Matthew 6:30
Why, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
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(30) The grass of the field.—The term is used generically to include the meadow-flowers which were cut down with the grass, and used as fodder or as fuel. The scarcity of wood in Palestine made the latter use more common there than in Europe. The “oven” in this passage was the portable earthen vessel used by the poor for baking their bread. The coarse ligneous hay was placed below it and round it, and short-lived as the flame was, so that “the crackling of the thorns” (Psalm 118:12; Ecclesiastes 7:6) became proverbial, it had time to do its work.

O ye of little faith.—The word is found only in our Lord’s teaching, and the passages in which it occurs are all singularly suggestive. The disciples were not faithless or unbelieving, but their trust was weak. They lacked in moments of anxiety the courage which leads men to rely implicitly on the love and wisdom of their Father. So in the stormy night on the lake, or when Peter began to sink in the waves, or when the disciples had forgotten to take bread, the same word recurs (Matthew 8:26; Matthew 14:31; Matthew 16:8).

6:25-34 There is scarcely any sin against which our Lord Jesus more warns his disciples, than disquieting, distracting, distrustful cares about the things of this life. This often insnares the poor as much as the love of wealth does the rich. But there is a carefulness about temporal things which is a duty, though we must not carry these lawful cares too far. Take no thought for your life. Not about the length of it; but refer it to God to lengthen or shorten it as he pleases; our times are in his hand, and they are in a good hand. Not about the comforts of this life; but leave it to God to make it bitter or sweet as he pleases. Food and raiment God has promised, therefore we may expect them. Take no thought for the morrow, for the time to come. Be not anxious for the future, how you shall live next year, or when you are old, or what you shall leave behind you. As we must not boast of tomorrow, so we must not care for to-morrow, or the events of it. God has given us life, and has given us the body. And what can he not do for us, who did that? If we take care about our souls and for eternity, which are more than the body and its life, we may leave it to God to provide for us food and raiment, which are less. Improve this as an encouragement to trust in God. We must reconcile ourselves to our worldly estate, as we do to our stature. We cannot alter the disposals of Providence, therefore we must submit and resign ourselves to them. Thoughtfulness for our souls is the best cure of thoughtfulness for the world. Seek first the kingdom of God, and make religion your business: say not that this is the way to starve; no, it is the way to be well provided for, even in this world. The conclusion of the whole matter is, that it is the will and command of the Lord Jesus, that by daily prayers we may get strength to bear us up under our daily troubles, and to arm us against the temptations that attend them, and then let none of these things move us. Happy are those who take the Lord for their God, and make full proof of it by trusting themselves wholly to his wise disposal. Let thy Spirit convince us of sin in the want of this disposition, and take away the worldliness of our hearts.Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field - What grows up in the field, or grows wild and without culture. The word "grass," applied here to the lily, denotes merely that it is a vegetable production, or that it is among the things which grow wild, and which are used for fuel.

Which today is - It lives today, or it lives for a day. It is short-lived, and seems to be a thing of no value, and is so treated.

Is cast into the oven - The Jews had different modes of baking. In early times they frequently baked in the sand, warmed with the heat of the sun. They constructed, also, movable ovens made of clay, brick, or plates of iron. But the most common kind, and the one here probably referred to, was made by excavating the ground 2 1/2 feet in diameter, and from 5 to 6 feet deep. This kind of oven still exists in Persia. The bottom was paved with stones. It was heated by putting wood or dry grass into the oven, and, when heated, the ashes were removed and the bread was placed on the heated stones. Frequently, however, the oven was an earthen vessel without a bottom, about 3 feet high, smeared outside and inside with clay, and placed upon a frame or support. Fire was made within or below it. When the sides were sufficiently heated, thin patches of dough were spread on the inside, and the top was covered, without removing the fire as in the other cases, and the bread was quickly baked.

30. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass—the "herbage."

of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven—wild flowers cut with the grass, withering by the heat, and used for fuel. (See Jas 1:11).

shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?—The argument here is something fresh. Gorgeous as is the array of the flowers that deck the fields, surpassing all artificial human grandeur, it is for but a brief moment; you are ravished with it to-day, and to-morrow it is gone; your own hands have seized and cast it into the oven: Shall, then, God's children, so dear to Him, and instinct with a life that cannot die, be left naked? He does not say, Shall they not be more beauteously arrayed? but, Shall He not much more clothe them? that being all He will have them regard as secured to them (compare Heb 13:5). The expression, "Little-faithed ones," which our Lord applies once and again to His disciples (Mt 8:26; 14:31; 16:8), can hardly be regarded as rebuking any actual manifestations of unbelief at that early period, and before such an audience. It is His way of gently chiding the spirit of unbelief, so natural even to the best, who are surrounded by a world of sense, and of kindling a generous desire to shake it off.

Ver. 28-30. From sensitive creatures our Lord proceedeth to vegetables, an order of creatures which have more than mere being, they have also life, though no sense, but yet two degrees beneath man, wanting not only reason, but sense. He shows us from an instance in these, that we have no more reason to be troubled and anxious about clothing, than about meat or drink. Clothing is of no other use than for warmth or ornament: for such clothing as will serve us for warmth, a little care will serve the turn; Sundamus ad supervacanea, our sweating thoughts are mostly for superfluities in clothing; if God see them fit for us, he will also give us them, without so many thoughts about them. Look upon

the lilies; ( whether he means what we call tulips, or other flowers called lilies, which probably those countries had in greater variety and beauty, is not worth the arguing); God designing to glorify himself in those creatures, though of meanest orders, hath given them a greater beauty than Solomon had in all his rich array; to let us know that art must not contend with nature, and that beauty and glory in apparel is no more than is to be found in creatures much inferior to our order; which made Solon (though a heathen) prefer the sight of a peacock to that of Croesus. And therefore this is a thing not worthy of any anxious thoughts, for if God seeth such things good for us, he that so clothes

the grass of the field, which is but of a few days’ continuance, will much more clothe us; and if we distrust him for such provision, we show ourselves persons of little faith. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field..... These words are a conclusion from the former, and contain an argument from the lesser to the greater; that if God, for this is solely his work, so clothes the lilies, the flowers of the field, and whatever grows up out of the earth, in such a beautiful and splendid manner, as even to outdo Solomon, in his richest apparel; there's no doubt to be made of it, or at least ought not, but that he will much more provide clothing for men. The argument is illustrated, by the short continuance of the grass of the field, which is so clothed; and the use it is put to, when cut down;

which today is in being, but abides not long, as it were but for a day: it flourishes in the morning, continues for the day in its glory and verdure, is cut down at evening, and withers and dies,

and tomorrow is cast into the oven, to heat it with, or as the Syriac version reads "in the furnace". And so Munster's Hebrew edition of this Gospel. For furnaces used to be heated with straw and stubble, and such like things, as were gathered out of the fields; so, we read in the Misna (k), that pots and furnaces were heated;

"a pot which they heat "with straw and stubble", they put into it that which is to be boiled--a furnace which they heat "with straw and stubble", they put nothing into it, nor upon it (i.e. till they have removed the coals or ashes): a little furnace, which they heat , "with straw and stubble", is as the pots.''

The last word, Bartenora says, signifies wood, or sticks, small as stubble, which they gather out of the field; that is, the stalks of some sort of herbs and plants, that grow in the field: now if God clothes these plants, which are so short lived, and at last used for such mean purposes;

shall he not much more clothe you men, his people, who are of a much longer life, and designed for greater ends and purposes; for the worship and service of God, for his honour and glory here, and for eternal life and happiness hereafter,

O ye of little faith? As such persons are, who distrust the providence of God, with respect to food and raiment, The phrase, , "men of little faith", is often to be met with in the Rabbinical writings: so Noah is represented by them, as one of "little faith", who believed, and did not believe the flood; and therefore did not go into the ark, till the waters drove him (l): and though he is said to be perfect, this was not by his works, but by the grace of God (m). So the Israelites at the Red Sea, who thought that when they came out on one side, the Egyptians would come out on the (n) other. So the little children that mocked Elisha, are said to be so called, because they were men "of little (o) faith". So everyone that exalts his voice in prayer, is reckoned such an one (p). But what comes nearest to the case before us, is the following (q) passage;

"Says R. Eliezer the Great, whoever has a morsel in his basket, and says, what shall I eat tomorrow? is no other than , "one of those of little faith".''

(k) Sabbat, c. 3. sect. 1, 2.((l) Jarchi in Genesis 7.7. (m) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 10. 2.((n) T. Bab. Pesachim, fol. 118. 2. Erachin, fol. 15. 1.((o) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 46. 2. Zohar in Exod. fol. 90. 2.((p) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 24. 2. Zohar in Num. fol. 93. 2.((q) T. Bab. Sota, fol. 48. 2.

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Matthew 6:30. Τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ] Placed first for sake of emphasis; ὁ χόρτος, however, is simply the grass, so that Jesus mentions the genus under which the lilies (which grow among the grass) are included, and that intentionally with a view to point them out as insignificant; 1 Corinthians 3:12; 1 Peter 1:24.

σήμερον ὄντα] which to-day exists.

εἰς κλίβ. βαλλόμ.] expresses what is done to-morrow, hence the present. Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 178 [E. T. 206]. Dried grass with its flower-stalks and such like was also used for the purpose of heating baking ovens (κλίβανοι, or Attic κρίβανοι, see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 179). Comp. remark on Matthew 3:12; Harmar, Beobacht. üb. d. Orient, I. p. 239 f.

πολλῷ μᾶλλ.] expressing certainty.Matthew 6:30. εἰ δὲ τὸν χόρτον. Application. The beautiful flowers now lose their individuality, and are merged in the generic grass: mere weeds to be cut down and used as fuel. The natural sentiment of love for flowers is sacrificed for the ethical sentiment of love for man, aiming at convincing him of God’s care.—κλίβανον (Attic κρίβανος, vide Lobeck, Phryn., 179), a round pot of earthenware, narrow at top, heated by a fire within, dough spread on the sides; beautiful flowers of yesterday thus used to prepare bread for men! ὀλιγόπιστοι: several times in Gospels, not in classics; not reproachful but encouraging, as if bantering the careworn into faith. The difficulty is to get the careworn to consider these things. They have no eye for wild flowers, no ear for the song of birds. Not so Jesus. He had an intense delight in nature. Witness the sentiment, “Solomon in all his glory,” applied to a wild flower! These golden words are valuable as revealing His genial poetic nature. They reflect also in an interesting way the holiday mood of the hour, up on the hill away from heat, and crowds, and human misery.30. which to day is] Rather, though it is to-day.

cast into the oven] The Jewish oven was a vessel narrower at the top than at the bottom, made of baked clay. Sometimes the fuel was placed within, and the cakes laid against the sides. Sometimes the oven was heated by a fire kindled beneath or around it. Eastern travellers state that wood being rare in most parts of the East, grass, twigs, and straw are commonly used for fuel.Matthew 6:30. Δὲ, but) Used epitatically.[288] Garments are objects of comeliness, as well as necessity. The mention of the lilies with the verb περιβάλλεσθαι, to be arrayed, refers to the former; that of grass with the verb ἀμφίεννυσθαι, to be clothed, to the latter notion.—χόρτον, grass, blade) as for example that of growing wheat.—See ch. Matthew 13:26. An instance of Litotes.[289]—ΣΉΜΕΡΟΝ ὌΝΤΑ, which to-day is) i.e., which endures for a very short time.[290]—ΑὔΡΙΟΝ, to-morrow) After a short interval, the grains having been thrashed out, the straw serves for the fire.—κλίβανον, the oven) To heat it.—See Lyranus.[291] Pliny[292] says, “rinds beaten from the flax are useful for ovens and furnaces.”—B. 19, ch. 1. It is not said, into the fire, as in John 15:6 (cf. 1 Corinthians 3:12), but into the oven. Not, therefore, for the sake merely of being burnt, but of some utility.—ἈΜΦ ΕΝΝΥΣΙΝ, clothe, dresseth) The dress is properly that without which the body is naked: grass, although it has no external clothing, yet, because it is not naked, but is covered with its own surface, is itself its own dress, especially in its highest and flowering part, of which it is divested when it dries up.—πολλῷ μᾶλλον, much more) In this life few attain to the adornment of Solomon, not to mention that of the lilies; our Lord’s words, therefore, regard the certainty, not the degree of adornment: but in the life to come we shall be more adorned than the lilies. We ought not, however, altogether to reject adornment in things, however perishable.—ὀλιγόπιστοι, O ye of little faith) Want of faith was clearly unknown and abhorred by Christ; for He had known the Father. He teaches faith in this passage.[293]

[288] See Append. on Epitasis. It implies some word or words added to a previous enunciation to give augmented force.—ED.

[289] See explanation of technical terms in Appendix.—(I. B.)

[290] E. B. quotes here C. W. Lüdecke, “At Pentecost all these regions are clad in green verdure; but when the south wind suddenly arises, in 24 hours, or two or three days at most, there is nothing that does not become white and blanched.”

[291] The individual thus denominated was NICOLAS DE LYRE, so called from the place of his birth, a small village in Normandy. He is supposed by some to have been of Jewish extraction: he was born in the thirteenth century: he assumed the habit of the Franciscan order in 1291. He was a man of great learning, and especially versed in Hebrew: he wrote several treatises in defence of Christianity against the Jews, and a series of Postills or small commentaries on the whole of the Bible. He died in 1340. He was known in the schools by the surname of Doctor utilis. So great was the effect of his labours, that it gave rise to the proverb, “Si Lyra non lyrasset, Lutherus non saltasset,” i.e., “If Lyre had not played on the lyre, Luther would not have danced.”—(I. B.)

[292] CAIUS PLINIUS SECUNDUS, commonly called the elder Pliny, born, it is supposed, at Verona, about A.D. 23; died A.D. 79. He was a man of indefatigable study, and, though holding high offices in the state, published, besides other works, a natural history in thirty-seven books.—(I. B.)

[293] This is the only mode of address, which Jesus employed, when wishing to censure the disciples: chap. Matthew 8:26, Matthew 14:31, Matthew 16:8.—V. g.Verse 30. - Luke 12:28 with slight differences. Luke's rather harder phraseology is in Savour of it being the more original form. Wherefore; but (Revised Version). The Authorized Version is too strong for the simple δέ. If God so clothe. The insertion by the Revised Version of "doth" brings out the thought of the indicative mood and of the ever-presence of the action. Observe with the processes and the agencies in the development of these colours our Lord's advice has nothing to do; origin, develop-merit, and result are all Divine. The grass (τὸν χόρτον). Possibly literally the grass among which the lilies grow (Weiss, 'Matthaus. Ev.'), but probably the herbage (Genesis 1:11; cf. also probably Isaiah 40:6, 7; 1 Peter 1:24), including that of which special mention has been made - the lilies. Of the field (ver. 28, note). Luke's ἐν ἀγρῷ lays even more stress on the place in which it receives this glory. Which to-day is; rather, though to-day it is (σήμερον ὄντα). And to-morrow is cast; before our very eyes (βαλλόμενον). Into the oven. Not the fixed but the portable oven (εἰς κλίβανον), "a large jar made of clay, about three feet high, and widening towards the bottom... heated with dry twigs and grass" (Smith's 'Dict.'); cf. also Carr for a description of the Indian method of making chupatties. Shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? 'Ὀλιγόπιστοι, except in the parallel passage of Luke, comes in Matthew alone in the New Testament (Matthew 8:26; Matthew 14:31; Matthew 16:8), in each case referring to want of faith under the pressure of earthly trials. It is the New Testament expression of Proverbs 24:10.
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