Matthew 6:11
Give us this day our daily bread.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Give us this day our daily bread.—A strange obscurity hangs over the words that are so familiar to us. The word translated “daily” is found nowhere else, with the one exception of the parallel passage in Luke 11:3, and so far as we can judge must have been coined for the purpose, as the best equivalent for the unknown Aramaic word which our Lord actually used. We are accordingly thrown partly on its possible derivation, partly on what seems (compatibly with its derivation) most in harmony with the spirit of our Lord’s teaching. The form of the word (see Note in Excursus) admits of the meanings, (1) bread sufficient for the day now coming; (2) sufficient for the morrow; (3) sufficient for existence; (4) over and above material substance—or, as the Vulgate renders it, panis super substantialis. Of these, (1) and (2) are the most commonly received; and the idea conveyed by them is expressed in the rendering “daily bread.” So taken, it is a simple petition, like the prayer of Agur in Proverbs 30:8, for “food convenient for us;” and as such, has been uttered by a thousand child-like hearts, and has borne its witness alike against over-anxiety and far-reaching desires for outward prosperity. It is not without some hesitation, in face of so general a concurrence of authority, that I find myself constrained to say that the last meaning seems to me the truest. Let us remember (1) the words with which our Lord had answered the Tempter, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4); (2) His application of those words in “I have meat to eat that ye know not of” (John 4:32); (3) His own use of bread as the symbol of that which sustains the spiritual life (John 6:27-58); (4) the warnings in Matthew 6:25-31 not only against anxiety about what we shall eat and drink, but against seeking these things instead of seeking simply the kingdom of God and His righteousness—and we can scarcely fail, I think, to see that He meant His disciples, in this pattern Prayer, to seek for the nourishment of the higher and not the lower life. So taken, the petition, instead of being a contrast to the rest of the Prayer, is in perfect harmony with it, and the whole raises us to the region of thought in which we leave all that concerns our earthly life in the hands of our Father, without asking Him even for the supply of its simplest wants, seeking only that He would sustain and perfect the higher life of our spirit. So when we ask for “daily bread,” we mean not common food, but the “Bread from heaven, which giveth life unto the world.” So the reality of which the Eucharistic bread is the symbol is the Lord’s gracious answer to the Prayer He has taught us.

II.THE WORD “DAILY,” IN Matthew 6:11.

The word ἐπιούσιος has been derived (1) from ή ἐπιοῡσα (sc. ἡμέρα)=the day that is coming on; and this meaning is favoured by the fact that Jerome says that the Hebrew Gospel current in his time gave the word mahar (= crastinus) to-morrow’s bread, and by the very early rendering, quotidianum, in the Latin versions. On the other hand, this meaning introduces a strange tautology into St. Luke’s version of the prayer, “Give us day by day—i.e., daily—our daily bread.” (2) The other derivation connects it with οὐσία in some one or other of its many senses, and with ἐπὶ as signifying either “for” or “over”—the former force of the preposition suggesting the thought “for our existence or subsistence;” the latter, the supersubstantialis of Jerome, that is, “over or above our material substance.” It is said, and with truth, that in classical Greek the form would have been not ἐπιούσιος, but ἐπούσιος; but it is clear that that difficulty did not prevent a scholar like Jerome from accepting the derivation, and it was not likely that the Hellenistic Jew who first translated our Lord’s discourses should be more accurate than Jerome in coining a word which seemed to him wanted to express our Lord’s meaning. The derivation being then admissible, it remains to ask which of the two meanings of οὐσία and of ἐπὶ gives most force to the clause in which the word occurs, and for the reasons given above I am led to decide in favour of the latter. New words would hardly have been wanted for the meanings “daily” or “sufficient.” When a word is coined, it may fairly be assumed that it was wanted to express a new thought, and the new thought here was that which our Lord afterwards developed in John 6, that the spirit of a man needs sustenance not less than his body, and that that sustenance is found in the “bread of God which cometh down from heaven” (John 6:33). The student should, however, consult Dr. Lightfoot’s admirable excursus on the word in his Hints on a Revised Version of the New Testament.

On the assumption that the Lord’s Prayer included and spiritualised the highest thoughts that had previously been expressed separably by devout Israelites, we may note, as against the meaning of “bread for the morrow,” the saying of Rabbi Elieser, that “He who has a crumb left in his scrip, and asks, ‘What shall I eat to-morrow?’ belongs to those of little faith.”

There is, it must be admitted, a difficulty in conjecturing what Aramaic word could have answered to this meaning of ἐπιούσιος, and the fact that a word giving the other meaning is, as it were, ready to hand, and was actually found in the Hebrew Gospel in the fourth century, has some weight on the other side. That word may, however, itself have been not a translation of the original, but a re-translation of the Latin quotidianus; and the fact that Jerome, knowing of this, chose another rendering here, while he retained quotidianus in St. Luke 11:3, shows that he was not satisfied with it, and at last, it may be, halted between two opinions.

Matthew 6:11. Give us this day our daily bread — As the original word, επιουσιον, here rendered daily, is not found anywhere else; neither in the LXX. nor in any Greek author, nor in any other part of the New Testament, save in the parallel passage in Luke, commentators differ in their interpretation of it. That given by Theophylact, one of the most approved of the Greek fathers, seems the best: “Bread sufficient for our sustenance or support:” which is the sense in which the word is understood by Chrysostom, and in Etymol. Magna, where it is explained thus: ο επι

τη ουσια ημων αρμοζων, “that which is sufficient to our life;” or what will strengthen us from day to day for serving God with cheerfulness and vigour. Thus, also, Mr. Mede interprets the expression. The Latin version, in Jerome’s time, had panem quotidianum, daily bread, which our translators have copied, because in the parallel passage, Luke 11:3, το καθημεραν, day by day, is joined with επιουσιον. Daily bread, it must be observed, according to the Hebrew idiom, signifies the whole provision of the table, see Genesis 18:5; and here it includes raiment also, and every thing necessary to life. “Since, therefore, we are not allowed to ask provision to gratify a luxurious appetite, but only the necessaries of life, and that not for many years, but from day to day, the petition forbids anxious cares about futurity, and teaches us how moderate our desires of worldly things ought to be. And whereas, not the poor only, whose industry all acknowledge must be favoured by the concurrence of Providence to render it successful, but the rich are enjoined to pray for their bread, day by day, it is on account of the great instability of human affairs, which renders the possession of wealth absolutely precarious; and because, without the divine blessing, even the abundance of the rich is not of itself sufficient so much as to keep them alive, far less to make them happy.” Indeed, the petition teaches all men to exercise an humble dependance on Divine Providence for the most necessary supplies, be their possessions or abilities ever so great. It may be observed further here, that Erasmus, Heylin, and many others, following the fathers, understand it in a spiritual sense also. Bread, says Heylin, here signifies, “all things needful for our maintenance; the maintenance of the whole man, both body and soul; for each of these have their proper sustenance; to one belongs the natural bread, to the other the spiritual, and both are included in this petition.”6:9-15 Christ saw it needful to show his disciples what must commonly be the matter and method of their prayer. Not that we are tied up to the use of this only, or of this always; yet, without doubt, it is very good to use it. It has much in a little; and it is used acceptably no further than it is used with understanding, and without being needlessly repeated. The petitions are six; the first three relate more expressly to God and his honour, the last three to our own concerns, both temporal and spiritual. This prayer teaches us to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and that all other things shall be added. After the things of God's glory, kingdom, and will, we pray for the needful supports and comforts of this present life. Every word here has a lesson in it. We ask for bread; that teaches us sobriety and temperance: and we ask only for bread; not for what we do not need. We ask for our bread; that teaches us honesty and industry: we do not ask for the bread of others, nor the bread of deceit, Pr 20:17; nor the bread of idleness, Pr 31:27, but the bread honestly gotten. We ask for our daily bread; which teaches us constantly to depend upon Divine Providence. We beg of God to give it us; not sell it us, nor lend it us, but give it. The greatest of men must be beholden to the mercy of God for their daily bread. We pray, Give it to us. This teaches us a compassion for the poor. Also that we ought to pray with our families. We pray that God would give it us this day; which teaches us to renew the desires of our souls toward God, as the wants of our bodies are renewed. As the day comes we must pray to our heavenly Father, and reckon we could as well go a day without food, as without prayer. We are taught to hate and dread sin while we hope for mercy, to distrust ourselves, to rely on the providence and grace of God to keep us from it, to be prepared to resist the tempter, and not to become tempters of others. Here is a promise, If you forgive, your heavenly Father will also forgive. We must forgive, as we hope to be forgiven. Those who desire to find mercy with God, must show mercy to their brethren. Christ came into the world as the great Peace-maker, not only to reconcile us to God, but one to another.Give us this day ... - The word "bread," here, denotes doubtless everything necessary to sustain life. See the notes at Matthew 4:4. Compare Deuteronomy 8:3. This petition implies our dependence on God for the supply of our wants. As we are dependent on him one day as much as another, it was evidently the intention of the Saviour that prayer should be offered every day. The petition, moreover, is expressed in the plural number - give us - and it is evidently therefore, intended to be used by more than one, or by some community of people. No community or congregation can meet every day for worship but families. It is therefore evident that this prayer contains a strong implied command for daily family prayer. It can nowhere else be used so as fully to come up to the meaning of the original intention; and nowhere else can it be breathed forth with so much propriety and beauty as from the lips of a father, the venerable priest of his household, and the pleader with God for those rich blessings which a parental bosom desires on his beloved offspring.11. Give us this day our daily bread—The compound word here rendered "daily" occurs nowhere else, either in classical or sacred Greek, and so must be interpreted by the analogy of its component parts. But on this critics are divided. To those who would understand it to mean, "Give us this day the bread of to-morrow"—as if the sense thus slid into that of Luke "Give us day by day" (Lu 11:2, (as Bengel, Meyer, &c.) it may be answered that the sense thus brought out is scarcely intelligible, if not something less; that the expression "bread of to-morrow" is not at all the same as bread "from day to day," and that, so understood, it would seem to contradict Mt 6:34. The great majority of the best critics (taking the word to be compounded of ousia, "substance," or "being") understand by it the "staff of life," the bread of subsistence, and so the sense will be, "Give us this day the bread which this day's necessities require." In this case, the rendering of our authorized version (after the Vulgate, Luther and some of the best modern critics)—"our daily bread"—is, in sense, accurate enough. (See Pr 30:8). Among commentators, there was early shown an inclination to understand this as a prayer for the heavenly bread, or spiritual nourishment; and in this they have been followed by many superior expositors, even down to our own times. But as this is quite unnatural, so it deprives the Christian of one of the sweetest of his privileges—to cast his bodily wants in this short prayer, by one simple petition, upon his heavenly Father. No doubt the spiritual mind will, from "the meat that perisheth," naturally rise in thought to "that meat which endureth to everlasting life." But let it be enough that the petition about bodily wants irresistibly suggests a higher petition; and let us not rob ourselves—out of a morbid spirituality—of our one petition in this prayer for that bodily provision which the immediate sequel of this discourse shows that our heavenly Father has so much at heart. In limiting our petitions, however, to provision for the day, what a spirit of childlike dependence does the Lord both demand and beget!

Fifth Petition:

And forasmuch as in thee we live, and move, and have our life, so the means for the upholding and the preserving of our lives, and the blessing upon them, must be from thee. We beseech thee to give us food convenient for us, that which thou hast ordained for our nourishment and preservation; and that thou wouldst preserve it to us, that we may have it from day to day while we live in the world, with thy blessing upon it; that we may not be tempted to take bread which is not ours, nor be over solicitous and careful for tomorrow, but by daily prayer may obtain daily supplies from thee, so far as shall be necessary or convenient for us. Give us this day our daily bread. The Arabic version reads it, "our bread for tomorrow"; and Jerom says, that in the Hebrew Gospel, used by the Nazarenes, he found the word which signifies "tomorrow": but this reading and sense seem to be contradicted by Christ, Matthew 6:34 were it not that it may be observed, that this signifies the whole subsequent time of life, and so furnishes us with a very commodious sense of this petition; which is, that God would give us, "day by day", as Luke expresses it, Luke 11:3 that is, every day of our lives, to the end thereof, a proper supply of food: or the meaning of it is, that God would give us, for the present time, such food as we stand in need of; is suitable to us, to our nature and constitution, state and condition, and is sufficient and convenient for us: to which agrees the petition of the (u) Jews:

"The necessities of thy people are great, and their knowledge short; let it be thy good will and pleasure, O Lord, our God, that thou wouldst give to everyone , "what is sufficient for his sustenance", and to every one's body what it wants.''

"Says R. Jose (w), all the children of faith seek "every day" , "to ask their food" of the Lord, and to pray a prayer for it.''

By "bread" is meant all the necessaries of life, and for the support of it: it is called "our's"; not that we have a right unto it, much less deserve it, but to distinguish it from that of beasts; and because it is what we need, and cannot do without; what is appointed for us by providence, is our's by gift, and possessed by labour. It is said to be "daily" bread, and to be asked for "day by day"; which suggests the uncertainty of life; strikes at all anxious and immoderate cares for the morrow; is designed to restrain from covetousness, and to keep up the duty of prayer, and constant dependence on God; whom we must every day ask to "give" us our daily bread: for he is the sole author of all our mercies; which are all his free gifts; we deserve nothing at his hands: wherefore we ought to be thankful for what we have, without murmuring at his providences, or envying at what he bestows on others. All kind of food, everything that is eatable, is with the Jews called "bread" (x).

(u) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 29. 2.((w) Zohar in Exod. fol. 26. 2.((x) Jarchi in Job, vi. 7.

Give us this day our (d) daily bread.

(d) That which is suitable for our nature for our daily food, or such as may suffice our nature and complexion.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 6:11. Τὸν ἄρτον] same as לֶחֶם, victus; Genesis 18:5; Proverbs 30:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:12; Sir 10:26; Wis 16:20.

τὸν ἐπιούσιον] occurring nowhere else in the Greek language but here and in Luke 11:3. See Origen, de Orat. § Matthew 27 : ἔοικε πεπλᾶσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν εὐαγγελιστῶν. It is possible that it may be derived from οὐσία, and accordingly the phrase has been supposed to mean: the food necessary for subsistence, לֶחֶם חֻקִּי, Proverbs 30:8. So Syr., Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Etym. M.; Beza, Maldonatus, Kuinoel, Tholuck, Ewald (de Wette undecided), Arnoldi, Bleek, Weizsäcker, Keim, Hanne, and probably this explanation has also given rise to the rendering “daily bread” (It., Chrysostom, Luther), ἐφήμερος, Jam 2:15; comp. Victorinus, c. Ar. ii. p. 273, Augustine. But οὐσία does not mean subsistence (σύστασις), but (Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 491 f.) essence, as also reality, and, finally, possessions, res familiaris, in which sense also it is to be taken in Soph. Trach. 907 (911), where the words τὰς ἄπαιδας οὐσίας denote a home without children. In deriving the expression, therefore, from οὐσία, the idea of necessary food[421] must be brought out in a very indirect way (as Gregory of Nyssa: that which is requisite or sufficient for the support of the body; comp. Chrysostom, Tholuck, Hitzig). Again, if the word were to be derived from ΟὐΣΊΑ (ΕἾΝΑΙ), it would have to be spelt, not ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς, but ἘΠΟΎΣΙΟς, in a way analogous to the forms ἘΠΟΥΣΊΑ, overplus, ἐπουσιώδης, non-essential, which come from εἶναι. Forms in which there is either a different preposition (such as ΠΕΡΙΟΎΣΙΟς), or in which the derivation has no connection with ΕἾΝΑΙ (as ἘΠΙΟΡΚΕῖΝ), have been brought forward without any reason with a view to support the above ordinary explanation. After all this we must, for reasons derived from grammatical considerations (in answer to Leo Meyer, Weizsäcker, Kamphausen, Keim), prefer the other possible derivation from Ἡ ἘΠΙΟῦΣΑ (therefore from ἘΠΙΈΝΑΙ), dies crastinus (Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 464; Proverbs 27:1), which is already expressly given by Ambrose, lib. v. de sacram. 4. 24, and according to which we should have to interpret the words as meaning to-morrow’s bread.[422] So Ar., Aeth., Copt., Sahid., Erasmus, Annot., Scaliger, Salmasius, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Wetstein, Valckenaer, Schol. I. p. 190, and V; also Winer, p. 92 [E. T. 120], Fritzsche, Käuffer, Schegg, Döllinger, Hilgenfeld, Holtzmann, Schenkel, Wittichen. This explanation, furnished historically by the Gospel according to the Hebrews, where Jerome found מחר, is recommended in the context by the σήμερον, which, besides, has no correlative, nor is it incompatible with Matthew 6:34, where the taking no thought for to-morrow does not exclude, but rather presupposes (1 Peter 5:7), the asking for to-morrow’s bread, while, moreover, this request is quite justified as a matter of prayer, considering how certain is the uncertainty of life’s duration. The granting to-day of to-morrow’s bread is, accordingly, the narrow limit which Christ here assigns to prayers for earthly objects,—a limit not open to the charge of want of modesty (Keim), inasmuch as it is fixed only at de die in diem. Of late, Olshausen and Delitzsch (“the bread necessary for man’s spiritual and physical life”) have again adopted, at least along with the other view, the erroneous explanation,—exegetically inconsistent with σήμερον, but originating in a supposed perverse asceticism, and favoured by the tendency to mystical interpretation generally, no less than by the early (Irenaeus,Haer. iv. 18) reference to the Lord’s Supper in particular,—the explanation, namely, that what is here meant is supernatural,[423] heavenly food (John 6), as, indeed, many Fathers (Cyprian and Jerome) and older expositors understood both kinds of bread to be included

[421] To this amounts also the view of Leo Meyer in Kuhn’s Zeitschr. f. vergleich. Sprachforsch. VII. 6, p. 401 ff., who, however, regards the word as expressing adjectively the idea of the aim involved in the ἐπί: “what ἐπί is.” In this Kamphausen substantially concurs. The word is said to be derived from ἐπεῖναι: “belonging to,” in which the idea of being “sufficient” or necessary is understood to be implied. But in that case we should also have expected to find ἐπούσιος, and besides, ἐπεῖναι certainly does not mean to belong to, but to be by, also to be standing over, to impend, and so on. This explanation of ἐπιούσιος is an erroneous etymological conjecture. Bengel very properly observes: “ἐπί non semper quidem in compositione ante vocalem amittit, sed amittit tamen in ἔπεστιν.” [See Lightfoot, A Fresh Revision of the English New Testament, Appendix on the words ἐπιούσιος, περιούσιος.—ED.]

[422] Not what is necessary for the next meal (Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 238). Baumgarten-Crusius, correctly, “to-day, what we need for to-morrow.” On σήμερον was founded the very ancient (Constitutt. apost. vii. 24. 1 f., Tertullian, Cyprian) daily use of the Lord’s Prayer.

[423] The expression was derived partly from ἐπιών (as Ambrose)—the bread of the World to come (so again Weisse, Evangelienfr. p. 201); partly from οὐσία, in which case it was interpreted to mean: the bread requisite for the life of the soul; or, as though it were ὑπερούσιος: panis supersubstantialis; as in the Vulg. and Jerome (“super omnes substantias”). Melanchthon fully and pointedly expresses his opposition to the view of heavenly bread, when he says: “Its advocates are deficient in eruditio et spirituale judicium.” However, it is likewise found in Erasmus’ Paraphr.; but Calvin pronounces: “prorsus absurdum est.”Matthew 6:11. Fourth petition. τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν: whatever the adjective qualifying ἄρτον may mean, it may be taken for granted that it is ordinary bread, food for the body, that is intended. All spiritualising mystical meanings of ἐπιούσιον are to be discarded. This is the one puzzling word in the prayer. It is a ἄπαξ λεγ., not only in O. and N. T., but in Greek literature, as known not only to us, but even to Origen, who (De Oratione, cap. xxvii.) states that it is not found in any of the Greeks, or used by private individuals, and that it seems to be a coinage (ἔοικε πεπλάσθαι) of the evangelists. It is certainly not likely to have proceeded from our Lord. This one word suffices to prove that, if not always, at least in uttering this prayer, Jesus spoke in Aramaean. He would not in such a connection use an obscure word, unfamiliar, and of doubtful meaning. The problem is to account for the incoming of such a word into the Greek version of His doubtless simple, artless, and well-understood saying. The learned are divided as to the derivation of the word, having of course nothing but conjecture to go on. Some derive it from ἐπὶ and οὐσία, or the participle of εἶναι; others from ἐπιέναι, or ἡ ἐπιοῦσα = the approaching day (ἡμέρα understood). In the one case we get a qualitative sense—bread for subsistence, bread needed and sufficient (τὰ δέοντα καὶ αὐτάρκη. Proverbs 30:8, Sept[37]); in the other, a temporal—bread of the coming day, panem quotidianum (Vulg[38], Luke 11:3), “daily bread”. Either party argues against the other on grammatical grounds, e.g., that derived from οὐσία the word should be ἐπούσιος, and that derived from ἐπιοῦσα it should be ἐπιουσαῖος. In either case the disputants are ready with their answer. Another source of argument is suitableness of the sense. Opponents of the temporal sense say that to pray for to-morrow’s bread sins against the counsel, “Take no thought for the morrow,” and that to pray, “Give us to-day our bread of to-morrow,” is absurd (ineptius, Suicer, Thesaurus, s.v. ἐπιούσιος). On the other side it is said: Granting that the sense “sufficient” can be got from ἐπὶ, οὐσία, and granting its appropriateness, how comes it that a simpler, better-known word was not chosen to represent so plain a meaning? Early tradition should have an important bearing on the question. Lightfoot, in the appendix on the words ἐπιούσιος and περιούσιος, in his work “On a fresh Revision of the N. T.,” summarises the evidence to this effect: Most of the Greeks follow Origen, who favoured derivation from οὐσία. But Aramaic Christians put for ἐπιούσιος Mahar = crastinum. (Jerome comm. in Mt.) The Curetonian Syriac has words meaning, “our bread continual of the day give us”. The Egyptian versions have similar readings. The old Latin version has quotidianum, retained by Jerome in revision of L. V. in Luke 11:2, while supersubstantialem is given in Matthew 6:11. The testimony of these early versions is important in reference to the primitive sense attached to the word. Still the question remains: How account for the coinage of such a word in Greek-speaking circles, and for the tautology: give us to-day (σήμερον, Mt.) or daily (τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν, Luke), the bread of tomorrow? In his valuable study on “The Lord’s Prayer in the early Church” (Texts and Studies, 1891), Principal Chase has made an important contribution to the solution of this difficulty by the suggestion that the coinage was due to liturgical exigencies in connection with the use of the prayer in the evening. Assuming that the original petition was to the effect: “to us give, of the day, our bread,” and that the Greek equivalent for the day was ἡ ἐπιοῦσα, the adjective ἐπιούσιος was coined to make the prayer suitable at all hours. In the morning it would mean the bread of the day now begun, in the evening the bread of to-morrow. But devotional conservatism, while adopting the new word as convenient, would cling to the original “of the day”; hence σήμερον in Matt. and τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν in Luke, along with ἐπιούσιος. On the whole the temporal meaning seems to have the weight of the argument on its side. For a full statement of the case on that side vide Lightfoot as above, and on the other the article on ἐπιούσιος in Cremer’s Bib. Theol., W. B., 7te Aufl., 1893.

[37] Septuagint.

[38] Vulgate (Jerome’s revision of old Latin version).11. this day] In Luke, “day by day.”

our daily bread] The Greek word translated “daily” occurs only in the Lord’s Prayer here and Luke 11:3, it is not found in any classical author. The rendering of the E. V. “daily” as nearly as possible represents the probable force of the word, which is strictly (bread) “for the coming day,” i. e. for the day now beginning. Others render “bread for the future,” taking bread in a spiritual sense; others, following a different etymology, translate “bread of subsistence.” Bread, primarily the bread on which we subsist (see Prof. Lightfoot in appendix to his work On a Fresh Revision of the N. T.); subsistence as distinct from luxury; but the spiritual meaning cannot be excluded, Christ the Bread of Life is the Christian’s daily food.Matthew 6:11. Τὸν ἄρτον, the bread) sc. nourishment of the body; see Matthew 6:19, etc., 25, etc., from which it is evident that the disciples were not yet raised above the cares of this life. This short petition is opposed to the much speaking of the heathen, mentioned in Matthew 6:7, which principally referred to the same object;[260] and it is placed first amongst those petitions which refer to ourselves, because the natural life is prior to the spiritual. Every want of ours is cared for in this prayer.—ἩΜῶΝ, of or belonging to us) our, sc. earthly. But the spiritual bread is the bread of God, i.e. that which is [given] by God, and [cometh forth] from God.—ἐπιούσιον, daily) This adjective is derived ἀπο τῆς ἐπιούσης, from the following day, and is composed of ἐπὶ and ἸΟῦΣΑ.[261] For from εἰμι, to be (from which also comes περιούσιος) or from ΟὐΣΊΑ, essence or private property, would be composed, ἐπούσιος, in the same manner as ἘΠΟΥΡΆΝΙΟς, etc.: since although ἘΠῚ does not always lose the in composition before a vowel, it does lose it in ἜΠΕΣΤΙΝ, as also in ἜΠΕΊΜΙ from which this adjective must be originally derived according to this hypothesis. Our heavenly Father gives each day what is needed each day. Nor is it necessary that He should give it before. This His paternal and providential distribution suggests the expression ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς, for the coming day. The continuance, therefore, of our indigence, and of God’s fatherly beneficence as from year to year, so from day to day, is denoted by this phrase. Cf. 2 Kings 25:30.—λόγον ἡμέρας ἐν ἡμέρᾳ αὐτοῦ, the proportion for the day on its day. Cf. Acts 6:1, διακονία καθημερινὴ, daily ministration. The bread, as a whole, is appointed us for all our days; but the “giving” of it is distributed through the several days of our life, so as to take place each day. Both these ideas are expressed by the word ἐπιούσιος. What was necessary for the support of my life on any particular day, needed not to be given me on the day before that, but on that very day; and what was necessary on the following day, was given soon enough on that day, and so on. The sense therefore of ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς extends more widely with regard both to the past and the future, than that of “crastinus” to-morrow’s.—σήμερον, to-day) In Luke 11:3, we find τὸ καθʼ ἡμέραν, day by day. Day by day we say and pray, “to-day.” Our confidence and contentedness (αὐτάρκεια)[262] are thus expressed. Thus in Jam 2:15, we have ἘΦΉΜΕΡΟς ΤΡΟΦῊ, daily food. Cf. also Proverbs 30:8. Thus was manna given.

[260] viz. the cares of this life.—ED.

[261] The feminine of ἰών, the participle present of εἶμι to go.—(I. B.)

[262] See p. 150 and f.n. 3.—(I. B.)Verse 11. - Give us this day our daily bread τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον Here begin the petitions for our personal needs. The first is for earthly food, the means of maintaining our earthly life. For "in order to serve God it is first of all necessary that we live" (Godet, on Luke). Give us. The order in the Greek emphasizes not God's grace in giving, but the thing asked for. This day. Parallel passage: Luke 11:3, "day by day (τὸ καθ ἡμέραν)." The thought suggested there, of continuance in the supply, is seen also in the verb (δίδου). Daily (ἐπιούσιον); and so Luke (compare especially the classical appendix in Bishop Lightfoot's 'Revision,' etc., pp. 195, etc., and Chase, loc. cit.). It will be sufficient to do little more than indicate the chief lines of proposed derivations and interpretations of this ἅπαξ λεγόμενον.

(1) Ἐπὶ οὐσία

(a) physical, "for subsistence," sufficient or necessary to sustain us;"

(b) spiritual, "for our essential being" (cf. Jerome's rendering with a literalism that recalls the rabbis, super-substantially.

(2) Ἐπὶ εἰμί "to be," "bread which is ready at hand or suffices" (similarly Delitzsch, in Thayer, s.v.). The chief and fatal objection to both

(1) and

(2) is that the form would be ἐπούσιος (cf. especially Lightfoot. loc. cit., p. 201).

(3) Ἐπι εϊμι, "to come;"

(a) with direct reference to "bread" - our "successive," "continual," "ever-coming" bread (so the Old Syriac, and partly the Egyptian versions), that which comes as each supply is required; the prayer then meaning, "Our bread as it is needed give us to-day" (so apparently Dr. Taylor, 'Sayings,' etc., p. 140); (b) derived mediately from ἐπιοῦσα σξ. ἡμέρα (cf. Acts 16:11; 20:15; 21:18), "bread for the coming day," i.e. the same day, if the prayer be said in the morning; the next day if it be said in the evening (so Bishop Lightfoot). Between (3) (a) and (3) (b) it is very difficult to decide. Against (a) is the fact that it is hard to say why the common form ejpi>onta would not have served; against (b), while the use of the word is perfectly consistent with casting all care upon God for to-morrow (Matthew 6:34), there still remains the fact that there is some tautology in saying, "Our bread for the coming day give us to-day," or even the formula in the parallel passage in Luke, "Our bread for the coming day give us day by day." On the whole, perhaps (3) (a) presents the least difficulties. Bread. It is very doubtful if to use this petition of spiritual food is anything more than a legitimate application (made, indeed, as early as the 'Didache,' § 10.) of words which in themselves refer only to material food (see further Chase, loc. cit.).
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