Matthew 22:23
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
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(23-28) The Sadducees.—(See Note on Matthew 3:7.) These, we must remember, consisted largely of the upper class of the priesthood (Acts 5:17). The form of their attack implies that they looked on our Lord as teaching the doctrine of the resurrection. They rested their denial on the ground that they found no mention of it in the Law, which they recognised as the only rule of faith. The case which they put, as far as the principle involved was concerned, need not have gone beyond any case of re-marriage without issue, but the questioners pushed it to its extreme, as what seemed to them a reductio ad absurdum. Stress is laid on the childlessness of the woman in all the seven marriages in order to guard against the possible answer that she would be counted in the resurrection as the wife of him to whom she had borne issue.

Matthew 22:23. The same day came to him the Sadducees — Concerning whose doctrines and conduct see note on Matthew 3:7; which say, there is no resurrection — Nor indeed any future life at all, as the word αναστασις, here rendered resurrection, is considered by many learned men as signifying; their doctrine being, that when the body dies the soul dies with it, and that there is no state of rewards or punishments after death, and no judgment to come. “The word αναστασις,” says Dr. Campbell, “is indeed the common term by which the resurrection, properly so called, is denominated in the New Testament; yet this is neither the only nor the primitive import of it. When applied to the dead, the word denotes properly no more than a renewal of life to them, in whatever manner this happens. The Pharisees themselves did not universally mean by this term the reunion of soul and body, as is evident from the account which the Jewish historian gives of their doctrine, as well as from some passages in the gospels. To say, therefore, in English, that they deny the resurrection, is to give a very defective account of their sentiments on this topic, for they denied the existence of angels and all separate spirits; in which they went much further than [many of] the pagans, who, though they denied what Christians call the resurrection of the body, yet acknowledged a state after death wherein the souls of the deceased exist, and receive the reward or punishment of their actions.” The doctor therefore renders the clause, Who say there is no future life, which version, he observes, not only gives a juster representation of the Sadducean hypothesis, but is the only version which makes our Lord’s argument appear pertinent, and levelled against the doctrine which he wanted to refute. In the common version they are said to deny the resurrection: that is, that the soul and the body of man shall hereafter be reunited; and our Lord brings an argument from the Pentateuch to prove — What? Not that they shall be reunited, (to this it has not even the most distant relation,) but that the soul subsists after the body is dissolved. This many would have admitted, who denied the resurrection; yet so evidently did his argument strike at the root of the scheme of the Sadducees, that they were silenced by it, and, to the conviction of the hearers, confuted. Now this could not have happened, if the fundamental error of the Sadducees had been barely the denial of the resurrection of the body, and not the denial of the immortality of the soul, or of its actual subsistence after death. If possible, the words, Luke 20:38, παντες αυτω ζωσιν, all live to him: (namely, the patriarchs and all the faithful dead,) make it still more evident that our Lord considered this, namely, the proving that the soul still continued to live after a person’s natural death, was all that was incumbent on one who would confute the Sadducees. Now if this was the subversion of Sadducism, Sadducism must have consisted in denying that the soul continues to live after the body dies. Certainly our Lord’s answer here, and much of St. Paul’s reasoning, 1 Corinthians 15., proceeds on the supposition of such a denial. Thus, 2Ma 12:42-44, the author proves that Judas believed a resurrection, from his offering sacrifices for the souls of the slain, which shows that by a resurrection he meant a future state.

22:23-33 The doctrines of Christ displeased the infidel Sadducees, as well as the Pharisees and Herodians. He carried the great truths of the resurrection and a future state, further than they had yet been reveled. There is no arguing from the state of things in this world, as to what will take place hereafter. Let truth be set in a clear light, and it appears in full strength. Having thus silenced them, our Lord proceeded to show the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection from the books of Moses. God declared to Moses that he was the God of the patriarchs, who had died long before; this shows that they were then in a state of being, capable of enjoying his favour, and proves that the doctrine of the resurrection is clearly taught in the Old Testament as well as in the New. But this doctrine was kept for a more full revelation, after the resurrection of Christ, who was the first-fruits of them that slept. All errors arise from not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God. In this world death takes away one after another, and so ends all earthly hopes, joys, sorrows, and connexions. How wretched are those who look for nothing better beyond the grave!Conversation of Jesus with the Sadducees respecting the resurrection - See also Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38.

Matthew 22:23

The same day came the Sadducees - For an account of the Sadducees, see the notes at Matthew 3:7.

No resurrection - The word "resurrection" usually means the raising up the "body" to life after it is dead, John 11:24; John 5:29; 1 Corinthians 15:22. But the Sadducees not only denied this, but also a future state, and the separate existence of the soul after death altogether, as well as the existence of angels and spirits, Acts 23:8. Both these doctrines have commonly stood or fallen together, and the answer of our Saviour respects both, though it more distinctly refers "to the separate existence of the soul, and to a future state of rewards and punishments," than to the resurrection of the body.

Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies. ( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).

For the exposition, see on [1343]Mr 12:13-34.

See Poole on "Matthew 22:28".

These understanding that the former had not succeeded, came with a knotty question, with which they had often puzzled the Pharisees, and hoped they should nonplus Christ with it, showing the absurdity of the doctrine of the resurrection, an article which they denied; as it follows,

which say, that there is no resurrection of the dead: they denied that there were angels and spirits, and the immortality of the soul; they affirmed, that the soul died with the body, and that there was no future state: the rise of this sect, and of these notions of their's, was this, as the Jews relate (w).

"Antigonus, a man of Socho, used to say, be not as servants, that serve their master on account of receiving a reward, but be as servants that serve their master, not on account of receiving a reward; and let the fear of heaven (God) be upon you, so that your reward may be double in the world to come: this man had two disciples, who altered his words, and taught the disciples, and the disciples their disciples, and they stood and narrowly examined them, and said, what did our fathers see, to say this thing? Is it possible, that a labourer should work all day, and not take his reward at evening? But if our fathers had known that there is another world, and that there is , "a resurrection of the dead", they would not have said thus: they stood and separated from the law, and of them there were two parties, the Sadducees and Baithusites; the Sadducees on account of Sadoc, and the Baithusites on account of Baithus.''

The Syriac version reads, "and they said" and the Ethiopic version also, "saying, there is no resurrection of the dead"; taking the sense to be, that they at this time declared their sense of this doctrine, and according to a settled notion of their's, affirmed before Christ, that there was no such thing; that never any was raised from the dead, nor never will; and they were desirous of entering into a controversy with him about it:

and asked him; put the following question to him, in order to expose the weakness and absurdity of such a doctrine.

(w) Abot R. Nathan, c. 5. fol. 3. 1.

{6} The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,

(6) Christ affirms the resurrection of the flesh, as opposed to the Sadducees.

Matthew 22:23. Comp. Mark 12:18 ff.; Luke 20:27 ff.; Matthew condenses.

Οὶ λέγοντες μὴ εἶναι ἀνάστ.] who assert, etc., serving to account for the question which follows. On the necessity of the article, inasmuch as the Sadducees do not say to Jesus that there is no resurrection, but because their regular confiteor is here quoted, comp. Kühner ad Xen. ii. 7. 13; Mark 12:18 : οἵτινες λέγουσι.

Matthew 22:23-33. The Sadducaic puzzle (Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-38).

Matthew 22:23. Σαδδουκαῖοι, Sadducees) Towards the close of His earthly career all rise together against Jesus. The Sadducees are seldom mentioned by the Evangelists; on that day not even the Sadducees remained quiescent.—ἀνάστασιν, resurrection) It is clear that this article of faith was well known at that time, from the Evangelist not having added the words, “of the dead.” And the adversaries of this article contravene it in various degrees, some by denying[962] altogether the immortality of the soul, others, its being joined again to its former body. And there may also have been a variety of error among the Sadducees themselves.

[962] The Wisdom of the world, like the barren figtree, fruitless and most beggarly, is in fact for the most part occupied in negations.—V. g.

Verses 23-33. - Third attack: The Sadducees and the resurrection. (Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40.) Verse 23 - The same day; on that day. This is still the Tuesday in the Holy Week. The Sadducees. There is no definite article here in the original. Which say; οἱ λὲγοντες. Many good manuscripts and some modern editors (Laehmann, Tregelles, Tischendorf, Westcott and Hort) read λέγοντες, "saying." The received reading historically describes the Sadducees' opinions; the other makes them come boldly stating their sentiments. Where authorities are pretty evenly balanced, we must decide the wording of a passage by other than literary considerations; and there can be no doubt that the reading which denotes the characteristic of the sect is more appropriate than that which represents them offensively parading their views as a preparation for the coming question. We have had notice of the Saddueees before (Matthew 3:7; Matthew 16:1). The popular account of their religious belief is given in Acts 23:8, "The Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit." They were rationalists and sceptics, who denied many old-established truths, and scorned many prevalent observances. They acknowledged most of the Old Testament, though, curiously enough, they, like our modern neologians, stumbled at the supernatural upon which the Scriptures were built. Tradition and traditional interpretations found no favour with them. The future life of the soul they utterly repudiated, and the resurrection of the body, when it was brought before them, met with contemptuous ridicule. The claims and doctrine of Christ were, in their eyes, puerile and unworthy of philosophic consideration. At the same time, they recognized that the people were with him for the moment, and that it was expedient that his teaching, so utterly opposed to their own opinions, should be discredited and repressed. So they came forward asking an imaginary question, which, as they thought, would reduce to an absurdity the doctrine of the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the flesh. Doubtless they were members of the Sanhedrin, and it was at the instigation of this body that they proposed the presumed case of conscience. Matthew 22:23
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