Matthew 6:32
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things.
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(32) After all these things do the Gentiles seek.—The tone is one of pity rather than of censure, though it appeals, not without a touch of gentle rebuke (as before in Matthew 6:5) to the national pride of Israelites: “You look down upon the heathen nations, and think of yourselves as God’s people, yet in what do you excel them, if you seek only what they are seeking?”

For your heavenly Father knoweth . . .—The bearing of this teaching on the meaning of the “daily bread” of the Lord’s Prayer has already been noticed (comp. Note on Matthew 6:11). The outer life of man, and its accidents, may well be left to the wisdom of the All-knowing. It lies below the region of true prayer, or occupies an altogether subordinate place within it.

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.For after all these things do the Gentiles seek - That is, those destitute of the true doctrines of religion, and unacquainted with proper dependence on Divine Providence, make it their chief anxiety thus to seek food and clothing. But you, who have a knowledge of your Father in heaven; who know that He will provide for your needs, should not be anxious. Seek first His kingdom; seek first to be righteous, and to become interested in His favor, and all necessary things will be added to you. He has control over all things, and He can give you what you need. He will give you what he deems best for you. 32. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek)—rather, "pursue." Knowing nothing definitely beyond the present life to kindle their aspirations and engage their supreme attention, the heathen naturally pursue present objects as their chief, their only good. To what an elevation above these does Jesus here lift His disciples!

for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things—How precious this word! Food and raiment are pronounced needful to God's children; and He who could say, "No man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him" (Mt 11:27), says with an authority which none but Himself could claim, "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." Will not that suffice you, O ye needy ones of the household of faith?

Ver. 31,32. Our Lord repeateth the precept before given, Matthew 6:25, wherein he forbids not all moderate and provident thoughts for things necessary, but only such thoughts as shall argue our distrust in God, or perplex and distract our minds, or be inconsistent with our duty, and the employment of our thoughts about higher and better things. This he here presseth by two arguments.

1. Because these are the things which people spend all their thoughts upon, who are not aware that they have souls to take care for, or do not understand the providence of God, or have no such relation to God as Christians have, who call God Father.

2. You have (saith he) a heavenly Father, who, being the God of heaven, knoweth what you need, and, being your Father, will also supply your needs. For after all these things do the Gentiles seek,.... Or "the nations of the world", as in Luke 12:30. The Syriac reads it so here: the phrase, "the nations of the world", is used of the Gentiles, in distinction from the Israelites, thousands of times in the Jewish writings; it would be endless to give instances. These knew not God, nor acknowledged his providence; the greater part of them thought, that the soul perished with the body; few of them thought, that anything remained after death; and they that did, spoke very doubtfully of it: wherefore it is no wonder, that such persons should greedily seek after, and be anxiously concerned for all these things, food, raiment, and riches, and a great plenty of them; since this is all the happiness they expect; and imagine, that this is to be acquired by their care, thought, diligence, and industry; having no regard to a superior being, and his all wise providence: but for the Jews, and so Christians, who have a divine revelation, the knowledge of God, and his providence, and of a future state after this life, to act the same part the Heathens do, is exceedingly unbecoming, absurd, and wicked: and besides, such greedy desires, immoderate care, and anxious solicitude, are altogether unnecessary;

for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Every word almost, carries in it an argument, to strengthen the faith of God's children, to encourage them to believe, that he will bestow upon them, whatever is needful, for meat, drink, and clothing: he is a "father", and will take care of his children; "their father"; they have interest in him, being related to him, and need not doubt of his paternal care, and affectionate regard to them: their "heavenly" Father, or their Father in heaven; who has all things at his command, who sits there, and does whatever he pleaseth on earth: "he knoweth that they have need"; he knows all things, all their straits, difficulties, wants and necessities; he knows they need every day, "all these things", food and raiment, and cannot do without them: and therefore they may depend upon it, that as it is in his power to relieve them, and their persons and cases are not unknown to him; he who stands in the relation of a father to them, will supply them with whatever is proper and convenient for them.

(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
Matthew 6:32. The second γάρ does not append another reason co-ordinate with the first, but after the injunction contained in Matthew 6:31 has been justified by the reference to the heathen (to whom they are not to compare themselves), this same injunction is provided with an explanation of an encouraging nature, so that the first γάρ is logical, the second explanatory, as frequently in classical writers (Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. v. 6. 6. Frotscher, ad Hieron. xi. 6). The referring of the second γάρ to something to be supplied after τὰ ἔθνη, such as “who know nothing of God” (Tholuck), is arbitrary.

οἶδε is emphatic; is certainly known to your Father, and so on.

ὅτι] that, not , τι (Paulus: that, which; Fritzsche: quatenus).Matthew 6:32. τὰ ἔθνη, again a reference to heathen practice; in Matthew 6:7 to their “battology” in prayer, here to the kind of blessings they eagerly ask (ἐπιζητοῦσιν); material only or chiefly; bread, raiment, wealth, etc. I never realised how true the statement of Jesus is till I read the Vedic Hymns, the prayer book and song book of the Indian Aryans. With the exception of a few hymns to Varuna, in which sin is confessed and pardon begged, most hymns, especially those to Indra, contain prayers only for material goods: cows, horses, green pastures, good harvests.

To wifeless men thou givest wives,

And joyful mak’st their joyless lives;

Thou givest sons, courageous, strong,

To guard their aged sires from wrong,

Lands, jewels, horses, herds of kine,

All kinds of wealth are gifts of thine

Thy friend is never slain; his might

Is never worsted in the fight.

—Dr. Muir, Sanskrit Texts, vol. v., p. 137.

οἶδεν γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑ.: Disciples must rise above the pagan level, especially as they worship not Indra, but a Father in heaven, believed in even by the Indian Aryans, in a rude way, under the name of Dyaus-Pitar, Heaven-Father. γὰρ explains the difference between pagans and disciples. The disciple has a Father who knows, and never forgets, His children’s needs, and who is so regarded by all who truly believe in Him. Such faith kills care. But such faith is possible only to those who comply with the following injunction.

Matthew 6:33. ζητεῖτε πρῶτον. There is considerable variation in the text of this counsel. Perhaps the nearest to the original is the reading of [44], which omits τοῦ θεοῦ with [45], and inverts the order of βασ. and δικαι. Seek ye His (the Father’s) righteousness and kingdom, though it may be against this that in Luke (Luke 12:31) the kingdom only is mentioned, πρῶτον also being omitted: Seek ye His kingdom. This may have been the original form of the logion, all beyond being interpretation, true though unnecessary. Seeking the kingdom means seeking righteousness as the summum bonum, and the πρῶτον is implied in such a quest. Some (Meyer, Sevin, Achelis) think there is no second, not even a subordinate seeking after earthly goods, all that to be left in God’s hands, our sole concern the kingdom. That is indeed the ideal heroic attitude. Yet practically it comes to be a question of first and second, supreme and subordinate, and if the kingdom be indeed first it will keep all else in its proper place. The πρῶτον, like the prayer against temptation, indicates consideration for weakness in the sincere.—προστεθήσεται, shall be added, implying that the main object of quest will certainly be secured.

[44] Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.

[45] Codex Sinaiticus (sæc. iv.), now at St. Petersburg, published in facsimile type by its discoverer, Tischendorf, in 1862.32. the Gentiles seek] Seek with eagerness. A compound verb. The simple verb is used below in the next verse. For the aims of the heathen world read Juvenal Sat. x., or Johnson’s imitation of it “The Vanity of Human Wishes.”Matthew 6:32. Πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα, κ.τ.λ., for all these things, etc.) and nothing else.—τὰ ἔθνη, the gentiles) the heathen nations. The faithful ought to be free from the cares, not only of the covetous among the heathen, but of all heathens; many, however, in the present day fall short of the heathen in this matter.[294]—ἐπιζητεῖ, seek after) as though a difficult matter. This word is followed by the simple verb ζητεῖτε, seek ye,—οἶδε γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ὑμῶν ὁ οὐράνιος, for your Heavenly Father knoweth) An argument from the omniscience, the goodness, and the omnipotence of God.—ὑμῶν, your) sc. who is your Father in a pre-eminent degree in preference to the heathen.[295]

[294] In the original, “At multi hodie non eam, quam gentes, habent αὐτάρκειαν.” Bengel in Gnomon on ch. Matthew 4:4 defines αὐτάρκεια as “Prœsens animi quies.” See p. 150 and f. n. 3.—(I. B.)

[295] In the original all this is expressed by two words, “præ ethnicis.”—(I. B.)Verse 32. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:30. Save in reading "but" instead of the second "for," Luke's seems the more original. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek;) for your heavenly Father knoweth, etc. The Revised Version removes the marks of parenthesis. For...for; these are probably co-ordinate, and adduce two reasons for our not being for one moment anxious about earthly things:

(1) it is like the heathen (cf. the thought of Matthew 5:47);

(2) your Father knows your need of them. Heavenly (Matthew 5:16, note). Knoweth (ver. 8, note).
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