use of history, is looked upon by the evangelist as the type of Christ speaking in parabolic narratives, and through this medium unfolding the mysteries of the completed theocracy. In Christ he finds realized what the prophet says with reference to himself: ἀνοίξω, etc., and ἑρεύξομαι, etc., the antitypical fulfillment, though it must be granted that in doing so it is undoubtedly the expression ἐν παραβολαῖς on which he makes the whole thing to turn, but that, availing himself of a freedom acknowledged to be legitimate in the use of types, he has employed that expression in a special sense, and one that is foreign to the original Hebrew.

Matthew 13:35. rophetic citation from Psalm 78:2, suggested by παραβολαῖς in Sept[83], second clause, free translation from Hebrew.—ἐρεύξομαι in Sept[84] for הּבִּיעַ in Psalm 19:2, etc. (not in Psalm 78:2), a poetic word in Ionic form, bearing strong, coarse meaning; used in softened sense in Hellenistic Greek. Chief value of this citation: a sign that the parabolic teaching of Jesus, like His healing ministry, was sufficiently outstanding to call for recognition in this way.

[83] Septuagint.

[84] Septuagint.

35. Psalm 78:2. The quotation does not agree verbally with the LXX. It is a direct translation of the Hebrew. The psalm which follows these words is a review of the history of Israel from the Exodus to the reign of David. This indicates the somewhat wide sense given to “parables” and “dark sayings.”

Matthew 13:35. Τὸ ῥηθὲν, which was spoken) viz. Psalm 78:2ἀνοίξω ἐν παραβολαῖς τὸ στόμα μου, φθέγξομαι προβλήματα ἀπʼ ἀρχῆς, I will open my month in parables, I will utter [things which have been] problems from the beginning.—προφήτου, prophet) who was the author of that psalm. The Spirit of Christ was in the prophets; therefore the prophets could, after their manner, predicate of themselves those things which were afterwards most richly fulfilled in Christ.—ἀνοίξω, I will open) which before had not been done.—ἀνοίξω, I will utter) in Hebrew אביעה, I will pour out, which the LXX. elsewhere render ἐρεύγομαι in Psalm 19:3, and ἐξερεύγομαι in Psalm 119:171; Psalm 145:7. Hesychius renders ἐρεύγεται by ἀναβάλλει, throws up, i.e. as a spring does water. He also renders ἐρεύγετο by ἐβρύχετο, roared, ἔβρυεν, was overflowing with; but βρύχειν is said of the noise of the floods, and the roaring of the lion. Therefore the verb ἐρεύγομαι denotes a gushing spring, which resounds by reason of the abundance and impetuosity of its waters; whence the LXX. put ἐρεύγεσθαι also for שאג, to roar.—καταβολῆς, foundation) It does not mean only the foundations, but also the building; see 2Ma 2:29.

Verse 35. - That it might be fulfilled (Matthew 1:22, note) which was spoken by (through, Revised Version; Matthew 1:22, note) the prophet; rather, Isaiah the prophet, according to the margin of Westcott and Hort, on the evidence of the original hand of the Sinaitic and a few cursive manuscripts, the Rushworth Latin Gospels, a manuscript of the AEthiopic Version, the Clementine Homilies, Porphyry as quoted by Jerome, and remarks by Eusebius. Dr. Herr ('Appendix') writes, "It is difficult not to think Ἠσαίου genuine. There was a strong temptation to omit it (cf. 27:9; Mc. Mark 1:2); and, though its insertion might be accounted for by an impulse to supply the name of the best known prophet, the evidence of the actual operation of such an impulse is much more trifling than might have been anticipated .... The erroneous introduction of Isaiah's name is limited to two passages, and in each case to a single Latin manuscript." If it be genuine, it is a parallel case to the reading "Jeremiah" instead of "Zechariah" in Matthew 27:9, for which no satisfactory explanation has yet been suggested. A simple error of memory (cf. Alford) on the part of one who shows himself so well acquainted with Hebrew customs and modes of thought as our evangelist does, is perhaps the most improbable of all solutions. Possibly, just as there were summaries of legal maxims current in our Lord's time (cf. Matthew 5:21, note), so there were in Hebrew-Christian circles well known sets of quotations from the Old Testament, which were not expressly divided one from another (cf. Romans 3:10-18), and which were ferreted to under the name of the author of the best known passage. (Observe that this would distinguish these summaries from liturgical quotations.) Thus Zechariah's mention of the potter (Zechariah 11:13) was placed in connexion with Jeremiah's visit to the potter's house, and with his warning of the possible rejection of Israel (Jeremiah 18:1-6; cf. 19:1-11); cf. further Pusey's remarks on the passage in Zechariah, and Psalm 78:2 (or perhaps 1-3), where Israel is bid listen to the lessons derived from their ancestors' behaviour, with the warning in Isaiah 6:9, 10 (cf. our vers. 34, 35 with ver. 14). We have an example of a similar connexion of passages in Mark 1:2, 3, where Malachi 3:1 is closely joined to Isaiah 40:3. Observe that if St. Mark had copied his source (ex hypothesi) to the end of the quotation from Malachi, and for some reason omitted the next quotation, he might very easily have still retained the name "Isaiah" with which he introduces his double quotation. Had he done so, we should have had another parallel to our present verse and Matthew 27:9. The prophet. If "Isaiah" be not genuine, this refers to "Asaph the seer" (2 Chronicles 29:30), who was the recognized author of the psalm. So David is called "a prophet" in Acts 2:30. Saying, I will open my mouth (Matthew 5:2, note) in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. From Psalm 78:1, 2. The first clause of the quotation is verbally the same as the LXX., and fairly represents the meaning of the original (אפתחה במשל פי). The second clause is different from the LXX., the first verb being a literal translation from the Hebrew, and the rest a paraphrase. I will utter (ἐρεύξομαι: אביעה): so the LXX. in Psalm 19:2; and cf. Psalm 119:171; Psalm 145:7. Things which have been kept secret (κεκρυμμένα); but the Hebrew is חידות, i.e. "enigmatical sayings." From the foundation of the world. Ἀπὸ καταβολῆς, for κόσμου of the Received Text must be omitted. But the Hebrew מני קדם (i.e. "from of old") hardly, in the context of the psalm, refers further back than the be ginning of the national history of Israel, when the Israelites came out of Egypt. "Asaph... here recounts to the people their history from that Egyptaeo-Sinaitic age of yore to which Israel's national indepen dence and specific position in relation to the rest of the world goes back He will set forth the history of the fathers after the manner of a parable and riddle, so that it may become as a parable, i.e. a didactic history, and its events as marks of interrogation and nota benes to the present age" (Delitzsch). What, however, is the exact connexion of thought in the gospel between the passage as it stands, and its context? The first clause evidently corresponds in meaning to ver. 34; Christ fulfils in a fresh sense the expression of the psalmist by speaking in parables (vide infra). But the second clause brings in a different thought, not found, save very indirectly, in ver. 34, namely, that Christ utters things that be fore were always hidden. What does the evangelist mean by this second clause?

(1) Truths never before revealed have now been revealed by Christ's parables, especially by those two which have just been related. For in these it has been affirmed that outsiders, i.e. those belonging to other nations than the Jewish nation, shall seek the protection of the kingdom of heaven, and also that the whole world, including, therefore, these Gentile nations, shall become permeated with its principles. It may well be thought that the clause refers to the announcement of these great truths.

(2) This interpretation, however, if taken alone, is not enough. For the evangelist is not speaking of Christ revealing truths to men generally. On the contrary, he says that Christ does not reveal them to the multi tudes, but to his disciples (cf. ver. 10, sqq.) - a contrast which the emphatic language of ver. 34 (τοῖς ὄχλοις αὐτοῖς) would probably suggest, even though it is not expressly mentioned. It is, therefore, likely that it was this latter fact to which the evangelist specially wished to refer by his quotation of the second clause. Hence, to make his meaning clearer, he has modified its language. As he quotes it, not merely "enigmatical sayings," but "things hidden" (and that from the foundation of the world) are uttered by Christ; but these are now no longer "hidden" to those to whom he speaks them. This complete meaning of the clause - revelation to his disciples of truths before hidden - corresponds to the idea of μυστήριον in ver. 11 (where see note) and in St. Paul (cf. especially Romans 16:25), and is merely another side of St. Mark's phrase, "Privately to his own disciples he expounded all things" (cf. supra, vers. 16, 17). It is also possible that κεκρυμμένα, which is not merely negative, so as to mean "unrevealed," but implies a positive concealment, includes a reference to the thought of ἔκρυψας in Matthew 11:25, that God purposely hid these truths from those who were morally unfit to receive them. These, indeed, belonged in general to the times before Christ came, but also "the multitudes" came under this category. If it be asked - What is the relation of the quotation in its context here to the verse in its original context? the easiest answer is that it is only superficial, that the "accidental" employment by the psalmist of the word "parable" was the only reason why the evangelist made the quotation. Yet it may not be quite so; for there was a real similarity between the psalmist teaching his contemporaries by history and Christ teaching his contemporaries by truths couched in narrative form. May we not go even further, and say that in both cases the message was, generally speaking, refused, though in both a remnant of those who heard it were saved (cf also Isaiah 6:9-13; vide supra)? Matthew 13:35I will utter (ἐρεύξομαι)

The verb, in which the sound corresponds to the sense (ereuxoma,), means originally to belch, to disgorge. Homer uses it of the sea surging against the shore ("Iliad," xvii., 265). Pindar of the eruption of Aetna ("Pyth.," i., 40). There seems to lie in the word a sense of full, impassioned utterance, as of a prophet.

From the foundation (ἀπὸ καταβολῆς)

"It is assumed by the Psalmsist.(Psalm 78:2) that there was a hidden meaning in God's ancient dealings with his people. A typical, archetypical, and prefigurative element ran through the whole. The history of the dealings is one long Old Testament parable. Things long kept secret, and that were hidden indeed in the depths of the divine mind from before the foundation of the world, were involved in these dealings. And hence the evangelist wisely sees, in the parabolic teaching of our Lord, a real culmination of the older parabolic teaching of the Psalmsist. The culmination was divinely intended, and hence the expression that it might be fulfilled" (Morison on Matthew).

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