Matthew 13:45
Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
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(45) Like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls.—Here again the illustration would commend itself to the thoughts of the fishermen of Galilee. The caprices of luxury in the Roman empire had given a prominence to pearls, as an article of commerce, which they had never had before, and have probably never had since. They, rather than emeralds and sapphires, were the typical instance of all costliest adornments (Matthew 7:6; 1Timothy 2:9). The story of Cleopatra, the fact that the opening of a new pearl market was one of the alleged motives which led the Emperor Claudius to invade Britain, are indications of the value that was then set on the “goodly pearls” of the parable. Such a merchant seeking them, either on the shores of the Mediterranean, or as brought by caravans to other traders from the Persian Gulf or the Indian Ocean, must have been a familiar presence to the fishermen of Capernaum. The parable in its spiritual bearing, has, of course, much that is common with the preceding. But there is this marked and suggestive difference. The “search” is presupposed, The man has been seeking the “goodly pearls” of wisdom, holiness, and truth, and has found them in at least some of their lower forms. Then he is led to the higher knowledge of communion with the life of Christ, and for that is content to resign all that he had before prized most highly. Such, in the records of the New Testament, was the history of St. Paul when he counted “all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord” (Philippians 3:8). Such, in after days, was the history of Justin Martyr and Augustine. Such, in our own time, has been that of many noble and true-hearted seekers after truth and holiness. Such will evermore be the history of those who are faithful in a very little, and who, “willing to do the will of God, shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God” (John 7:17).

Matthew 13:45-46. Again, the kingdom of heaven — That is, one that earnestly seeks for it; is like unto a merchant-man, who goes about from one city or country to another, seeking goodly, or beautiful pearls, or jewels. Thus the sacred writers often compare and prefer wisdom, or true religion, to costly jewels. See Job 28:15-19; Proverbs 3:15; Proverbs 8:11. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price — Of an exceeding great value, sold all that he had and bought it — As well knowing he would be a great gainer though he should part with all he possessed for it. Titus the truly enlightened believer freely and readily gives up, not only all sin, but all that is in the world, which he is called to part with, that he may receive the kingdom of God into his heart, and may be made a partaker of the blessings of the gospel. “He,” says Baxter, “that findeth not by faith enough in the love of God and heavenly glory, and in Christ the way thereto, to make him consent sincerely and practically to sell or part with all the world, rather than lose it, is not capable of a just title to it, nor shall obtain it.”

13:44-52 Here are four parables. 1. That of the treasure hid in the field. Many slight the gospel, because they look only upon the surface of the field. But all who search the Scriptures, so as in them to find Christ and eternal life, Joh 5:39, will discover such treasure in this field as makes it unspeakably valuable; they make it their own upon any terms. Though nothing can be given as a price for this salvation, yet much must be given up for the sake of it. 2. All the children of men are busy; one would be rich, another would be honourable, another would be learned; but most are deceived, and take up with counterfeits for pearls. Jesus Christ is a Pearl of great price; in having him, we have enough to make us happy here and for ever. A man may buy gold too dear, but not this Pearl of great price. When the convinced sinner sees Christ as the gracious Saviour, all things else become worthless to his thoughts. 3. The world is a vast sea, and men, in their natural state, are like the fishes. Preaching the gospel is casting a net into this sea, to catch something out of it, for His glory who has the sovereignty of this sea. Hypocrites and true Christians shall be parted: miserable is the condition of those that shall then be cast away. 4. A skilful, faithful minister of the gospel, is a scribe, well versed in the things of the gospel, and able to teach them. Christ compares him to a good householder, who brings forth fruits of last year's growth and this year's gathering, abundance and variety, to entertain his friends. Old experiences and new observations, all have their use. Our place is at Christ's feet, and we must daily learn old lessons over again, and new ones also.The kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman - The meaning is, that the proper seeking for salvation, or the proper conduct in reference to religion, is like the conduct of a "merchantman." In his searches he found one pearl of great value, and sold all his possessions to obtain it. So, says the Saviour, people seeking for happiness and finding the gospel - the pearl of great price - should be willing to sacrifice all other things for this. Pearls are precious stones found in the shells of oysters, chiefly in the East Indies. See the notes at Matthew 7:6. They are valuable on account of their beauty and because they are rare. The value of them is greatly increased by their size. The meaning of this parable is nearly the same as the other. It is designed to represent the gospel as of more value than all other things, and to impress on us the duty of sacrificing all that we possess in order to obtain it. 45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchantman, seeking goodly pearls. See Poole on "Matthew 13:46".

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man,.... This parable may be understood of Christ's seeking, finding, and purchasing his elect: for, certain it is, that he has sought after them; which implies, that they were lost and going astray; expresses his great love to them, value for them, and desire after them; in doing which, he took much pains, and used much diligence: and certain it also is, that he finds them in redemption, and in effectual calling; and that they are to him a pearl of great price; as very precious to God, so highly esteemed of by Christ, as his portion, his inheritance, and his jewels. He has also parted with all he had for the sake of these persons; he became poor, emptied himself of everything, even gave himself a ransom for them, and so made a purchase of them, with the price of his own blood: though to this sense it may be objected, that it does not seem so agreeable, that Christ should be compared to a merchant man, which better suits with those that deal with him, than as he is concerned with them; nor does he seek after any other than his elect: whereas this merchant man is said to beeking goodly pearls; any pearls that were so: nor is Christ's finding his elect a chance business; nor have they any intrinsic excellency in them, to denominate them pearls, but by his grace. The more common interpretation of it is, that it designs a sensible sinner, seeking after the true way of salvation, and finding Christ, and parting with all for him: such a man is a spiritual merchant, who trades in foreign parts, and in things of worth and value; and such an one seeks after a variety of things, which at first sight seem "goodly", in order to obtain salvation by; as civility, morality, a legal righteousness, fasting, watchings, prayer, a profession of religion, and a submission to external ordinances; but at length finds Christ,

the pearl of great price: who is of an unspeakable brightness and glory, of intrinsic worth and value; who is enriching to those that possess him, and precious to them that believe; and of such a price, that no valuable consideration can be given for him: wherefore such a soul is willing to part with all for him; with sinful self, and righteous self; and with the honours, riches, and profits of this world; and buy him, his grace and righteousness, without money, and without price. Though I rather think, that in connection and agreement with the other parables, this is to be understood of such, who are seeking after knowledge in every branch of it, natural, moral, and spiritual; and so may be compared to a "merchant man, seeking goodly pearls"; and who find the Gospel, and prefer it to everything else,

Who when he had found one pearl of great price: for such who seek after wisdom and knowledge in the use of proper means, are like merchant men, that trade abroad, and for things of value; and these, under divine direction, find in the Scriptures, and through the ministry of the word, and by prayer and study, the truths of the everlasting Gospel, respecting Christ, his person, office, grace and righteousness; which are equal to, yea transcend a pearl of the highest price; for their original, coming from a far country, from heaven; for their brightness, clearness, and perspicuity; for their ornament and glory; for their firmness and solidity; for their virtue and value, to them that know the worth of them; and such will buy, but not sell them; reckon all things but loss and dung, in comparison of them; and will contend for them, and stand fast in them.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls:
Matthew 13:45. ἐμπόρῳ ζ. κ. μ. A pearl merchant who went to the pearl fisheries to purchase from the divers, of course selecting the best; a connoisseur in valuables.

45, 46. The Parable of the Pearl of Great Price, in St Matthew only

Here the story is of one who succeeds in getting what he strives to obtain. The Jewish or the Greek “seekers after God,” possessing many pearls, but still dissatisfied, sought others yet more choice, and finding one, true to the simplicity in Christ, renounce all for that; the one his legalism, the other his philosophy.

Matthew 13:45. Οὐρανῶνἀνθρώπῳ, of the heavens—to a man) Comparisons of heavenly from human things. See Matthew 13:52; ch. Matthew 18:23, Matthew 20:1, Matthew 22:2.—ἐμπόρῳ, a merchant) The word ἔμπορος denotes one who travels and voyages for the sake of merchandise.—μαργαρίτας, pearls) The plural passes to the singular in the following verse.

Verses 45, 46. - The parable of the pearl merchant, Matthew only. Observe in this parable that the merchant is accustomed to deal in pearls, and is searching for good ones, when he meets with one worth more than the others he possesses all put together. If the former parable described one who finds the gospel as it were by chance (e.g. the woman of Samaria), this speaks of one who has long been searching for truth (e.g. Andrew and John, the Ethiopian eunuch). Verse 45. - Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man. Evidently no poor man, but a rich wholesale dealer (ἔμπορος: cf. Revelation 18:23; not κάπηλος, "a retailer;" cf. 2 Corinthians 2:17). Seeking. According to the usual manner of his life. Goodly pearls. He eared nothing about the inferior kinds or specimens. The man aimed high; he got more than he can have thought possible (Matthew 7:7, 8). Origen (Commentary, in loc.; Huet, 1. p. 210) has much curious matter about the different kinds of pearls. Matthew 13:45
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