Matthew 16:22
Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
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(22) Peter took him, and began to rebuke him.—It is obvious that the mind of the disciple dwelt on the former, not the latter part of the prediction. The death was plain and terrible to him, for he failed to grasp the idea of the resurrection. The remonstrance would perhaps have been natural at any time, but the contrast between this prediction and the tone of confidence and triumph in the previous promise doubtless intensified its vehemence. Personal love for his Lord, his own desire to share in the glory which that promise had implied, were united in his refusal to accept this as the issue towards which they were tending.

Be it far from thee, Lord.—The words are a paraphrase rather than a translation of the original. Literally, the words are an abbreviated prayer, “(God be) merciful to Thee,” the name of God, as in our colloquial “Mercy on us!” being omitted. The phrase is of frequent occurrence in the Greek version of the Old Testament, as, e.g., in Exodus 32:12; Numbers 14:19; Deuteronomy 21:8. It is almost idle to attempt to trace a distinctly formulated thought in the sudden utterance of sorrow and alarm, but so far as the words go they seem of the nature of a protest against what seemed to the disciple a causeless despondency, a dark view of the future, at variance alike with his own expectations and what seemed to him the meaning of his Master’s previous words. The words that followed were, however, more than a prayer, “This shall not be unto Thee,” as though his power to bind and to loose extended even to the region of his Master’s work and the means by which it was to be accomplished.

Matthew 16:22. Then Peter took him — Προσλαβομενος αυτον. What the evangelist meant precisely by this expression, commentators are not agreed. Dr. Doddridge renders it, taking him by the hand; Mr. Wesley, taking hold of him: others again render it, embracing him; and others, interrupting him. Dr. Campbell renders it, taking him aside, a translation which, he observes, evidently suits the meaning of the verb in other places, and is necessary in Acts 18:26, which cannot be interpreted otherwise. And began to rebuke [or reprove] him — So the expression, ηρξατο επιτιμαν αυτω, properly signifies. “Some interpreters, indeed, to put the best face on Peter’s conduct on this occasion, render the words thus, Began to expostulate with him. But when the verb, επιτιμαν, relates to any thing past, it always implies a declaration of censure or blame; and if it be thought that this would infer great presumption in Peter, it may be asked, Does not the rebuke which he drew on himself, Matthew 16:23, from so mild a Master, evidently infer as much? When we consider the prejudices of the disciples in regard to the nature of the Messiah’s kingdom, we cannot be much surprised that a declaration, such as that in Matthew 16:21, totally subversive of all their hopes, should produce, in a warm temper, a great impropriety of behaviour, such as (admitting the ordinary interpretation of the word) Peter was then chargeable with.” Be it far from thee, Lord — Or, ιλεως σοι seems to be more accurately rendered in the margin, Pity thyself or be merciful to, or favour, thyself — “The advice of the world, the flesh, and the devil,” says Mr. Wesley, “to every one of our Lord’s followers.” The common use of this phrase, however, in the LXX., would lead one to understand it as signifying, absit, God forbid. In this sense, also, it is used in the Apocrypha, thus, 1Ma 2:21, ιλεως ημιν καταλιπειν νομον, God forbid that we should forsake the law. Peter, to whom the power of the keys, or place of high-steward, in the kingdom, as he would understand it, was promised, could not help being very much displeased to hear his Master talk of dying at Jerusalem, immediately after he had been saluted Messiah, and had accepted the title. Therefore he rebuked, or reproved him, as has been just observed.

16:21-23 Christ reveals his mind to his people gradually. From that time, when the apostles had made the full confession of Christ, that he was the Son of God, he began to show them of his sufferings. He spake this to set right the mistakes of his disciples about the outward pomp and power of his kingdom. Those that follow Christ, must not expect great or high things in this world. Peter would have Christ to dread suffering as much as he did; but we mistake, if we measure Christ's love and patience by our own. We do not read of any thing said or done by any of his disciples, at any time, that Christ resented so much as this. Whoever takes us from that which is good, and would make us fear to do too much for God, speaks Satan's language. Whatever appears to be a temptation to sin, must be resisted with abhorrence, and not be parleyed with. Those that decline suffering for Christ, savour more of the things of man than of the things of God.Then Peter took him - This may mean either that he interrupted him, or that he took him aside, or that he took him by the hand as a friend.

This latter is probably the true meaning. Peter was strongly attached to him. He could not bear to think of Jesus' death. He expected, moreover, that he would be the triumphant Messiah. In his ardor, and confidence, and strong attachment, he seized him by the hand as a friend, and said, "Be it far from thee." This phrase might have been translated, "God be merciful to thee; this shall not be unto thee." It expressed Peter's strong desire that it might not be. The word "rebuke" here means to admonish or earnestly to entreat, as in Luke 17:3. It does not mean that Peter assumed authority over Christ, but that he earnestly expressed his wish that it might not be so. Even this was improper. He should have been submissive, and not have interfered.

22. Then Peter took him—aside, apart from the rest; presuming on the distinction just conferred on him; showing how unexpected and distasteful to them all was the announcement.

and began to rebuke him—affectionately, yet with a certain generous indignation, to chide Him.

saying, Be it far from thee: this shall not be unto thee—that is, "If I can help it": the same spirit that prompted him in the garden to draw the sword in His behalf (Joh 18:10).

Peter took our Lord aside, as we do our friend to whom we would speak something which we would not have all to hear,

and began to rebuke him; epitiman, to reprove him, as men often do their familiar friends, when they judge they have spoken something beneath them, or that might turn to their prejudice; saying,

Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. The words in the Greek want the verb, so leave us in doubt whether we should translate them, Be merciful to thyself, spare thyself, or, Let God, or God shall, be merciful unto thee. The last words expound them; this shall not be unto thee. God shall be merciful unto thee, and help thee, this shall not betide thee. These words were undoubtedly spoken by Peter out of a good intention, and with a singular affection to his Master; but,

1. They spake him as yet ignorant of the redemption of mankind by the death of Christ, of the doctrine of the cross, and of the will of the Father concerning Christ.

2. They spake great weakness in him, to contradict him whom he had but now acknowledged to be the Christ, the Son of God. Good intentions, and good affections, will not justify evil actions. Christ takes him up smartly.

Then Peter took him,.... The Arabic version reads it, "called to him": the Ethiopic, "answered him"; and the Syriac, "led him"; he took him aside, by himself; and as the Persic version, "privately said to him", or he took him by the hand in a familiar way, to expostulate with him, and dissuade him from thinking and talking of any such things;

and began to rebuke him: reprove and chide him, forgetting himself and his distance; though he did it not out of passion and ill will, but out of tenderness and respect; looking upon what Christ had said, unworthy of him, and as what was scarce probable or possible should ever befall him, who was the Son of the living God, and overlooking his resurrection from the dead, and being ignorant at present of the end of Christ's coming into the world, and redemption and salvation by his sufferings and death:

saying, far be it from thee, Lord, or "Lord, be propitious to thyself", or "spare thyself": the phrase answers to , often used by the Targumists (u) and stands in the Syriac version here. The Septuagint use it in a like sense, in Genesis 43:23. Some think the word "God" is to be understood, and the words to be considered, either as a wish, "God be propitious to thee": or "spare thee", that no such thing may ever befall thee; or as an affirmation, "God is propitious to thee", he is not angry and displeased with thee, as ever to suffer any such thing to be done to thee: but it may very well be rendered, by "God forbid"; or as we do, "far be it from thee", as a note of aversion, and abhorrence of the thing spoken of:

this shall not be done unto thee: expressing his full assurance of it, and his resolution to do all that in him lay to hinder it: he could not see how such an innocent person could be so used by the chief men of the nation; and that the Messiah, from whom so much happiness was expected, could be treated in such a manner, and especially that the Son of the living God should be killed.

(u) Targum Hieros. in Genesis 49.22. & Targum Onkelos in 1 Samuel 20.9.

Then Peter {q} took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.

(q) Took him by the hand and led him aside, as they used to do, which meant to talk familiarly with one.

Matthew 16:22. Προσλαβόμ.] after he had taken Him to himself, comp. Matthew 17:1, i.e. had taken Him aside to speak to Him privately. The very common interpretation: he took Him by the hand, imports what does not belong to the passage.

ἤρξατο] for Jesus did not allow him to proceed further with his remonstrances, which had commenced with the words immediately following; see Matthew 16:23.

ἵλεώς σοι] sc. εἰη ὁ θεός, a wish that God might graciously avert what he had just stated, a rendering of the Hebrew חָלִילָה, 2 Samuel 20:20; 2 Samuel 23:17; 1 Chronicles 11:19, LXX. 1Ma 2:21, and see Wetstein. Comp. our: God forbid!

ἔσται purely future; expressive of full confidence. Ὁ μὲν ἀπεκαλύφθη, ὁ Πέτρος ὀρθῶς ὡμολόγησεν· ὃ δὲ οὐκ ἀπεκαλύφθη, ὠσφάλη, Theophylact. Peter was startled; nothing, in fact, could have formed a more decided contrast to the Messianic conception on which his confession seemed to have been based, than the idea of a Messiah suffering and dying like a malefactor.

Matthew 16:22. Peter here appears in a new character; a minute ago speaking under inspiration from heaven, now under inspiration from the opposite quarter.—ἤρξατο, began to chide or admonish. He did not get far. As soon as his meaning became apparent he encountered prompt, abrupt, peremptory contradiction.—ἶλεώς σοι: Elsner renders sis bono placidoque animo, but most (Erasmus, Grotius, Kypke, Fritzsche, etc.) take it = absit! God avert it! Vehement utterance of a man confounded and horrified. Perfectly honest and in one sense thoroughly creditable, but suggesting the question: Did Peter after all call Jesus Christ in the true sense? The answer must be: Yes, ethically. He understood what kind of man was fit to be a Christ. But he did not yet understand what kind of treatment such a man might expect from the world. A noble, benignant, really righteous man Messiah must be, said Peter; but why a man of sorrow he had yet to learn.—οὐ μὴ ἔσται, future of perfect assurance: it will not, cannot be.

22. Be it far from thee, Lord] Literally, (1) “may God pity thee,” i. e. “give thee a better fate,” or (2) “pity thyself.”

Matthew 16:22. Προσλαβόμενος, taking hold of) as if he had a right to do so. He acted with greater familiarity after his declaration of acknowledgment. Jesus however reduces him to his proper level; cf. Luke 9:28; Luke 9:48-49; Luke 9:54-55.—ὁ Πέτρος, Peter) The same mentioned in Matthew 16:16.[759] Reason endures more easily the general proposition concerning the person of Christ, than the word of the Cross. Sudden changes occur in Peter, in Matthew 16:16; Matthew 16:22, and ch. Matthew 17:4. Thence he bears witness from experience to the truth, that we are preserved by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5), not our own.—ἬΡΞΑΤΟ, he began) He had received the other doctrines without making any objection.—ἵλεως Σοι, propitious unto Thee) sc. May God be. An abbreviated formulary. Thus in 1Ma 2:21, we meet with ἵλεως ἡμῖν καταλιπεῖν νόμον, God forbid that we should forsake the law. And thus the LXX. sometimes express the Hebrew חלילה.[760]

[759] There being thus afforded a remarkable specimen of how easy it is for one to stumble [to be offended with the humbling truths as to Christ] the more grievously [in proportion as one had the more boldly avowed the truth before].—V. g.

[760] As in 2 Samuel 20:20.—(I. B.)

Verse 22. - Peter took him (προσλαβόμενος). Either taking him aside, or taking him by the hand or dress - a reverent familiarity permitted by the Lord to his loving apostle. And now this same Peter, who had just before made his noble confession, and had been rewarded with unique commendation, unable to shake off the prejudices of his age and his education, began to rebuke (ἐπιτιμᾶν) his Master. He presumed to chide Jesus for speaking of suffering and death. He, the Son of God most High, what had he to do with such things? How could he name them in connection with himself? Peter, while accepting the idea of Messiah as Divine and triumphant, could not receive the notion of his death and Passion. That the same person should be so humiliated and yet so glorious, was beyond his conception. He was as much in the dark as his fellow apostles; of that which was not specially revealed to him he knew nothing. It was the carnal mind that here influenced him, not the spiritually enlightened soul. By writing "began," the historian intimates that he had not time to say much before the Lord mercifully interposed and cut him short. Be it far from thee; ἵλεώς σοι: Vulgate, absit a te. The Greek phrase is elliptical, εἴη ὁ Θεός being understood; "God be merciful to thee," equivalent to "God forbid." The complete expression occurs in the Septuagint of 1 Chronicles 11:19. It is used in deprecation of a disastrous event. This shall not be unto thee; οὐ μὴ ἔσται σοι τοῦτο. This is a very strong assertion, not a prayer or wish, as some would make it; the use of language is quite against that, as the phrase is predictive, never prohibitory, in his mistaken zeal and his ignorant affection, Peter would be wiser than his Lord. The cross and Passion shall never be thy lot; Messiah cannot suffer, the Son of God cannot die. Such merely human asseveration, even prompted by undoubted love, had to be checked and rebuked. Matthew 16:22Took (προσλαβόμενος)

Not, took him by the hand, but took him apart to speak with him privately. Meyer renders, correctly, after he had taken him to himself. "As if," says Bengel, "by a right of his own. He acted with greater familiarity after the token of acknowledgment had been given. Jesus, however, reduces him to his level."


For Jesus did not suffer him to continue.

Be it far from thee (ἵλεώς σοι)

Rev., in margin, God have mercy on thee. In classical usage, of the gods as propitious, gracious toward men, in consideration of their prayers and sacrifices. The meaning here is, may God be gracious to thee.

Shall not be (οὐ μὴ ἔσται)

The double negative is very forcible: "Shall in no case be." Rev. renders it by never.

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