Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven.
Verses 1-18. - The relation of our Lord and his disciples to the religion of the day (continued); vide Matthew 5:17, note. (b) Our Lord turns from cases which could be directly deduced from the Law to those which belonged only to recognized religious duty. Of these he instances three: alms (vers. 2-4), prayer (vers. 5-8, 9-15), fasting (vers. 16-18). It is, indeed, true that the performance of these duties on special occasions was implied in the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 26:12-15); but there are no regulations concerning their observance in ordinary and daily life. These were matters of custom and tradition; to this the Law, in its original aim and method, did not extend. There was therefore the more need for the Law to be supplemented by the instructions of the Jewish leaders. These our Lord does not reject, but only corrects. Verse 1. - Matthew only. Take heed; προσέχετε [δέ] (Westcott and Hort). If "but" is genuine, as is on the whole more probable, our Lord places this warning in close relation to the preceding charge. Aim at "perfection," but beware of mere show. Rather you must consider the estimate that will be formed of you by your Father which is in heaven. That ye do not your alms; Revised Version, your righteousness (so the manuscripts). Although one of the Hebrew words for "righteousness" (צרקה) was used especially for the righteousness of almsgiving (cf. Deuteronomy 6:25, LXX.; and 'Psalms of Solomon,' 9:6, where see Professor Ryle's and Mr. James's note), yet it is improbable that τὴν δικαιοσύνην should here be rendered "alms," because
(1) it has this meaning nowhere else in the New Testament;
(2) the word for "alms" (ἐλεημοσύνη) comes in the next verse;
(3) the emphatic position of τὴν δικαιοσύνην (μὴ ποιεῖν), in contrast to ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην (ver. 2), points to it being a collective expression of which the various parts are mentioned in the following verses. The form also of the sentence, "when," etc., at the head of each of the other subjects, (vers. 5,16) shows that these are co-ordinated with ver. 2. Your; in contrast to that of the typical Jews. The limitation implied in ὑμῶν, gives a more partial and probably more external meaning to "righteousness" (cf. Ezekiel 18:22, 24) than is to be seen in the corresponding phrase in 1 John 2:29; 1 John 3:7. To be seen of them (πρὸς τὸ θεαθῆναι αὐτοῖς. Having for your final purpose (cf. Ellicott on 1 Corinthians 9:18) to be gazed at by them (cf. Matthew 23:5; Acts 1:11; and T.R. of Acts 8:18; at. supra, Matthew 5:28). Otherwise (Winer, § 65:3. c). Ye have no reward (Matthew 5:12, note). Of your Father; Authorized Version margin and Revised Version, with; the thought being not that it is given by him, but that it is laid up with him (παρὰ τῷ Πατρὶ ὑμῶν). Perhaps, however, the preposition rather means "in the judgment of" (cf. 1 Peter 2:4). Your Father (Matthew 5:16. note). Notice the frequent repetition of the phrase in this context (Matthew 5:48; Matthew 6:4, 6, 8, 15, 18 bis).
Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Verses 2-4. - Almsgiving. Matthew only. Verse 2. - Therefore. A deduction from the general principle laid down in ver. 1. When thou doest alms (ποιῇς ἐλεημοσύνην). The exact phrase comes here and ver. 3 only. In Luke 11:41 and Luke 12:33 (δότε) alms are con-sidereal rather as a gift; in Acts 9:36; Acts 10:2; Acts 24:17 (ἐλεημοσύνας), rather as to their separate occasions and materials; here quite generally but rather as an action, a work. Do not sound a trumpet (μὴ σαλπίσῃς). Probably a purely metaphorical expression (cf. our "He is his own trumpeter"). Edersheim, 'Temple,' etc., p. 27 (cf. Schottgen) sees rather in it an ironical allusion to the form and name of the treasure-chests in the court of the women. "The Lord, making use of the word 'trumpet,' describes the conduct of those who, in their almsgiving, sought glory from men as 'sounding a trumpet' before them - that is, carrying before them, as it were, in full display one of these trumpet-shaped alms-boxes (literally called in the Talmud, 'trumpets'), and, as it were, sounding it." This interpretation would have been less fanciful if the substantive had been used instead of the verb. Others (e.g. Calvin, Bengel) have taken it of a literal trumpet; but of this practice there is no evidence whatever. "I have not found, although I have sought for it much and seriously, even the least mention of a trumpet in almsgiving" (J. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.'). Before thee; part of the metaphor, since one holds a trumpet up to one's mouth. As the hypocrites do. The comma after "do" in the ordinary text of the Authorized Version (not in Scrivener) connects "do not sound a trumpet before thee" with "in the synagogues," etc., and more readily suggests the literal interpretation of "trumpet" to the English reader. The hypocrites (οἱ ὑποκριταί). In Attic usage the word means those who play a part upon the stage. Hence, by an easy transition to the moral sphere," hypocrisy" became used in later Greek of "the assumption of a part which masked [men's] genuine feelings, and made them appear otherwise than they were" (cf. Bishop Lightfoot, on Galatians 2:13). Persons who assumed this part would indeed often be identical with ὁ ἀσεβεῖς οἱ παράνομοι, and the term ὑποκριταί may sometimes be used as synonymous with these (an extension of language which would be the more easy as the Hebrew word for "hypocrite" (חנפ) implies not so much hypocrisy as pollution by sin); but there seems no need (contrast Hatch, 'Essays,' p. 91) to see any other connotation in the New Testament than "hypocrite." To wilfully and continuously attempt to produce a false impression - especially in religion - is, after all, a mark of extreme distance from the truth-loving God. In the synagogues and in the streets (ver. 5, note). That they may have glory of men (o%pw δοξασθῶσιν); instead of this glory being given to God (ch. 5:16). The thought, however, of the word is rather of the glory given than of their welcome reception of it (δόξαν λαμβάνειν, John 5:44; contrast Luke 4:15). Verily (ch. 5:18, note). They have; Revised Version, they have received (ἀπέχουσιν). The force of the preposition is "correspondence, i.e. of the contents to the capacity, of the possession to the desire, etc., so that it denotes the full complement" (Bishop Lightfoot, on Philippians 4:18). That which fully corresponds to their desires and their rightful expectation they have to the full. They therefore have (ἔχουσι) no other reward left for them to receive (ver. 1). Schottgen gives several examples of Jewish sayings about men receiving their reward in this life only (cf. Ign., 'Polyc.,' § 5, "If a man boast [of his chastity], he is lost").
But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth:
Verse 3. - But when thou; "thou" emphatic. Let not thy left hand know, etc. So little effect should thy kind action have upon thy memory. There should be no self-consciousness in it.
That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.
Verse 4. - And thy Father which seeth in secret (comp. ver. 6, note). Himself. Revised 'Version omits, with the manuscripts. Shall reward thee; Revised Version, shall recompense thee (ἀποδώσει σοι). Shall give to thee in full measure corresponding to the contents of that which is really due (cf. Isaiah 65:6, 7, LXX.). When this" recompense" shall be given is not stated. If, as is probable, our Lord is thinking of the" reward" of ver. 1 and Matthew 5:12, it would naturally be given at the judgment-day. Openly. Revised Version omits, with the manuscripts; similarly vers. 6,18. The interpolation was probably made not only because of the contrast suggested by "in secret," but also to indicate more precisely the time when God would do this.
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Verses 5-15. - Prayer. Verses 5-8. - Matthew only. Verse 5. - And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be, etc.; Revised Version, plural. Ver. 5 is addressed to the disciples generally, ver. 6 to them individually. (For the future, cf. Matthew 5:48, note.) As the hypocrites are (ver. 2, note). The 'Didache,' § 8, following this passage, says, "Neither pray ye as the hypocrites," referring, like our Lord, to practices affected chiefly by the Pharisees. For they love (ὅτι φιλοῦσι). Not to be translated "they are wont." Our Lord points out the cause of this their custom. It was not that the synagogue was more convenient (he is, of course, thinking of their private prayers), or that they were accidentally overtaken by the prayer-hour when in the street, but their innate love of display made them choose these places "that they may be seen of men" (cf. ver. 16, and contrast ver. 2). To pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets; to stand and pray, etc. (Revised Version), giving, however, slightly more emphasis on "stand" than its position warrants. The emphasis is really on the place, not on the posture, which was only what was usual among Jews (cf. Mark 11:25; Luke 18:11, 13). There is no thought of taking up their position, standing still (σταθέντες, Acts 5:20; cf. Luke 18:11, 40). (For the practice here condemned by our Lord, cf. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' "R. Jochauau said, I saw R. Jannai standing and praying in the streets of Tsippor, and going four cubits, and then praying the Additionary Prayer.") They have, etc. (ver. 2, note).
But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Verse 6. - But thou (emphatic) when thou prayset, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray, etc. An adaptation of Isaiah 26:20 (cf. also 2 Kings 4:33). The prophet's language describing the action befitting a time of terror is used by our Lord to express what ought to be the normal practice of each of his followers. Observe that the widow of one of the sons of the prophets so acted when she was about to receive the miraculous supply of oil (2 Kings 4:4, 5). Closet; Revised Version, inner chamber, more readily suggesting the passage in Isaiah to the English reader. To thy Father which is in secret. Not "which seeth in secret," as in the next clause. The thought here may be partly that to be unseen of men is a help to communion with him who is also unseen by them, but especially that the manner of your actions ought to resemble that of your Father's, who is himself unseen and works unseen. And thy Father which seeth in secret. You will be no loser, since his eyes pass by nothing, however well concealed it be from the eyes of men. Shall reward thee openly (ver. 4, notes).
But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.
Verse 7. - But when ye pray (προσευχόμενοι δέ). The Revised Version, and in praying, shows that our Lord is only continuing the subject, and not turning to a new one, as in vers. 2, 5, 16. But while he has thus far thought of prayer as an external act, he now speaks of the substance of the prayers offered, the δέ indicating a transition to another aspect of the same subject. Use not vain repetitions; "Babble not much" (Tyndale). The word used (μὴβατταλογήσητε) is probably onomatopoeic of stuttering. The Peshito employs here the same root () as for μογιλάλος, Mark 7:32 (). But from the primary sense of stuttering, βατταλογεῖν, naturally passed to that of babbling in senseless repetitions. As the heathen do (οἱ ἐθνεικοί, Gentiles, Revised Version; Matthew 5:47, note). Thinking that the virtue lies in the mere utterance of the words. Even the Jews came perilously near this in their abundant use of synonyms and synonymous expressions in their prayers (cf. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.'). Perhaps it was this fact that assisted the introduction of the reading "hypocrites" in B and the Old Syriac. For they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. In the continuance (ἐν) of their external action lies their hope of being fully heard (εισακουσθήσονται).
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.
Verse 8. - Be not ye therefore like. Revised Version omits "ye," as the emphatic personal pronoun is not expressed. The connexion of thought is - Seeing you are expected to shun heathen error (Meyer), do not allow yourselves to reproduce heathen practices. By observing these you would be taking a definite way of becoming like (passive, or rather middle, ὁμοιωθῆτε) those who ordinarily practise them. For; i.e. you stand on a different footing altogether from the heathen; you are intimately related to One above, who knows your wants, even before you express them to him. Your Father; Revised Version margin, "some ancient authorities read God your Father." So אָ, B, sah. (ὁ Θεός is bracketed by Westcott and Hort). The insertion is at first sight suspicious, but as there is no trace of such an addition in vers. 1, 4, 6, 14. 18 (in ver. 32 only אָ), it is hard to see why it should have been interpolated here. Its omission, on the other hand, is easily accounted for by its absence in those passages. The internal evidence, therefore, corroborates the strong external evidence of אָ, B. Our Lord here said "God" to emphasize the majesty and power of "your Father." Knoweth; i.e. intuitively (οϊδεν); el. ver. 32.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Verses 9-13. - The pattern of prayer. Parallel passage: Luke 11:2-4. For most suggestive remarks on the Lord's Prayer, both generally and in its greater difficulties of detail, compare by all means Chase, 'The Lord's Prayer in the Early Church:' (Cambridge Texts and Studies). Observe:
(1) If the prayer had already been given by the Lord in the sermon on the mount, "one of his disciples" would hardly afterwards have asked him to teach them to pray, as John also taught his disciples (Luke 11. l). It is much more easy, therefore, to consider that the original occasion of its utterance is recorded by St. Luke, and that it therefore did not belong to the sermon on the mount as that discourse was originally delivered.
(2) A question that admits of a more doubtful answer is whether the more original form of the prayer is found in Matthew or in Luke. It will be remembered that in the true text of his Gospel, the latter does not record the words, "Which art in heaven," "Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth," "But deliver us from evil," besides reading "day by day" instead of "this day," "sins" instead of "debts," and "for we ourselves also forgive every one that is indebted to us" instead of" as we also have forgiven our debtors." Most writers suppose St. Matthew's form to be the original, and St. Luke's to be only a shortened form. In favour of this are the considerations that
(a) St. Matthew's words, "Forgive us our debts," represent an older, because parabolic, form of expression than the apparently interpretative "Forgive us our sins" in St. Luke.
(b) St. Matthew's words, "as we also," seem to be expanded into "for we ourselves also," in St. Luke.
(c) St. Luke's "day by day" occurs elsewhere in the New Testament only in his writings (Luke 19:47; Acts 17:11), so that it is likely to be his own phrase, and therefore less original than St. Matthew's "this day" (cf. Weiss, 'Matthiaus-Ev.,' and Page, Expositor, III. 7:436). On the ether hand, the words, "Which art in heaven," are so characteristic of St. Matthew (Matthew 10:32, 33; cf. 12:50; 15:13; 18:10, 14, 19, 35; 23. 9), and especially of the sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:16; Matthew 6:1; Matthew 7:11, 21; cf. 5:45, 48; 6:14, 26, 32), that it seems more natural to suppose that this clause at least was added by him or by the authors of his sources to the original form, rather than that it was omitted by St. Luke. In connexion with this it may be pointed out how easy it was for our Lord to say only "Father" (Luke 11:2) immediately after his own prayer to him (Luke 11:1). Taking everything into consideration, it seems reasonable to arrive at two conclusions. First, that the form in Luke presents, as a whole, the more primitive and original instruction of the Lord, and that that given in Matthew presents the Lord's words as fully developed, partly perhaps by himself directly, partly by his indirect guidance of Christian usage. St. Matthew's Gospel would thus at once both show the effect and be the cause of the preference for the longer form in liturgical use. Secondly, and more exactly, that both the evangelists record the prayer after it had passed through some development in different parts of the Church, St. Matthew giving it a generally later stage, but preserving one or two clauses in an earlier and better form. Verse 9. - After this manner therefore. Therefore; in contrast to the heathen practice, and in the full confidence which you have in your almighty Father's intuitive knowledge of your needs. After this manner (οὕτως). Not "in these words;" but he will most closely imitate the manner who most often reminds himself of it by using the words. Pray ye. "Ye" emphatic - ye my disciples; ye the children of such a Father. Our Father. In English we just lack the power to keep, with a plural possessive pronoun (contrast "father mine"), the order of Christ's words (Πάτερ ἡμῶν) which other languages possess (Pater noster; Vater unser). Christ places in the very forefront the primary importance of the recognition of spiritual relationship to God. There is no direct thought here of God as the All-Father in the modern and often deistic sense. Yet it is affirmed elsewhere in Scripture (Acts 17:28; cf. Luke 15:21), and spiritual relationship is perhaps only possible because of the natural relationship (cf. Matthew 5:16, note). Our. Though the prayer is here given with special reference to praying alone (ver. 6), the believer is to be reminded at once that he is joined by spiritual relationship to many others who have the same needs, etc., as himself. Which art in heaven (ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς). Added in this fuller form of the prayer (vide supra), on the one hand to definitely exclude the application of the words however mediately to any human teacher (cf. Matthew 23:9), and on the other to remind those who pray of the awful majesty of him whom they address. "They are a Sursum corda; they remind us that now we have lifted up our hearts from earth and things earthly to another and a higher world" (Trench, 'Sermon on the Mount'). Hallowed be thy name. The first of the three prayers for the furtherance of God's cause. Their parallelism is seen much more clearly in the Greek than in the English order of the words. Thy name. We look on a name almost as an accidental appendage by which a person is designated, but in its true idea it is the designation of a person which exactly answers to his nature and qualities. Hence the full Name of God is properly that description of him which embraces all that he really is. As, however, the term "name" implies that it is expressed, it must, when it is used of God, be limited to that portion of his nature and qualities which can be expressed in human terms, because it has been already made known to us. The "name" of God, here and elsewhere in the Bible, therefore, does not mean God in his essence, but rather that manifestation of himself which he has been pleased to give, whether partial and preparatory as under the old covenant (cf. Genesis 4:26 [16:13]; 32:29; Exodus 6:3; Exodus 34:5), or final as under the new (cf. John 17:6); or again (to take another division found in Exell's 'Biblical Illustrator,' in loc.) the manifestation of himself through nature, through inspired words, through the Incarnation. Compared with the Glory (δόξα) "the Name expresses the revelation as it is apprehended and used by man. Man is called by the Name, and employs it. The Glory expresses rather the manifestation of the Divine as Divine, as a partial disclosure of the Divine Majesty not directly intelligble by man (comp. Exodus 33:18, ft.)" (Bishop Westcott,' Add. Note' on 3 John 1:7). Hallowed be. Ἁγιασθήτω cannot here, as sometimes (Revelation 22:11; cf. John 17:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23), mean "be made holy," for this God's manifestation of himself already is; but "be counted holy," i.e. in human judgment. The prayer is that God's manifestation of himself may be acknowledged and revered as the one supreme standard of truth and the one means of knowing God and approaching him; of 1 Peter 3:15, where "ἁγιάζω obviously means 'set apart, enshrined as the object of supreme, absolute reverence, as free from all defilement and possessed of all excellence'" (Johnstone, in lee.); cf. also Isaiah 29:23. The same thought appears to have been the basis of the early Western alternative petition (Marcion's or Tertullian's, vide Westcott and Herr, 'App.,' Luke 11:2) for the gift of the Holy Spirit; i.e. the address to the Father was followed by a prayer for purification by the Holy Spirit preparatory to the prayer, "Thy kingdom come." A man must accept God's manifestation of himself before he can take part in the spread of the kingdom. Gregory of Nyssa (vide Westcott and Herr, lee. cit., and Resch, 'Agrapha,' p. 398) says distinctly, "Let thy Holy Spirit come upon us and purify us;" but he substitutes this prayer for the words, "Thy kingdom come." (For the support afforded by this to the theory that the Lord's Prayer circulated in a varying form, cf. Chase, loc. cit.) Gregory's petition, as affecting only humanity, is less comprehensive than that found m o r Gospels.
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Verse 10. - Thy kingdom come. Let there come the full establishment of thy realm. The prayer passes from the personal acceptance in the heart of God's revelation of himself to the consequent result. The clause has a much wider meaning than the development and spread of the Church, or even the personal return of Christ at the second advent. It speaks of that which shall be the issue of both this and that, the final and perfect establishment of God's realm, in which all men will do him willing service, and all habits and customs, individual and social, will be such as he approves of (vide Introduction, p. 25.). Dr. C. Taylor ('Sayings,' etc., Exc. 5.) points out that the coming of the kingdom and the sanctifying of the Name are brought together in Zechariah 14:9; Weiss, ' Life,' 2:349, with many others, says that our Lord probably adapted the frequent Jewish prayer for the coming of the kingdom of Messiah. Thy will be done. Let thy will come into complete existence (γενηθήτω; cf. "Let there be light," Genesis 1:3, LXX.). The thought is not merely God's will realized in this or that action, whether performed or endured by us (cf. Matthew 26:42; Acts 21:14), but God's will as a whole coming into full being. God's will is always in ideal until it is accomplished in act. The connexion of the clause with what has gone before is therefore this - the acceptance of God's manifestation of himself leads to the establishment of his realm, and this to the realization of his will, which until then is only ideal (cf. Matthew 5:18, note, end). If this be all the meaning of the words, they express, in fact, only the ultimate result of the consummation prayed for in the preceding clause (hence this portion of the prayer was in itself complete without our present words; cf. Luke 11:2); but since it is so far a distinct thought that it would not immediately suggest itself, it has a worthy place in the fuller form of the prayer. Possibly, however, more may be intended. The full establishment of the kingdom may be only a part of his loving will, which may, for all we know, have countless other things in view. The highest prayer that we can make in the furtherance of God's cause is that his gracious purpose, his will (whatever it may include) may be fully brought about. In earth, as it is in heaven; as in heaven, so on earth (Revised Version). Probably the words are to be joined to only the immediately preceding clause. In heaven God's will is already realized; not yet on earth, where sin has entered.
Give us this day our daily bread.
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
(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.).
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
Verse 12. - And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. Forgive; a change in God's relation to us and our sins. No plea is urged, for the atonement had not yet been made. Our debts (τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν) parallel passage in Luke, τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν). It is probable that Matthew took one meaning, perhaps the more primary, and Luke another, perhaps the more secondary (cf. Gesenius, Thes,' s.v. הוב, and Professor Marshall, Expositor, IV. 3:281), of the original Aramaic word (חובא); but, as "debtors" comes in the next clause, it seems reasonable to suppose that Matthew represents the sense in which our Lord intended the word to be understood. Luke may have avoided it as too strongly Hebraic a metaphor, even though he does use ὀφειλέται of men in relation to God (Luke 13:4). The 'Didache,' 8, gives the singular, ὀφειλήν (cf. infra, Matthew 18:32), which Dr. Taylor ('Lectures,' p. 62) thinks is preferable. The singular, especially with "debtors" following, would very naturally be corrupted to the plural. Sins are termed "debts," as not rendering to God his due (Matthew 22:21; cf. 25:27). As we; Revised Version, as we also (ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς). In the same way as we have - a comparison of fact, not of proportion (cf. Matthew 8:13; Matthew 18:33). (For the thought, cf. Ecclus. 28:2.) Luke's "for we ourselves also" (καὶ γὰρ αὐτοί) lays more stress on our forgiving others being a reason for God forgiving us. Forgive; Revised Version, have forgiven, in the past (aorist). Luke's present is of the habit. Our debtors. Luke individualizes (παντὶ ὀφείλοντι ἡμῖν
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Verse 13. - And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Luke omits the second half. And lead us not (καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς); and bring us not (Revised Version), for εἰσφέρω thinks rather of the issue (cf. Luke 5:18, 19: 12:11) than of the personal guidance. This first clause is a prayer against being brought into the fulness and awfulness of temptation (cf. Matthew 26:41; parallel passage's: Mark 14:38; Luke 22:46). As such it cannot, indeed, always be granted, since in exceptional cases this may be part of the permission given to the prince of this world. So it was in our Lord's case (cf. Matthew 26:41, and context). The words are a cry issuing from a deep sense of our personal weakness against the powers of evil. Into temptation; i.e. spiritual. External trials, e.g. persecution, may be included, but only in so far as they are the occasion of real temptation to the soul. But. Do not bring us into the full force of temptation, but, instead, rescue us now and at any other time from the attack of the evil one (vide infra). Thus this clause is more than a merely positive form of the preceding. It is a prayer against even the slightest attacks of the enemy when they are made. Deliver us (ῤῦσαι ἡμὰς). The thought is not merely preserve (σώζειν τηρεῖν) or even guard (φρουρεῖν, φυλάσσειν) from possible or impending danger, but "rescue" from it when it confronts us. From. If we may press the contrast to Colossians 1:13 (ἐρύσατο... ἐκ), ἀπὸ suggests that the child of God is no longer actually in the power (1 John 5:19) of the evil one. but has been already delivered thence. The peril is, as it were, something outside him (compare, however, Chase, loc. cit.). Evil. So also the Revised Version margin; but the evil one (Revised Version). In itself τοῦ πονηροῦ might, of course, be either neuter or masculine, but in view of
(a) Matthew 13:19,
(b) the many passages in the New Testament where the expression is either certainly or probably masculine; e.g. 1 John 2:13, 14; 1 John 5:18, 19; John 17:15; 2 Thessalonians 3:3;
(c) the many allusions to the masculine reference of this petition shown by Bishop Lightfoot ('Revision,' etc., edit. 1891) and Mr. Chase (lot. cit.) to exist in early Christian literature - there seems little doubt that the Revised Version is right. Chase (loc. cit.) shows that the primary notion of both πονηρός, and its Hebrew equivalent רע, is not malignity (Trench), but worthless ness, essential badness. For thine is the kingdom, etc. Omitted in the Revised Ver sion on overwhelming authority (e.g. א, B, D, Z, Old Latin, Memphitic, "all Greek commentators on the Lord's Prayer except Chrysostom and his followers," Westcott and Hort, 'App., q.v.). In the 'Didache,' §§ 8, 9, 10, however, we find our doxology with very little other variation than the omission of "the kingdom," this itself being explained in the two latter sections by the immediately preceding mention of the kingdom. Similar omissions of one or more of the three terms, "kingdom, power, glory," are found in the Old Syriac, an "African" text of the Old Latin, and the Thebaic. "It was probably derived ultimately from 1 Chronicles 29:11 (Hebrews), but, it may be, through the medium of some contemporary Jewish usage: the people's response to prayers in the temple is said to have been 'Blessed be the name of the glory of his kingdom for ever and ever'" (Westcott and Hort, loc. cit.). Indeed, it was so usual for doxologies of one kind or another to be added by the Jews to prayers, that, though we cannot for one moment accept the words here as genuine, we must consider it very doubtful in the Lord's Prayer was ever used in Jewish circles without a doxology, or that our Lord, as Man, ever intended it to be so used (cf. further, Taylor, 'Lectures,' p. 64). At all events, the feeling of the Christian Church in using the doxology is fully justified by its contents; for it places us more emphatically than ever in a right relation to God. By our praise to him it induces in us the remembrance that it is to God's kingdom that we belong, having him for King and Source of law; that it is by God's power that we live on earth and stand freed from Satan's grasp; that it is for the furtherance of God's glory that all has been done for us, all wrought in us, all these petitions are now made and all our hopes and aims are directed. Hereafter, as Bengel says. the whole prayer will be doxology: "Hallowed be the Name of our God. His kingdom has come; his will is done. He has forgiven us our sins. He has brought our temptation to an end; He has delivered us from the evil one. His is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever. Amen."
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
Verses 14, 15. - For if ye forgive men their trespasses, etc. Matthew only. To insert the reason for having said, in the Lord's Prayer, "as we forgive our debtors," emphasizes the necessity of such forgiveness (cf. also Matthew 18:21, sqq.; Mark 11:25; Ecclus. 28:2-4). Trespasses; παραπτώματα, not ὀφειλήματα (ver. 12). Our Lord uses a word which would forbid any limitation to pecuniary matters. Their trespasses. Omitted by Tischendorf, and bracketed by Westcott and Hort (cf. their 'Introd.,' p. 176). The omission more sharply contrasts "men" and "your Father."
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
Verses 16-18. - Matthew only. Verse 16. - Fasting. The third in the series of recognized religious duties (ver. 1, note). (On the prominence given to fasting, see 'Psalms of Solomon,' 3:9, with Ryle's and James's note, and Schurer, II. 2:118; cf. Matthew 9:14.) Observe
(1) Christ does not abolish it, but regulates it;
(2) yet fasting is mentioned much less often in the true text of the New Testament than in that which, developed contemporaneously with eccle-siasticism, became the Received Text. Be not as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance. The Revised Version, by inserting a comma between "not" and "as," shows that the true emphasis of the warning lies, not on resemblance to the hypocrites themselves, but on being of a sad countenance, as in fact also the hypocrites were. The hypocrites (ver. 2, note; cf. also 'Didache,' § 8, "But let not your fasts be with the hypocrites," where, however, the thought is rather of hypocrites as representing the Pharisaic, the typically Jewish party). The early Jewish Christians are bidden in the 'Didache' to avoid the fasting-days chosen by the Jews. Be not. Our Lord does not forbid even this sad countenance if it be, so to speak, natural; but do not, because you fast, therefore purposely become so (μὴ γίνεσθε), i.e. in sign of your supposed sorrow for sin (cf. Ecclus. 19:26). Of a sad countenance (σκυθρωποί); gloomy, especially- in knitting the brows. In Daniel 1:10 (Thee-dotion) used of merely physically bad looks (cf. 'Test. XII. Patr.,' § 4, of the look of a man whose liver is out of order). In the New Testament elsewhere only Luke 24:17, "And they stood still, looking sad," Revised Version (cf. Genesis 40:7; Ecclus. 25:23). For they disfigure. The play on the words (ἀφανίζουσιν. . . ὅπως φανῶσιν, hardly to be reproduced in English," They disfigure... that they may figure before men as fasting") points to the 'Gospel having been originally composed in Greek (see Introduction, p. 13.). It is curious that ἀφανίζω comes elsewhere in Matthew only in vers. 19, 20, while in the whole of the New Testament it only comes twice besides: Acts 13:41 (from the LXX.) and James 4:14 (ἀφανισμός, Hebrews 8:13). As ver. 19 is peculiar to Matthew, and ver. 20 is a corollary to it though in part found also in Luke 12:33, the whole passage vers. 16-20 is probably either due to the author of the First Gospel or else derived by him from some one source. In this connexion it may be noticed that κρυφαῖος comes in the New Testament only in ver. 18 (twice). Physical disfigurement, common in many nations as a sign of grief, such as tearing or marking the flesh, is not to be thought of, since this was forbidden (Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1). Ἀφανίζειν, too, has no such connotation, but rather hiding out of sight, hence causing to vanish, destroy (ver. 19); here, in the sense of giving a strange, unpleasant appearance, e.g. by ashes, or by not washing, or even by covering part of the face or the head (cf. Ezekiel 24:17; 2 Samuel 15:30; Esther 6:12). That they may appear unto men to fast; Revised Version, that they may be seen, etc.; i.e. not the mere appearance, as though there were appearance only, but the being seen as fasting - conspicuousness, not mere semblance. Hence νηστεύοντες is expressed (contrast ver. 5), since while in ver. 5 not the praying but the piety that induced it is to be made apparent, here it is the very fact itself of fasting, which, except for these external signs, might escape human notice. They have (ver. 2, note).
But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;
Verse 17. - But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face. If both these were, among the Jews, done daily, Christ's command would mean - make no external sign of fasting; dress and appear as usual. But as anointing, at least, cannot be proved to have been a daily habit (though expressly forbidden during the stricter kinds of fasts, see Schurer, II. 2:212), especially with the mixed classes whom our Lord was addressing, and as it was with the ancients rather a symbol of special joy, it is safer to take it in this sense here. Thus our Lord will mean - so far from appearing sad, let your appearance be that of special joy and gladness. "By the symbols of joy and gladness he bade us be joyful and glad when we fast" (Photius, in Suicer, 1:186).
That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.
Verse 18. - Which is in secret (τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ); ver. 6, note. Shall reward thee openly (ver. 4, note).
Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
Verse 19-Matthew 7:12. -
(3) General principles regarding the relation of the disciples to wealth and to men. Verses 19-34. -
(1) The principle of regarding God alone in our religious actions is also to be maintained in the relation that we hold to wealth in the broadest sense. Vers. 19-21: seek true wealth, because earthly wealth, though gathered, may be rendered useless by earth's chances. Vers. 22, 23: further, because it is the single eye that receives the light. Ver. 24: in fact divided service is impossible. Vers. 25-34: place God first, and he will provide. Verses 19-21. - Ver. 19 comes here only, but vers. 20, 21 have much in common with Luke 12:33, 34. They are there in the middle of a long discourse (vers. 22-53), which immediately follows the parable of the rich fool, itself spoken on the occasion when a man wished his brother to divide the inheritance with him. There seems no reason to believe that that discourse is at all necessarily in historical position, and that our verses belong originally to it and to its occasion rather than to the present place in Matthew. Verse 19. - Lay not up... but lay up (ver. 20). Lay up treasure indeed, but in the right place (cf. a still more striking case in John 6:27); observe that in both cases it is "for yourselves." Lightfoot ('Hor. Hebr.,' on ver. 1) quotes an interesting Haggada from Talm. Jeremiah,' Peah,' 15b (equivalent to Talm. Bob., 'Baba Bathra,' 11a), in which "Monobazes, the king," when blamed for giving so much to the poor, defends himself at length: "My fathers laid up their wealth on earth; I lay up mine in heaven," etc. But our Lord here does not mean to limit his reference to almsgiving. He thinks of all that has been mentioned since Matthew 5:3 (cf. Weiss) as affording means of heavenly wealth. Upon earth; upon the earth (Revised Version). Our Lord here wishes to emphasize the locality as such (ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς): in ver. 20 rather the nature and quality of the locality (ἐν οὐρανῷ). Where moth (cf. James 5:2, 3; Isaiah 51:8, especially LXX.). Either directly or by its larvae, whether the treasure be clothes or food. Or rust. Any power that eats, or corrodes, or wastes (βρῶσις). Doth corrupt; Revised Version, doth consume. "Corrupt" "has now a moral significance, which does not in any degree appertain to the Greek" (Humphry). Ἀφανίζει (ver. 16, note) is here used of the complete change in the appearance or even of the complete destruction caused by these slow but sure enemies of earthly wealth. And where thieves. Before, physical or non-responsible agents; here, human beings. Break through (διορούσουσιν); "dig through" (cf. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; cf. Job 24:16, LXX.). Where the houses are so frequently made of mud or sun-burnt bricks, this would be comparatively easy.
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
Verse 20. - But lay up (ver. 19, note).
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Verse 21. - For where. A further reason for laying up treasures in heaven: wherever they are they have a positive effect on the soul. Your treasure; thy (Revised Version). The singular was altered by the copyists so as to correspond with the plural found in the earlier part of the utterance and in the undisputed text of Luke. But our Lord loves to speak to each soul individually. Your heart (Matthew 5:8, note).
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.
Verses 22, 23. - The light of the body is the eye, etc. Parallel passage: Luke 11:34-36, where it immediately follows the illustration of putting a lamp under the bushel (Matthew 5:15). The excessive difficulty of Luke's ver. 36 points to Luke having preserved on the whole the more original form of the saying; but it seems quite impossible to say which is its more original position. It suits the context quite as well in Matthew as in Luke, while the mere verbal similarity of λύχνος may have caused it to be placed in Luke after his ver. 33 (cf. ver. 24, infra, note). The light of the body; the lamp (Revised Version); ὁ λύχνος (Matthew 5:15, note). The thought of the power which treasure has of attracting the heart forms the transition to the need of a pure and steady "eye" heavenwards. The bodily eye is taken as the symbol of the outlooking power of the soul, not the soul - the inner man - itself, but its outlooking power. As the body is illuminated by the eye, i.e. as by the eye the bodily constitution learns its environment, and naturally, almost automatically, tends to accommodate itself to it, so is it with the gaze of the soul. If this be upon the things of this world, the soul perceives, and tends to accommodate itself to the things of this world; if upon things in heaven, it perceives, and tends to accommodate itself to, the things in heaven. The Authorized Version "light" is, therefore, imperfect, for the gaze of the soul is not "light" (φῶς), but a "lamp" (λύχνος). As the bodily eye is not itself light, but only an instrument for receiving and imparting light, so in the mere gaze of the soul there is no inherent light, but it is the means of receiving and imparting light to the soul. If therefore thine eye be single. The word "single" (ἁπλοῦς) presents some difficulty.
(1) If it meant "undivided," it would doubtless continue the illustration of the lamp, with an undivided as contrasted with a divided wick, but it has no such meaning.
(2) It states the opposite, not to divisions, but to folds (vide Trench, 'Syn.,' § 56.); it is "single" as opposed to "plicate," and therefore can hardly contain any direct reference to the lamp. Its meaning rather appears to be purely metaphorical, and the word seems to be applied 'directly to the functions of the eye in relation to the body. If the eye be "single" and (to use another but related metaphor) straightforward in its working, then the body receives through it the light that it ought to receive. So is it with the gaze of the soul in its effect on the inner man.
(3) Perhaps, however, ἁπλοῦςη is here used in the sense of non-compound (cf. Plato, 'Rep.,' 547. E); in this case free from any foreign substance to bar the light from passing through it (cf. Matthew 7:3, and Basil, 'De Spiritu Sancto,' 9. § 23, sqq.). Thy whole body shall be full of light (φωτινὸν ἔσται). Well-lighted in itself, and bright in appearance to others (cf. s, νεφέλη φωτινή, Matthew 17:5). The word chosen seems to indicate, not merely that the body is, through the eye, lighted, but also that it itself becomes in measure, like the eye, full of light for others. All one's powers become illumined with the Divine light, and the illumination shines through. But if thine eye be evil, etc. Evil (πονηρός); ver. 13, note. Vitiated, worthless. As an eye that does not fulfil its natural function, so is that gaze of the soul which is directed only earthward. To limit tiffs, with Lightfoot ('Hor. Hebr.'), to covetousness (cf. also Hatch, 'Essays,' p. 81), is far too partial an interpretation. Such an earthward and selfish gaze of the soul may often issue in selfishness as regards money (cf. Matthew 20:15), but the full meaning of the phrase includes very much more. Thy whole body shall be full of darkness. What the heart craves to see it sees; but in this case, not light makes its entrance, but darkness, which, as in the case of the light, permeates the frame. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness; rather, is darkness; the change here to the indicative (εἰ... ἐστίν) indicating that the last preceding clause is assumed as fact. The light that is in thee. Our Lord does not say, "the light that comes through the eye," for he means more than this, viz. that the very information, so to speak, brought first by the outlook of the soul, comes into us and remains in us. He assumes that this, which ought to be light, is darkness. How great is that darkness! i.e. the darkness (Revised Version)just spoken of, which comes through the eye. So, probably, Luke 11:35. If' the gaze which should bring light brings only darkness, how terrible in its nature and effects must that darkness be! It is, however, possible to understand our Lord to refer in this verse to the natural darkness of the soul before it looks out of itself. In this case the thought is - you need a fixed gaze heavenwards; if your gaze is not heavenwards, it brings darkness instead of light; how black, then, must be the natural darkness! (cf. especially Trench, ' Sermon on the Mount'). It will be noticed that in these verses darkness, though scientifically only negative - the absence of light - is here represented as positive, because it is the symbol of sin and evil.
But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!
No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
Verse 24. - No man can serve two masters, etc. In Luke 16:13 the saying is found almost word for word immediately after the parable of the unjust steward. As the word "mammon" comes twice in that parable, but nowhere else in the New Testament, it is probable that its occurrence caused the insertion of this saying in that place (cf. ver. 22, note). No man can serve two masters. The thought is still of earnestness of purpose and singleness of heart. Our Lord here speaks of the impossibility of such divided service as he has been warning his disciples against attempting. No man can give due service to two masters. For, apart from the extent of the claim of each master - total bond-service (δουλεύειν) - thorough service of two masters is incompatible with the effects produced upon the servant himself. The result of service is to incline him towards the one master and against the other. Notice how our Lord continues his plan of setting forth the moral effect of modes of thought or action upon the agents themselves (cf. Romans 6:16). For either he will hate the one (τὸν ἕνα), and love the other. Because human nature is such that it must attach itself to one of two principles. "Cor hominis neque its vacuum esse potest, ut non serviat ant Dee aut creaturae: neque simul duobus servire" (Bengel). Or else he will hold to the one (η} ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται). The Revised Version omits "the." The stress here is on "one - not both." Hold to; in steadfast application (cf. Ellicott, on Titus 1:9). Ye cannot serve God and mammon; "Ye moun not serve god and ricchesse" (Wickliffe). A repetition of the statement of the impossibility of serving two masters, but more than a repetition, for it is enforced by defining who the masters are. Mammon. The change in the Revised Version from a capital to a small m has probably been made to prevent "mammon" being understood as the proper name of some god. The derivation of the word (μαμωνᾶς, ממונא) is very doubtful. The most probable suggestion is that it is formed from the stem of מנה, and is equivalent to that which is apportioned or counted (cf. Levy, 'Neuheb. Worterb.,' s.v.; Edersheim, 'Life,' 2. p. 269). Hence its well-known meaning of property, wealth, especially money. Observe that our Lord does not here contrast God and Satan; he is emphasizing the thought which he has been adducing since ver. 19, viz., the relation that his disciples must hold to things of earth, which are summed up by him under the term "mammon" as with us under the term "wealth." Observe also that it is not the possession of wealth that he condemns, but the serving it, making it an object of thought and pursuit. Gathering it and using it in the service of and according to the will of God is not serving mammon (cf. Weiss, 'Matthaus-Ev.').
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Verses 25-34. - These verses, with the exception of the last, which should perhaps hardly be included, are very similar to the parallel passage, Luke 12:22-32. It seems probable that in the differences Luke preserves the more original form (cf. the notes on the separate verses, infra). What their original position was is another question. Their immediate sequence in Luke to the parable of the rich fool is no doubt perfectly natural, and is accepted by most commentators as original; but the connexion with the context here is so close that, especially with the probabilities of the case in vers. 22, 23, and ver. 24, St. Matthew may, after all, have recorded them in their original place. Our Lord says in these verses, "Dare to follow out this warning that I have given you about double service into your daily life. Do not give way to anxiety about the things of life, but look up to God in steady gaze of faith; he will provide." 'Or, more in detail - If God has given you life, shall he not add the food and the clothing (ver. 25)? Anxiety about the support of your life is needless (witness the birds, ver. 26) and powerless (witness the limit of a man's life, ver. 27); while as for clothing, it is equally needless (witness the flowers, ver. 28) and comparatively powerless (witness Solomon's own case, ver. 29). Remember your relation to God (ver. 30). Therefore do not give way to the least anxiety about these things (ver. 31), because this is to fall to the level of the Gentiles, and also because God, whose children you are, knows your needs (ver. 32). But make his cause, without and within, your great object, and all your needs shall be supplied (ver. 33). Therefore be not at all anxious, bear the burden of each day only as each day comes round (ver. 34). Verse 25. - Therefore (διὰ τοῦτο). Because of this fact last mentioned, the impossibility of dividing your service. Cease to be anxious about things of this life, for anxiety about these is a mark of your attempting this impossibility. I say unto you. Though the absence of the personal pronoun (unlike Matthew 5:22, etc.) shows that he is not here contrasting himself with them or with others, yet he still emphasizes his authority. Take no thought; Revised Version, be not anxious (μὴ μεριμνᾶτε). The translation of the Authorized Version, which was quite correct in its day (cf. also 1 Samuel 9:5), is now archaic, and therefore often misunderstood. For the popular derivation of μεριμνάω ("division," "distraction"), cf. 1 Corinthians 7:33, "But he that is married is anxious for (μεριμνᾷ) the things of the world, how he may please his wife, and is divided (μεμέρισται)." Observe that forethought in earthly matters was practised by our Lord himself (John 12:6). For your life (τῇ ψυχῇ ὑμῶν). In the Gospels ψυχή is the immaterial part of man, his personality as we should say, which survives death (Matthew 10:28), and is the chief object of a man's care (Matthew 10:39, where see note). What ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink. Although the second clause is omitted by א and a few chiefly "Western" authorities, it is probably genuine, especially as there is no trace of it in Luke (but cf. Westcott and Heft, 'Introd.,' p. 176). Is not the life more than meat? i.e. you possess the greater, shall there not be given to you the less? Humphry compares Matthew 23:17. Meat; Revised Version, the food (τῆς τροφῆς); i.e. the Revised Version
(1) changes "meat" to its modern equivalent,
(2) defines with the Greek the food as that which is necessary for the body. Similarly before "raiment."
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Verse 26. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:24. The less general term, "ravens" (even though these are "of all the birds of Jerusalem decidedly the most characteristic and conspicuous," Tristram, 'Land of Israel,' p. 187), and the change of construction apparent in "which have no store-chamber nor barn," point to St. Luke having preserved the more original form of the saying. So also does the presence in Matthew of the Matthean phrase "heavenly." On the other hand, Matthew's "consider" (ver. 28, vide next note) is perhaps more original. Behold (ἐμβλέψατε). Look on, use your natural eyes. In ver. 28 "consider" (καταμάθετε), learn thoroughly. Our Lord, in the present verse, bids us use the powers we possess; in ver. 28 he bids us learn the lessons that we can find round us. Luke has in both places the vaguer term κατανοήσατε, "fix your mind on." The fowls of the air; Revised Version, the birds of the heaven (so Matthew 8:20; Matthew 13:32); a Hebraism. For the thought, cf. Job 38:41; Psalm 147:9; cf. also Mishna, 'Kidd.,' 4:14, "Rabbi Simeon ben Eliezer used to say, Hast thou ever seen beast or bird that had a trade? Yet are they fed without anxiety." For; that (Revised Version); what you will see if you will look. They sow not, etc. They carry out as regards their food nolle of those operations which imply forethought in the past or for the future. Yet; and (Revised Version). Also what you will see. Your heavenly Father (Matthew 5:16, note). Are ye not much better than they? of much more value (Revised Version). The thought is of value in God's eyes (cf. Matthew 10:31; Matthew 12:12), as men and as his children, not of any superiority in moral attainment.
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
Verse 27. - Luke 12:25 almost verbally. While ver. 26 insisted on the needlessness of anxiety, since, though birds show it not, they are provided for, ver. 27 insists on its uselessness, since after all it can effect so little. You wish to lengthen your life by it if only to a trifling extent; but you cannot do so. Which of you by taking thought (ver. 25, note) can add one cubit? "Hic videtur similitude petita esse a studio, quod erat trecentorum cubitorum: ἡλικία est cursus vitae" (Wetstein). Unto his stature. So even the Revised Version; but the Revised Version margin "age," and so most modern commentators (cf. the rendering preferred by the American Committee, "the measure of his life"). "Age"
(1) is so much nearer the immediate subject, preservation of life,
(2) is so much more frequent an object of anxious care,
(3) gives so much more suitable a meaning to "cubit," a most trifling addition (Luke 12:26), that it is, without any doubt, the true meaning of ἡλικία (cf. John 9:21-23; Hebrews 11:11; cf. Psalm 39:5).
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
Verse 28. - Parallel passage: Luke 12:26, 27. Luke's is longer and seemingly more original. But in the absence of external evidence, it must always be a matter of opinion whether Matthew has compressed the longer form of the words, or vice versa. And why take ye thought for raiment? In vers. 25-27 our Lord had spoken of food; in vers. 28-30 he speaks of dress. He insists on the needlessness (ver. 28) and on the comparative uselessness (ver. 29) of anxiety about it, since even the king who had the greatest opportunities could not vie in clothing with a single lily. Flowers have this glorious clothing (ver. 30), though they are so perishable: much more shall you be clothed. Consider (ver. 26, note). The lilies (τὰ κρίνα). Though there are many kinds of lilies in Palestine, and some of brilliant colouring (particularly the purple and white Huleh lily found round Nazareth), yet none of them grows in such abundance as to give the tone to the colouring of the flowers generally. It seems, therefore, probable that the word is employed loosely. So, perhaps, in the LXX. of Exodus 25:31, 33, 34, and other passages, where it represents the "flowers" (פֶּרַח) on the candlestick. It appears, too, that שׁושֶׁן ("lily," Authorized Version in Canticles) is also used by the Arabs of any bright flower. If a single species is to be thought of, Canon Tristram would prefer the Anemone coronaria of our gardens, which is "the most gorgeously painted, the most conspicuous in spring, and the most universally spread of all the floral treasures of the Holy Land" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 464, edit. 1877). Of the field. Matthew only in this phrase (but cf. ver. 30, note). Its insertion emphasizes the spontaneity of origin, the absence of cultivation, the "waste" as not grown for the comfort or pleasure of man. How they grow. Professor Drummond's beautiful remarks upon this verse ('Natural Law,' etc.) do not belong to exegesis, but to homily, for the stress of our Lord's words lies on "grow," not on "how;" he is thinking of the fact, net the manner of their growth. They toil not; to produce the raw material. Neither do they spin; to manufacture it when produced. "Illud virorum est, qui agrum colunt; hoc mulie-rum domisedarum" (Wetstein).
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Verse 29. - Luke 12:27b almost verbally. Even Solomon... was not. The Greek lays still more stress: "not even Solomon." Arrayed. The idea of splendour, which in modern usage is often attached to "array," is wanting in περιεβάλετο. The simple rendering in Wickliffe, "was covered" (Vulgate, coopertus est), is less misleading. And so in ver. 31. Perhaps (vide Cart) the middle voice has its full reflexive meaning: Solomon with all his efforts failed. Like one of these. Even one, much less like all taken together. "Horum, demonstrativum" (Bengel).
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?
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.
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
Verse 31. - Luke 12:29 has the difficult phrase, "Neither be ye of doubtful mind." Therefore take no thought (μὴ οϋν μεριμνήσητε). The shade of difference here and ver. 34 from ver. 25 cannot be expressed in an English translation. In ver. 25 a state of anxiety, here and ver. 34: one anxious thought, is forbidden.
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
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).
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
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).
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Verse 34. - Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew only. Luke's conclusion to this section ("Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom") is perhaps more closely connected with the preceding verse, and also grander as dwelling upon God's side; but Matthew's is more practical, dealing with the subject from man's side. Christ says, "Because all needful things shall be added, do not have one anxious thought for the future, even for what is coming on the very next day." Such anxiety shows a want of common sense, for each day brings its own burden of anxiety for itself. Christ here seems to allow anxiety for each day as it comes round. "But," he says, "put off your to-morrow's anxiety until to-morrow." If this be done, the greater part of all our anxiety is put aside at once, and, for the rest of it, the principle will apply to each hour as well as to each day (cf. Bengel). The Christian will ever try to follow the inspired advice of St. Paul (Philippians 4:6) and St. Peter (1 Peter 5:7). The morrow shall take thought for; "be anxious" as supra. The things of itself; for itself (Revised Version); αὑτῆς. The unique construction of the genitive after μεριμνάω led to the insertion of τὰ by the copyists (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34). Sufficient unto the day, etc.; Tyndale, "For the day present hath ever enough of his own trouble." Sufficient (Matthew 10:25, note).