And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)John 10:7, John 10:14-16, John 10:27; Psalm 100:3; Psalm 74:1; Psalm 23:1-6.
On the right hand - The right hand is the place of honor, and denotes the situation of those who are honored, or those who are virtuous. See Ecclesiastes 10:2; Ephesians 1:20; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:25, Acts 2:33.
The goats - The wicked. See Ezekiel 34:17.
The left - That is, the left hand. This was the place of dishonor, denoting condemnation. See Ecclesiastes 10:2.
but the goats on the left—the side consequently of dishonor.
When the Son of man, he who now appeareth to you in the form of a servant, and only as the Son of man, shall come in his glory, a glorious manifestation of himself; he now appeareth clothed with flesh, but he shall appear in his glory, and all the holy angels with him; he shall come with ten thousand of his saints, Judges 1:14, with his mighty angels. 2 Thessalonians 1:7. Then shall he sit (after the manner of great princes) upon the throne of his glory; he shall appear in great splendour: and before him shall be gathered all nations, that is, all persons that ever were or at that time shall be in the world; the quick and the dead, Acts 10:42 2 Timothy 4:1 1 Peter 4:5. He shall send forth his angels, and say to them, who are his reapers, Matthew 13:30, Gather together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn. He by his angels shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd, who feedeth both sheep and goats together, at night separateth them one from another. So the saints of God, who are like sheep for whiteness, gentleness, innocency, and feed in this world together with stinking and lascivious goats, the wicked of the world, compared to goats for the filthy qualities by which they resemble them; yet at the day of judgment Christ shall separate them.
And he shall set the sheep on his right hand. The right hand is the place of honour and dignity, and the place for favourites: then Christ shall exalt his saints to great honour and dignity, and show them his favour.
But the goats on the left; wicked men shall rise to shame and contempt. The right hand men of the world shall be at the left hand of Christ. It shall be then seen, that because they are people of no understanding, he that formed them will show them no favour.
But the goats on the left; that is, the foolish virgins, wicked, and slothful servants, graceless professors, who, because of the impurity of their hearts, the filthiness of their lives, and their offensiveness to Christ, are compared to goats: these he will place at his left hand, in token of his disaffection for them, as a brand of disgrace upon them, and as an intimation of that dishonour, and miserable condition they will quickly be in. These different situations plainly pre-signify how things will go with each, that one will be acquitted, and made happy, the other will be condemned, and become miserable. Agreeable to which the Jews say (c), that there is a right hand and a left hand with the Lord: they that are on the right hand, are such as have done well, and are "for absolution"; and they that are on the left hand are criminals, and are "for condemnation". Some think the allusion is to the two Scribes in the sanhedrim, who stood before the judges, one on the right hand, and the other on the left, and wrote the sentences; the one of those that were acquitted, and the other of those that were condemned (d),
(c) Jarchi in Gen. i. 26. Kimchi in 1 Kings 22.19. Lex. Cabalist. p. 132. Zohar in Numb. fol. 93. 4. (d) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 4. sect. 3. Maimon. Hilch. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 9. Moses Kotsensis Mitzvot Tora pr. affirm. 97.And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 25:33. καὶ στήσει, etc., the bare placing of the parties already judges, the good on the right, the evil on the left; sheep, emblems of the former; goats, of the latter. Why? No profit from goats, much from sheep; from their wool, milk, lambs, says Chrys., Hom. lxxix. Lust and evil odour secure for the goat its unenviable emblematic significance, say others: “id animal et libidinosum et olidum” (Grotius). Lange suggests stubbornness as the sinister quality. More important is the point made by Weiss that the very fact that a separation is necessary implies that all were one flock, i.e., that the judged in the view of Jesus are all professing Christians, disciples true or false.Matthew 25:33. Ἐρίφια, kidlings) A diminutive. Although giants, they will be kidlings. They will not then be אלים, mighty, and עתורים, he-goats.
 This play upon words, on such a solemn subject, appears rather extra-ordinary in a man of Bengel’s piety. The Hebrew עַתּוּד is used of the leader of a flock, and, metaphorically, of the leader of a people.—(I. B.)
Perhaps Bengel’s language will not appear so inappropriate when compared with that of Scripture, to which he evidently alludes. Isaiah 14:11, “Hell from beneath stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones [Hebr. leaders; lit. great goats] of the earth.” Comp. Ezekiel 34:17; Zechariah 10:3.—ED.Verse 33. - The sheep on his right hand. The sheep are the type of the docile, the profitable, the innocent, the good (see Romans 2:7, 10). The right hand is the place of favour and honour (Genesis 48:17; Luke 1:11; Mark 16:5). The goats (ἐρίφια, kids) on the left. The diminutive is here used for the goats, to convey an impression of their worthlessness. Compare κυνάρια, "whelps," in the conversation of our Lord with the Syro-Phoenician woman (Matthew 15:26, 27). They are the type of the unruly, the proud (Isaiah 14:9, Hebrew), the unprofitable, the evil (see Romans 2:8, 9). This judicial distinction between the right and left hands is found in classical writers. Thus Plato, 'De Republica,' 10:13, tells of what a certain man, who revived after a cataleptic attack, saw when his soul left his body. he came to a mysterious place, where were two chasms in the earth, and two openings in the heavens opposite to them, and the judges of the dead sat between these. And when they gave judgment, they commanded the just to go on the right hand, and upwards through the heavens; but the unjust they sent to the left, and downwards; and both the just and unjust had upon them the marks of what they had done in the body. So Virgil makes the Elysian Fields to lie on the right of the palace of Dis, and the penal Tartarus on the left ('AEn.,' 6:540, etc.).
Diminutive. Lit., kidlings. The sheep and goats are represented as having previously pastured together. Compare the parables of the Tares and the Net.
On the right (ἐκ δεξιῶν)
Lit., form the right side or parts. The picture to the Greek reader is that of a row, beginning at the judge's right hand.
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