Matthew 10:16
New International Version
"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

New Living Translation
"Look, I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.

English Standard Version
“Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

Berean Study Bible
Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Berean Literal Bible
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

New American Standard Bible
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.

King James Bible
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Christian Standard Bible
"Look, I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as innocent as doves.

Contemporary English Version
I am sending you like lambs into a pack of wolves. So be as wise as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Good News Translation
"Listen! I am sending you out just like sheep to a pack of wolves. You must be as cautious as snakes and as gentle as doves.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Look, I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as serpents and as harmless as doves.

International Standard Version
"Pay attention, now! I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as serpents and as innocent as doves.

NET Bible
"I am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.

New Heart English Bible
"Look, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Behold, I am sending you as lambs among wolves; be therefore crafty as snakes and innocent as doves.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"I'm sending you out like sheep among wolves. So be as cunning as snakes but as innocent as doves.

New American Standard 1977
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; therefore be shrewd as serpents, and innocent as doves.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves; be ye therefore prudent as serpents and innocent as doves.

King James 2000 Bible
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

American King James Version
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

American Standard Version
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Behold I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as doves.

Darby Bible Translation
Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves; be therefore prudent as the serpents, and guileless as the doves.

English Revised Version
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Webster's Bible Translation
Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Weymouth New Testament
"Remember it is I who am sending you out, as sheep into the midst of wolves; prove yourselves as sagacious as serpents, and as innocent as doves.

World English Bible
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Young's Literal Translation
'Lo, I do send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves, be ye therefore wise as the serpents, and simple as the doves.
Study Bible
Sheep among Wolves
15Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. 16Look, I am sending you out like sheep among wolves; therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. 17But beware of men; for they will hand you over to their councils and flog you in their synagogues.…
Cross References
Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more crafty than any beast of the field that the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Did God really say, 'You must not eat of any tree in the garden?'"

Jeremiah 40:16
But Gedaliah son of Ahikam said to Johanan son of Kareah, "Do not do such a thing! What you are saying about Ishmael is a lie."

Hosea 7:11
So Ephraim has become like a silly, senseless dove--calling out to Egypt, then turning to Assyria.

Matthew 24:25
See, I have told you in advance.

Matthew 24:45
Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the others their food at the proper time?

Matthew 25:2
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.

Matthew 25:4
But the wise ones took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

Matthew 25:9
No,' said the wise ones, 'or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

Luke 10:3
Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.

Romans 16:19
Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice over you. But I want you to be wise about what is good and innocent about what is evil.

Treasury of Scripture

Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the middle of wolves: be you therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

as sheep.

Luke 10:3
Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

Acts 20:29
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

wise.

Genesis 3:1,13
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? …

Luke 21:15
For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.

Romans 16:19
For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.

harmless.

Romans 16:18,19
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple…

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

2 Corinthians 8:20
Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:







Lexicon
Look,
Ἰδοὺ (Idou)
Verb - Aorist Imperative Active - 2nd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 2400: See! Lo! Behold! Look! Second person singular imperative middle voice of eido; used as imperative lo!

I
ἐγὼ (egō)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Nominative 1st Person Singular
Strong's Greek 1473: I, the first-person pronoun. A primary pronoun of the first person I.

am sending you out
ἀποστέλλω (apostellō)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 1st Person Singular
Strong's Greek 649: From apo and stello; set apart, i.e. to send out literally or figuratively.

like
ὡς (hōs)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 5613: Probably adverb of comparative from hos; which how, i.e. In that manner.

sheep
πρόβατα (probata)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 4263: A sheep. Probably neuter of a presumed derivative of probaino; something that walks forward, i.e., a sheep.

among
ἐν (en)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1722: In, on, among. A primary preposition denoting position, and instrumentality, i.e. A relation of rest; 'in, ' at, on, by, etc.

wolves;
λύκων (lykōn)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3074: A wolf, of perhaps a jackal; often applied to persons of wolfish proclivities. Perhaps akin to the base of leukos; a wolf.

therefore
οὖν (oun)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 3767: Therefore, then. Apparently a primary word; certainly, or accordingly.

be
γίνεσθε (ginesthe)
Verb - Present Imperative Middle or Passive - 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 1096: A prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude.

as shrewd
φρόνιμοι (phronimoi)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 5429: Intelligent, prudent, sensible, wise. From phren; thoughtful, i.e. Sagacious or discreet; in a bad sense conceited.

as
ὡς (hōs)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 5613: Probably adverb of comparative from hos; which how, i.e. In that manner.

snakes
ὄφεις (opheis)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3789: Probably from optanomai; a snake, figuratively, an artful malicious person, especially Satan.

and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

as innocent
ἀκέραιοι (akeraioi)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 185: (lit: unmixed) simple, unsophisticated, sincere, blameless. Unmixed, i.e. innocent.

as
ὡς (hōs)
Adverb
Strong's Greek 5613: Probably adverb of comparative from hos; which how, i.e. In that manner.

doves.
περιστεραί (peristerai)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 4058: A dove, pigeon. Of uncertain derivation; a pigeon.
(16) I send you forth.--The nominative pronoun is emphatic, "It is I who send," and that not so much as an assurance of protection, but, as the words that follow show, as reminding them of their responsibility as His delegates.

As sheep in the midst of wolves.--Nothing can be more striking than the union of this clear foresight of conflict and suffering with the full assurance of victory and sovereignty. The position of the disciples would be as sheep surrounded by a flock of hungry and raging wolves, the wolf being here, as elsewhere in the New Testament, the symbol of the persecutor.

Wise as serpents.--The idea of the serpent as symbolising wisdom, seems to have entered into the early parables of most Eastern nations. We find it in Egyptian temples, in the twined serpents of the rod of 'sculapius and of Hermes, in the serpent-worship of the Turanian races, in the history in Genesis 3 of the serpent that was "more subtle than any beast of the field." For the most part it appears in Scripture as representing an evil wisdom to be fought with and overcome. Here we learn that even the serpent's sinuous craft presents something which we may well learn to reproduce. When St. Paul "caught men with guile" (2Corinthians 12:16), becoming "all things to all men" (1Corinthians 9:22), he was acting in the spirit of his Master's counsels.

Harmless as doves.--Better, simple, sincere--i.e., "guileless." The Greek indicates more than simple harmlessness--a character in which there is no alloy of baser motives. Once again truth appears in the form of paradox. The disciples of Christ are to be at once supremely guileful and absolutely guileless. Our Lord's reference to this symbolism gains a fresh significance when we remember that He had seen the heavens opened, and the Spirit of God descending "like a dove" upon Himself (Matthew 3:16). In and by that Spirit the two qualities that seem so contradictory are reconciled.

Verses 16-39. - The internal conditions of conveying Christ's message. The subdivisions of this section are after ver. 23 and ver. 33 (cf. ver. 5b, note). Verses 16-23. - You will be in the midst; of foes, and simplicity must be accompanied by prudence (ver. 16, a summary of all); you will be ill-treated publicly (vers. 17, 18), but must conduct yourselves with calm faith that you will be guided in your defence (vers. 19, 20), with endurance of family and universal enmity. (vers. 21, 22), with common sense in avoiding unnecessary danger, for wherever you go you will find work to be done (ver. 23). Verse 16-16a, parallel passage: Luke 10:3 (the seventy); 16b, Matthew only. Behold. He calls their attention. I send you forth. I (ἐγω), with the full consciousness of all that will befall you; I, whose message you will carry, whose character you will represent. In this I lies the germ of vers. 40-42. As sheep in the midst of wolves. The 'Midrash' on Esther 8:2 (Parasha 10.) uses the same phrase of the position of Israel amidst a hostile world (cf. Edersheim, 'Life,' 1:645), adding, "How great is that Shepherd who delivers them and vanquishes the wolves?" 'Clem. Romans,' it. § 5, has an interesting addition, "The Lord saith, Ye shall be as lambs in the midst of wolves. But Peter answered and said unto him, What then, if the wolves should tear the lambs? Jesus saith unto Peter, Let not the lambs fear the wolves after they [the lambs] are dead." Be ye therefore. Prove yourselves to he (γίνεσθε). Wise. Prudent (φρόνιμοι). As serpents. אָ,with Ignat., 'Polyc.,' § 2, has the singular, perhaps taking it generically, or perhaps not without reference to the phrase in Genesis 3:1, "The serpent was more subtle," etc. (ὁ δὲ ὄφις η΅ν φρονιμώτατος κ.τ.λ.). The prudence of the serpent is specially apparent in the quickness of its perception of danger and the rapidity with which it escapes from it. Kubel gives Matthew 22:23, sqq., 34, sqq.; John 2:24; John 11:9, 10, as examples of this proper prudence in the case of our Lord. And harmless as doves. Harmless; rather, simple, with Revised Version margin, for ἀκέραιος is literally "unmixed, unadulterated" (cf Bishop Lightfoot, on Philippians 2:15), and emphasizes the idea of simplicity of character. It is thus not active, but passive. Comp. 'Shir. R.' (Song of Solomon 2:14), "With me they [Israel] are simple [תמימים; cf. the 'Etz Ya'akob, which refers to Hosea 7:11 as doves, but among the nations of the world they are subtle as serpents" (cf. Matthew 3:16, note). 10:16-42 Our Lord warned his disciples to prepare for persecution. They were to avoid all things which gave advantage to their enemies, all meddling with worldly or political concerns, all appearance of evil or selfishness, and all underhand measures. Christ foretold troubles, not only that the troubles might not be a surprise, but that they might confirm their faith. He tells them what they should suffer, and from whom. Thus Christ has dealt fairly and faithfully with us, in telling us the worst we can meet with in his service; and he would have us deal so with ourselves, in sitting down and counting the cost. Persecutors are worse than beasts, in that they prey upon those of their own kind. The strongest bonds of love and duty, have often been broken through from enmity against Christ. Sufferings from friends and relations are very grievous; nothing cuts more. It appears plainly, that all who will live godly in Christ Jesus must suffer persecution; and we must expect to enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations. With these predictions of trouble, are counsels and comforts for a time of trial. The disciples of Christ are hated and persecuted as serpents, and their ruin is sought, and they need the serpent's wisdom. Be ye harmless as doves. Not only, do nobody any hurt, but bear nobody any ill-will. Prudent care there must be, but not an anxious, perplexing thought; let this care be cast upon God. The disciples of Christ must think more how to do well, than how to speak well. In case of great peril, the disciples of Christ may go out of the way of danger, though they must not go out of the way of duty. No sinful, unlawful means may be used to escape; for then it is not a door of God's opening. The fear of man brings a snare, a perplexing snare, that disturbs our peace; an entangling snare, by which we are drawn into sin; and, therefore, it must be striven and prayed against. Tribulation, distress, and persecution cannot take away God's love to them, or theirs to him. Fear Him, who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. They must deliver their message publicly, for all are deeply concerned in the doctrine of the gospel. The whole counsel of God must be made known, Ac 20:27. Christ shows them why they should be of good cheer. Their sufferings witnessed against those who oppose his gospel. When God calls us to speak for him, we may depend on him to teach us what to say. A believing prospect of the end of our troubles, will be of great use to support us under them. They may be borne to the end, because the sufferers shall be borne up under them. The strength shall be according to the day. And it is great encouragement to those who are doing Christ's work, that it is a work which shall certainly be done. See how the care of Providence extends to all creatures, even to the sparrows. This should silence all the fears of God's people; Ye are of more value than many sparrows. And the very hairs of your head are all numbered. This denotes the account God takes and keeps of his people. It is our duty, not only to believe in Christ, but to profess that faith, in suffering for him, when we are called to it, as well as in serving him. That denial of Christ only is here meant which is persisted in, and that confession only can have the blessed recompence here promised, which is the real and constant language of faith and love. Religion is worth every thing; all who believe the truth of it, will come up to the price, and make every thing else yield to it. Christ will lead us through sufferings, to glory with him. Those are best prepared for the life to come, that sit most loose to this present life. Though the kindness done to Christ's disciples be ever so small, yet if there be occasion for it, and ability to do no more, it shall be accepted. Christ does not say that they deserve a reward; for we cannot merit any thing from the hand of God; but they shall receive a reward from the free gift of God. Let us boldly confess Christ, and show love to him in all things.
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