Matthew 22:34
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
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(34) Had put the Sadducees to silence.—The primary meaning of the Greek verb is to stop a man’s power of speaking with a gag, and even in its wider use it retains the sense of putting men to a coerced and unwilling silence. (Comp. 1Peter 2:15.)



Matthew 22:34

Herodians, Sadducees, Pharisees, who were at daggers drawn with each other, patched up an alliance against Jesus, whom they all hated. Their questions were cunningly contrived to entangle Him in the cobwebs of casuistry and theological hair-splitting, but He walked through the fine-spun snares as a lion might stalk away with the nooses set for him dangling behind him. The last of the three questions put to Jesus, and the one question with which He turned the tables and silenced His questioners, are our subject. In the former, Jesus declares the essence of the law or of religion; in the latter, He brings to light the essential loftiness of the Messiah.

I. The two preceding questions are represented to have been asked by deputations; this is specially noted as emanating from an individual.

The ‘lawyer’ seems to have anticipated his colleagues, and possibly his question was not that which they had meant to put. His motive in asking it was that of ‘tempting’ Jesus, but we must not give that word too hostile a sense, for it may mean no more than ‘testing’ or trying. The legal expert wished to find out the attainments and standpoint of this would-be teacher, and so he proposed a question which would bring out the whereabouts of Jesus, and give opportunity for a theological wrangle. He did not ask the question for guidance, but as an inquisitor cross-examining a suspected heretic. Probably the question was a stereotyped one, and there are traces in the Gospels that the answer recognised as orthodox was that which Jesus gave {Luke 10:27}. The two commandments are quoted from Deuteronomy 6:5 and Leviticus 19:18 respectively. The lawyer probably only desired to raise a discussion as to the relative worth of isolated precepts. Jesus goes deep down below isolated precepts, and unifies, as well as transforms, the law. Supreme and undivided love to God is not only the great, but also the first, commandment. In more modern phrase, it is the sum of man’s duty and the germ of all goodness. Note that Jesus shifts the centre from conduct to character, from deeds to affections. ‘As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he,’ said the sage of old; Christ says, ‘As a man loves, so is he.’ Two loves we have,-either the dark love of self and sense, or the white love of God, and all character and conduct are determined by which of these sways us. Note, further, that love to God must needs be undivided. God is one and all; man is one and finite. To love such an object with half a heart is not to love. True, our weakness leads astray, but the only real love corresponding to the natures of the lover and the loved is whole-hearted, whole-souled, whole-minded. It must be ‘all in all, or not at all.’

‘A second is like unto it,’-love to man is the under side, as it were, of love to God. The two commandments are alike, for both call for love, and the second is second because it is a consequence of the first. Each sets up a lofty standard; ‘with all thy heart’ and ‘as thyself’ sound equally impossible, but both result necessarily from the nature of the case. Religion is the parent of all morality, and especially of benevolent love to men. Innate self-regard will yield to no force but that of love to God. It is vain to try to create brotherhood among men unless the sense of God’s fatherhood is its foundation. Love of neighbours is the second commandment, and to make it the first, as some do now, is to end all hope of fulfilling it. Still further, Jesus hangs law and prophets on these two precepts, which, at bottom, are one. Not only will all other duties be done in doing these, since ‘love is the fulfilling of the law,’ but all other precepts, and all the prophets’ appeals and exhortations, are but deductions from, or helps to the attainment of, these. All our forms of worship, creeds, and the like, are of worth in so far as they are outcomes of love to God, or aid us in loving Him and our neighbours. Without love, they are ‘as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.’

II. The Pharisees remained ‘gathered together,’ and may have been preparing another question, but Jesus had been long enough interrogated.

It was not fitting that He should be catechised only. His questions teach. He does not seek to ‘entangle’ the Pharisees ‘in their speech,’ nor to make them contradict themselves, but brings them full up against a difficulty, that they may open their eyes to the great truth which is its only solution. His first question, ‘What think ye of the Christ?’ is simply preparatory to the second. The answer which He anticipated was given,-as, of course, it would be, for the Davidic descent of the Messiah was a commonplace universally accepted. One can fancy that the Pharisees smiled complacently at the attempt to puzzle them with such an elementary question, but the smile vanished when the next one came. They interpreted Psalm 110:1 - Psalm 110:7 as Messianic, and David in it called Messiah ‘my Lord.’ How can He be both? Jesus’ question is in two forms,-’If He is son, how does David call Him Lord?’ or, if He is Lord, ‘how then is He his son?’ Take either designation, and the other lands you in inextricable difficulties.

Now what was our Lord’s purpose in thus driving the Pharisees into a corner? Not merely to ‘muzzle’ them, as the word in Matthew 22:34, rendered ‘put to silence,’ literally means, but to bring to light the inadequate conceptions of the Messiah and of the nature of His kingdom, to which exclusive recognition of his Davidic descent necessarily led. David’s son would be but a king after the type of the Herods and C泡rs, and his kingdom as ‘carnal’ as the wildest zealot expected, but David’s Lord, sitting at God’s right hand, and having His foes made His footstool by Jehovah Himself,-what sort of a Messiah King would that be? The majestic image, that shapes itself dimly here, was a revelation that took the Pharisees’ breath away, and made them dumb. Nor are the words without a half-disclosed claim on Christ’s part to be that which He was so soon to avow Himself before the high priest as being. The first hearers of them probably caught that meaning partly, and were horrified; we hear it clearly in the words, and answer, ‘Thou art the King of glory, O Christ! Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.’

Jesus here says that Psalm 110:1 - Psalm 110:7 is Messianic, that David was the author, and that he wrote it by divine inspiration. The present writer cannot see how our Lord’s argument can be saved from collapse if the psalm is not David’s.Matthew 22:34-36. When the Pharisees heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence — Gr. οτι εφιμοσε, that he had stopped their mouths, or so confuted that he had confounded them, and rendered them unable to make any reply; they were gathered together — It is not said with what design: but it is probable from Matthew 22:15-16, with a malicious one, namely, to try, though the Sadducees had been baffled in their attempt upon him, as they themselves had also been, when they united with the Herodians, if they could yet any way expose him to the people. Then one of them, a lawyer — Or teacher of the law, (namely, of Moses,) as the word νομικος always means in the New Testament, that is, a scribe, asked him a question, tempting, or trying him — Not, it seems, with any ill design, but barely to make further trial of that wisdom which he had shown in silencing the Sadducees. For, according to Mark, it was in consequence of his perceiving that our Lord had answered the Sadducees well, that this person asked the question here mentioned. Master, which is the great commandment in the law? — This was a famous question among the Jews. “Some of their doctors declared that the law of sacrifices was the great commandment, because sacrifices were both the expiations of sin and thanksgivings for mercies; others bestowed this honour on the law of circumcision, because it was the sign of the covenant established between God and the nation; a third sort yielded to the law of the sabbath, because, by that appointment, both the knowledge and practice of the institutions of Moses were preserved; and to name no more, there were some who affirmed the law of meats and washings to be of the greatest importance, because thereby the people of God were effectually separated from the company and conversations of the heathen.” But Jesus, with much better reason, decided in favour of a command inclusive of the whole of piety, and leading to every holy temper, word, and work.22:34-40 An interpreter of the law asked our Lord a question, to try, not so much his knowledge, as his judgment. The love of God is the first and great commandment, and the sum of all the commands of the first table. Our love of God must be sincere, not in word and tongue only. All our love is too little to bestow upon him, therefore all the powers of the soul must be engaged for him, and carried out toward him. To love our neighbour as ourselves, is the second great commandment. There is a self-love which is corrupt, and the root of the greatest sins, and it must be put off and mortified; but there is a self-love which is the rule of the greatest duty: we must have a due concern for the welfare of our own souls and bodies. And we must love our neighbour as truly and sincerely as we love ourselves; in many cases we must deny ourselves for the good of others. By these two commandments let our hearts be formed as by a mould.Jesus converses with a Pharisee respecting the law - See also Mark 12:28-34.

Matthew 22:34

The Pharisees ... were gathered together - That is, either to rejoice that their great rivals, the Sadducees, had been so completely silenced, or to lay a new plan for ensnaring him, or perhaps both. They would rejoice that the Sadducees had been confounded, but they would not be the less desirous to involve Jesus in difficulty. They therefore endeavored, probably, to find the most difficult question in dispute among themselves, and proposed it to him to perplex him.

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 22:40". But when the Pharisees had heard,.... Either with their own ears, they being some of them present: or rather from the relation of others, from the Scribes, who expressed their approbation of Christ's answer to the Sadducees; for the Pharisees, with the Herodians, in a body, had left him, and were gone to their respective places of abode; or to them that sent them, being baffled and confounded by him: but now hearing

that he had put the Sadducees to silence, or stopped their mouths, having nothing to reply, which itself, was not disagreeable; for they were as opposite as could be to them in the doctrine of the resurrection, and in other things, and were their sworn and avowed enemies: and yet it sadly gravelled them, that Christ should be too hard for, and get the victory over all sects among them. Wherefore, considering that should he go on with success in this manner, his credit with the people would increase yet more and more; and therefore, though they had been so shamefully defeated in two late attempts, yehey were gathered together in great hurry upon this occasion. The Ethiopic version reads it, "they were gathered to him", that is, to Christ; and so reads the copy that Beza gave to the university of Cambridge: but the other reading, as it is general, so more suitable to the place: they gathered together at some certain house, where they consulted what to do, what methods to take, to put a stop to his growing interest with the people, and how they might bring him into disgrace with them; and they seemed to have fixed on this method, that one among them, who was the ablest doctor, and best skilled in the law, should put a question to him relating to the law, which was then agitated among them, the solution of which was very difficult; and they the rather chose to take this course by setting a single person upon him, that should he succeed, the victory would be the greater, and the whole sect would share in the honour of it; and should he be silenced, the public disgrace and confusion would only fall on himself, and not the whole body, as in the former instances. This being agreed to, they went unto him.

{7} But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.

(7) The gospel does not abolish the precepts of the law, but rather it confirms them.

Matthew 22:34. The following conversation respecting the great commandment is given in Mark 12:28 ff. with such characteristic detail, that Matthew’s account cannot fail to have the appearance of being incomplete, and, considering the bias of the incident (see note on Matthew 22:35), to look as if it represented a corrupt tradition. In Luke 10:25 ff. there is a similar conversation, which, however, is not given as another version of that now before us, but as connected with a different incident that took place some time before.

οἱ δὲ Φαρις.] Comp. Matthew 22:15. They had already been baffled, and had withdrawn into the background (Matthew 22:22); but the victory of Jesus over the Sadducees provoked them to make one more attempt, not to avenge the defeat of those Sadducees (Strauss), nor to display their own superiority over them (Ebrard, Lange),—neither view being hinted at in the text, or favoured by anything analogous elsewhere,—but, as was the object in every such challenge, to tempt Jesus, if that were at all possible, to give such an answer as might be used against Him, see Matthew 22:35.

ἀκούσαντες] whether while present (among the multitude), or when absent, through the medium, perhaps, of their spies, cannot be determined.

συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] for the purpose of concerting measures for a new attack. Consequently the νομικός of Matthew 22:35 had to be put forward, and, while the conversation between Jesus and him is going on, the parties who had deputed him gather round the speakers, Matthew 22:41. There is, accordingly, no reason to apprehend any discrepancy (Köstlin) between the present verse and Matthew 22:41.

ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] locally, not said with reference to their sentiments. See on Acts 1:15; Psalm 2:2.Matthew 22:34-40. The great commandment (Mark 12:28-34).—In a still more marked degree than in the case of the man in quest of eternal life, Mk.’s account presents the subject of this incident in a more favourable light than that of Mt. The difference must be allowed to stand. Mk.’s version is welcome as showing a good side even in the scribe or Pharisee world.34. had put … to silence] Literally, gagged; hence silenced completely, not only for the moment. The same Greek work is used (Matthew 22:12) of the guest; Mark 1:25 and Luke 4:35, of silencing a demon; Mark 4:39, of silencing a storm; 1 Corinthians 9:9 and 1 Timothy 5:18, of muzzling an ox.

34–40. The Greatest Commandment

Mark 12:28-34; Luke 10:25-28In St Luke the question is asked at an earlier period of the ministry, after the return of the Seventy; and the meaning of “neighbour” is illustrated by the parable of the “Good Samaritan.”Verses 34-40. - Fourth attack: The Pharisees question concerning the great, commandment. (Mark 12:28-34.) Verse 34. - He had put the Sadducees to silence (ἐφίμωσεν, as ver. 12). The Pharisees were informed of, and some of them had witnessed, the discomfiture of the Sadducees (see Luke 20:40); hence they deemed it necessary again to attack Jesus by asking a question which specially appertained to their own teaching. They felt that, if they were ever to compass his overthrow, they must first lower his credit with the people, so that these might no longer care to support or defend him. To succeed in entangling Jesus in a difficulty would not only effect this, but would also gain them a triumph over their adversaries, who had been so completely defeated. Were gathered together; ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ, Which may mean, "to the same place," as perhaps Acts 2:1; or "on the same ground, for the same purpose." The former is probably correct. The English versions omit the words (see the rendering of ver. 41, where ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ does not occur). They grouped themselves around Christ, or else gathered in a council chamber, taking combined action against him. Put to silence (ἐφίμωσεν)

There is a kind of grim humor in the use of this word: he had muzzled the Sadducees. Compare Matthew 22:12.

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