Matthew 19


Jesus leaves Galilee, and comes into the coasts of Judea, and

is followed by great multitudes, whom he heals, 1, 2.

The question of the Pharisees concerning divorce answered, and

the doctrine of marriage explained, 3-9.

The inquiry of the disciples on this subject, 10.

Our Lord's answer, explaining the case of eunuchs, 11, 12.

Little children brought to Christ for his blessing, 13-15.

The case of the young man who wished to obtain eternal life,


Our Lords reflections on this case, in which he shows the

difficulty of a rich man's salvation, 23-26.

What they shall possess who have left all for Christ's sake and

the Gospel. 27-29

How many of the first shall be last, and the last first, 30.


Verse 1. Beyond Jordan] Or, by the side of Jordan. Matthew

begins here to give an account of Christ's journey (the only one

he mentions) to Jerusalem, a little before the passover, at which

he was crucified. See Mr 10:1; Lu 9:51.

Jesus came from Galilee (which lay to the north of Judea) into

the coasts of Judea; and from thence, in his way to Jerusalem, he

went through Jericho, (Mt 20:17, 29,) which lay at the distance

of sixty furlongs, or seven miles and a half from Jordan, to the

western side of it. See Joseph. WAR, book iv. chap. 8. sect. 3.

It seems, therefore, most probable, that the course of Christ's

journey led him by the side of the river Jordan, not beyond it.

That the Greek word περαν, especially with a genitive case as

here, has sometimes this signification, see on Joh 6:22; see also

Bp. Pearce.

Verse 2. Great multitudes followed him] Some to be

instructed-some to be healed-some through curiosity-and some to

ensnare him.

Verse 3. Tempting him] Trying what answer he would give to a

question, which, however decided by him, would expose him to


Is it lawful-for every cause?] Instead of αιτιαν, fault, cause,

reason, three MSS. and the Coptic version read αμαρτιαν, sin

or transgression: this was probably the original reading-the first

syllable being lost, αρτιαν alone would remain, which a subsequent

transcriber would suppose to be a mistake for αιτιαν, and so wrote

it; hence this various reading. What made our Lord's situation at

present so critical in respect to this question was: At this time

there were two famous divinity and philosophical schools among the

Jews, that of SHAMMAI, and that of HILLEL. On the question of

divorce, the school of Shammai maintained, that a man could not

legally put away his wife, except for whoredom. The school of

Hillel taught that a man might put away his wife for a multitude

of other causes, and when she did not find grace in his sight;

i.e. when he saw any other woman that pleased him better. See

the case of Josephus, mentioned in Clarke's note on "Mt 5:31", and

Calmet's Comment, vol. i. part ii. p. 379. By answering the

question, not from Shammai or Hillel, but from Moses, our blessed

Lord defeated their malice, and confounded their devices.

Verse 4. He which made them at the beginning] When Adam and

Eve were the first of human kind.

Made them male and female] Merely through the design of

matrimonial union, that the earth might be thus peopled. To

answer a case of conscience, a man should act as Christ does here;

pay no regard to that which the corruption of manners has

introduced into Divine ordinances, but go back to the original

will, purpose, and institution of God. Christ will never

accommodate his morality to the times, nor to the inclinations of

men. What was done at the beginning is what God judged most

worthy of his glory, most profitable for man, and most suitable to


Verse 5. For this cause] Being created for this very purpose;

that they might glorify their Maker in a matrimonial connection.

A man shall leave (καταλειψαι, wholly give up) both father and

mother-the matrimonial union being more intimate and binding than

even paternal or filial affection;-and shall be closely united,

προσκολληθησεται, shall be firmly cemented to his wife. A

beautiful metaphor, which most forcibly intimates that nothing but

death can separate them: as a well-glued board will break sooner

in the whole wood, than in the glued joint. So also the Hebrew

word debak implies.

And they twain shall be one flesh?] Not only meaning, that they

should be considered as one body, but also as two souls in one

body, with a complete union of interests, and an indissoluble

partnership of life and fortune, comfort and support, desires and

inclinations, joys and sorrows. Farther, it appears to me, that

the words in Ge 2:24,

lebasar achad, for one flesh, which our Lord literally

translates, mean also, that children, compounded as it were of

both, should be the product of the matrimonial connection. Thus,

they two (man and woman) shall be for the producing of one flesh,

the very same kind of human creature with themselves.

See the note on Ge 2:24.

Verse 6. What therefore God hath joined together] συνεζευξεν,

yoked together, as oxen in the plough, where each must pull

equally, in order to bring it on. Among the ancients, when

persons were newly married, they put a yoke upon their necks, or

chains upon their arms, to show that they were to be one, closely

united, and pulling equally together in all the concerns of life.

See KYPKE in loco.

The finest allegorical representation of the marriage union I

have met with, is that antique gem representing the marriage of

Cupid and Psyche, in the collection of the duke of Marlborough: it

may be seen also among Baron Stoch's gems, and casts or copies of

it in various other collections. 1. Both are represented as

winged, to show the alacrity with which the husband and wife

should help, comfort and support each ether; preventing, as much

as possible, the expressing of a wish or want on either side, by

fulfilling it before it can be expressed. 2. Both are veiled, to

show that modesty is an inseparable attendant on pure matrimonial

connections. 3. Hymen or Marriage goes before them with a lighted

torch, leading them by a chain, of which each has a hold, to show

that they are united together, and are bound to each other, and

that they are led to this by the pure flame of love, which at the

same instant both enlightens and warms them. 4. This chain is not

iron nor brass, (to intimate that the marriage union is a state of

thraldom or slavery,) but it is a chain of pearls, to show that

the union is precious, beautiful, and delightful. 5. They hold a

dove, the emblem of conjugal fidelity, which they appear to

embrace affectionately, to show that they are faithful to each

other, not merely through duty, but by affection, and that this

fidelity contributes to the happiness of their lives. 6. A winged

Cupid, or Love, is represented as having gone before them,

preparing the nuptial feast; to intimate that active affections,

warm and cordial love, are to be to them a continual source of

comfort and enjoyment; and that this is the entertainment they

are to meet with at every step of their affectionate lives. 7.

Another Cupid, or genius of love comes behind, and places on their

heads a basket of ripe fruits; to intimate that a matrimonial

union of this kind will generally be blessed with children, who

shall be as pleasing to all their senses as ripe and delicious

fruits to the smell and taste. 8. The genius of love that

follows them has his wings shrivelled up, or the feathers all

curled, so as to render them utterly unfit for flight; to intimate

that love is to abide with them, that there is to be no separation

in affection, but that they are to continue to love one another

with pure hearts fervently. Thus love begins and continues this

sacred union; as to end, there can be none, for God hath yoked

them together.

A finer or more expressive set of emblems has never, I believe,

been produced, even by modern refined taste and ingenuity. This

group of emblematical figures is engraved upon an onyx by Tryphon,

an ancient Grecian artist. A fine drawing was made of this by

Cypriani, and was engraved both by Bartolozzi and Sherwin. See

one of these plates in the second volume of Bryant's Analysis of

Ancient Mythology, page 392.

Verse 7. Why did Moses then command to give a writing of

divorcement?] It is not an unusual case for the impure and unholy

to seek for a justification of their conduct from the law of God

itself, and to wrest Scripture to their own destruction. I knew a

gentleman, so called, who professed deep reverence for the sacred

writings, and, strange as it may appear, was outwardly

irreproachable in every respect but one; that was, he kept more

women than his wife. This man frequently read the Bible, and was

particularly conversant with those places that spoke of or seemed

to legalize the polygamy of the patriarchs!

A writing of divorcement]

See the form of it in Clarke's note on "Mt 5:31".

Verse 8. Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts] It is

dangerous to tolerate the least evil, though prudence itself may

require it: because toleration, in this case, raises itself

insensibly into permission, and permission soon sets up for

command. Moses perceived that if divorce were not permitted, in

many cases, the women would be exposed to great hardships through

the cruelty of their husbands: for so the word σκληροκαρδια, is

understood in this place by some learned men.

From the beginning it was not so] The Jews named the books of

the law from the first word in each. Genesis they always term

Bereshith, , which is the first word in it, and signifies,

In the beginning. It is probable that our Lord speaks in this way

here, In Bereshith it was not so, intimating that the account

given in Genesis is widely different. There was no divorce

between Eve and Adam; nor did he or his family practise polygamy.

But our Lord, by the beginning, may mean the original intention or


Verse 9. Except it be for fornication] See on Mt 5:32. The

decision of our Lord must be very unpleasant to these men: the

reason why they wished to put away their wives was, that they

might take others whom they liked better; but our Lord here

declares that they could not be remarried while the divorced

person was alive, and that those who did marry, during the life of

the divorced, were adulterers; and heavy judgments were,

denounced, in their law, against such: and as the question was not

settled by the schools of Shammai and Hillel, so as to ground

national practice on it therefore they were obliged to abide by

the positive declaration of the law, as it was popularly

understood, till these eminent schools had proved the word had

another meaning. The grand subject of dispute between the two

schools, mentioned above, was the word in De 24:1,

When a man hath taken a wife-and she find no grace in his sight,

because of some UNCLEANNESS, eruath:-this the school of

Shammai held to mean whoredom or adultery; but the school of

Hillel maintained that it signified any corporeal defect, which

rendered the person deformed, or any bad temper which made the

husband's life uncomfortable. Any of the latter a good man might

bear with; but it appears that Moses permitted the offended

husband to put away the wife on these accounts, merely to save her

from cruel usage.

In this discourse, our Lord shows that marriage, (except in one

case,) is indissoluble, and should be so:-

1st, By Divine institution, Mt 19:4.

2dly, By express commandment, Mt 19:5.

3dly, Because the married couple become one and the same person,

Mt 19:6.

4thly, By the example of the first pair, Mt 19:8; and

5thly, Because of the evil consequent on separation, Mt 19:9.

The importance of this subject will, I hope, vindicate or excuse,

the length of these notes.

Verse 10. If the case of the man] τουανθρωπου, of a husband,

so I think the word should be translated here. The Codex Bezae,

Armenian, and most of the Itala, have τουανδρος, which, perhaps,

more properly signifies a husband, though both words are used in

this sense.

Our word husband comes from the Anglo-Saxon, hus and band: the

bond of the house, anciently spelt housebond,-so in my old MS.

Bible. It is a lamentable case when the husband, instead of being

the bond and union of the family, scatters and ruins it by

dissipation, riot, and excess.

It is not good to marry.] That is, if a man have not the

liberty to put away his wife when she is displeasing to him. God

had said, Ge 2:18, It is not good for man to be alone, i.e.

unmarried. The disciples seem to say, that if the husband have

not the power to divorce his wife when she is displeasing to him,

it is not good for him to marry. Here was a flat contradiction to

the decision of the Creator. There are difficulties and trials in

all states; but let marriage and celibacy be weighed fairly, and I

am persuaded the former will be found to have fewer than the

latter. However, before we enter into an engagement which nothing

but death can dissolve, we had need to act cautiously, carefully

consulting the will and word of God. Where an unbridled passion,

or a base love of money, lead the way, marriage is sure to be


Verse 11. All-cannot receive this saying] A very wise answer,

and well suited to the present circumstances of the disciples.

Neither of the states is condemned. If thou marry, thou dost

well-this is according to the order, will, and commandment of God.

But if thou do not marry, (because of the present necessity,

persecution, worldly embarrassments, or bodily infirmity,) thou

dost better. See 1Co 7:25.

Verse 12. Eunuchs] ευνουχος, from ευνηνεχειν, to have the

care of the bed or bedchamber; this being the principal employment

of eunuchs in the eastern countries, particularly in the

apartments of queens and princesses. These are they whom our Lord

says are made eunuchs by men, merely for the above purpose.

So born from their mother's womb] Such as are naturally

incapable of marriage, and consequently should not contract any.

For the kingdom of heaven's sake.] I believe our Lord here

alludes to the case of the ESSENES, one of the most holy and pure

sects among the Jews. These abstained from all commerce with

women, hoping thereby to acquire a greater degree of purity, and

be better fitted for the kingdom of God: children they had none of

their own, but constantly adopted those of poor people, and

brought them up in their own way. PHILO, JOSEPHUS, and PLINY have

largely described this very singular sect; and Dean PRIDEAUX, with

his usual fidelity and perspicuity, has given the substance of

what each has said. CONNEX. vol. iii. p. 483, &c.; edit. 1725.

The account is very interesting, and well worthy the attention of

every Christian. Among the rabbins we find these different kinds

of eunuchs, not only mentioned, but circumstantially described,

saris chama, eunuchs of the sun, i.e. eunuchs by the

hand of God; men born impotent. saris Adam, eunuchs

of men, those who were castrated. And they add a third sort;

those who make themselves eunuchs, abstain from marriage, &c.,

that they may give themselves UP to the study of the Divine law.

See many examples in Schoettgen.

He that is able to receive] χωρεινχωρειτω. These words are

variously translated: he who can take; let him take it;

comprehend, let him comprehend it: admit, let him admit it.

The meaning seems to be, Let the man who feels himself capable of

embracing this way of life, embrace it; but none can do it but he

to whom it is given, who has it as a gift from his mother's womb.

The great ORIGEN, understanding the latter clause of this verse

(which I have applied to the Essenes) literally-O human

weakness!-went, and literally fulfilled it on himself!

Verse 13. Then were there brought unto him little children]

These are termed by Luke, Lu 18:15,

ταβρεφη, infants, very young children; and it was on this

account, probably, that the disciples rebuked the parents,

thinking them too young to receive good. See on Mr 10:16.

That he should put his hands] It was a common custom among the

Jews to lay their hands on the heads of those whom they blessed,

or for whom they prayed. This seems to have been done by way of

dedication or consecration to God-the person being considered as

the sacred property of God ever after. Often God added a

testimony of his approbation, by communicating some extraordinary

influence of the Holy Spirit. This rite has been long practised

among Christians, when persons are appointed to any sacred office.

But this consecration of children to God seems to have grown out

of use. It is no wonder that the great mass of children are so

wicked, when so few, are put under the care of Christ by humble,

praying, believing parents. Let every parent that fears God bring

up his children in that fear; and, by baptism, let each be

dedicated to the holy trinity. Whatever is solemnly consecrated

to God abides under his protection and blessing.

Verse 14. Of such is the kingdom of heaven.] Or, the kingdom

of heaven is composed of such. This appears to be the best sense

of the passage, and utterly ruins the whole inhuman diabolic

system of what is called non-elect infants' damnation; a doctrine

which must have sprung from Moloch, and can only be defended by a

heart in which he dwells. A great part of God's kingdom is

composed of such literally; and those only who resemble little

children shall be received into it: see on Mt 18:3. Christ loves

little children because he loves simplicity and innocence; he has

sanctified their very age by passing through it himself-the holy

Jesus was once a little child.

Verse 15. He-departed thence.] That is, from that part of

Judea which was beyond Jordan, Mt 19:1; and then went to Jericho.

See Mt 20:29.

Verse 16. One came] Instead of εις one, several MSS., the

Slavonic version, and Hilary, read νεανισκοςτις, a certain young


Good, &c.] Much instruction may be had from seriously attending

to the conduct, spirit, and question of this person.

1. He came running, (Mr 10:17,) for he was deeply convinced of

the importance of his business, and seriously determined to seek

so as to find.

2. He kneeled, or caught him by the knees, thus evidencing his

humility, and addressing himself only to mercy. See Mt 17:14.

3. He came in the spirit of a disciple, or scholar, desiring to

be taught a matter of the utmost importance to him-Good teacher.

4. He came in the spirit of obedience; he had worked hard to no

purpose, and he is still willing to work, provided he can have a

prospect of succeeding-What good thing shall I do?

5. His question was the most interesting and important that any

soul can ask of God-How shall I be saved?

Verse 17. Why callest thou me good?] Or, Why dost thou

question me concerning that good thing? τιμεερωταςπεριτου

αγαθου. This important reading is found in BDL, three others, the

Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Ethiopic, latter Syriac, Vulgate,

Saxon, all the Itala but one, Origen, Eusebius, Cyril, Dionysius

Areop., Antiochus, Novatian, Jerome, Augustin, and Juvencus.

Erasmus, Grotius, Mill, and Bengel approve of this reading. This

authority appears so decisive to Griesbach that he has received

this reading into the text of his second edition, which in the

first he had interlined. And instead of, None is good but the one

God, he goes on to read, on nearly the same respectable

authorities, ειςεστινοαγαθος. There is one who is good. Let

it be observed also that, in the 16th verse, instead of διδασκαλε

αγαθε, good teacher, διδασκαλε only is read by BDL, one other,

one Evangelistarium, the Ethiopic, three of the Itala, Origen, and

Hilary. The whole passage therefore may be read thus: O teacher!

what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life? And he

said unto him, Why dost thou question me concerning that good

thing? There is one that is good. (Or he who is good is one.)

But If thou art willing to enter into that life, keep the

commandments. This passage, as it stood in the common editions,

has been considered by some writers as an incontrovertible proof

against the Divinity or Godhead of Christ. A very learned person,

in his note on this place, thus concludes concerning it:

"Therefore our Saviour cannot be GOD: and the notion of, I know

not what, a trinity in unity, THREE Gods in ONE, is here proved

beyond all controversy, by the unequivocal declaration of JESUS


the greatest critics in Europe, not at all partial to the Godhead

of Christ, has admitted the above readings into his text, on

evidence which he judged to be unexceptionable. If they be the

true readings, they destroy the whole doctrine built on this text;

and indeed the utmost that the enemies of the trinitarian doctrine

can now expect from their formidable opponents, concerning this

text, is to leave it neuter.

Keep the commandments.] From this we may learn that God's great

design, in giving his law to the Jews, was to lead them to the

expectation and enjoyment of eternal life. But as all the law

referred to Christ, and he became the end of the law for

righteousness (justification) to all that believe, so he is to be

received, in order to have the end accomplished which the law


Verse 18. Thou shalt do no murder, &c.] But some say these

commandments are not binding on us. Vain, deceived men! Can a

murderer, an adulterer, a thief, and a liar enter into eternal

life? No. The God of purity and justice has forbidden it. But

we are not to keep these commandments in order to purchase eternal

life. Right. Neither Jesus Christ, nor his genuine messengers,

say you are. To save your souls, Christ must save you from your

sins, and enable you to walk before him in newness of life.

Verse 19. Honour thy father and thy mother] σου thy, is

omitted by almost every MS. of respectability.

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself] Self-love, as it is

generally called, has been grievously declaimed against, even by

religious people, as a most pernicious and dreadful evil. But

they have not understood the subject on which they spoke. They

have denominated that intense propensity which unregenerate men

feel to gratify their carnal appetites and vicious passions,

self-love; whereas it might be more properly termed self-hatred or

self-murder. If I am to love my neighbour as myself and this

"love worketh no ill to its neighbour," then self-love, in the

sense in which our Lord uses it, is something excellent. It is

properly a disposition essential to our nature, and inseparable

from our being, by which we desire to be happy, by which we seek

the happiness we have not, and rejoice in it when we possess it.

In a word, it is a uniform wish of the soul to avoid all evil, and

to enjoy all good. Therefore, he who is wholly governed by

self-love, properly and Scripturally speaking, will devote his

whole soul to God, and earnestly and constantly seek all his

peace, happiness, and salvation in the enjoyment of God. But

self-love cannot make me happy. I am only the subject which

receives the happiness, but am not the object that constitutes

this happiness; for it is that object, properly speaking, that I

love, and love not only for its own sake, but also for the sake of

the happiness which I enjoy through it. "No man," saith the

apostle, "ever hated his own flesh." But he that sinneth against

God wrongeth his own soul, both of present and eternal salvation,

and is so far from being governed by self-love that he is the

implacable enemy of his best and dearest interests in both worlds.

Verse 20. All these have I kept] I have made these precepts

the rule of my life. There is a difference worthy of notice

between this and our Lord's word. He says, Mt 19:17, τηρησον,

keep, earnestly, diligently, as with watch and ward; probably

referring not only to the letter but to the spirit. The young man

modestly says, all these (εφυλαξα) have I observed; I have paid

attention to, and endeavoured to regulate my conduct by them. I

have kept them in custody.

From my youth] Several MSS., versions, and fathers, leave out

these words. Grotius and Mill approve of the omission, and

Griesbach leaves them in the text with a note of suspicion.

Perhaps the young man meant no more than that he had in general

observed them, and considered them of continual obligation.

What lack I yet?] He felt a troubled conscience, and a mind

unassured of the approbation of God; and he clearly perceived that

something was wanting to make him truly happy.

Verse 21. If thou wilt be perfect] τελειοςειναι, To be

complete, to have the business finished, and all hinderances to

thy salvation removed, go and sell that thou hast-go and dispose

of thy possessions, to which it is evident his heart was too much

attached, and give to the poor-for thy goods will be a continual

snare to thee if thou keep them; and thou shalt have treasure in

heaven-the loss, if it can be called such, shall be made amply up

to thee in that eternal life about which thou inquirest; and come

and follow me-be my disciple, and I will appoint thee to preach

the kingdom of God to others. This was the usual call which

Christ gave to his disciples. See Mt 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; Mr 2:14;

and it is pretty evident, from this, that he intended to make him

a preacher of his salvation. How many, by their attachment to

filthy lucre, have lost the honour of becoming or continuing

ambassadors for the Most High! See on Mr 10:21.

Verse 22. Went away sorrowful] Men undergo great agony of mind

while they are in suspense between the love of the world and the

love of their souls. When the first absolutely predominates, then

they enjoy a factitious rest through a false peace: when the

latter has the upper hand, then they possess true tranquillity of

mind, through that peace of God that passeth knowledge.

He had great possessions.] And what were these in comparison of

peace of conscience, and mental rest? Besides, he had unequivocal

proof that these contributed nothing to his comfort, for he is now

miserable even while he possesses them! And so will every soul

be, who puts worldly goods in the place of the supreme God.

See on Mr 10:22.

Verse 23. A rich man shall hardly enter] That is, into the

spirit and privileges of the Gospel in this world, and

through them into the kingdom of glory. Earthly riches are a

great obstacle to salvation; because it is almost impossible to

possess them, and not to set the heart upon them; and they who

love the world have not the love of the Father in them. 1Jo 2:15.

To be rich, therefore, is in general a great misfortune: but what

rich man can be convinced of this? It is only God himself who, by

a miracle of mercy, can do this. Christ himself affirms the

difficulty of the salvation of a rich man, with an oath, verily;

but who of the rich either hears or believes him!

Verse 24. A camel] Instead of καμηλον, camel, six MSS. read

καμιλον, cable, a mere gloss inserted by some who did not know

that the other was a proverb common enough among the people of the


There is an expression similar to this in the Koran. "The

impious, who in his arrogance shall accuse our doctrine of

falsity, shall find the gates of heaven shut: nor shall he enter

there till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle. It is

thus that we shall recompense the wicked." Al KORAN. Surat vii.

ver. 37.

It was also a mode of expression common among the Jews, and

signified a thing impossible. Hence this proverb: A camel in

Media dances in a cabe; a measure which held about three pints.

Again, No man sees a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant passing

through the eye of a needle. Because these are impossible things.

"Rabbi Shesheth answered Rabbi Amram, who had advanced an

absurdity, Perhaps thou art one of the Pembidithians who can make

an elephant pass through the eye of a needle; that is, says the

Aruch, 'who speak things impossible.'" See Lightfoot and

Schoettgen on this place.

Go through] But instead of διελθειν, about eighty MSS. with

several versions and fathers, have εισελθειν, to enter in; but the

difference is of little importance in an English translation,

though of some consequence to the elegance of the Greek text.

Verse 25. Who can be saved?] The question of the disciples

seemed to intimate that most people were rich, and that therefore

scarcely any could be saved. They certainly must have attached a

different meaning to what constitutes a rich man, to what we in

general do. Who is a rich man in our Lord's sense of the word?

This is a very important question, and has not, that I know of,

been explicitly answered. A rich man, in my opinion, is not one

who has so many hundreds or thousands more than some of his

neighbours; but is one who gets more than is necessary to supply

all his own wants, and those of his household, and keeps the

residue still to himself, though the poor are starving through

lack of the necessaries of life. In a word, he is a man who gets

all he can, saves all he can, and keeps all he has gotten. Speak,

reason! Speak, conscience! (for God has already spoken) Can

such a person enter into the kingdom of God? ALL, NO!!!

Verse 26. With men this is impossible] God alone can take the

love of the world out of the human heart. Therefore the salvation

of the rich is represented as possible only to him: and indeed the

words seem to intimate, that it requires more than common

exertions of Omnipotence to save a rich man.

Verse 27. We have forsaken all] "A poor all," says one, "a

parcel of rotten nets." No matter-they were their ALL, whether

rotten or sound; besides, they were the all they got their bread

by; and such an all as was quite sufficient for that purpose: and

let it be observed, that that man forsakes much who reserves

nothing to himself, and renounces all expectations from this

world, taking God alone for his portion. See Mt 4:20.

To forsake all, without following Christ, is the virtue of a

philosopher. To follow Christ in profession, without forsaking

all, is the state of the generality of Christians. But to

follow Christ and forsake all, is the perfection of a


What shall we have therefore?] τιαραεσταιημιν, What REWARD

shall we get? This Kypke proves to be the meaning of the words

from some of the best Greek writers.

Verse 28. Ye which have followed me, in the regeneration, when

the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, &c.] The

punctuation which I have observed here, is that which is followed

by the most eminent critics: the regeneration is thus referred to

the time when Jesus shall sit on the throne of his glory, and

not to the time of following him, which is utterly improper.

The regeneration, παλιγγενεσια. Some refer this to the time in

which the new heavens and the new earth shall be created, and the

soul and body united. The Pythagoreans termed that παλιγγενεσια,

when, according to their doctrine of the transmigration or

metempsychosis, the soul entered into a new body, and got into a

new state of being. Clement, in his Epistle to the Corinthians,

calls the restoration of the world, after the deluge, by the same


Judging the twelve tribes] From the parallel place,

Lu 22:28-30,

it is evident that sitting on thrones, and judging the twelve

tribes, means simply obtaining eternal salvation, and the

distinguishing privileges of the kingdom of glory, by those who

continued faithful to Christ in his sufferings and death.

Judging, κρινοντες. Kypke has shown that κρινεσθαι is to

be understood in the sense of governing, presiding, holding the

first or most distinguished place. Thus, Ge 49:16,

Dan shall JUDGE his people, i.e. shall preside in, or rule

over them; shall occupy a chief place among the tribes. It is

well known that the Judges among the Jews were moderators,

captains, chief, or head men. The sense therefore of our Lord's

words appears to be, that these disciples should have those

distinguished seats in glory which seem to belong peculiarly to

the first confessors and martyrs. See 1Th 4:14, 16, and

particularly Re 20:4-6.

The last-quoted passage brings into view the doctrine of the

Millennium, when Jesus, after having formed the new heavens and

the new earth, shall reign here gloriously among his ancients

365,000 years; for the thousand years referred to above are

certainly prophetical years, in which, it is well known, each day

stands for a year.

Others, of no mean note, are of opinion that the regeneration

means the conversion of men by the preaching of the Gospel-that

sitting on twelve thrones signifies the state of eminent dignity

to which the apostles should be raised-and that judging the twelve

tribes of Israel, means no more than exercising authority in the

Church, and dispensing laws to the people of God. But I confess I

do not see the propriety of this application of the terms, as the

following verse seems to fix the meaning mentioned above.

Verse 29. Shall receive a hundredfold] Viz. in this life, in

value, though perhaps not in kind; and in the world to come

everlasting life. A glorious portion for a persevering believer!

The fulness of GRACE here, and the fulness of GLORY hereafter!

See on Mr 10:30.

Verse 30. But many that are first, &c.] The Jews, who have

been the first and most distinguished people of God, will in

general reject the Gospel of my grace, and be consequently

rejected by me. The Gentiles, who have had no name among the

living, shall be brought to the knowledge of the truth, and become

the first, the chief, and most exalted people of God. That this

prediction of our Lord has been literally fulfilled, the present

state of the Christian and Jewish Churches sufficiently proves.

To illustrate this fully, and to demonstrate that the Jews and

Gentiles were now put on an equal footing by the Gospel, our Lord

speaks the following parable, which has been unhappily divided

from its connection by making it the beginning of a new chapter.

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