Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
1. one, &c.--struck with either the matter or the manner of our Lord's
as John, &c.--From this reference to John, it is possible that
disciple had not heard the Sermon on the Mount. Nothing of John's
inner teaching (to his own disciples) has been preserved to us, but
we may be sure he never taught his disciples to say, "Our Father."
2-4. (See on
3. day by day, &c.--an extension of the petition in Matthew for
"this day's" supply, to every successive day's necessities. The
closing doxology, wanting here, is wanting also in all the best and most
ancient copies of Matthew's Gospel. Perhaps our Lord purposely left
that part open: and as the grand Jewish doxologies were ever
resounding, and passed immediately and naturally, in all their hallowed
familiarity into the Christian Church, probably this prayer was never
used in the Christian assemblies but in its present form, as we find it
in Matthew, while in Luke it has been allowed to stand as originally
5-8. at midnight . . . for a friend is come--The heat in warm countries
makes evening preferable to-day for travelling; but "midnight" is
everywhere a most unseasonable hour of call, and for that very
reason it is here selected.
7. Trouble me not--the trouble making him insensible both to the
urgency of the case and the claims of friendship.
I cannot--without exertion which he would not make.
8. importunity--The word is a strong one--"shamelessness"; persisting
in the face of all that seemed reasonable, and refusing to take a
as many, &c.--His reluctance once overcome, all the claims of
friendship and necessity are felt to the full. The sense is obvious: If
the churlish and self-indulgent--deaf both to friendship and
necessity--can after a positive refusal, be won over, by sheer
persistency, to do all that is needed, how much more may the same
determined perseverance in prayer be expected to prevail with Him whose
very nature is "rich unto all that call upon Him"
9-13. (See on
13. the Holy Spirit--in Matthew
"good gifts"; the former, the Gift of gifts descending on the Church
through Christ, and comprehending the latter.
REPLY--DEMAND OF A
14. dumb--blind also
20. the finger of God--"the Spirit of God"
the former figuratively denoting the power of God, the latter
the living Personal Agent in every exercise of it.
21, 22. strong man--meaning Satan.
armed--pointing to all the subtle and varied methods by which he
wields his dark power over men.
his palace--man whether viewed more largely or in individual
souls--how significant of what men are to Satan!
in peace--undisturbed, secure in his possession.
22. a stronger than he--Christ: Glorious title, in relation to
come upon him and overcome him--sublimely expressing the Redeemer's
approach, as the Seed of the woman, to bruise the Serpent's head.
taketh from him all his armour--"his panoply," "his complete armor."
Vain would be the victory, were not the means of regaining his lost
power wrested from him. It is this that completes the triumph and
ensures the final overthrow of his kingdom. The parable that immediately
is just the reverse of this. (See on
In the one case, Satan is dislodged by Christ, and so finds, in
all future assaults, the house preoccupied; in the other, he
merely goes out and comes in again, finding the house "EMPTY"
of any rival, and all ready to welcome him back. This explains the
important saying that comes in between the two parables
Neutrality in religion there is none. The absence of positive
attachment to Christ involves hostility to Him.
23. gathereth . . . scattereth--referring probably to gleaners. The
meaning seems to be, Whatever in religion is disconnected from Christ
comes to nothing.
27, 28. as he spake these things, a . . . woman of the
company--of the multitude, the crowd. A charming little incident
and profoundly instructive. With true womanly feeling, she envies the
mother of such a wonderful Teacher. Well, and higher and better than
she had said as much before her
(Lu 1:28, 42);
and our Lord is far from condemning it. He only holds up--as
"blessed rather"--the hearers and keepers of God's word; in
other words, the humblest real saint of God. (See on
Mt 12:49, 50.)
How utterly alien is this sentiment from the teaching of the Church of
Rome, which would excommunicate any one of its members who dared to
talk in the spirit of this glorious saying! (Also see on
29-32. (See on
33-36. (See on
Mt 6:22, 23.)
here is peculiarly vivid, expressing what pure, beautiful, broad
perceptions the clarity of the inward eye imparts.
DENUNCIATION OF THE
38. marvelled, &c.--(See
39-41. cup and platter--remarkable example of our Lord's way of drawing
the most striking illustrations of great truths from the most familiar
objects and incidents of life.
40. that which is without, &c.--that is, He to whom belongs the outer
life, and right to demand its subjection to Himself--is the inner man
41. give alms . . . and . . . all . . . clean--a principle of immense
value. As the greed of these hypocrites was one of the most prominent
features of their character
our Lord bids them exemplify the opposite character, and then their
outside, ruled by this, would be beautiful in the eye of God,
and their meals would be eaten with clean hands, though never so fouled
with the business of this worky world. (See
42. mint . . . rue, &c.--rounding on
which they interpreted rigidly. Our Lord purposely names the most
trifling products of the earth, as examples of what they punctiliously
exacted the tenth of.
judgment and the love of God--in
"judgment, mercy, and faith." The reference is to
whose third element of all acceptable religion, "walking humbly with
God," comprehends both "love" and "faith." (See on
Mr 12:32, 33).
The same tendency to merge greater duties
in less besets us still, but it is the characteristic of hypocrites.
these ought ye, &c.--There is no need for one set of duties to
jostle out another; but of the greater, our Lord says, "Ye
ought to have done" them; of the lesser, only "ye ought
not to leave them undone."
43. uppermost seats--(See on
44. appear not, &c.--As one might unconsciously walk over a grave
concealed from view, and thus contract ceremonial defilement, so the
plausible exterior of the Pharisees kept people from perceiving the
pollution they contracted from coming in contact with such corrupt
a different illustration from
46. burdens grievous, &c.--referring not so much to the irksomeness
of the legal rites (though they were irksome,
as to the heartless rigor with which they were enforced, and by men of
47, 48. ye build, &c.--Out of pretended respect and honor, they
repaired and beautified the sepulchres of the prophets, and with whining
hypocrisy said, "If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should
not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets," while
all the time they "were witnesses to themselves that they were the
children of them that killed the prophets"
(Mt 23:29, 30);
convicting themselves daily of as exact a resemblance in spirit and
character to the very classes over whose deeds they pretended to mourn,
as child to parent.
49-51. said the wisdom, &c.--a remarkable variation of the words in
"Behold I SEND." As there seems plainly an
allusion to ancient warnings of what God would do with so incorrigible
a people, so here Christ, stepping majestically into the place of God,
so to speak, says, "Now I am going to carry all that out." Could
this be other than the Lord of Israel in the flesh?
50. all . . . required of this generation--As it was
only in the last generation of them that "the iniquity of the Amorites
and then the abominations of ages were at once completely and awfully
avenged, so the iniquity of Israel was allowed to accumulate from age
to age till in that generation it came to the full, and the whole
collected vengeance of Heaven broke at once over its devoted head. In
the first French Revolution the same awful principle was exemplified,
and Christendom has not done with it yet.
prophets--in the New Testament sense
51. blood of Zacharias--Probably the allusion is not to any recent
murder, but to
as the last recorded and most suitable case for illustration.
And as Zacharias' last words were, "The Lord require it," so
they are warned that "of that generation it should be
52. key of knowledge--not the key to open knowledge, but
knowledge, the only key to open heaven. In
they are accused of shutting heaven; here of taking away the
key, which was worse. A right knowledge of God's Word is eternal
but this they took away from the people, substituting for it their
53, 54. Exceedingly vivid and affecting. They were stung to the
quick--and can we wonder?--yet had not materials for the charge they
were preparing against Him.
provoke him, &c.--"to harass Him with questions."