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The book of the genealogy
The phrase would remind a Jewish reader of Ge 2:4; 5:1 and a similar phrase 'these are the
generations (geneseis) of' occurs also in Gn 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27, etc..
of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son
Abraham became the father of
Used of a relationship which is not genetic in 1 Cor 4:15; Phm 10, and the same metaphor was used
of the relationship between a Rabbinic teacher and his pupil (see Ps 2:7).
Isaac became the father of Jacob.
Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah by Tamar.
Perez became the father of Hezron.
Hezron became the father of Ram.
Ram became the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab became the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon became the father of Salmon.
Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab.
Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth.
Obed became the father of Jesse.
Jesse became the father of King David.
David became the father of Solomon by her who had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam became the father of Abijah.
Abijah became the father of Asa.
Asa became the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat became the father of Jehoram.
Jehoram became the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham.
Jotham became the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz became the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh became the father of Amon.
Amon became the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jeconiah and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
After the exile to Babylon,
Jeconiah became the father of Shealtiel.
Shealtiel became the father of Zerubbabel.
Zerubbabel became the father of Abiud.
Abiud became the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim became the father of Azor.
Azor became the father of Zadok.
Zadok became the father of Akim.
Akim became the father of Eliud.
Eliud became the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar became the father of Matthan.
Matthan became the father of Jacob.
Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born
Jesus, who is called Christ.
So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; from David to the exile
to Babylon fourteen generations; and from the carrying away to
Babylon to the Christ, fourteen generations.
Now the birth
of Jesus Christ was like this; for after his mother, Mary, was engaged
Parents arranged the marriage, and espousals were often made very early in life even though the
marriage may not have taken place until the bride was twelve years or older. The engagement was based upon a verbal promise
or written agreement. It was considered the beginning of marriage and since it was legally binding the pledge could not be
broken except by a bill of divorce. This is why Joseph is referred to as the husband in v19. Gifts were presented when a
contract was completed (cf. Ge 24:53).
to Joseph, before they came together, she was found pregnant by the Holy
Joseph, her husband, being a righteous
man, and not willing to make her a public example
, intended to put her away secretly.
But when he thought about these things, consider this
; an angel
Originally means 'messenger'.
of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, "Joseph, son of
David, don't be afraid
to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy
She shall bring forth a son. You shall call his name Jesus
[Iēsoun; Heb. Yeshua]
'Adonai saves'. The Greek form of Joshua or Jeshua.
, for it is he who shall save
Matthew uses laos particularly for the chosen race.
from their sins."
Now all this has happened, that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord
[kyriou; Heb. Adonai]
through the prophet, saying, 23" "Look
! The virgin
The Hebrew in Is 7:14 means 'young woman' but is used only seven times in the OT, of girls or
young women, at least two of whom were unmarried (Gn 24:43; Ex 2:8). It is not used elsewhere in connection with childbirth
(or even marriage), so that its use in Is 7:14 is remarkable, when the term for 'woman' or 'wife' could have been
shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son. They shall call his name Immanuel"
[Emmanouēl; Heb. Immanu'el]
; which is, being interpreted, "God with us."
Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took his wife to himself; 25
know her sexually
until she had brought forth a son. He named him Jesus.
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea in the days of King Herod
In 63 BC terms were made with the Roman general Pompeii and Judea became a became a client state. Herod the Great firmly
locked the Jews into the administrative system of the Roman Empire.
The reign of Herod 'The Great' was effective ruler of Judea and much else from 37 BC to his death four years before the
Christian era. Herod was both a Jew and an anti-Jewish; and upholder and benefactor of Greek and Roman civilisation, and an
Oriental barbarian capable of unspeakable cruelties. He was a brilliant politician and in some ways a wise and far-seeing
statesman, generous, constructive and highly efficient; but also a naive, superstitious, grotesquely self-indulgent and
hovering on the there brink of insanity - sometimes over it. He combines in one person the tragedy of Saul and the successful
materialism of Solomon. See note on Lk 1:5.
, consider this
; wise men
An influential order of men with obscure beginnings, although thought to have originated among
the Chaldeans or Assyrians, noted in the OT in Jer 39:3, 13; Jer 1:35; Da 2:2, 27, 48; 4:8-9; 5:11. As it spread the movement
borrowed from the religious customs of its surrounding culture. The Magians were a priestly caste, and the office was
hereditary. They uttered prophesies, explained omens, interpreted dreams, and practised rhabdomancy (cf. Ho 4:12). In Persia
they became a powerful body under the guide of Zoroaster. Later the term Magi became more general. As men of learning, they
devoted special attention to astronomy and the natural sciences. Eventually all men with a reputation for learning were
called Magi. In time even conjurers without scientific knowledge were called Magi (cf. Ac 8:9; 13:6,8).
east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2
"Where is he is born king of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east
[en tē anatolē]
, and have come to worship
When King Herod heard it, he was disturbed
, and all Jerusalem with him. 4
Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes
of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born. 5
They said to him, "In
Bethlehem in Judea, for this is written through the prophet,
"You, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are in no way least
among the princes
for out of you shall come forth a governor
who shall shepherd
my people, Israel.'"
Then Herod secretly called the wise men, and learned from them exactly what time the star appeared. 8
He sent them to
Bethlehem, and said, "Go and search diligently for the young child. When you have found him, bring me word, so that I also
may come and worship
They, having heard the king, they went their way, and Consider this
; the star, which they saw in the east, went before them,
until it came and stood over where the young child was. 10
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy
[charan megalēn sphodra]
They came into the house
and saw the young child with Mary, his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Opening
their treasures, offered to him gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh
A fragrant oil from the sap of a young tree in the olive family used as a sacred oil, a healing
ointment and for make-up (Ex 30:23, Est 2:12; Ps 45:8, Jn 19:39).
in a dream that they shouldn't return to Herod, they went back to their own
country another way.
Now when they had departed, consider this
; an angel
of the Lord appeared
to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the young child and his mother, and flee
into Egypt and stay there until I tell you, for Herod will seek the young child to destroy
He arose and took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt, 15
and was there until the death of
Herod; that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by the Lord
through the prophet, saying, "Out of Egypt I called my son."
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked by the wise men
, was exceedingly angry, and sent out, and killed all the male children who were in
Bethlehem and in all the surrounding countryside, from two years old and under, according to the exact time which he had
learned from the wise men. 17
Then that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled
"A voice was heard in Ramah,
lamentation, weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
She wouldn't be comforted
because they are no more."
19 But when Herod was dead, consider this
; an angel of the Lord appeared
in a dream to Joseph in Egypt 20
saying, "Arise and take the young child and his mother,
and go into the land of Israel, for those who sought the young child's life are dead."
He arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22
But when he heard that Archelaus was
reigning over Judea in the place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Being warned
in a dream, he withdrew into the region of Galilee, 23
and came and lived in a
city called Nazareth; that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene
[Nazōraios; Heb. Natzrati]
Common NT title for Jesus as the man from Nazareth; Mark uses Nazarēnos, cf. Jn 1:46. The
words 'He shall be called a Nazarene' do not occur in the OT.
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching
in the wilderness
of Judea 2
, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!"
Lit. 'has come near'. The perfect tense is used also in 26:45 and 46 (cf. Lk 21:8, 20) and
introduces a state of affairs which is already beginning and which calls for an immediate response.
For this is
he who was spoken of by Isaiah the prophet, saying,
"The voice of one calling in the wilderness
'Make ready the way of the Lord,
make his paths straight
Now John himself wore clothing made of camel's hair
Cf. Zech 13:4; 2 Ki 1:8. Camel hair kept out heat, cold and rain and probably is what is
referred to by sackcloth.
, with a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts
Permitted by the law of Moses (Lev 11:22) and prepared in various ways: pounded and mixed with
flour and water and baked into cakes; boiled, roasted, or stewed in butter; or pickled, according to an Assyrian
and wild honey. 5
Then people from Jerusalem, all of Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to
They were baptized by him in the Jordan
Usually people were baptised in running water, based on the idea of repenting from old sins and
starting a new life.
, confessing their sins.
But when he saw many of the Pharisees
The Perushim or Pharisees, 'those who separated themselves', were a religious party which repudiated the royal religious
establishment, with its high priest, Sadducee aristocrats and the Sandhedrin, and placed religious observance before Jewish
nationalism. Josephus noted, 'the Sadducees draw their following only from the rich, and the people do not support them,
whereas the Pharisees have popular allies'.
The Pharisees were god-fearing and disciplined. Although having a bad name, Jesus had many friends among them, many of whom
were thoroughly good men. The sect of the Pharisees, even before they were thus named, had done much for the Jewish religion,
preserving its purity from the influence of surrounding cults, especially from the effects of Greek culture which Alexander
sought to introduce.
Cf. 26:3. Jesus did not have many contacts with the Sadducees who were aristocrats. Jesus
associated instead with the common people. See note on 22:34.
coming for his baptism, he said to them, "You
offspring of vipers, who warned you to flee
from the wrath
to come? 8
Therefore bring forth fruit worthy of repentance
Don't think to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father,' for I tell you that God is
able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones. 10
"Even now the axe lies at the root of the trees. Therefore, every
tree that doesn't bring forth good fruit is cut down, and cast into the fire.
"I indeed baptize you in
water for repentance
, but he who comes after me
'Behind' is not used of time anywhere in the NT but is a regular description of a follower or
disciple (4:19; 10:38; 16:24; Lk 21:8; Jn 12:19).
than I, whose shoes
Carrying sandals was the most menial of duties. Upon entering a house, the sandals were removed
by a servant who took care of them until they were needed again. If the master decided to walk barefoot, the servant removed
his sandals and carried them.
I am not worthy
Not 'take away' but remove.
. He will baptize you in the Holy Spirit. 12
Winnowing fan or fork. The grain is separated from the husks when the stalks are thrown into the
air with a wooden shovel or fork ('fan' in Rth 3:3; Is 30:24; Jer 4:11, 12) and carried off by the wind. As a rule this was
done in the evening or night time was when the breeze was moderate and not too gusty. Cf. Jo 21:18; Ps 1:4; Is 29:5; 41:16;
Da 2:35; Ho 13:3.
is in his hand, and he will thoroughly cleanse
his threshing floor. He will gather
his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn up with unquenchable fire."
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14
But John would have hindered him, saying, "I
need to be baptized by you, and you come to me?" 15
But Jesus, answering, said to him, "Allow it now, for this is the fitting
way for us to fulfill
Righteousness in Matthew is not so much 'being good', still less legal correctness, but rather a
synonym for the Christian life, viewed as a relationship with God focused in obedience.
." Then he allowed him.
Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and consider this
; the heavens were opened to him. He saw the
Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. 17
; a voice out of the heavens said, "This is
The voice speaking here is in the second person in Mark and Luke, and Western MSS have the same
reading here. Matthew apparently put it in the third person to remind his readers of the parallel pronouncement in 17:5 (see
2:7 and Is 42:1).
Son, with whom I am well pleased
A favourite connecting word in Matthew which does not always convey a definite chronological or
even logical connection.
Jesus was led up
by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted
This verb in Matthew always signifies testing (and in its 36 NT occurrences it clearly indicates
tempting to do wrong).
by the devil. 2
When he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was hungry afterward. 3
tempter came and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread."
But he answered, "It is written
[in the Tanakh]
'Man shall not live
by bread alone, but by every word
that proceeds out of the mouth of God
[theou; Heb. Adonai]
Then the devil took him into the holy city. He set him on the pinnacle
Highest point or parapet, lit. 'small wing', or some projecting part of the temple buildings,
thought to have been the summit of the royal gallery built by Herod. The main temple building was some 180 feet high. On the
southern side of the temple court was a range of porches or cloisters forming three arcades. At the southeastern corner the
roof of this cloister was 300 ft above the Kidron Valley. The pinnacle was above this roof and could have reached a hight of
350 ft. Josephus said of anyone standing here that 'his sight could not reach to such an immense depth'.
and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written,
"He will put his angels in charge of you,'
and, 'On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you don't dash your foot against a stone.'"
Jesus said to him, "Again, it is written, You shall not test
the Lord, your God
[theon; Heb. Adonai]
Again, the devil took him to an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and their glory
He said to him, "I will give you all these things, if you will fall down and worship
Then Jesus said to him, "Get behind me, Satan
! For it is written
[in the Tanakh]
You shall worship
the Lord your God
[theon; Heb. Adonai]
, and you shall serve
Then the devil left him, and consider this
; angels came and served
Now when Jesus heard that John was delievered up, he withdrew
Withdraw or go away; return. For 'withdrew' cf. 2:12,14,22; 12:15; 14:13; 14:21, all following
indications of official hostility.
into Galilee. 13
Leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is by
the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken through the prophet, saying,
"The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
toward the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
the people who sat in darkness
saw a great light;
to those who sat in the region and shadow of death,
to them light has dawned."
From that time, Jesus began to preach
, and to say, "Repent
! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
Walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers: Simon
Simon's name is Jewish but Andrew's and Philip's is Greek, reflecting the mixed culture of
who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19
said to them, "Come after me
[Deute opisō mou]
, and I will make you fishers for men." 20
They immediately left
their nets and followed him.
Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee
their father, mending
their nets. He called them. 22
They immediately left the boat and their father, and
Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues
Local meeting place and assembly of the Jews. The synagogue had its roots in the time after
Solomon's Temple was destroyed and local worship and instruction became necessary (cf. Ps 74:8). The building was prominently
cited on high ground or with a pole placed on the peak. They often lacked roofs and faced towards Jerusalem. All synagogues
had a separate place for the women in a gallery or behind a partition of latticework; all had a central desk (cf. Ne 8:4);
all had an ark on the side of the building nearest Jerusalem for the preservation of the Sefer Torah (Scrolls of the Law); all
arranged seats with the most prominent reserved for those in leadership (Mt 23:6). Instruction was the main object although a
liturgical service was held. Officers of the synagogue were elected either by the congregation or council. The leader might
ask any person to address the assembly. Jesus and the apostles publicly spoke in the synagogues.
the Good News
of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness
among the people. 24
The report about him went out into all Syria. They brought to
him all who were sick, afflicted with various diseases and torments, possessed with demons, epileptics
and paralytics; and he healed them. 25
Large Great multitudes from Galilee,
A largely Gentile confederacy.
, Jerusalem, Judea and from beyond the Jordan followed
Seeing the multitudes, he went up onto the mountain. When he had sat down, his disciples came to him. 2
He opened his mouth
and taught them, saying,
Makarios does not denote one whom God blesses (which would be eulogētos) but represents the
Hebrew 'fortunate'. It introduces someone who is to be congratulated, someone whose place in life is an enviable one. The
word denotes a condition of life rather than a mood.
are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
are those who mourn,
for they shall be comforted
are the gentle
Used of a wild pony that has been broken in.
for they shall inherit the earth.
are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness
for they shall be filled
are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
are the pure
for they shall see God.
are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.
are those who have been persecuted
for righteousness' sake
for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
are you when people reproach you, persecute
you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12
, and be exceedingly glad
, for great
is your reward
. For that is how they persecuted
the prophets who were before you.
"You are the salt
Salt was for seasoning (Job 6:6; Lev 2:13) and mixed with the fodder of cattle (Is 30:24).
Sharing salt symbolized hospitality (Ez 4:14). New-born children were rubbed with salt (Ez 16:4) and the OT describes a
'covenant of salt' (Nu 18:19; 2 Chron 13:5). The Rabbis commonly used salt as an image for wisdom (cf. Col 4:6), which may
explain why the Greek work represented by 'lost its taste' (mōrainō) actually means 'become foolish' and has given
the English, 'moron'. (The Aramaic 'tapēl' conveys both meanings).
of the earth but if the salt has lost its
, with what will it be salted? It is then good for nothing, but to be cast out and
trodden under the feet of men.
"You are the light of the world
. A city located on a hill can't be hidden. 15
Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a
, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16
In Even so, let your light
shine before men; that they may see your good works
your Father who is in heaven
"Don't think that I came to destroy
[nomon; Heb. Torah]
or the Prophets. I didn't come to destroy
, but to fulfill
Among the nuances suggested for plērōsai are: (a) to accomplish, obey; (b) to bring out
the full meaning; (c) to complete ('to bring to its destined end'), by giving the final revelation of God's will to which the
OT pointed forward, and which now transcends it (cf. the double meaning of Ro 10:4, 'Christ is the end of the law': he both
completes and transcends it). In this context (c) is the best fit.
For most certainly, I tell you,
[amēn gar legō hymin]
'Truly I say to you' is Jesus' own signature: no other teacher is known to have used it. It
serves the same purpose as the prophets' 'Thus says the LORD'.
, until heaven and earth pass away
, not even one smallest letter
Smallest letter of the Greek alphabet and nearest Greek equivalent to the Hebrew yodh, the
smallest Hebrew letter, and often optional in spelling, cf. tittle, Ps 119:73.
, or one tiny pen stroke
The Greek means 'horn' and was used to designate the slight embellishment or extension of
certain letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
, shall in any way pass away
Inclusion in the canon was the only certain way of ensuring that a work of literature survived,
for in antiquity, unless a manuscript was constantly copied, it tended to vanish without trace within a generation or so.
The families of the scribes, then, ensured the survival of the Bible texts for a 1000 years or more, and in due course they
were succeeded by families of masoretes or scribal scholars who specialised in the writing, spelling and accenting of Bible
texts. It was they who produced the official Jewish canonical version, known as the Masoretic text.
from the law,
until all things are accomplished
Lit. means 'happens' and is used of events, not of things 'being done'.
therefore, shall break
'Relaxes', 'set aside' or 'teach against' a commandment, rather than disobey it. 'Loose' in
16:19; 18:18 is the same verb. Cf. kataluō, 'abolish', v17, which shares the same root. 'Breaks' is therefore not the
most appropriate translation.
one of these least commandments
Entolē in Matthew refers to OT law.
and teach others to do so, shall be called
least in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
; but whoever shall do and teach them shall be called great in the
Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
For I tell you that unless your righteousness
exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees,
[grammateōn kai Pharisaiōn]
The scribes were professional students and teachers of the law. The Pharisees were members of a
largely lay movement devoted to scrupulous observance both of the OT law and of the still developing legal
, there is no way you will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
"You have heard that it was said
Not used elsewhere in the NT as a quotation formula (except cf. Ro 9:12), but the participle
rhēthen ('what was spoken') introduces Matthew's formula-quotations, and 'it was said' is commonly used to introduce
biblical quotations in Rabbinic literature. Note also that in Rabbinic literature 'I (might) hear' is a formula to introduce
a literal but misleading understanding of the law, to which is then opposed what you must 'say', a less literal but truer
interpretation (cf. Jn 12:34).
to the ancient ones, 'You shall not murder'
Refers to criminal killing; 'kill' is not an adequate translation. The expanded clause does not
come from the OT but summarises OT teaching on the penalty for murder (e.g., Ge 9:6; Ex 21:12-14; Nu 35:16-34).
and 'Whoever shall murder
shall be in danger
of the judgment
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother
without a cause shall be in danger
of the judgment
; and whoever shall say to his brother
Lit. 'empty', an Aramaic term of abuse, 'idiot'.
shall be in danger of the council
Either the supreme Jewish council or a local court, cf. 10:17.
; and whoever shall say,
This word and the preceeding are not uncommon or particularly vulgar words (Jesus himself used
this term in 21:17; cf. Jas 2:20), but they suggest an attitude of angry contempt.
shall be in danger of
the fire of Gehenna
[geennan; Heb. Gey-Hinnom]
Gehenna was the name of the place where Jerusalem's rubbish was burnt, used regularly by Jesus,
as by Jewish writers, for the place of ultimate punishment.
"If, therefore, you are offering
your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother
has anything against you, 24
leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First
be reconciled to your brother
, and then come and offer your gift.
"Agree with your adversary
According to Roman law, if a person had a quarrel that he could not settle privately, he had the
right to order his adversary to accompany him to the praetor. If he refused the prosecutor took someone present to witness by
saying, "May I take you to witness?" If the person consented, he offered the tip of his ear. Then the plaintiff might drag
the defendant to court by force, even by the neck (cf. Mt 28:28). Criminals might be dragged before the judge without the
formality of calling a witness. If the matter was settled on the way, no further steps were taken. So when the accused is
legally seized by the accuser, he is urged to make up his quarrel while on the way to the judge so that no further legal
process should be necessary.
quickly while you are with him in the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to
, and the judge
deliver you to the officer
, and you be cast into prison. 26
Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means
get out of there, until you have paid the last penny
The quadrans was the smallest Roman coin.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery;' 28
But but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman
Used almost always of married women, and often means 'wife'.
to lust after her has
committed adultery with her already in his heart. 29
If your right eye causes you to stumble
, pluck it out and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable
for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast
If your right hand causes you to stumble
The eye which should keep us from stumbling can in fact 'trip us up' and this is the basic
meaning of 'cause to sin'.
, cut it off, and throw it away from you. For it is more profitable
f for you that one of your members should perish, than for your whole body to be cast
"It was also said, 'Whoever shall put away
Divorce is not approved in Dt 24:1-4 nor elsewhere in the Bible. However certificate and divorce
were regarded as 'commanded' by Moses by Jesus' contemporaries. The grounds for divorce were disputed: while the school of
Shammai allowed divorce on grounds of infidelity backed up by witnesses, practice was governed by the school of Hillel, who
required no court decision - only the word of the husband against the wife. A burnt meal was a justified complaint against
the wife (Mishnah Gittin 9:10. See also Josephus, Ant. Iv. 253; Vita 426.).
his wife, let him give her a writing of
But I tell you that whoever puts away
his wife, except for the cause of sexual immorality
Root meaning is 'fornication', but used in a wider sense to include premarital unchastity.
Current Jewish law (e.g., Mishnah Yebamoth 2:8; Sotah 5:1) demanded the termination of a marriage if either premarital
unchastity or adultery was discovered ; in OT times the penalty in either case was death (Dt 22:20-22), but under Roman rule
this could not be enforced.
, makes her an adulteress; and whoever marries her when she is put away
"Again, you have heard that it was said to them of old time, 'You shall not make false vows
Break an oath, swear falsely. Epiorkos means 'perjurer'. Oaths and vows were not only permitted
but, in certain circumstances, commanded in the OT (e.g., Nu 5:19ff). Rabbis filled several tractates of the Mishnah with
discussions of the forms of oaths. Jesus' total rejection of oaths ('not … at all') is not paralleled even by the Qumran
literature, strict as it was on this issue.
, but shall perform to the Lord your vows
But I tell you, don't swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God;
nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36
shall you swear by your head, for you can't make one hair white or black. 37
But let your 'Yes' be 'Yes' and your 'No' be
'No.' Whatever is more than these is of the evil one
"You have heard that it was said,'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth
The principle of proportionate retribution (cf. Ex 21:24-25; Lv 24:20: Dt 19:21) was older and
more widely recognized than the Mosaic law, being found already in the Code of Hammurabi (eighteenth century BC) with the
same examples of eye and tooth.
But I tell you, Don't resist
The verb is sometimes used for 'take legal action against' (i.e., non-violent
him who is evil; but whoever strikes
A blow with the back of the hand, showing contempt (for religious affiliation?) and extreme
abuse. Such an insult was punishable by a heavy fine (Mishnah BK 8:6). The same verb is used in 26:67 of the ill-treatment of
Jesus as a blasphemer, and the words of this verse recall Is 50:6, the Servant's acceptance of ill-treatment.
on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. 40
If anyone sues you to take away your coat
, let him have your cloak
The more valuable upper garment. The law forbade its confiscation on humanitarian grounds (Ex
A specific term for the Roman soldier's practice of 'commandeering' civilian labour in an
occupied country (cf. 27:32). Here enforced service as a porter is envisaged. The ancient Persians introduced the use of
regular couriers to carry letters or news. The king's courier had absolute command of all help that was necessary to fulfil
his task. To refuse was an unpardonable offence against the king.
you to go one mile
The Roman term for 1000 paces.
, go with him two. 42
Aorist imperative, normally of a single act. Cf. Lk 6:30, present imperative, give
to him who asks you, and don't turn away him who desires to borrow from you.
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love
your neighbour and hate your enemy
'Hate your enemy' is not from the OT but an inference which was easily drawn from the OT
distinction between the attitude required towards fellow-Israelites and towards foreigners, and which appears in the Qumran
Manual (1QS 1:3-4, 9-10; 19:21-22, 'that they may love all the sons of light …, and hate all the sons of darkness'. Cf.
Josephus, BJ ii.139, on the Essenes' attitude. Hate (miseō) often signifies 'not love' or 'love less' (Mt 6:24; Ro 9:13;
Lk 14:26 with Mt 10:37; Gn 29:30-1). Jeremias translates, 'You shall love your compatriot but you need not love your
But I tell you, love
your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those
who mistreat you and persecute
that you may be children of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun
to rise on the evil
and the good
, and sends rain on the just
and the unjust
For if you love
those who love
you, what reward
do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? 47
If you only greet your friends
, what more do you do than others? Don't even pagans
do that? 48
Therefore you shall be perfect
Wider than moral perfection and indicating 'completeness', 'wholeness' (cf. Paul's use for the
spiritually 'mature' in 1 Cor 2:6; 14:20; Phil 3:15). Verse 48 derives from the LXX of Dt 18:13 and parallels: 'be holy, for
I am holy'.
, just as your Father in heaven is perfect
"Be careful that you don't do your charitable giving
Piety or ostentatious practice of religious duties (almsgiving, prayer and fasting).
before men, to be seen by them, or else you have no reward
from your Father who is in heaven
2" Therefore when you do merciful deeds
Almsgiving was a religious duty, not an optional act of philanthropy, in Judaism (cf. Dt 15:7-
11; Ps 112:9) and by the first century AD relief for the poor was very well organized.
, don't sound a trumpet
before yourself, as the hypocrites
Originally means 'actor'.
do in the synagogues and on the streets, that they may get
from men. Most certainly I tell you
[amēn, legō hymin]
, they have received
'Receive in full'; a commercial term for receipt in full, implying that there is no more to look
forward to (cf. Lk 6:24, and the similar apolambanō in Lk 16:25).
Lit. 'wages', that which has been earned.
But when you do merciful deeds, don't let
your left hand know what your right hand does, 4
so that your merciful deeds may be in secret
then your Father who sees in secret
[en tō kryptō]
, will reward
"When you pray, you shall not be as the hypocrites
, for they love
to stand and pray in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be
seen by men. Most certainly, I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
, they have received their reward
But you, when you pray, enter into your inner chamber
'Storeroom' (cf. Lk 12:24). This was an inner room, secluded, probably windowless, and possibly
with the only lockable door in the house; it is thus proverbial for a secret place (Lk 12:3; cf. Mt 24:26). The clause is
modelled on Is 26:20 (where tameion occurs in the LXX), as a prescription for hiding away.
, and having shut your
door, pray to your Father who is in secret
[tō en tō kryptō]
, and your Father who sees in secret
, will reward
you openly. 7
In praying, don't use vain repetitions,
'Heap up empty phrases'. This word is otherwise unknown in contemporary literature, and perhaps
coined as an onomatopoeic term for babbling; its resemblance to the the Hebrew for 'vain, idle' sharpens the point. Prayer in
the non-Jewish world was often characterised by formal invocations and magical incantations, in which the correct repetition
counted rather than the worshipper's attitude or intention.
as the Gentiles
do, for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking
Do Therefore don't be like them, for your Father knows
what you need, before you ask him.
"Pray like this: " 'Our Father in heaven
may your name be kept holy
The Lord's Prayer seems to be a synopsis of various Jewish prayers of the time. The first two
sentences echo the language of the Jewish prayer the Kaddish (Qaddish) which begins 'Magnified and hallowed be his great name
in the world … And may He establish His kingdom in your lifetime and in your days … quickly and soon'. The third sentence is
similar to a prayer of Rabbi Eliezer (c. 100 AD): 'Do thy will in heaven above and give peace to those who fear thee below'
(Babylonian Talmud, Berakoth). The petitions in the Lord's prayer also echo ancient Jewish prayers. 'Give us today' is akin
to the first benediction of grace at mealtime, 'Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, king of the universe, who feedest the whole
world with thy goodness …; thou givest food to all flesh … Through thy goodness food hath never failed us: O may it not fail
us for ever and ever.' 'Forgive us' echoes the Eighteen Benedictions, 6: 'Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned against
thee; blot out our transgressions from before thine eyes. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who forgivest much'. The accompanying
phrase, 'as we forgive those' reflects the Jewish teaching found in Sirach 28:2: 'Forgive the wrong of your neighbour, and
then your sins will be forgiven when you pray.' 'Lead us not into temptation' is similar to a petition in the Jewish Morning
and Evening Prayers. 'Cause me to go not into the hands of sin, and not into the hands of transgression, and not into the
hands of temptation, and 'not into the hands of dishonour'.
10 Let your Kingdom come.
Let your will
as in heaven, so on earth.
Give us today our daily
This word occurs nowhere else except perhaps in a fragment of an Egyptian account book where it
probably referred to a daily 'ration', published in the nineteenth century and since lost. The meanings suggested are: (a)
'For the day (in question)', (b) 'Necessary' for survival, cf. Prov 30:8, (c) 'For the coming day. (c) is supported by
Jerome's report of this interpretation in an early Aramaic version of the Gospel.
us our debts,
as we also forgive
Bring us not into temptation
us from the evil one.'
For yours is the Kingdom, the power, and the glory forever. Amen.
For if you forgive
men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive
But if you don't forgive
men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive
"Moreover when you fast
The only fast required by the law of Moses was that of the Great Day of Atonement (Lev 23:26-32;
cf. Ac 27:9). During their captivity, the Jews observed four annual fasts which commemorated the anniversary of the capture
of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans. In addition to the incident recorded in Ex 32:19 they fasted to commemorate the burning of the
city and temple (Jer 52:12, 13, cf. Ex 32:19); the anniversary of the murder of Gedaliah (Jer 41:1,2, cf. 2 Ki 25), and the
beginning of the siege of the holy city by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer 52:4; Ez 33:21; 2 Ki 25:1). Many examples of public and
private fasting are found in the OT.
, don't be like the hypocrites
, with sad faces
. For they disfigure
Lit. 'make invisible' cf. vv19-20), a vivid description of being made unrecognisable, either by
covering the head or by smearing with ash and dirt.
their faces, that they may be seen by men to be fasting. Most
certainly I tell you,
[amēn legō hymin]
, they have received
But you, when you fast, anoint your head, and wash your face; 18
so that you are not seen
by men to be fasting, but by your Father who is in secret
[en tō kruphaiō]
, and your Father, who sees in secret
[en tō kruphaiō]
, will reward
19" Don't lay up
Lit. 'Treasure not up for yourselves treasures'.
for yourselves on the earth
, where moth and rust
'Vermin'. This is a general term for 'eating', probably referring to damage by rats, woodworm,
etc., rather than rust, for which the Greek is 'ios'.
, and where thieves break through and steal; 20
but lay up
for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust
, and where thieves don't break through and steal; 21
for where your treasure
is, there your heart will be also.
22" The lamp of the body is the eye. If therefore your eye is sound
'Sound, healthy'. Lit. 'single', but used in the LXX to translate the root for 'complete' or
'perfect', which is often used of 'undivided' loyalty. So the 'single eye' is a metaphor for a life totally devoted to the
service of God. Haplous can also mean generous (Ro 12:8; 2 Cor 8:2; 9:11,13; cf. Jas 1:5) and such a nuance here is suggested
by the contrasting 'evil eye' (opsthalmos sou ponēros), a regular expression not only for jealousy but for niggardliness
(e.g., Dt 15:9; Pr 22:9; Mt 20:15, and often in Jewish literature). There is a double-entendre therefore, with haplous taking
up not only the theme of undivided loyalty but also that of detachment from material concern, hence generosity.
your whole body will be full of light. 23
But if your eye is evil, your whole body will be full of darkness. If therefore the
light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
"No one can serve
Lit. 'be a slave of'; a man could satisfactorily have two employers, but not two
, for either he will hate the one and love
the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can't serve
both God and Mammon
Aramaic mamōna, meaning 'possessions'. To designate wrongly acquired wealth, the Targums
usually clarified mamōna by adding 'of falsehood'; cf. Lk 16:9, 11). The Targums, Qumran writings and the Mishnah give
mamon a neutral connotation.
"Therefore, I tell you, don't be anxious
'To be anxious', 'be overconcerned about'. Refers to a state of mind more than the behavioural
signs of anxiety.
for your life
: what you will eat, or what you will drink; nor yet for your body, what you will wear.
more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26
See the birds of the sky
, that they don't sow, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns. Your heavenly Father
feeds them. Aren't you of much more value than they? 27
"Which of you, by being anxious
can add one moment to his lifespan
Normally means 'age', 'life-span'. In Lk 19:3 it means 'height', and the fact that 'cubit' (46
cm) is a measure of physical length apparently supports this meaning here. Cf. Ps 39:5 and our expression 'life-
28" Why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They don't toil, neither do they
yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not dressed like one of these. 30
But if God so clothes the
grass of the field, which today exists, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven
Almost every kind of combustible matter was used for fuel, e.g., withered stalks of herbs or
grass, wood, shrubs, thorn bushes, weeds, vines, branch trimmings, animal and even human dung. Coal was not used by the
, won't he much more clothe you, you of little faith
Used of disciples when they failed to trust Jesus in a situation of physical need (8:26; 14:31;
"Therefore don't be anxious
, saying, 'What will we eat?', 'What will we drink?' or, 'With what will we be
For the Gentiles
all these things; for your heavenly
that you need all these things. 33
But But seek first God's Kingdom, and his righteousness; and
all these things will be given to you as well. 34
Therefore don't be anxious for tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for
itself. Each day's own evil
Often carries the connotation 'condemn'. The proverbial saying, 'the measure you give will be
the measure you get', occurs in Mk 4:24 in a different sense, with reference to care in receiving Jesus' teaching, and in Lk
6:38 with reference probably to generosity in giving. It occurs commonly in Jewish literature to indicate divine retribution
(e.g., Mishnah 'Sotah' 1:7). The Jewish idea of God's two 'measures', mercy and judgement, may also be in view.
that you won't be judged
For with whatever judgment you judge
, you will be judged
, and with whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you.
3" Why do you see the speck
A tiny splinter of wood or straw; the word is used in secular Greek metaphorically for something
that is in your brother's
eye, but don't consider the beam
Lit. a beam or rafter. The speck and plank in the eye are found in two Rabbinic sayings, perhaps
derived from Jesus' illustration ('Arakhin' 16b; BB15b).
that is in your own eye? 4
Or how will you tell your
brother, 'Let me remove
the speck from your eye;' and look
: the beam
is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite
! First remove
out of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove
the speck out of your brother's
"Don't give that which is holy
to the dogs
A term of contempt. To 'go to the dogs' is to go to ruin.
, neither throw your pearls
before the pigs
Pigs, swine, or wild boar, common among the marshes of the Jordan valley (cf. Ps 80:13), were
regarded as the most unclean and most abhorred of all animals.
, lest perhaps they trample them under their feet,
and turn and tear you to pieces.
"Ask, and it will be given you. Seek, and you will find. Knock
Knocking is found in Rabbinic sayings as a metaphor for prayer.
, and it will be opened
for you. 8
For everyone who asks receives. He who seeks finds. To him who knocks it will be opened.
"Or who is there among you, who, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone
Loaves of bread often resembled round, flat stones, cf. Mt 4:3; Lk 4:3.
Or if he
asks for a fish, who will give him a serpent?
A snake might be taken for a fish, particularly the eel-like catfish of Galilee, 'Clarias
lazera'. For that matter, a round loaf might have looked like a stone. Cf. Mt 14:17; Lk 4:3.
If you then, being
how to give good
gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven
[en tois ouranois]
things to those who ask him! 12
Therefore whatever you desire for men to do to you, you shall
also do to them; for this is the Law
and the Prophets
The Hebrew Bible consisted of the 1) Law (Torah), 2) Prophets (Neviim), and 3) Holy Writings
(Ketuvim). The Emperor Alexander Severus reputedly had this saying which appears in verse 12 written in gold on his wall. The
negative principle is found in ancient literature from the Athenian Isocrates to Rabbi Hillel ('Shabbath' 31a; cf. Tobit
4:15). In this form it appears in some early texts of Ac 15:29. Some earlier Jewish maxims (Ecclus. 31:15; Letter of Aristeas
207) point towards the more comprehensive positive, but Jesus was apparently the first to formulate it and elevate it as a
summary of the revealed will of God. Cf. Hillel after his negative version: 'This is the whole law; all else is commentary'
('Shabbath' 31a). Cf. 22:40.
"Enter in by the narrow gate
The image of the narrow gate includes the common Jewish teaching of the two ways, of life and
of death (cf. Je 21:8; it is developed in the early Christian manual, the Didache).
; for wide is the gate and broad
is the way that leads to destruction
, and many are those who enter in by it. 14
How narrow is the gate
[stenē hē pylē]
, and restricted
'Restricted'. Nouns from the same roots as 'narrow' and 'hard' are used together in Ro 2:9;
8:35 for 'tribulation and distress'.
is the way that leads to life
! Few are those who find it.
"Beware of false prophets
, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves.
By their fruits you will know
them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17
Even so, every
good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18
A good tree can't produce evil fruit, neither can
a corrupt tree produce good fruit. 19
Every tree that doesn't grow good fruit is cut down, and thrown into the fire.
Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord
While kyrie is sometimes in the Gospels no more than a polite form of address ('Sir': e.g.,
13:27; 21:30; 25:20), in Matthew it is generally used in contexts which indicate a deeper and more religious meaning. It is
the characteristic form of address to Jesus by disciples (often substituted by Matthew where the other Synoptics have
'Teacher' or 'Rabbi').
,' will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
; but he who does the will
of my Father who is in heaven
[en tois ouranois]
Many will tell me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, didn't we prophesy in your name, in
your name cast out
demons, and in your name do many mighty works
Then I will tell them, 'I never
you. Depart from me, you who work iniquity.'
"Everyone therefore who hears these words
of mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man, who built his house on a rock. 25
rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it didn't fall, for it was founded on the
Everyone who hears these words
of mine, and doesn't do them will be like a foolish man, who built his house on the sand.
The rain came down, the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat on that house; and it fell--and great
was its fall."
It happened, when Jesus had finished saying these things, that the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, 29
taught them with authority, and not like the scribes
Scribes were officers whose duties included writing. On the return from the Babylonian
captivity the 'sopherim' were organised by Ezra into a distinct body. They copied the Pentateuch, the Phylacteries and the
Mezuzoth. They counted and compared all the letters to ensure accuracy. As well as being copyists they were interpreters and
gave instruction in the knowledge of the law. At the time of Christ the Jewish language was passing into the Aramaic dialect
and the majority of the people, unable to understand their own Scriptures, depended on the interpretation of the scribes who
also rigorously upheld the oral traditions as being on a par with Scripture.
When he came down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. 2
; a leper
Lepers were outcast from normal society. It is probably that the 'leprosy' of the Bible was a
term covering various skin complaints as well as the much more serious 'true' leprosy called by the Greeks 'elephantiasis'.
Not all were serious or contagious, but were all lumped together and covered by the strict 'quarantine' regulations of Lev
13-14. Leprosy was a generic term applied to a variety of skin disorders from psoriasis to leprosy. Those with leprosy were
unfit to worship God (cf. Lev 13:3) and were isolated from the rest of the community.
came to him and worshiped
Normally translated 'worship' (cf. NIV, 'knelt'). The verb need mean no more than to pay homage to a human dignitary, but Matthew frequently uses it in contexts where Jesus' more-than-human status is recognized (e.g., 14:33; 28:9,17).
him, saying, "Lord
, if you want to, you can make me clean
Jesus stretched out his hand, and touched him, saying, "I want
to. Be made clean." Immediately
his leprosy was cleansed
Jesus said to him, "See that you tell nobody, but go, show yourself to the
priest, and offer the gift
that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them." 5
When he came into Capernaum, a centurion
A junior officer in the auxiliary forces under the command of Herod Antipas, which were non-
Jewish, drawn largely from Lebanon and Syria.
came to him, asking him, 6
and saying, "Lord, my servant
Can mean child; cf. Jn 4:51. Luke, who uses pais in 7:7, calls him a 'slave' in vv2, 4, and 10;
'servant' is a regular meaning of pais in the NT, while nowhere except Jn 4:51 does it denote a 'son' as opposed to a
lies in the house paralyzed, grievously tormented." 7
Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal
The centurion answered, "Lord, I'm not worthy
[ouk eimi himanos]
for you to come under my roof. Just say the word
, and my servant
will be healed
For I am also a man under authority, having under myself soldiers. I tell this one, 'Go,'
and he goes; and tell another, 'Come,' and he comes; and tell my servant
, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to those who followed
, "Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō umin]
, I haven't found so great a faith
, not even in Israel. 11
I tell you that many will come from the east and the west, and will
Lit. 'recline', the normal posture for meals, especially more formal ones (cf. Jn 13:23). The
imagery of the Messianic banquet (cf. 26:29; Lk 14:15; 22:30) is a prominent theme in Jewish eschatological expectation,
derived from Is 25:6.
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn uioi]
but the children
of the Kingdom will be thrown out
into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth
Symbolic descriptions of the fate of 'the ungodly'; as in 13:42.
Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way. Let it be done for you as you have believed
." His servant
was healed in that hour. 14
When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw his wife's mother lying
sick with a fever. 15
He touched her hand, and the fever left her. She got up and served him. 16
When evening came, they
brought to him many possessed with demons. He cast out the spirits with a word
, and healed
all who were sick; 17
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken
through Isaiah the prophet, saying:
Now when Jesus saw great multitudes around him, he gave the order to depart to the other side. 19
came, and said to him, "Teacher
This is a term only used by outsiders in Matthew.
, I will follow
you wherever you go." 20
Jesus said to him, "The foxes have holes, and the birds of
the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." 21
Another of his disciples said to him, "Lord
, allow me first to go and bury
The dead must be buried within twenty four hours (though the subsequent ceremonies could last a
week), and this duty was incumbent on the son (Gn 50:5; Tobit 4:3; 6:14). It took precedence over religious duty (Mishnah
'Berakoth' 3:1), and even justified priests in contracting ritual defilement (Lev 21:2). However there is colloquial evidence
of 'to bury' in the sense of 'look after until death' and this was a cultural expectation.
my father." 22
said to him, "Follow me, and leave the dead
The use of 'dead' for 'godless' is not found until later Judaism.
their own dead." 23
When he got into a boat, his disciples followed him. 24
; a violent storm
Lit. a 'shaking'; usually means 'earthquake'.
came up on the sea, so much that the
boat was covered with the waves, but he was asleep. 25
They came to him, and woke him up, saying, "Save
us, Lord! We are dying
He said to them, "Why are you fearful
, O you of little faith
?" Then he got up, rebuked the wind and the sea, and there was a great calm.
The men marvelled, saying, "What kind of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?" 28
When he came to the other
side, into the country of the Gadarenes
A city of Decapolis, 6 miles south-east of the lake, but controlling territory up to the shore
of the lake east of the Jordan outflow (Josephus, 'Vita' 42). In all three Synoptics there are variant readings.
two people possessed by demons met him there, coming out of the tombs, exceedingly fierce
, so that nobody could pass that way. 29
; they cried out, saying, "What do we
have to do with you, Jesus, Son of God? Have you come here to torment us before the time?"
Now there was a herd of many pigs feeding far away from them. 31
The demons begged him, saying, "If you cast us out, permit
us to go away into the herd of pigs."
He said to them, "Go!" They came out, and went into the herd of pigs: and consider this
; the whole herd of pigs rushed
down the cliff into the sea, and died in the water. 33
Those who fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told
everything, including what happened to those who were possessed with demons. 34
Consider this [idou]
; all the city came out to meet
Jesus. When they saw him, they begged that he would depart from their borders.
He entered into a boat, and crossed over, and came into his own city. 2
; they brought to him a man who was
paralyzed, lying on a bed. Jesus, seeing their faith
, said to the paralytic, "Son
, cheer up! Your sins are forgiven
; some of the scribes
said to themselves, "This man blasphemes
their thoughts, said, "Why do you think evil
in your hearts? 5
For which is easier
The use of eukopōteron for an 'a fortiori' argument occurs in Greek only in sayings of
Jesus (cf. 19:24 and Lk 16:17).
, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven
;' or to say, 'Get up, and walk?' 6
But that you may know that the Son of Man has
authority on earth to forgive sins..." (then he said to the paralytic), "Get up, and take up your mat
Couch for resting, sickness, sitting, or eating; bed or table. The 'bed' was simply a mat or
blanket that could be carried by hand.
, and go up to your house." 7
He arose and departed to his house. 8
the multitudes saw it, they marvelled
God, who had given such authority
As Jesus passed by from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax collection office
The tax office at Capernaum would be concerned with tolls on goods crossing the frontier of
Antipas's tetrachy either across the lake from Decapolis or across the Jordan from Philip's tetrarchy. Matthew was thus
apparently a customs official in the service of Herod Antipas rather than a collector of direct taxes, but the two are both
represented by telōnēs (tax-gatherer), and were linked in Jewish writings, often bracketed with thieves and 'sinners'
. He said to him, "Follow me." He got up and followed him.
It happened as he sat
in the house, think of it
: many tax collectors
In order to collect the taxes, publicans employed subordinates (Lk 5:27; 15:1; 18:10) who, for
their own profit, were often guilty of extortion and embezzlement.
This term designates not only common Jewish people who could not or would not keep the scribal
rules of tithing and purity, but is used more widely of the immoral (Lk 7:37f), heretics (Jn 9:16f), and Gentiles (Gal 2:15),
as well as of tax collectors.
came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 11
When the Pharisees saw it, they
said to his disciples, "Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?"
When Jesus heard it, he said to them, "Those who are healthy
have no need for a physician, but those who are sick
But you go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, and not sacrifice,' for I
came not to call the righteous
, but sinners to repentance.
Then John's disciples came to him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast often, but your disciples don't fast?"
Jesus said to them, "Can the friends
Lit. 'children'; those participating in the wedding party.
of the bridegroom mourn,
as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then
they will fast.
No one puts a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment
; for the patch would tear away from the garment
, and a worse hole
is made. 17
Neither do people put new wine into old wineskins
Lit. 'old skins' Water, wine and milk bottles were often made from animal skins which are
durable, portable and available. Goatskin was popular and often the skin retained the animal shape, the neck of the animal
becoming the neck of the bottle, the foreleg a spout and the rear hinds being tied to form a handle. For longer journeys or
larger parties a camel or ox skin were used. They were coated with grease to prevent water leaking or evaporating. Skin
bottles were also used for milk (Jd 4:19); for wine see 1 Sa 16:20. When used for wine, the skins if supple would stretch in
the process of fermenting. If the skins were old, the fermentation might cause the skins to burst.
, or else the
skins would burst, and the wine be spilled, and the skins ruined. No, they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are
While he told these things to them, think of it
: a ruler
came and worshiped
him, saying, "My daughter has just died, but come and lay your hand on her, and she will
Jesus got up and followed him, as did his disciples.
; a woman who had an issue of blood for twelve years came behind him, and touched the fringe of his garment
[kraspedou tou himatiou]
See also Lk 8:44. Kraspedon means 'margin', i.e., fringe or tassel, hem, border (now known as
'tzizit'). Every Jew was obliged by the law of Moses to wear a fringe or tassel at each of the four corners of the outer
garment, one thread of each tassel to be blue. These reminded them of the law of God, and of their obligation towards it (see
Nu 15:38, 39; Dt 22:12). In Jewish symbolic numerology, the word tzizit has a numerical value of 600. Each tassel comprises 8
threads and 5 knots. (600 + 8 + 5 = 613) 613 is the number of mitzvot or commandments contained in the Torah. The five knots
in each tassel remind Jews of the five books of the Torah. The Pharisees prided themselves on their tassels which they
considered marks of special sanctity in the wearers, and therefore sought to enlarge their size (cf. Mt 23:5).
for she said within herself, "If I just touch his garment
, I will be made well
But Jesus, turning around and seeing her, said, "Daughter, cheer up! Your faith
has made you well
." And the woman was made well from that hour.
When Jesus came into the ruler's
house, and saw the flute players
Professional mourners were hired even by the poorest families (Mishnah 'Ketuboth' 4:4 specifies
'not less than two flutes and one wailing woman')' for the flute players, cf. Josephus, 'BJ' iii.437.
, and the
crowd in noisy disorder, 24
he said to them, "Make room, because the girl isn't dead
, but sleeping
Normally used literally in the NT, or metaphorically for spiritual inertia, not death (in
contrast with koimaomai, also lit. 'sleep', which regularly refers to death).
." They were ridiculing
But when the crowd was put out, he entered in, took her by the hand, and the
girl arose. 26
The report of this went out into all that land
As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, "Have mercy
The appeal for mercy is repeated in 15:22; 17:15; 20:30-31, in each case asking for practical
help; cf. also 18:33, and the regular use of eleēmosynē for 'alms'.
on us, son of David!"
When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, "Do you believe
that I am able to do this?"
They told him, "Yes, Lord."
Then he touched their eyes, saying, "According to your faith
be it done to you." 30
Their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, "See
that no one knows about this." 31
But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land
As they went out, consider this
; a mute
Kōphos means both 'deaf' and 'dumb'.
man who was demon possessed was brought to
When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marveled, saying, "Nothing like this has ever been
seen in Israel!"
But the Pharisees said, "By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons."
Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching
the Good News
of the Kingdom, and healing
every disease and every sickness
among the people. 36
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion
Lit. referring to a 'gut reaction'.
for them, because they were harassed
and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37
Then he said to his disciples, "The
harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38
Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest
[kyriou tou therismou]
Probably represents an Aramaic term for 'chief harvester'.
will send out
laborers into his harvest."
He called to himself his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every
disease and every sickness
2 Now the names of the twelve apostles
are these. The first, Simon, who is called Peter; Andrew, his brother; James the son
of Zebedee; John, his brother; 3
Philip; Bartholomew; Thomas; Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus
[Alphaiou; Heb. Ya'akov Bar-Chalfai]
Occurs in some MSS in Matthew and Mark.
, whose surname was Thaddaeus; 4
'Cananaean' probably represents the Aramaic term for a Zealot, 'qan'ana', banded together for
insurrection at any moment when the word might be given by their leaders. They were under a vow to murder anyone they came
across who was taking good Jewish money from fellow Jews and passing it over to Rome. The tax collector Matthew and the
Zealot Simon who followed Jesus were brothers.
; and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed
Jesus sent these twelve out, and commanded them, saying, "Don't go among the Gentiles
, and don't enter into any city of the Samaritans. 6
Rather, go to the lost sheep
of the house of Israel. 7
As you go, preach
, saying, 'The Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is at hand!' 8
the sick, cleanse
the lepers, and cast out
you received, so freely
any gold, nor silver, nor brass in your money belts
'Pocket', 'girdle', 'purse' or 'pouch'.
Take no bag
Either one for carrying food (no pre-packed meals) or the beggar's bag, such as itinerant Cynic
for your journey, neither two coats
Either a spare, or intended for extra warmth during a night spent in the open (and therefore
not essential, v11).
, nor shoes
Shoe or sandal; some covered the entire foot while others left the toes bare. The shoe was the
humblest article of clothing and could be bought cheaply. They were repaired by the poor. Shoes were removed indoors, for
mourning, and out of respect in a king's presence.
, nor staff: for the labourer is worthy of his food
The Roman custom was to pay soldiers with salt.
Into whatever city or village you enter, find out who in it is worthy
; and stay there until you go on. 12
As you enter into the household, greet it. 13
household is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it isn't worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 Whoever doesn't
you, nor hear your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake
Shaking the dust off was a sign for Jews that Gentile territory was unclean.
dust from your feet. 15 Most certainly I tell you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of
than for that city. 16
; I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves.
Therefore be wise
Rather 'sensible', 'prudent'; used in the LXX for the 'cunning' of the serpent in Gn 3:1; cf.
as serpents, and harmless
But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to councils, and in their synagogues
[synedria; Heb. sanhedrins]
Lit. 'sanhedrins' may refer to the councils of 23 members who were responsible for discipline
in the local synagogue, but the word could apply to any formal body.
they will scourge
The discipline of the synagogue was severe. The victim was tied to a bench or post then whipped
and beaten by a servant of the synagogue, a slave or a soldier. The number of blows was set in Dt 25:3 but later reduced by
one. There were thirteen on the chest and twenty six on the back. There were 168 faults punishable by flogging which were in
fact all the crimes to which the law had not annexed the death penalty. Often the victims of floggings died from their
lacerations, cf. Mt 23:34.
you. 18 Yes, and you will be brought before governors
The Roman prefects of Judea included the governors (the same word for 'governor' is used in
27:2, 11, 14) and 'king' Herod of Galilee with his later successors as kings of the Jews.
and kings for my sake,
for a testimony
Cf. same phrase as in 8:4.
to them and to the nations
But when they deliver you up, don't be anxious how or what you will say, for it will be
given you in that hour what you will say. 20
For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
"Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child. Children will rise up against parents, and cause them
to be put to death. 22
You will be hated by all men for my name's sake, but he who endures
to the end
will be saved
But when they persecute
you in this city, flee into the next, for most certainly I tell you, you will not
have gone through the cities of Israel, until the Son of Man has come.
"A disciple is not above his teacher
[didaskalon; Heb. rabbi]
, nor a servant
above his lord. 25
It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher
[didaskalos; Heb. rabbi]
, and the servant
like his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebul
[Beelzeboul; Heb. Ba'al-zibbul]
Beelzebul will recur in 12:24, 27 as the name of the demon to whose power Jesus' enemies
attributed his miracles. It probably derived from the Canaanite god mentioned in 2 Kings 1:2 in the form Baal-zebub ('lord of
flies'), whose official title may have been Baal-zebul, 'Baal the prince' or possibly 'Lord of the height' or 'of the
dwelling'; but in popular Jewish usage it had become the name of a senior demon; 12:24ff shows that it could be used as a
synonym of 'Satan'.
, how much more those of his household
Therefore don't be afraid
of them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed; and hidden that will not
What I tell you in the darkness, speak
There was a method of instruction in the schools of the rabbis whereby the doctor whispered
into the ear of an interpreter who, with a loud voice, repeated the saying to the whole school.
in the light; and
what you hear whispered in the ear, proclaim on the housetops
The synagogue trumpet was sounded from the roof to usher in the Sabbath.
afraid of those who kill
, but are not able to kill
Also means 'life'. 'Soul' and 'body' are not two separable parts of a person; each one alone,
and both together, can be used to indicate the whole person.
. Rather, fear him who is able to destroy
Carries the connotation of 'loss' and 'ruin' as well as of literal destruction.
soul and body in Gehenna
"Aren't two sparrows
'Small birds'; a cheap source of food for the poor though pets for the rich. They are listed as
the cheapest of the birds sold for food in a third-century AD decree. Strouthia was the diminutive of strouthos,
sold for an assarion coin
Roman copper coin worth 1/16 denarius.
? Not one of them falls on the ground apart
from your Father's will, 30
but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31
Therefore don't be afraid. You are of more
value than many sparrows.
Everyone therefore who confesses
me before men, him I will also confess
before my Father who is in heaven
[en tois ouranois]
But whoever denies
me before men, him I will also deny
before my Father who is in heaven
[en tois ouranois]
"Don't think that I came to send peace on the earth. I didn't come to send peace, but a sword. 35
For I came to set
a man at odds against his father,
and a daughter against her mother,
and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.
36 A man's foes will be those of his own household
37 He who loves
father or mother more than me is not worthy
of me; and he who loves
son or daughter more than me isn't worthy
of me. 38 He who doesn't take his cross and follow after me, isn't worthy
'Not the right sort to be my disciple.' For the Rabbis too the claims of the teacher came
before those of the father (Mishnah, 'BM' 2:11).
of me. 39
He who seeks his life
it; and he who loses
for my sake will find it.
He who receives
Into one's house, primarily, as in vv11-14; but the acceptance of their teaching is also
implied). In Jewish thought 'a man's agent is like to himself' (Mishnah, 'Berakoth' 5:5).
me, and he who receives
him who sent me. 41
He who receives
a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet's reward
. He who receives
man in the name of a righteous man
a righteous man's
Whoever gives one of these little ones
just a cup of cold water to drink in the name of a disciple, most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
he will in no way lose his reward
To give a cup of cold water was and is still an essential act of courtesy and hospitality in
the East. It is taken for granted, and deserves no reward, yet even this act of acceptance will receive one.
It happened that when Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach
in their cities.
Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3
and said to him, "Are you he who comes,
or should we look for another?"
Jesus answered them, "Go and tell
John the things which you hear and see: 5
the blind receive their sight, the lame
walk, the lepers are cleansed
, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached
to them. 6
is he who finds no occasion for stumbling
As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, "What did you go out into the wilderness
to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8
But what did you go out to see? A man in soft
clothing? Consider this
; those who wear soft clothing are in king's houses. 9
But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I
tell you, and much more than a prophet.
10 For this is he, of whom it is written,
; I send my messenger
before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.'
Most certainly I tell you, among those who are born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptizer;
yet he who is least in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is greater than he. 12
From the days of John the Baptizer until now,
the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
, and the violent
take it by force
'Take by force.' Normally means 'plunder' or 'seize'. Cf. Jn 6:14-15 where the same verb is
For all the prophets
and the law
The Law (Torah) and Prophets (Neviim) were two thirds of the Hebrew Bible, not counting the
Holy Writings (Ketuvim).
prophesied until John. 14
If you are willing to receive
it, this is Elijah, who is to come. 15
He who has ears to hear, let him hear
"But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the marketplaces
, who call to their companions 17
'We played the flute for you,
and you didn't dance.
We mourned for you,
and you didn't lament.'
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, 'He has a demon.' 19
The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and
they say, 'Look
! A gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners!' But wisdom is justified
by her children."
Then he began to denounce
the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn't repent
"Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done
in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented
long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22
But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre
and Sidon on the day of judgment
than for you. 23
You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades
[hadou; Heb. Sh'ol]
. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would
have remained until this day. 24
But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment
, than for you."
At that time, Jesus answered, "I thank
you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you hid these things from the wise and
understanding, and revealed
them to infants. 26
Yes, Father, for so it was well-pleasing in your sight.
All things have been delivered
to me by my Father. No one knows the Son, except the Father; neither does anyone
know the Father, except the Son, and he to whom the Son desires to reveal
"Come to me, all you who labor and are heavily burdened, and I will give you rest
Take my yoke
Wooden frame placed on the backs of oxen to make them pull in tandem. The simplest of these was
a bar with hoops set around the animals' necks. Other yokes incorporated a shaft with which the animals pulled ploughs or
other devices. Oxen were often overloaded and would stumble and fall under their load.
upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle
in heart; and you will find rest
for your souls
For my yoke is easy
Normally means 'good', 'kind'.
, and my burden is light."
At that time, Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the grain fields
'Corn fields.' It was lawful for the hungry to help themselves to as much as they wished of
their neighbour's unharvested crop (Dt. 23:25).
on the Sabbath
The professional clergy misrepresented the whole nature of religion, and burdened the people
with unnecessary and finicking detail; making it, for instance, a serious sin that a man should drag a stick along the ground
on the Sabbath because that was plowing, and plowing is breaking the Sabbath. A woman was not allowed to use a mirror on the
Sabbath. She might espy a grey hair, and if she plucked it out she would be guilty of reaping on the Sabbath and thus
breaking it! (Such a Sabbath deserved to be broken).
. His disciples were hungry and began to pluck heads of grain
and to eat. 2
But the Pharisees, when they saw it, said to him, "Look
! Your disciples do what is not lawful
Picking grain was not in itself illegal (see Dt 23:25), but to do so constituted reaping, one
of the 30 areas of work forbidden on the Sabbath (Mishnah 'Shabbath' 7:2). (The only need which could override Sabbath
regulations was danger of death).
to do on the Sabbath."
But he said to them, "Haven't you read what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him; 4
how he entered into
the house of God, and ate the show bread, which was not lawful
for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
Or have you not read in the law
There were temple duties which were held to supersede the sabbath regulations (see Mishnah '
'Erubin' 10:11-15; 'Pesahim' 6:1-2). A parallel action would be the reaping of the offering of the first sheaves, which the
Pharisees regarded as required on the sabbath, while the Sadducees did not allow it (Mishnah 'Menahoth' 10:3, 9).
that on the Sabbath day, the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are guiltless? 6
But I tell you that one greater
than the temple is here. 7
But if you had known what this means, 'I desire mercy, and not
sacrifice,' you would not have condemned
the guiltless. 8
For the Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath."
He departed there, and went into their synagogue. 10
And, consider this
; there was a man with a withered hand. They asked
him, "Is it lawful
The man was not in imminent danger of death, which alone justified treatment on the sabbath
according to Mishnah 'Yoma' 8:6.
on the Sabbath day?" that they might accuse
He said to them, "What man is there among you, who has one sheep, and if this one falls into a pit on the Sabbath day,
won't he grab on to it, and lift it out? 12
Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful
The Talmud concludes that the avoidance of animal suffering should override regulations
to do good
on the Sabbath day."
Then he told the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out; and it was restored whole, just like the other. 14
the Pharisees went out, and conspired against him, how they might destroy
Jesus, perceiving that, withdrew from there. Great multitudes followed him; and he healed
them all, 16
A strong verb of warning or rebuke. 'Ordered'.
them that they should not make him
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,
; my servant
whom I have chosen;
in whom my soul is well pleased
[hon eudokeō hē psychē mou]
I will put my Spirit on him.
He will proclaim justice
to the nations
He will not strive
, nor shout;
neither will anyone hear his voice in the streets.
He won't break a bruised reed.
He won't quench a smoking flax,
until he leads justice
A word whose scope in the OT is wider than mere legal vindication, denoting the setting right
of whatever is not as it should be. Establishing God's will.
In his name, the nations
Then one possessed by a demon, blind and mute, was brought to him and he healed
him, so that the blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23
All the multitudes were
Used only here in Matthew; a stronger word than the more conventional term 'marvelled'
, and said, "Can this be the son of David?"
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, except by Beelzebul
Sorcery was a capital offence (Mishnah 'Sanhedrin' 7:4).
, the prince
of the demons."
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation
, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. 26
If Satan casts out
Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27
If I by Beelzebul cast out demons
, by whom do your children cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges
Jewish exorcists are recorded e.g., in Ac 19:13 (cf. Mk 9:38); Josephus, 'Ant.' Viii. 46-48'
'BJ' vii.185 (cf. Tobit 6:7; 16-17; 8:2-3).
But if I by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then the Kingdom of
God has come upon
Perhaps suggests an arrival which catches unawares. Reminiscent of ēngiken (lit. 'has come
near', is already beginning and demands immediate action) in 3:2; 4:17; 10:7.
Or how can one enter into the house of the strong man, and plunder his goods, unless he first bind
The 'binding of Satan' was a feature in Jewish apocalyptic hope (Testament of Levi 18:21; cf. 1
Enoch 54:3-5; 69:27-28) and became also part of Christian eschatology (Rev 20:1-3).
the strong man? Then he will
plunder his house.
"He who is not with me is against me, and he who doesn't gather with me, scatters. 31
Therefore I tell you, every sin and
will be forgiven
men, but the blasphemy
Usually speech against God in the LXX, but in secular Greek it is used also of slander
generally; so also in Rom 3:8; 1 Cor 10:30. Cf. Num 15:30-31 for unforgivable blasphemy in contrast with unwitting sin in
vv27-29. At Qumran slander of one's fellow was forgivable after penance, but slander against the community brought permanent
expulsion from it (1QS 7:15-17).
against the Spirit will not be forgiven
men. 32 Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven
him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven
him, neither in this age, nor in that which is to come.
the tree good
, and its fruit good
, or make the tree corrupt
, and its fruit corrupt
; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34
You offspring of vipers, how can you, being evil,
speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. 35
The good man
out of his good
things, and the evil
man out of his evil
I tell you that every idle word
Lit. 'work-less' (see, e.g., 20:3,6). The word may imply 'ineffective'. Can also mean
that men speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment
For by your words
you will be justified
, and by your words
you will be condemned
Then certain of the scribes
and Pharisees answered, "Teacher
, we want to see a sign
Cf. Ex 4:8-9; Is. 7:11; 38:7-8; similar signs were required to authenticate some Rabbis
according to 'Baba Metzia' 59b (R. Eliezer, c. AD 90) and 'Sanhedrin' 98a (R. Jose b. Kisma, c. AD 110).
But he answered them, "An evil
and adulterous generation seeks after a sign
, but no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah the prophet. 40
For as Jonah was
three days and three nights in the belly of the whale
, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41
men of Nineveh will stand up in the judgment
with this generation, and will condemn
it, for they repented
at the preaching
of Jonah; and see
: someone greater
than Jonah is here. 42
The queen of the south will rise up in the judgment
with this generation, and will condemn
it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon; and, see
; someone greater
than Solomon is here.
But the unclean spirit, when he is gone out of the man, passes through waterless places, seeking rest, and doesn't find it.
Then he says, 'I will return into my house from which I came out,' and when he has come back, he finds it empty, swept, and
put in order
Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more evil than he is,
and they enter in and dwell
In a sense the wrath of Jesus warning the Jewish leadership was not as bad as the consequences
of rejecting him which was to be the overthrow of Jerusalem by the Romans.
there. The last state of that man
becomes worse than the first. Even so will it be also to this evil
While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, consider this
; his mother and his brothers stood outside, seeking to speak to
One said to him, "Consider this
; your mother and your brothers stand outside, seeking to speak to you."
But he answered him who spoke to him, "Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?"
He stretched out his hand towards his disciples, and said, "Consider this
; my mother and my brothers! 50
For whoever does
the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother."
On that day Jesus went out of the house, and sat by the seaside. 2
Great multitudes gathered to him, so that he entered into
a boat, and sat, and all the multitude stood on the beach. 3
He spoke to them many things in parables
Parabolē is wider than 'parable'; in the LXX it translates the Hebrew for proverbs, riddles and wise sayings as well. Matthew uses it for instance for Jesus' cryptic saying about defilement (15:10-11, 15), and in 24:32 ('lesson') it indicates a comparison.
, saying, "Consider this
; a farmer went out to sow. 4
As he sowed, some
seeds fell by the roadside, and the birds came and devoured them. 5
Others fell on rocky ground, where they didn't have much
soil, and immediately they sprang up, because they had no depth of earth. 6
When the sun had risen, they were scorched.
Because they had no root, they withered away. 7
Others fell among thorns. The thorns grew up and choked them. 8
Others fell on
good soil, and yielded fruit: some one hundred
times as much, some sixty, and some thirty. 9
He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
The disciples came, and said to him, "Why do you speak to them in parables
He answered them, "To you it is given to know the mysteries
of the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileias tōn ouranōn]
, but it is not given to them. 12
For whoever has, to him will be
given, and he will have abundance, but whoever doesn't have, from him will be taken away even that which he has. 13
I speak to them in parables
, because seeing they don't see, and hearing, they don't hear, neither do they understand
In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled
, which says,
'By hearing you will hear
, and will in no way understand
[ou mē syniēmi]
Seeing you will see
, and will in no way perceive
[ou mē horaō]
for this people's heart has grown callous
The LXX which is followed here substitutes for the Hebrew imperatives ('make fat', 'make
heavy', 'shut') a passive verb ('has been made fat') and two active ones (the Greek reads literally 'with their ears they
have heard heavily and their eyes they have closed'), thus placing the blame for their unresponsiveness on the people
their ears are dull of hearing,
they have closed their eyes;
perhaps they might perceive
with their eyes,
with their ears,
with their heart,
and should turn again; and I would heal
are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear.
For most certainly I tell you that many prophets and righteous men
desired to see the things which you see, and didn't see them; and to hear the things which
you hear, and didn't hear them.
"Hear, then, the parable
of the farmer. 19
When anyone hears the word of the Kingdom, and doesn't understand
it, the evil one
comes, and snatches away that which has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown
by the roadside.
What was sown on the rocky places, this is he who hears the word
, and immediately with joy
yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while. When oppression
arises because of the word
, immediately he stumbles
Lit. 'tripped up'; it is not a gradual loss of interest, but a collapse under
What was sown
among the thorns, this is he who hears the word
, but the cares
'Anxious' is from the same root.
of this age
The present age, the secular concerns of earth as opposed to the kingdom of God.
the deceitfulness of riches choke the word
, and he becomes unfruitful. 23
What was sown
on the good
ground, this is he who hears the word
, and understands
it, who most certainly bears fruit, and brings forth, some one hundred times as much, some
sixty, and some thirty."
He set another parable
before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a man who sowed good seed in his field, 25
but while people
slept, his enemy came and sowed darnel weeds
Probably darnel, a poisonous plant related to wheat and virtually indistinguishable from it
until the ears form. Two types of weeds are known of: 'pig-paddy' and 'perum-pirandi'. They grew rapidly and scattered before
the good seed could be reaped. It would take some years for the owner to be rid of the weed by which time he would be ruined
by debt. To sow darnel among wheat as an act of revenge was punishable in Roman law. In the case of a heavy infestation the
stronger roots of the darnel would be tangled with those of the wheat, making selective weeding impossible.
among the wheat, and went away. 26
But when the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then the darnel weeds
of the householder came and said to him, 'Sir, didn't you sow good
seed in your field? Where did this darnel
"He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' "The servants
asked him, 'Do you want us to go and gather them up?'
"But he said, 'No, lest perhaps while you gather up the darnel weeds
, you root up the wheat with them. 30
Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the
harvest time I will tell the reapers, "First, gather up the darnel weeds
, and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn."'"
He set another parable
before them, saying, "The Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a grain of mustard seed
Proverbially minute (cf. 17:20, and Mishnah 'Niddah' 5:2, etc.). It normally grew to about 3
metres. The language of 'tree' could recall the OT image for a great empire (Ezk 17:23; 31:3-9; Dn 4:10-12, etc.). The birds
represent the nations gathered under the protection of the empire (Ezk 31:6; Dn 4:20-22).
, which a man took, and
sowed in his field; 32
which indeed is smaller than all seeds. But when it is grown, it is greater than the herbs, and becomes
a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in its branches."
He spoke another parable
to them. "The Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like yeast, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal
[aleurou sata tria]
Three satons (dry measure of 21.6 pints) of wheat flour, enough bread for 100
, until it was all leavened."
Jesus spoke all these things in parables
to the multitudes; and without a parable
, he didn't speak to them, 35
that it might be fulfilled
which was spoken through the prophet, saying,
"I will open my mouth in parables
I will utter things hidden from the foundation
of the world
Then Jesus sent the multitudes away, and went into the house. His disciples came to him, saying, "Explain to us the parable
of the darnel weeds
of the field."
He answered them, "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man, 38
the field is the world
; and the good seed, these are the children of the Kingdom; and the darnel weeds
are the children of the evil one
The enemy who sowed them is the devil
. The harvest is the end
of the age, and the reapers are angels.
As therefore the darnel weeds
are gathered up and burned with fire; so will it be at the end
of this age. 41
The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will gather out of his
Kingdom all things that cause stumbling
Lit. 'stumbling-blocks'; not things but people, as in 16:23.
, and those who do
and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and the gnashing of
Then the righteous
will shine forth like the sun in the Kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a treasure
Treasures used to be hidden in secret closets or in vaults under the house, or buried in an
undisclosed location underground. In times or war or pestilence the dead took their secrets with them, cf. Job 3:21-22; Pro
2:4; Ecc 5:12; Is 45:3; Mt 25:18.
hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells
all that he has, and buys that field.
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46
found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
"Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet, that was cast into the sea, and gathered some fish of every kind, 48
when it was filled, they drew up on the beach. They sat down, and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw
So will it be in the end
of the world. The angels will come forth, and separate the wicked
from among the righteous
[ek mesou tōn dikaiōn]
and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be the
weeping and the gnashing of teeth."
Jesus said to them, "Have you understood all these things?" They answered him, "Yes, Lord."
He said to them, "Therefore, every scribe
While grammateus normally denotes a scribe in the technical sense of a professional teacher of
the Jewish law, this literal meaning seems hardly relevant to this context, and it is more likely that Jesus is designating
his disciples (who had no formal training) as the 'scribes' of the Kingdom of Heaven.
who has been made a disciple
In the passive mathēteuō is more naturally translated 'instructed' than 'made a
in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new
and old things."
It happened that when Jesus had finished these parables
, he departed from there. 54
Coming into his own country, he taught them in their
synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55
son? Isn't his mother called Mary, and his brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Judas?
Aren't all of his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all of these things?" 57
They were offended
by him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own
country, and in his own house."
He didn't do many mighty works there because of their unbelief
At that time, Herod the tetrarch heard the report concerning Jesus, 2
and said to his servants, "This is John the Baptizer.
He is risen from the dead. That is why these powers work in him."
For Herod had laid hold of John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's wife.
For John said to him, "It is not lawful
Besides unjustly divorcing his first wife (and thus provoking war with her father, the king of
Petra) in order to marry Herodias, Antipas broke Jewish law by marrying his half-brother's wife (Lev 18:16). John's protest
would therefore represent orthodox Jewish opinion, and would be damaging to Antipas' prestige among his Jewish subjects. 'Had
been saying' (NIV) is the translation for the imperfect tense which may indicate a continuing 'campaign'. This may
corroborate Josephus' view that Antipas executed John for 'sedition' ('Ant.' xviii.118). John's execution was against Jewish
law, both in that he had no trial and that he was beheaded.
for you to have her." 5
When he would have put him to
death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.
But when Herod's birthday
The scene of Herod's birthday feast is the grim castle of Machaerus, a desolate and sinister
place built on the top of an isolated crag of basalt 3500 feet above the Dead Sea's eastern shore, with yawning precipices
down to the water on three sides of it, and only a knife-edge of rock joining it to the coast.
came, the daughter
Salome, a girl of twenty, dances in a strip-tease feature, flaunting her physical charms to a
notoriously lustful man, perhaps hereditarily so, for his father had ten wives, nine at one time. That a princess of the
proud Herodian house should demean herself by dancing like a slave girl publicly in the presence of a half-intoxicated crowd
of men is surprising and indicative of the lax morals of Herod's family. It was common for public dancers at festivals in
great houses to ask for rewards from the company.
danced among them and pleased
Whereupon he promised with an oath to give her whatever she should ask. 8
being prompted by her mother, said, "Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptizer." 9
The king was grieved, but for
the sake of his oaths, and of those who sat at the table with him, he commanded it to be given, 10
and he sent and beheaded
John in the prison. 11
His head was brought on a platter, and given to the young lady: and she brought it to her mother. 12
disciples came, and took the body, and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat, to a deserted
place apart. When the multitudes heard it, they followed him on foot from the cities.
Jesus went out, and he saw a great multitude. He had compassion
on them, and healed their sick.
When evening had come, his disciples came to him, saying, "This place is deserted
, and the hour is already late. Send the multitudes away, that they may go into the
villages, and buy themselves food."
But Jesus said to them, "They don't need to go away. You give them something to eat."
They told him, "We only have here five loaves and two fish."
He said, "Bring them here to me." 19
He commanded the multitudes to sit down
Lit. 'recline'. While it may only reflect the effect of being on the ground rather than at
table, the command may also be a hint of the more formal banquet at which guests reclined on couches.
on the grass;
and he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, he blessed
Blessed is the normal giving of thanks before a meal, the responsibility of the head of the
Jewish family. Jews customarily gave thanks at the commencement of every meal. The usual form was, 'Blessed be thou, O Lord
our God, the King of the world, who produced bread out of the earth/ fruit of the vine'. These, or similar blessings, were
used at the celebration of the Passover, cf. 1 Sa 9:13 and 1 Cor 10:16.
, broke and gave the loaves to the
disciples, and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20
They all ate, and were filled. They took up twelve baskets
A small basket, probably the ordinary travelling baskets that the Jews took with them on a
journey. They carried their provisions in them, so that they might not be polluted by eating the food of the Gentiles. They
may have even carried hay in them, on which they slept at night. The Roman satirist Juvenal (c 60-140 AD contemptuously
described the Jews' household goods as consisting of a basket and hay.
full of that which remained left over from
the broken pieces. 21
Those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.
Immediately Jesus made
Lit. 'compelled', an unusually strong word.
the disciples get into the boat, and to
go ahead of him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. 23
After he had sent the multitudes away, he went up
into the mountain by himself to pray. When evening had come
[opsias de genomenēs]
, he was there alone. 24
But the boat was now in the middle of
the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary.
In the fourth watch
A watch was one of the three or four periods of time into which the night was divided from 6pm
of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26
When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they
, saying, "It's a ghost
Lit. 'apparition', used of any unnatural vision, e.g., of a spirit.
!" and they cried
out for fear.
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying "Cheer up! It is I
! Don't be afraid
Peter answered him and said, "Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters."
He said, "Come!" Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus. 30
But when he saw that the
wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, "Lord, save
Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him
, and said to him, "You of little faith
A favourite word of Matthew used in 6:30; 8:26; 16:8; 17:20, where it denotes unbelief rather
than inadequate belief], why did you doubt
[edistasas Lit. 'be divided in two'.
When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33
Those who were in the boat came and worshiped him, saying, "You are
truly the Son of God!" 34
When they had crossed over, they came to the land of Gennesaret
A region (not just a town) on the western shore south of Capernaum.
people of that place recognized him, they sent into all that surrounding region, and brought to him all who were sick, 36
they begged him that they might just touch the fringe
of his garment
. As many as touched it were made whole
Then Pharisees and scribes
came to Jesus from Jerusalem, saying, 2
"Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of
[paradosin tōn presbyterōn]
Refers to the oral law, a continuing elaboration of rules for living based on the OT law but
going far beyond it, which later developed into the detailed regulations of the Mishnah. For the Pharisees (to which party
most of the scribes belonged) this tradition was an authority alongside the OT law. The OT required a ritual washing of hands
in certain cultic situations (e.g., Ex 30:18f; Dt. 21:6), but the regular washing before meals described by Mark 7:3-4 seems
to have been introduced only shortly before the time of Jesus. The Talmudic writers set great store on traditions: 'The words
of the scribes are lovely, above the words of the law; for the words of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the
scribes are all weighty. The words of the elders are weightier than the words of the prophets.
? For they don't wash
their hands when they eat bread."
He answered them, "Why do you also disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition? 4
For God commanded, 'Honour your
father and your mother,' and, 'He who speaks evil
of father or mother, let him be put to death.' 5
But you say, 'Whoever may tell his
father or his mother, "Whatever help you might otherwise have gotten from me is a gift devoted to God," 6
he shall not honour
his father or mother.' You have made the commandment
of God void
because of your tradition
This tradition relating to 'Korban' or 'Konam' fills a whole tractate of the Mishnah
('Nedarim'). If a man asserted on oath ('Korban') that he would not honour his responsibilities to his parents, he was bound
to keep his oath. In practice the man's property would probably have been declared 'Korban', dedicated to God, and therefore
unavailable to his parents. Apparently the property remained at the disposal of the one who made the vow, but deprived the
parents of any right to it. Later Rabbinic legislation allowed for such an oath to be waived in favour of obedience to the
fifth commandment (Mishnah 'Nedarim' 9:1), but clearly it was not always waived in Jesus' day.
did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
8'These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honour me with their lips;
but their heart is far from me.
And in vain do they worship
teaching as doctrine rules made by men.'"
He summoned the multitude, and said to them, "Hear, and understand
That which enters into the mouth doesn't defile
the man; but that which proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles
Then the disciples came, and said to him, "Do you know that the Pharisees were offended
, when they heard this saying?"
But he answered, "Every plant
Israel was described as a plant in e.g., Is 60:21; 61:3, and the same metaphor was taken up at
Qumran (CD 1:7; 1QS 8:5; 11:8), and by the Pharisaic author of Psalms of Solomon 14:2-3.
which my heavenly Father
didn't plant will be uprooted. 14
Leave them alone. They are blind guides
of the blind. If the blind guide
the blind, both will fall into a pit."
Peter answered him, "Explain the parable
So Jesus said, "Do you also still not understand
Don't you understand
that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the belly
, and then out of the body
Lit. 'expelled into the draught (latrine)'.
But the things which proceed out of
the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile
the man. 19
For out of the heart come forth evil thoughts
, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies
These are the things which defile
the man; but to eat with unwashed hands doesn't defile
Jesus went out from there, and withdrew into the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22
; a Canaanite
Canaanite is not used elsewhere in the NT.
woman came out from those borders, and
cried, saying, "Have mercy on me, Lord, you son of David! My daughter is severely demonized!"
But he answered her not a word. His disciples came and begged him, saying, "Send her away; for she cries after us."
But he answered, "I wasn't sent to anyone but the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
But she came and worshiped him, saying, "Lord, help me."
But he answered, "It is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs
A current Jewish term of abuse for Gentiles. Even though kynaria, a diminutive, was an
affectionate reference to dogs as pets, there is no western sentimental equivalent to household pets in Judaism.
But she said, "Yes, Lord, but even the dogs
eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table."
Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great
is your faith
! Be it done to you even as you desire." And her daughter was healed
from that hour.
Jesus departed there, and came near to the sea of Galilee; and he went up into the mountain
The same phrase as in 5:1.
, and sat there. 30
Great multitudes came to him, having
with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others, and they put them down at his feet. He healed them, 31
so that the
multitude wondered when they saw the mute speaking, injured whole, lame walking, and blind seeing--and they glorified
the God of Israel.
Jesus summoned his disciples and said, "I have compassion
on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days and have nothing to
eat. I don't want to send them away fasting, or they might faint on the way."
The disciples said to him, "Where should we get so many loaves in a deserted
place as to satisfy so great a multitude?"
Jesus said to them, "How many loaves do you have?" They said, "Seven, and a few small fish."
He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground; 36
and he took the seven loaves and the fish. He gave thanks
and broke them, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the multitudes.
They all ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets
A woven hamper or lunch-receptacle, larger than the kopsinos; it was a general purpose flexible
basket (also used for lowering Paul from the wall in Ac 9:25). The wicker baskets of 14:20 were of a type specially
associated with Jews.
full of the broken pieces that were left over.
They all ate and were satisfied. Afterward the disciples picked up seven basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.
Those who ate were four thousand men, besides women and children. 39
Then he sent away the multitudes, got into the boat,
and came into the borders of Magdala.
The Pharisees and Sadducees came, and testing him, asked him to show them a sign
But he answered them, "When it is evening, you say, 'It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.' 3
In the morning, 'It will
be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.' Hypocrites! You know how to discern the appearance of the sky,
but you can't discern the signs of the times! 4
and adulterous generation seeks after a sign
, and there will be no sign given to it, except the sign
of the prophet Jonah." He left them, and departed.
The disciples came to the other side and had forgotten to take bread. 6
Jesus said to them, "Take heed and beware
of the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
They reasoned among themselves, saying, "We brought no bread."
Jesus, perceiving it, said, "Why do you reason among yourselves, you of little faith
, 'because you have brought no bread?' 9
Don't you yet perceive
, neither remember the five loaves for the five thousand, and how many baskets
you took up? 10
Nor the seven loaves for the four thousand, and how many baskets you took
up? 11 How is it that you don't perceive
that I didn't speak to you concerning bread? But beware of the yeast
The Israelites knew about the bad side of yeast, and were careful to keep it away from any food they wanted to preserve. They
recognised that there was a living influence, similar to decay, that spread through the whole mass. When offerings of food
were sacrificed to God, they always had to be without yeast. They called it leaven, and bread that was offered to God had
always to be unleavened.
of the Pharisees and Sadducees." 12 Then they understood
that he didn't tell them to beware of the yeast of bread, but of the teaching of the
Pharisees and Sadducees.
Now when Jesus came into the parts of Caesarea Philippi
[Kaisareias tēs Philppou]
The city was twenty-five miles from the Lake of Galilee and about 1700 feet higher. In the OT
it was known as Dan, the northern boundary of ancient Israel. It was a non-Jewish area near the head-waters of the Jordan,
where there was no Galilean crown in attendance. The area was a pagan centre of the worship of Pan. Ceasarea Philippi was one
of the northernmost places of Jesus' ministry and source of the river Jordan, where its waters gush from a rock. On one side
of the rock was a carving of an effigy of Caesar, the man who claimed he was God. Herod had also dedicated a temple for the
worship of Caesar there. On the other side was Pan, the god who tried to become man. The Rock from whom the healing waters of
life flowed and in whom divinity and humanity met addresses the disciples with the question of his identity in this symbolic
, he asked his disciples, saying, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?"
They said, "Some say John the Baptizer, some, Elijah, and others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter answered, "You are the Christ
Perhaps these words were spoken in scarcely audible tones, held back from the blustering
outbursts that were Peter's way. The other disciples would have waited with baited breath for the Master's reaction. To the
Jews this was blasphemy of the highest order.
, the Son of the living God."
Jesus answered him, "Blessed
are you, Simon Bar Jonah
[Bariōna; Heb. Shim'on Bar-Yochanan]
, for flesh and blood
[sarx kai aima]
has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven
. 18 I also tell you that you are Peter
'Little rock' or 'stone'. Apparently an original choice by Jesus, for no other use of Petros
(or the underlying Aramaic, Cephas) as a personal name is known before this (with one exception, in Egypt in the fifth
century BC). The word play is present in both the Aramaic and Greek.
, and on this rock
I will build my assembly
In its OT background would have been understood in the sense of 'congregation' or 'community'
of God's people.
, and the gates of Hades
will not prevail
against it. 19
I will give to you the keys
Keeper of the keys was one of the most important roles open to a household servant, cf. Mk
13:32-34. A high official held the keys in a royal kingdom (Is 22:20-22), and in the Jewish temple.
of the Kingdom
[basileias tōn ouranōn]
, and whatever you bind
Binding and loosing were technical terms for the pronouncements of Rabbis on what was or was
not permitted (to bind was to forbid, to loose to permit). Deo means also to be in bonds; knit, tie, or wind. Luo also means
to break (up), destroy, dissolve, (un-) loose, melt, put off. Binding and loosing were in common currency in Aramaic to
denote the highest authority, cf. Is 22:22; Is 9:6; Mt 16:18-19; Lk 11:52; Rev 1:18; 3:7.
on earth will have been
; and whatever you release
on earth will have been released
Then he commanded
the disciples that they should tell no one that he was Jesus the Christ.
From that time, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders
, chief priests, and scribes
, and be killed, and the third day be raised up.
Peter took him aside, and began to rebuke
Some MSS have this verb in v20. It does not necessarily convey a note of censure, so much as of
stern warning, 'to give a talking to'.
him, saying, "Far be it from you
A Greek idiomatic expression probably meaning 'May God be gracious to you', i.e., spare you
, Lord! This will never be done to you."
But he turned, and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block
As Peter was declared a rock to build on, now he is a rock to stumble over, cf., Ro 9:33; 1 Pe
2:6-8 for rock-imagery applied to Christ as both foundation and stumbling-block.
to me, for you are not setting
on the things of God, but on the things of men."
Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny
himself, and take up his cross, and follow
For whoever desires to save
it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. 26
For what will it profit
a man, if he gains the whole world
, and forfeits his life
? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life
For the Son of Man will come in the glory
of his Father with his angels, and then he will render
to everyone according to his deeds. 28
Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
, there are some standing here who will in no way taste of death, until they
see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom."
After six days, Jesus took with him Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain by
He was transfigured
See Rom 12:2 ('transformed') and 2 Cor 3:18 ('changed').
before them. His face shone
like the sun, and his garments became as white as the light. 3
; Moses and Elijah appeared
to them talking with him.
Peter answered, and said to Jesus, "Lord, it is good
for us to be here. If you want, let's make three tents
Lit. tents. Probably shelters of branches, such as were made from the Feast of
here: one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah."
While he was still speaking, consider this
; a bright cloud overshadowed them. Consider this
; a voice came out of the cloud,
saying, "This is my beloved
Son, in whom I am well pleased
. Listen to him."
6 When the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces, and were very afraid
Jesus came and touched them and said, "Get up, and don't be afraid
Lifting up their eyes, they saw no one, except Jesus alone.
As they were coming down from the mountain, Jesus commanded
them, saying, "Don't tell anyone what you saw, until the Son of Man has risen from the
His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes
say that Elijah must come first?"
Jesus answered them, "Elijah indeed comes first, and will restore
all things, 12
but I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they didn't
him, but did to him whatever they wanted to. Even so the Son of Man will also
suffer by them." 13
Then the disciples understood that he spoke to them of John the Baptizer.
When they came to the multitude, a man came to him, kneeling down to him, saying, 15
"Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is
Lit. 'to be affected by the moon' which in secular Greek would more normally be translated
, and suffers grievously; for he often falls into the fire, and often into the water. 16
So I brought him
to your disciples, and they could not cure him."
Jesus answered, "Faithless
and perverse generation! How long will I be with you? How long will I bear with you? Bring
him here to me." 18
Jesus rebuked him, the demon went out of him, and the boy was cured from that hour. 19
Then the disciples
came to Jesus privately, and said, "Why weren't we able to cast it out?" 20
He said to them, "Because of your unbelief
. For most certainly I tell you, if you have faith
as a grain of mustard seed, you will tell this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it
will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21
But this kind doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting."
While they were staying in Galilee, Jesus said to them, "The Son of Man is about to be delivered up
into the hands of men, 23
and they will kill him, and the third day he will be raised
up." They were exceedingly sorry
When they had come to Capernaum, those who collected the didrachma
'Two-drachma.' Annual half-shekel tax (based on Ex 30:11-16) paid for the upkeep of worship in
the temple by most adult male Jews. The Sadducees disapproved, and the men of Qumran paid it only once in a lifetime. After
AD 70, when the temple was destroyed, the Romans diverted this tax to the temple of Jupiter in Rome.
coins came to
Peter, and said, "Doesn't your teacher pay the didrachma
He said, "Yes." When he came into the house, Jesus anticipated him, saying, "What do you think, Simon? From whom do the
kings of the earth receive toll or tribute? From their children, or from strangers?"
Peter said to him, "From strangers." Jesus said to him, "Therefore the children are exempt. 27
But, lest we cause them to
, go to the sea, cast a hook, and take up the first fish that comes up. When you
have opened its mouth, you will find a stater coin
'Four-drachma coin.' A stater is the equivalent of two 'half-shekels'. Pagan and Jewish
literature provide popular stories of wealth found in a fish that was caught (Herodotus iii 41-42; 'Shabbath' 119a; 'Genesis
. Take that, and give it to them for me and you."
In that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who then is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
Jesus called a little child
Cf. Matt 11:25; 18:2; 19:13. A child was a person of no importance in Jewish society and the primary response of Roman
parents to their babies appears to have been less tenderness than shock that anything could be quite so soft and helpless.
Children were too weak to be idealized, and the highest praise a child could be given was to be compared to an adult. The
result is that the great figures of the Republic have implausible or incomplete accounts of childhood.
and set him in the midst of them, 3
and said, "Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō umin]
, unless you turn
, and become as little children, you will in no way enter into the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
Whoever therefore humbles himself as this little child, the same is
the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
one such little child in my name receives
but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe
in me to stumble
, it would be better
for him that a huge millstone
No evidence exists that this punishment was practised by the Jews, but it was in use by the
ancient Syrians, Romans, Macedonians and Greeks in connection with parricide or sacrilege.
should be hung around
his neck, and that he should be sunk in the depths of the sea.
"Woe to the world
because of occasions of stumbling
! For it must be that the occasions come, but woe to that person through whom the
occasion comes! 8
If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble
, cut it off, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life maimed or
crippled, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into the eternal fire. 9
If your eye causes you to stumble
, pluck it out, and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with
one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna
See that you don't despise
one of these little ones, for I tell you that in heaven
their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven
For the Son of Man came to save that which was lost.
"What do you think? If a man has one hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, doesn't he leave the ninety-nine, go to
the mountains, and seek that which has gone astray? 13
If he finds it, most certainly I tell you, he rejoices over it more
than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 Even so it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven
that one of these little ones should perish.
"If your brother
sins against you, go, show him his fault
Same verb as in e.g., Lk 3:19, 'reprove'; Jn 3:20, 'expose'; Jn 8:46, 'convict'.
between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained back your brother. 16
But if he doesn't listen, take one or
two more with you, that at the mouth
of two or three witnesses
may be established. 17
If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the assembly
. If he refuses to hear the assembly
also, let him be to you as a Gentile
or a tax collector.
Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
, whatever things you bind
on earth will have been bound
in heaven, and whatever things you release
on earth will have been released
Again, assuredly I tell you, that if two of you will agree on earth concerning anything that they will ask, it will be done
for them by my Father who is in heaven. 20
For where two or three are gathered together
A Rabbinic belief stated that 'if two sit together and words of the Law (are) between them, the
Shekinah rests between them' (Mishnah 'Aboth' 3:2).
in my name, there I am in the midst
Then Peter came and said to him, "Lord
, how often shall my brother
sin against me, and I forgive
him? Until seven times?"
Jesus said to him, "I don't tell you until seven times, but, until seventy times seven.
Therefore the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a certain king, who wanted to reconcile accounts with his
When he had begun to reconcile, one was brought to him who owed him ten thousand
The talent was the highest unit of currency, and ten thousand the highest Greek
But because he couldn't pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, with his wife, his children, and all
that he had, and payment to be made.
26 The servant
therefore fell down and kneeled before him, saying, 'Lord, have patience with me, and I will
repay you all!' 27
The lord of that servant
[Kyrios tou doulou]
, being moved with compassion
, released him, and forgave
him the debt.
"But that servant
went out, and found one of his fellow servants
, who owed him one hundred denarii
, and he grabbed him, and took him by the throat, saying, 'Pay me what you owe!'
"So his fellow servant
fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, 'Have patience with me, and I will repay
He would not, but went and cast him into prison, until he should pay back that which was due. 31
So when his fellow servants
saw what was done, they were exceedingly sorry
, and came and told to their lord all that was done.
Then his lord called him in, and said to him, 'You wicked servant
! I forgave
you all that debt, because you begged me. 33
Shouldn't you also have had mercy on your
, even as I had mercy on you?' 34
His lord was angry, and delivered him to the tormentors
Torturers, whose job is to put pressure on the defaulter and his family to produce the money.
In early Roman times there were legal tortures in the shape of a chain weighing fifteen pounds and a pittance of food. The
creditor was allowed to apply such pressures to the debtor for the purpose of bringing him to terms. Sympathetic friends
would sometimes bail the debtor out by making a collection.
, until he should pay all that was due to him.
So my heavenly Father will also do to you, if you don't each forgive
from your hearts for his misdeeds."
It happened when Jesus had finished these words, he departed from Galilee, and came into the borders of Judea beyond the
Great multitudes followed him, and he healed them there.
Pharisees came to him, testing
him, and saying, "Is it lawful
for a man to divorce
his wife for any reason?"
He answered, "Haven't you read that he who made them from the beginning made them male and female, 5
and said, 'For this
cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall join
to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh
So that they are no more two, but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, don't
let man tear apart."
They asked him, "Why then did Moses command us to give her a bill of divorce
, and divorce
He said to them, "Moses, because of the hardness
of your hearts, allowed you to divorce
your wives, but from the beginning it has not been so. 9
I tell you that whoever divorces
his wife, except for sexual immorality
, and marries another, commits adultery; and he who marries her when she is divorced commits
His disciples said to him, "If this is the case of the man
Human being, not anēr, man.
with his wife, it is not expedient to marry."
But he said to them, "Not all men can receive
Lit. 'find room for', 'cope with'. Celibacy was most unusual in Jewish society, and it is not
unlikely that Jesus was abused as a eunuch, a term of disparagement.
, but those to whom it is given
For there are eunuchs who were born that way from their mother's womb, and there are
eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men; and there are eunuchs who made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
sake. He who is able to receive it, let him receive it."
Then little children were brought to him, that he should lay his hands
Jews often brought their children to pious men for a blessing. On the first anniversary of the
birth of a child, it was usual to take him or her to the synagogue to be blessed by the rabbi.
on them and pray;
and the disciples rebuked them
It is not clear from the Greek whether the disciples rebuked the children or those who brought
But Jesus said, "Allow the little children, and don't forbid
It was a Jewish custom to bring a child to the elders on the evening of the Day of Atonement
'to bless him and pray for him' (Mishnah 'Sopherim' 18:5). The disciples' objection may then be to the assumption that Jesus
is to be identified as an 'elder'.
them to come to me; for the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
belongs to ones like these." 15
He laid his hands on them, and departed
! One came to him and said, "Good teacher
, what good
thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?"
He said to him, "Why do you call me good
? No one is good
but one, that is, God
[ei mē eis ho Theos]
. But if you want to enter into life
, keep the commandments."
He said to him, "Which ones?" Jesus said, "'You shall not murder.' 'You shall not commit adultery.' 'You shall not steal.'
'You shall not offer false testimony.' 19'Honor your father and mother.' And, 'You shall love
your neighbor as yourself.'"
The young man said to him, "All these things I have observed from my youth. What do I still lack?"
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect
, go, sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven
; and come, follow
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sad, for he was one who had great possessions.
Jesus said to his disciples, "Most certainly I say to you, a rich man will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
with difficulty. 24
Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go
through a needle's eye
Some have suggested a low-arched door of an enclosure which forced a load-bearing animal to be
unloaded and shuffle through on its knees, its head bowed. Merchandise could not be brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath
although the pack animals and the merchants could come in for protection.
, than for a rich man to enter into the
Kingdom of God."
When the disciples heard it, they were exceedingly astonished
, saying, "Who then can be saved
Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
Then Peter answered, "Look
, we have left everything, and followed you. What then will we have?"
Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that you who have followed me, in the regeneration
Lit. 'rebirth'; the only other NT use is Tit 3:5 (c.f., Is 65:17; 66:22; etc.).
the Son of Man will sit on the throne of his glory, you also will sit on twelve thrones, judging
the twelve tribes of Israel. 29
Everyone who has left houses, or brothers, or sisters, or
father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, will receive one hundred times, and will inherit
eternal life. 30
But many will be last who are first; and first who are last.
"For the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a man who was the master of a household, who went out early in
the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard. 2
When he had agreed with the labourers for a denarius
A normal day's wage. The denarius was an ancient Roman silver coin, equivalent to ten asses, an
as being a bronze coin of the Roman republic. Under the Republic, the denarius had on one side the head of Hercules, Apollo,
Mars, Janus, or Jupiter. Under the Empire it bore the title and effigies of the reigning Caesar.
a day, he sent
them into his vineyard.
He went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle
'Workless.' It was an age of unemployment (cf. Josephus, 'Ant.' xx.219-220).
The place of trading was often at the gates of walled cities. Here too labourers went to seek
employment, and employers went to seek labourers.
To them he said, 'You also go into the vineyard, and whatever
is right I will give you.' So they went their way. 5
Again he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did likewise.
About the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle. He said to them, 'Why do you stand here all day idle?'
"They said to him, 'Because no one has hired us.' "He said to them, 'You also go into the vineyard, and you will receive
whatever is right.'
When evening had come, the lord of the vineyard said to his manager, 'Call the labourers and pay
The Mosaic law contained instructions to protect any labourer from any employer who might wish
to keep back his wages (Lev 19:13; Dt 24:14-15.
them their wages, beginning from the last to the first.'
"When those who were hired at about the eleventh hour came, they each received a denarius
When the first came, they supposed that they would receive more; and they likewise
each received a denarius
When they received it, they murmured against the master of the household, 12
'These last have spent one hour, and you have made them equal to us, who have borne the burden of the day and the scorching
"But he answered one of them, 'Friend
, I am doing you no wrong
. Didn't you agree with me for a denarius
Take that which is yours, and go your way. It is my desire to give to this last
just as much as to you. 15
Isn't it lawful for me to do what I want to with what I own? Or is your eye evil, because I am
So the last will be first, and the first last. For many are called, but few are chosen."
As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, 18
we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes
, and they will condemn
him to death, 19
and will hand him over
to the Gentiles
to mock, to scourge, and to crucify; and the third day he will be raised up."
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to him with her sons, kneeling
and asking a certain thing of him.
He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these, my two sons, may sit, one on your right hand,
and one on your left hand
Josephus represents Saul at supper with Jonathan his son on his right and Abner, captain of his
host, on his left. In the Sanhedrin, the vice-president sat on the right hand of the president, and the referee, who was the
officer next in rank, sat on the left.
, in your Kingdom
But Jesus answered, "You don't know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be
baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?" They said to him, "We are able."
He said to them, "You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with, but to sit on my
right hand and on my left hand is not mine to give; but it is for whom it has been prepared
by my Father."
When the ten heard it, they were indignant with the two brothers. 25
But Jesus summoned them, and said, "You know that the
of the nations
lord it over
them, and their great ones
exercise authority over
It shall not be so among you, but whoever desires to become great among
you shall be your servant
Whoever desires to be first among you shall be your bondservant
even as the Son of Man came not to be served
, but to serve
, and to give his life
as a ransom
Lit. 'instead of', as the payment of an equivalent sum of money procures the release of the
captive (see Lv 27 for OT legislation).
As they went out from Jericho, a great multitude followed him. 30
; two blind men sitting by the road, when
they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, "Lord, have mercy on us, you son of David!"
The multitude rebuked them, telling them that they should be quiet, but they cried out even more, "Lord, have mercy on us,
you son of David!"
Jesus stood still, and called them, and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"
They told him, "Lord, that our eyes may be opened."
Jesus, being moved with compassion, touched their eyes; and immediately their eyes received their sight, and they followed
When they drew near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethsphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2
them, "Go into the village that is opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey
Mishnah 'Hagigah' 1:1 suggests that pilgrims who were capable of arriving on foot were expected
to do so. Rabbis had the right of 'angareia' (requisitioning) whereby they commandeered the first suitable animals found.
Royalty also possessed this right.
tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me. 3
If anyone says
anything to you, you shall say, 'The Lord
A unique self-description, normally meaning 'God' but could also mean 'the owner' (of the
needs them,' and immediately he will send them."
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying,
"Tell the daughter of Zion,
; your King comes to you,
, and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey."
The disciples went, and did just as Jesus commanded them, 7
and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their clothes
on them; and he sat on them. 8
A very great multitude spread their clothes
Flowers, branches, carpets and garments were strewn in the pathway of conquerors and great
princes, and of others to whom it was intended to show honour and respect, cf. 2 Ki 9:13.
on the road. Others cut
branches from the trees, and spread them on the road. 9
The multitudes who went before him, and who followed kept shouting,
Greek form of the Hebrew words translated 'Save us' in Ps 118:25, a phrase which had already
come to be used, more as an exclamation of praise than a prayer, in Jewish worship (Baruch Haba BaShem Adonai).
the son of David!
This phrase comes from the last of the Hallel Psalms (113-118), which were chanted antiphonally
at all the great festivals of Israel, these two being the climax.
is he who comes in the name of the Lord!
in the highest!"
When he had come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred up
Lit. 'shaken', cf., Mt 2:3.
, saying, "Who is this?"
The multitudes said, "This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee."
Jesus entered into the temple
There was always a constant market in the temple called 'the shops' where, every day, was sold
wine, salt, oil, and other requisites to sacrifices; as were oxen and sheep in the spacious Court of the Gentiles.
of God, and drove out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers' tables
The money changers made a business of accommodating those who did not have the Jewish half-
shekel for the annual temple tax. Rich and poor alike were expected to pay the half-shekel for himself during the month of
Adar. Thus it was sometimes necessary to change a shekel into two halves, or exchange foreign money for the Jewish half-
shekel which these men did by charging a rate of exchange. The booths of the money-changers were popularly known as the
booths of the sons of Annas. Jesus' act would have provoked high tension. The atmosphere would have been highly charged.
There were the muttered threats of the priestly party, the cowardly snarling of the money-changers, and the loud acclamations
of those who were being fleeced every day as they changed their Roman money for temple coinage.
and the seats of
those who sold the doves. 13
He said to them, "It is written, 'My house shall be called a house of prayer,' but you have made
it a den of robbers!"
The blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. 15
But when the chief priests and the scribes
saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children who were crying in the temple and
to the son of David!" they were indignant, 16
and said to him, "Do you hear what these
are saying?" Jesus said to them, "Yes. Did you never read,
'Out of the mouth of babes and nursing babies
you have perfected praise?'"
He left them, and went out of the city to Bethany, and lodged there.
Now in the morning, as he returned to the city, he was hungry. 19
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he came to it, and found
nothing on it but leaves. He said to it, "Let there be no fruit from you forever!" Immediately the fig tree withered away
On a fig tree the blossom of fruit appear before the leaves. Naturally we would look for fruit on a tree in full leaf or else
it would be barren for the season. This accounts for why Jesus cursed the fig tree that had nothing but leaves (Mt 21:18-20).
The presence of leaves led him to expect fruit. The early fruit or blossoms appear in spring before the leaves open on the
branches of last year's growth and the first ripe fruit is ready in June or earlier. The late figs appear on the new wood,
and keep appearing during the season and are ripe from August onwards. The tree should have had fruit unripe indeed, but
existing. In some lands fig trees bear the early fruit under the leaves and the later fruit above the leaves. In that case
the leaves were a sign that there should have been fruit, unseen from a distance, underneath the leaves. The condemnation of
this fig tree lay in the absence of any sign of fruit.
In Lk 13:6-9 the fig tree is clearly the Jewish Nation and it's land. The owner is God who comes in, the person His son.
Note, the tree is not destroyed immediately, but 40 years later. Titus, head of the Roman armies was the axe man, who cut the
fig tree down and it was cast out of the vineyard into the field of the world. But the root was not destroyed.
When the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, "How did the fig tree immediately wither away?"
Jesus answered them, "Most certainly I tell you
[Amēn legō hymin]
, if you have faith
, and don't doubt
, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but even if you told this
mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' it would be done. 22
All things, whatever you ask in prayer, believing
, you will receive."
When he had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders
of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority do you do
these things? Who gave you this authority?"
Jesus answered them, "I also will ask you one question, which if you tell me, I likewise will tell you by what authority I
do these things. 25
The baptism of John, where was it from? From heaven or from men?" They reasoned
with themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will ask us, 'Why then did you
But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the multitude, for all hold John as a
They answered Jesus, and said, "We don't know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do
But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, 'Son, go work today in my vineyard.'
He answered, 'I will not,' but afterward he changed his mind, and went.
He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, 'I go, sir,' but he didn't go. 31
Which of the two did the will
of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and
the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you. 32
For John came to you in the way of righteousness
, and you didn't believe
him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. When you saw it, you
didn't even repent
afterward, that you might believe
33 "Hear another parable
. There was a man who was a master of a household, who planted a vineyard
Vineyards were either planted in rows and trained on stakes or else trained over heaps of
stones. Vineyards were sometimes fenced with walls of stone (Nu 22:24; Prov 24:31), and sometimes with a hedge of thorny
plants (Ps 80:12), or a combination of the two (Is 5:5).
, set a hedge about it, dug a winepress
These were often rock-hewn (Is 5:2) and connected by channels to lower rock-cut vats where the
juice was allowed to collect and ferment. The juice was squeezed out by treading on the fruit (Job 24:11; Am 9:13). After
fermentation, the wine was collected into jars or wineskins (Mt 9:17). The harvesting and treading of the grapes was a time
of celebration (Is 16:10; Jer 48:33; Dt 16:13-15.
in it, built a tower
A watchtower was a place of temporary dwelling for the guard, who watched over the vineyard
while the fruit was ripening and for the owner during the vintage season. His job was to keep away thieves and wild animals.
Many towers were temporary structures and lasted only the season; others were made of stone. The towers could also be used
during war time to monitor enemy movements.
, leased it out to farmers, and went into another country. 34
season for the fruit drew near, he sent his servants
to the farmers, to receive his fruit.
The farmers took his servants
, beat one, killed another, and stoned another. 36
Again, he sent other servants
more than the first: and they treated them the same way. 37
But afterward he sent to them
his son, saying, 'They will respect my son.'
But the farmers, when they saw the son, said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and seize his
So they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
When therefore the lord of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those farmers?"
They told him, "He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will lease out the vineyard to other farmers, who will
give him the fruit in its season."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures
[graphais; Heb. Tanakh]
'The stone which the builders rejected
the same was made the head of the corner
This was from the Lord.
It is marvelous in our eyes?'
"Therefore I tell you, the Kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and will be given to a nation
Plural would have been 'ethnesin'.
bringing forth its fruit. 44
He who falls on this
stone will be broken to pieces, but on whoever it will fall, it will scatter him as dust."
When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard his parables
, they perceived that he spoke about them. 46
When they sought to seize him, they feared
the multitudes, because they considered him to be a prophet.
Jesus answered and spoke again in parables
to them, saying, 2
"The Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
is like a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 3
sent out his servants
to call those who were invited to the marriage feast, but they would not come.
Again he sent out other servants
, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "Look
! I have made ready my dinner. My
cattle and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage feast!"'
But they made light of it
, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise, 6
and the rest
grabbed his servants
, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7
When the king heard that, he was angry, and
sent his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city.
"Then he said to his servants
, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited weren't worthy. 9
Go therefore to the
intersections of the highways, and as many as you may find, invite to the marriage feast.' 10
went out into the highways, and gathered together as many as they found, both bad and good.
The wedding was filled with guests.
But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man who didn't have on wedding clothing
Not a special type of garment, but the clean clothes (preferably white) which would normally be
worn on a special occasion. To have come in dirty clothes would have insulted the host. Each guest was responsible for his
own clothing. (Augustine's theologically motivated suggestion that the host provided special garments is not supported by
historical readings of the text).
and he said to him, 'Friend
, how did you come in here not wearing wedding clothing?' He was speechless.
Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and throw him into the outer darkness; there is
where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.'
For many are called
, but few chosen
Then the Pharisees
Lit. 'separated ones'. These people separated themselves from all Levitical impurity and aimed
to preserve the law from violation and their people from contamination. As their influence increased, political power came
into their hands. They were divided into two schools: Hillel and Shammai. Both groups upheld the oral law, a commentary on
the written law and handed down by tradition. They venerated the traditional code and interpretations and sometimes placed
them above the written law.
went and took counsel how they might entrap him in his talk. 16
They sent their
disciples to him, along with the Herodians
Jews who attached themselves to the political fortunes of the Herodian family, hoping thereby
to promote the interests of their people. They were loose in observing Jewish rituals, and though in this respect they were
the opposite of the Pharisees, they easily fell in with them in efforts to ruin Jesus.
, saying, "Teacher, we know
that you are honest, and teach the way of God in truth, no matter who you teach, for you aren't partial to anyone. 17
therefore, what do you think? Is it lawful
The Greek is singular and refers to the poll-tax levied on all Jews and paid direct to Rome.
There were other indirect taxes on sales, customs, etc., but this was the primary mark of their political subjection to a
foreign power. The money for the tax was the Roman denarius, a coin which strict Jews found objectionable because it bore a
portrait of the emperor with an inscription making him as 'son of a god'. Copper coins were minted without these features,
out of deference to Jewish susceptibilities; so no Jew need handle the denarius except to pay his tax.
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, "Why do you test
me, you hypocrites
Show me the tax money." They brought to him a denarius
He asked them, "Whose is this image and inscription?"
They said to him, "Caesar's." Then he said to them, "Give
Generally means 'give back'. It is the verb for paying a bill or settling a debt.
therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."
When they heard it, they marvelled, and left him, and went away.
On that day Sadducees
The Sadducees rejected the traditional interpretations of the Law, to which the Pharisees
attached such importance. They only accepted the Torah and for this reason did not believe in the resurrection or angels. The
Sadducees were an ancient, priestly aristocracy with considerable wealth and political power (cf. Ac 4:6; 5:17) but were cold
and austere in their manners, winning few converts.
(those who say that there is no resurrection
'The Sadducees hold that the soul perishes along with the body' (Josephus, 'Ant.' xviii.16).
Their denial of the resurrection was a corollary of their insistence on taking only the Pentateuch as their scriptural
authority for passages on the afterlife (Is 26:19; Da 12:2), on which the Pharisees based their belief (Ac 23:8), were
secondary to the Mosaic Law.
) came to him. They asked him, 24
saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies, having
no children, his brother shall marry
Not the normal Greek word for marry, but a technical term for the performance of the levirate
duty (see Tobit 3:8-15).
his wife, and raise up seed
for his brother.' 25
Now there were with us seven brothers. The first married
and died, and having no seed left his wife to his brother. 26
In like manner the second also, and the third, to the seventh.
After them all, the woman died. 28
In the resurrection
therefore, whose wife will she be of the seven? For they all had her."
But Jesus answered them, "You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures
[graphas; Heb. Tanakh]
, nor the power
of God. 30 For in the resurrection
they neither marry
, nor are given in marriage
, but are like God's angels in heaven. 31
But concerning the resurrection
of the dead, haven't you read that which was spoken to you by God, saying, 32 'I am
the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?' God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
When the multitudes heard it, they were astonished
at his teaching.
But the Pharisees
Pharisees and Sadducees
The Pharisees created the Oral Law, which was influenced by Greek rationalism, to apply the ancient Mosaic law to the actual
world of today. Their enemies the Sadducees, who stuck rigidly to the written law, said that the Pharisees would end up
respecting the Book of Homer (by which they meant Greek literature) more than scripture. In contrast to the Pharisees, the
temple priests, dominated by the Sadducees, or descendants of Zadok, the great high priest from Davidic times, insisted that
all law must be written and unchanged. They had their own additional text, called the Book of Decrees. With their rigid
adherence to the Mosaic inheritance, their concept of the Temple as the sole source and centre of Judaic government, and
their very own hereditary position in its functions, the Sadducees were naturally allies of the new Hasmonean high-priests,
even though the latter had no strict title to this position by descent. The Sadducees soon became identified with Hasmonean
rule in a rigid system of temple administration, in which the hereditary High-Priest performed the functions of a secular
ruler, and a committee of holders, the Sanhedrin, discharged his religious-legal duties. Together they conspired together in
their common cause against Jesus, cf. 22:34.
, when they heard that he had silenced
the Sadducees, gathered themselves together. 35
One of them, a lawyer, asked him a
question, testing him. 36
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the law?"
Jesus said to him, "'You shall love
the Lord your God with all your heart
Heart, soul and mind are not different 'parts' of man, but different ways of thinking of the
whole of man in his relation to God; no clear distinction can be drawn between them.
, with all your soul
, and with all your mind
Perhaps indicates intellectual commitment, although this is also a part of the biblical meaning
of the heart. Matthew, in returning to the familiar OT version, has omitted 'strength', a Hebrew noun which was rendered in
the Targums by the Aramaic 'mamōna' (see 6:24).
This is the first and great commandment. 39
likewise is this, 'You shall love
your neighbor as yourself.' 40
The whole law and the prophets depend
Technical vocabulary for laws which are derivable from others.
on these two
Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question, 42
saying, "What do you think of the Christ?
Whose son is he?" They said to him, "Of David."
He said to them, "How then does David in
the Spirit call him Lord, saying,
44'The Lord said to my Lord, sit on my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?'
"If then David calls him Lord, how is he his son?" 46
No one was able to answer him a word, neither did any man dare ask
him any more questions from that day forth.
Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to his disciples, 2
saying, "The scribes
and the Pharisees sat on Moses' seat
Figurative expression for the teaching authority (professorial 'chair') or those officially
responsible for interpreting and applying the laws of Moses.
All things therefore whatever they tell you to
observe, observe and do, but don't do their works; for they say
, and don't do. 4
For they bind
See 16:19; 18:18 for the technical sense of 'bind'.
heavy burdens that are grievous
to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not lift a finger to help them.
But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries
Small leather boxes containing scrolls of texts from Exodus and Deuteronomy; 'tefillim'.
Phylacteries consisted of strips of parchment on which were inscribed these four texts: Ex 13:1-10; 13:11-16; Dt 6:4-9;
11:18-21. These were enclosed in a square leather case on one side of which was inscribed the Hebrew letter shin, to which
rabbis attached significance. Another form of phylactery consisted of two rolls of parchment on which the texts were written
and enclosed in cases of black calfskin. This was worn on the left arm near the elbow.
broad, enlarge the fringes
of their garments, 6
the place of honour
Lit., 'first place'; seats prepared for the elders of the synagogue and the doctors of the law
called 'Moses' Seat'. They were placed in front of the Ark of the Covenant, which contained the Law, in the uppermost part of
the synagogue which faced toward Jerusalem. Those who occupied them faced the people. They were much sought after by
ambitious scribes and Pharisees, cf. Ja 2:2-3.
at feasts, the best seats
in the synagogues
the salutations in the marketplaces
, and to be called 'Rabbi, Rabbi
Lit. 'my great one', used of any respected teacher. No one was more important than a leading
teacher. Instead of the Jewish term 'rabbi' Luke uses the Greek word 'epistata' which is the equivalent of 'schoolmaster',
cf. Lk 17:13.
' by men.
But don't you be called 'Rabbi
,' for one is your teacher
, the Christ, and all of you are brothers
Call no man on the earth your father
, for one is your Father
No evidence for its use either in Jewish or Christian circles at this period (but cf. Ac 7:2;
, he who is in heaven. 10
Neither be called masters
, for one is your master
, the Christ. 11
But he who is greatest
among you will be your servant
Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
"Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you devour widows' houses, and as a pretense you make long prayers. Therefore you
will receive greater condemnation. 14
"But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because you shut up the Kingdom of
[basileian tōn ouranōn]
against men; for you don't enter in yourselves, neither do you allow
those who are entering in to enter. 15
Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you travel around by sea and land to make one proselyte
; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much of a son of Gehenna
"Woe to you, you blind guides
, who say, 'Whoever swears by the temple, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gold
of the temple, he is obligated.' 17
You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifies the gold?
18'Whoever swears by the altar, it is nothing; but whoever swears by the gift that is on it, he is obligated?' 19
fools! For which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? 20
He therefore who swears by the altar, swears
by it, and by everything on it. 21
He who swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him who was living in it. 22
He who swears
by heaven, swears by the throne of God, and by him who sits on it.
"Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you tithe mint, dill, and cumin, and have left undone
the weightier matters of the law: justice
, mercy, and faith
. But you ought to have done these, and not to have left the other undone. 24
You blind guides
, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel
Both sources of impurity (Lv 11:20-23 and 11:4). In Aramaic there was a pun on qalma (gnat) and
"Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of
extortion and unrighteousness. 26
You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the platter, that its outside
may become clean
"Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you are like whitened
Lit. 'plastered' (with lime). The reference could be to funerary urns or ossuaries (bone-
containers) which were beautified with a marble-and-lime plaster. The Story of Ahikar (Armenian) 2:2 has the same metaphor
applied to a beautifully made up but dangerous woman!.
Whitewashed regularly at festival time to ensure that passers-by did not inadvertently touch
them and so become defiled (Mishnah 'Shekalim' 1:1; cf. 'Ma'aserSheni' 5:1).
, which outwardly appear beautiful, but
inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness
Pharisees and purity - defilement
The Pharisees were preoccupied with ceremonial purity. They were the ones who walked carefully down the street lest they
touch anything or anybody who might contaminate them. Perhaps they held their palms together as they walked past lest they
touch the sinner. The scribes and Pharisees were upper-class, unlike Jesus and his followers, and they made sure their clean
robes were not defiled by contact with people who might pollute them. When Jesus said to the Pharisees they were like
whitewashed tombs he implied that washing hands does not remove defilement any more than he whitewashing tombs removes decay
from inside the tomb. Jesus' hands must often have been dirty, and he would not hide them just because Pharisees were
Even so you also outwardly appear righteous
to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy
"Woe to you, scribes
and Pharisees, hypocrites
! For you build the tombs
There was in the first century a great emphasis on building splendid tombs, including some for
those long since dead (e.g., Herod's new marble monument over David's tomb, Josephus, 'Ant.' xvi. 179-182).
prophets, and decorate the tombs of the righteous
and say, 'If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we wouldn't have been
partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.' 31
Therefore you testify
to yourselves that you are children
of those who killed the prophets. 32
Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers.
You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how will you escape the judgment
Therefore, consider this
; I send to you prophets, wise men, and scribes. Some of
them you will kill and crucify; and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute
from city to city; 35
that on you may come all the righteous
blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous
Abel to the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, whom you killed between the sanctuary and
the altar. 36
Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
, all these things will come upon this generation.
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent
to her! How often I would have
your children together, even as a hen
her chicks under her wings, and you would not
; your house is left
to you desolate
For I tell you, you will not see me from now on
'From now on', also in 26:29; 26:64.
, until you say, 'Blessed
is he who comes in the name of the Lord!'"
Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way. His disciples came to him to show him the buildings
A striking feature in the general appearance of the temple and its various courts is the series
of terraces; the different courts rising one above the other, until the temple itself was reached on a platform that was
highest of all. The structure - the paved courts, the beautiful columns, white marble cloisters, gateways, and crowning all,
the white temple standing high above the rest, its front walls ornamented with thick plates of gold - produced an effect that
was magnificent beyond description. Herod's temple was a restoration and improvement of the temple of Zerubbabel which was
taken down and repositioned stone by stone. According to the Talmud, the temple area was about 750 feet. Around the edge of
this square and against the massive stone wall that enclosed it, cloisters were built, their cedar roofs being supported by
rows of Corinthian columns or solid marble. The colonnade on the east was called Solomon's Porch (Jn 10:23: Ac 3:11; 5:12).
The cloisters on the south formed an immense building known as the Stoa Basilica, 'King's Porch'. This immense building, with
its high nave, broad aisles, and marble column, was the one whose southeastern corner was the 'pinnacle of the temple' (cf.
Mt 4:5). In these cloisters the Levites resided and the doctors of the law met to discuss (Lk 2:46). The disciples later met
here (Ac 2:46). North of the centre of the area enclosed by these cloisters stood the sacred enclosure of the temple and the
space surrounding this enclosure was the Court of the Gentiles, Outer Court, Lower Court, or by the rabbis, usually,
'Mountain of the Lord's House'. It was accessible to all. It was paved with coloured stones and was the place that was
desecrated by dealers (Mt 21:12). The temple enclosure was on a raised terrace and surrounded by a wall to keep out the
Gentiles. An inner wall was placed around the perimeter of another terrace in the eastern side of which was an imposing gate
of fine workmanship (cf. Ac 2:3, 10). It was sometimes called 'Gate Susan' because it had a sculptured relief of the town of
Susa on it. This was the grand entrance to the Court of the Women, which was the general place of public worship at the time
of the sacrifices. Near the gate and around the entrances of galleries were distributed the eleven treasure chests of the
temple for the half-shekel tax (cf. Mk 12:41-42; Lk 21:1-2; Jn 8:20). West of the Court of the Women, separated by a wall and
an even higher terrace, was the Court of the Israelites, a narrow hall surrounding the Court of the Priests, with cloisters
on all sides supported by beautiful columns. On a terrace fifteen steps higher, and separated from the court of the
Israelites by a low stone balustrade, was the Court of the Priests. In the eastern part of this was the great altar of burnt
-offering, directly west of which arose the Great Temple of white marble and immense foundation stones. It was divided into
the Holy Place and Most Holy Place, the two parts separated by a veil.
of the temple. 2
But he answered them, "You
see all of these things, don't you? Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
, there will not be left here one stone on another, that will not be thrown
The rebuilding of the Temple, on a magnificent scale, exceeding even the glory of Solomon's, was the life-work of Herod. He
summoned a national assembly and announced his grand scheme in 22 BC. The next two years were spent assembling and training a
force of 10,000 workmen and 1000 supervisory priests, who also worked as builder-craftsmen in the forbidden areas. These
elaborate preparations were necessary to reassure the Jerusalem Jews that the destructive operation of tearing down the old
temple was the prelude to correcting a new and final one. Herod took extraordinary care not to offend the religious scruples
of the rigorists: for instance, for the altar and its ramp, unhewn stones were used so that they would be untouched by iron.
The creation of the Temple as a functional those of sacrifice took only 18 months, during which time elaborate curtaining
screened the sanctuary from the profane gaze. But the vast building as a whole needed 46 years to complete and craftsmen were
still finishing the decorations not long before the Romans talk the whole thing down in the 70 AD, leaving not one stone upon
another. For descriptions of Herod's Temple see Josephus' ' Antiquities of the Jews' and his ' Jewish wars', and the Talmudic
tractates 'Middot', 'Tamid' and 'Yoma'.
In constructing the temple Herod desired to achieve even more grandiose effects than he had done previously. To do this he
doubled the area of the Temple Mount by a building huge supporting walls and filling in the there gaps with rubble. Around
the vast forecourt thus created he erected porticos, and linked it all to the upper city by bridges. The sanctuary, at one
end of the platform, was much higher and wider than Solomon's (100 as opposed to 60 cubits), but a since Herod's was not of a
priestly family and could not therefore enter even the inner court, he spent little on the interior, and the Holy of Holies,
though lined in gold, was bare. Instead, cash was spent profusely on the exterior, dates, fittings and decorations being
covered in gold and silver plate. Josephus says these stone was ' exceptionally white', and the glitter of the stone and the
gleam of the gold - reflected many miles away in the bright sun - was what made the temple so striking to travellers seeing
it from afar for the first time.
The prodigious platform, 35 acres in area and a mile in circumference, was more than twice the height as seen today from the
bottom of the Valley, for the lower courses of the great stone blocks are covered in the rubbish of centuries. Josephus says
that some of these blocks were '45 cubits in length, 10 in height and 6 in breadth', finished by a imported craftsman to an
unusually high standard. The top 40 feet of the platform covered and vaulted corridors and above them, on the platform
itself, were the cloisters, with hundreds of Corinthian pillars trying to seven feet high and so thick, says Josephus, that
three men with arms extended could hardly encompass them. So high was the edifice, he says, that if you looked down from the
cloisters you felt giddy.
As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? What is
the sign of your coming
Lit. 'presence' (as in 2 Cor 10:10), but used for official visits by high-ranking persons,
state visits, and also for divine visitations (see v27, 37, 39).
, and of the end of the age
[synteleias tou aiōnos]
Jesus answered them, "Be careful that no one leads you astray. 5
For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,'
and will lead many astray. 6
You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you aren't troubled
, for all this must happen, but the end
is not yet. 7
For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there will
be famines, plagues, and earthquakes in various places. 8
But all these things are the beginning of birth pains
Technical term in apocalyptic literature for the period of suffering leading up to the new
Then they will deliver you up
, and will kill you. You will be hated by all of the nations for my name's sake. 10
many will stumble
, and will deliver up one another, and will hate one another. 11
Many false prophets
will arise, and will lead many astray. 12
will be multiplied, the love
of many will grow cold. 13
But he who endures to the end, the same will be saved
This Good News
of the Kingdom will be preached
in the whole world
Lit. 'inhabited area', a standard term originally for the Greek world (as opposed to
barbarians), then for the Roman Empire, and subsequently for the whole of the then known world.
for a testimony
to all the nations, and then the end
"When, therefore, you see the abomination of desolation
[bdelygma tēs erēmōseōs]
Literal Greek rendering of the phrase in Da 11:31; 12:11 (cf. Da 9:27).
, which was
spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand
then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17
Let him who is on the
housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house. 18
Let him who is in the field not return back to get his
But woe to those who are with child and to nursing mothers in those days! 20
Pray that your flight will not be in
the winter, nor on a Sabbath, 21
for then there will be great oppression
, such as has not been from the beginning of the world
until now, no, nor ever will be. 22
Unless those days had been shortened, no flesh would have
been saved. But for the sake of the chosen ones, those days will be shortened. 23
"Then if any man tells you, 'Look
! Here is the Christ,' or, 'There,' don't believe
For there will arise false christs
, and false prophets
, and they will show great signs
and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones
; I have told you beforehand.
If therefore they tell you, 'Look
! He is in the wilderness
,' don't go out; 'Look
! He is in the inner chambers,' don't believe
For as the lightning flashes from the east, and is seen even to the west, so
will be the coming
of the Son of Man. 28
For wherever the carcass is, there is where the vultures gather
But immediately after the oppression of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light,
the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; 30
and then the sign
LXX translation for the 'standard' or 'banner' referred to in the OT as a signal for the
gathering of God's people; see. e.g., Is 11:12; 49:22.
of the Son of Man will appear in the sky
. Then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming
on the clouds of the sky
with power and great glory. 31
He will send out his angels with a great sound of a
trumpet, and they will gather together his chosen ones from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.
"Now from the fig tree learn this parable. When its branch has now become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that
the summer is near. 33
Even so you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. 34
certainly I tell you, this generation will not pass away, until all these things are accomplished. 35
Heaven and earth will
pass away, but my words will not pass away.
But no one knows
of that day and hour, not even the angels of heaven, but my Father only. 37
"As the days of
Noah were, so will be the coming
of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating
and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ship, 39
and they didn't know
until the flood came, and took them all away, so will be the coming
of the Son of Man. 40
Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and one will be
two women grinding at the mill
Two circular stones used to grind grain and usually worked by two women. It was forbidden to
take millstones as a pledge because they were so important to sustaining life (Dt 24:6).
, one will be taken and one
will be left.
therefore, for you don't know in what hour your Lord
this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch of the night the
thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. 44
Therefore also be ready,
for in an hour that you don't expect, the Son of Man will come.
"Who then is the faithful
and wise servant
, whom his lord has set over
, to give them their food in due season? 46
is that servant
whom his lord finds doing so when he comes. 47
Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō hymin]
that he will set him over all that he has. 48
But if that evil
should say in his heart, 'My lord is delaying his coming,' 49
and begins to beat his fellow
, and eat and drink with the drunkards, 50
the lord of that servant
will come in a day when he doesn't expect it, and in an hour when he doesn't know it, 51
will cut him in pieces, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites
. There is where the weeping and grinding of teeth will be.
"Then the Kingdom of Heaven
[basileia tōn ouranōn]
will be like ten virgins
May be attendants of the bride, or servants in the bridegroom's home, or perhaps friends and
neighbours who are waiting to escort the bridegroom in festal procession, probably in the last stage of the ceremonies as he
brings his bride home for the wedding feast.
, who took their lamps
Apparently a torch-light procession, the lamps being 'torches' (of oil-soaked rags wrapped on a
stick) rather than standing lamps, which are described by a different word in 5:15 and 6:22. A well-soaked torch would burn
for a quarter of an hour or so, but those with no oil were no sooner lit than they went out. Oil from nuts, fish and other
sources were used with a wick made from twisted flax. Lanterns were made of waxed linen, or even paper, stretched over rings
of wire, and having a top and bottom of tinned copper. A lantern could be used indoors. Torches were portable lights made
with sticks of resinous wood with or of a flammable material wound about the end of a stick.
, and went out to meet
On the occasion of a marriage the bridegroom, attended by his friends went to the house of his
bride and brought her with her friends in joyful procession to his house.
Five of them were foolish, and five
were wise. 3
Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them, 4
but the wise took oil in their
vessels with their lamps. 5
Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
But at midnight there was a cry, 'Look
! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!'
Then all those virgins
arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8
The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil,
for our lamps are going out.'
But the wise answered, saying, 'What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for
While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the
door was shut
Tablets or cards were presented to a servant at the entrance as proof of an invitation. When
the company was assembled the master of the house shut the door, cf. Lk 13:24-25.
Afterward the other virgins
also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.'
But he answered, 'Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you.'
therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is
"For it is like a man, going into another country, who called his own servants
, and entrusted his goods to them. 15
To one he gave five talents
A talent varied from place to place, and depended on the metal used for monetary purposes, but
it was generally regarded as equal to 6000 denarii or three-thousand shekels.
, to another two, to another one; to
each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey. 16
Immediately he who received the five talents
went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17
In like manner he also who got
the two gained another two. 18
But he who received the one went away and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
"Now after a long time the lord of those servants
came, and reconciled accounts with them. 20
He who received the five talents
came and brought another five talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents
; I have gained another five talents besides them.'
"His lord said to him, 'Well done
, good and faithful servant
[doule agathe kai piste]
. You have been faithful
over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy
of your lord.'
"He also who got the two talents
came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents
; I have gained another two talents besides them.'
"His lord said to him, 'Well done
, good and faithful servant
[doule agathe kai piste]
. You have been faithful
over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy
of your lord.'
"He also who had received the one talent
came and said, 'Lord, I knew you that you are a hard
man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter
I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent
in the earth. Look
; you have what is yours.'
"But his lord answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant
[Ponēre doule kai oknēre]
. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't
You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my
own with interest.
Take away therefore the talent
from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents
For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who
doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away. 30
Throw out the unprofitable servant
into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
"But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep
from the goats
Sheep and goats grazed in the same pasture, but it was necessary to separate the herds because
male goats were often hostile toward the sheep.
He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the
Perhaps an allusion to the custom in the Sanhedrin of putting the acquitted prisoners on the
right of the president, and those who were convicted on his left.
Then the King will tell those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed
of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world
for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I
was a stranger, and you took me
I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited
me. I was in prison, and you came to me.' 37 "Then the righteous
Usually denotes character or behaviour but can also have a more forensic sense:
will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a
When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in
; or naked, and clothe you? 39
When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?'
"The King will answer them, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.'
Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal
fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels; 42
for I was hungry, and you didn't
give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink; 43
I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in
; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit
"Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and didn't help
"Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these,
you didn't do it to me.'
These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous
into eternal life."
It happened, when Jesus had finished all these words, that he said to his disciples, 2
"You know that after two days the
Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up
to be crucified."
Then the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders
of the people were gathered together
in the court
of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas
He belonged to the sect of the Sadducees, a priestly party whose earliest adherents were
descendants of Zadok. Ezekiel regarded the Sadducees as the only legitimate priests. In Jesus' day Scribes and Pharisees were
often priests but it is not implied that all Sadducees were priests. The Sadducees were aristocrats in religion, and they
believed that the priests could legitimately be recruited only from their own members. Although the office of high priest was
the appointment of Rome - much to the dislike of the Jews - yet Annas the Sadducee had so craftily pulled the wires and
exerted his influence that six high priests running had been members of his own family, and Caiaphas, the seventh, was his
own son-in-law. It was openly said the Annas, a very wealthy man, had lent money to influential Romans to blackmail them to
do what he wanted. Power over the people remained in the hands of the Sadducees, who were fighting for the privileges of
priesthood. They cared less about true religion than they did about their own prestige and power.
counsel together that they might take Jesus by deceit, and kill him. 5
But they said, "Not during the feast, lest a riot occur
among the people
[en tē heortē]
'During the festival/ feast'.
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, 7
a woman came to him having an alabaster jar of very
Identified by Mark and John as spikenard, and extremely expensive luxury imported from India,
used especially for anointing the dead. It was not uncommon for guests at a banquet to be anointed, but the use of such an
expensive oil was an act of extravagant devotion.
, and she poured it on his head as he sat at the table
Tables during biblical times were banqueting-couches or benches on which the Jews reclined when
at meals. Among the Romans, three beds were generally used in the dining room, combining to form the triclinium. They were
arranged around the sides of a square in the centre of the room. The fourth side of the square was left open to allow the
servants room. The Romans allowed three guests to each bed, making nine in all. The rule of Varro (Marcus Terentius: 116-27
BC) stated that the 'number of guests ought not to be less than that of the Muses (i.e., nine daughters of Mnemosyne and
Zeus). The Greeks and Jews went beyond this number.
But when his disciples saw this, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? 9
For this ointment might have been sold for
much, and given to the poor."
However, knowing this, Jesus said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? Because she has done a good work
for me. 11
For you always have the poor with you; but you don't always have me. 12
pouring this ointment on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13
Most certainly I tell you
, wherever this Good News
in the whole world
, what this woman has done will also be spoken of as a memorial of her."
Then one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests, 15
and said, "What are you willing to give
me, that I should deliver
him to you?" They weighed out
'Weighed out' is the same word in LXX of Zech 11:12, echoing the derisory 'wages' of the
for him thirty pieces of silver
Perhaps not denarii but shekels. Three kinds of shekel were used in Israel: a temple shekel,
common shekel and heavy (royal) shekel. As there were probably no current shekels in Jesus' time, it is supposed that the
tetradrachms of the Greek cities of Syria were the coins that were handed to Judas. It was the amount recoverable by a slave
who had been beaten by his master until the blood ran.
From that time he sought opportunity to betray
Now on the first day of unleavened bread
[prōtē tōn azumōn]
The feast ran from Nisan 15 to 21, but Passover day itself, Nisan 14, was loosely included in
that period (in fact it was on the evening which began Nisan 14 that leaven began to be removed from the houses: Mishnah
, the disciples came to Jesus, saying to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the
Heb. 'prepare your Seder'. Officially eaten on the evening which began Nisan 15, the Jewish day
biginning at sunset, not midnight. John dates the Last Supper on the night which began Nisan 14 (i.e., the night before the
regular Passover meal), so that Jesus in fact died on the afternoon at the end of Nisan 14, the time when the Passover lambs
were killed (cf. 1 Cor 5:7). Jesus, knowing that he would be dead before the regular time for the meal, deliberately held it
in secret one day early (cf. Lk 22:15-16).
He said, "Go into the city to a certain person, and tell him, 'The Teacher says, "My time
is at hand. I will keep the Passover
[pascha; Heb. Pesach]
at your house
Lit. 'with you'. Israelites who came to for the Passover were received by the inhabitants as
brothers, and apartments were gratuitously furnished for them. In return the guests gave their hosts the skins of the paschal
lambs and the vessels they had used in the ceremonies. According to this custom, the disciples asked Jesus if he had any
house in mind.
with my disciples."' 19
The disciples did as Jesus commanded them, and they prepared the Passover
In the afternoon Peter and John went to the temple with the paschal lamb. There the lamb was
killed, with the nearest priest catching the blood in a gold or silver bowl, passing it to the next in the row of priests
until it reached the priest nearest the altar, who instantly sprinkled it on the altar's base. The lamb was then flayed and
the entrails removed and burnt on the altar with incense. The disciples also prepared bread, wine, bitter herbs and sauce,
cf. Ex 23:15. The Passover they celebrated differed from its first institution. The cup of wine was filled for everyone and
he who presided over the table pronounced the blessing, after which the wine was drunk. The bitter herbs, unleavened bread,
charoseth (vinegar and water), and the chagigah (voluntary peace-offering), were then brought in and the head of the table
took a portion of the bitter herbs in his hand, dipped it into the charoseth and, after thanking God, ate a small portion and
shared it around. Likewise the bread was distributed and the lamb placed on the table in front of the one presiding. A second
cup was given (see Ex 12:26-27) and the first part of the 'Hallel' (hymn of praise (Ps 113 and 114) sung. Another blessing
was given. After the singing unleavened bread and bitter herbs, dipped in charoseth, were eaten followed by the chagigah,
then the lamb. A third and fourth cup of wine were drunk then the remainder of the 'Hallel' sung (Ps 115-118; cf. Mt 26:30
and Mk 14:26).
Now when evening had come
The phrase means more generally, 'when it was late'.
, he was reclining at the table
with the twelve disciples. 21
As they were eating, he said, "Most certainly I tell you that
one of you will betray
They were exceedingly sorrowful
Conveys the sense of violent emotion, even shock (see 17:6, 23; 18:31; 19:25;
, and each began to ask him, "It isn't me, is it, Lord?"
He answered, "He who dipped his hand with me in the dish, the same will betray
The Son of Man goes, even as it is written of him, but woe to that man through
whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for that man if he had not been born."
Judas, who betrayed him, answered, "It isn't me, is it, Rabbi
A term appropriate to any Jewish teacher, and not used at all by the other disciples in
?" He said to him, "You said it."
As they were eating, Jesus took bread
[arton; Heb. matzah]
, gave thanks
Lit. 'having blessed'. The form of words was 'Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the
Universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth' (In Hebrew, Barnuc attah Elohinoo melec haolam hamoise lechem min
for it, and broke
We read often in the Scriptures of breaking bread, never of cutting it: because the Jews made
their bread broad and thin like cakes, and to divide such, being very brittle, there was no need of a knife.
gave to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."
He took the cup, gave thanks
'Having given thanks'. (In Hebrew, Barnuc Elohinoo melec haolam bore peri hagephen: Blessed art
thou, our God, King of the universe, the Creator of the fruit of the vine!). The words in v29, 'fruit of the vine' were part
of the regular thanksgiving which Jesus will have used over the cup (see Mishnah 'Berakoth' 6:1).
, and gave to
them, saying, "All of you drink it, 28
for this is my blood of the new covenant
, which is poured out for many for the remission
of sins. 29
But I tell you that I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on
, until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's Kingdom."
When they had sung a hymn
The Hallel, Psalms of praise (115-118).
, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble
'Tripped up, made to stumble'.
because of me tonight, for it is written, 'I will
strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.'
But after I am raised up, I will go before
Same verb as in 2:9, 14:22; 21:31.
you into Galilee."
But Peter answered him, "Even if all will be made to stumble
because of you, I will never be made to stumble."
Jesus said to him, "Most certainly I tell you
[amēn legō soi]
that tonight, before the rooster crows
Cocks were expected to crow at regular times during the night, of which the second (about 1:30
am) was the most important for time-keeping, and so could be spoken of as the 'cock-crowing'.
, you will deny
me three times."
Peter said to him, "Even if I must die with you, I will not deny
you." All of the disciples also said likewise.
Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane
Means 'oil-press'. A garden east of Jerusalem near the foot of the Mount of Olives.
and said to his disciples, "Sit here, while I go there and pray." 37
He took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and
began to be sorrowful
and severely troubled
Then he said to them, "My soul
is exceedingly sorrowful
Cf. Mk 6:26; echoing the LXX translation of the refrain of Ps 42-43, 'Why are you cast down, O
my soul …?'.
, even to death. Stay here, and watch
He went forward a little, fell on his face, and prayed
, saying, "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup
One of the ways the Romans dealt with convicted soldiers was to line up the convicted men and
give the first man a full cup of hemlock or other deadly poison. If the man was able to drink the full measure he could save
the others from taking the poison and they would be freed. If not, the choice fell to the next man.
pass away from
me; nevertheless, not what I desire
, but what you desire."
He came to the disciples, and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "What, couldn't you watch
with me for one hour? 41
and pray, that you don't enter into temptation. The spirit
indeed is willing
, but the flesh
Again, a second time he went away, and prayed, saying, "My Father, if this cup can't pass away from me unless I drink it,
your desire be done."
He came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 44
He left them again, went away, and prayed a third time,
saying the same words.
Then he came to his disciples, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest. See
; the hour
is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.. 46
Arise, let's be
! He who betrays
me is at hand."
While he was still speaking, consider this
; Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and
clubs, from the chief priest
They were in charge of the Temple worship.
From the beginning of Israelite history, the elders were the leaders of the various clans and
tribes. When the tribes came together to form the nation of Israel, the elders of the tribes assumed important roles in
governing the affairs of the nation. The 'council of elders' was an integral part of the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem. Elders had
leading roles in the government of synagogues and became central to Jewish life after the fall of the Temple.
the people. 48
Now he who betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, "Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him." 49 Immediately he
came to Jesus, and said, "Hail, Rabbi
!" and kissed
For a Rabbi's disciple to kiss his master (on hand or foot) was not an everyday greeting, but a
mark of special honour. Nor dare the disciple take this initiative uninvited; to do so was a 'studied insult'.
Jesus said to him, "Friend
Sometimes used for a 'table-companion'. In the two other uses of this form of address in
Matthew (20:13; 22:12) there is an element of rebuke.
, why are you here
[eph' ho pareimi]
?" Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took
'Siezed'. It was illegal for the temple police to arrest Jesus. Jewish law demanded that a
guilty person should be arrested and accused by the witnesses against him. Furthermore, it was illegal to try a capital
charge at night. It was illegal for the judge to cross-examine the prisoner. It was illegal to refrain from acquitting him
when the witnesses disagreed. Further, witnesses proved to be false should have been stoned.
; one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck the servant
of the high priest, and struck off his ear. 52
Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back
into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword. 53
Or do you think that I couldn't ask my Father, and
he would even now send me more than twelve legions
of angels? 54
How then would the Scriptures
[graphai; Heb. Tanakh]
be fulfilled that it must
In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, "Have you come out as against a robber
[ōs epi lēstēn]
with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple
teaching, and you didn't arrest me. 56
But all this has happened, that the Scriptures
[graphai; Heb. Tanakh]
of the prophets might be fulfilled
." Then all the disciples left
him, and fled.
Those who had taken Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes
and the elders
were gathered together. 58
But Peter followed him from a distance, to the court of the
high priest, and entered in and sat with the officers, to see the end.
Now the chief priests, the elders, and the whole council
Even if a minority of the 71 members of the Sanhedrin had been summoned, one-third was
recognized as a quorum. The Sanhedrin was the highest Jewish council in the first century. Its 70 members were presided over
by the high priest and included both Sadducees and Pharisees. According to tradition the Sanhedrin began with the 70 elders
appointed by Moses (Nu 11:16). It was reorganised by Ezra after the exile. Under the Romans the Sanhedrin was given autonomy
and authority, though not in capital offences.
sought false testimony
against Jesus, that they might put him to death; 60
and they found none. Even though
many false witnesses
came forward, they found none. But at last two false witnesses
Two witnesses in agreement were essential for a legal condemnation to death (Nu 35:30; Dt 17:6;
19:15; the rule was fundamental to Jewish law).
came forward, 61
and said, "This man said, 'I am able to destroy
the temple of God, and to build it in three days
Idiomatic for a short time.
The high priest stood up, and said to him, "Have you no answer? What is this that these testify
against you?" 63
But Jesus held his peace.
The high priest answered him, "I adjure
you by the living God
[theou tou zōntos]
The most solemn form of oath known to the Hebrew constitution was this oath of the testimony:
"If one shall say, 'I adjure you by the Almighty. …' or by any of the divine titles - consider it! They are bound to answer." A
loyal and truly law-abiding Jew had no alternative but to answer.
, that you tell us whether you are the Christ
, the Son of God."
But Jesus remained silent.
Jesus said to him, "You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this
you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power
[dynameōs; Heb. HaG'vurah]
, and coming on the clouds of the sky
Then the high priest tore
For the ritual tearing of robes see Mishnah 'Sanhedrin' 7:5. See also Lv 21:10.
The gorgeous robes of his high office were blue and scarlet and gold, with onyx stones on each
shoulder and jewels flashing from his breast. It was customary to tear the robe when blasphemy was spoken in the presence of
, saying, "He has spoken blasphemy
! Why do we need any more witnesses
; now you have heard his blasphemy
What do you think?" They answered, "He is worthy of death!"
Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped
saying, "Prophesy to us, you Christ
! Who hit you?"
Now Peter was sitting outside in the court, and a maid
came to him, saying, "You were also with Jesus, the Galilean!"
But he denied
it before them all, saying, "I don't know what you are talking about."
When he had gone out onto the porch
, someone else saw him, and said to those who were there, "This man also was with Jesus
Again he denied
it with an oath, "I don't know the man."
After a little while those who stood by came and said to Peter, "Surely you are also one of them, for your speech makes you
Then he began to curse
Equivalent to Mark's anathematizō, to pronounce anathema, for which cf. 1 Cor 12:3;
and to swear, "I don't know the man!" Immediately the rooster crowed. 75
Peter remembered the word
which Jesus had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny
me three times." He went out and wept bitterly.
Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders
of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death; 2
and they bound him, and
led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor
Pilate had little claim to greatness and was not even a good governor. But because he was the
procurator of Judea at the most significant point in history, we do know a good deal about him, thanks to the records of
secular historians, particularly Josephus. We may think of a young man in his early thirties, about Jesus' age. A proud, hot
-tempered autocrat of obstinate disposition, capable of childish behaviour when anything thwarted his will, and as military-
minded as his name suggests - "Pilatus" means 'armed with a pike.' Philo mentions 'his corruptions, his acts of insolence,
his rapine, his habits of insulting people, his cruelty, his murders, and his inhumanity,' though some think this description
exaggerated. Pilate was appointed the procurator of Judea in AD26, three years before the crucifixion. His province included
Samaria and Judea and extended south to Gaza and the Dead Sea. His official residence was in Caesarea, but the possibility of
riots in Jerusalem at times of festival brought him to the capital. His rule over all in the province except Roman citizens
was absolute. He had not long taken over the governorship, which was the crown of his ambition, and he was determined to show
his mettle and keep the turbulent Jews in order. Pilate, for example, discovered that there was no image of the emperor in
Jerusalem and that Jerusalem was the only city in the whole Empire in which the image was not set up, and before which the
subject people did not bow. Without asking questions or taking advice the new young ruler insisted that images of the emperor
should be taken into the Holy City. The Jews were provoked but Pilate sent a strong guard with the images and set them up
under cover of night on the tower of Antony overlooking the temple enclosure. Here, the Jews were unlikely to demonstrate,
and if they attacked the tower the Roman forces would treat the resistance as an insurrection. In the event, and at the
instigation of Caiaphas, thousands of Jews surrounded Pilate's palace at Caesarea, requesting that he remove the images and
protesting for six days and nights, praying that God would change his heart. After Pilate's nerve was broken he arranged to
address the Jews in the market place from his tribunal. He told them that unless they stopped asking for the images to be
removed and went home quietly, the whole lot would be massacred. (Many of his troops were Samaritans, who would not have been
opposed to this idea.) The Jews, however, said. "It is better to die than to have images in Jerusalem" and they bared their
necks and waited. But the order for the massacre was never given, Pilate realising that this act would bring him immediately
back to Rome (see Josephus, Jewish War). So Pilate gave way with rage and humiliation, while Caiaphas publicised Pilate's
defeat. Another incident shows Pilate in a similar light. He wanted to supply Jerusalem with fresh water and constructed an
aqueduct from the pools of Solomon to the interior of the city. To do this he planned to raid temple funds and tithes which
had been built up by an obligatory half shekel annual collection from every Jewish adult male. A rebellion was quelled by
disguising soldiers who infiltrated the mob. When the signal was given the Jews were beaten and in their panic started a
stampede in which so many died that they gave in. But Pilate's action was met with a scathing rebuke from the emperor who
denounced Pilate for letting down the Roman tradition by having soldiers in civilian dress using their staves on women.
Caiphas would have sneered at Pilate who had been forewarned. On one other occasion Pilate gave in to the Jews when he bought
to his accommodation at Herod's palace a large number of shields bearing the emblems of his pagan gods. A report was sent to
Caesar, who ordered them to be removed. A fourth incident is noted in Lk 13:1 in which Pilate massacred defenceless Galilean
Jews during their worship. In these snapshots we see Pilate frightened, but hating with a sullen and bitter hatred the people
he had come to rule. We see a coarse, tactless, obstinate, bullying coward, fond of those blustering, loud-voiced methods by
which so often fear is cloacked, and through which violence usurps the place of just and legal authority. We also see a man
who had placed himself enormously in debt to Caiaphas, and this could be a factor in the proceedings against Jesus. Pilate
was married to Claudia Procula.
Then Judas, who betrayed
him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned
, felt remorse
Used in 21:29, 32; 2 Cor 7:8; Heb 7:21.
, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver
to the chief priests and elders
saying, "I have sinned in that I betrayed
innocent blood." But they said, "What is that to us? You see to it."
He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary
Probably the inner temple, where only the priests were allowed.
, and departed. He
went away and hanged himself
Used in LXX 2 Sam 17:23 to describe the suicide of Ahithophel, David's friend who betrayed
The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, "It's not lawful
to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood
Money paid by a killer as compensation to the next of kin of a murder victim, or money gained
at the cost of another person's life or livelihood.
They took counsel, and bought the potter's field with them,
to bury strangers in. 8
Therefore that field was called "The Field of Blood" to this day. 9
Then that which was spoken through
Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled
, saying, "They took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him upon whom a price
had been set, whom some of the children of Israel priced, 10
and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord commanded
Now Jesus stood before the governor
The law forbade a trial from taking place on a day of the feast.
and the governor
asked him, saying, "Are you the King of the Jews
[basileus tōn Ioudaiōn]
Kings had been ruling in Rome for more than two hundred years, ever since the city's foundation, but the seventh in line was
the last. From then on the title of 'king' would be regarded by the Roman people with an almost pathological hatred, to be
shrunk from and shuddered at whenever mentioned. The liberty of a city that had no master was now consecrated as the
birthright and measure of every citizen. In place of a king the founders of the Republic elected two magistrates known as
consuls or praetors who were not permitted to serve for longer than a year. But the consuls themselves, as a privilege of
their office, bordered their togas with the purple of kings. When they consulted the auspices they did so according to rites
that pre-dated the very foundation of Rome.
Late in 45 BC the Senate announced that Caesar was henceforward to be honoured as divus Iulius: Julius the God. Who now could
doubt that he was preparing to break the ultimate taboo and set a crown upon his head? Early in 44 Caesar began appearing in
the high red boots once worn by kings in Italy's legendary past; around the same time he reacted with fury when a diadem that
had mysteriously appeared on one of his statues was removed. But Caesar knew that the Romans would never tolerate a King
Julius. And neither did he care. In the East they worshipped Caesar as a god. In the East there were traditions older by far
than the Republic, of the flesh becoming divine, and of the rule of a king of kings.
?" Jesus said to him, "So you
When he was accused by the chief priests and elders
, he answered nothing. 13
Then Pilate said to him, "Don't you hear how many things
they testify against
He gave him no answer, not even one word
[oude en rhēma]
Silence was a judicial embarrassment, as Roman judges disliked sentencing an undefended man
(cf. Ac 25:16), and the courts established the practice of offering a defendant three opportunities to respond before
convicting by default.
, so that the governor
Now at the feast the governor
According to Maimonides, the Spanish born Jewish philosopher and physician (1135-1204), the
Jews were in the habit of punishing criminals at the three great feasts because more people were present to witness the
punishment. The right of pardoning a condemned criminal was the prerogative of the emperor alone so Pilate as pro praetor may
have already received instructions in writing naming the man to be released.
to release to the multitude
one prisoner, whom they desired. 16
They had then a notable
prisoner, called Barabbas
[Barabban; Heb. Yeshua Bar-Abba]
The name sounds in Aramaic very like 'Son of the Father', one of the official teachers of the
Jewish law, a man who expounded the Scriptures, especially in their political implications. He belonged to a political or
politico-religious sect called the Zealots who were banded together for insurrection at any moment when the word might be
given by their leaders. They were under a vow to murder anyone they came across who was taking good Jewish money from fellow
Jews and passing it over to Rome. He had idealism, patriotic fervour, and a burning resentment against Rome in his heart. It
is possible he had led many risky expeditions, and become hero of a thousand escapades.
When therefore they were
gathered together, Pilate said to them, "Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas
Some MMS have 'Iēsoun Barabban'.
, or Jesus, who is called Christ
For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up.
While he was sitting on the judgment seat
, his wife
Claudia Procula, the granddaughter of Caesar Augustus and the illegitimate daughter of Claudia,
the third wife of Tiberius Caesar. She was aristocratic, blue-blooded, highly cultured, and probably sensitive to the
religious and spiritual movements of her day. It may have been through her influence that Pilate was appointed to this
coveted position. It is strange to find her in Judea at all, since the law decreed that a procurator of Judea should not take
his wife with him. Tradition tells us that Claudia was a secret proselyte to Judaism, that she was tired of the Roman
Panatheon. Some traditions have it that she was a Christian believer. In any case, it was a common Roman idea that gods came
down in the likeness of men, cf. Ac 14:11.
sent to him, saying
We can imagine a message written hastily on a wax tablet. It was unlawful for anyone to
interrupt a judge after he had already begun to sit on a case.
, "Have nothing to do with that righteous
man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."
Now the chief priests and the elders
persuaded the multitudes
to ask for Barabbas
This man was not a coarse highwayman but an aristocrat, the son of a good family, a political
, and destroy Jesus.
But the governor
answered them, "Which of the two do you want me to release to you?" They said,
Pilate said to them, "What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?" They all said to him, "Let him be crucified!"
But the governor said, "Why? What evil has he done?" But they cried out exceedingly, saying, "Let him be crucified!"
So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed
The Romans had a word for an instant of perilous and excruciating tension, 'discrimen', when the achievements of an entire
lifetime might hang in the balance. The career of any Roman who aspired to greatness had been a succession of such crisis
points. To hazard one's future time and again and emerge triumphant - this was the mark of a man to the Romans. In addition
to 'crisis point', 'discrimen' had a further meaning: 'dividing line'.
his hands before the multitude
, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person
. You see to it."
All the people
The name particularly used in the LXX for God's chosen people, and so used generally also in
this gospel, (cf., Jer 26:8-9).
answered, "May his blood be on us, and on our children!"
Then he released to them Barabbas
, but Jesus he flogged
A preliminary to execution and an attempt to avert it, being sometimes fatal in itself; cf.
the saying, 'flayed to the bone'.
to be crucified.
Then the governor's
soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium
Pilate's residence, debated as to whether this was in the fort of Antonia on the north side of
the temple area, or in Herod's former palace on the West Hill.
, and gathered the whole garrison
'Mass of men' or a Roman military cohort, the tenth part of a legion, consisting of three
maniples (a subdivision containing 60 or 120 men), each having two centuries (a unit consisting of 100 men). The soldiers of
the governor ('stratiōtai' elsewhere) were auxiliaries, not Roman legionaries, and would be recruited from non-Jewish
inhabitants of the surrounding areas (e.g., Phoenicians, Syrians, perhaps Samaritans), who would have no love for the Jews
(see Philo, 'In Flaccum' 26-29 for comparison). The whole company could have numbered 600.
together against him.
They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe
Probably the Roman paludamentum which resembled the Greek chlamys (a short mantle fastened at
the shoulder). The paludamentum was an outer garment that hung loosely over the shulders, was open in front, reached down to
the knees or lower, and was fastened across the chest with a clasp. It was a military cloak.
on him. 29
a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him,
, King of the Jews!" 30
They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31
they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.
As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon
Perhaps a wealthy Jew who had migrated from Palestine to North Africa, driven there by
persecution, captivity, and oppression, who then came back to Jerusalem for the Passover. Alternatively, linking Simon here
with the references in Mk 15:21 and Ro 16:13, some have thought that Simon was from Africa, and therefore a proselyte. Being
devout, he could have changed his Negro name for a Jewish one. The officer in charge of the soldiers moving slowly along the
Via Dolorosa realises that he must not ask a Roman soldier to carry the wood for a criminal, nor would any ordinary Jew in
the crowd, for it would have made him ceremonially unclean to touch this instrument of torture imposed upon criminals by a
pagan power. And if they were made ceremonially unclean they would not have been able to cleanse themselves in time to eat
the Passover. Simon, being black, would not have found it easy to get lodgings within the city so while he tramped into the
city to take his part in the great festival he was made to carry the cross for an unknown Prisoner. (Our phrase 'touch wood'
comes from early Christianity when the wearing of splinters of the cross as charms by the devout was meant to remind the
bearer of Jesus and his cross).
by name, and they compelled
him to go with them, that he might carry his cross. 33
They came to a place
[Golgotha; Heb. Gulgoleth; Lat. Calvaria.]
Means 'The Place of the Skull' (Kraniou Topos).
," that is to say, "The place of a
They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall
A translation of the Hebrew 'rosh' in Ps 69:21. The drink was vinegar (light wine rendered
acrid, the common drink of soldiers) mixed with gall, or made bitter by wormwood.
. When he had tasted it, he would
not drink. 35
When they had crucified
The Greeks and Romans at first reserved the punishment only for slaves, saying it was too
barbaric for freeborn or citizens. By the first century, however, it was used for any enemy of the state, though citizens
could only by crucified by direct edict of Caesar. The practice was abolished after the 'conversion' of
him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36
and they sat and watched him there. 37
set up over his head the accusation against him written, "THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS
In Hebrew this is Yeshua Hanotzii Vemelech Hayehudim, the acrostic for which spells YHWH. This
caused such offence on account of Dt 21:23; the curse falling on one who hung from a tree. This could scarcely be God (cf.
Then there were two robbers
This word is the same one that describes Barabbas in Jn 18:40 and means a political
revolutionary, not a burglar or brigand.
crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left. 39
passed by blasphemed
him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, "You who destroy
the temple, and build it in three days, save
yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!"
Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes
, the Pharisees, and the elders
, said, 42
others, but he can't save
himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will
in God. Let God deliver
him now, if he wants him; for he said, 'I am the Son of God.'" 44
also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach
Cf. AV's paraphrase (not implied in the verb oneidizō): 'cast the same in his teeth'. According to Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the saying to cast in someone's teeth means 'to throw reproof at someone'. The allusion is to knocking someone's teeth out by stones'. Shakespeare has written in 'Julius Caesar', IV iii (1599), 'All his faults observ'd, Set in a notebook, learn'd and conn'd by rote, To cast into my teeth'. It means to upbraid or abuse. The literal reading is, 'And (with)
the same thing also the robbers who were crucified together with him reproached him'.
Now from the sixth hour there was darkness
It is reported that Dionysius, at Heliopolis in Egypt, noticed this darkness and said, 'Either
the God of nature is suffering, or the machine of the world is tumbling into ruin'.
over all the land until the
ninth hour. 46
About the ninth hour Jesus cried
Only used here in the NT. A strong verb indicating powerful emotion or appeal to God. This is
the only time in the Synoptics where Jesus addresses God without calling him 'Father'.
with a loud voice, saying,
"Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani
[Hli ēli lema sabachthani]
?" That is, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me
[Thee mou thee mou hinati me egkateleipō]
Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, "This man is calling Elijah
[Hlian; Heb. Eliyahu]
Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar
Its immediate availability suggests that it was 'poska', wine vinegar diluted with water, the
usual refreshing drink of labourers and soldiers which the soldiers guarding the cross would have had for their own
, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink. 49
The rest said, "Let him be. Let's see whether Elijah comes to
Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up
The Synoptic parallels are lit. 'breathed out', 'expired'. Death by crucifixion could linger
And think of it
! The veil of the temple
[katapetasma tou naou; Heb. parokhet]
The curtain that hung between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place, sixty feet in length, and
reaching from floor to ceiling.
was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were
The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints
who had fallen asleep
were raised; 53
and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection
, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.
Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done,
Roman centurions were trained in hardship. In the ancient and terrible punishment of decimation, for example, every tenth man
was beaten to death, the obedient along with the disobedient, the brave along with the cowardly, while their fellows were
forced to watch. For a Roman, to be afraid was to be emasculated.
, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God."
Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving
Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the
mother of the sons of Zebedee.
When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus' disciple came. 58
This man went
to Pilate, and asked for Jesus' body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. 59
Joseph took the body, and wrapped it
in a clean linen cloth, 60
The Romans did not normally bury a crucified body, but threw it on the ground. Jewish piety
forbade this, but executed criminals were buried in a public plot, without honour, and were not allowed to be placed in their
it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of
the tomb, and departed. 61
Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.
Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered
together to Pilate, 63
saying, "Sir, we remember what that deceiver
It is the same charge which Jesus levelled against false prophets in 24:4,5,11,24 ('lead
said while he was still alive: 'After three days I will rise again.' 64
Command therefore that the tomb be
made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, 'He is
risen from the dead;' and the last deception
will be worse than the first."
Pilate said to them, "You have a guard
Unique in the NT, a transliteration of the Latin word 'custodia'.
. Go, make it as
secure as you can." 66
So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing
A cord stretched across the stone with a lump of stamped clay would prevent a secret
Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the
; there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the
stone from the door, and sat on it. 3
His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4
For fear of him, the
, and became like dead men.
The angel answered the women, "Don't be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 6
He is not here, for
he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. 7
Go quickly and tell his disciples, 'He has
risen from the dead, and consider this
; he goes before you
into Galilee; there you will see him.' See
; I have told you."
They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9
As they went to tell his
disciples, think of it
! Jesus met them, saying, "Rejoice
!" They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped
Then Jesus said to them, "Don't be afraid. Go tell my brothers
that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me."
Now while they were going, consider this
; some of the guards
came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened.
When they were assembled with the elders
, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers
saying, "Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we
If this comes to the governor's
ears, we will persuade
him and make you free of worry
So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad
among the Jews, and continues until this day.
But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17
When they saw him, they bowed down
to him, but some doubted
Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to me in
heaven and on earth. 19
Go, and make disciples of all nations
, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
teaching them to observe
all things that I commanded you. See [idou]
; I am with you always, even to the end
of the age
[synteleias tou aiōnos]