But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Seek ye first the kingdom of God.—The context shows that the words point to the “seeking” of prayer, rather than of act, though the latter meaning is, of course, not excluded. What is thus to be sought is “the kingdom of God” (the change from the less personal “kingdom of heaven” is significant), the higher spiritual life in its completeness, for ourselves and for others; and with it we are to seek “His righteousness,” that which, being perfect beyond the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, must be His gift to us, and therefore to be sought in prayer. One who seeks for this may well be content to leave all else in his Father’s hands. Even without his asking “they shall be added unto him” in such measure as is best for him. Among the few traditional sayings ascribed to our Lord of which we can think as probably an authentic report of His teaching, is one to the same effect quoted by Origen and Clement of Alexandria,” Ask great things, and little things shall be added to you: ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added to you.”Matthew 6:33. But — You my disciples have more important business to employ your minds about, and have higher hopes to encourage you. Therefore seek ye first — That is, in the first place, and with the greatest earnestness and concern, as being the principal things, the kingdom of God — As described Romans 14:17, namely, that God, reigning in your heart, may fill it with the holiness above described, and the happiness consequent thereon; and, in order thereto, his righteousness — Not your own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God by faith. Compare Romans 10:3; Php 3:9. For it seems most natural to interpret the expression of that way of becoming righteous which the gospel proposes, and by which alone we can be put in possession of the kingdom of God on earth, or in heaven. And all these things shall be added unto you — For if you seek, as now directed, the kingdom of God, first and principally, all things pertaining to this life shall, in the course of the divine providence, be bestowed on you as far as they can contribute to your real welfare, and more you would not desire.The kingdom of God, and his righteousness, in this verse, are terms comprehensive of whatsoever appertaineth to the honour and glory of God, either as means, or as the end. Let your principal care and study be how to get to heaven, and how to promote the kingdom of God in the world; to bring your hearts into subjection to the will of God, that the kingdom of God may be within you, and how to bring others to the obedience of faith and of the will of God. And for the things of this life, it shall fare with you as it did with Solomon, 1 Kings 3:12, who asked not riches and honour, but had them. You shall have for your necessities, Psalm 37:4 Mark 10:30 1 Timothy 4:8. Matthew 21:43 and which is diligently to be sought after, and into; to be constantly attended on, and to be preferred to our necessary food, to raiment, or riches, or any enjoyment of life: or else the kingdom of glory, which is prepared by God, and is his gift; for which he makes his people meet here, and will introduce them into it hereafter.
And his righteousness; the righteousness of God, which is revealed in the Gospel, and is what gives a right and title to the kingdom of heaven. This is not the righteousness of man, but of God; and is no other than the righteousness of Christ; so called, because he is God who has wrought it; it is what God approves of, accepts, and imputes, and which only can justify in his sight, and give an abundant entrance into his kingdom and glory. Heaven is to be sought for in the first place, as the perfection of the saints' happiness; and Christ's righteousness is to be sought for, and laid hold on by faith, as the way and means of enjoying that happiness; without which, there will be no entering into the kingdom of heaven.
And all these things shall be added unto you: of the free bounty, goodness, and liberality of God, without your thought and care, and much less merit; even "all these things", meat, drink, clothing, or whatsoever worldly sustenance else is necessary for you: which are not parts of the happiness of saints, only appendages thereunto; which they have over and above what they are, or should be chiefly seeking after. The Hebrews (r) say,
"that no good sign will be shown to Israel, until they return and "seek" three things: "afterwards the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord"; , "this is the kingdom of heaven"; and "David their king", according to its literal sense; "and shall fear the Lord and his goodness"; this is the house of the sanctuary, as it is said, "this goodly mountain", and Lebanon.''
(r) Jarchi & Kimchi, in Hosea 3.5.But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 6:33. Ζητεῖτε δέ] now states what they ought to do, instead of indulging that care forbidden in Matthew 6:31.
πρῶτον] in the first place, before you strive after anything else; your first striving. In that case a second is, of course, unnecessary, because their food, their drink, and their raiment προστεθήσεται. But in the πρῶτον the subordinate striving after something is not even “darkly” sanctioned (de Wette); on the contrary, and notwithstanding the πρῶτον, this striving is excluded as much by Matthew 6:32 as by καὶ … προστεθ. Accordingly, that first striving is the only one.
The simple ζητεῖτε is distinguished from ἐπιζητ. not in respect of degree, but only in such a way that the latter points out the direction of the striving. Hence ἐπιζητεῖν ἐπί τινα, 2 Samuel 3:8. Comp. note on Romans 11:7; Php 4:7.
τὴν βασιλ. καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ] (see the critical remarks) where the αὐτοῦ belonging to both substantives refers, according to Matthew 6:32, to God, and is meant to convey the idea that what is to form the object and aim of our striving is the Messianic kingdom, the becoming partakers in it, the being admitted into it, and the moral righteousness which God imparts to the believer to assist him to attain the kingdom.
ταῦτα πάντα] See Matthew 6:31-32. The distinction between ταῦτα πάντα and πάντα ταῦτα lies merely in this, that in the former it is the demonstrative idea on which the emphasis is placed, whereas in the latter it is the idea of universality that is so. See Winer, p. 510 [E. T. 686]. Comp. Lobeck, ad Aj. 1023; Saupp, ad Hipparch. VI. 5.
προστεθήσεται] will be added, namely, to the moral result of your striving. Comp. the saying of Christ handed down by Clement, Origen, and Eusebius: αἰτεῖτε τὰ μεγάλα, καὶ τὰ μικρὰ ὑμῖν προστεθήσεται· καὶ αἰτεῖτε τὰ ἐπουράνια, καὶ τὰ ἐπίγεια προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν (Fabricius, Cod. Apocr. i. p. 329), which differs from our passage in the generality of its terms, and in having αἰτεῖτε.Matthew 6:33. Ζητεῖτε, seek ye) the kingdom which is nigh at hand, and not difficult of acquisition.—πρῶτον, first) He who seeks that first, will soon seek that only.—βασιλείαν, kingdom.—δικαιοσύνην, righteousness) Heavenly meat and drink are opposed to earthly, and thus also raiment; and, therefore, St Luke in his twelfth chapter leaves raiment to be understood at Matthew 6:29, and righteousness at Matthew 6:31, although righteousness also filleth; see ch. Matthew 5:6.—ΑὐΤΟῦ, his) sc. righteousness.—See the note on Romans 1:17.—ταῦτα, these things) An instance of Litotes.—ΠΡΟΣΤΕΘΉΣΕΤΑΙ, shall be added unto) These things are a προσθήκη or appendage of the life and body (see Matthew 6:25); and still more so of the kingdom (see Luke 12:32).
 Sc. “Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after RIGHTEOUSNESS, for they shall be FILLED.” See also Gnomon in loc.—(I. B.)
 The word used in the original is ταπείνωσις, concerning which John Albert Burk says, in his Explanation of the Technical Terms employed in the Gnomon—
“LITOTES, Μειωσις, Ταπεινωσις, EXTENUATIO, quæ singulæ in Gnomone passim allegantur, vix ac ne vix quidem differunt.”
For explanation and examples, see Appendix.—(I. B.)Verse 33. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:31, which is shorter. But; i.e. in contrast to such seeking as he has just spoken cf. Our Lord at length gives a distinct promise that if God's cause is made the first aim, all the necessaries of life shall be provided. Seek ye first. The difference between ζητεῖν here and ἐπιζητεῖν in ver. 32 seems to be only that the latter points out more clearly the direction of the search. First. If the search for earthly things be put into a secondary place, it may be allowable. The kingdom of God, and his righteousness; his kingdom and his righteousness (Revised Version). "Of God" must almost certainly be omitted with א (B); cf. Westcott and Hort, 'App.' The first phrase represents rather the external, the second the internal aim. Seek ye the spread and accomplishment of God's kingdom; seek ye personal conformity to his standard of righteousness. Both thoughts are of fundamental importance for this "sermon" (kingdom, cf. Matthew 5:3, 10, 19, 20; Matthew 6:10; righteousness, especially Matthew 5:17-20), which treats essentially of the way in which the subjects of the Divine kingdom should regard the Divine righteousness and conform to it. And all these things shall be added unto you; cf. the apocryphal saying of our Lord, repeated by Origen (Clem. Alex.), "Jesus said to his disciples, Ask great things, and the small shall be added to you; and ask heavenly things, and the earthly shall be added to you" (Westcott, 'Introd.,' App. C; Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 230, etc.; cf. also 1 Kings 3:11-14; Mark 10:29, 30; 1 Timothy 4:8).
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