Matthew 19:18
He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
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(18) He saith unto him, Which?—Literally, of what kind? The questioner has been trained in the language of the schools, has heard debates as to which was the great commandment of the Law (22:36). Which class of commandments is he to keep that he may win eternal life?

Thou shalt do no murder.—Our Lord’s answer was clearly determined by the method of which we have ventured to speak as calling up the thought of that of Socrates. To a questioner of another type of character He would have pointed (as in Matthew 22:37) to the two great commandments, the love of God, and the love of man, on which hung all the Law and the Prophets. Here it was more in harmony with His loving purpose to leave out of sight altogether the commandments of the first table, that tell men of their duty towards God, and to direct attention only to those which, as speaking of our duty to our neighbour, were thought common and familiar things. The change in the order of the commandments, so that the Fifth follows those which in the Decalogue it precedes, seems to imply a design to lead the seeker through the negative to the positive forms of law, through definite prohibitions of single acts to the commandments which were “exceeding broad,” as fulfilled only in the undefined region of the affections.

19:16-22 Christ knew that covetousness was the sin which most easily beset this young man; though he had got honestly what he possessed, yet he could not cheerfully part with it, and by this his want of sincerity was shown. Christ's promises make his precepts easy, and his yoke pleasant and very comfortable; yet this promise was as much a trial of the young man's faith, as the precept was of his charity and contempt of the world. It is required of us in following Christ, that we duly attend his ordinances, strictly follow his pattern, and cheerfully submit to his disposals; and this from love to him, and in dependence on him. To sell all, and give to the poor, will not serve, but we are to follow Christ. The gospel is the only remedy for lost sinners. Many abstain from gross vices who do not attend to their obligations to God. Thousands of instances of disobedience in thought, word, and deed, are marked against them in the book of God. Thus numbers forsake Christ, loving this present world: they feel convictions and desires, but they depart sorrowful, perhaps trembling. It behoves us to try ourselves in these matters, for the Lord will try us.He saith unto him, Which? - In reply to the inquiry of the young man, Jesus directed him to the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and fifth Exodus 20:12-16, as containing the substance of the whole - as containing particularly what he intended to show him that he had not kept. See notes at Matthew 5:21, Matthew 5:27.

Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder - See the notes at Matthew 5:21-26.

Thou shalt not commit adultery - See the notes at Matthew 5:27-32.

Thou shalt not steal - To steal is to take the property of another without his knowledge or consent.

Thou shalt not bear false witness - Give testimony contrary to truth. This may be done in a court of justice, or by private or public slander. It means to say things of another which are not true.

Honour thy father ... - That is,

1. Obey them, keep their commands, Colossians 3:20; Ephesians 6:1-3.

2. Respect them, show them reverence.

3. Treat their opinions with respect - do not despise them or ridicule them.

4. Treat their habits with respect. Those habits may be different from ours; they may be antiquated, and to us strange, odd, or whimsical; but they are the habits of a parent, and they are not to be ridiculed.

5. Provide for them when sick, weary, old, and infirm. Bear with their weakness, comply with their wishes, speak to them kindly, and deny yourselves of rest, and sleep, and ease, to promote their welfare.

To this he added another - the duty of loving our neighbor, Leviticus 19:18. This Christ declared to be the second great commandment of the law, Matthew 22:39. A neighbor means:

1. any person who lives near to us.

2. any person with whom we have dealings.


Mt 19:16-30. The Rich Young Ruler. ( = Mr 10:17-31; Lu 18:18-30).

For the exposition, see on [1330]Lu 18:18-30.

See Poole on "Matthew 19:19".

He saith unto him, which?.... Whether those commandments of a moral, or of a ceremonial kind; whether the commands of the written, or of the oral law; of God, or of the elders, or both; or whether he did not mean some new commandments of his own, which he delivered as a teacher sent from God:

Jesus said; according to the other evangelists, "thou knowest the commandments"; not the true nature, spirituality, and use of them, but the letter and number of them; being trained up from a child by his parents, in the reading them, committing them to memory, and the outward observance of them, particularly those of the second table:

thou shalt do no murder, thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not bear false witness. Christ takes no notice of the ceremonial law, nor of the traditions of the elders, only moral precepts; and these only such as refer to the second, and not the first table of the law, which respect duty to the neighbour, and not to God: and this he does, because these commandments were more known, and were in common use; and he chose to instance in these, partly to show, that if men are under obligation to regard these, much more such as concern God more immediately; and partly, to observe, that if men are deficient in their duty to one another, they are much more so in their worship of God; and consequently, eternal life is never to be got and enjoyed by the performance of these things.

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Matthew 19:18 f. Agreeably to the meaning of his question, Matthew 19:16, the young man expected to be referred to commandments of a particular kind, and therefore calls for further information respecting the ἐντολάς to which Jesus referred; hence ποίας, which is not equivalent to τίνας, but is to be understood as requesting a qualitative statement.

For the purpose of indicating the kind of commandments he had in view Jesus simply mentions, by way of example, one or two belonging to the second table of the decalogue, but also at the same time the fundamental one (Romans 13:9) respecting the love of our neighbour (Leviticus 19:18), because it was through it (for which also see note on Matthew 22:39) He wished the young man to be tested. This latter commandment, introduced with skilful tact, Origen incorrectly regards as an interpolation; de Wette likewise takes exception to it; comp. Bleek, who considers Luke’s text to be rather more original.

Matthew 19:18. ποίας; not = τίνας (Grotius), but what sort of commands: out of the multitude of commands divine and human, which do you mean? He had a shrewd guess doubtless, but wanted to be sure. Christ’s reply follows in this and subsequent verse, quoting in direct form prefaced with τό the sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and fifth commands of the Decalogue with that to love a neighbour as ourselves from Leviticus 19:18. This last Origen regarded as an interpolation, and Weiss thinks that the evangelist has introduced it from Matthew 22:39 as one that could not be left out. If it be omitted the list ends with the fifth, a significantly emphatic position, reminding us of Matthew 15:4, and giving to the whole list an antithetic reference to the teaching of the scribes. In sending the inquirer to the second table of the Decalogue as the sum of duty, Jesus gave an instruction anything but commonplace, though it seem so to us. He was proclaiming the supremacy of the ethical, a most important second lesson for the inquirer, the first being the necessity of using moral epithets carefully and sincerely. From the answer given to this second lesson it will appear whereabouts the inquirer is, a point Jesus desired to ascertain.

18. Which?] Accurately “what sort of commandments.”

Comp. this enumeration with that in ch. Matthew 15:19. Here, as there, the commandments proceed in order from the 6th to the 9th. Here, as there, the enumeration stops at covetousness—the rich ruler’s special failing. Neither St Mark nor St Luke preserve the same order.

Matthew 19:18. Ποίας; which?) There was no need to ask which, as our Lord had said the [commandments] τας.[867]

[867] Thus indicating those pre-eminently so called, and implying the necessity of keeping all of them.—(I. B.)

Verse 18. - Which (ποίας)? Christ's answer was disappointing to the inquirer; it was too vague and general to satisfy his thought. He expected to hear (as the rabbis taught) of some special precept or precepts, difficult of accomplishment, and not usually regarded, by observance of which he could obtain his great reward. So he asks with laudable persistence, "Of what sort are these commandments which I have to obey?" He is far from thinking of the common duties of the Decalogue, though doubtless he had been taught that these varied greatly in meritoriousness. Christ, in reply, notifies, as examples, the chief enactments of what we call the second table of the Decalogue, quoting the sixth, seventh,eighth, ninth, and fifth. He enunciates nothing uncommon, nothing new; and, by prefixing the definite article τὸ to the enumeration, he makes the whole a substantial unity, comprising the moral law of duty to one's neighbour. Perhaps Christ confines his list to the second table in order to make the man feel his imperfection in these ordinary matters, or to bring out his self-righteous spirit. There could be no doubt that infringement of the first table involved the loss of eternal life. Ver. 17 virtually includes the spirit of this table. It was round these last six commandments chiefly that rabbinical traditions and interpretations had gathered, so that their plain meaning was obscured or depraved. Whoever observed the second table in spirit and truth, kept also the first (Romans 13:9, 10); and it is easier to love one's neighbour than to love God, as the apostle witnesses (see 1 John 4:20); and without love of our neighbour there cannot be true love of God. Matthew 19:18
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