Statement of Faith | Tell a Friend about Us | Color Scheme:    
Friday, November 27, 2020

  Study Resources

• Interlinear Bible

• Parallel Bible

• Daily Reading Plan

• Devotionals

• Commentaries

• Concordances

• Dictionaries

• Encyclopedias

• Lexicons

• History

• Sermon Essentials

• Audio Resources

• Religious Artwork

  Other Resources

• Advertise with SL

• FREE Resources

• Information

• Set Preferences

• Font Resources

• Contacting SL


Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

Search This Resource
 Chapter 9
Chapter 11
  Printer friendly version
Additional Resources
 • Adam Clark Commentary
 • Burton Coffman
 • Darby's Synopsis
 • Gill's Exposition
 • Geneva Study Bible
 • Jamieson, Fausset, Brown
 • John Lightfoot Commentary
 • Matthew Henry Complete
 • Matthew Henry Concise
 • People's New Testament
 • Robertson's Word Pictures
 • The Fourfold Gospel
 • Treasury of Scripture
 • Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Buy This Resource
 Show me more …


Verse 1. And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, etc. This account of sending the apostles forth is recorded also in Mark 6:7-11; Luke 9:1-6. Mark says that he sent them out two and two. This was a kind arrangement, that each one might have a companion; and that they might visit more places, and accomplish more labour, than if they were all together. These twelve were the original number of apostles. The word apostle means one that is sent, and was given to them because they were sent forth to preach the gospel. They were ambassadors of Christ. To this number Matthias was afterwards added, to supply the place of Judas, Acts 1:26. And Paul was specially called to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Romans 1:1; 1 Corinthians 15:8,9; Galatians 1:1. So that there were in all fourteen apostles.

In selecting twelve at first, it is probable that he was somewhat guided by the number of the tribes of Israel. Twelve was, with them, a well-known number, and it was natural that he should select one for every tribe. Their office was clearly made known. They were to heal the sick, raise the dead, preach the gospel, etc. They were to be with him, receive his instructions, learn the nature of his religion, be witnesses of his resurrection, and bear his gospel then around the globe. The number twelve was the best for these purposes that could be selected. It was sufficiently large to answer the purpose of testimony; and it was so small as not to be disorderly, or easily divided into parties or factions. They were not learned men, and could not be supposed to spread their religion by art or talents. They were not men of wealth, and could not bribe men to follow them. They were not men of rank and office, and could not compel men to believe. They were just such men as are always found the best witnesses in courts of justice--plain men, of good sense, of fair character, of great honesty, and with favourable opportunities of ascertaining the facts to which they bore witness. Such men everybody believes, and especially when they are willing to lay down their lives to prove their sincerity.

It was important that ho should choose them early in his ministry, that they might be fully acquainted with him; might treasure up his instructions, and observe his manner of life and his person, that by having been long acquainted with him they might be able to testify to his identity, and be competent witnesses of his resurrection. No witnesses were ever so well qualified to give testimony as they; and none ever gave so much evidence of their sincerity as they did. See Acts 1:21,22.

{1} "against" or, "over"

Verse 2. The account which follows is more fully given in Mark 3:13-18; Luke 6:12-19. Both of those evangelists have recorded the circumstances of their appointment. They agree in saying it was done on a mountain; and, according to Luke, it was done before the sermon on the mount was delivered, perhaps on the same mountain, near Capernaum. Luke adds, that the night previous had been spent in prayer to God. See Barnes "Luke 6:12".

Simon, who is called Peter. Peter means a rock. He was also called Cephas, John 1:42; 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:22; 15:5; Galatians 2:9. This was a Syro-Chaldaic word, signifying the same as Peter. This name was given probably in reference to the resoluteness and firmness which he was to exhibit in preaching the gospel. Before the Saviour's death he was rash, impetuous, and unstable. Afterwards, as all history affirms, he was firm, zealous, steadfast, and immovable. He was crucified at Rome with his head downwards, thinking it too great an honour to die as his Master did. See Barnes "John 21:18".

James the son of Zebadee, and John his brother. This James was slain by Herod in a persecution, Ac 12:2. The other James, the son of Alpheus, was stationed at Jerusalem, and was the author of the epistle that bears his name. See Galatians 1:19; 2:9; Acts 15:13. A James is mentioned, (Galatians 1:19) as the Lord's brother. It has not been easy to ascertain why he was thus called. He is here called the son of Alpheus, that is, of Cleophas, John 19:25. Alpheus and Cleophas were but different ways of writing and pronouncing the same name. This Mary, called the mother of James and Joses, is called the wife of Cleophas, John 19:25.

{u} "names" Luke 6:13

Verse 3. Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddeus. These two words have the same signification in Hebrew. Luke calls him Judas, by a slight change from the name Thaddaeus. Such changes are common in all writings.

Verse 4. Simon the Canaanite. Luke calls him Simon Zelotes, the zealous. It is probable that he was one of a small sect of the Jews called Zealots, on account of peculiar zeal in religion. His native place was probably Cana. Afterwards he might with propriety be called by either title.

Judas Iscariot. It is probable this name was given to him to designate his native place. Carioth was a small town in the tribe of Judah.

Verse 5. Into the way of the Gentiles. That is, among the Gentiles, or nowhere but among the Jews. The full time for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles was not come. It was proper that it should be first preached to the Jews, the ancient covenant people of God, and the people among whom the Messiah was born. He afterwards gave them a charge to go into all the world, Matthew 28:19.

And into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not, The Samaritans occupied the country formerly belonging to the tribe of Ephraim and the half-tribe of Manasseh. This region was situated between Jerusalem and Galilee; so that in passing from the one to the other, it was a direct course to pass through Samaria. The capital of the country was Samaria, formerly a large and splendid city; It was situated about fifteen miles to the north-west of the city of Shechem or Sychar, See Barnes "John 4:6", and about forty miles to the north of Jerusalem. For a description of this city, See Barnes "Isaiah 28:1". Sychar or Shechem was also a city in the limits of Samaria.

This people was formerly composed of a few of the ten tribes, and a mixture of foreigners. When the ten tribes were carried away into captivity to Babylon, the king of Assyria sent people from Cuthah, Ava, Hamath, and Sepharvaim, to inhabit their country, 2 Kings 17:24; Ezra 4:2-11. These people at first worshipped the idols of their own nations. But being troubled with lions, which had 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. They were instructed partially from the books of Moses; but still retained many of their old rites and idolatrous customs, and embraced a religion made up of Judaism and idolatry, 2 Kings 17:26-28.

The grounds of difference between the two nations were the following :--

(1.) The Jews, after their return from Babylon, set about rebuilding their temple. The Samaritans offered to aid them. The Jews, however, perceiving that it was not from a love of true religion, but that they might obtain a part of the favors granted to the Jews by Cyrus, rejected their offer. The consequence was, that a state of long and bitter animosity arose between them and the Jews.

(2.) While Nehemiah was engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem, the Samaritans used every art to thwart him in his undertaking, Nehemiah 6:1-14.

(3.) The Samaritans at length 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. See Barnes "John 4:20".

(4.) Afterwards Samaria became a place of resort for all the outlaws of Judea. They received willingly all the Jewish criminals, and refugees from justice. The violators of the Jewish laws, and those who had been excommunicated, betook themselves for safety to Samaria, and greatly increased their numbers and the hatred which subsisted between the two nations.

(5.) 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 irreconcilable difference between them, so that the Jews regarded them as the worst of the human race, (John 8:48) and had no dealings with them, John 4:9.

Our Saviour, however, preached the gospel to them afterwards, (John 4:6-26) and the apostles imitated his example, Acts 8:25. The gospel was, however, first preached to the Jews.

{v} "Samaritans" 2 Kings 17:24; John 4:5,9,20

Verse 6. But go rather to the lost sheep, etc. That is, to the Jews. He 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.

{w} "go rather" Acts 13:46
{x} "lost sheep" Psalms 119:176; Isaiah 53:6; Jeremiah 1:6,17; Ezekiel 34:5,6,8
1 Peter 2:25

Verse 7. The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Or, more literally, the reign of heaven, or of God, draws near. See Barnes "Matthew 3:2".

{y} "saying" Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Luke 9:2; 10:9

Verse 8. Freely ye have received, freely give. That is they were not to sell their favours of healing, preaching, etc. They were not to make a money-making business of it, to bargain specially to heal for so much, and to cast out devils for so much. This, however, neither then nor afterwards precluded them from receiving a competent support. See Luke 10:7; 1 Corinthians 9:8-14; 1 Timothy 5:18.

{z} "cast out devils" Acts 8:18,20

Verses 9-15. See also Mark 6:8-11; Luke 9:3-5. In both these places the substance of this account is given, though not so particularly as in Matthew. The general subject is, the instructions given to the apostles.

Verse 9. Nor brass. This prohibition of gold, silver, and brass, was 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. See Barnes "Matthew 5:38-41". A girdle or sash was an indispensable part of the dress. This girdle was made hollow, and answered the purpose of a purse. It was convenient, easily borne, and safe.

{1} "Provide" or, "get"
{a} "neither gold" Luke 22:35; 1 Corinthians 9:7

Verse 10. Neither scrip. That is, knapsack. It was made of skin or coarse cloth, to carry provisions in. It was commonly hung around the neck. As they were to be provided for on their way, it was unnecessary to provide a store of provisions.

Neither two coats. See Barnes "Matthew 5:40".

Neither shoes. The original is the word commonly rendered sandals. See Barnes "Matthew 3:11".

Mark says, in recording this discourse, "but be shod with sandals." Between this and Matthew there is an apparent contradiction; but there is really no difference. According to Matthew, Jesus does not forbid their wearing the 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. And the meaning of the two evangelists may be thus expressed: "Do not procure anything more for your journey than you have on. Go as you are, shod with sandals, without making any preparation."

Nor yet staves. In the margin, in all the ancient versions, and in the common Greek text, it is in the singular number, nor yet A STAFF. But Mark says that they might have a staff: "Jesus commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only. To many this would appear to be a contradiction. Yet the spirit of the instruction, the main thing that the writer aims at, is the same. That was, that they were to go just as they were, to trust to Providence, and not to spend any time in making preparation for their journey. Some of them, probably, when he addressed them had staves, and some had not. To those who had he did not say that they should throw them away, as the instructions he was giving might seem to require, but suffered them to take them, (Mark.) To those who had not, he said they should not spend time in procuring them, (Matthew,) but all go just as they were.

The workman is worthy of his meat. This implies that they were to expect proper supply for their wants from those who were benefited. 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 because they were worthy of it, and had a right to it.

{2} "staves" "staff"
{b} "for the workman" Luke 10:7

Verse 11. Who in it is worthy. That is, who fix it sustains a fair character will be able and disposed to show you hospitality, and will treat you kindly. This shows that they were not suddenly and needlessly to throw themselves in the way of insult or want.

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 in the manner of vagrants and mendicants; not to appear to be men of idleness, and fond of change; not to seem dissatisfied with the hospitality of the people; but to show that they had regular, important business; to show that they valued their time, were disposed to give themselves to labour, prayer, and meditation; and to be intent only on the business for which he had sent them. If ministers of the gospel are useful, it will be by not spending their time in idle chitchat, and wandering about as if they had nothing to do; but in an honest and laborious improvement of every moment in study, prayer, preaching, and religious visiting their people.

Verse 12. And when ye come into an house, salute it. The word house, here, evidently means family, as it does in the following verse. See also Matthew 12:25; John 4:53, "And himself believed and his whole house." The apostles were directed to salute the family, to show them the customary tokens of respect, and to treat them with civility. Religion never requires or permits its friends to outrage the common rules of social intercourse. It demands of them to exhibit to all the customary and proper tokens of respect, according to their age and station, 1 Peter 2:12-25; 3:8-11; Philippians 4:8. For the mode of salutation, See Barnes "Luke 10:4", See Barnes "Luke 10:5".

Verse 13. 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 is, let the peace or happiness which you seek, or for which you pray, in saluting it, \\Lu 10:5\\ come upon it; or 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, etc. If the family be unwilling to receive you; 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 should not come upon it, Psalms 35:13. 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 which their labour would confer. If received kindly and hospitably by the people, they would confer on them most valuable blessings. If rejected and persecuted, the blessings which they sought for others would come upon themselves. They would reap the benefit of being cast out and persecuted for their Master's sake, Matthew 5:10.

{c} "return to you" Psalms 35:13

Verse 14. Shake off the dust of your feet. The Jews taught uniformly that the dust of the Gentiles was impure, and was to be shaken off. To shake off the dust from the feet, therefore, was 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. It is recorded that this was actually done by some of the apostles. See Acts 13:51; 18:6.

{d} "shake off the dust" Nehemiah 5:13; Acts 13:51; 18:6

Verse 15. It shall be more tolerable for Sodom, etc. The cities here mentioned, together with Admah and Zeboim, were destroyed by fire and brimstone, or by a volcanic eruption, on account of their great wickedness. They occupied the place afterwards covered by the Dead Sea, bounding Palestine on the south-east, Genesis 19:24,25. Christ said that their punishment will be more tolerable--that is, more easily borne--than that of the people who reject his gospel, The reason is, that they were not favoured with so much light and instruction. See Matthew 11:23,24; Luke 12:47,48. Sodom and Gomorrah are often referred to as signal instances of Divine vengeance, and as sure proofs that the wicked shall not go unpunished. 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 1:7

{e} "shall be more tolerable" Matthew 11:22,24

Verse 16. As sheep in the midst of wolves. That is, I send you, inoffensive and harmless, into a cold, unfriendly, and cruel world. Your innocence will not be a protection.

Be wise as serpents, etc. Serpents have always been an emblem of wisdom and cunning, Genesis 3:1. The Egyptians used the serpent in their hieroglyphics as a symbol of wisdom. Probably the thing in which Christ directed his followers here to imitate the serpent was in its caution in avoiding danger. No animal equals them in the rapidity and skill which they evince in escaping danger. So said Christ to his disciples, You need caution and wisdom, in the midst of a world that will seek your lives. He directs them also to be harmless, not to provoke danger, not to do injury, and thus make their fellow-men justly enraged against them. Doves are, and always have been, a striking emblem of innocence. Most men would foolishly destroy a serpent, be it ever so harmless; yet few are so hard-hearted as to kill a dove.

{f} "wise as serpents" Romans 16:19; Ephesians 5:15
{1} "harmless" or, "simple"
{g} "as doves" Philippians 2:15

Verse 17. But beware of men. That is, be on your guard against men who are like wolves, Matthew 10:16. Do not run unnecessarily into danger. Use suitable prudence and caution, and do not unnecessarily endanger your lives.

Councils. The word here used commonly signifies the great council of the nation, the Sanhedrim. See Barnes "Matthew 5:22". Here it seems to refer to any judicial tribunal, of which there were some in every 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, Deuteronomy 25:2,3. The person who was sentenced to scourging was formerly laid upon the ground, and the blows inflicted on his back in the presence of the judge. Afterwards, the criminal was tied to a low post, Scourging is still practised in the East; but the blows are commonly inflicted on the soles of the feet. It is called the bastinddo.

The instrument formerly used was a rod. Afterwards they employed thongs or lashes attached to the rod. To make the blows severe and more painful, they sometimes fastened sharp points of iron, or pieces of lead, in the thongs. These were called scorpions, 1 Kings 12:11. 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 Corinthians 11:24.

The Romans did not feel themselves bound by the law of the Jews in regard to the number of stripes, but inflicted them at pleasure. Thus our Saviour was scourged till he was so weak as not to be able to bear his cross. This was often done in the synagogue. See \\Mt 23:34 Ac 22:19 26:11\\.

{h} "beware of men" Philippians 3:2
{i} "they will deliver you up" Matthew 24:9; Mark 13:9
{k} "scourge you" Acts 5:40; 2 Corinthians 11:24

Verse 18. And ye shall be brought, etc. This prediction was completely and abundantly fulfilled, Acts 5:26; 12:1-4; 23:33; 16:1,28,30. 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 stand there to bear a testimony against them; or, as it might be rendered, to them. That is, 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 fulfillment 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 would stand before the illustrious and mighty monarchs of the East and the West.

{l} "And ye shall" Acts 24:1-25:27

Verses 19,20. Take no thought. That is, be not anxious, or unduly solicitous. See Barnes "Matthew 6:26". God would inspire them. This was a full promise that they should be inspired, and was a most seasonable consolation. Poor, and ignorant, and obscure fishermen would naturally be solicitous what they should say before the great men of the earth. Eastern people regarded kings as raised far above common mortals: as approaching to divinity. How consoling, then, the assurance that God would aid them, and speak within them!

{m} "But when" Mark 13:11; Luke 12:11; 21:14,15

Verse 20. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:19"

Verse 21. And the brother shall deliver up the brother, etc. Were there no evidence that this had been done, it could scarcely be credible. The ties which bind brothers and sisters, and parents and children together are so strong, that it could scarcely be believed that division of sentiment on religious subjects would cause them to forget these tender relations. Yet history assures us that this has been done. If this be so, then how inexpressibly awful must be the malignity of the human heart by nature against religion! 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. It adds to the horrors of this, that those who were put to death in persecution were tormented in the most awful modes that human ingenuity could devise. They were crucified; were thrown into boiling oil; were burnt at the stake; were roasted slowly over coals; were compelled to drink melted lead; were torn in pieces by beasts of prey; were covered with pitch, and burned, to give light in the gardens of Nero. Yet dreadful as this prediction was, it was fulfilled; and incredible as it seems, parents and children, and husbands and wives, were found wicked enough to deliver up each other to these cruel modes of death on account of their attachment to the gospel. Such is the opposition of the heart of man to the gospel! That hostility which will overcome the strong ties of natural affection, and which will be satisfied with nothing else to show its power, can be no slight opposition to to the gospel of God.

Verse 22. 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, etc. That is, to the end of life, be it longer or shorter. He that bears all these unspeakable sufferings, and who does not shrink and apostatize, will give decisive evidence of attachment to me, and shall enter into heaven. See Revelation 3:21,22.

{n} "but he that" Daniel 12:12,13; Revelation 2:10

Verse 23. When they persecute, etc. They were not permitted to throw away their lives. Where they could preserve them, without denying their Lord, they were to do it. Yet all the commands of Christ, as well as their conduct, show that they were rather to lay down their lives than deny their Saviour. We are to preserve our lives by all proper means; but rather die than save ourselves by doing anything wrong.

Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, etc. That is, in fleeing from persecutors, from one city to another, you shall not have gone to every city in Judea, till the destruction of Jerusalem, and the end of the Jewish economy. See Barnes "Matthew 24:28-30". By the coming of the Son of man, that is, of Christ, is probably meant the destruction of Jerusalem, which happened about thirty years after this was spoken. The words axe often used in this sense. See Matthew 24:30; Mark 13:26; Luke 21:27-32.

{o} "flee ye into another" Acts 8:1
{1} "Ye shall not" or "end" or "finish"

Verses 24,25. The disciple is not above his Master, etc. That is, you must expect the same treatment which I have received. They have called me, your Master and Teacher, Beelzebub, the prince of the devils, Matthew 12:24; Luke 11:15; John 8:48) and you must expect that they will call all of the family by the same name. Beelzebub, or Beelzebul, was a god of the Eckronites. See 2 Kings 1:2. The word literally means the god of flies, so called because this idol was supposed to protect them from the numerous swarms of flies with which that country is supposed to have abounded. The word also signified, among the Jews, the god of filth, and was esteemed as the most low and offensive of all the idol gods. Hence the name was given to the leader, or prince, of all the devils, Luke 11:15; Mark 3:22. By giving the name to Christ, they poured upon him the greatest possible abuse and contempt.

{p} "The disciple is not" Luke 6:40; John 13:16; 15:20

Verse 25. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:24"

{q} "if they have called the master" John 8:48
{2} "Beel-Zebub" or "Beelzebul"

Verse 26. Fear them not, etc. He encouraged them by the assurance that God would protect them, and that their truth and innocence should yet be vindicated. It is probable that the declaration, "There is nothing covered," etc., was a proverb among the Jews. By it our Saviour meant, that their innocence, their principles, and their integrity, though then the world might not acknowledge them, in due time would be revealed; or God would vindicate them, and the universe would do them justice. They were, then, to be willing to be unknown, despised, persecuted, for a time, with the assurance that their true characters should yet be understood, and their sufferings appreciated.

{r} "for there is nothing" Mark 4:22; Luke 12:2,3; 1 Corinthians 4:5

Verse 27. What I tell you in darkness, etc. That is, in secret, in private, in confidence. The private instructions which I give you while with me, do you proclaim publicly, on the house top. The house top, the flat roof, was a public conspicuous place. See 2 Samuel 16:22. See Barnes "Matthew 9:2".

Verse 28. Them which kill the body. That is, men, who have no power to injure the soul, the immortal part. The body is a small matter, in comparison with the soul. Temporal death is a slight thing, compared with eternal death, he directs them, therefore, not to be alarmed at the prospect of temporal death; but to fear God, who can destroy both soul and body for ever. This passage proves that the bodies of the wicked will be raised up to be punished for ever.

In hell. See Barnes "Matthew 5:22".

{s} "And fear not" Isaiah 8:12,13; 51:7,12; 1 Peter 3:14

Verses 29-31. Are not two sparrows, etc. He encourages them not to fear by two striking considerations: first, that God took care of sparrows, the smallest and least valuable birds; and, secondly, by the fact, that God numbered even the very hairs of the head. The argument is, if he takes care of birds of the least value; if he regards so small a thing as the hair of the head, and numbers it, he will certainly protect and provide for you. You need not, therefore, fear what man can do to you.

Sparrows. Birds of very small kind and value, with a black throat, and brown temples. They were used for food among the Jews; and were an image of sorrow, solitude, and wretchedness. Psalms 102:7. "I am as a sparrow alone upon the house top."

Farthing. See Barnes "Matthew 5:26".

Without your Father. That is, God your Father guides and directs its fall. It falls only with his permission, and where he chooses.

{1} "farthing" "halfpenny farthing, a 10th part of the Roman penny"
Matthew 18:28

Verse 30. The hairs--are all numbered. That is, each one has exercised the care and attention of God. He has fixed the number; and though of small importance, yet he does not think it beneath him to determine how few, or how many, they shall be. He will, therefore, take care of you.

{t} "But the very hairs" Acts 27:34

Verse 31. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verses 32,33. Whosoever therefore shall confess me, etc. The same word, in the original, is translated confess and profess, 1 Timothy 6:12,13; 2 John 1:7; Romans 10:10. It means, to acknowledge the Lord Jesus Christ, and our dependence on him for salvation, and our attachment to him, in every proper manner. This profession may be made, in uniting with a church; at the communion; in conversation; and in conduct. The Scriptures mean, by a profession of religion, an exhibition of it in every circumstance of the life, and before all men. It is not merely in one act that we must do it, but in every act. We must be ashamed neither of the person, the character, the doctrines, nor the requirements of Christ. If we are; if we deny him in these things before men, or are unwilling to express our attachment to him in every way possible, then it is right that he should disown all connexion with us, or deny us, before God. And he will do it.

{u} "him will I confess" Revelation 3:5

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:32"

Verses 34-36. Think not that I am come, etc. This is taken from Micah 7:6. Christ did not here mean to say that the object of his coming was to produce discord and contention, for he was the Prince of peace, Isaiah 9:6; 11:6; Luke 2:14; but he means to say that such would be one of the effects of his coming. One part of a family that was opposed to him, would set themselves against those who believed in him. The wickedness of men, and not the religion of the gospel, is the cause of this hostility. It is unnecessary to say that no prophecy has been more strikingly fulfilled; and it will continue to be fulfilled, till all unite in obeying his commandments. Then his religion will produce universal peace.

But a sword. The sword is an instrument of death, and to send a sword is the same as to produce hostility and war.

{v} "whosoever" 2 Timothy 2:12
{w} "I cam not" Luke 12:49,55

Verse 35. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:34"

{x} "variance against" Micah 7:5,6

Verse 36. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:34"

{y} "And a man's foes" Psalms 41:9

Verse 37. He that loveth father or mother, etc. The meaning of this is clear. Christ must be loved supremely, or he is not loved at all. If we are not willing to give up all earthly possessions, and forsake all earthly friends; and if we do not obey him rather than all others, we have no true attachment to him.

Is not worthy of me. Is not fit to be regarded as a follower of me; or is not a Christian.

{z} "He that loveth" Luke 14:26

Verse 38. And he that taketh not his cross, etc. When persons were condemned to be crucified, a part of the sentence was, that they should carry the cross on which they were to die to the place of execution. Thus Christ carried his, till he fainted from fatigue and exhaustion. See Barnes "Matthew 27:31". The cross was usually composed of two rough beams of wood, united in the form of this figure. It was an instrument of death. See Barnes "Matthew 27:31,32". To carry it was burdensome, was disgraceful, was trying to the feelings, was an addition to the punishment. So, to carry the cross is a figurative expression, denoting that we must endure whatever is burdensome, or trying, or considered as disgraceful, in following Christ. It consists simply in doing our duty, let the world think of it or speak of it as they may. It does not consist in making trouble for ourselves, or doing things merely to be opposed; it is doing just what is required of us in the Scriptures, let it produce whatever shame, disgrace, or pain it may. This every follower of Jesus is required to do.

Verse 39. He that findeth his life, etc. The word life in this passage is used evidently in two senses. The meaning may be expressed thus: He that is anxious to save his temporal life, or his comfort and security here, shall lose eternal life; or shall fail of heaven. He that is willing to risk, or lose, his comfort and life here, for my sake, shall find life everlasting; or shall be saved. The manner of speaking is similar to that where he said, "Let the dead bury their dead."

{a} "He that findeth" Matthew 16:25

Verses 40-42. He that receiveth you, etc. In all these three illustrations Christ meant to teach substantially the same thing, that he that would entertain kindly, or treat with hospitality himself, his disciples, a prophet, or a righteous man, would show that he approved their character, and should not fail of proper reward. To receive in the name of a prophet, is to receive as a prophet; to do proper honour to his character; and to evince attachment to the cause in which he was engaged.

{b} "He that receiveth" Matthew 18:5; 25:40,45; John 12:44

Verse 41. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 10:40"

{c} "He that receiveth a" 1 Kings 17:10; Hebrews 6:10

Verse 42. These little ones. By these are clearly meant his disciples. They are called little ones, to denote their want of wealth, rank, learning, and whatever the world calls great. They were little in the estimation of the world, and in their own estimation. They were learners, not yet teachers; and they made no pretensions to what attracts the admiration of mankind.

A cup of cold water only. Few would refuse a cup of cold water to any man, if thirsty and weary; and yet few would give it to such an one because he was a Christian, or to express attachment to the Lord Jesus. In bestowing it on a man because he was a Christian, he would show love to the Saviour himself; in the other case, he would give it from mere sympathy, or kindness, evincing no regard for the Christian, the Christian's Master, or His cause. In one case, he would show that he loved the cause of religion; in the other, not.


(1.) From the narrative in this chapter, in connexion with that in Luke, we are permitted to see the Savior's habits in regard to prayer. An important event was before him; an event on which, humanly speaking, depended the whole success of his religion--the choice of those who should be his messengers to mankind. He felt its importance; and even the Son of God sought the place of prayer, and during the night watches asked the direction of his Father. His example shows that we, in great and trying circumstances, should seek particularly the direction of God.

(2.) We see the benevolence of the gospel, Matthew 10:7,8. The apostles were to confer the highest favours on mankind without reward. Like air, and sun-beams, and water--gifts of God--they are without price. The poor are welcome; the rich, unaided by their wealth, are welcome also; the wide world may freely come, and partake the rich blessings of the gospel of peace.

(3.) Ministers of the gospel, and all the followers of Jesus, should depend on the providence of God for support, and the supply of their wants, Matthew 10:9,10. He sent his apostles into a cold, unfriendly world, and he took care of them. So all that trust him shall not want. The righteous shall not be forsaken. The God who has in his hand all the pearls of the ocean, the gold in the heart of the earth, and the cattle on a thousand hills, and that feeds the raven when it cries, will hear the cries of his children, and supply their wants.

(4.) We see the duty of treating kindly the messengers of salvation, Matthew 10:11-13. Christ expected that in every city and town they would find some who would welcome them. He promised the reward of a prophet to those who should receive a prophet; and assured of his favour those who had nothing better to bestow than even a cup of cold water. The ministers of religion are sent to benefit the world. It is but right, that in that world they should be kindly received, and their wants supplied.

(5.) The guilt of rejecting the gospel, Matthew 10:14,15. It is not a small matter to reject an offer of heaven. A palace, a throne, a mine of gold, might be rejected; and, compared with rejecting the gospel, it would be a trifle. But life eternal is not like thrones, and gold, and temples. This lost, all is lost. The gospel rejected, all is gone. Nor hope, nor happiness, awaits him that hath spurned this offer. God requires every one to believe the gospel; and woe, woe, a greater woe than befell the guilty cities of the plain, to him who rejects it.

(6.) Judgment will certainly overtake the guilty, Matthew 10:15. It fell on Sodom, and it will fall on all transgressors. None shall escape. Damnation may slumber long over the wicked; and they may long mock the God of truth; but in due time their feet will slide, and all creation shall not be able to save them from woe. How dangerous, how awful is the condition of an impenitent sinner!

(7.) We are to take proper care of our lives, Matthew 10:23. The apostles were to flee from danger, when they could do it without denying their Lord. So are we. He that throws away his life, when it might have been, and ought to have been preserved, is a self-murderer. He that exposes himself when duty does not require it, and whose life pays the forfeit, goes before God "rushing unbid into his Maker's presence," nor can he be held guiltless.

(8.) We are to persevere in our duty, through all trials, Matthew 10:23. Neither the world, nor pain, poverty, persecution, nor death, is to appall us. He that endures to the end, shall be saved. We hate but one thing to do: to do the will of God; to be the Christian everywhere; and leave the event with him.

(9.) God exercises a particular providence, Matthew 10:29,30. He watches the falling sparrow, numbers the hairs of the head, and for the same reason presides over all other things. "The Lord reigneth," says the Psalmist, "let the earth rejoice," Psalms 97:1.

(10.) The duty of making a profession of religion, Matthew 10:32,33. It must be done in the proper way, or Christ will disown us in the day of judgment. It is impossible to neglect it, and have evidence of piety. If ashamed of him, he will be of us.

(11.) Religion is easy, and easily tested, Matthew 10:40-42. What more easy than to give a cup of water to a stranger; and what more easy than to know from what motive we do it! Yet how many are there who, while they would do the thing, would yet lose eternal life, rather than do it with a view of honouring Christ, or showing attachment to him! How dreadful is the opposition of the human heart to religion! How amazing that man will not do the slightest acts to secure an interest in the kingdom of God!

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 10". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


Dead links, typos, or HTML errors should be sent
Suggestions about making this resource more useful should be sent

   Powered by LightSpeed Technology

Copyright © 2001-2020,