Matthew 8:12
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
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(12) The children of the kingdom.—The form of the phrase is a Hebraism, indicating, as in “the children of the bride-chamber,” those who belonged to the kingdom, i.e., in this case, the Israelites, to whom the kingdom of heaven had, in the first instance, been promised, the natural heirs who had forfeited their inheritance.

Into outer darkness.—Strictly, the outer darkness. The words continue the imagery of the previous clause, the darkness outside the king’s palace being contrasted with the interior, blazing with lamps and torches.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.—Both words in the Greek have the emphasis of the article, “the weeping” par excellence. The two words are found in combination six times in St. Matthew, and once in St. Luke (Luke 13:28). In their literal meaning they express that intensest form of human anguish in which it ceases to be articulate. The latter word, or rather the cognate verb, is used also to express rage (Acts 7:54). Their spiritual meaning we naturally connect with the misery of those who are excluded from the joy and blessedness of the completed kingdom, and that is, doubtless, what they ultimately point to. We must remember, however, that the “kingdom of heaven” was a term of very varying significance, and that our Lord had proclaimed that that kingdom was at hand, and taught men, by parable and otherwise, that it included more than the life after death. We may accordingly rightly look for like “springing and germinant accomplishments” of the words now before us. Men came “from the east and west,” when the Gentiles were admitted into the Church of Christ. The children of the kingdom were left in the “outer darkness” when they were self-excluded from fellowship with that Church and its work among the nations. The outbursts of envy and rage recorded in the Acts (Acts 5:33; Acts 13:45) illustrate this aspect of “the weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

8:5-13 This centurion was a heathen, a Roman soldier. Though he was a soldier, yet he was a godly man. No man's calling or place will be an excuse for unbelief and sin. See how he states his servant's case. We should concern ourselves for the souls of our children and servants, who are spiritually sick, who feel not spiritual evils, who know not that which is spiritually good; and we should bring them to Christ by faith and prayers. Observe his self-abasement. Humble souls are made more humble by Christ's gracious dealings with them. Observe his great faith. The more diffident we are of ourselves, the stronger will be our confidence in Christ. Herein the centurion owns him to have Divine power, and a full command of all the creatures and powers of nature, as a master over his servants. Such servants we all should be to God; we must go and come, according to the directions of his word and the disposals of his providence. But when the Son of man comes he finds little faith, therefore he finds little fruit. An outward profession may cause us to be called children of the kingdom; but if we rest in that, and have nothing else to show, we shall be cast out. The servant got a cure of his disease, and the master got the approval of his faith. What was said to him, is said to all, Believe, and ye shall receive; only believe. See the power of Christ, and the power of faith. The healing of our souls is at once the effect and evidence of our interest in the blood of Christ.The children of the kingdom - That is, the children, or the people, who "expected the kingdom," or to whom it properly belonged; or, in other words, the Jews. they supposed themselves to be the special favorites of heaven. They thought that the Messiah would enlarge their nation and spread the triumphs of their kingdom. They called themselves, therefore, the children or the members of the kingdom of God, to the exclusion of the Gentiles. Our Saviour used the manner of speech to which they were accustomed, and said that "many of the pagans would be saved, and many Jews lost.

Shall be cast out into outer darkness ... - This is an image of future punishment. It is not improbable that the image was taken from Roman dungeons or prisons. They were commonly constructed under ground. They were shut out from the light of the sun. They were, of course, damp, dark, and unhealthy, and probably most filthy. Masters were in the habit of constructing such prisons for their slaves, where the unhappy prisoner, without light, or company, or comfort, spent his days and nights in weeping from grief, and in vainly gnashing his teeth from indignation. The image expresses the fact that the wicked who are lost will be shut out from the light of heaven, and from peace, and joy, and hope; will weep in hopeless grief, and will gnash their teeth in indignation against God, and complain against his justice. What a striking image of future woe! Go to a damp, dark, solitary, and squalid dungeon; see a miserable and enraged victim; add to his sufferings the idea of eternity, and then remember that this, after all, is but an image, a faint image, of hell! Compare the notes at Matthew 22:13.

Mt 8:5-13. Healing of the Centurion's Servant. ( = Lu 7:1-10).

This incident belongs to a later stage. For the exposition, see on [1234]Lu 7:1-10.

Ver. 11,12. That is, in short, many of those who are now heathens shall be saved; and many of the Jews shall be damned.

Many, not all,

shall come from the east and west, from all parts, from the remotest parts in the world. Luke saith, east, west, north, and south, Luke 13:29 Isaiah 11:12 43:5,6.

And sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of God; in heaven, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the heads of the Jewish nation, are, to whom the promises were made; or, in the church of God, for the church triumphant and militant are both but one church. They shall

sit down with them, as men sit down at a banquet, an expression oft used to signify the rest and pleasure the saints shall have in heaven, Isaiah 25:6-8 Luke 22:29,30.

But the children of the kingdom, the Jews, who boast much that they are the children of Abraham, and think themselves the only church, and the only heirs of glory, and who are indeed the only church of God as yet,

shall be cast out into outer darkness: either the darkness of errors, ignorance, and superstition, the gospel light shall not shine upon them, they shall be no more the church of God; or, the darkness of hell, where shall be nothing but pain and misery, and lamentations for the gospel, and the grace thereof, first offered to them, but unthankfully rejected by them, by which they judge themselves unworthy of the grace of God and of eternal life, Acts 13:46.

But the children of the kingdom,.... The Jews, who were subjects of the kingdom, and commonwealth of Israel, from which the Gentiles were aliens; and who were also in the church of God, which is his kingdom on earth; and besides, had the promise of the Gospel dispensation, sometimes called the kingdom of heaven, and by them, often the world to come; and were by their own profession, and in their apprehension and expectation, children, and heirs of the kingdom of glory. These phrases, , "a son of the world to come", and , "children of the world to come" (o), are frequent in their writings: these, Christ says,

shall be cast out; out of the land of Israel, as they were in a few years after, and out of the church of God: these branches were broken off, and the Gentiles grafted in, in their room; and will be excluded from the kingdom of heaven, where they hoped to have a place,

and cast into outer darkness: into the Gentile world, and into judicial blindness, and darkness of mind, and into the blackness of darkness in hell,

where shall be weeping, and gnashing of teeth. Phrases expressive of the miserable state and condition of persons out of the kingdom of heaven; who are weeping for what they have lost, and gnashing their teeth with the pain of what they endure. The Jews say (p),

"he that studies not in the law in this world, but is defiled with the pollutions of the world, he is taken , "and cast without": this is hell itself, to which such are condemned, who do not study the law.''

The allusion in the text is, to the customs of the ancients at their feasts and entertainments; which were commonly made in the evening, when the hall or dining room, in which they sat down, was very much illuminated with lamps and torches; but without in the streets, were entire darkness: and where were heard nothing but the cries of the poor, for something to be given them, and of the persons that were turned out as unworthy guests; and the gnashing of their teeth, either with cold in winter nights, or with indignation at their being kept out. Christ may also be thought to speak in the language, and according to the notions of the Jews, who ascribe gnashing of teeth to the devils in hell; for they say (q), that

"for the flattery with which they flattered Korah, in the business of rioting, "the prince of hell , gnashed his teeth at them".''

The whole of this may be what they call , "the indignation", or "tumult of hell" (r).

(o) T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 4. 2. Taanith, fol. 22. 1. Megilla, fol. 28. 2. Yoma, fol. 88. 1. & Sanhedrim, fol. 88. 2. Raziel, fol. 37. 1. & 38. 1. Caphtor, fol. 15. 1. & 18. 2. & 60. 1. & 84. 2. Raya Mehimna, in Zohar in Lev. fol. 34. 2.((p) Zohar in Gen. fol. 104. 3.((q) T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 52. 1.((r) Targum in Job, iii 17.

But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into {b} outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(b) Who are outside the kingdom: For in the kingdom is light, and outside the kingdom is darkness.

Matthew 8:12. The sons of the kingdom: the Jews, in so far as, according to the divine promise, they have the right, as the theocratic people, to the Messiah’s kingdom (John 4:22; Romans 9:4-5; Romans 11:16 f.), and are, in consequence, its potential subjects. The article describes them, summarily, in a body, υἱός, בֵּן, as denoting physical or moral relationship, Winer, p. 223 [E. T. 298]. The true υἱοὶ τ. βας., who are so in point of fact, see Matthew 13:38.

τὸ ἐξώτερον] which is outside the (illuminated) Messianic banqueting hall. Wetstein on this passage, comp. on ἐξώτερος, LXX. Exodus 26:4; Exodus 36:10; Ezekiel 10:5; not found in Greek authors. For the thing, see Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:30. It is not some special degree of infernal punishment that is represented to us (Grotius), but the punishments themselves, and that as poena damni et sensus at once.

ὁ κλαυθμὸςὀδόντων] indicating the wail of suffering, and the gnashing of teeth that accompanies despair. The article points to the well-known (κατʼ ἐξοχήν) misery reigning in hell (Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:30). Found in Luke only at Matthew 13:28, where the same expression occurs on a different occasion,—a circumstance which is not in Luke’s favour (de Wette, Gfrörer), but is to be explained from the fact that Jesus made frequent use of the figure of the Messianic reclining at table, and of the expression regarding the infernal κλαυθμός, etc.

12. outer darkness] i. e. the darkness outside the house in which the banquet is going on.

Matthew 8:12. Οἱ δὲ υἱοὶ τῆς βασιλείας, but the children of the kingdom) i.e. nearest heirs to the kingdom. The same title is employed with another meaning in ch. Matthew 13:38.—σκότος, darkness) Whatever is without the kingdom of God is outer: for the kingdom of God is light, and the kingdom of light. That darkness will envelope not only the eye, but also the mind, with the grossest obscurity.—ἐξώτερον, outer) the unbeliever has internal darkness in himself already, and obtains, therefore, external darkness also as his fitting home. And the nearer that any one might have approached [to the Divine presence], so much the further will he be cast forth into the depths of darkness.—ἐκεῖ, there) at length [even though not here and now]. Without the brilliant scene of the feast [the marriage supper so often mentioned].—) a remarkable article, used emphatically.[367] In this life, grief is not yet really grief.—ΚΛΑΥΘΜῸς, weeping) Then will weep heroes now ashamed to weep, from grief at the good they have lost, and the evil they have incurred. Oh horrible sound of so many wretched beings! how far more blessed to hear the sounds of heaven!—See Revelation 14 etc.—βρυγμὸς τῶν ὀδόντων, gnashing of teeth) from impatience and bitterest remorse, and indignation against themselves, as being the authors of their own damnation.[368] Self-love, indulged on earth, will then be transformed into self-hate, nor will the sufferer be ever able to depart from himself. Nor is this weeping and gnashing of teeth combined with darkness only, but also with fire, etc.; see ch. Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50; Luke 13:28. Another exposition is, the soft will weep, the stern will rage. The same phrase occurs in Acts 7:54.[369]

[367] As though this were the true ideal of sorrow—the normal standard of suffering—the archetypal reality of agony.—(I. B.)

[368] As also from a spiteful and malignant feeling against others, to whom they enviously grudge the salvation which those others have obtained. Comp. Psalm 112:10.—V. g.

[369] Sc. they gnashed upon him [Stephen] with their teeth.—(I. B.)

Matthew 8:12The outer (τὸ ἐξώτερον)

The Greek order of words is very forcible. "They shall be east forth into the darkness, the outer (darkness). The picture is of an illuminated banqueting chamber, outside of which is the thick darkness of night.

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