Matthew 13:56
And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
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Matthew 13:56-57. Whence then hath this man all these things? — “This, like many other things that have since been objected against the gospel of Christ, is as much the language of stupidity as of infidelity; for the meanness of Christ’s education was a demonstration that his teaching in so excellent a manner must be the effect of some extraordinary and divine influence on his mind.” — Doddridge. And they were offended in him — Or scandalized at him, by reason of his mean original and humble circumstances in the world, and therefore would not believe that he was the Messiah. Jesus said, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country — Or, as Dr. Doddridge renders the clause, A prophet is nowhere less esteemed than in his own country. “This is plainly the sense of the words, (though our translation is more literal,) for a prophet may, and often is affronted at a distance from home, as Christ himself found by frequent experience.” The expression is proverbial, signifying, “that those who possess extraordinary endowments are nowhere in less request than among their relations and acquaintance. The reason is, superior merit never fails to be envied, and envy commonly turns the knowledge it has of persons some way or other to their disadvantage.” — Macknight.

13:53-58 Christ repeats his offer to those who have repulsed them. They upbraid him, Is not this the carpenter's son? Yes, it is true he was reputed to be so; and no disgrace to be the son of an honest tradesman; they should have respected him the more because he was one of themselves, but therefore they despised him. He did not many mighty works there, because of their unbelief. Unbelief is the great hinderance to Christ's favours. Let us keep faithful to him as the Saviour who has made our peace with God.Is not this the carpenter's son? - Mark says, "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary?" Both these expressions would probably be used in the course of the conversation, and Matthew has recorded one and Mark the other. The expression recorded by Mark is a strong, perhaps decisive proof that he had himself worked at the business until he was 30 years of age. The people in the neighborhood would understand well the nature of his early employments. It is therefore almost certain that this had been his manner of life. A useful employment is always honorable. Idleness is the parent of mischief. Our Saviour, therefore, spent the greatest part of his life in honest, useful industry. Until the age of 30 he did not choose to enter on his great work; and it was proper before that time that he should set an example to the world of honorable though humble industry. Life is not wasted in such employments. They are appointed as the lot of man; and in the faithful discharge of duties in the relations of life, though obscure; in honest industry, however humble; in patient labor, if connected with a life of religion, we may be sure that God will approve our conduct. It was, moreover, the custom of the Jews - even those of wealth and learning - to train all their children to some "trade" or manual occupation. Thus Paul was a tent-maker. Compare Acts 18:3.

This was, on the part of the Saviour, an example of great condescension and humility. It staggers the faith of many that the Son of God should labour in an occupation so obscure and lowly. The infidel sneers at the idea that "He that made the worlds" should live thirty years in humble life as a poor and unknown mechanic. Yet the same infidel will loudly praise Peter the Great of Russia because he laid aside his imperial dignity and entered the British service as a "ship-carpenter," that he might learn the art of building a navy. Was the purpose of "Peter" of more importance than that of the Son of God? If Peter, the heir to the throne of the Czars, might leave his elevated rank and descend to a humble employment, and secure by it the applause of the world, why might not the King of kings evince a similar character for an infinitely higher object?

His brethren, James ... - The fair interpretation of this passage is, that these were the sons and daughters of Joseph and Mary. The people in the neighborhood thought so, and spoke of them as such.

56. And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? An exceedingly difficult question here arises—What were these "brethren" and "sisters" to Jesus? Were they, First, His full brothers and sisters? or, Secondly, Were they His step-brothers and step-sisters, children of Joseph by a former marriage? or, Thirdly, Were they cousins, according to a common way of speaking among the Jews respecting persons of collateral descent? On this subject an immense deal has been written, nor are opinions yet by any means agreed. For the second opinion there is no ground but a vague tradition, arising probably from the wish for some such explanation. The first opinion undoubtedly suits the text best in all the places where the parties are certainly referred to (Mt 12:46; and its parallels, Mr 3:31; Lu 8:19; our present passage, and its parallels, Mr 6:3; Joh 2:12; 7:3, 5, 10; Ac 1:14). But, in addition to other objections, many of the best interpreters, thinking it in the last degree improbable that our Lord, when hanging on the cross, would have committed His mother to John if He had had full brothers of His own then alive, prefer the third opinion; although, on the other hand, it is not to be doubted that our Lord might have good reasons for entrusting the guardianship of His doubly widowed mother to the beloved disciple in preference even to full brothers of His own. Thus dubiously we prefer to leave this vexed question, encompassed as it is with difficulties. As to the names here mentioned, the first of them, "James," is afterwards called "the Lord's brother" (see on [1298]Ga 1:19), but is perhaps not to be confounded with "James the son of Alphæus," one of the Twelve, though many think their identity beyond dispute. This question also is one of considerable difficulty, and not without importance; since the James who occupies so prominent a place in the Church of Jerusalem, in the latter part of the Acts, was apparently the apostle, but is by many regarded as "the Lord's brother," while others think their identity best suits all the statements. The second of those here named, "Joses" (or Joseph), must not be confounded with "Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus" (Ac 1:23); and the third here named, "Simon," is not to be confounded with Simon the Kananite or Zealot (see on [1299]Mt 10:4). These three are nowhere else mentioned in the New Testament. The fourth and last-named, "Judas," can hardly be identical with the apostle of that name—though the brothers of both were of the name of "James"—nor (unless the two be identical, was this Judas) with the author of the catholic Epistle so called. See Poole on "Matthew 13:57".

And his sisters,.... Whose names, according to Epiphanius (b), were Mary and Salome; whom he supposes were the daughters of Joseph, by a former wife; but rather of Alphaeus or Cleophas,

Are they not all with us? Lived in the same town with them, were well known by them, and familiar with them,

Whence then hath this man all these things? His wisdom and his mighty works; for since he had not them from any of their schools, and nurseries of learning, from their learned doctors and wise men; and could not have received them from his parents, and near relations, they could not devise from whence he should have them,

(b) Contr. Haeres. Tom. 2. 1. 3. Haeres. 78. &. lib. Ancorat.

And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things?
Matthew 13:56. Ἀδελφαὶ, sisters) These they do not condescend even to name.

Verse 56. - And his sisters. Mentioned only here and in the parallel passage in Mark (cf. also "Western" authorities in Mark 3:32, where see Westcott and Heft, 'Append.'). Their names are quite unknown. Are they not all. There were several, at any rate not less than three, Matthew alone has all. With us? Mark expressly adds "here;" i.e. in Nazareth. Whence then hath this Man all these things? (ver. 54, note). Matthew 13:56
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