Matthew 26:52
Then said Jesus to him, Put up again your sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(52) All they that take the sword.—St. Matthew’s record is here the fullest. St. Mark reports none of the words; St. Luke (Luke 22:51) gives only the calming utterance, “Suffer ye thus far;” St. John (John 18:11) adds to the command to put the sword into its sheath the words, “The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?” a manifest echo of the prayer that had been uttered before in the hour of His agony. The words which St. Matthew gives are obviously not a general rule declaring the unlawfulness of all warfare, offensive or defensive, but are limited in their range by the occasion. Resistance at that time would have involved certain destruction. More than that, it would have been fighting not for God, but against Him, because against the fulfilment of His purpose. It is, however, a natural inference from the words to see in them a warning applicable to all analogous occasions. In whatever other cause it may be lawful to use carnal weapons, it is not wise or right to draw the sword for Christ and His Truth. (Comp. 2Corinthians 10:4.)

26:47-56 No enemies are so much to be abhorred as those professed disciples that betray Christ with a kiss. God has no need of our services, much less of our sins, to bring about his purposes. Though Christ was crucified through weakness, it was voluntary weakness; he submitted to death. If he had not been willing to suffer, they could not conquer him. It was a great sin for those who had left all to follow Jesus; now to leave him for they knew not what. What folly, for fear of death to flee from Him, whom they knew and acknowledged to be the Fountain of life!Thy sword into his place - Into the sheath.

For all they that take the sword ... - This passage is capable of different significations.

1. They who resist by the sword the civil magistrate shall be punished; and it is dangerous, therefore, to oppose those who come with the authority of the civil ruler.

2. These men, Jews and Romans, who have taken the sword against the innocent, shall perish by the sword. God will take vengeance on them.

3. However, the most satisfactory interpretation is that which regards it as a caution to Peter. Peter was rash. Alone he had attacked the whole band. Jesus told him that his unseasonable and imprudent defense might be the occasion of his own destruction. In doing it he would endanger his life, for they who took the sword perished by it. This was probably a proverb, denoting that they who engaged in wars commonly perished there.

Mt 26:47-56. Betrayal and Apprehension of Jesus—Flight of His Disciples. ( = Mr 14:43-52; Lu 22:47-54; Joh 18:1-12).

For the exposition, see on [1365]Joh 18:1-12.

See Poole on "Matthew 26:54". Then said Jesus unto him,.... That is, unto Peter,

put up again thy sword into its place, or sheath. This Christ said not only to rebuke Peter for his rashness, but to soften the minds of the multitude, who must be enraged at such an action; and which was still more effectually done by his healing the man's ear: and indeed, had it not been for these words, and this action of Christ's; and more especially had it not been owing to the powerful influence Christ had over the spirits of these men, in all probability Peter, and the rest of the apostles, had been all destroyed at once,

For all they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword. This is not to be understood of magistrates who bear not the sword in vain, are ministers of God for good, and revengers of evil works; but of private persons that use the sword, and that not in self-defence, but for private revenge; or engage in a quarrel, to which they are not called; and such generally perish, as Peter must have done, had it not been for the interposition of almighty power. Though this seems to be spoken not so much of Peter, and of the danger he exposed himself to, by taking and using the sword, and so to deter him from it, but rather of these his enemies: and as an argument to make and keep Peter easy and quiet, and exercise patience, since, in a little time, God would avenge himself of them; and that the Jews, who now made use of the sword of the Roman soldiers, would perish by the sword of the Romans, as in a few years after the whole nation did.

(14) Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that {y} take the sword shall perish with the sword.

(14) Our vocation must govern our zeal.

(y) They take the sword to whom the Lord has not given it, that is to say, they who use the sword and are not called to it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 26:52. Put back thy sword into its place (θήκην, John 18:11; κολεόν, 1 Chronicles 21:27). A pictorial representation; the sword was uplifted.

πάντες γὰρ, κ.τ.λ.] All, who have taken a sword, will perish by the sword,—an ordinary axiom in law (Revelation 13:10) adduced for the purpose of enforcing His disapproval of the unwarrantable conduct of Peter, not a προφητεία τῆς διαφθορᾶς τῶν ἐπελθόντων αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίων (Euthymius Zigabenus, comp. Grotius), nor “an ideal sentence of death” (Lange) pronounced upon Peter—all such interpretations being foreign to our passage. Luther, however, fitly observes: “Those take the sword who use it without proper authority.”Matthew 26:52. ἀπόστρεψον: Jesus could not encourage the use of arms by His disciples, and the order to sheathe the weapon He was sure to give. The accompanying word, containing a general legal maxim: draw the sword, perish with the sword (the subsequent history of the Jewish people a tragic exemplification of its truth), suitably enforces the order. Weiss thinks that this word recorded here was spoken by Jesus at some other time, if at all, for it appears to be only a free reproduction of Revelation 13:10 (Meyer, ed. Weiss). This and the next two verses are wanting in Mk. and Lk.52. all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword] To this reason for non-resistance Christ added another, “The cup which my Father has given me shall I not drink it?” (John).

take the sword] i. e. against rightful authority. The truth of this saying was exemplified by the slaughter of nearly a million and a half of Jews, who “took the sword” against Rome a. d. 67–70.

52–54. These verses are peculiar to Matthew; each Evangelist has recorded sayings unnoticed by the others. It is easy to understand that in these exciting moments each bystander should perceive a part only of what was said or done.Matthew 26:52. Σου τὴν μάχαιραν, THY sword) most foreign to MY cause.—τοπον, place) The sword, when out of the scabbard, is not in its place, except when it ministers to the wrath of God.—λαβόντες, they who take) When God does not give it them.—ἐν μαχαίρᾳ, by the sword) Thus the LXX. use ἐν μαχαίρᾳ ἀποθνήσκειν (to die by the sword); 2 Chronicles 23:14, and Jeremiah 21:9.—ἀποθανοῦνται, shall die) This word implies a punishment in kind.Verse 52. - Put up again thy sword into his (its) place. Christ orders Peter to sheathe his sword; but the wording is peculiar, Turn away (ἀπόστρεψον) thy sword; as if Christ would say, "The sword is none of mine; the arm of flesh and the carnal weapon are thine; turn off thy sword from the use which thou art making of it to its proper destination, to be wielded only at God's command." Then he gives a motive for this injunction. For all they that take (οἱ λαβόντες) the sword shall perish with the sword. There is a stress on the word "take," and there is an imperative force in the future, "shall perish." The Lord is speaking of those who arbitrarily and presumptuously resort to violence; and he says, "Let them feel the sword." The word was of wide application, and contained a universal truth; it was, in fact, a re-enactment of the primaeval law touching the sacredness of human life, and the penalty that ensues on its infringement (Genesis 9:5, 6). It enforced also the general lesson that violence and revenge effect no good end, and bring their own punishment. There is no prophecy here (as some suppose) of the destruction of the Jews at the hands of the Romans; nor is Christ intent on soothing Peter by the thought of the future retribution which awaited the enemies whom he was so eager to chastise. Such suggestions are arbitrary and unwarranted by the context. Put up again

Peter was still brandishing his sword.

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