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nations. But being troubled with lions, which nad increased greatly while the country remained uninhabited, they supposed it was because they had not honoured the God of the country. A Jewish priest was therefore sent to them from Babylon, to instruct them in the Jewish religion, but they still retained many of their old rites and idolatrous customs, and embraced a religion made up of Judaism and idolatry, 2 Kings xvii. 26–28.
They obtained leave of the Persian monarch to build a temple for themselves. This was erected on mount Gerizim, and they strenuously contended that that was the place designated by Moses as the place where the nation should worship. Sanballat, the leader of the Samaritans, constituted his son-in-law, Manasses, high priest. The religion of the Samaritans thus became perpetuated, and an irreconcilable hatred arose between them and the Jews. Afterwards Samaria became a place of resort for all the outlaws of Judea. Many Jewish criminals, and refugees from justice, and those excommunicated, betook themselves for safety to Samaria, and greatly increased the hatred which subsisted between the two nations. The Samaritans received only the five books of Moses, and rejected the writings of the prophets, and all the Jewish traditions. From these causes arose an irreconciłable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race, John viii. 48, and had no dealings with them, John iv. 9. Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterwards, John iv. 6—26, and the apostles imitated his example, Acts viii. 25.
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
That is, to the Jews. Christ regarded them as wandering and lost, like sheep straying without a shepherd. They had been the chosen people of God, they had long looked for the Messiah; and it was proper that the gospel should be first offered to them.
7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' See note, Matt. iii. 2.
8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Freely ye have received, freely give. That is, they were not to sell their favours of healing, preaching, &c. They were not to make a money making business of it, to bargain to heal for sc much, and to cast out devils for so much. . This, however, neither then nor afterwards, precluded them from receiving a competen! support. See Luke x. 7. 1 Cor. ix. 8--14. 1 Tim. v. 18.
9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,
Nor brass. This prohibition of gold, silver, and brass, is designed to prevent their preparing money for their journey. Pieces of money of small value were made of brass. In your purses. Literally in your girdles. The loose flowing dresses of the Jews required to be girded up, or tied around the body during labour, exercise, running, or even walking. See note, Matt. v. 40. A girdle or sash was therefore an indispensable part of the dress. This girdle was made hollow, and answered the purpose of a purse.
10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves : for the workman is worthy of his meat.
“Nor scrip. That is, knapsack. It was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck. • Neither two coats.' See note, Matt. v. 40.
Neither shoes.' The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See note, Matt. iii. 11.
Mark says, in recording this discourse, but be shod with sandals. But there is no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their wearing tne sandals, which they probably had on, but only forbids their supplying themselves with more, or with superfluous ones. Instead of making provision for their feet when their present shoes were worn out, they were to trust to Providence to be supplied, and go as they were. staves. But Mark says that they might have a staff. They were hereby prol:ably forbidden to provide and carry a second or spare staff, as is not uncommon in the east when persons are upon a journey. 'The workman is worthy of his meat.' They were not to make bargain and sale of the power of working miracles, but they were to expect competent support from preaching the gospel, and that not merely as a gift, but they were worthy of it, and had a right to it.
11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
• Who in it is worthy. That is, who in it sustains a fair character, will be able and disposed to show you hospitality, and will treat you kindly. 'And there abide.
There remain; as Luke adds, 'Go not from house to house? They were to content themselves with one house, not to wander about, not to appear to be men of idleness, and fond of change, or dissatisfied with the hospitality of the people; but to show that they valued their time, and were disposed to give themselves to labour, prayer, and meditation, and to be intent only on the business loi which Christ had sent them.
Nor yet 12 And when ye come into a house, salute it. The word "house,' here, evidently means family, as it does in the following verse. See also Matt. xii. 25, and John iv. 53. The apostles were directed to salute the family, to show them the customary tokeus of respect, and to treat tnem with civility. Religion never requires or permits its friends to outrage the common rules of intercourse. It demands of them to exhibit to all the proper tokens of respect, according to their age and station, 1 Pet. ii. 12—25 ; iii. 8–11. Phil. iv. 8. As to the mode of salutation, see note, Luke x. 4, 5.
13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return
If the house be worthy.' That is, if the family be worthy, or be willing to receive you as my disciples. Let your peace come upon it.'. That's, seek their peace and happiness by prayer, instruction, by remaining with them, and imparting to them, the blessings of the gospel. But if it be not worthy,' &c. If the family be unwilling to receive you, and inhospitable; if they show themselves unfriendly to you and your message. Let your peace return to you. This is a Hebrew mode of saying that your peace shall not come upon it, Psa. xxxv. 13. It is a mode of speaking derived from bestowing a gift. If people were willing to receive it, they derived the benefit from it; if not, then of course the present came back, or remained in the hand of the giver. So Christ figuratively speaks of the peace or liberty which their labour would confer,
14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
'Shake off the dust of your feet.' A significant act, denoting that they regarded them as impure, profane, and heathenish, and unworthy of their instruction, and that they declined all further connexion with them. See Acts xiii. 51 ; xviii. 6.
15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone on account of their great wickedness. They occupied the place afterwards covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the south-east, Gen. xix. 21, 25. Christ says that their punishment will be more tolerable--that is, more easily borne-than that of the people who reject his gespel. The reason is, that they were not favoured with so much light and instruction. See Matt. xi. 23, 24. Luke xii. 47, 48. Sodom and Gomorrha are often referred to as signal instances of Divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. See 2 Peter ii. 6. Jude 7.
16 | Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
As sheep in the midst of wolves. That is, I send you, innocent and harmless, into a cold, unfriendly, and cruel world. Your innocence will not be a protection. • Be wise as serpents,' &c. Serpents have been always an emblem of wisdom and cun. ning, Gen. iii. 1. Christ directed his followers here to imitate the caution of serpents in avoiding danger. No animals equal them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. He directs them also to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and make their fellow men justly enraged against them. Doves are, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence.
17 But beware of men : for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues ;
But beware of men. That is, be on your guard against men who are like wolves, v. 16. Do not run unnecessarily into danger. Use suitable prudence and caution, and do not unnecessarily. endanger your lives. ' Councils. The judicial tribunals, of which there were some in every town and village. They will scourge you in their synagogues.' Scourging or whipping is often mentioned in the New Testament as a part of punishment. The law of Moses directed that the number of stripes should not exceed forty, but might be any number less, at the discretion of the judge, Deut. xxv. 2, 3. The blows were inflicted on the back. The criminal was tied to a low post.
The instrument formerly used was a rod. Afterwards thongs or lashes were employed attached to the rod. The law was express that the number of stripes should not exceed forty. The Jews, to secure the greater accuracy in counting, used a scourge with three lashes, which inflicted three stripes at once. With this the criminal was struck thirteen times, making the number of blows thirty-nine. Paul was five times scourged in this way. See 2 Cor. xi. 24. This was often done in the synagogue. See Matt. xxiii. 34. Acts xxii. 19; xxvi. 11.
18 And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
This prediction was completely and abundantly fulfilled. Acts v. 26; xil. 1–4; xxlii. 33; xxv. 23. Peter is said to have been brought before Nero, John before Domitian, Roman emperors; and others before Parthian, Scythian, and Indian kings. They were to be witnesses to them of the great facts and doctrines of the christian religion; and if they rejected christianity, they would be witnesses against them in the day of judgment. The fulfilment of this prophecy is a signal evidence that Christ possessed a knowledge of the future. Few things were more improbable, when this was uttered, than that the fishermen of Galilee should stand before the illustrious and mighty monarchs of the east and the west.
19 But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak : for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. 20_For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
'Take no thought.' That is, be not anxious, or unduly solicitous. See note, Matt. vi. 25. God would inspire them. Poor and ignorant, and obscure fishermen, would naturally be solicitous what they should say before the great men of the earth, How consoling, then, the assurance that God would aid them, and speak within them!
21 And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child : and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death,
Were there no evidence that this had been done, it would scarcely be credible. The lies which bind brothers and sisters, and parents and children, are so strong, that it would scarcely be believed that division of sentiment on religious subjects should cause them to forget these tender relations. And especially, it shows the exceeding malignity of the human heart against the gospel of Christ, when it can be gratified in no other way than by seeking the death of a parent, or a child ! Nothing else but this dreadful opposition to God, and his gospel, ever has induced, or ever can induce men, to violate the most tender relations, and consign the best friends to torture, racks, and flames.
22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
*Ye shall be hated of all men. That is, of all kinds of men. The human heart would be opposed to them because it is opposed to Christ. But he that endureth to the end, &c. That is, to the end of life, be it longer or shorter. He that bears all these unspeakable sufferings. and does : ot a prink and apostatize, wil