Matthew 24:51
And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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(51) And shall cut him asunder.—Here also, as in the case of the faithful servant, the words have more than one fulfilment. The form of punishment (one which, in its literal sense, belongs to the inventive cruelty of Eastern kings) would seem here to have been chosen for its figurative fitness. The man had been a hypocrite, double-minded, trying to serve two masters, and his Lord, with the sharp sword of judgment, smites through the false, apparent unity of his life, and reveals its duplicity.

There shall be weeping.—As elsewhere, “the weeping and the gnashing.”

24:42-51 To watch for Christ's coming, is to maintain that temper of mind which we would be willing that our Lord should find us in. We know we have but a little time to live, we cannot know that we have a long time to live; much less do we know the time fixed for the judgment. Our Lord's coming will be happy to those that shall be found ready, but very dreadful to those that are not. If a man, professing to be the servant of Christ, be an unbeliever, covetous, ambitious, or a lover of pleasure, he will be cut off. Those who choose the world for their portion in this life, will have hell for their portion in the other life. May our Lord, when he cometh, pronounce us blessed, and present us to the Father, washed in his blood, purified by his Spirit, and fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.Shall cut him asunder - This kind of punishment was anciently practiced.

Sometimes it was done by the sword. sometimes by saws. It was practiced among the Chaldeans Daniel 2:5; Daniel 3:29, and among the Hebrews, 2 Samuel 12:31; 1 Samuel 15:33; 1 Kings 3:25; Hebrews 11:37. It was also practiced by the Egyptians and Romans. It is not, perhaps, here to be taken literally, but signifies that the wicked servant should be severely punished.

Hypocrites - See the notes at Matthew 6:2. They are spoken of here as the worst of people.

Weeping and gnashing of teeth - See the notes at Matthew 8:12-13. The unfaithful and wicked minister of God, who lives without expectation or fear of judgment, shall suffer the severest punishment inflicted on sinners in the world of woe.


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 [1355]Mr 13:1-37.

Ver. 47-51. Luke hath much of this, Luke 12:45,46: But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the men servants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; the lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. If that servant prove an evil servant, presumes upon my not making such haste to judgment as he thought I would, and shall prove a persecutor of my people, or a loose and debauched person, I will come to his particular judgment before I come to the general judgment, and at such a time as he shall not be aware of me, and destroy him, and give him his portion with such as believe not my second coming, and with such as are one thing in profession and another thing in practice, in hell, where the condition of poor creatures will be miserable as the condition of those that weep and gnash their teeth. By this parable our Saviour doth quicken his apostles, to whom he intended to leave the care of his church when he should be ascended into heaven, to a faithful care of the flock committed to their trust, and also lets us know that in succeeding ages there would arise a generation of loose and debauched ministers, and such as would persecute the sincerer professors of his gospel, who could not comply with their doctrines and lives. Of which, as all ages of the church have given a proof, so the time since popery hath prevailed in the world hath given a more plentiful and abundant proof: all which extravagances are encouraged from their atheism, and the belief of Christ’s coming to judgment. He also showeth how severe he will be against such persons: he will come upon them before they be aware of it, and cut them in pieces. The word signifies to cut them in two pieces, as the Jews were wont to divide their sacrifices; or, (as some think), as some pagan nations were wont to punish perfidious persons, and some more notorious malefactors. And give him his portion with unbelievers and hypocrites in hell, Matthew 13:42 25:30. The case of all persons that live secure and debauched lives because judgment is not speedily executed, will be sad; but the case of ministers that do so will be dreadful. They are a sort of sinners whom God seldom suffereth to live out half their days; and when he doth, yet they shall not escape the severest damnation of hell. They betray a greater trust, and lead multitudes to hell with them, and so are the greatest traitors against the Divine Majesty.

And shall cut him asunder,.... The Persic version renders it, "he shall separate him from himself": he shall separate soul and body by death; he shall take away all his gifts and talents from him; and remove him from his place and office, and from the church of God, and communion of the saints, and out of this world. Some think the allusion is to the cutting up of the sacrifices, and dividing them into pieces; and the sense is, that this wicked servant should have no share in the sacrifice of Christ; but should fall himself a victim to divine justice, and be used as sacrifices were; or, in other words, be severely punished for his sins; though the allusion seems rather to be to the manner of punishing treacherous and unfaithful persons, by dismembering them, cutting them in pieces, or in two: and so the Arabic version renders it, "he shall cut him in the middle": this was certainly a way of putting persons to death; though some say it was not known to the Jews; but the following instances show the contrary. Mention is made of some that were sawn asunder, Hebrews 11:37 and the Jews say (b), that Isaiah was sawn asunder by Manasseh; and such a kind of death is spoken of in the Targum (c); where it is said, that "the priests went before Mordecai, and proclaimed, saying, whoever does not salute, or wish prosperity to Mordecai, and to the Jews, "he shall be cut into pieces", and his house be made a dunghill.

And elsewhere (d) it is said of a wicked man, that they put him upon a carpenter's block, and , "sawed him asunder"; and he cried out, woe, woe, woe, that I have provoked my Creator. This was also a punishment used among the Heathens, as Gataker (e), and others out of Heathen writers, have shown. It must not here be understood literally, that this wicked servant should be put to such a corporeal death; but that he should be punished in the severest manner, and should be the object of the fierce wrath and sore displeasure of God,

and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. Luke says, "with the unbelievers" Luke 12:46, very likely both phrases were used by Christ; intimating, that such as make a profession of him, and have only a form of godliness, without the power of it, and are wicked and hypocritical men, will share the same fate with those that believe not; and the portion of these is the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; see Revelation 21:8 or all such persons are intended, who put on the mask of religion, and do not answer to the character they bear: and are unfaithful to the trust reposed in them, and therefore will made examples of righteous judgment, and have their part in the lowest hell:

there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See Gill on Matthew 13:42.

(b) T. Hieros. Sanhedrin, fol. 28. 3. & T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 49. 2.((c) Targum in Esther 8.15. (d) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 65. fol. 58. 4. (e) Adversaria, p. 455.

And shall {y} cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(y) That is, from the rest, or will cut him into two pieces, which was a most cruel kind of punishment: with which, as Justin Martyr witnesses, Isaiah the Prophet was executed by the Jews: the same kind of punishment we read of in 1Sa 15:33 and Da 3:29.

Matthew 24:51. διχοτομήσει, he will cut him in sunder as with a saw, an actual mode of punishment in ancient times, and many commentators think that this barbarous penalty is seriously meant here. But this can hardly be, especially as in the following clause the man is supposed to be still alive. The probable meaning is: will cut him in two (so to speak) with a whip = thrash him, the base slave, unmercifully. It is a strong word, selected in sympathy with the master’s rage. So Schott: “verberibus multis eam castigavit”. Koetsveld, De Gelijk., p. 246, and Grimm (Thayer) but with hesitancy. Beza and Grotius interpret: will divide him from the family = dismiss him.—μετὰ τῶν ὑποκριτῶν, with the hypocrites, i.e., eye-servants, who make a great show of zeal under the master’s eye, but are utterly negligent behind his back. In Lk. the corresponding phrase is τῶν ἀπίστων, the unfaithful.

51. shall cut him asunder] See Daniel 2:5; Daniel 3:29. “The angel of God waiteth with the sword to cut thee in two,” (Susanna, 59.) Comp. also “Multos honesti ordinis aut ad bestias condemnavit, aut serra dissecuit.” Sueton. Calig. 17, quoted by Wetstein, who gives other instances.

his portion with the hypocrites] St Luke has “with the unbelievers.” Such adaptations of the Gentile Evangelist to his readers are always interesting. Hypocrisy was especially a Jewish sin. St Luke adds our Lord’s words on the degrees of punishment, varying with the degrees of responsibility.

Matthew 24:51. Διχοτομήσει, shall cut him in twain[1076]) A punishment frequent in ancient times, and an appropriate one for those who were διψύχοι, i.e. double-minded. The Hebrew נתח [to divide or cut in pieces] is thus rendered by the LXX. The hypocrite divides his soul and body in the worship of God; wherefore his soul and body shall be divided in eternal perdition. Eternal perdition is called death: all death, however, has this characteristic, that it deprives the body of its soul. Then neither the soul shall rejoice in the companionship of the body, nor the body in that of the soul, but it shall rather increase its death. Then will each of the damned be able to say with truth, “I am torn asunder” (disrumpor): cf. Hebrews 4:12, as to the force of the word with reference to the wicked. The twofold punishment corresponds to the twofold offence; viz., the cutting in twain to his smiting the men-servants and maid-servants, the portion with the hypocrites to his gluttony and drunkenness.—ὑποκριτῶν, hypocrites) Hypocrisy is a moral evil: the punishment of hypocrites is a specimen of punishment. In the parallel passage, Luke 12:46, we find ἈΠΊΣΤΩΝ, unbelievers or faithless, i.e. those who are not faithful; cf. Matthew 24:45.—θήσει, shall appoint) by a judgment, just, severe, and irreversible.

[1076] E. V. “Shall cut him asunder.”—(I. B.)

Verse 51. - Shall cut him asunder διχοτομήσει). This mode of death was inflicted in some cases (see 1 Samuel 15:33; 2 Samuel 12:31; Daniel 3:29; Hebrews 11:37; compare also the account of the execution of Mettius in Livy, 1:28; and Horace, 'Sat.,' I. 1:99). Thus in our own country "quartering," after hanging at least, was once a usual penalty for some offences, such as high treason. The term has been here interpreted to refer to the operation of the cruel scourge, which without metaphor might be said to cut a man to pieces; or "to dismiss from his employment," which seems to be hardly an adequate punishment. The difficulty is that the utter destruction of the malefactor implied in his literal cutting asunder is not consistent with his subsequent consignment to the lot of the hypocrites. Hence the Fathers have variously explained the term to signify separation from the company of saints, or from spiritual grace, or from all the blessings promised to the righteous. But we may take the Lord's words as applying first to temporal punishment - the unrighteous steward shall suffer death as horrible as dichotomy, a severance of body and soul, accompanied with unspeakable tortures; as in the History of Susanna, ver. 55, "The angel of God hath received the sentence of God to cut thee in two." Appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. The Lord drops the parable, and speaks of the terrible reality. The hypocrites are the faithless and deceitful, who, while pretending to do their lord's work, are mere eye servants, and really neglect and injure it. The remissful steward shares their punishment in the other world. There (ἐκεῖ) shall be, etc.; i.e. in the place where the hypocrites receive their punishment (Matthew 8:12; Matthew 22:13; Matthew 25:30). The expression signifies measureless grief and despair.

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