Matthew 22:33
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
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(33) They were astonished at his doctrine.—Better, teaching. The wonder was apparently caused by the way in which the truth of the popular creed had been proved from words which seemed to the careless reader to be altogether remote from it. It was the mode of teaching rather than the doctrine taught that astonished them. The other Gospels (Mark 12:28, Luke 20:39) record the admiration of agreement (“Master, Thou hast well spoken”) as well as astonishment. The better section of the Pharisees rejoiced to hear their opponents refuted with what seemed to them a greater dexterity than that of their ablest scribes.

Matthew 22:33. And when the multitude — Which was present in the temple at the time; heard this — This unthought-of, and yet convincing argument, together with so complete an answer to a cavil in which the Sadducees were wont to triumph as invincible; they were astonished at his doctrine — At the clearness and solidity of his reasoning, and the manifest confutation of a sect whose principles they considered as fundamentally erroneous, and subversive of all piety and virtue.

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!As touching ... - That is, in proof that the dead are raised.

The passage which he quotes is recorded in Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:15, This was at the burning bush (Mark and Luke). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for a long time when Moses spoke this - Abraham for 329 years, Isaac for 224 years, and Jacob for 198 years - yet God spake then as being still "their God." They must, therefore, be still somewhere living, for God is not the God of the dead; that is, it is absurd to say that God rules over those who are "extinct or annihilated," but he is the God only of those who have an existence. Luke adds, "all live unto him." That is, all the righteous dead, all of whom he can be properly called their God, live unto his glory. This passage does not prove directly that the dead "body" would be raised, but only by consequence. It proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, or that their souls were alive. This the Sadducees denied Acts 23:8, and this was the main point in dispute. If this was admitted - if there was a state of rewards and punishments - then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised.

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.

Ver. 31-33. Mark hath the same, Mark 12:26,27; so hath Luke, Luke 20:37,38; only Mark and Luke mention the time when God spake these words—in the bush, that is, when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, Exodus 3:6; and Luke addeth, for all live unto him. Mark also saith, Touching the dead that they rise, have ye not read in the book of Moses? Our Saviour, in the foregoing words, had, by the by, asserted the doctrine of angels; here he asserts both the doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and also of the resurrection of the body: and though Cardinal Perron, and Maldonate the Jesuit, boldly assert that the resurrection of the body cannot be proved from hence without taking in the tradition of the church; yet, notwithstanding their confidence, those who have a greater reverence for our Saviour’s words, think that not only the immortality of the soul, but the resurrection of the body also, is irrefragably proved by this argument of our Saviour’s; to make out which, these things are to be observed:

1. God doth not say I have been, but I am: he speaketh of the time present, when he spake to Moses, and of the time to come.

2. He doth not say, I am the Lord of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but the God of: now wherever God styles himself the God of any people or person, it always signifieth, God as a Benefactor, and one that doth and will do good to such a people or person. It is a federal expression, as where he saith to Abraham, Genesis 17:7, I will be a God to thee and thy seed, that is, of thee and of thy seed.

3. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, doth not signify part of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but their entire persons, which consist of bodies as well as souls.

4. God is not the God of the dead, he doth not show kindness to them if they be dead, and shall rise no more.

5. In this life, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob received no such signal kindness from God, but others might receive as great kindness as any of them did. Hence now our Lord proveth, as the immortality of their souls, so the resurrection also of their bodies, that God might show himself the God of whole Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Gerard saith: The argument of this text is made clear by Hebrews 11:16, Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he hath prepared for them a city. This is that which made God to be truly called their God, because he hath prepared for them a city, which city they could never possess without a resurrection. It is yet further added by some, That God’s promise to Abraham of the land of Canaan was in these terms, Genesis 13:15, To thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever; not only to thy seed, but to thee: so to Isaac, Genesis 26:3; to Jacob, Genesis 35:12 Exodus 6:4,8 Deu 11:21.

The promises seemed not to be fulfilled in giving their posterity the earthly Canaan, which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob lived not to enjoy; but to extend to the rest prepared for the people of God, the city mentioned by the apostle, Hebrews 11:16, which God had prepared for them, to justify himself to be their God. Now this could not be prepared for their souls merely, which were but a part of them, and hardly capable of perfect happiness without a reunion with the body, there being in it such an innate desire. Nor was it reasonable that the bodies of these saints, having been sharers with their souls in their labours, should have no share in their reward from that covenant; therefore of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, our Saviour firmly proveth their resurrection. Luke addeth, for all live unto him. Not live unto him only as their end, but in the same sense as Paul saith of Christ, Romans 6:10, in that he liveth, he liveth unto God; that is, with God. So saith Luke, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, though dead at present, live with God; and they, and all the children of Abraham, shall live to God, that is, with God, to all eternity. Matthew addeth,

when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine. Poor people, they had been used to hear discourses from the Pharisees, about the traditions of the elders, rites and ceremonies, washing hands before meat, and the necessity of washing pots and cups; and the Sadducees, declaiming against the doctrines of angels and spirits, and the resurrection; they were astonished to hear one instructing them in things concerning their souls, the resurrection and life eternal, and confuting their great teachers from books of Scripture owned by themselves; for the Sadducees, though they had no great regard to the prophets, yet they owned and paid a great deference to the books of Moses.

And when the multitude heard this,.... This wise and full answer of Christ to the posing question of the Sadducees, with which perhaps they had puzzled many, and never had met with their match before:

they were astonished at his doctrine; concerning the pure, perfect, and angelic state of the righteous in the world to come;, and how strongly and nervously he proved the immortality of the soul, and the resurrection of the dead, which were both denied by the Sadducees; and who were so confounded with his answer, proof, and reasonings, that Luke says, "after that they durst not ask him any question at all": and the Scribes were so pleased therewith, that certain of them applauded him, saying, "master, thou hast well said".

And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
Matthew 22:33. Οἱ ὄχλοι] ἀπόνηροι καὶ ἀδέκαστοι, Euthymius Zigabenus. Comp. Matthew 7:28.

33. doctrine] Rather, teaching.

Verse 33. - They were astonished at his doctrine. The multitudes were amazed, not only at an interpretation which was entirely new to them, and which opened to them some of the depths of that Scripture of which they had been taught and knew only the letter; but because Christ showed that he looked into men's hearts, saw what was the motive and cause of their opinions, and, in explaining difficulties, unfolded eternal truths. The Sadducees, thus answered in the presence of the listening crowds, attempted no reply, slunk away confounded, utterly foiled in their hope of casting ridicule on the teaching of Christ. St. Luke notes that some scribes present, doubtless of the Pharisaic faction, were highly delighted with this public defeat of their adversaries, and cried, in enforced admiration, "Master, thou hast well said!" Matthew 22:33
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