Matthew 5:2
And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
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5:1,2 None will find happiness in this world or the next, who do not seek it from Christ by the rule of his word. He taught them what was the evil they should abhor, and what the good they should seek and abound in.And seeing the multitudes - The great numbers that came to attend on his ministry. The substance of this discourse is recorded also in Luke 6. It is commonly called the "Sermon on the Mount." It is not improbable that it was repeated, in substance, on different occasions, and to different people. At those times parts of it may have been omitted, and Luke may have recorded it as it was pronounced on one of those occasions. See the notes at Luke 6:17-20.

Went up into a mountain - This mountain, or hill, was somewhere in the vicinity of Capernaum, but where precisely is not mentioned. He ascended the hill, doubtless, because it was more convenient to address the multitude from an eminence than if he were on the same level with them. A hill or mountain is still shown a short distance to the northwest of the ancient site of Capernaum, which tradition reports to have been the place where this sermon was delivered, and which is called on the maps the Mount of Beatitudes. The hill commonly believed to be that on which the sermon was delivered is on the road from Nazareth to Tiberias, not far from the latter place. The hill is known by the name of Kuran Huttin, the Horns of Huttin. Of this hill Professor Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, pp. 323, 324) says: "Though a noontide heat was beating down upon us with scorching power, I could not resist the temptation to turn aside and examine a place for which such a claim has been set up, though I cannot say that I have any great confidence in it. The hill referred to is rocky, and rises steeply to a moderate height above the plain. It has two summits, with a slight depression between them, and it is from these projecting points, or horns, that it receives the name given to it. From the top the observer has a full view of the Sea of Tiberias. The most pleasing feature of the landscape is that presented by the diversified appearance of the fields. The different plots of ground exhibit various colors, according to the state. of cultivation: some of them are red, where the land has been newly plowed up, the natural appearance of the soil; others yellow or white, where the harvest is beginning to ripen, or is already ripe; and others green, being covered with grass or springing grain. As they are contiguous to each other, or intermixed, these particolored plots present at some distance an appearance of joyful chequered work, which is really beautiful.

"In rhetorical descriptions of the delivery of the Sermon on the Mount, we often hear the people represented as looking up to the speaker from the sides of the hill, or listening to him from the plain. This would not be possible with reference to the present locality; for it is too precipitous and too elevated to allow of such a position. The Saviour could have sat there, however, in the midst of his hearers, for it affords a platform amply large enough for the accommodation of the hundreds who may have been present on that occasion."

And when he was set - This was the common mode of teaching among the Jews, Luke 4:20; Luke 5:3; John 8:2; Acts 13:14; Acts 16:13.

His disciples came unto him - The word "disciples" means "learners," those who are taught. Here it is put for those who attended on the ministry of Jesus, and does not imply that they were all Christians. See John 6:66.

2. And he opened his mouth—a solemn way of arousing the reader's attention, and preparing him for something weighty. (Job 9:1; Ac 8:35; 10:34).

and taught them, saying—as follows.

Ver. 1,2. The last chapter concluded with telling us that a great multitude followed Christ, which he observing, that he might with more convenience to himself, and advantage to them, speak what he had to say,

he went up into a mountain; and sitting down, after the manner of the Jewish doctors to show their authority, which our Saviour also at other times observed, Matthew 26:55 Luke 4:20 John 8:2,

his disciples came unto him; both those strictly so called, and others also, viz. the multitude, mentioned in the last chapter, or some of them; and he began to speak to them with freedom, so as the multitude might hear. Christ thought it as lawful to preach in the mountain as in the synagogues; nor did his disciples doubt the lawfulness of hearing him, wherever he thought fit to speak. And he opened his mouth,.... He spoke with a clear and strong voice, that all the people might hear him; and with great freedom, utterance, and cheerfulness, and things of the greatest moment and importance;

and taught them; not his disciples only, but the whole multitude, who heard him with astonishment; see Matthew 7:28. Some things in the following discourse are directed to the disciples in particular, and others regard the multitude in general.

{1} And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

(1) Christ teaches that the greatest joy and happiness is not in the conveniences and pleasures of this life, but is laid up in heaven for those who willingly rest in the good will and pleasure of God, and endeavour to profit all men, although they are cruelly vexed and troubled by those of the world, because they will not adapt themselves to their ways.

Matthew 5:2. Ἀνοίγειν τὸ στόμα] after פָּתַח פֶּה; Vorstius, de Hebraismis, p. 703 ff. Individual instances also amongst classical writers; Aristophanes, Av. 1720; Aeschylus, Prom. 612; Lucian. Philops. 33. This phrase belongs to the distinctly descriptive style of narrative, and denotes of itself nothing else than the opening of the mouth to speak, where the connection alone indicates whether in this descriptive element the emphasis of solemnity, of boldness, or the like is contained or not. Comp. on 2 Corinthians 6:11; Ephesians 6:19. Here, where the first extensive discourse of Jesus, which forms the great programme for the membership of His kingdom, follows, the solemn character of the moment, “He opened His mouth,” is not to be mistaken; compare Matthew 13:35. A similar indication of purpose in Job 3:1, Daniel 10:16, Acts 8:35; Acts 10:34, but not in Acts 8:14. Luther well says, “There the evangelist makes a preface and shows how Christ placed Himself to deliver the sermon which He intended; that He goes up a mountain, sits down, and opens His mouth, that men may see that He was in earnest.”

αὐτούς] τοὺς μαθητάς. Jesus at first directed His discourse to the entire circle of His disciples, but kept also in view the ὀχλοί, who, according to Matthew 7:28, pressed after Him, and became hearers of the discourse; see also Luke 6:20; Luke 7:1.Matthew 5:2. ἀνοίξας τὸ στόμα: solemn description of the beginning of a weighty discourse.—ἐδίδασκεν, imperfect, implying continued discourse.Matthew 5:2. Ἀνοίξας, κ.τ.λ., having opened, etc.) A beginning studiously made is great part of a great matter. In commencing narrations of great and deliberate affairs, Scripture uses the phrases, He turned his shoulders, He moved his feet, He raised his eyes, He opened His mouth. See Acts 10:34. Here the fountain began to pour forth water. Cf. Matthew 13:35.—ἐδίδασκεν, He taught) He instructed by doctrine, by consolation, by exhortation, by precept.—αὐτοὺς, them) the disciples. For He addresses these, in the hearing of the multitudes;[168] see Matthew 7:28. The Evangelists have transcribed at full length two discourses of our Lord, as models of all the rest; the one delivered publicly at the commencement of His ministry, that namely which we are now considering; the other privately at its conclusion, recorded in John 13-16. Our Lord’s object in the present discourse is to teach true righteousness (see Isaiah 63:1): and He also declares at the same time, that He came to establish the Law and the Prophets, and exposes the spurious character of the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees. In the exordium, there is firstly, Matthew 5:3-4, a sweet invitation to the fellowship of true righteousness, and therein of blessedness; secondly, Matthew 5:13-14, to the communication of it to others. From Matthew 5:17 to Matthew 7:12, there is a treatise, the end of which corresponds with the beginning, even to a word. The conclusion of this discourse, firstly, ch. Matthew 7:13-14, points out the gate of righteousness; secondly, ch. Matthew 7:15-16, warns against false prophets, who go themselves, and lead others, into all kinds of error;[169] and thirdly, Matthew 7:24-25, exhorts us to fulfil these precepts of righteousnesss. The impression produced by the Heavenly Teacher’s discourse on those who heard Him, is described in the two last verses of the same chapter.

[168] [He, however, addressed the latter also at the same time; v. 17.—V. g.]

[169] In alia omnia ducentibus et euntibus—literally, “leading and going into all other things”—sc. other than the strait gate.—(I. B.)Verse 2. - And he opened his mouth. Frequent in the Old Testament; e.g. Job 3:1. A Hebraism, indicating that the words spoken are not the utterance of chance, but of set will and purpose. In the Gospels (in this sense) only Matthew 13:35 (from Psalm 78:2, LXX.); also in Acts 8:35 (Philip); 10:34 (Peter); 18:14 (Paul); Revelation 13:6 (the beast); cf. 2 Corinthians 6. II, of perfect frankness of expression, and Ephesians 6:19, perhaps of courage in the utterance of the Divine message. And taught them. (ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς). That which follows is represented, not as a proclamation, but as teaching, given to those who in some measure desired to follow and serve him. Some progress already made by the listeners, if only in a relation of respect and reverence, is implied in "teaching." The discourse was therefore spoken, not simply to the multitudes, a chance audience, but with primary and special reference to those who had already made some advance in relation to him. The multitudes, however, were standing by, and were amazed at the unique character of his teaching (cf. Matthew 7:28, 29; cf. also Luke 6:20 with Luke 7:1). Taught (ἐδίδασκεν)

The imperfect signifies began to teach.

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