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thrown into the story, for the sake of keeping or making a con sistent narrative. It cannot be intended to teach that other christians should go and tell God what a brother had done; for God well knows all the actions of his children, and does not need us, surely, to inform him of what is done. It is abusing the bible, and departing from the design of parables to press every circumstance, and to endeavour to extract from it some spiritual meaning. Our Saviour, in this parable, designed most clearly to exhibit only one great truth-the duty of forgiving our brethren, and the great evil of not forgiving a brother when he offends us. The circumstances of the parable are intended only to make the story consistent with itself, and thus to impress the general truth more fully on the mind.
32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldst not thou also have had compassion on thy fellow-servant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
The word tormentors,' here probably means keepers of the prison. In the east, torments were inflicted on criminals, and sometimes even on debtors.
35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.
This contains the sum or moral of the parable, and the truth taught in it. When Christ has explained one of his own parables, we are to receive it just as he has explained it. From your hearts."' That is, not merely in words, but really and truly to feel and act towards him as if he had not offended us. "Trespasses.' Offences, injuries. Remarks and actions designed to do us wrong. Forgiveness must not be in word merely, but from the heart, ver. 35. No other can be genuine. No other is like that of God.
AND it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judea; beyond Jordan. 2 And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
See also Mark x. 1-12. 'Coasts of Judea beyond Jordan.' Probably our Saviour was then going from Galilee up to Jerusalem, to one of the great feasts of the Jews. Samaria was between Ga
lilee and Jerusalem; and, choosing not to go through it, he crossed the Jordan, and passed down on the east side of it, through Peræa, formerly a part of the tribes Reuben, Gad, and Manasseh. See the map.
3 The pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
"Tempting him. This means, to get him, if possible, to express an opinion that should involve him in difficulty. There was the more art in this captious question which they proposed, as at that time the people were very much divided on the subject. A part, following the opinions of Hillel, said that a man might divorce his wife for any offence, or any dislike he might have of her. Note, Matt. v. 31. Others, of the school of Shammai, maintained that divorce was unlawful, except in case of adultery. Whatever opinion, therefore, Christ expressed, they expected that he would involve himself in difficulty with one of their parties.
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning, made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
'And he answered and said,' &c. Instead of referring to the opinions of either party, Jesus called their attention to the original design of marriage, to the authority of Moses, an authority acknowledged by them both. Have ye not read,' Gen. i. 27; ii. 21, 22. And said, For this cause,' &c. Gen. ii. 24. That is, God at the beginning made but one man and one woman; their posterity should learn from this the intention of marriage, and that it was the original design that a man should have but one wife. 'Shall leave his father and mother.' This means, shall bind himself more strongly to his wife than he was bound to his parents. And shall cleave unto his wife. The word cleave' denotes a union of the firmest kind, so firmly to adhere that nothing can separate them. They twain shall be one flesh.' That is, they two, or that were two, shall be united as one-one in law, in feeling, interest, and affection. They shall no longer have separate interests, but shall act in all things as if they were one-animated by one soul and one wish. The argument of Jesus here is, since they are so intimately united as to be one, and since in the beginning God made but one woman for one man,
follows that they cannot be separated but by the authority of God. In this decision Christ showed consummate wisdom. He answered the question, not from Hillel or Shammai, their teachers, but from Moses; and thus defeated the malice of his enemies.
7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, suffered you to put away your wives but from the beginning it was not so.
See note, Matt. v. 31. Jesus admits that divorce was allowed; but still he contends that this was not the original design of marriage. It was only a temporary expedient, growing out of a peculiar state of things, and not designed to be perpetual. It was on account of the hardness of their hearts. Moses found the custom in use. In this state of things he did not deem it prudent to attempt to forbid a practice so universal; but instead of suffering the husband to divorce his wife in a passion, he required him, in order that he might take time to consider the matter, to give her a writing, to do it deliberately, and probably also to bring the case before some scribe or learned man, to write a divorce in the legal form. Thus doing, there might be an opportunity that the matter might be reconciled, and the man be persuaded not to divorce his wife. But at first it was not So. Hardness of your hearts.' He speaks here of his hearers as a part of the nation. The hardness of you Jews: the national hardness of heart, the cruelty of the Jewish people as a people.
9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away, doth commit adultery.
And I say unto you.' Emphasis should be laid here on the word 'I.' This was the opinion of Jesus-this he proclaimed to be the law of his kingdom-this the command of God ever afterwards. Indulgence had been given by the laws of Moses; but that indulgence was to cease, and the marriage relation to be brought back again to its original intention. Only one offence was to make divorce lawful. Legislatures have no right to say that men may put away their wives for any other cause; and where they do, and where there is marriage afterwards, by the law of God such marriages are adulterous.
10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
The disciples thought that the divorcing a wife when there was a quarrelsome disposition, or any thing else that rendered the marriage unhappy, was a great privilege.
11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
'This saying' evidently means what the disciples had just said, that it was good for a man not to marry. It might be good in certain circumstances, in times of persecution and trial, or for the sake of labouring in the cause of religion, without the care and burden of a family; but it was not given to all men, 1 Cor. vii. 1, 7, 9, 26.
12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Jesus proceeds to state that there were some who were able to receive that saying, and to remain in an unmarried state; and some who voluntarily abstained from marriage for the kingdom of heaven's sake—that is, that they might devote themselves entirely to the proper business of religion. In eastern countries, eunuchs rose often to distinction, and held important offices in the state, Acts viii. 27.
13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray : and the disciples rebuked them.
'Then were brought little children.' See also Mark x. 13-16. Luke xviii. 15-17. Luke says they were infants. They were those who were not old enough to come by choice, but their coming was an act of the parents. 'Put his hands on them and pray.' It was customary among the Jews, when blessings were sought by others in prayer, to lay the hands on the head of the person prayed for, implying a kind of consecration to God. See Gen. xlviii. 14. Matt. ix. 18. The disciples rebuked them.' That is, reproved them, or told them it was improper. They thought that it would be troublesome to their master.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
'Jesus said, Suffer little children,' &c. much displeased at what the disciples said.
Mark adds, he was
gratifying to him, and a case where it was very improper that they should interfere. Of such is the kingdom of heaven,' In Mark and Luke it is said he immediately added, 'Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, shall not enter therein.' Whosoever shall not be humble, unambitious, and docile, shall not be a true follower of Christ, or a member of his kingdom. Of such as these'-that is, of persons with such tempers as these is the church to be composed.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
Mark says he blessed them. That is, he pronounced or prayed for a blessing on them.
16 ¶ And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
This account is found also in Mark x. 17-31. Luke xviii. 1830. 'One came.' This was a young man, ver. 20. He was a ruler; (Luke;) probably a ruler in a synagogue, or of the great council of the nation. He came running, (Mark,) evincing great earnestness and anxiety. He fell upon his knees, (Mark,) to pay the customary respectful salutation; exhibiting the highest regard for Jesus as an extraordinary religious teacher. 'Good Master.' The word 'good' here means, doubtless, most excellent; referring not so much to the moral character of Jesus as to his character as a religious teacher. The word 'master' here means teacher. 'What good thing shall I do?" He had attempted to keep all the commandments. He had been taught by his Jewish teachers that men were to be saved by their works; and he supposed that this was to be the way under every system of religion. The happiness of heaven is called life, in opposition to the pains of hell, called death, or an eternal dying, Rev. ii. 2; xx. 14. The one is real life, answering the purposes of living-living to the honour of God, and in eternal happiness; the other is a failure of the great ends of existence-prolonged, eternal suffering-of which temporal death is but the feeble image.
17 And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. 'Why callest thou me good? Why do you give to me a title that belongs only to God? You suppose me to be only a man. Yet you give me an appellation that belongs only to God. The habit of using mere titles, and applying as compliments terms belonging only to God, is wrong. Christ did not intend here to disclaim divinity, but simply to reprove the intention and habit of the young man, a foolish habit of compliment and flattery.