But know this, that if the manager of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)But know this.—The verses from Matthew 24:42 to Matthew 24:51 have nothing corresponding to them in the reports of the discourse given by St. Mark and St. Luke, but are found almost verbatim in another discourse reported by St. Luke 12:42, et seq. Here, as elsewhere, we have to choose between the assumption of a repetition of the same words, or of a transfer of what was spoken on one occasion to another; and of the two, the former hypothesis seems the more probable. It may be noted, however, that the variations in the three reports of this discourse indicate a comparatively free treatment of it, the natural result, probably, of its having been often reproduced, wholly or in part, orally before it was committed to writing. On ordinary grounds of evidence, St. Mark’s report, assuming his connection with St. Peter, would seem likely to come nearest to the very words spoken by our Lord.
The goodman of the house.—Better, as in Matthew 20:1., householder.
In what watch.—The night-watches were four in number, of three hours each. So in Luke 12:38, we have “the second or the third watch” specified. The allusion to the “thief coming” would seem to have passed into the proverbial saying, that the day of the Lord would come “as a thief in the night,” quoted by St. Paul in 1Thessalonians 5:2.1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15. "Goodman." See the notes at Matthew 20:11.
Thief - A robber. A thief, with us, means one who takes goods without doing violence - secretly, silently. The original word means one who does it by housebreaking, or by highway violence, Luke 10:30.
Broken up - Broken into either by the doors or windows. See the notes at Matthew 6:19.
In what watch - In which of the four quarters of the night. See the notes at Matthew 14:25.
Mt 24:1-51. Christ's Prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, and Warnings Suggested by It to Prepare for His Second Coming. ( = Mr 13:1-37; Lu 21:5-36).
For the exposition, see on Mr 13:1-37.See Poole on "Matthew 24:44".
that if the good man of the house, or householder, or master of the family,
had known in what watch the thief would come; whether at the first, second, third, or fourth watch; for the night was divided into four watches; had he any previous notice given by any of the associates of the thief, or by those that had overheard, or by any means had got intelligence of his design and measures, and the time of his pursuing them,
he would have watched; in every watch either in person, or by employing others, or both:
"He that comes in by digging, whether by day or by night, there is no blood for him (i.e. to be shed for him, if he is killed); but if the master of the house, or any other man kill him, they are free; and every man has power to kill him, whether on a weekday, or on a sabbath day; and with whatsoever death he can put him to, as it is said, there is no blood for him, Exodus 22:2. And one that comes in, "by digging", or a thief that is found in the midst of a man's roof, or in his court, or within his hedge, whether in the day or in the night, (may be killed;) and wherefore is it called digging? because it is the way of most thieves to come in by digging in the night (x).
Wherefore no doubt since the master of the house had such a law on his side, he would never suffer, if possible, his house to be entered by digging, when he had, especially, any previous notice of it. Now the application of this case, or parabolical way of speaking, is to the coming of Christ, and the watchfulness of every good man who has notice of it, that he may not be surprised with it, but be in a readiness to receive him. The coming of the son of man, is here represented by the coming of the thief in the night: but when he is compared to a thief, this is not to be understood in a bad sense, in which Satan is called one, who comes to kill and to destroy the souls of men; and likewise heretics and false teachers, and everyone that climbs up, and gets into the church of God in a wrong way; but this only respects the manner of Christ's coming, which is like that of a thief, secretly, suddenly, and at unawares. The "good man of the house", or householder, is every Christian, or believer in Christ, who has a house to look after, his own soul, the spiritual affairs and everlasting salvation of it, things of moment and concern unto him: and as the Christians, before the destruction of Jerusalem, had notices of Christ's coming in that way, by our Lord's predictions, by the hints the apostles gave, to refresh their memories with them, and by the signs of the times and voices that were heard; so the saints have of Christ's coming to judgment: wherefore as it became the one, so it does the other, to watch, to be upon their guard, to be in a readiness, to have their loins girt about, and their lights burning, and they like men that wait for their Lord; that so when he comes, their houses may not be broken up, may not be surprised, and the several powers and faculties of their souls may not be thrown into disorder and confusion; wherefore it follows,But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 24:43. But (that I may show you by means of a warning example how you may risk your salvation by allowing yourselves to be betrayed into a state of unpreparedness) know this, that if, etc.
ὁ οἰκοδεσπότης] the particular one whom the thief has anticipated.
εἰ ᾔδει … ἐγρηγόρησεν ἄν] if he had been aware at what watch in the night the thief comes, to break into his house, he would have watched. But as he does not know the hour which the thief chooses (it being different in different cases), he is found off his guard when the burglary is being committed. The rendering vigilaret (Luther, Kuinoel, Bleek, after the Vulg.) is incorrect. For the illustration of the thief, comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.Matthew 24:43-51. Two parables: the Thief and the Two Servants, enforcing the lesson: Watch!43–45. The Lord cometh as a Thief in the Night
Luke 12:39-4043. know this] The same word as in Matthew 24:33, see note. The word is probably indicative, “ye know this,” not imperative.
the goodman of the house] “The master of the house.” “Goodman” is probably a corruption for gummann or A. S. guma, a man (Bible Word Book).
in what watch] See ch. Matthew 14:25.
the thief would come] Cp. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night,” 1 Thessalonians 5:2; see also 2 Peter 3:10.
would come] Rather, doth come, as in the preceding verse.
to be broken up] Rather, dug through; see ch. Matthew 6:19-20.Matthew 24:43. Γινώσκετε, ye know.—εἰ ᾔδει, if he had known) He would have watched; and that care on his part would not have been much to be wondered at.—ποίᾳ φυλακῇ, in what (Lat. quali) watch) It is supposed that the goodman of the house has been warned of the coming of the thief. In carnal concerns we are vigilant, even though we know not in what portion of the night our goods will be endangered, if we know only that the danger will occur either on this, or on one of the next few nights.—φυλακῇ, watch) although a watch is longer than an hour.—ὁ κλέπτης, the thief) The last temptation, arising from the concealment of that hour, accompanied by other circumstances of difficulty, is the most severe. For the nearer that the actual accomplishment of anything approaches, so much the more keen become both hope and fear; and, generally speaking, so much the more impatient of any, even the least, delay. And thus will it be with those who live during the last small portion of time, when the other events which precede it in Revelation 20 shall have come to pass.—οὐκ ἂν εἴασε, κ.τ.λ., he would not have allowed, etc.) by yielding to sleepiness.—διορυγῆναι, to be dug through) which would take some time to accomplish.
 Three parables in Matthew refer to watchfulness, or else careless security; a fourth refers to faithfulness, or else the want of it.—Harm., p. 484.
 The word in the original of St Matthew may be either Indicative or Imperative. Bengel renders it as the former in the Gnomon, by “scitis,” and in his German Version by “das ist euch aber bekannt.” E. V. in the latter, by “know ye;” in which it is supported by the Vulgate, which has “scitote.”—(I. B.)
 E. V. “broken up.”—(I. B.)Verse 43. - But know this; ἐκεῖνο δὲ γινώσκετε: illud autem scitote (Vulgate); or, this ye know. The Lord draws particular attention to what he is going to say, which is a strange and startling truth in a parabolic form (see Luke 12:39, etc.). The good man of the house; οἰκοδεσπότης: the master of the house; paterfamilias (Vulgate). If... had known... he would have watched. The form of the sentence (εἰ with indicative in the protasis, and α}ν with indicative aorist in the apodosis) implies that the result did not happen. The master may have made all secure as far as bolts and bars were concerned, but he did not keep awake, though he had reason to know that a thief was in the neighbourhood, and so was not ready to frustrate any attack made in an unsuspected manner. To be broken up; διορυγῆναι: to be digged through; perfodi (Vulgate). Houses constructed of sun-dried bricks, mud, or loose stones, could be easily pierced and entered without forcing shuttered window or barred door (comp. Job 24:16). The significance of the parable is easy to see. The householder is the disciple of Christ, the thief is Christ himself, who comes on the unwatchful when and where they expect him not. It is, indeed, a strange comparison, but one calculated to alarm the unwary, and to show the necessity of the caution enjoined. Similar warnings are found elsewhere; e.g. 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15. The exposition which regards the thief as the devil is not so suitable to the context.
Broken up (διορυγῆναι)
Rev., broken through. See on Matthew 6:19. Wyc., undermined.
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