Skip to main content

Full text of "A commentary on the New Testament;"

See other formats

IPrescnteO to 
ot tbc 

^nniveraiti? of ^Toronto 


Xabp falconer 

from tbe boofts of tbe late 

Sir IRobert falconer, m.c./iD.a,, 

IPccsiDcnt ct tbe mntverslts of 
Toronto, 1907*1932 

/( . 4. « p^-^JL^^'^^ 





Digitized by. tine Internet Arciiive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 











Professor GEORGE H. SCHODDE, Ph.D. 



with an introduction by 

Professor of Biblical Criticism in Auburn Theological Seminary 













Professor GEORGE H. SCHODDE, Ph.D. 





Professor of Biblical Crilicism in A uburn Theological Seminary 









[JPrinted in the United States of America] 

Published, April, 1906 



Introduction to the American Edition. . ii 
Introduction to the German Edition . . xiii 

Matthew 1 

Mark 252 


To a friend who happened in one morning while Dr. 
"Weiss was writing- upon this book and who remarked, 
" You seem tireless in your work upon the New Testa- 
ment," he replied, " The Church has a right to expect 
much from my years of study and teaching." The 
expectation of the Church has not been disappointed. 
Especially are such works as this and his " Religion of 
the Xew Testament " large satisfactions of that expecta- 
tion, in that they, in a way, sum up and embody all the 
results of many years of painstaking and successful 

There is no department of New Testament study 
which Dr. "Weiss has not made debtor to him. It is safe 
to say that no man has in his day exerted a wider influ- 
ence toward a sound, careful, fruitful study of the Scrip- 
tures than he. This is not simply because of his sane, 
independent, penetrating work, but also because in all 
this work he has ever been devout, and reverent. His 
interest in Biblical study has not been merely scientific, 
as is unfortunately the case with some of his German 
fellow-students. Scientific methods have been inspired 
and balanced Ijy sympathetic, vital interest. Intellectual 
insight has been refined and kept true by spiritual appre- 
ciation. It is not strange that he has been asked to take 
an even larger share in the successive editions of Meyer's 

One is impressed in working with him, by his earnest 
desire to get at the truth. All the force of critical acu- 
men, logical reasoning and warm sympathy are brought 
to bear upon the text l^efore him. He tries to see it not 
only in its own relations of grammar and thought, but in 
its relations also to the time and ch-cumstances in which 
it came to be and to the mind which produced it. He 



has studied all round his New Testament as well as 
through it. We are led to speak of all this because of 
the form in which the Commentary is here presented. 
Interpretative paraphrase or a parallel explanatory nar- 
rative (as in the Acts) is one of the most difficult forms 
of explication to carry out successfully. It seems simple 
because it gives only the results of exegesis. One has 
no chance to follow the processes of thought which lead 
to the determination of meanings of given words or to 
the establishing of connections of thought. All these 
must be left out of sight and the paraphrase or narrative 
must be framed so as to embody only the conclusions of 
study. Hence, only he who has labored over the Scrip- 
tures can fully appreciate what here appears. 

The close student of the New Testament will mark on 
every page the insight which has given form to certain 
statements, or has brought out subtle connections. Be- 
hind this smooth, onflowing comment, which, with sur- 
prising simplicity so constantly sets forth the meaning 
of the Scripture, he will see the years of thought and 
research which have been required in order to produce it. 
It is not, however, of so much moment that each one who 
uses this valuable work should be able to appreciate the 
work which it has cost. The prime consideration is 
rather that he should have in his hands an interpretation 
which, while charming in form and method, is highly 
trustworthy, because it is the outcome of the broadest 
and best scholarship. This is not to say, of course, that 
all interpretations will be accepted by all who read. An 
independent thinker cannot always command universal 
agreement, but independence is stimulative and where 
one does not agree with Dr. "Weiss, he must be able to 
give a good reason why he does not. He who has written 
a critical life of Christ, gone over with careful discussion 
the problems of New Testament Introduction, worked 
out with patient, painstaking exegesis a Biblical theology 


of the Now Testauieiit, and, as a basis for all this work, 
lias examined with minute criticism the text of the Greek 
itself, as well as written Commentaries on most of the 
New Testament l»ooks, is surely prepared to write such 
a Commentary as is now ottered by translation to English 
readers. The work makes appeal alike to students and 
to those, whose time for Biblical study being limited, 
wish to get at the full meaning of that which is their 
daily portion of Scripture. For this latter purpose the 
work is unique. 

When it was known to sttidents of the Xew Testa- 
ment, that the work of commenting on the Synoptic 
Gospels for the Expositor's Greek Testament had been 
given to Dr. Bruce (of Scotland) there was general re- 
joicing, for it was felt that into the pages of that Com- 
mentary would go all the stibstantial results of his many 
volumes upon those same Gospels. Such has been the 
case and the first voltime of that excellent Commentary 
is rich in those results. Here we have the restilts of the 
work of a greater scholar, who has spent over fifty j^ears 
in studying, teaching and writing upon the Xew Testa- 
ment. Everything he has touched he has illumined. 
Through all the battles of the schools he has kept a 
vigorotis faith. While independent he has not been ex- 
treme ; while scientific he has not forgotten that the 
Scriptures deal with the profotmd things of the heart ; 
while progressive, he has not been persuaded simply 
because something was new. He has brought otit of the 
Scripture treasure-hotise things new and old, and all that 
he has found lies eml )odied in this work of his latter days. 

The work is forttinate in having an excellent transla- 
tion. The translator is to be congratulated that he had 
a less cumbersome form of German to deal with than 
appears in some of Dr. Weiss's earlier books. 


Auburn, New York, Feb, 20, 1906. 



The New Testament is a collection of writings of the 
Apostolic age which the Church, from an early period 
read in the public service, in addition to the sacred 
writings of the Old Testament, and which was regarded, 
equally with the latter, as the word of God. That the 
sayings of Jesus were such a word of God was con- 
sidered a matter of course by the early Christians. 
But when the oral traditions of these sayings became 
uncertain and began to die out, those gospel writings 
began to be read in the public services, for in them the 
sayings of the Lord have been i)reserved most faithfully 
and completely, and in them, at the same time, the 
mighty deeds of the Lord, which had been done in con- 
nection with Jesus and by Jesus, were most reliably 
attested. In this way our four gospels constituted the 
fundamental part of the New Testament. To these was 
soon added the Acts, in which were recorded the doings 
and the nayings of the Apostles, whom Christ had se- 
lected as the preachers of His message of redemption 
and had safely guided their steps in the propagation 
of Christianity. The primitive Church possessed in 
addition to these a prophetic writing, which laid claim 
to be regarded as of equal value with the prophetic 
writings of the Old Testament. This was the Revela- 
tion of St. John. 

When later, in its struggle with false doctrines, the 
Church needed new weapons, the letters of the Spirit- 
anointed apostles were collected and made the authori- 
tative word of God in matters of faith and life, and as 



such read in the public services. Of this class of writ- 
ings the Church, toward the close of the second century, 
possessed thirteen letters of the Apostle Paul and the 
longer letters of Peter and John. At an early period 
the Epistle to the Hebrews was grouped with the Paul- 
ine Epistles, although the author does not mention his 
name, and for this reason opinions were divided as to 
its admission into the canon. The shorter letters of 
Peter and of John, as also the Epistles of James and 
of Jude, only gradually secured a fixed canonical posi- 
tion in the New Testament. To this must be added the 
fact that in different parts of the Church other equally 
revered writings of Christian antiquity were put into 
the same rank with the canonical books. The early 
Church lost the key to the understanding of the Reve- 
lation of John, so that it even became a matter of dis- 
cussion, whether this book should be received as part of 
the New Testament. But gradually these differences in 
reference to the books to be included in the New Testa- 
ment ended in a common agreement and our present 
twenty-seven books were universally accepted by the 
Church as canonical. Luther, however, departing from 
the older order, still places the Epistle to the Hebrews, 
the letters of James and of Jude and the Apocalypse, at 
the close of the New Testament, because of the doubts 
entertained by the early Church, which to him seemed 
to be not without some justification. 

An old tradition says, that the Apostle Matthew 
collected the Sayings of the Lord in the language of 
Palestine, which Jesus Himself spoke. This writing, 
as appears from internal evidence, confirmed by other 
authorities, seems to have been published about the year 
67 A. D., and at an early period was translated into the 
Greek, for the use of congregations speaking that 
language. Although our present first gospel is not a 
translation, but a book originally written in Greek, and 


although its contents are not confined to the words 
and the discourses of the Lord witli brief accounts 
of the circumstances that called them forth, but also 
contains a complete story of the life of Jesus, yet the 
primitive Church adhered to the conviction, that 
substantially they possessed in this gospel the older 
narrative of Matthew. ^lodern researches have also 
confirmed the opinion, that in this first gospel, the 
original writing, with the exception of some additions 
from oral tradition, is to be found, with the addition 
of numerous narratives, the entire historical framework 
being enlarged from that of our second gospel. This 
latter gospel, an equally old and trustworthy tradi- 
tion ascribes to Mark, the son of a Jerusalemite, 
who is reported to have made a record of what he heard 
Peter narrate concerning the life of Jesus and of His 
words. He was the first to attempt an account of 
Christ's life from the most divergent points of view and 
to give a consecutive narrative of the Passion. It is 
true that his gospel is not a purely historical book in 
our sense of the word. Tt was written with a tendency. 
Its purpose was to streng-then the faith in Jesus as 
the promised Mediator of redemption, by testifying of 
His words and deeds, in an age when, in consequence 
of the delay in the speedy reappearance of the Lord, 
men had begun to take offence at His death on the cross. 
The same is true, indeed, of the first gospel, which pre- 
supposes the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. This 
was written by a believing Jew, and was intended to 
prove to his x>Pople, scattered among the Gentile nations 
of Asia Minor, that the history of Jesus was throughout 
the fulfilment of Old Testament prophecies. If not- 
withstanding this Jesus did not bring about the con- 
summation of the redemption promised to Israel, this 
was not to be considered His fault, but that of the 
people who, misled by their leaders, had rejected Him, 


and thereby caused Jesus to send messengers of salva- 
tion to the Gentiles. 

One decade later the third gospel was written. The 
author expressly states, that its purpose was to con- 
firm the certainty of the doctrines in which the man, 
to whom it is dedicated, had been instructed and which 
we can readily recognize as Pauline in character. The 
author of this third gospel has, like the first Evangel- 
ist, joined the gospel of Mark with the old Matthew 
document, and has enriched both from an original tra- 
dition, which he probably derived from a later writing 
current in Judea. In this way it has happened that the 
first three gospels in our canon to a great extent have 
the same contents and often make reports in exactly the 
same manner. Nevertheless as each of them has a 
special object in view they give these common contents 
in different forms and connections. As a consequence, 
the life of eTcsus not only appears in each of these nar- 
ratives in a new light and a varied coloring, but the 
words of Jesus, also, are differently applied in harmony 
with the circumstances under which they are reported 
to have been spoken. We become acquainted with the 
reference of these not only to the hearers to whom they 
were addressed, but we also see their importance to men 
of the Apostolic age. Accordingly, the better we be- 
come acquainted with the peculiarities of each gospel, 
its structure and its tendency, so much the more do the 
contents which all possess in common, although in 
different forms of presentation, grow into a richer sig- 
nificance for us, to whom the gospels have been given 
in order that we may obtain such a clear idea of the life 
and words of Jesus as will produce in us the fruit of 
eternal life. 

This is true in the highest sense of our fourth gospel. 
In this book, the Apostle John, who in life stood near- 
est to his Lord, and, according to trustworthy tradi- 


tion, lived to the close of the tii-st ceutury, has trans- 
mitted to US a life of his Lord as it formed a living 
picture in his remembrance and had become the source 
of his own faith and life. It is not the ajmstle's pur- 
pose to furnish a comi)lete record of this life, for the 
older gospels, at the time when the fourth was written, 
were well known in the congreiiation of Asia Minor, of 
which John at Ephesus had the supervision. At a time 
when the imiiression left by Christ was already becom- 
ing impaired through the misconceptions of foreign 
speculations, it was the j)urpose of the Evangelist to 
show that in the historical life of Jesus upon earth the 
full revelation of God had been made and full salva- 
tion thereby given. It is only through this gospel of 
this last witness that we learn to understand com- 
pletely the development of the providential purpose in 
the life of Christ. It was this apostle who first opened 
up to us the deeper significance of the words of Jesus 
concerning His person and the object of His work. 

In the Acts of the Apostles we learn that the author 
of the third gospel was the Greek physician Luke, who 
had repeatedly accompanied the Apostle Paul on his 
journeys. In this second part of his book he has de- 
scribed how the gospel of the crucified and risen Lord, 
in accordance with the command of Jesus, had first 
been proclaimed in Jerusalem and how the first con- 
gregation had been founded at that place. He then i)ro- 
ceeds to show, in accordance with the spirit of his 
teacher Paul, that through a series of divine interpo- 
sitions and directions the preachers of the gospel gradu- 
ally turned from the unbelieving and stubborn Jews and 
offered salvation to the Gentiles. In this way his book, 
in its second part, becomes the history of that apostle, 
who had received from God the special command to 
preach the gospel to the Gentiles. Luke continues this 
development to that point where Paul, through evident- 


ly divine providence and deliverance arrives, although 
yet as a prisoner, in Borne. By his labors during two 
years he founded the Gentile-Christian congregation in 
this world-metropolis, afterwards the headquarters of 
the great Gentile Church on which the future of Christi- 
anity was to depend. 

Concerning the occasion and the date of the apostolic 
letters we have no definite reports. We are entirely 
dependent for their historical interpretation on the 
references that are made in these writings themselves. 
But this interpretation is necessary if we would un- 
derstand these Epistles, in their connection and in 
their peculiarity. It is certain, that, in accordance with 
the purposes of God, the testimony of the apostles con- 
cerning the facts of redemption and the way of salva- 
tion, has not been handed down to us in dogmatical 
form of presentation, but in such letters as were called 
forth by the different needs of the congregations to 
which they were addressed. They show us in living 
examples what the preaching of the gospel accom- 
plished in primitive Christianity, and how it was ap- 
plied by the apostles, amid prayers and labors, for the 
cultivation of a life of faith, for protection against 
errors as these appeared, and for cleansing, eliminating 
from the lives of the converted, the remnants of a for- 
mer life of sin. The better we in this way learn to un- 
derstand the apostolic testimony in the light of its his- 
torical ocasion, so much the better will the purposes of 
the Holy Scriptures, in so' far as these are contained in 
these letters, be fulfilled in us. For in our own day, 
although in different forms, the same needs recur which 
called forth these epistles. These can accordingly work 
in us the same development and improvement in Chris- 
tian faith and life which they effected at that time 
through the power of the Spirit that filled the apostles. 

Data for the understanding of the Pauline Epistles 


are abundantly furnished by the narrative of the jour- 
neys of Paul in the Acts ; and on this basis these letters 
can be assigned their place in his career. According to 
this source of information we conclude that the oldest 
of these letters are the two to the Thessalonians, which 
were written while Paul was still in Corinth, during 
his great evangelistic tour in Europe. In these Epistles 
we see the picture of a young congregation of Gentile 
Christians, who still stood in need of a strengthening 
of their spiritual life, and who were endangered from 
within by the calumnies circulated against their teach- 
ers by the unbelieving Jews, as well as from without, 
by the increasing persecution on the part of their heath- 
en neighbors. The fact that these things had produced 
false hopes of the return of Christ, furnishes the apos- 
tle with the occasion in both epistles to enter more 
fully upon the discussion of the second coming of the 
Lord, the circumstances of His return and the con- 
summation of salvation to be thus brought about. 
Chronologically the next letter is that to the Gala- 
tians, which was written soon after the apostle had 
transferred the headquarters of his activity to Ephesus. 
This letter, too, is addressed to congregations consist- 
ing of former Gentiles, who had been seriously per- 
plexed by the demands of the Jewish Christians, that 
they should secure for themselves the certainty of sal- 
vation by joining the Jews, i.e., through circumcision. 
The apostle demonstrates at length that the participa- 
tion in redemption is conditional solely on faith. This 
naturally includes the assumption that the believers 
will not abuse their freedom from the law in order to 
indulge the lusts of the flesh, but will suffer the Spirit 
which they have received, to work out a new life in 
them. Attacks made on him personally, including at- 
tempts to undermine his authority in the congrega- 
tion, induced him to show in detail that he had received 


his non-legal gospel through immediate revelation ; that 
this had been recognized by the original apostles, and 
that he had secured open recognition on a certain oc- 
casion even at the hands of Peter. 

Toward the close of his activity of three years in. 
Ephesus Paul wrote his first Epistle to the Corin- 
thians. The richly endowed congregation to which it 
was addressed exhibits all the strong and all the weak 
sides of the Greek people ; and the continuance of their 
close social intercourse with the Gentile neighbors 
brought it about, that the sins of the effeminate capital 
and commercial city of Greece became a snare for the 
believer. Throughout this letter the apostle bases his 
condemnation of these delinquencies, as also of the 
internal abuses that had crept into the Corinthian 
Church, and further, his decisions in such matters of 
dispute as had been submitted to his judgment, as well 
as his refutation of the doubts that had originated in 
the congregation, on the fundamental principles of 
Christian truth. This is especially the case in his judg- 
ment of a dispute concerning the merits of the different 
teachers who had labored in Corinth, a dispute which 
had actually split the congregation into several parties. 
This contest had been made more acute from the fact 
that recently certain Jewish-Christian teachers had 
arisen in the congregation, who, because they had been 
immediate pupils of Jesus, claimed a higher authority 
than that of Paul, who had become an apostle at a later 
period. Although the Epistle, which in many particu- 
lars is severe in tone, did not fail of its purpose, yet 
those Christ-pupils shrewdly made use of it for their 
own purpose, in order to undermine the authority of the 
apostle by a slighting opinion of his personality, and 
they in this way prepared the way for a form of heresy, 
which taught the necessity of a re-establishment of the 
law in the congregations of the Christians. This fact 


called forth the Second Epistle to the Corinthians, in 
which Paul sets forth the greatness of his Apostolic 
office and exposes with keen controversial skill the evil- 
minded agitation of those Christ-pupils. 

Paul discusses at considerable length the collection 
for the saints at Jerusalem, which he was at that time 
engaged in raising amongst the congregations of ]\Iace- 
donia. He had departed from Ephesus, and, after en- 
countering dangerous persecutions in Asia Minor, and 
suffering profound anxiety in regard to the effects of 
his first sharp Epistle, had reached Macedonia, where 
Titus brought him favorable tidings of the Corinthian 
congregation. The fact that he goes from there to 
Corinth, where he remains during the winter months, 
shows that he had succeeded through his second Epistle 
in removing the abuses existing in that congregation. 
It was his purpose, as soon as navigation opened in the 
spring, to make a journey to Jerusalem, in order to de- 
liver there the collection which he had gathered among 
his Gentile congregations, and then proceed to Spain. 
There, in the far west, it was his purpose to seek a new 
field of labor, since he considered his main task in the 
Orient as finished. The way to Spain led through 
Rome. Here a congregation had already been founded, 
since the news of the gospel, through the constant in- 
tercourse between the Jews of Rome and of their 
mother country, had reached this city at an early time 
and had won many to the faith. The violent conten- 
tions carried on by the Jews who did not accept the new 
faith with those who accepted Jesus as the Messiah, had 
caused the Emperor Claudius to expel all the Jews 
from Rome. In this way it happened that the new con- 
gregation, which had gradually been reconstituted 
there, consisted chieflj' of converts from the Gentiles, 
converted through the ministrations of Paul or of his 
pupils, who kept themselves strictly separated from the 


synagogue. The apostle had long since recognized 
the great importance which this congregation in the 
world metropolis would necessarily have in the develop- 
ment of Christianity. He had repeatedly intended to 
pay a visit to the Boman Christians, and as he now had 
an opportunity to do so, he writes to them from 
Corinth, or from its harbor city, announcing his forth- 
coming visit. 

The ancient Church has placed this Epistle, as the 
most important one, at the head of the collection of 
Pauline letters. For the apostle, who did not know if 
God would give him grace to carry out his far- 
reaching plans, made use of this opportunity to place 
into the hands of this congregation an exposition of 
his doctrine of salvation, which for all times was to put 
an end to the objection raised by the Jewish Christians, 
such as he had been compelled to combat in Galatia 
and in Corinth. He shows that the gospel which he 
has been proclaiming among the Gentiles is only the 
fulfilment of the promises made to Israel; that his 
doctrine of justification, which is granted as a gift of 
grace to the believers, is grounded on the teachings of 
the Old Testament ; and that the new life involving free- 
dom from the law, and based on the bestowal of the 
Spirit in baptism, brings with it the fulfilment of the 
divine will which the law as such could never effect. . He 
proves that the present obduracy of Israel was their 
own fault, yet he does not exclude a sure hope, that at 
some time, when the fulness of the Gentiles has en- 
tered in, God will also find ways to realize His purpose 
of redemption towards His people also. To these exp6- 
sitions the apostle further adds general exhortations 
as well as such of a special nature which were called 
forth by the needs of the congregation in Rome. 

The Acts tell us that Paul on the occasion of his visit 
to Jerusalem was delivered from the fanatical hatred 


of the Jews by the Roman authorities and imprisoned 
in Caesarea. While a prisoner at this place he received 
certain information concerning the Phrygian congre- 
gations that had been founded by one of his pupils, but 
to whom he was not personally known. In these con- 
gregations confusion had been caused by the followers 
of Jewish theosophy, who taught that the simple Chris- 
tian faith was not sufficient for redemption, but that 
Christians must make themselves worthy of this re- 
demption by centering their hearts on the mysteries 
of the heavenly world. This induced the apostle to 
write his letter to the Colossians, in which he shows 
that in Christ, the only divine Mediator of redemption, 
the whole mystery of God is revealed, and that it is by 
the simple fulfilment of all natural duties that Chris- 
tian life exhibits itself in the best way. The bearer of 
this letter took with him also a letter written by Paul's 
own hand to a man at Colossae named Philemon, which 
epistle from earliest antiquity has been classed with 
such other Epistles of Paul as were written to his per- 
sonal pupils. It contains an intimation that the apos- 
tle is sending a slave, who had run away from Phile- 
mon, but had been converted by Paul. This short 
private letter contains in words deeply afifectionate the 
whole solution of the endless slavery question, so im- 
portant and so difficult of solution to the primitive 
Christians. But the bearer of this letter was directed 
to go still farther and to visit the congregations in 
Western Asia Minor and bring them a letter of the 
apostle, which in the majority of manuscripts is called 
the Epistle to the Ephesians. This letter exhorts the 
Gentile Christians in these regions to preserve peace 
with the Jewish-Christian congregations side by side 
with whom they live, and to prove their Christianity by 
abstaining from all heathen sins and fulfilling all the 
duties of human life. 


We know from the Acts of theApostles that Paul was 
compelled while in Csesarea to appeal to Caesar, and as 
a consequence was carried a prisoner to Rome. While 
imprisoned here he wrote the Epistle to the Philip- 
pians. The occasion of this writing was the fact that 
the Philippians, as they had frequently done before, 
sent assistance to the apostle in Rome also, in order to 
make it easier for him to support himself. The apostle 
knows no better way of expressing his thanks than by 
giving them assuring information concerning the state 
of the gospel cause, which they considered seriously 
endangered through his captivity. He also informs 
them of his personal welfare. He tells them that it is in 
their power to increase and to participate in the joy 
with which he was constantly filled, if only they will 
heed his admonitions. For which purpose he expounds 
to them, what genuine Christian joy is. Two years the 
apostle was kept a prisoner in Rome, but after his re- 
lease he did not, as far as we know, go to Spain, but 
returned to his former fields of mission activity. To 
these he was recalled by manifold dangers that threat- 
ened his congregations there. This is evident from the 
testimony of those letters of his, still extant, which are 
known as the Pastoral Epistles. 

The Epistle to Titus shows that Paul took his jour- 
ney from Rome by way of Crete, where he left this 
pupil with orders to adjust a number of local diflScult- 
ies. He was first of all to counteract certain doctrinal 
heresies that had sprung up, and for this purpose to 
give the congregations a firmer organization by the 
appointment of elders, who were, if possible, to devote 
themselves also to doctrinal instruction. But up to the 
time of his recall, which, the apostle informs him, was 
imminent, Titus was also to devote himself to special 
pastoral work, for which Paul gives him the necessary 
directions. First of all the apostle returns to Ephesus, 


the headquarters of his work in Western Asia Minor. 
But he was compelled earlier than he desired to make a 
journey to Macedonia, and accordingly, as we learn 
from the first Epistle to Timothy, he left his beloved 
pupil behind as his substitute. Here he was called 
upon to controvert the same doctrinal heresies as he 
had found in Crete, and to regulate many matters in 
reference to the public services and the organization of 
the congregations. Until his return, Timothy, whom 
Paul had warned against unfruitful ascetic practices, 
was to act in the capacity of the apostle's full represen- 
tative, especially in reference to the discipline and to 
the appointment of presbyters. In the meanwhile the 
apostle had begun to doubt whether he could be able to 
return as soon as he had expected. As a matter of fact 
he did not return at all, but was imprisoned anew and 
taken to Rome. From here Paul writes his second 
Epistle to Timothy, who had been deeply grieved at the 
misfortune of his teacher. The apostle most strenu- 
ously exhorts him to resume his activity in Ephesus 
with all zeal, and to secure the co-operation of men who 
would be able to assist him in the constantly increasing 
confusion of heresies, which in the future would flourish 
still more, as in a productive soil. He directs Timothy 
to come to him in Rome and describes his solitary con- 
dition there. But as he does not know if his friend will 
still find him among the living he leaves for him in this 
letter his testament, the admonitions of which close 
with a reference to the joy with which the writer him- 
self looks forward to his approaching death as a martyr. 
The ancient Church added to these letters as the four- 
teenth of the Pauline Epistles, the Epistle to the 
Hebrews, the author of which does not mention his 
name but was considered by many to have been Paul. 
But a well attested tradition declares that the writer 
was not Paul but one who had been a companion of 


Paul for many years, namely Barnabas of Cyprus, 
a member of the first Christian congregation. The 
Alexandrian education of the writer as well as his 
rhetorical and brilliant style show that the apostle 
was not the author, for the latter among other things 
calls himself at times a pupil of the original apostles. 
He writes to the Christians in Palestine at a time when 
the cultus communion which .they had so assiduously 
cultivated with the non-believing Israelites for the 
cause of mission work, had become a great danger to 
the Christians themselves. It was the period when the 
Jewish insurrection against Rome was in preparation, 
and the nation was trying, through their own exertions, 
to secure the deliverance from the Roman yoke which 
they had expected from the Messiah. The delay in the 
return of Christ, once so anxiously expected in the near 
future, as also the increasing violence of their per- 
secution by their own people, had suggested the thought 
to many Jewish Christians, that they should become 
reconciled with the former by discarding their faith 
in the Messiah, which had seemingly turned out to be 
a disappointment, and should seek a satisfaction for 
their religious needs in the old sanctuaries, for the 
preservation of which the last struggle was now about 
to be made. Over against these ideas the author shows, 
that with the appearance of Christ as the perfect High- 
priest and with His sacrifice on Mount Cavalry the Le- 
vitical priesthood together with its sacrifices, which had 
been only types of Christ's sacrifice, had been done 
away with and the New Covenant, promised by the 
prophets, established. He depicts this discarding of 
the faith in the Messiah with powerful words of threat- 
ening, as the falling away from the true God, as a sin 
that can no longer be forgiven, and exhorts his readers 
to a determined separation from all social or religious 
fellowship with a nation hardened in their unbelief. 


At the head of the seven non-Pauline letters the 
Eastern Church has placed the Epistle of James, be- 
cause this so-called brother of the Lord in later times 
was the highly revered head of the first congregation 
in Jerusalem and therefore enjoyed the greatest au- 
thority there. The letter is addressed to the believers 
of the Jewish Diaspora and was written at a very early 
time, when the Christians still lived in the closest re- 
ligious and social relations with the unbelieving por- 
tions of the people. As the gospel had found its adher- 
ents chiefly among the lower classes, the wealthy Jews, 
who from early times had oppressed many of the con- 
verts, had at this period come to the conclusion that 
they might treat them with unbridled contumely. The. 
believers, on their part, made every exertion to convert 
the unbelievers through conversations and disputes, but 
their impassioned zeal only rendered the latter more ob- 
durate. The author ascribes this failure to the secret 
envy with which the believers contemplated the ex- 
ternal prosperity of their unbelieving neighbors, and 
exhorts his readers that it were better they should, 
through patience in suffering and through active proof 
of their Christianity, give testimony of their faith, if 
they were anxious to attain any real success. The 
region in which the recipients of this letter are to be 
located is not plainly designated; but the author is so 
thoroughly informed as to the circumstances of those 
he addresses, that we suppose them to have dwelt some- 
where in the neighborhood of Palestine. But he cer- 
tainly presupposes that conditions would be sub- 
stantly identical wherever Jews lived scattered among 
Gentiles. It is noteworthy that in this Epistle James 
repeatedly addresses himself directly to the unbelieving 
Israelites, in the hope that a word from him, whom 
they also so highly esteemed, would find the way into 


their hearts, if ever they should learn of this letter 
sent to his brethren in the faith. 

Rome and the Western Church placed at the head of 
the so-called Catholic Epistles the first Epistle of Peter, 
which seems to have been known to James. It is evi- 
dently addressed to believing Jews of the Diaspora, 
probably to those of Asia Minor, and accordingly must 
have been written before the time when the Church of 
that region, through the activity of Paul extending 
from Ephesus, had become preponderatingly formed of 
Gentile Christians. It is indeed true that in recent 
times many have claimed that both of these letters be- 
long to a much later period, especially by those who 
in the Epistle of James detect and condemn a certain 
misconception of the doctrine of Paul and find in the 
Epistle of Peter that the author has made use of the 
Pauline. Other arguments for a late period are based 
on the fact that the former Epistle was regarded 
as addressed to all Christians while the congregations 
to which the latter Epistle was sent were actually 
Pauline. But this is contradicted by the addresses 
found in the two Epistles, which the ancient Church 
never understood in any other sense than we do, while 
it is a fact that the contents can be intelligently under- 
stood only on our presuppositions. The Epistle of 
Peter at once transports us into the state of affairs 
prevailing among the Jews of the Diaspora, who while 
they lived scattered among the heathen, kept them- 
selves distinct from these in the external forms of wor- 
ship, although to a large extent they gave themselves up 
to an immoral life. And when these became converts 
to the gospel they were compelled not only to endure 
the hatred of their unbelieving fellow-countrymen, who 
marked them as the followers of a crucified criminal, 
and slandered them, claiming that they were seeking to 
shake oflf the restraint of divine law, but found even 


the Gentiles inclined to cast suspicion upon their 
former companions in sin, whom they now saw lead- 
ing a strict life, separated from the others and de- 
voted to piety, and charged them with seeking merely to 
cover over their former evil deeds. For this reason the 
apostle begins with an exposition of the glorious hope 
which has been given them through the gospel, and in 
which tribulation serves only as an occasion for attest- 
ing their faith. He shows how their hope must urge 
them on to holy conversation in godliness and brotherly 
love, and that only through the gospel of Christ can 
they become the people of God in the full sense of the 
word, as it is their calling to be. The calumnies of their 
heathen neighbors they are to refute by a submission to 
all human order, in the government, in the family and 
in the married estate, and thereby prove a blessing to 
these. But the congregation as such should regard it 
as an honor to be abused by their neighbors for Christ's 
sake, and under the fostering care of their elders they 
should grow into a Christian life that would withstand 
all the temptations of the Devil, and therein be sure of 
the gracious strengthening by their God. As the con- 
gregations to whom this letter was addressed had not 
been founded by apostles, but had sprung into existence 
through the unintentional propaganda carried on 
through the intercourse of converted Palestinians with 
those of the Diaspora, the apostle seizes the oppor- 
tunity of confirming to them the message of redemption 
that had been preached to them. For this reason the 
admonitions of the letter are everywhere saturated with 
the most vigorous attestation of the facts of redemption. 
The Epistle of Jude belongs to a much later period. 
The author is a brother of the James mentioned above. 
The letter of Jude is directed against those who, claim- 
ing to be the real spiritual Christians, thought them- 
selves free from the ordinary demands of Christian 


morality, and to these the author, in prophetic sayings 
such as were current among the Jewish Christians, pro- 
claims their condemnation. What kind of people these 
were we learn more accurately from the second Epistle 
of Peter. For with manifest reference to the descrip- 
tion given in the Epistle of Jude, they are here de- 
scribed as those who, misinterpreting the liberty of the 
Christians as taught by the apostle Paul, abused it as 
an excuse for a fleshly license, which they deemed inde- 
pendent of all the commandments of God. From this 
it is clear that it was in Paulinian congregations that 
these errors had arisen. If, however, the readers of 
this are addressed in the same tone as were those of 
the first Epistle, it is evident that the letter belongs to 
a period in which the Jewish Christian congregations 
of Asia Minor, through the comprehensive success of 
Paul's missionary activity among the Gentiles, had 
become leavened by a preponderating Gentile element. 
Peter, exactly as he does in the first Epistle, em- 
phasizes Christian hope as the most powerful motive to 
a virtuous Christian life ; and he sees the greatest dan- 
ger in the false ideas of Christian liberty, as shown by 
the way in which Christians already had begun to com- 
plain of delay in that return of Christ, with which the 
fulfilment of redemption was to arrive. There was 
reason to fear, that if the whole generation, within 
which this return was assuredly expected, were to pass 
away, then the hope of a return of Christ would be de- 
rided as an empty notion. If in this way the last pre- 
ventive of licentiousness had disappeared, then this 
false doctrine would of a necessity develop into a 
formal heresy, which would become of the greatest at- 
tractiveness to the congregation. For this reason there 
is found in conjunction with the earnest admonitions 
and warnings of the letter instructions showing how 


this seeming delay in the return of Christ is to be ex- 

Still later, in the last years of the first century, the 
first Epistle of John was written, probably not long be- 
fore the Fourth gospel. This letter is addressed to the 
congregations of Western Asia Minor, of which the 
apostle had the pastoral oversight. It is true that 
those teachers of a false liberty already mentioned had 
been excluded from these congregations, as also certain 
heretical teachers who substituted for the historical 
Jesus a fantastic image of a heavenly Christ, in 
whom John sees the expected Anti-Christ, who is to 
come immediately before the return of Christ to judg- 
ment. But the readers of this letter, too, were in danger 
of a mistaken conception of the Pauline doctrine of 
justification, which, in the consciousness of the fulness 
of grace given through faith, overlooked the fact that 
this experience of faith must yet be followed by a justi- 
fication of the new life, the centre of which for the 
apostle, as for his Master, was everywhere to be found 
in love. He, accordingly, shows, that without the ful- 
filment of the law of love, as of the law of faith, no one 
can be certain that he is in the state of grace ; but that 
rather the failure to develop a practical Christian life 
demonstrates that all talk of being in the state of 
grace is purely self-deception or falsehood. The second 
Epistle of John, which is addressed to a single congre- 
gation, must have been written earlier than the first, 
for it represents this congregation as still engaged in 
a struggle with the heresy concerning the Anti-Christ. 
The third is purely a private letter, in which John in- 
forms a member of the congregation of the existence 
of this letter and explains why he did not transmit this 
letter to the officials of the congregation. At the same 
time he recommends to him some missionaries who are 
travelling through those regions. 


The Apocalypse of John most accurately character- 
izes the age that produced it. For the first time the 
horrible deeds of Nero have made the Roman Empire 
appear as the real instrument of devilish enmity to- 
wards Christ. With the accession of the new Emperor 
a momentary period of quiet has come; but it is the 
stillness before the storm, in which the spirit of Anti- 
Christ is preparing for its last struggle against Christi- 
anity. In the seven congregations of Western Asia 
Minor, to which the apostle, who has but recently come 
upon this field of labor, has especially dedicated his 
book. Christian life is already on the decline and even 
avowed prophets of the false doctrine of Christian lib- 
erty are tolerated. In seven visions, which the seer 
receives on the island of Patmos, is depicted with ever- 
increasing clearness the blessed final development of 
the kingdom of God, but in connection therewith also 
the terrible judgments of God that will precede it, 
which are intended to call the world to repentance, 
and the terrible struggles are revealed, which the be- 
liever must undergo before an end comes to the 
Roman Empire and its persecutions. The apostle de- 
picts all these things with the brilliant coloring of Old 
Testament prophecy and weaves into this prophecy the 
most impressive exhortations and the most consolatory 



J^ ^The book of the ^ generation of Jesus Christ, the son of 
David, the son of Abraham. 
(2) Abraham begat Isaac ; and Isaac begat Jacob ; and 
Jacob begat Judah and his brethren ; (3) and Judah begat 

* Or, The genealogy of Jesus Christ. * Or, hirth as in ver. 18. 

The gospel begins with a genealogy of Jesus, who, 
because he was the promised Messiah, is called Jesus 
Christ. It is called the book of His generation, as it 
shows that according to His human origin, He was, as 
had been predicted concerning the promised Saviour, a 
Son of David and a Son of Abraham. The genealogy 
accordingly starts from Abraham and makes mention 
first of the three Patriarchs, from whom Judah and his 
brethren, i. e., the ancestors of the twelve tribes, de- 
scended, to whom the Messiah had been promised. Only 
the first-born continue the generation of the fathers, since 
together with the full inheritance the possession of the 
promise passes over to them. But in connection with the 
sons of Judah it is necessary to recall the fact, that only 
through a special intervention on the part of God, ac- 
cording to Gen. xxxviii. 27 sqq., Perez had attained to 
the distinction of first-born and had thereby become an 
ancestor of the Messiah. But it is also mentioned that 
his mother's name was Tamar, because she, as also 



Perez and Zerah of Tamar ; and Perez begat Hezron ; and 
Hezron begat * Ram ; (4) and ^ Ram begat Amminadab ; and 
Amminadab begat Nahshon ; and Nahshon begat Salmon ; (5) 
and Salmon begat Boaz of Rahab ; and Boaz begat Obed of 
Ruth; ani Obed begat Jesse ; (6) and Jesse begat David the 

And David begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of 
Uriah ; (7) and Solomon begat Rehoboam ; and Rehoboam 
begat Abijah ; and Abi jah begat ^ Asa ; (8) and ^ Asa begat 
Jehoshaphat ; and Jehoshaphat begat Joram ; and Joram be- 
gat Uzziah ; (9) and Uzziah begat Jotham ; and Jotham begat 
Ahaz ; and Ahaz begat Hezekiah ; (10) and Hezekiah begat 

* Gr. Aram. ' Or. Asaph. 

three other women mentioned later, Rahab, Ruth and 
Bathsheba (the wife of Uriah), in an extraordinary- 
manner became an ancestral mother of the Messiah. 
The fact that in the case of several of these a moral 
stigma was attached to their memoryj is not important 
in connection with this matter, since God's dealings are 
not conditioned on the merit or worthiness of man. In 
all cases these women appear to the Evangelist as models 
4 of Mary, who became the mother of the Messiah only 
through a special divine miracle. Then follows the 
series of the first-born, as these are also recorded in 
Ruth iv. 18-22, down to David ; concerning him it is 
particularly emphasized, that he was the king, since the 
prediction that the Messiah was to be the Son of David 
has its significance in the very fact that He, as the suc- 
cessor of David upon His father's throne, would at some 
future time restore to the people all the divine blessings 

6 of David's rule. Then follows a series of kings from 

7 the descendants of David, since the royal rule descended 
in the order of the first-born, as this series is given also 

8 in 1 Chron. iii. 10-14. But in the book of which the 
Evangelist made use, through a very natural confusion 
of names, the three families, of Ahaziah, Joash and 

9 Amaziah, must have been omitted before the name of 


MATTHEW I, 11-17 

Manasseh ; and Manasseh begat ^ Amon ; and * Amon begat 
Josiah ; (11) and Josiah begat Jeohoniah and his brethren, at 
the time of the ^ carrying away to Babylon. 

(12) And after the 2 carrying away to Babylon, Jeohoniah 
begat 'Shealtiel; and *Shealtiel begat Zerubbabel ; (13) and 
Zerubbabel begat Abiud ; and Abiud begat Eliakim ; and 
Eliakim begat Azor ; (14) and Azor begat Sadoc ; and Sadoc 
begat Aohim ; and Achim begat Eliud ; (15) and Eliud begat 
Eleazar ; and Eleazar begat Matthan ; and Matthan begat 
Jacob ; (16) and Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of 
whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

(17) So all the generations from Abraham unto David are 

* Qr. Amos. * Or, revMyvaX to Babylon. • Gr. Salathiel. 

Uzziah. Since, as we will see, it was not the purpose 11 
of the Evangelist to mention the individual names but 
to give the succession, the list closes with the state- 
ment, that Josiah begat Jeohoniah, although the latter 
was not the immediate son of the former, but was his 
grandson, and son of Jehoiakim. For the first genera- 
tion after Josiah was represented by Zedekiah, who was 
carried to Babylon in exile, which banishment Jeohoniah 
and not Jehoiakim shared. Therefore they were called 
the brothers of Jeohoniah, although they were really 
his uncles. With the exception of Zerubbabel, the son 12 
of Salathiel (Ezra iii. 2), none of the descendants of 15 
Jeohoniah who was begotten after the exile is men- 
tioned in the Old Testament. The series of generations 16 
closes with Joseph the son of Jacob, who however is 
not said to have been the father of Jesus but only the 
husband of Mary, of whom Jesus, who is called the 
Christ, was born. This already indicates that Mary 
became the mother of the Messiah only through a 
special divine providence, which mystery was not to be 
made .clear until later on. But as she was the legiti- 
mate wife of Joseph, her son is rightfully the heir to 
the throne of David. In conclusion, the Evangelist 17 
draws attention to the fact, that from Abraham to 


I, 18] W^IIjSS'S commentabt 

fourteen generations; and from David unto the * carrying 
away to Babylon fourteen generations ; and from the ^ carry- 
ing away to Babylon unto the Christ fourteen generations. 

(18) Now the * birth «of Jesus Christ was on this wise: 
When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before 
they came together she was found with child of the Holy 

* Or, removal to Babylon. * Or, generation : as in ver. 1. 

' Some ancient authorities read of the Christ. 

David, and including the latter, fourteen generations 
have succceeded each other; and that again fourteen 
generations followed to the time of the Babylonian cap- 
tivity, i.e., from Solomon to the immediate sons of Josiah. 
In this equality of numbers the Evangelist sees the 
systematic plan of divine providence in the history of 
the house of David, which after the same number of 
generations from the time of Abraham was elevated to 
the royal throne, as were the generations after Solomon, 
which preceded the downfall of that throne. In this he 
saw a prophetic intimation that after the same number 
of generations the promised restoration of the kingdom 
of David should be accomplished through the Messiah. 
But as Jesus is this fourteenth descendant after Jecho- 
niah, the Evangelist discerns in this fact a proof that 
Jesus, in accordance with the divine counsel, is to be the 
Messiah. He lacks nothing of those characteristics 
which should induce His people to recognize in Him the 
promised Son of David and the Messianic King. But 
that this is one of the fundamental ideas of this gospel 
will become clearer at every step. It is, however, inti- 
mated at the close of this genealogy that Jesus is not 
the bodily son of Joseph. That He is, however, the 
legitimate heir of the royal house of David, is now 
proved from the history of the birth of Jesus. 
18 The account begins by mentioning the fact, that 
already in the time when Mary was the betrothed of 
Joseph and before they had begun to live together, it 
became manifest that she was pregnant. Here the 


MA TTIIEW [I, 19-31 

Spirit. (19) And Josepli her husband, being a righteous man, 
and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to 
put her away privily. (20) But when he thought on these 
things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a 
dream, saying, Josepli, thou son of David, fear not to take 
unto tliee Mary thy wife : for that which is ^ conceived in her 
is of tlie Holy Spirit. (31) And she shall bring forth a son ; 

^ Gr. begotten. 

Evangelist, in order to avoid all misinterpretation, 
states that she came into this condition as the result of 
a creative operation of God, which, as proceeding from 
God, is called Holy Spirit. On the other hand, we are 19 
informed of the thoughts that this fact awakened 
in the mind of Joseph, who, because the betrothal was 
legally considered as binding, is called her husband, as 
Mary is later on called his wife. As he, however, was 
able to explain her pregnancy only as the result of 
serious moral delinquency, it was not lawful for him as 
a righteous man to take the fallen one to wife. On the 
other hand, he did not wish through a letter of divorce- 
ment publicly to disgrace her whom he had learned to 
love, and he accordingly decided, by a tacit understand- 
ing and without public legal proceedings, to dismiss 
her. But the angel of the Lord, who explains to Joseph 20 
the real cause of Mary's pregnancy and thereby re- 
moves the objection to the marriage, addresses him in 
explicit terms as the son of David, because for this 
very reason he is to be induced to take Mary to wife, in 
order that his son thereby might become, in the eyes 
of the world, the legitimate son of a descendant of 
David. For such an one lie must be, since His name 21 
Jesus (i. e., Jehovah is deliverance), which Joseph in 
accordance with the divine command is to give the 
child, itself indicates that He is to be the promised 
Redeemer, who is to bring deliverance and salvation to 
His people, who had on account of their sins been 



and thou shalt call his name Jesus ; for it is he that shall save 
his people from their sins. (22) Now all this is come to pass, 
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord 
through the prophet, saying, 
(23) * Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall 
bring forth a son", 
And they shall call his name ^ Immanuel ; 
which is, being interpreted, God with us. (24) And Joseph 

* Is. vii.l4 . * Qr. Emmanuel. 

condemned. In His capacity as the Messiah, however, 
He could not have been the bodily son of Joseph, since 
in accordance with the express statement of Is. vii. 14, 
the promised Immanuel, in whom God Himself was to 

22 come to His people, was to be born of a virgin. In 

23 exactly the manner in which the Evangelist shows 
throughout the whole gospel, that Jesus in all His 
doings and experiences corresponds throughout to 
the promises of the Scriptures concerning the Mes- 
siah, he states that the angel on this occasion already 
points to the fact, that through this wonderfully efifected 
pregnancy of Mary the divine covenant that had been 
proclaimed by the prophet, was being fulfilled, so that 

24 in her son the Messiah could be recognized. And when 
Joseph, in accordance with the divine injunction, takes 
Mary to wife, this is not done, as the Evangelist ex- 
pressly states, in order to begin marital life with her 
at once, but that the son who would be born of her, 
and who by divine command was to be called Jesus, 
and thereby was designated as the expected Saviour, 
might be born in the house of Joseph, the descendant 
of David, and thereby might become his legal son. 
Therefore it would be proved from the genealogy 
given above, that Jesus, although not the bodily son 
of Joseph, was nevertheless the one who, in accordance 
with the providential purpose in connection with the 
house of David, was to re-establish the throne of 


MATTHEW [11,1-3 

arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord com- 
manded him, and took unto him his wife ; (25) and knew her 
not till she had brought forth a son : and he called his name 

J J Now when Jesus was bom in Bethlehem of Judaea in the 
days of Herod the king, behold, ^Wise-men from the 
east came to Jerusalem, saying, (2) * Where is he that is born 
King of the Jews ? for we saw his star in the east, and are come 
to » worship him. (3) And when Herod the king heard it, he 

» Gr. Magi. Compare Esther 1. 13 ; Dan. 8. 12 ; Acts 13. 6, 8. 

* Or, Where is the King of the Jews that is bom ? 

* The Greek word denotes an act of reverence whether paid to a creature 
(see ch. 4, 9 : 18. 26), or to the Creator (see ch. 4. 10). 

His father and become the promised Messianic King. 
As such He is accordingly at once recognized by the 
Wise Men from the East, whose story is now to be 

Now, for the first time, the place and the time of the 1 
birth of Jesus are mentioned, as both are of importance 
for the following events. There appeared in Jerusalem 
certain Magi, a title given to those who in the coun- 
tries of the distant Orient devote themselves to the 
study of nature and of the stars. They are Gentiles, who 
in regions where was spread abroad the story of the 
great King of the Jews, that, in accordance with the 
promises given to them, was to bring to the whole 
world peace and deliverance, had long ago been search- 
ing the stars for the time when this promise was to be 
fulfilled. God had in this way revealed to them that 2 
the time had come, while they were convinced that in 
the appearance of a certain star they had seen the star, 
the rise of which would mark the birth of the promised 
king. They accordingly journeyed to Jerusalem in 
order to search there in the city of the king for the 
new-born royal child, and to do homage to it. It is a 
matter of prophetic significance to the Evangelist's 
mind that the birth of the Messiah-child had in this 
way been made known to these Gentiles, and that they 
had been at once ready to accept it as such. In a 3 



was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (4) And gathering 
together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he in- 
quired of them where the Christ should be bom. (5) And 
they said unto him. In Bethlehem of Judaea : for thus it is 
written through the prophet, 
(6) ^ And thou Bethlehem, land of Judah, 
Art in no wise least among the princes of Judah : 
For out of thee shall come forth a governor, 
Who shall be shepherd of my people Israel. 

» Mic. V. 2. 

most pronounced contrast to this, it is now shown that 
the reigning king of Israel, when he had heard of the 
news of the birth of the royal child, for whom the 
Magi were searching, was troubled, because he feared 
the overthrow of the throne he had usurped. But the 
whole population of the capital city also, instead of 
rejoicing at the birth of the promised child, were terri- 
fied, because they feared the destruction of the present 
rule, with which they were satisfied. The king at 
once took measures to rid himself of all his fears by 

4 having the child assassinated. For this purpose he 
called together the high priests, who would naturally 
be more interested than others in the birth of the child 
claimed to be the Messiah, and also the scribes, who 
knew of the predictions concerning the Messiah, to in- 
quire of them where, according to these prophecies, the 

5 Messiah was to be bom. In the answer which the 
Evangelist puts into their mouth, he is able at once 
also to bring the proof that the birth of Jesus in the 
Judsean Bethlehem (so called to distinguish it from the 
other Bethlehem in Zebulon), was the fulfilment of an 

6 Old Testament prophecy. According to his interpre- 
tation, the prophet Micah (v. 1.) had said of Judaea, 
in which Bethlehem was situated, that it was by 
no means the least among those assigned to the in- 
dividual leaders of Judsea, because out of it should 


MATTHEW [11,7-11 

(7) Then Herod privily called the ^Wise-men, and learned 
of them exactly - what time the star appeared. (8) And he 
sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search out exactly 
concerning the young cliild ; and when ye have found him, 
bring me word, that I also may come and ^ worship him. (9) 
And they, having heard the king, went their way ; and lo, the 
star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came 
and stood over where the young child was. (10) And when 
they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 
(11) And they came into the house and saw the young child 

1 Gr. Magi. Compare Esther 1. 13 ; Dan. 2. 12 ; Acts 13. 6, 8. 
- Or, f/te Unit; of Vie star that appeared. 

' The Greek word denotes an act of reverence whether paid to a creature (see 
ch. 4.9 : 18.20 1, or to the Creator (see eh. 4.10). 

come the Ruler, -^-ho, according to 2 Sam. v. 2, was 
to feed the people of God, i. e., was to rule them. In 
this way it happened that these Gentile Magi also 
learned where the royal child was to be sought for. 
For, in order that they might not in any way learn of 
his true motives, Herod called the Magi confidentially 
to himself to learn of them the probable age of the 
child. But as he presupposed that the rising of the 7 
star would indicate the birth of the child the duration 
of the star's appearance would show how old the child 
was. And it was he who directed them to Bethlehem 8 
under the pretext, that as soon as he should hear par- 
ticulars concerning the place where the child was, he 
would go there to worship it. 

And when the Magi, obedient to the command of 9 
the king, went to Bethlehem, and, as people of the 10 
East love to do, traveled by night, there stood the star, 
the rising of which had announced to them the birth 
of the child, directly in front of them ; and when they 
reached their destination, they found it there also. It 
seemed to them that it constantly preceded them, and 
that it stood still at this place, from which fact, in the 
joy of their heart, they were led to believe that they 
were on the right way to find the child. Without 11 
difficulty was discovered the house where the mother 



with Mary his mother ; and they fell down and worshipped 
him ; and opening their treasures they offered unto him gifts, 
gold and frankincense and myrrh. (12) And being warned 
of Ood in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they 
departed into their own country another way. 

(13) Now when they were departed, behold, an angel of the 
Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise and take 
the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be 
thou there until I tell thee : for Herod will seek the young 
child to destroy him. (14) And 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 ful- 

of the Child of Promise abode, and when they there 
saw Him with Mary, they in accordance with the cus- 
toms of the Orient, did obeisance by prostrating them- 
selves upon the ground. And as in the Orient no one 
is allowed to enter into the presence of the king with- 
out a present, so they opened their treasures in order to 
give to the child the gifts that in those regions are 
common and can everywhere be purchased, gold, 

12 frankincense and myrrh. But in order that they 
might not innocently be made accomplices in the 
realization of the godless counsels of Herod, by night 
they received the divine command that they should 
not return to Herod ; and they evaded pursuit on his 
part by choosing another way by which they regained 
their own country. As a matter of fact, however, the 
deliverance of the Messiah-child had still to be effected, 
although in a different manner. 

13 Immediately after the departure of the Magi, Joseph 
again received a command in a dream through the 
appearance of an angel, that he, together with his wife 
and child, should flee across the border of the land 
into the neighboring country of Egypt, where Herod, 

14 who was seeking the life of the child, had no power. 

15 In the same night Joseph carried out this command, so 
that a second prophecy was thereby fulfilled. For as at 


MATTHEW [11,16-19 

filled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, 
saying, ^ Out of Egypt did I call my son. 

(16) Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the 
2 Wise-men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all 
the male children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the 
borders thereof, from two years old and under, according to 
the time which he had exactly learned of the * Wise men. 
(17) Then was fulfilled that which was spoken through Jere- 
miah the prophet, saying, 

(18) 8 A voice was heard in Ramah, 
Weeping and great mourning, 
Rachel weeping for her children ; 

And she would not be comforted, becaxise they are not. 

(19) But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the 

iHos. xi. 1. 

* Gr. Magi. Compare Esther 1. 13 ; Dan. 2. 12 ; Acts 18. 6, 8. 

' Jer. zxxi. 15. 

one time in Hos. xi. 1, it was said of all Israel, whose 
entire history was a type and a picture of the Messianic 
period, that God had called His son out of Egypt, so 
had it now become necessary to call the Messiah home 
again out of Egypt. But before this could take place 16 
it is narrated that Herod, who considered himself as 
having been made a fool of by the Magi, in order 
surely not to miss the Messiah-child, commanded, in 
his fury, all the children, from two years down, in 
Bethlehem and its neighborhood to be killed by his 
brutal servants ; for he had heard from the Magi, that 
more than a year had elapsed since the star had ap- 
peared, so that the child might be one or two years 
old. In this, too, the Evangelist sees the fulfilment of 17 
Jer. xxxi. 15, inasmuch as he takes the lamentation 18 
on the part of a mother over her children there de- 
scribed as a typical prophecy, according to which a 
simUar event must take place in the Messianic period. 
Only after the death of Herod did Joseph, as had been 19 
indicated to him already before his flight, receive like- 
wise a command to return to the Land of Promise, 
because there were none now to seek the child's life, as 



Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, 
(20) Arise and take the young child and his mother, and go 
into the land of Israel : for they are dead that sought the 
young child's life. (31) And 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 Judaea in 
the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither ; 
and being warned of God in a dream, he withdrew into 
the parts of Galilee, (23) and came and dwelt in a city called 
Nazareth ; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through 
the prophets, ^ that he should be called a Nazarene. 
Ill And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching 

I Isa. xi. 1 in the Heb. ? 

the Evangelist with intentional allusion to Ex. iv. 19^ 
22 declares. Now then Joseph, who shortly before the 
birth of Jesus had received directly the divine com- 
mand to go to Bethlehem, would have remained there. 
But when he heard that Archelaus was ruling in 
Judsea, a man in every respect like his father in sus- 
picion and cruelty, he was afraid of him ; and in accord- 
ance with a divine command returned to the distant 
regions of Galilee. In this fact too, that he settled in 
Nazareth and not elsewhere, the Evangelist sees the ful- 
filment of a prophecy ; in so fa,r as the prophetic pas- 
sage concerning the Branch from the root of David 
(cf. especially Nezer in Is. xi. 1) was regarded by him 
as containing a reference to the name Nazarene, which 
Jesus later bore on account of his home city. That 
the parents of Jesus had originally lived in Nazareth is 
quite unknown to the Evangelist, who had become 
acquainted with only a few details from the traditional 
accounts of the childhood of Jesus. 
1 The Evangelist, having narrated those details from 
the story of the birth and childhood of Jesus which 
he deemed significant in proof of His Messianic 
character, and significant also in view of His later fate, 
at once transfers his readers into those days when the 


3IA TTIIE ^y [III, 2-6 

in the wilderness of Judcea, saying, (2) Repent ye ; for the 
kingdom of heaven is at hand. (3) For this is he that was 
spoken of through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 

The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 

Make ye read}' the way of the Lord, 

Make his paths straight. 
(4) Now John himself had his raiment of camel's hair, and a 
leathern girdle about his loins ; and his food was locusts and 
wild honey. (5) Then went out unto him Jerusalem, and all 
Jud£ea, and all the region round about the Jordan ; (6) and 

gospel history in the narrow sense of the term begins 
to develop. At that tinie John the Baptist begins in 2 
the desert -with his appeal for repentance, which he 3 
based, as did Jesus later on, on a reference to the near 
approach of the kingdom of God, because he is the one 
who prepares the way for the Messiah, as was pre- 
dicted in Is. XV. 3. Therein mention is made of the 
voice of one, who, with mighty tones demands that 
the way and the path of the Lord, who comes in 
His Messiah, be prepared, because the people with- 
out a complete change of heart are not capable of 
receiving the salvation that He brings. He, too, of 4 
whom the prophet speaks, in order to show that he 
himself, who demands of his people a return from their 
lusts and passions, did not shrink from any self-denial, 
went about in the coarsest of garments and was satis- 
fied with the meanest food. The only garment that he 
wore was a cloth made of camel's hair ; and around his 
loins, after the example of his prototype Elijah, (2 
Kings, i. 8,) he wore a leathern girdle. His food con- 
sisted of locusts, as these were eaten only by the poor- 
est classes, and of wild tree honey which was found in 
the desert. But his cry to repentance was effective ; 5 
for the populace of the capital city and of all Judea, as 6 
also of the entire Jordan valley, went out to him in 
order to confess their sins and to seal their determina- 



they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their 
sins. (7) But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sad- 
ducees coming i to his baptism, he said unto them, Ye off- 
spring of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to 
come ? (8) Bring forth therefore fruit worthy of 2 repentance : 
(9) and think not to say within yourselves. We have Abraham 

*Or,/or baptism. * Or, your repentance. 

tion in reference to the change of their hearts, symboli- 
cally, by permitting themselves to be immersed in the 
river Jordan. The earliest written records, which, 
according to tradition, came from the apostle Matthew, 
sum up everything that was remembered of the 
preaching of repentance by John in the following 

7 address. Our Evangelist applies it to the two classes 
among the people, who afterwards turned out to be 
most hostile to Jesus, yet now came to be baptized 
without feeling a real need of salvation. He applies 
the expression, generation of vipers, which John applies 
to the people as having been thoroughly poisoned by 
sin, to the wickedness and deceitfulness that was 
hidden under the external law observance on the part 
of the Pharisees, and he detects deception and corrup- 
tion under the worldly uprightness of the Saddu- 
cees. His question of surprise closes with the dec- 
laration that no one could have shown them the way 
to escape the wrath of God, which will reveal itself in 
the divine judgment that takes place immediately on 

8 the advent of the Messianic era. Therefore they must 
give proof of their promised repentance by a life 

9 fully in harmony with this profession. Nor are they 
to rest content with the thought that they, as 
the children of Abraham, will escape this judgment, 
which, to their mind, is to extend only to the heathen. 
For even if the entire nation in its unrepentant state 
should fall before the judgment of God, God would be 
powerful enough to create a new Israel out of the 


MATTHEW [111,10-12 

to our father : for I say unto you, that God is able of these 
stones to raise up children unto Abraham. (10) And even 
now the axe lieth at the root of the trees : every tree therefore 
that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast 
into the fire. (11) I indeed baptize you ^ in water vmto repent- 
ance : but he that conieth after me is mightier than I, whose 
shoes I am not - worthy to bear : he shall baptize you i in the 
Holy Spirit and in fire : (12) whose fan is in his hand, and he 
will thoroughly cleanse his threshing-floor ; and he will gather 
jiis wheat into the garner, but the chaif he will burn up with 
un(iuenchable fire. 

* Or, xciih ^ Gr, sufficient. 

stones that lay scattered along the banks of the Jor- 
dan, and realize His promises in them. But the judg- 10 
nient is already so near at hand, as the felling of the 
wood begins when the ax is laid at the foot of the 
tree. And just as each and every unfruitful tree is 
hewn down and thrown into the fire, so, too, the chil- 
dren of Aljraliam will fall before the judgment if they 
do not repent, lie himself is indeed not the one who 11 
will carr}' out this judgment ; for it was his work, by 
immersing in water, to obligate them to the new life, 
thereby symbolically represented. But He that would 
come after him, i. e., the Messiah, was to be more power- 
ful than he, so that he was not worthy even to render 
Him a slave's duties, such as carrying His sandals. The 
Coming One would be He who showers upon them the 
redemption gifts of the Messianic period (cf. Joel iii, 
1-2), so that they, as it were, would be immersed 
thereby, as the unrepentant would be immersed by the 
fire of God's wrath in His judgment. Once more, how- 12 
ever, he says, that this judgment is as near at hand, as 
is the fan on the thrashing floor. As the husbandman 
thereby separates the grain from the chaff, in order to 
cleanse the thrashing floor, to bring the former into his 
garner but to burn the latter, so the Messiah will act in 
the judgment when the impenitent will be consumed 
by the unquenchable fire of God's wrath. 



(13) Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to the Jordan unto 
John, to be baptized of him. (14) But John would have 
hindered him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and 
comest thou to me? (15) But Jesus answering said unto 
him. Suffer '^it now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all 

' Or, me. 

Again the Evangelist places us in the times when 
John was preaching repentance and was baptizing at 

13 the Jordan. Then it was, that Jesus, for the first time, 
makes His public appearance. For in those days Jesus 
comes from Gralilee, where His parents lived, to the 
Jordan, even to John, in order to be baptized by him. 

14 The latter, however, tried to hinder Jesus from being 
baptized, as is expressly stated in the Greek text, not 
because he already recognized in Him the Mighty One 
who was to come after him ; but, because, in the pre- 
paratory conversation with Him, he had made the sin- 
gular discovery that he had a person before him who 
had no confession to make, one who knew no sin. For 
he certainly could not have expected the Messiah to 
be baptized, because of Him he had just made the 
statement that He would baptize with the Spirit. But 
in the presence of the only Sinless One he felt himself 
so sinful, that he would make confession to Him and 

15 receive from Him the baptism of repentance. Jesus, 
on the other hand, knows full well that He is that 
Greater One, and asks that the Baptist would only in 
this case suffer what seems to be at variance with His 
higher destiny and dignity. For it is the proper thing 
for both of them simply to adapt themselves to the 
divine command which directed that John should bap- 
tize all Israel, and that all Israel should submit to 
baptism. This does not imply that Jesus was unaware 
in what sense God demanded of Him, who was utterly 
without sin, to fulfil the command that had been given 
by Him. If it was a sinful life that every one else 


MATTHEW [111,16-17 

righteousness. Then he suffereth him. (16) And Jesus, 
when he was baptized, went up straightway from the water : 
and lo, the heavens were opened i unto him, and he saw the 
Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming upon him ; 
(IT) and lo, a voice out of the heavens, saying, 'This is my 
beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 

'Some ancient authorities omit xinio him. 

'Or, This is my Sun : my beloved in whom lam well pleased. See ch. 12. 18. 

was burying in the waters of the Jordan, in order to 
emerge again to a new life, pleasing to God, He had 
r'jcognized in the call to baptism the command of God 
to bring to a conclusion His life hitherto devoted to 
His inner development and to His family, and from 
that moment to begin His public career as the ^Messiah 
of Israel. And that He saw aright is confirmed by the 
fact that immediately after Plis baptism, as from the 
opened heavens, He sees descending that Spirit of God 
with whom every messenger of God must be endowed in 
order to fulfil his mission. Nor did the Spirit, as in 16 
the case of the Old Testament prophets, seize Him with 
stormy violence, but floated down softly like a dove 
which has found a place upon which to rest its feet 
(Gen. viii. 9), and alighted upon Him, on whom, accord- 
ing to the promise, the Spirit of the Lord should rest 
(Is. xi. 1-2), ill order to enable Him to do all things 
that His calling demanded of Him. But not for Him 17 
who knew long ago what His mission was, but for the 
Baptist, who now for the first time recognizes the Mes- 
siah in Him in whom the baptism of water is imme- 
diately combined ^\'ith the baptism of the Spirit, this 
voice from heaven is directed, which declares Him to 
be the Son of God promised in Ps. ii. 7. But what 
this means, divine revelation, in accordance with Is. 
xlii. 1, interprets by stating that He is the unique object 
of divine love, of a love such as the Father bestows 
upon His only begotten son, because He is well pleased 
with Him. Only He, unique among the children of men, 
2 17 


J"^ Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness 

to be tempted of the devil. (2) And when he had fasted 

forty days and forty nights, he afterward hungered. (3) And 

the tempter came and said unto him, If thou art the Son of 

undefiled by sin, and so recognized by the Baptist, can 
be He whom God has chosen as pre-eminent object of 
His love as well as the carrier-out of the highest mis- 
sion, that of the Messiah, or Redeemer. The time had 
not yet arrived when the deepest mystery concerning 
the Son of Man, according to which His being as well 
as His calling, had their roots in eternity, could be dis- 
closed to the Baptist. 

1 As soon as Jesus at His baptism was declared to be 
the Messiah and was anointed with the Holy Ghost, His 
temptation took place. For only after the Son of God 
has tested Himself in temptation, is He capable of fulfil- 
ling His mission as the Messiah. Therefore it is by the 
Spirit Himself which He has received in baptism, that 
Jesus is led from the lower Jordan districts, which were 
also deserted, into the more elevated desert, in order 
there to endure the supreme test of being tempted by 

2 the Devil himself. As the Evangelist expressly adds 
forty nights to the forty days, he evidently regards the 
fasting of Jesus as having consisted in absolute abs- 
tinence from food, so that Jesus, whose life during this 
time had in a miraculous way been preserved, only at the 
close began to feel natural hunger ; and upon this Satan 

3 bases his first temptation. His purpose is to make 
Jesus doubt His divine Sonship ; for He who has been 
called to deliver the entire people from all of their suf- 
ferings, must Himself certainly be able to satisfy His 
own wants. If He is not able in a miraculous way to 
convert the stones, that are everywhere to be found in 
the desert, into bread, in order thus to satisfy His 
hunger, He cannot possibly be the Messiah. But Jesus 



God, command that these stones become ' bread. (4) But he 
answered and said. It is written, ^ ]\Ian shall not live by bread 
alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of 
God. (5) Then the devil taketh liini into the holy city ; and 
he set him on the ^ pinnacle of the temple, (6) and saith unto 
him, If thou art tlie Son of God, cast thyself down : for it is 

< He shall give his angels charge concerning thee : and, 

On their hands they shall bear thee up. 

Lest haply tliou dash thy foot against a stone. 
(7) Jesus said unto him. Again it is written. ^ Thou shalt not 

iGr. ?o«rf.s =1)1. viii, 3. 

'Gr. wing. * Ps. xci. 11, Vl. T)t. vi. Irt. 

can perform miraeles whenever God, in the fulfilment 
of Ills mission, directs Ilim to perform them. Therefore 4 
He refers the Devil to Deut. viii. 3. If the life of man 
does not depend upon the natural means of sustenance 
alone, but upon that which God directs him to do for 
the maintenance of life, then the Son of God too must 
wait and see whether God will relieve His needs, and if 
He does so, leave to Him the manner of accomplishment. 
It is in fact a fundamental rule of His later Messianic 
activity, that He can and will help, not when a sense of 
need merely, or a natural wish stiggests his interposition, 
but only when His God commands Him to interpose with 
assistance. After that the Devil takes Him into the holy 5 
city for the purpose of temi^ting Him. He finds Him- 
self, jnirsucd by enemies, on the projecting outermost 
edge of the parapetted gable of the temple roof over- 
looking the city. This time it is not a doubt of His 6 
divine Sonship, but a false over-confidence in Himself 
into which the Devil tries to seduce Him. Shall He, to 
save Himself from His foes, venttire the spring that will 
hurl Him to evident destruction ? God has in Ps. xci. 
11 sqq, promised protection to all of those who trust in 
Him ; and certainly He who is beloved before all others, 
can trust such a promise absolittely. Btit it is written in 7 
Deut. vi. 16, that man shall not of his own volition test 



make trial of the Lord thy God. (8) Again, the devil taketh 
him unto an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all 
the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them ; (9) and he 
said unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt 
fall down and ^ worship me. (10) Then saith Jesus unto him. 
Get thee hence, Satan : for it is written, ^ Thou shalt worship 

1 See marginal note on ch. 2. 2. 
» Dt. vi. 13. 

God, to see if He will save him in a miraculous manner. 
But how often is Jesus, in His later Messianic career, 
compelled to choose between boldly casting Himself 
into danger and selecting more deliberate ways of ex- 
tricating Himself. But He is as far from doubting the 
miraculous help that has been promised to Him, even 
though He should take the leap without the command of 
God, as from daring of His own will to challenge the 
protection of God's wondrous help, when God has not 
commanded Him to make use of it. Of course there is 
one sense in which in His Messianic career He no longer 
stands in need of the miraculous assistance of God and 

8 of His miraculous protection. And now He finds Him- 
self, through the Devil's trickery and power, standing 
on a high mountain, from which He can see stretched 
out at His feet all the alluring glories of the world. To 
Him, as the Messiah, the possession of this world and its 

9 supremacy had been appointed as a final destiny. But 
He can have this now, at once, if He will submit to the 
will of the Devil, the ruler of the sinful world, and will 
consent to submit to him and to the world and establish 

10 an earthly kingdom of the Messiah. Therein the Devil 
has revealed his innermost purposes, in defeating which 
Jesus simply replies : Get thee hence, Satan ! For all 
submission to the will of Satan is a transgression of the 
fundamental law in Deut. vi. 13, in which God demands 
the exclusive service and worship of mankind. With 
this decision all the temptations have been overcome 

MATTHEW [IV, 11-13 

the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (11) Then 
the devil leaveth him ; and behold, angels came and minis- 
tered unto him. 

(12) Now when he heard that John was delivered up he 
withdrew into Galilee ; (13) and leaving Nazareth, he came 

and the Devil leaves Ilim. On the other hand, angels 11 
now come to Him and minister to Him. As these now 
provide that satisfying of His hunger, which He did not 
seek to gain in His own way, so in the future they will 
at all times be ready with their wondrous assistance to 
minister to the Son of Man, who has been tried and 
proved faithful, when He walks in the ways of God, as 
He has once for all decided to do. 

When Jesus heard that in accordance \Y\i\\ the 12 
counsels of God John had been delivered over into 
the hands of his enemies, He recognized that the time 
had arrived for Him whom the Baptist had pointed out 
as the one coming after him. He accordingly departed 
from the neighborhood of the Baptist, in order that by 
avoiding the scene of John's activity. He might not be- 
come involved in his fate, and withdrew to His native 
liome in Galilee. At this time Jesus began His public 
appearance as the Messiah. Since it appears from the 13 
Gospel of INIark, that Jesus made Capernaum the head- 
quarters of His former activity, the Evangelist has under- 
stood this to mean, that He had formally transferred His 
place of residence from Nazareth to Cai3ernaum, al- 
though the very word of Jesus (viii. 30), clearly shows, 
that, strictly speaking. He had no permanent dwelling- 
place. It is the Evangelist's main purpose to show that 
in the way in which Jesus chose these northerly districts 
as the place of His activity, there is the fulfilment of a 
prophecy. For as Capernaum lies on the Sea of Galilee, 
where at one time the tribes of Zebulon and Napthali 
dwelt, he was able to apply here the passage in Is. 



and dwelt in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the borders 
of Zebulun and Naphtali : (14) that it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 

(15) 1 The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, 
2 Toward the sea, beyond the Jordan, 

Galilee of the ^ Gentiles. 

(16) The people that sat in darkness 
Saw a great light. 

And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, 
To them did light spring up. 

(17) From that time began Jesus to preach, and to say, 
Repent ye ; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. 

(18) And walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brethren, 

» Is. ix. 1, 12. «Gr. The way of the sea. 

• Qr. nations : and so elsewhere. 

viii. 23 ; ix. 1, where it is proclaimed to these very re- 
gions, that here, in the deepest darkness of evil, the 
14 light of salvation shall shine. In the eyes of the 
Evangelist it was especially significant, that in addition 
the east Jordan country was mentioned, in which, 
as in Upper Galilee, the popular name already clearly 
indicates that the population had a strong heathen ad- 
mixture. For in this he saw, as he did in the story of 
the Magi, a prophecy of the fact, that the salvation that 
came from the Jews should be given to the Gentiles 

17 also. With this appearance in Galilee begins then the 
real Messianic preaching of Jesus. He founds this on the 
call to repentance made by the Baptist, and bases this, 
as it is formulated by our Evangelist, on the claim that 
the kingdom of God, in its heavenly perfection, is al- 
ready approaching. 

This new epoch in His activity Jesus marks at once 
by this, that He surrounds Himself with a body of con- 

18 stant followers. As He, wandering upon the shore 
of the Sea of GalUee, sees Simon, who afterwards is 
called Peter, and his brother Andrew, engaged in fish- 
ing, He asks them to become His followers. They are 
to exchange their calling for the higher and yet similar 


MA TTIIE W [ IV, 21-23 

Simon who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a 
net into the sea ; for they were fisliers. (19) And hesaith unto 
them, Come ye after me, and I will make you tisliers of men. 

(20) And they straiglitway left the nets, and followed liim. 

(21) And going on from thence he saw two other brethren, 
I James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in the boat 
with Zebedee thoir father, mending their nets : and lie called 
them. (22) And they straightway left the boat and their 
father, and followed him. 

(23) And -Jesus went about in all Galilee, teaching in their 
synagogues, and preaching the * gospel of the kingdom, and 

' r>r, Jacob. -Some ancieut authorities read lie. 
' Or, good tidhigs : and so elsewliere. 

one, as they are to learn henceforth to catch the souls 
of men for the kingdom of God ; and both imme- 
diately follow Ilis call. A little further on He sees two 21 
other brothers, the sons of Zebedee, James and John, 
in their boat engaged in mending their nets. In this 
case He does not first give a reason for His call, as was 
the case with the first set of brothers. It seems to be 
practically a self-evident matter, lie calls them, and 
they at once follow Him, although they desert not only 
their calling, but also their father, who remains in the 
boat. With these disciples Jesus now begins his 
travels throughottt Galilee, going uj^ and down in that 
district. The Evangelist describes His activity from 
two points of view. For He taught in their syna- 23 
gogues, proclaiming the glad tidings of the kingdom ; 
and He healed all kinds of sicknesses that He found 
among the people. The Evangelist thinks it a matter 
of importance that the reports of Him were scattered 
all through the lioman province of Syria, to which 
Palestine belonged, that is, into purely heathen dis- 
trict.s, so that in this case the news concerning Him 
penetrated the heathen world. In consequence of this 
the people afflicted with all kinds and manners of dis- 
eases were brought to Him, of which the Evangelist 
mentions a number, because conspicuous examples of 



healing all manner of disease and all manner of sickness 
among the people. (24) And the report of him went forth 
into all Syria : and they brought imto him all that were sick, 
holden with divers diseases and torments, ^ possessed with 
demons, and epileptic, and palsied ; and he healed them. 
(35) And there followed him great multitudes from Galilee 
and Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judaea and from beyond the 

"y And seeing the multitudes, he went up into the moun- 
tain : and when he had sat down, his disciples came 

* Or, demoniaca. 

25 these will be mentioned in the later narrative. And 
because Jesus healed them, a great multitude followed 
Him, partly to have Him heal their sick, and partly to 
hear His preaching, coming from all paxts of the Holy 
Land. The region of the ten cities, the so-called 
Decapolis, lay on the other side of the Sea of Galilee, 
where we find Jesus repeatedly sojourning later on. 
These descriptions at the same time form the introduc- 
tion to the Sermon on the Mount, in which the Evan- 
gelist for the first time illustrates the teaching activity 
of Jesus, by adding, after his manner, to the written 
original traditional forms in which they were handed 
down by Matthew, sentences and proverbial sayings 
that by their contents belong to this period. 
1 It happened on one occasion that Jesus, when He 
saw that a multitude followed Him, went up a hill, 
since He did not find enough of room along the narrow 
lake front, where He was accustomed to go back and forth 
for the people to lie down around Him and listen to Him. 
On the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, however, the 
land rises in terraces, and on one of these it was easy to 
find sufficient room. When Jesus sat down, as He was 
accustomed to do, to begin His teaching. His disciples 
came to Him and formed a circle of hearers about Him. 
We need not in this connection think only of the group 
of disciples who had been called to be His regular com- 


MATT HEW [V, 2-4 

unto him : (3) and he opened his mouth and taught them 

(3) Blessed are the poor in spirit : for theirs is the kingdom 
of heaven. 

(4) 1 Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be com- 

' Some ancient authorities transpose ver. 4 and 5. 

panions, as the Evangelist seems to do. At an early 
period there was already a larger group of the ad- 
herents of Jesus, who followed Him with greater or 
less frequency, in order to hear Him, and to these the 
sermon in its oldest form is addressed. But as soon as 2 
Jesus opened His mouth, it overflowed with beatitudes. 
It is just this sermon that purposes to give expression 
to His position as contrasted with the Old Testament 
law, and to show that He had something entirely dif- 
ferent to bring than new legal enactments. It is His 
purpose to bring the kingdom of Heaven, and not 
only the kingdom perfected in the future life. But it will 
be impossible to secure beyond the grave anything that 
we do not already possess here in spiritual gifts, through 
which Jesus establishes the full supremacy of God, and 
thereby the highest salvation, in the hearts of men. 3 
Therefore Christ does not call the rich blessed, who 
have an abundance and are not desirous of more in the 
department of the spiritual life, because He could 
bring such people nothing. He calls the poor blessed, 
who know that there are higher possessions than man's 
wisdom and man's skill, and that they cannot attain 
and have these possessions through themselves. For 
only those who feel the need of the kingdom of God 
and its blessings can gain possession of these. Of 4 
course men must feel this poverty and this need, and 
must mourn that they do not possess those things that 
they need for blessedness in time and in eternity. 
But to this sorrow Jesus promises the comfort that all 



(5) Blessed are the meek : for they shall inherit the earth. 

(6) Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after righteous- 
ness : for they shall be filled. 

(7) Blessed are the merciful : for they shall obtain mercy. 

their needs shall be satisfied, and that, too, here on 
earth in the kingdom, the near presence of which He 

5 proclaims. There is indeed yet another perfect king- 
dom in the world above. The meek sufferers are 
already promised, in Ps. xxxvii. 11, that they shall 
possess the land. Yet none but he who knows his 
own poverty and ia painfully conscious thereof, will 
escape being embittered by the persecutions of others, 
or tempted to take vengeance. Thereby he indeed 
gives up the idea of asserting his rights here upon 
earth in order to attain supremacy ; but above, when 
the promises to Israel, of which the passage in the 
Psalm speaks, are completely fulfilled in the perfect 
Kingdom of God above, then he shall obtain justice. 

6 And now Jesus makes mention of that possession, which 
is the rarest and the highest of all, and in which we 
all are lacking, namely, righteousness, i. e., the state of 
being pleasing to God, without which there is no salva- 
tion, either in this world or in the next. But blessed are 
those who anxiously seek after those possessions which 
in their eyes are more necessary than eating and drink- 
ing ; for they will be satisfied here in the kingdom which 
Jesus brings. In this kingdom He Himself produces 
in us the moral condition which is pleasing to God, 
which we cannot, with all our endeavors, gain through 

7 the service of the law. It is indeed true that here upon 
earth our righteousness can never become perfect ; and 
when once the state of perfection comes, and the judg- 
ment is to be rendered as to who shall take part in it, 
then it will still be necessary for the mercy of God to 
cover over our imperfections. But then the feeling of 


MA TTHE W V, 8-10 

(8) Blessed are the pure in heart : for they shall see God. 

(9) Blessed are the peacemakers : for they shall be called 
sons of God. 

(10) Blessed are they that have been persecuted for right- 

our own hunger and thirst, which alone awakens in us 
the sympathy with the needs of others, will have 
worked in us that mercy which, in accordance with the 
eternal order of God's righteousness, is to be repaid with 
mercy in the judgment. And when then the kingdom 8 
in its perfection is bestowed upon us, not on account of 
our righteousness, but as an act of pure divine mercy, 
what is it that awaits us there ? We shall see God, as 
He is ; we shall live in eternal, blessed communion with 
Him. And who has a right to expect this ? Already 
Ps. xxiv. 3-4, declares, that only those who are pure of 
heart can approach to God. But that state of being 
pleasing to God, which is wrought out in this kingdom 
of God on earth, does not consist in any outward ob- 
servance, but in daily purification of the heart from the 
sinful character that by nature adheres to it. Only he 9 
whose heart is purified of the fundamental evil of man- 
kind, namely, selfishness, can keep peace and establish 
peace, while selfishness makes arrogant and causes 
divisions. Unselfishness has nothing to expect from 
mankind here upon earth ; but above, when God shall 
in love clasp to His Father's heart those adherents of 
His kingdom who have been proved faithful, then 
these will be known and recognized as the children of 

Jesus again emphasizes this fundamental promise ; 
for there is yet one test by which we may learn whether 
righteousness or the state of being pleasing to God 
is regarded as the highest good. Not only when we 
seek completely to attain it; but also, if we, for the 
sake of that which we already possess, would rather 


V, 11-13] WEISS' S C0MME2rTARY 

eousness' sake : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (11) 
Blessed are ye when men shall reproach you, and pcrse(;ute 
you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my 
sake. (12) Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your 
reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets that 
were before you. 

(13) Ye are the salt of the earth : but if the salt have lost its 
savor, wherewith shall it be salted ? it is thenceforth good for 

suffer persecution than give it up, then we show that 
we are worthy of the kingdom of God, in which this 
righteousness is realized, and can partake of it both 

11 here and beyond the grave. With this Jesus turns to 
His disciples around Him, who have already a part in 
the kingdom of God, that He brings. For here upon 
earth righteousness cannot indeed gain the victory. 
Here the abuse and persecution of those who confess 
Him as the bearer and source of all righteousness, will 
not cease ; but they will be blessed if these evil reports 

12 concerning them have no foundation in truth. They 
are to rejoice and to be glad ; for their reward is to be 
great in heaven, when that for which they have been 
striving here, notwithstanding all their weakness, and 
on account of which they willingly bore suffering and 
persecution, will be gloriously realized. For the proph- 
ets, to whom the heavenly reward is doubtless sure, 
suffered the same persecution as they do. 

Not without a purpose did Jesus point to the proph- 
ets as models for the way in which suffering for right- 
eousness sake gives the heavenly reward. For the 
calling which those men at one time had was none 
other than that which the disciples had among the 

13 children of men. They are the salt of the earth. As 
it is the salt that first makes food palatable, thus men 
shall be made pleasing to God through their testimony 
of Jesus, as they themselves have become so through 
Jesus. It is true that even salt can lose its savor and 


MATTHEW [V, 14-16 

nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under foot of men. 
(14) Ye are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot 
be hid. (15) Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under 
the bushel, but on the stand ; and it shineth unto all that are 
in the house. (16) Even so let your light shine before men ; 

become stale and tasteless. But as it is itself the only 
means to add condiment to all food, there is nothing 
that can restore to it its power of salting, if it has once 
lost this. It is then good for nothing but to be treated 
like that for which there is no use at all. In this way 
the disciple of Jesus, if he from fear of persecution 
casts aside his confession of Jesus, which makes him a 
disciple, will become utterly useless. He has lost his 
mission in the world. Disciples are the light of the 14 
world, and it is their mission to enlighten the world, 
by imparting to it the truth that saves. Naturally 
this makes their position critical and dangerous in 
the midst of a sinful world. As a city that is built upon 
a hill cannot be hidden, so they, who are called to be the 
witnesses of the truth, cannot prevent the world 
from knowing them as such, and because the world 
hates the truth, from turning their hatred upon those 
who proclaim it. They cannot do this, nor should 
they. For men do not light a lamp in order to place 15 
it under a bushel that is in the house, where it will not 
be seen, but they place it on the stand, so that it can 
fulfil its purpose of gi^^ng light to those who live in 
the house. In the same way the disciple of Jesus can- 
not fulfil his mission upon earth, if he, out of fear of 
persecution, keeps to himself the truth that has been 
entrusted to himself, and in the possession of the truth 
withdraws from the world. It is true that all testi- 16 
mony of the truth avails nothing, if our works, which 
it has achieved in us, do not testify of this truth. If 
we would gain the world for the truth the world must 



that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father 
who is in heaven. 

(17) Think not that I came to destroy the law or the proph- 
ets : I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. (18) For verily I 
say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one 

see these works, not in order to glorify us, but Him 
whio has awakened this truth in us, by making us His 
children in the kingdom of God which Jesus has 
founded. Then and only then will the world accept 
these truths and suffer itself to be enlightened. 

In the Beatitudes Jesus had spoken of the righte- 
ousness which it was His purpose to realize in the 
kingdom of God. This almost sounded as though 
He contemplated establishing a new righteousness, 
although Deut. vi. 25 clearly states that righteousness 
consists in the fulfilment of the divine law. For this 
reason Jesus was compelled to state His position 
unequivocally in contrast with the revelation of the 
will of God in the Old Testament. On this matter it is 
His purpose to state, in unmistakable terms, that He 
had not come to destroy the commands of God, as these 

17 are declared in the law or in the prophets. As in 
general it is not His mission to destroy, but to fulfil, 
so too He has come only in the first place to fulfil 
those commands, and further to effect their fulfilment 
in others ; for only therein can this righteousness con- 
sist, which it is His purpose to realize already in the 

18 kingdom of God in time. Just as surely as heaven and 
earth will not disappear before the end of all things, so 
surely too will the revelation of God's will abide down 
to the smallest and the most minute elements, as long as 
the world stands. For the law of God, in accordance 
with its nature, cannot cease in its validity, until all 
that which it commands has been fulfilled. Then 
indeed it can be said, that it will cease in its demands, 


MATTHEW [V, 19-20 

tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things 
be aocomplished. (19) Whosoever therefore shall break one 
of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, shall 
be called least in the kingdom of heaven : but whosoever shall 
do and teach them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of 
heaven. (20) For I say unto you, that except your righteous- 

but only because it continues as a fulfilled law. If, 19 
therefore, any one begins through his conduct to make 
even the smallest of these commands of none effect, and 
teaches men to do this, such a person can occupy 
only a very modest position in the kingdom of God 
that is being realized already here upon earth. For he 
who does not understand how to appreciate the single 
elements in conjunction with the whole, and accord- 
ingly begins to destroy, instead of building up, such a 
person shows a state of immature spirituality, which 
can gain in him only a small significance. On the 
other hand, he who fulfils the law and teaches men to 
do so, understands the past, and for that reason the 
present too, in which he for this reason will attain to a 
greater importance. But how can Jesus ascribe to the 
doing and the teaching of the Law such great import- 
ance for the individual that He even makes the signifi- 
cance of the individual for the kingdom of God depen- 
dent on this ? The Scribes surely taught the law most 20 
zealously, and it surely was the aim of the Pharisees to 
fulfil it. Indeed, if the righteousness, that is, the 
fulfilment of the law on the part of His disciples, would 
not be of a much better kind than that taught by the 
Scribes and the Pharisees, then they not only would 
not be in the kingdom of God, but they never could 
enter, because the righteousness that is realized in this 
kingdom is of an altogether different kind. Therefore 
Jesus shows, in the first place, in three groups of two 
commandments, how this righteousness is altogether 
different from that of the Scribes. 



ness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, 
ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven. 

(21) Ye have heard that it was said to them of old time, 
iThou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in 
danger of the judgment : (22) but I say unto you, that every 
one who is angry with his brother ^ shall be in danger of the 
judgment ; and whosoever shall say to his brother, ^Raca, 
shall be in danger of the council ; and whosoever shall say, 

» Ex. XX. 13 ; Dt. v. 17. 

* Many ancient authorities insert toithout cause. 

' An expression of contempt. 

21 This " But I say unto you," Jesus does not set up 
against the words of the unchangeable law of God ; for 
the commandment to do no murder shall surely remain 
also in the kingdom of God that He is about to 
establish. But if the Scribes from olden times in their 
interpretation of the law in the synagogue did not 
know how to add to this command anything else than 
that the murderer should be brought for trial before 
the local court, they thereby encouraged the delusion 
that the will of God was directed only against the 
actual crime of murder. It is true that the legal code 
of the old covenant, according to which human judges 
were to pronounce their judgments, would punish only 
actual sin ; but in God's eyes anger, from which mur- 
der proceeds, is the real sinful thing, and is for this 

22 reason to be punished just as much as murder is. Jesus 
uses the example of human processes of law, in which 
heavier crimes are always brought before higher 
courts, to show that even the slightest insulting word, 
in which anger finds expression, is to be punished even 
more than anger ; and the insult that is prompted by 
hatred, and which condemns the neighbor as godless, 
is still more blamable than the former. But as there 
was no court in Israel higher than the local and the 
supreme court (the Sanhedrin), this expression of 
wrath could be assigned only to the judgment of God, 
which is higher than any human tribunal, and which 


MATTHEW [V, 23-38 

iThou fool, shall be in danger 2 of the ^hell of fire. (33) If 
therefore thou art offering thy gift at the altar, and there 
remeniberest that thy brother hath aught against thee, 

(24) leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way, first 
be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift. 

(25) Agree with thine adversary quickly, while thou art with 
him in the way ; lest haply the adversary deliver thee to the 
judge, and the judge * deliver thee to the officer, and thou be 
cast into prison. (36) Verily I say unto thee, Thou shalt by 
no means come out thence, till thou have paid the last 

(27) Ye have heard that it was said, ^ Thou shalt not com- 
mit adultery : (28) but I say unto you, that every one that 

' Or, "Morch, a Hebrew expression of condemnation. " Gr. unto or into. 

^Gr. Gehenna of fire. 

* Some ancient authorities omit deliver thee. 

6 Ex. XX. 14; Dt. v. 18. 

condemns only to hell, where the fire of divine wrath is 
never quenched. If, however, the state of anger and 23 
all of its expressions are punishable to the immeasur- 
able degree, then there is nothing more pressing for us 
to do, if we are conscious of the fact that we have in 
any way aroused the wrath of our brother, than to go 
to him and be reconciled to him, even if we are com- 
pelled, in order to do this, to neglect the most sacred 
duty. It is the best thing for us also. For if we neg- 25 
lect to come to an understanding with him in a peace- 
able manner, even though it be at the last moment, be- 
fore he proceeds to law against us, then the strict letter 
of the law must take its course, and that will result in 
serious harm to us. The fact that the sentence which 
the Evangelist here employs originally had a deeper 
meaning, will be seen when we meet it in the relations 
in which it was used (cf. Luke xii. 58-59). 

In the same way Jesus judges with reference to 27 
adultery. The Scribes of that time applied this com- 28 
mandment only to actual cases, as these only can fall 
under the jurisdiction and punishment of a human 
judge. But the fact, that that which is sinful in the 
3 33 


looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery 
with her already in his heart. (29) And if thy right eye 
causeth thee to stumble, pluck it out, and cast it from thee : 
for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should 
perish, and not thy whole body be cast into * hell. (30) And 
if thy right hand causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast 
it from thee : for it is profitable for thee that one of thy 
members should perish, and not thy whole body go into * hell. 
(31) It was said also, * Whosoever shall put away his wife, let 

1 Gr. Gehenna. » Dt. xxiv. 1, 8. 

eyes of God is the desire, is a conclusion from Ex. xx. 
17 ; and for this reason, in the eyes of Jesus, the lust- 
ful look of the husband, which is cast upon another 
woman, is already adultery with the latter, since by 
this act he has already in his heart broken faith with 
his own wife. Let it not be said that the eye is to be 
blamed, in that the eye was irresistibly drawn aside by 

29 the beauty of a strange woman. It is our duty to 
give up even the most beloved and valued object, even 
at the cost of great suffering, if this object leads us to 
sin. The greatest earthly loss is less than the loss of 
eternal salvation, when judgment comes and condemns 
us to hell if it finds us guilty. Concerning these state- 
ments, too, it must be said that only the original re- 
lations in which they were used will exclude all mis- 
interpretation, such as the idea that they are literally 
meant (cf. xviii. 8-9). 

31 But Jesus declares that there is still another kind 
of adultery. In Israel it was not contrary to the law 
to dismiss a wife, and we shall hear from the lips of 
Jesus why this was the case (cf. xix. 8). The law, 
however, had made provision that this should not take 
place without due formality, but should be made legal 
by delivering to the wife a letter of divorcement (Deut. 
xxiv. 1). But if we should conclude from this that 
divorce was in harmony with the will of God, then we 
should be misinterpreting His will. In Jesus' eyes 


JIA TTHE TF [ V, 33-35 

hitn give her a writing of divorcement : (32) but I say unto 
vou, tliat every one that putteth away his wife, saving for the 
cause of fornication, niaketh lier an adulteress : and wlioso- 
ever shall marry her when she is put away committeth 

(33) Again, ye have heard that it was said to them of old 
time. ^ Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform 
unto the Lord tliine oaths : (34) but I say unto you, Swear not 
at all ; neither by the heaven, for it is the throne of God ; (35) 
nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of his feet ; nor 2 by 

Lev. xix. 12 ; Num. xxx. 2 ; Dt. xxiii. 21. ^Or, toicard. 

marriage is indissoluble (cf. xix. 6). Accordingly, he who 
dismisses his wife and thereby gives her the liberty to 32 
marry another man, causes her to commit adultery, 
since her first marriage is still valid in the sight of 
(jod. Only in case she has before this already com- 
mitted adultery with another, then s/ie has broken the 
marriage bond, and she was not led to this by being 
dismissed by her husband. But whoever marries a 
woman who has been dismissed, himself commits adul- 
tery, since in God's eyes she is still the wife of her 
former husband. 

Jesus selects a second group of three command- 
ments as an example of His interpretation of the law. 
Here He proceeds from the form in which the Scribes 
of those times were accustomed to summon up the pro- 
hibition of a false oath and of the violation of an oath. 
In this matter Jesus does not introduce any changes. 38 
The legal code of Israel, the purpose of which was to 
regulate the sinful life of the people, could demand 
nothing else than that a statement, if confirmed by an 
oath, must be true ; and that whenever an oath had 
been taken it must be kept. But if the will of God is 34 
fulfilled in the kingdom of God, then there should be 
no oaths at till. For we should not then hide ourselves 
behind all kinds of flimsy excuses with which the 
Scribes of those days undermined the sacred character 



Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. (36) Neither 
shalt thou swear by thy head, for thou canst not make one 
hair white or black. (37) i But let your speech be, Yea, yea ; 
Nay, nay : and whatsoever is more than these is of * the evil 

(38) Ye have heard that it was said. An eye for an eye, and 

*Some ancient authorities read But your speech shall be. 
* Or, evil : as in ver. 39 ; vi. 18. 

of the oath, by attributing to different formulas of the 
oath different degrees of obligation. For all formulas 

35 of the oath in the end amount to the same oath. If 
we swear by the heavens, then we call as witness Him 
who sits enthroned there ; if by the earth. Him whose 
footstool the earth is ; if by Jerusalem, then the great 
King, who has selected this city to be His place of abode. 

36 If we swear by our heads, we certainly know that we 
cannot in youth make a single hair white, as old age 
does this, nor in old age make a single hair black, as it 
was in youth. But if we cannot make the least 
change in our heads, then such an oath can have only 
this meaning, to call down upon the head the pun- 
ishment of God in case of a false oath or of perjury. 

37 In the kingdom of God the simplest form of assurance 
should suffice, because every form going beyond this 
proceeds from sin ; namely, is a result of the prevailing 
untruthfulness and infidelity, and is also the product of 
mistrust. Wherever the will of God has really gained 
control, there all need of an oath has fallen away ; and 
this is to be the case in the kingdom of God as founded 
by Jesus. 

Naturally, in the life of the people saturated with 
sin the oath will continue as a matter of necessity, and 
this is the case also with the code for punishment. 

38 For the legal order in Israel as a state, the divine law 
of the old covenant could establish a norm only, 
according to which retaliation was permitted, if the 


3IA TTIIE W [ V. 39-41 

a tooth for a tooth : (39) but I say unto you, i Resist not "^ him 
that is evil : but whosoever smiteth thee on thy riglit cheek, 
turn to him the other also. (40) And if any man would go to 
law with thee, and take away tliy coat, let him have thy cloak 
also. (41) And whosoever shall 3 compel thee to go one mile, 

' Ex. xxi. 24 ; Lev. xxiv. 20; Dt. xix. 21. - Or, eri7. ^Gr. impress. 

measure of punishment did not go beyond the guilt in- 
curred (Ex. xxi. '24:). But in the free ethical inter- 
course of men with each other, the will of God demands 
something entirely different from strict retaliation. 
He demands that we resign our claim to seek redress 
as such, because this is the expression of that meek- 
ness (cf. V. 5) to which the victory has been promised 
in the kingdom of God, and also of that sacrificing 
love, which overcomes evil with good. Xot for the 
purpose of setting up literal paragraphs of a law, but 
to illustrate this condition of the mind, Jesus selects 
several drastic examples taken from common life. 
Certainly I have the right to defend myself against the 39 
evil person who wants to abuse me by actual attack, 
and to repay his blow by a blow. But the meekness, 
which is willing to suffer even more (cf. Lam. iii. 30), 
disarms the opponent and causes him to come to him- 
self again, while retaliation will only cause a repetition 
of his abuse. That it is this that is here meant, Jesus 
shows by the fact that He does not resort to more 
powerful trials of this sentiment, but steadily de- 
scends to smaller. If your opponent, while on the wa}^ 40 
to the court, seeks to gain an advantage from you, then 
self-sacrificing love suggests that you give him more 
than he asks, in order to avoid the trial. In this way, 
you can win his heart, and you do not even forfeit any 
of your rights, because the implication is that you 
are not compelled to take this course. Even that 41 
opponent who violates only in form, by trying to 
force you to render him a service, shall be made to see 



go with him two. (42) Give to him that asketh thee, and 
from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. 

(43) Ye have heard that it was said, ^ Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor, and hate thine enemy : (44) but I say unto you, 

* Lev. xix. 18. 

that love voluntarily does more than arrogance de- 
mands of it. Every moral problem here suggested is 

42 solved by the concluding word. For love does not ask 
whether we are in duty obligated to give or to lend, but 
it gives to him who asks, and does not turn away him 
who would borrow. Naturally all of this means without 
interest, which was forbidden in Israel (Ex. xxii. 25). 

Jesus concludes His interpretation of the law with a 
statement that in this shape is not found in the Old 

43 Testament at all. Thelawof love, in Lev. xix. 18, which 
referred exclusively to the people of Israel, was explained 
by the prevailing theology of the scribes to mean that 
it commanded the people to hate the heathen enemy of 
the nation ; but yet it cannot be maintained, that in 
doing this they had acted contrary to the sense of the 
divine law in the Old Covenant. In this law the most 
stringent separation between Israel and the Gentiles 
was a principle of necessity, so that the people might not 
be constantly misled into heathenish idolatry and im- 
morality, to which they were only too much inclined. 
Jesus does not even consider it necessary to explain 
that in the kingdom of God, in which the barriers be- 
tween the nations fall away, that barrier too, which under 
the conditions of the kingdom of God in its preparatory 
stage in Israel had been put into the way of the law of 
love, must also fall away. A much deeper opposition 
opened up between the disciples of Jesus and those en- 

44 emies who abused and persecuted them (cf. v. 11). But 
this opposition too, was to be bridged over by love, and of 
love there is but one proof ; he who can pray for his ene- 


MATTIIJJW [V, 45-48 

Love your enemies, and pray for them that persecute you ; 
(45) that ye may be sons of your Father who is in heaven : for 
he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth 
rain on the just and the unjust. (46) For if ye love them that 
love you, what reward have ye ? do not even the ^ publicans 
the same? (47) And if ye salute your brethren only, what do 
ye more than others ? do not even the Gentiles the same ? (48) 

* That is, collectors or renters of Roman taxes. 

mies can do everything for tliem. In this consideration, 
however, Jesus cannot contine Himself to a new com- 
mandment, lie must sliow how this can be fulfilled and 
must be fulfilled. Love cannot be secured by force. But 
if the disciples in the kingdom of God have experienced 
the highest revelation of tiie love of God by having be- 
come His children, then they of themselves will seek 
to become like unto their Father, just as every real child 
aims to be like its father. Jesus does not say that they 45 
shall do this, He only shows how they can become so. 
By loving their enemies they can become like their 
Father. For His all comprehensive love also extends 
over His enemies. Not also in this, but solely in this the 
godlike nature of love shows itself. For merely to re- 46 
turn the love which others have shown toward us is no 
more than a natural act. A moral act, which can expect 
a reward, such a deed is not. Even the publicans who 
everywhere were regarded as the most degraded class 
among the people, did this much. Jesus illustrates this 
in the case of the simplest and most natural manifesta- 
tion of love. He does not speak of the word of greeting, 47 
which was merely the expression of politeness, but the 
word of blessing. If the disciples greeted only their 
fellow disciples, they thereby do nothing to distinguish 
them from others. Even the most degraded among the 
people, who have learned to live with their heathen 
neighbors after the manner of heathen, will not refuse to 
return such a good wish to their neighbors ; and the dis- 
ciples surely should do better than they. For this reason 48 



Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is 

Y J Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before 

men, to be seen of them : else ye have no reward with 
your Father who is in heaven. 

(2) When therefore thou doest alms, sound not a trumpet 

they must imitate that all-comprehensive love of God, 
which constitutes the perfection of His being. Here it 
is clearly shown what Jesus means by His interpretation 
of the law. The fundamental commandment of the Old 
Testament law reads : " Be ye holy for I am holy "(Lev. 
xi. 44). Certainly, this law is to remain in force. For 
the holiness of the Lord, which was revealed in the Old 
Testament, remains the same in the New Covenant also, 
and so the duty of imitating it is demanded by the Old 
Testament law. But in the New Testament, God has 
revealed His highest perfection as Love, by causing all 
the members of His kingdom to become His children. 
Now this fundamental law reads, that we should be 
perfect as He is perfect ; and not as a commandment is 
it enjoined upon the children of God, but as an expres- 
sion of the childlike spirit, that they are bound to be- 
come like their Father in heaven, because they desire 
to be like Him. 

Jesus turns from the false interpretation of the law 
on the part of the Scribes, to the manner in which the 
Pharisees were accustomed to fulfil the law. Their 
chief fault was that they did their good deeds in the 
presence of men, for the purpose of being admired and 
imitated as models of piety. But God will reward only 
those deeds which are done for the purpose of fulfilling 
His will, and none that are performed for any other 
purpose. Jesus applies this rule to the principal forms 
of virtue as practiced among the Pharisees of that day 
in their almsgiving, praying and fasting (cf . Tobit xii, 8). 
2 He gives a vivid picture of the ostentation and parade 



before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the 
streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say imto 
you. They have received their reward. (3) But when thou 
doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand 
doeth : (4) that thine alms may be in secret : and thy Father 
who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 

(5) And when ye pray, ye 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 of men. Verily 
I say unto you, They have received their reward. (6) But 
thou, when thou prayest, enter into thine inner chamber, and 
having shut thy door, pray to thy Father who is in secret, 

of those hypocrites in their bestowal of alms in the syn- 
agogues and on the streets. Their conduct shows that it 
was not their purpose to do a good deed, but to be 
praised by men on account of their good actions. If 
then they receive their full reward in such honors, they 
cannot expect to be rewarded by God for these deeds. 
So little parade should men make of their good deeds, 3 
that they should not even permit him, who stands as 
near to us as the right hand is to the left, to know of 
them. Our deeds will not on that account remain hid- 
den. Our all-seeing Father, who sees even that which is 
hidden to human eyes, will reward us. In a form that 
seemingly through the repetition of the same words has 
received a monumental character, the same thought is 
applied also to the two other practices of piety. These 5 
hypocrites stand, when praying, in the synagogues and 
on the street corners, where men congregate in largest 
numbers, when they are surprised by the hour of prayer, 
so that everybody can see how promptly they observe 
it. The real praying man goes into his closet, where 6 
nobody sees him, and in addition locks the doors, so that 
nobody will surprise him at prayer. He wants to be 
alone with his God but not to make a parade with his 



and thy Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee. 
(7) And in praying use not vain repetitions, as the Gentiles 
do : for they think that they shall be heard for their much 
speaking. (8) Be not therefore like unto them : for ^ your 
Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask 
him. (9) After this manner therefore pray ye : Our Fatlier 
who art in heaven. Hallowed be thy name. (10) Thy king- 

* Some ancient authorities read Ood your Father. 

7 It is true that there is another way of abusing 
prayer, namely by those who, like the heathen, attempt 
to force a hearing by an endless and at last thoughtless 
repetition of the same formulas of prayer, just as though 

8 God could be softened by endless talk. But God 
knows full well what we need. We do not pray in 
order to make known to Him what our wishes are, 
but to make it possible for us that the prayer should 

9 be heard. For this reason the Evangelist inserts here 
the model prayer, which Jesus on one occasion gave to 
His disciples, in order to show them how in a few 
short sentences men can pray for everything they need. 
They are to call upon the Father, who, according to 
His love, is ready to give them everything, because He, 
as the All-powerful One in heaven, can give them all 
things. Not as though this childlike spirit should in 
any way diminish the reverence for the name of God, 
with which we, on the basis of His revelation, address 

10 Him. On the contrary, the hallowing of His name is 
the primary condition of that for which the disciples at 
all times and above all things must pray, namely the 
coming of the kingdom of God, the realization of which 
was the recognized purpose and goal of the Master. But 
whatever earthly blessings the disciple expects from the 
coming of this kingdom, of this thing he must always 
be mindful in his prayer, that the highest purpose 
which is sought thereby is the fulfilment of the will 
of Grod, as completely as it is fulfilled by the angels in 


MA TTHE W [VI, 11-15 

dom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so on earth. 
(11) Give us this day ^our daily bread. (12) And forgive us 
our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (13) And 
bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from ^ the evil 
owe,* (14) For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly 
Father will also forgive you. (15) But if ye forgive not men 
their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your tres- 

*Gr. our bread for the coming day. Or, our needful bread. * Or, evil. 

^ Many authorities, some ancieot, but with variations, add For thine is the 
kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. 

heaven alone. This does not forbid the disciple to pray 11 
also for those things that he needs for his earthly life. 
He not only is allowed but is bidden to do so; yet, 
naturally, as a matter of secondary importance, and 
then only by asking for the most simple food which is 
necessary for the support of the present day. Whether 
God will give him anything beyond this, rests in God's 
hands. But the life that has been sustained for the 12 
disciple by the granting of this prayer, will do him no 
good, if it is constantly burdened down by the conscious- 
ness of sin. Therefore the disciple is to pray for the 
forgiveness of his sins as much as he does for his daily 
bread. But this petition is the prerogative of the 
children of God, who have become like their heavenly 
Father, and the disciple dare not take it upon his lips 
unless he is conscious that he too has forgiven the tres- 
passes of those who have wronged him. A necessary re- 13 
suit of this petition, is the further request to be preserved 
from further sin. Conscious of his weakness, the disciple 
constantly prays for protection from those situations 
in life that lead him to sin. But because he knows 
that God, on account of His omniscience, cannot at all 
times grant this petition because without temptation 
the disciple is not proved, he adds the petition of being 
delivered from the power of evil that threatens us in 
suph temptation. The doxologies with which the Church 
has from olden times sealed the Lord's Prayer, by 



(16) Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, 
of a sad countenance : for they disfigure their faces, that they 
may be seen of men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They 
have received their reward. (17) But thou, when thou 
fastest, anoint thy head, and wash thy face ; (18) that thou 
be not seen of men to fast, but of thy Father who is in secret : 
and thy Father, who seeth in secret, shall recompense thee. 

(19) Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth, 

ascribing to Him, to whom the kingdom belongs, also 
the power to glorify Himself through the realization 
of it, do not constitute a part of the oldest text. The 
reference to the condition in the fifth petition is ex- 
plained by the Evangelist in a statement of Jesus, 
which shows that unless we have ourselves forgiven 
others, we cannot receive forgiveness from God. But 
only in the sense in which it is employed (cf. xviii. 18, 
35) does this statement receive an interpretation free 
from the misunderstanding that we, through our for- 
giveness of others, can earn the divine forgiveness. 

16 Finally, Christ illustrates the fundamental thought 
of this section by speaking of fasting. He describes 
how the hypocrites go about with a solemn air, so that 
men can see that they are practising the sorrow of re- 
pentance. Their countenance, covered with ashes and 
disfigured by a neglected beard, is scarcely to be 
recognized; and yet it is their chief purpose to be 
recognized as those who are keeping the fast. He 
who would fast in truth, is to appear in the presence 
of men as though he were going to a joyous feast, so 
that only God will know that he is engaged in fasting. 
But it also belongs to the true practice of righteousness, 
that we not only fulfil the will of God in general, but 
that this fulfilment be our highest purpose and the 
object of our constant endeavor. Opposed to this is that 
which constitutes the chief object of the natural man, 

19 namely the gathering of earthly treasures. Jesus shows 


JIA TTIIE W VI, 20-23 

where moth and rust consume, and where thieves * break 
through and steal : ('-20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in 
heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth consume, and 
where thieves do not ^ break through nor steal : (21) for 
where thy treasure is. there will thy heart be also. (22) The 
lamp of the body is the eye : if therefore thine eye be single, 
thy whole body shall be full of light. (2B) But if thine eye 

' Gr. dig through. 

the folly of thi.s by pointing to the fact that these 
treasures are only for the moment. The costly gar- 
ments, of which the Oriental is so proud, are eaten by 
the moths ; all other things by the worms, by rust, or 
by decay. These treasures thus rapidly disappear, and 
what may be left is taken by the thieves, when they dig 
through the wall and steal it. Only the treasures of 
heaven cannot be lost. These cannot be gathered 20 
excepting by the constant practice of righteousness ; 
for he who here has striven for the kingdom of God, 
in which this righteousness is realized, can be certain 
that he will in eternity take part in the perfected 
kingdom of God, where all such striving has attained 
its object. He who strives for earthly treasures has 21 
his heart fixed on these things ; but he whose mind is 
directed to the realization of righteousness in his heart 
longs for that heavenly comjjletion of the kingdom of 
God, and the disciple's heart should be turned heaven- 
ward. Whether the heart has this one only true in- 
clination will depend on its character. This fact Jesus 22 
illustrates by a parable. The eye is the organ through 
which the whole body receives its light. Whether the 
body receives this light depends on the character of 
the eye. It does not depend on any special feature of the 
eye. If this organ is simply as it ought to be, then it 
fulfils its purpose of bringing light to the whole body ; 
so that man can then see around him everywhere where 
he is and where he stands. But if he has an evil 23 



be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore 
the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is the dark- 
ness ! (24) No man can serve two masters : for either he will 
hate the one, and love the other ; or else he will hold to one, 
and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. 
(25) Therefore I say unto you. Be not anxious for your life, 
what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink ; nor yet for your 
body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than the 

eye, one that does not fulfil its duty, then he wanders 
about helplessly in the dark. In this way the heart, 
illumined by the light of the truth, should ever show 
to man what his duty and his right way are. But if this 
our inner eye is dark, because our heart is closed to the 
truth, how great will then the darkness be in which we 
wander around, because the light of the heart is much 
more indispensable for the spiritual, than the light of the 
eye for the bodily life. But the worst harm is done to 
this spiritual eye if we think that we can divide our 

24 heart between heavenly and earthly possessions. Jesus 
illustrates this by the condition of a slave, which de- 
mands absolute service and submission. It is impos- 
sible for a man to be a slave to two masters at the same 
time. If he love the one master he must necessarily 
hate the other who would appropriate that love ; if he 
clings to the one, he can only despise the other, who de- 
mands a service, when he can ask for no love. But 
now it is a matter of experience that the earthly 
possession which so completely demeinds our heart, as 
God alone has a right to claim it, becomes an idol in 
our lives which we serve with all our love and strength. 
And then it is made evident that we cannot serve both 
God and Mammon. 

Anxiety for earthly possessions is only another form 

25 of the worship of Mammon. Therefore we are not 
anxiously to ask whether we shall at all times have 


JIA TTIIE W [VI, 26-28 

food, and the body than the raiment? (26) Behold the birds 
of the heaven, that they sow not, neither do they reap, nor 
gather into barns ; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. 
Are not ye of mucli more value than they ? (27) And which 
of you by being anxious can add one cubit unto ' the measure 
of his life ? (28) And why are ye anxious concerning raiment ? 

'Or, his stature. 

what we need for sustenance and clothing. He who 
has given us the greater good, which is life itself, will 
also give us that which is of less importance, namely, 
that which we need for our support, and He who has 
given us our bodies, will give what we need to clothe 
them. We need look only at the birds of the 26 
heavens, which God supports, without their doing 
anything that men must do in order to secure 
their food. But when Jesus reminds us of the fact 
that we are much more than the birds. He does 
not refer this to mankind in general, who are no 
more before God than any other of His creatures. 
Jesus is speaking of His disciples, who in the kingdom 
of God have through Him become the children of God, 
who are accordingly sure of the love of their heavenly 
Father, of which the creatures of God as such cannot 
be certain. True, we can say, that we human beings 27 
have been endowed with the power to provide for our- 
selves. But Jesus does not speak here of this obliga- 
tory providing for our daily needs, but of the anxious 
worrying as to whether we, with all our work and care, 
shall be able to provide what we need for the support 
of our body. For this reason Jesus draws attention to 
the fact that, as everybody knows, no person can by 
such worrying add anything to the length of his life, 
which God has determined, even in the smallest meas- 
ure. And as far as clothing is concerned. He points to 28 
the lily of the field, which does nothing that men must 
do in order to secure clothing, and yet in its simple 



Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow ; they toil not, 
neither do they spin : (29) yet I say unto you, that even 
Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 
(30) But if God doth so clothe the grass of the field, which 
to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not 
much more clothe you, O ye of little faith ? (31) Be not there- 
fore anxious, saying. What shall we eat ? or. What shall we 
drink ? or. Wherewithal shall we be clothed ? (32) For after 
all these things do the Gentiles seek ; for your heavenly 
Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 
(33) But seek ye first his kingdom, and his righteousness ; and 

beauty is far fairer than the splendid garments of a 
Solomon. It is the purpose of Jesus at this place, too, 
to remind us how little man with all his work and 
skill can accomplish, and that we are for this reason 
dependent on God, without whose blessing all our work 
is in vain. Therefore all anxious worrying, as to 
whether we can through our labors acquire what we 
need for clothing ourselves, should give way to a 
dependence on Him. For the flowers of the field, which 
He clothes so gloriously, are of so little value, that 
when the hot wind sweeps over them to-day, and 
causes them to wither, they will to-morrow be used 
as fuel. Therefore, Jesus calls it a lack of faith, if we 
do not trust that God will all the more give us the 
necessary clothing than He gives it to the flowers of the 
field, inasmuch as we have been chosen to be the 

31 special objects of His paternal love and care. And 
now it becomes quite clear that He is not speaking of 
the acquiring of food and of clothing along the lines of 
regular duty and work, but that He only forbids all 
anxious questioning as to whether we shall succeed in 

32 securing through our labors all that we need. He 
calls this worrying heathenish ; for the heathen know 
nothing of a Father in heaven who understands what 
they need and for that reason will see to it that they 

33 secure this through their work. The first concern of the 



all these things shall be added unto you. (34) Be not there- 
fore anxious for the morrow : for the morrow will be anxious 
for itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. 
VII Jii'ig^ not, that ye be not judged. (3) For with what 
judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged : and with what 

disciples is to secure righteousness, i. e., the fulfihiient 
of the divine will, through which the kingdom of God 
will be established on earth. Just as the prayer for 
the coming of this kingdom and the fulfilment of the 
divine will, which Jesus commanded Ills disciples, by 
no means precludes the necessity for daily striving 
after it, so the labor along the line of daily duty for the 
support and clothing of our bodies does not take the 
place of the firm confidence that God will surely add 
His blessing to our prayer. If the former is the main 
thing and the highest good of a disciple, then the latter 
is a gift that God will surely not fail to add, if we by 
our striving for the former do our first duty. But 
because Jesus knows how hard it is to cast aside the 
anxiety for our earthly possessions. He has added a 
good counsel, showing how we can rid ourselves of all 
care. We are to cease concerning ourselves with the 34 
cares of the following day. To avoid doing this we 
need but think of the fact that this day has already a 
provider, and that is itself. For with the next day 
care begins anew. The fact that every hour that 
passes away shows that God at all times cares for us 
anew, proves how foolish our cares are. But on the 
present day to worry also for the next day means to 
double the care that is already great enough in itself 
without taking away any care from the next day. 

That the preceding precepts which treat the prac- 1 
tice of righteousness as the highest aim of human 
effort (vi. 19-34), and which we shall find in their 
original relation in Luke xii. 22-34, are here inter- 
4 49 


measure ye mete, it shall be measured imto you. (3) And 
why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but 
considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (4) Or 

polations of the Evangelist, is clear from the fact, that 
at the beginning of this chapter, the Sermon on the 
Mount turns again to that course of conduct which is 
opposite to the spurious righteousness of the Pharisees. 
For the hypocritical practice of righteousness by those 
who boast of their virtues, (vi. 1-18), merely results 
in a haughty condemnation of others, and this, as 
Jesus declares, will bring down upon itself the judg- 
ment of God. For as we have seen in v. 38, this is 
the measure of retaliation for man demanded by the 
divine law, and is therefore applicable to the divine 
judgment also. The kind of judgment is determined 
by the measure which the judge applies, and shall con- 
sist in this, that the measure of guilt will be repaid by 

2 the like measure of punishment. Therefore the unmer- 
ciful condemnation of others can be repaid only by an 
unmerciful condemnation. It is true that men try 
to excuse such judgment by the claim that thereby 
they bring their neighbors to a consciousness of their 
faults and thus make them better, as it was the pro- 
fessed purpose of the Pharisees to bring about among 
the people this observance of righteousness of which 

3 they boasted. But in this, as is natural for men, they 
overlooked the fact that, while they noticed even the 
smallest fault in others, they easily failed to detect much 
greater blemishes in themselves. In a most convincing 
manner Jesus shows this by His comparison of the mote 
that has found its way into another's eye, with the 
beam that, for the very reason that this cannot be inter- 
preted literally, means the incomparably larger faults in 

4 the fault-finder himself. But it is hypocrisy if we, 
professedly for the purpose of practising righteousness, 



how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me cast out the mote 
out of thine eye; and lo, the beam is in thine own eye? 
(5) Thou hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of thine own 
eye ; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out 
of thy brother's eye. 

(6) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast 
your pearls before the swine, lest haply they trample them 
under their feet, and turn and rend you. 

(7) Ask, and it shall be given you ; seek, and ye shall find ; 
knock, and it shall be opened unto you : (8) for every one that 
asketh receiveth ; and he that seeketh findeth ; and to him 
that knocketh it shall be opened. (9) Or what man is there 

instead of correcting the much greater faults of our 
own, begin with the correction of the smaller faults of 
others. It is true that there is another mistaken way 
of showing one's zeal for reform, namely when we over- 
look in others their capability of receiving correction. 
Wild dogs, which, like swine, were regarded as unclean 
animals, are types of those men who, on account of 
their lives of vice, have no appreciation for that which 
is holy, and regard things most valuable as those of 
least worth. Such persons, if we announce to them 
the truth for the purpose of making them better, will 
only desecrate it, and will turn from it in order to repay 
by their enmity those who have something better to offer 
them, and in that way commit sin both against the 
gift and the giver. This naturally does not mean that 
we should allow such people to go to destruction with- 
out any effort on our part to help them ; for even if we 
cannot do anything to make them better, we can 
still pray that God may make them capable of receiv- 
ing the truth. Therefore the Evangelist adds here a 
statement to the effect that prayers will be heard. 
This statement we shall find in its original relation 
in Luke xi. 9-13. That prayer will be heard is 
promised to every one who prays j but this does not 



of you, who, if his son shall ask him for a loaf, will give him a 
stone ; (10) or if he shall ask for a fish, will give him a serpent ? 
(11) If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto 
your children, how much more shall your Father who is in 
heaven give good things to them that ask him ? (12) All 

mean that he "will receive exactly the very thing that 
he prays for. A sensible father will not give a child any 
and everything that it begs for, neither will he give it a 
useless gift in the place of the necessary thing asked 
for ; much less instead of something useful will he give 

10 it something harmful. Rather, instead of the useless 
or harmful things the child may request, inasmuch 
as children are easily deceived by external appear- 
ances, he will give it something good and necessary. 

11 And if every human father, who by his very nature is 
evil, still knows how to do his children some good, how 
much more will the Heavenly Father, through His infi- 
nite wisdom, be able to do us good, even beyond our 
understanding. Here the Saviour has Himself pointed 
out why He has employed the figure of the love of a 
father for his children to illustrate the relationship to 
the Father, upon which the disciple enters when he 
becomes a member of the kingdom of God. That these 
statements (v. ii. 6-11), are interpolated here by the 
Evangelist is clear from this, that the final state- 
ment again returns to the opposite conduct of the 
Pharisees, which had been discussed in verses 1-5. 
The other side of pride is that according to which it 
passes judgment on others without judging itself, and 
attempts to reform others without first reforming 
itself, and always asks merely for what honor or dis- 
tinction is due it. But in that which we expect to 
receive from others we can best judge what we are to 

12 do to them. In this statement Jesus gives a summary 
of all that He has said concerning the fulfilment of 


MA TTHE W [ VII, 13-15 

things therefore whatsoever ye would that men should do 
unto you, even so do ye also unto them : for this is the law 
and the prophets. 

(13) Enter ye in by the narrow gate : for wide ^ is the gate, 
and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many 
are they that enter in thereby. (14) ^ For narrow is the gate, 
and straitened the way, that leadeth unto life, and few are 
they that find it. 

(15) Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's 

1 Some ancient authorities omit is the gate. 

' Many ancient authorities read How narroxo is the gate, etc. 

righteousness revealed by God through the law and 
the prophets. For what we expect to receive from our 
neighbors is at bottom love, and from our own need of 
love we can judge best what love we owe to others. 

The Evangelist begins the conclusion of the Sermon 13 
on the Mount by the sentence concerning the Two Ways. 
The broad way, that goes through a wide and therefore 
easily passed gate, is the way of sin, upon which the 
majority of mankind walk ; but it leads to destruction. 
The narrow way, on to which one with difficulty 
forces a passage through a small gate, and which is not 
only difficult to tread, but hard to find, few are able 
to walk in. But we must go through the narrow 
gate if we would enter into life. For this reason 
Jesus has pointed out this way in everything that He 
has said in the Sermon on the Mount concerning 
righteousness in the kingdom of God. But then we 15 
must be on oui* guard against the Pharisees and the Sad- 
ducees, against whom this Sermon is directed. These 
claim to be the preachers of the will of God, as the 
prophets were in olden times. Their hypocritical 
works of virtue are the sheep's clothing, put on to pro- 
claim their innocency. But, regarded in their inner- 
most character, they are ravenous wolves ; because, in 
order to satisfy their ambition for honor and power, 
they are hurrying the nation into destruction by lead- 



clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. (16) By their 
fruits ye shall know them. Do vfien gather grapes of thorns, 
or figs of thistles ? (17) Even so every good tree bringeth 
forth good fruit ; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil 
fruit. (18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither 
can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. (19) Every tree that 
bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the 
fire. (20) Therefore by their fruits ye shall know them. 
(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter 
into the kingdom of heaven ; but he that doeth the will of my 
Father who is in heaven. (22) Many will say to me in that 

ing them on the easy way of an external righteousness. 
This, their true nature, is evident from their actions. 
The purely external conception of the law on the part 
of the Scribes could lead only to such a hypocritical 
fulfilment of the law as that of which the Pharisees 
boasted. But, as no plant can produce the fruits of 
another, so the teachers of a false way can be recog- 
nized by the very fact that they walk on this false way. 

16 In the same way every tree brings forth fruit only after 

17 its own kind. This is not merely an actual fact, but 
it cannot be otherwise, because this fact is based on 

19 an unchangeable law of nature. For this reason the 
Baptist had already, in iii. 10, predicted the judg- 
ment to come upon these false prophets, who may be 
known as such by their life, which is the fruit of their 
false teachings. But naturally, it is not enough to 

20 find in Jesus the true Master, who as the Son of God 
has been selected to be the Messiah, and in the Sermon 
on the Mount has taught how to fulfil His will com- 
pletely. Not he who externally ascribes to Him the 
honor due Him, but he who does His will, shall attain 
to the heavenly perfection of the kingdom of God. 

22 In the times of the Evangelist there were people who 
not only acknowledged Jesus as the Lord, but were 
also endowed with high spiritual gifts, and by virtue of 


31 A T THE ^V [VII, 24-28 

day, Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy by thy name, and by 
thy name cast out demons, and by thy name do many ^ mighty 
works ? (23) And then will I profess unto them, I never 
knew you : depart from me, ye that work iniquity. 

(24) Every one therefore that heareth these words of mine, 
and doeth them, sluiU be likened unto a wise man, who built 
his house upon the rock : (25) and the rain descended, and the 
floods came, and tlie winds blew, and beat upon that house ; 
and it fell not : for it was founded upon the rock. (20) And 
every one that heareth these words of mine, and doeth them 
not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, who built his house 
upon the sand : (27) and the rain descended, and the floods 
came, and the winds blew, and smote upon that house ; and 
it fell : and great was the fall thereof. 

(28) And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these 

' Gr. powers. 

His name manifested the possession of these by prophe- 
cying, driving out devils, and miraculous deeds. But 
inasmuch as on this account they considered them- 
selves absolved from the ordinary laws of a moral life, 
they became doers of unrighteousness, as described in 
Ps. vi. 9. These Jesus has from the outset already 
threatened, declaring that He will not recognize them on 
the Last Day as His discij^les, but will exclude them from 
His communion. In the final simile, he who not only 24 
hears but also does what Jesus commands, is likened to 
a wise man, who, in order to attain his purposes, also 
selects the right means, and builds his house, in order 
that it may stand, on a rock. Jesus describes how all 25 
the dangers tliat try the stability of a house, such as 
rains, floods and storms, will also attack it; but the 
house will stand, because it has a firm foundation. 
He, on the other hand, who hears Jesus and thereby 26 
apparently recognizes Him as his teacher, but does not 
live according to His words, is compared with a fool- 
ish man, whose house at the first attack of the elements 
is in danger of being swept away, because it is built on 
the sand. Finally the Evangelist reports on the effect 28 



words, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching : (29) for 
he taught them as one having authority, and not as their 

"yill And when he was come down from the mountain, 
gjeat multitudes followed him. (2) And behold, there 

which this sermon had on the masses. They marveled 
at Christ as a teacher, who did not offer the fruits of 
His own wisdom as the Scribes did, but spoke with 
authority from on high. "We shall hear in Mark i. 22, 
as described for the first time, in the same words the 
reason for the impression made by Christ's teachings. 

As the Evangelist has in the account of the Sermon 
on the Mount given us a picture of the teaching activ- 
ity of Jesus, he now furnishes us with a picture of His 
activity as a bringer of healing, by relating in a long 
series the miracles that He performed. The first is 
the healing of the leper. This story is immediately 
connected with the Sermon on the Mount, because it 
gives us an example of the fact that Jesus by no means 
purposed to destroy the law, (cf. v. 17.) In addition, 
the Evangelist describes the event as taking place 
while Jesus was yet surrounded by the multitudes who 
had listened to His discourse. We see how high the 
public respect for Jesus had already risen. The leper 
casts himself down before the Lord, because he does 
not venture to come near to the man who performs so 
many miracles without showing the deepest humility 
and reverence. He addresses the Lord as the disciples 
do and gives expression to his faith in Jesus' un- 
bounded power to perform miracles. He declares that 
it merely depends upon the wUl of the Lord if he is to 
receive help. He is unclean, according to the law, 
on account of his terrible disease, and excluded from all 
dealings with mankind. Only by being delivered from 


MA T THE W [ VIII, 3-4 

came to him a leper and ^ worshipped him, saying, 
Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (3) And he 
stretched forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will ; be 
thou made clean. And straightway his leprosy was cleansed. 
(4) And Jesus saith unto him, -See thou tell no man ; but go, 
show thyself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses com- 
manded, for a testimony unto them. 

' See marginal note on ch. ii. 2. 

= Ch. ix. 30, xii. 16, xvii. 9; Mk. i. 44, iii. 12, v. 43, vii. 3.6, viii. 30, Ix. 9, Luke 
iv. 47, viii. 56, ix. 'Z\. 

his leprosy can he again be made clean. For this 3 
reason Jesus stretches out his hand in order to prevent 
the contact with the unclean and contagious disease. 
But He is able to assure him of the healing, because 
where He finds such confidence in His wondrous 
power to help, Jesus never refuses to comply. His 
word accompanies the healing touch, by which the sick- 
ness is at once removed. The leprosy was cleansed, 
we are told in so many words ; it lost all its power of 
contagion and was healed, as though it had been an 
ordinary eruption. Xow comes the word of Jesus, for 
the sake of which the whole narrative is told. Accord- 4 
ing to the law, everybody who had been cured of lep- 
rosy was obligated to show himself to the priest, so 
that the latter could examine him and order the neces- 
sary purifications, and the man who had been healed 
was then to offer a designated gift. Only by the 
acceptance of this gift, which only a clean person was 
permitted to bring, was the acknowledgment made to 
him before all that he had become clean. Xow 
nothing was more natural, than that the leper, who 
had been cleansed through a miracle, would consider 
himself dispensed from this tedious and expensive ordi- 
nance. But Jesus emphaticall}^ impresses upon him 
the fact that he must not so consider. He is not to 
announce to any one that he has been made clean, 
before he has presented himself to the priest for the 



(5) And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came 
unto him a centurion, beseeching him, (6) and saying. Lord, 
my 1 servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously 
tormented. (7) And he saith unto him, I will come and heal 
him. (8) And the centurion answered and said, Lord, I am 
not " worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof ; but 
only say * the word, and my i servant shall be healed. (9) For 
I also am a man * under authority, having under myself 
soldiers : and I say to this one, Go, and he goeth ; and to 
another. Come, and he cometh ; and to my 6 servant, Do this, 

• Or, hoy. * Qr. sufflcient. * Gr. with a word. 

• Some ancient authorities insert set : as in Luke vii. 8. 

• Qr. bondservant. 

purpose of being pronounced clean and has made the 
offering prescribed by the law to give public testimony 
of the fact of his cleansing. In this way by His acts 
too Jesus upholds the legal ordinance in every respect. 

5 Now follows the story of the centurion in Capernaum, 
which was handed down as one of the earliest miracles 
of Jesus, as Jesus had then returned to Capernaum. 
Here lived a centurion belonging to the troops of 
Herod Antipas, who had engaged Roman oflBcers for 
his soldiers. This man came to Jesus, of whose won- 
derful healings he had heard, and sadly told Him 
of the sufferings of his son, without daring to 

6 ask directly for help. He could, as others had 
done, have brought the sick boy to the Lord; 
but the latter was confined to his bed and, as his 
lameness was accompanied by terrible sufferings, he 

7 could not easily be transported. But when Jesus then 
declared that this would not be necessary, but that He 
would Himself come and heal him, this heathen captain 
does not deem himself worthy to receive so revered a 

8 man into his house, and tells Him so. He tells Him 
that it would only be necessary for Jesus to give 
expression to His command, that then his son would be 

9 healed. He declared that he himself, because he was 



and he doeth it. (10) And when Jesus heard it, he marvelled, 
and said to them that followed Verily I say unto you, ^ I have 
not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. (11) And I say 
unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, 
and shall ^sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob in 

* Many ancient authorities read, With no man in Israel have I found so 
great faith, 
*Gr. recline. 

put under superiors, knew what it was to obey others ; 
and from his dealings with his soldiers and his serv- 
ants, he knew what it was to command. He evidently 
regards Jesus as a master over the higher spirits, who 
obey Him unreservedly, and accordingly will surely 
bring healing to the sick. Now Jesus is amazed at this 10 
faith of the heathen man and spoke to His followers 
the word that must put them to shame, namely, that He 
had not yet found such faith in Israel. For in Israel, 
too, it was believed that He could heal because He had 
healed many already. But this heathen man had come 
to a certain conclusion as to the reason why He was 
able to help. He regards Him as a supernatural being, 
and the superstitious way in which he thinks that His 
power to help exhibits itself, does not in the eyes of 
Jesus injure the virtue of the implicit confidence which 
he has put in the power of the Lord. For the Evan- 
gelist, however, this story is of the greatest importance, 
on account of the faith of this Gentile which Jesus 
lauds in so decided a manner, and which he regards as 
a prophecy of the highest order. Therefore, he here 
already draws attention to a saying of Jesus, which, as 
we shall see. He spoke at a much later period (cf . Luke 
xiii. 28, 29), and in which He points to the fact, that 
in the future many from all the four corners of the 
earth, i. e. many Gentiles, will, with the Patriarchs, 
take part in the consummation of the kingdom of God, 
the blessedness of which Jesus describes under the fig- 



the kingdom of heaven : (12) but the sons of the kingdom 
shall be cast forth into the outer darkness : there shall be the 
weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (13) And Jesus said unto 
the centurion, Gro thy way ; as thou hast believed, so be it done 
unto thee. And the ^ servant was healed in that hour. 

(14) And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, he saw 
his wife's mother lying sick of a fever. (15) And he touched 
her hand, and the fever left her ; and she arose, and minis- 
tered unto him. (16) And when even was come, they brought 

* Or, boy. 

12 ure of a feast. The consequence of this is, of course, 
that those who were originally selected to participate 
in this kingdom, will, for the most part, be excluded 
therefrom, so that they will be cast into the darkness 
of that misery which reigns outside the room in which 
the feast takes place. There will be heard the lamen- 
tations over their sufferings and the gnashing of teeth 
in fruitless rage, such as can be imagined would arise 
among those who have been cast out. The Evangelist 
then returns to his story, since it was his chief purpose 
to show that after such an expression of faith, the 
prayers of the centurion, according to the words of 
Jesus, would necessarily be heard. Jesus makes the 
direct promise to him and His word is confirmed by 
the fact, that in the hour in which Jesus spoke this 
word, the centurion's son was healed by the miraculous 
power of Grod. 

In the house of Peter at Capernaum, to which town 
the story just narrated has led Jesus, a whole series of 
healings follows. Mark, i, 29, sqq., describes these occur- 
rences as having taken place at Christ's first visit to this 
city; for which reason the Evangelist inserts them 

14 here. He mentions only briefly that Jesus, immediately 
after He entered the house of Peter, found the latter's 

15 mother-in-law sick in bed, with a fever. In this case 
Jesus merely touches her hand, and the fever left her, 

16 so that she could arise and minister to Him. Far 



unto him many ^ possessed with demons : and he cast out the 
spirits with a word, and healed all that were sick : (17) that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the 
prophet, saying, ^ Himself took our infirmities, and bare 
our diseases. 

(18) Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he 

* Or, demoninca. * Is. liii. 4. 

more important in his eyes than this single healing of a 
fever is the fact, that on the same evening people in- 
fected with various diseases were brought to Him. Here 
it becomes clear that these narratives are taken from 
another recorded series of events, in which it is made 
evident why the sick were brought to Him in the 
evening. It is true that the Evangelist tells us this 
plainly with regard to those possessed with devils, out 
of whom Jesus expelled the evil spirits by the mere 
word of command. But he implies this in the other 
cases, purposing by a single mention to describe how 
Jesus healed the sick in general. For he takes oc- 
casion, as he describes to us Jesus in the midst of 
His healing activity, to demonstrate, that thereby a 
prophecy which referred to the work of the Messiah, 
is fulfilled. He cites Is. liii. 4, where he interprets 
the sufferings there mentioned as sickness of the body ; 
such as His patient endurance or toil involved in con- 
tinuing to heal the sick even to a late hour in the 

As the last narrative merely made mention of the 
healing of demoniacs in general, the Evangelist now 
adds the story of one particular instance which took 
place during a journey along the eastern shore of the 
Sea of Gralilee. In the oldest traditions this trip was 
associated with a series of remarkable events, the ac- 
count of which is given here also. Aside from this 
the narrative is connected with a situation identical 
with that of which we have just heard. Jesus is again 18 



gave commandment to depart unto the other side. (19) And 
there came *a scribe, and said unto him, Teacher, I will 
follow thee whithersoever thou goest. (20) And Jesus saith 
unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven 
have * nests ; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his 
head. (21) And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, 
suffer me first to go and bury my father. (22) But Jesus saith 

* Gr. one scribe. 

* Gr. lodging-places. 

surrounded by a multitude, and, tired out by the labor 
of the day, He directs His disciples to go to the op- 
posite shore. While they are engaged in getting the boat 
ready, there comes to Him a man, in this case a Scribe, 
who belonged to a class which, as such, had at that time 
withdrawn themselves from Jesus, and asked the Rabbi, 
as he calls Him, to be permitted to become His regular 

19 companion and to take part in this journey. The number 
of disciples could not at that time have been as yet clearly 

20 and definitely settled. So Jesus reminds the man, 
who evidently had been accustomed to an easy life, 
that the Son of man, alone of human creatures, had in 
accordance with His calling, no regular place of rest, such 
as every creature enjoys, but was compelled to live a life 
of continuous wandering. But it seems that this did not 

21 deter the man from becoming a disciple. For the 
Evangelist at once gives an account of another of 
these disciples who had already been a constant com- 
panion of Jesus, and was accordingly in duty bound to 
take part in this journey, but now asks for the privilege 
of remaining behind. He declared that he wanted first 
to bury his father and would then join the company at 
a designated place. Jesus must have had His reasons for 
refusing this request. Perhaps He was afraid that His 
disciple would be persuaded by his family to become 
unfaithful, or surmised that the real motive for the re- 
quest was the aversion to a journey into an inhospitable 

22 land. At any rate. He demanded that His disciples 


MA TTHE W [ VIII, 23-27 

unto him, Follow me ; and leave the dead to bury their own 

(23) And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples 
followed him. (24) And behold, there arose a great tempest 
in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the 
waves : but he was asleep. (25) And they came to him, and 
awoke him, saying. Save, Lord ; we perish. (26) And he saith 
unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith ? Then 
he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea ; and there was 
a great calm. (27) And the men marvelled, saying, "What man- 
ner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him ? 

consider the duty toward Him as higher even than 
filial obligation (cf. x. 37.) He accordingly directs him 
to follow Him. The burial of the dead could be left 
to those who are themselves so far dead, that they still 
lack true spiritual life, and belong to the class of the 
dead, whom it is their first duty to take care of. 

Thus Jesus started on His way with His disciples as 23 
well as with these two. On the passage over, one of 
those sudden terrible storms that are apt to arise on 
small inland seas broke upon them. The waters were 24 
lashed into foam, as though it was the upheaval of an 
earthquake and the waves dashed over the boat. But 
Jesus was asleep. The disciples then awakened Him 25 
in order that He might save them from impending de- 
struction. He however chides them as being of little 26 
faith, since they do not trust that as long as they are 
in His company, who as the representative of God 
stands for sure protection, they cannot suffer destruc- 
tion, so that there are no grounds for fear at all. Then 
He arises and rebukes the wind and the sea, which had 
arisen against Him, as though they could do Him 
harm. And when immediately there was a perfect 27 
calm, the men who heard of it were amazed at the 
wondrous power of Jesus to whom even the winds and 
the waves were obedient. 



(28) And when he was come to the other side into the 
country of the Gradarenes, there met him two i possessed with 
demons, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so 
that no man could pass by that way. (29) And behold, they 
cried out, saying. What have we to do with thee, thou Son of 
God ? art thou come hither to torment us before the time ? 
(30) Now there was afar off from them a herd of many swine 
feeding. (31) And the demons besought him, saying, If thou 
cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine. (32) And 

* Or, demoniacs. 

28 They then arrived in safety on the opposite shore, 
which constitutes a part of Persea, the capital of which 
was Gadara. In the hollow rocks along the steep shore 
that served as tombs two demoniacs had their abode, 
and were so fierce, that nobody dared to pass by the 

29 place where they kept themselves. These at once rushed 
toward Jesus and cried out to Him, imploring Him not 
to trouble them. For the evil spirits in them recognized 
Jesus as the Son of God, who had been chosen to be the 
Messiah and had come to destroy the supremacy of the 
Devil and to deliver the unfortunates whom the demons 
had in their power. They indeed know that when the last 
judgment comes, they will most certainly be cast into 

30 hell. But He is asked not to deliver them over to the 
torments of hell before their time. Already from a 

31 distance they see a large herd of swine feeding. They 
accordingly ask, through the mouth of the demoniacs, 
that if He should drive them out, they may be per- 
mitted to enter into this herd of swine. These animals, 
unclean in His eyes, as a Jew, and somewhat akin to un- 
clean spirits. He will gladly permit them to torment 
so that they need not yet go to their own torment in 
hell. Jesus, however, without discussing upon their 

32 statement, permits them to enter. Then the fierce 
demoniacs in a final fury, such as was wont to precede 
an expulsion, driven by the thought which the evil 
spirils prompted, as though these could now pass out 


MA TTHE W [IX, 33-3 

he said unto them, Go. And they came out, and went into 
the swine : and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep 
into the sea, and perished in the waters. (33) And they that 
fed them fled, and went away into the city, and told every- 
thing, and what was befallen to them that were * possessed 
with demons. (S4) And behold, all the city came out to meet 
Jesus : and when they saw him, they besought him that he 
would depart from their borders. 

JX And he entered into a boat, and crossed over, and 
came into his own city. (2) And behold, they brought 

* Or, demoniacs 

from them into the swine, hurl themselves upon the 
herd. The eyewitness of this occurrence so understood 
it as though this transference actually took place ; for 
the herd, thrown into confusion by the demoniacs, 
rushed, like possessed beings, down the hill and were 
drowned in the water. But the swineherds fled when 33 
they heard the raging of the demoniacs and reported 
in their near-by village what had happened, especially 
concerning the demoniacs. The whole population of 34 
the city then arose and went out to ask Jesus to depart 
from this neighborhood. They were terrified at this 
worker of miracles, who seemed to have caused the 
destruction of the herd. Thereby, it is true, the 
purpose of Jesus, to search out at this place the most 
;. miserable of His people who lived among a heathen 
population, was thwarted. He was compelled to enter 
another boat, and, crossing over the sea, returned to 
Capernaum, which the Evangelist, who describes Jesus 
as living there, calls His own city. 

Here in Capernaum He enables a lame man to walk, 
and this story is associated with a memorable word of 
Jesus. The narrative begins by drawing attention to 2 
the fact, that it was the faith of these men which led 
them to bring the man sick of the palsy on his bed to 
Jesus, and that for this reason Jesus relieved the un- 
fortunate sufferer. The latter himself could not have 
5 65 


to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed : and Jesus seeing 
their faith said unto the sick of the palsy, ^Son, be of good 
cheer ; thy sins are forgiven. (3) And behold, certain of the 
scribes said within themselves. This man blasphemeth. 
(4) And Jesus ^ knowing their thoughts said, Wherefore think 
ye evil in your hearts? (5) For which is easier, to say, Thy 
sins are forgiven ; or to say, Arise, and walk ? (6) But that 

* Gr. child. *Many ancient authorities read seeing. 

entertained any hope of being healed, because he was 
conscious of the fact, that his suffering was the result of 
his sinful life and was therefore a just punishment. 
"Wherefore Jesus in addressing hira in a friendly 
manner encourages him, and assures him, first of all, 
8 of the forgiveness of his sins. This was a great offense in 
the eyes of the Pharisees, who considered it blasphemy, 
that Jesus arrogated to Himself the right to forgive 

4 sins, as this was the prerogative of God alone. Jesus, 
however, knew their thought, for He is the Searcher 
of hearts ; but as these men, unless they understood 
His unique calling, would not be without justification, 
He undertakes to show them how unjust is the charge 
which they have brought against Him in their hearts. 

5 He asks them to consider, which is easier, to speak the 
word with which He bestowed forgiveness of sins, or 
the word by which He commands the lame man to 
arise and to walk. Evidently the mere utterance of 
these words is equally easy ; but to say them with an 
effectual result is just as diflBcult, because a divine 
authority is equally necessary for both of them. The 
difference is this, that in the case of the one it can be 
seen whether it produces any effect, while in the case 

6 of the other, the opposite is true. Therefore Jesus 
proceeds to prove from the visible success of one word 
that He has authority for uttering the other. It is true 
that God alone forgives sins in heaven, and whatever 
human being would arrogate to himself this right, is 


3fA TTHE W [ IX, 7-9 

ye may know that the Son of man hath authority on earth to 
forgive sins (then saith he to the sick of the palsy), Arise, 
and take up thy bed, and go unto thy house. (7) And he 
arose, and departed to his house. (8) But when the multi- 
tudes saw it, they were afraid, and glorified God, who had 
given such authority unto men. 

(9) And as Jesus passed by from thence, he saw a man, 

guilty of blasphemy. But He who is pre-eminently the 
Son of man, whom God promised to His people in order 
to bring them complete redemption, certainly must 
above all others have authority to announce to men upon 
earth the forgiveness which God has bestowed, since 
the burden of sins is the heaviest load the people have 
to bear. And that He has this power, Jesus proves, by 
commanding the sick man, who, incapable of any move- 
ment, is confined to his bed, not only to arise, but in 
the full strength of his manhood to take his bed upon his 
shoulder and go home. Only because He uttered this 7 
command in the name of the Lord is the lame man able 
to obey, since He who commanded him to do this 
naturally gives him the strength to respond. The im- 8 
pression made on the multitude present by this miracle 
was one both of fear and joy ; of fear, because He who 
had been accused of blasphemy exhibited such a divine 
power ; of joy, because now one who possessed such an 
authority had appeared among men, for which reason 
they glorify God. 

As the calling of the publicans was joined to the 
preceding in the older narrative of Mark, our Evangelist 
could not pass it by without notice, indicating, as the 
incident does, how the Apostle, after whose reports he 
reproduces the most important Sayings and Doings of 
the Lord, came to Jesus and became an eye-and-ear 
witness, and he interrupts the course of his accounts of 
the miracles of Jesus, in order to insert this story. 
As Jesus returned from the place where he had healed 9 



called Matthew, sitting at the place of toll : and he saith tinto 
him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him. 

(10) And it came to pass, as he ^ sat at meat in the house, 
behold, many 2 publicans and sinners came and sat down with 
Jesus and his disciples. (11) And when the Pharisees saw it, 
they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Teacher with 

* Qr. reclined : and so always. * See marginal note on ch. 5.46. 

the lame man, He passed by a place of toll, and saw 
sitting there that publican who afterwards was called 
the Apostle Matthew. This man had doubtless already 
listened with undisguised interest to Jesus when He 
happened to preach in that neighborhood, and now 

10 Jesus called him to be His constant companion. The 
publican heeded His call. And as Jesus, together with 
His disciples, was later on sitting at table in his house, 
a number of publicans and sinners entered, and Jesus 
accepted them as table companions. But the pub- 
licans were utterly despised by their people on account 
of the oppression they were guilty of in the perform- 
ance of the duties of their office, the exercise of which 
they made all the more tyrannical by various kinds of 
illegal acts calculated for their own enrichment. They 
belonged to that class of people who, in their inter- 
course with the surrounding heathen people, had long 
since emancipated themselves from the strict legal life 
and lived in the sins of the heathen. It was the pro- 
found contempt with which the people treated them that 
had roused them to a consciousness of their sinful con- 
dition and driven them to Jesus, who gladly received 
them because He found them susceptible to His preach- 

11 ing of repentance and salvation. The Pharisees, how- 
ever, who considered all association with such people 
as contaminating, asked His disciples how their Master 
could consent to go so far as even to sit at table with 
them, a proceeding which among the Jews was consid- 
ered a sign of the most close and affectionate com- 


31ATTIIEW [IX, 12-14 

the 1 publicans and sinners? (12) But when he heard it, he 
said, They that are '^ whole have no need of a physician, but 
they that are sick. (13) But go ye and learn what this 
meaneth, ^ I desire mercy, and not sacrifice : for I came not to 
call the righteous, but sinners. 

(14) Then come to him the disciples of John, saying. Why 

'See inart^inal note on ch. 5. 46. 

'^ iii. stromj. 3 jJqs yj (5 

munioii. Jesus, however, when lie heard this, under- 
took His own justitication. As tliose wlio are in the 12 
full bloom of their strength do not need a physician, 
while those Avho are sick do, so i3eople of this char- 
acter need Ilini most of all. But if His adversaries 
said that it was not right for Ilim to defile Himself 
by associating with such people, they are directed, in- 
stead of coming and disturbing His disciples, to remem- 
ber wiiat the word of God in Hos. vi. 6 means. If it is 
there stated that God demands mercy above all other 
things, and not sacrifice, we are to conclude from this, 
that having mercy upon such persons is worth more 
than is the strict separation from them, through which a 
person tries to prove his zeal for righteousness. For 
His calling does not direct Him to the just, who, if there 
really were such, would have no need of Him, but to 
the sinners, upon whose needs it is His business to 
have compassion. For this reason He must not only 
maintain His associations with them, but must call 
them, in order to help them in merciful love. 

There were still others who took offense at His 
conduct. The disciples of John, had been directed 14 
by their Master to conform to the custom of fasting 
as practised by the strict pietists of the land, in order 
that by such asceticism the heart might be with- 
drawn from that which is earthly to that which is 
spiritual, and thereby become acceptable to God. It 
must have been just at this fasting season that they 
saw Jesus and His disciples eating a meal in company 



do we and the Pharisees fast ^ oft, but thy disciples fast not ? 
(15) And Jesus said unto them, Can the * sons of the bride- 
chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them ? 
but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken 
away from them, and then will they fast. (16) And no man 

* Some ancient authorities omit oft. 

* That is, companions of the bridegroom. 

with the publicans. Therefore they come and ask 
Jesus why His disciples do not practise the fast cus- 
toms, as they, together with the Pharisees, do. Jesus, 
however, did not consider Himself bound by the tradi- 
tional ordinances of later Judaism, but solely by the 
word of God in the Old Covenant, which demanded no 
other fasting than that on the great Day of Atonement, 
when it was to be an expression of the deepest re- 
pentance. He accordingly regards fasting as nothing 
more than the natural expression of sorrow, and in His 
answer accordingly draws attention to the fact that 
the friends of the bridegroom cannot fast during the 

15 joyous season of the marriage. Just such a season of joy 
has now begun for the disciples, who possess Him 
among themselves as the Messiah ; and they certainly 
cannot be expected to engage in a practise which is 
intended to be the expression of sorrow. In doing 
this. He proceeds to refer to the days when He shall 
be taken from them by a violent death; and then, 
when they have reasons to sorrow, they may fast. But 
this does not give the reason why the disciples of John, 
at the command of their God-sent Master, should fast. 
For these men have actually not yet found the Messiah in 
Jesus, but like their master, are still expecting One to 
come after Him. If they were to follow the new pre- 
cepts of His disciples, whose faith they do not share, 
this would be inconsistent and wrong, as Jesus pro- 

16 ceeds to show by two parables. It is certainly unwise 
to put a piece of new or undressed cloth on an old gar- 
ment. For every time it is stretched, that which was 


3IA TTHE ^Y [ IX. 17-18 

putteth a piece of undressed cloth upon an old garment ; for 
that which should fill it up taketh from the garment, and a 
worse rent is made. (17) Neither do men put new wine into 
old 1 wine-skins : else the skins burst, and the wine is spilled, 
and the skins perish : but they put new wine into fresh wine- 
skins, and both are preserved. 

(18) While he spake these things unto them, behold, there 
came '^ a ruler, and ^ worshipped him, saying, My daughter is 
even now dead : but come and lay thy hand upon her, and 

' That is, skins used as bottles. 

-Gr, one ruler. Compare Mark v. 22. 

' See marginal note on ch. 2. 2 

added to mend the garment tears apart the old worn 
web and the rent is made worse than ever. Still 
clearer is this absurdity illustrated if we pour new wine 
into old skins. Without any doubt the fermenting wine 17 
will burst the skins, the wine will be poured out and 
the skins ruined. If, however, both ai'e to be preserved, 
the new wine must be poured into new skins. This is 
what His disciples are doing if they give expression in 
new forms to the new life that they have entered upon 
in their association with Jesus. But for the disciples 
of John, who do not yet know and possess this new 
life, it would be entirely improper to adopt new forms 
of life without having tlie life itself. 

And now the Evangelist returns to the description of 
the miracles of Jesus, and first narrates the story of a 
resurrection from the dead, which according to Mark v. 
21 took place on that day on which Jesus returned from 
the eastern shore. The Evangelist accordingly still 1^ 
considers Him as sitting at table and discoursing with 
the Pharisees and the disciples of John, when again 
a petitioner appears. The oldest form of the narrative 
describes him as a ruler ; but in Capernaum there was 
no ruler except the head of the synagogue. The nar- 
rator, in order to get at once to the chief point upon 
which the succeeding story hinges, represents the ruler 
as falling down on his knees before the Lord and begging 



she shall live. (19) And Jesus arose, and followed him, and so 
did his disciples. (20) And behold, a woman, who had an 
issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the 
border of his garment : (21) for she said within herself, If I 
do but touch his garment, I shall be ^ made whole. (22) But 
Jesus turning and seeing her said, Daughter, be of good cheer ; 
thy faith hath 2 made thee whole. And the woman was 
imade whole from that hour. (23) And when Jesus came 

• Or, saved. * Or, saved thee. 

of Him to put His hand upon his dead daughter, in order 
that she might be brought back to life. While then 
Jesus and His disciples were following the unhappy 
father, a woman approached Him from behind and 
touched the border of His garment, which every pious 
Jew carried attached to the four corners of his outer 

20 garment in memory of the law. She had been suffering 
for twelve years of a bloody flux ; and since this defiled 
her, she could not hope that Jesus would touch and heal 
her. She, however, thought that if she could only touch 
the garment of the great miracle worker, she would be 

21 healed. Jesus thereupon turns around, and because He, 
the Searcher of hearts, fully penetrates the purposes of 
men, He addresses the woman in a friendly manner to 

22 encourage her. She is informed that it was not the 
touch, as she expected, that had healed her, but it was 
her unbounded confidence in the divine and miraculous 
help, which through Jesus was imparted to her, since 
God does not deny Himself to such faith, even if it finds 
expression in a superstitious way, as was the case with 
the woman. And as a matter of fact, from that moment, 
when the woman learned of the true cause, an actual 
healing took place, as indeed was assured to her from 
the moment she touched Jesus in faith. 

23 When Jesus reached the house of mourning, He found 
that the customary mourning music had already begun, 
and that the dirge-singing women and the mourning 


MA TTHE W [IX, 34r-27 

into the ruler's house, and saw the flute-players, and the crowd 
making a tumult, (24) he said, Give place : for the damsel is 
not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed him to scorn. 
(25) But when the crowd was put forth, he entered in, and 
took her by the hand ; and the damsel arose. (26) And * the 
fame hereof went forth into all that land. 

(27) And as Jesu3 passed by from thence, two blind men 
followed him, crying out, and saying. Have mercy on us, 

* Gr. this fame. 

relatives were making a tumult. Jesus directs them to 24 
depart, because there was no cause for lamentation, 
as the death, out of which a person is to be im- 
mediately recalled, is no more than a sleep quickly fol- 
lowed by an awakening. He declares that the girl is 
not dead but is only sleeping. Naturally those assembled 
derided Him, for they took His word in the literal sense, 
and know only too well that the child is actually dead. 
It is not until these people had been put out that Jesus 25 
enters the chamber of the dead, and no sooner takes the 
hand of the maiden, than she returns to life and starts 
to her feet. This was something vastly greater than 
all of the miracles that Jesus had so far performed ; and 
the report of it spread through the whole country, 
which the Evangelist designates as Palestine, although 
he was not in that country when he wrote his account. 
The Evangelist proceeds to narrate two more mirac- 
ulous works, namely, the healing of a blind and of a 
dumb person, each case being recounted with a special 
object. Returning to His house, Jesus meets two blind 27 
men, who, as soon as they hear that it is He, go after 
Him, and appeal to Him as the Son of David, and with 
aloud voice beg of Him to help them. It had, it would 
seem, become generally known throughout the people 
that He was of Davidic descent, and they were begin- 
ning to regard Him as the promised Son of David, who 
was to put an end to all the troubles of the people, and 



thou son of David. (28) And when he was come into the 
house, the blind men oame to him : and Jesus saith unto 
them, Believe ye that I am able to do this ? They say unto 
him. Yea, Lord. (29) Then touched he their eyes, saying, 
According to your faith be it done unto you. (30) And their 
eyes were opened. And Jesus ^ strictly charged them, saying, 
See that no man know it. (31) But they went forth, and 
spread abroad his fame in all that land. 

(32) And as they went forth, behold, there was brought to 

* Or, sternly. 

28 could for that end bring help to them. That Jesus at 
first pays no attention to their hosannahs shows that 
it is not His purpose here on the public highway to 
create a disturbance in the presence of the people 

28 through His miraculous healings. But when the blind 
men follow Him into His house, He asks them if they 
really believe that He can do what is necessary to help 

29 them. And only when they have declared that they 
do, does He touch their eyes, and promise them that 

30 it shall be according to their faith. But it is the 
unique feature of this story that as soon as their eyes 
are opened and they have regained their sight, He im- 
presses upon them most earnestly that nobody is to 
learn of their miraculous healing. From this we may 
see the reason why He first had them come into the 
house. He does not wish to have the reputation of 
being a miracle-worker, even if such healings do testify 
that in Him the grace of God has appeared for the 
good of His people ; yet He has come to bring them 
very different things from the mere healing of 

31 bodily infirmities. It is true that His prohibition did 
little good, because these men had scarcely left the 
house before they began to do the very opposite of 
what He had enjoined, so that the report of this affair 
became as generally spread over the country as the ac- 
count of His raising the dead. But this was not the 

32 only case of healing on this occasion. For as they were 



MA TTUE ^y [ IX, 33-35 

him a dumb man possessed with a demon. (33) And when 
tlie demon was cast out, the dumb man spake : and the multi- 
tudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. 
(34) But the Pharisees said, ^By the prince of the demons 
casteth he out demons. 

(35) And Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, 

1 Or, In. 

just going out a new seeker for help came. This time 
it was a demoniac who was brought to Ilim. This 
man, under the influence of the evil spirit, had lost the 
power of speecli, and was dumb. As soon, then, as the 33 
evil spirit was driven out, the afflicted man was able 
again to speak, an occurrence that filled the multitude 
with great amazement. There had been many cases of 
driving out of devils seen in Israel. There was a class of 
exorcists who attempted to drive out devils with their 
sorcery and all kinds of magical means. But when 
the people saw that Jesus, by the mere word of His 
mouth, commanded the evil spirits to leave, and all the 
dire consequences of the sickness, which the fact that 
he was possessed of the devil had brought upon the 
sick man, at once disappeared, this was something which 
they had never before seen. In order to destroy the im- 34 
pression made by His expulsion of the devils. His 
enemies, the Pharisees, resorted to the basest slanders 
and asserted that He was co-operating with the Devil, 
who was the chief of the evil spirits, and through his 
power was driving out these demons. Here we come 
upon a new feature in the Evangelist's story of healing, 
which suggests the theme of the second chief part of the 
gospel, which theme is the hostility and the inability to 
appreciate the gospel which Jesus found in His people. 

The way in which the Evangelist again literally 35 
takes up, in iv. 23, the account of the journeyings of 
Jesus, as also His work as a teacher and a healer, 
clearly shows that he now enters upon the second chief 



teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the ^ gospel of 
the kingdom, and healing all manner of disease and all 
manner of sickness. (36) But when he saw the multitudes, 
he was moved with compassion for them, because they were 
distressed and scattered, as sheep not having a shepherd. 
(37) Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest indeed is 
plenteous, but the laborers are few. (38) Pray ye therefore the 
Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his 

^ See marginal note on ch. 4.23. 

part of his book. But from the fact that instead of 
describing the concourse of the crowd, as is done in 
iv. 24 sqq., he pictures rather the pity which seized 
Jesus when He saw the people, the Evangelist indicates 
that they were not at all what Jesus had hoped to find 

36 them. When he compares them with sheep that 
have no shepherd, this shows that they have not yet 
found in Jesus the right shepherd, nor permitted Him 
to direct them on the right path. Just as such sheep 
weary themselves by a vain search for pasture until 
they sink down exhausted, thus this people, seeking 
that which they considered their salvation, without 
any definite idea of what they need, exhaust them- 

37 selves until they are near total destruction. How much 
was yet to be done in order to lead the people in the 
right way ! But as it often happens in harvest time that 
there is a lack of laborers in proportion to the size of the 
harvest field, thus it was now, when Jesus was, so far, 
the only laborer. For this reason He demanded, when 
His heart was filled with compassion for the leaderless 
masses, that His disciples would pray to God, who 
would have this work accomplished in His people, that 

38 He would, as much as possible, urge on laborers to 
undertake this work. Through such a prayer alone 
they could become capable of receiving the divine in- 
fluence that alone could make them capable laborers. 

For He selected these men, whose number He had 

MATTHEW [X, 2-3 

X And he called unto him his twelve disciples, and gave 
them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, 
and to heal all manner of disease and all manner of sickness 
(2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are tliese : The 
first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother ; 
1 James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother ; (3) Philip, 

* Or, Jacob. 

gradually increased to twelve (in order, in a signifi- 
cant manner, to distinguish the people in the midst 
of whom they were to seek their fields of labor) to be 
His assistants, not only during the time of His earthly 
life, but particularly after His death. When He called 
them together, in order to give them His instructions, 
He first equipped them for the activity for which He 
had selected them. He gave them the power, by 
virtue of which, when they should command the evil 
spirits to depart, these would be compelled to obey ; so 
also the power to heal all kinds of diseases as He 
healed them, as He had just demonstrated in the case 
of the lame man. The fact that the Evangelist in 
this place, and only here, gives to the Twelve in 
naming them the title of Apostles, shows that He is 
thinking of their future work. At the head he men- 2 
tions Simon Peter, who everywhere appears as the 
leader of the group of disciples, together with his 
brother Andrew, and then the two sons of Zebedee, 
who were called at the same time with the other two 
brothers. But the rest of the Apostles He also men- 
tions in groups of two. Just in the same way in which 3 
here Bartholomew is joined to Philip, in John i. 46, 
Nathaniel appears joined with him, and the latter ac- 
cordingly will have been his proper or individual name, 
since the former (son of Tolmaj) was only his surname. 
"With Thomas, whose surname is interpreted by John, 
xi. 16, to mean twin, Matthew, called when a publican, 
is joined (ix. 9), whose twin brother he probably was. 



and Bartholomew ; Thomas, and Matthew the > publican ; 
3 James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddseus ; (4) Simon the 
* Cananeean, and Judas Iscariot, who also * betrayed him. 

(5) These twelve Jesus sent forth, and charged them saying : 
Go not into any way of the Gentiles, and enter not into any 
city of the Samaritans : (6) but go rather to the lost sheep of 

^ See marginal note on ch. 5. 40. 
* Or, Zealot. See Luke. 6 15 ; Acts 1. 18. *0r, delivered him up. 

Then comes James, the son of Alphgeus, and Thaddaeus, 
who very likely bore this name as the favorite child of 
his parents, his actual name being Jude (cf . John xiv. 
4 22). At the end of the list a second Simon is men- 
tioned, whose surname is here interpreted as having 
been derived from the place of his birth, but, perhaps, 
according to Luke vi. 15, incorrectly. Naturally the 
last mentioned is Judas, who probably, from his 
former place of residence, is called " Man of Koriath." 
He is also more closely characterized by the statement 
that he was the one who later on delivered the Master 
into the hands of His enemies, betraying Him. Then 
follow the words with which Jesus sends forth the 
Twelve, which the Evangelist, however, in that he does 
not make mention of any special sending forth during 
the life of Jesus, evidently regards as directions for 
their later apostolic activity. 

The Evangelist lays special emphasis upon the fact that 
Jesus did not send His disciples in any of the ways of 
the Gentiles nor into any of the cities of the Samaritans, 
who were considered by the Jews as half heathen. As 
in accordance with God's counsel (xv. 24) He considered 
that His mission was confined exclusively to Israel, in 
the same way they too were to regard themselves as 
sent exclusively to the house of Israel, the present 
generation of which He had, in ix. 36, described as de- 
serving of condemnation. In this regard too, Jesus 
showed Himself to be sent to Israel as the promised 
Messiah who was to bring redemption to the people. If 


MATTHEW [X, 7-11 

the house of Israel. (7) And as ye go, preach, saying, The 
kingdom of heaven is at hand. (8) Heal the sick, raise the 
dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons : freely ye received, 
freely give. (9) Get you no gold, nor silver, nor brass in 
your 1 purses ; (10) no wallet for your journey, neither two 
coats, nor shoes, nor staff : for the laborer is worthy of his 
food. (11) And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, 

' Gr. girdles. 

things afterwards became so totally changed it was not 
His fault. He had caused the nearness of the king- 7 
doni of God to be proclaimed to His people by the 8 
Apostles, just as He Himself proclaimed it (iv. 17) : and 
because He did so, they too were, through the per- 
formance of miracles for which He gave them power, to 
confirm the message they brought of God's grace mani- 
fest upon earth. But as they receive this power as a 
free gift, they are to employ it as a free gift and not 
to receive any pay in return. Nor should they permit 9 
their girdles, in which money was usually carried by ordi- 
nary men, to be filled even with the smallest coin, nor to 
provide wallets with provisions for the journey, nor to 
supply themselves with extra clothing or shoes. They 
should not even take a staft', which might be offered 
them as a help for traveling. Of none of these things do 
they stand in need. As the laborer is worthy of his hire 
God will see to it, that the gratitude of those to whom 
they, through their activity, bring blessings, will supply 
them with everything that they need, without their 
making any such calculations as to future recompense. 
But Jesus also makes i)rovision for the fulfilment of 11 
their mission in detail by furnishing them with the 
proper instructions. As soon as they enter a place they 
are by inquiry to learn who there is of so spotless a repu- 
tation that their activity in his house would not later suf- 
fer on account of the bad name of such a house, especially 
as such a house should continue to be their headquarters 



search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go 
forth. (13) And as ye enter into the house, salute it. 

(13) And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon 
it : but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 

(14) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your 
words, as ye go forth out of that house or that city, shake off 
the dust of your feet. (15) Verily I say unto you. It shall be 
more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day 
of judgment, than for that city. 

12 until they go on further. If they were convinced that 
they had found such a house, they were to enter it with 
the greeting, expressing the wish that this house would 

13 receive the blessing of God. But even if this should 
not turn out to be the case, their work would not be in 
vain. Even if it does not bring a blessing to others, 
to whom they offer it, their faithful labor will neverthe- 

14 less bring a blessing to themselves. But things had 
already reached such a pass that Jesus feared lest the 
people, incited by His enemies, would in places refuse to 
receive them in hospitality, or to listen to their message. 
In this case they were not to lose any time in useless ef- 
forts to convert such people, but were to declare by shak- 
ing the dust from their feet, at their departure, that 
they would have no communication whatever with them. 
It was a matter of importance at the present stage to 
spread the message of redemption as rapidly as possible 
throughout the country, so that those who were capable 
of receiving it could be gathered around Him to whom all 

15 their preaching referred. It is true, Jesus declares, 
that such a place as would not receive the gospel would 
in the final judgment suffer more terribly than those 
cities in the Old Testament that stood out as a warning 
example of God's wrath and punishment (cf. Gen. xix. 
24-28). For the greater the efforts put forth by the dis- 
ciples to gain them for repentance and the acceptance of 


MATTHEW [X, 16-17 

(16) Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of 
wolves : be j'e therefore wise as serpents, and ^ harmless as 
doves. (17) But beware of men : for they will deliver you up 
to councils, and in their synagogues they will scourge you ; 

1 Or, simple. 

salvation, so much the heavier would be their punish- 

Here it is made clear that the Evangelist looks upon 
this address of instruction as a direction for the apostolic 
mission work in general; for he here inserts a prediction 
concerning the persecutions to be expected by the dis- 
ciples that Jesus spoke at a much later period, of which 
in the nature of the case, there would not have been any 
thought when He sent them out during His lifetime. 
This view is confirmed by the reports brought back 
by the disciples (Mark vi. 30), in which not a single word 
is said of persecutions. But the Evangelist could con- 
nect this prediction with the conclusion of the address 
of instruction (cf. Luke x. 3), which he interprets to 
mean that in their mission work they would be like 
defenseless sheep among the ravenous wolves, to the 
hostility of which they would inevitably fall a prey, be- 
cause He, the much hated One, had sent them out. In 16 
such a dangerous situation it will be necessary for them 
to make use of the wisdom of the serpent and everywhere 
to find the right means to protect themselves against 
these dangers but at the same time there must be the 
innocence of the dove which refuses to make use of un- 
lawful means. The prediction begins with the exhorta- 17 
tion that they must be on their guard against men, who 
as a rule will continue to be antagonistic to the cause of 
God and His messengers. His messengers will be de- 
livered, one by one, to that Jewish court, which in order 
to suggest the whole weight of the charges that will be 
raised against them, is called by the name of the highest 
court, namely the Sanhedrin. They will be made to feel 
6 81 

X, 18-22] wei^jS's commentary 

(18) yea and before governors and kings shall ye be brought 
for my sake, for a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. 

(19) But when they deliver you up, be not anxious how or 
what ye shall speak : for it shall be given you in that hour 
what ye shall speak. (20) For it is not ye that speak, but the 
Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. (21) And brother 
shall deliver up brother to death, and the father his child ; 
and children shall rise up against parents, and * cause them 
to be put to death. (22) And ye shall be hated of all men for 

» Or, put them to death. 

the different punishments inflicted by the synagogues, 

18 which generally was scourging. But they will be 
brought also before higher tribunals. True, as long as 
they remain in Palestine they will be brought only 
before the Roman representative in Judea and before 
the Herodian princes. But when they have once ex- 
tended their activity beyond the borders of this land, 
then they will be brought before the authorities of the 
different provinces and before heathen kings, including 
the Roman emperors, and here too they will be accused 
on account of their confession of Jesus, and thus will 
have the opportunity to testify to these officials and to 

19 the heathen near them, that Jesus is the Messiah. Then 
indeed anxious thoughts will arise in their hearts, as 
to whether they can find the proper defense and the 
right words, in order to meet the occasion and its de- 
mands aright. But they have no reason for being 
anxious, because in the very hour when they shall in 
absolute unselfishness defend the cause of the Lord, the 
Spirit of God, who speaks in them, shall give to them, 

21 what and how they shall speak. But this hostility from 
without is not the only enmity that they must encounter. 
The struggle for and against Jesus will tear asunder the 
strongest family ties, so that brother will charge brother, 
and father his child, and deliver them over unto death. 
Children will arise as accusers of their parents and thus 

22 bring about their death. Indeed, on account of the 


MA TTHE W [ X, 23-24 

my name's sake : but he that endureth to the end, the same 
shall be saved. (23) But when they persecute you in this city, 
flee into the next : for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have 
gone through the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. 
(24) A disciple is not above his teacher, nor a * servant above 
his lord. (25) It is enough for the disciple that he be as his 
teacher, and the ^ servant as his lord. If they have called the 
master of the house " Beelzebub, how much more them of his 

* Gr. bondservant. * Gr. Beelzebul. 

name of the Messiah which they confess, they will be- 
come the objects of universal hatred. Under these cir- 
cumstances firmness is demanded, for only he who en- 
dures to the end will be saved in the final judgment that 
is to separate the friends from the enemies of Jesus. 
And this judgment is near. For if now, in order to 23 
avoid persecution, they flee from one city to another, 
they need not fear that they will fail of a final haven of 
safety. They shall not yet have exhausted all the cities 
of Israel in such a search before the return of the Son 
of man to judgment. 

In the closest connection with this prediction are 
found the teachings concerning the certainty of these 
persecutions and their inability to do any harm. 
Whether we regard the relationship sustained by the 
disciples toward Jesus as that of pupils or of servants, 
under all circumstances the pupil and the slave is not 
above the teacher or the master, and accordingly can- 
not expect any better fate than that of the latter. It is 24 
suflBcient that he does not suffer something worse. Here 
the Evangelist inserts an explanation referring back to 
the first act of hostility as reported in ix. 34. If in that 
place the Devil was described as the chief of evil spirits, 
he is here given the popular name of Beelzebub. If 
they have accused the Master of the house, of being in 
a conspiracy with the Devil, then those of His house- 
hold cannot expect any better treatment from them. 
If we regard the disciples as the members of the family 


^36-29] W£:iSS'S GOMMENTABY 

household I (26) Fear them not therefore : for there is nothing 
covered, that shall not be revealed ; and hid, that shall not be 
known. (27) What I tell you in the darkness, speak ye in the 
light ; and what ye hear in the ear, proclaim upon the house- 
tpps. (28) And be not afraid of them that kill the body, but 
are not able to kill the soul : but rather fear him who is able 
to destroy both soul and body in i hell. (29) Are not two 
sparrows sold for a penny ? and not one of them shall fall on 

*Gr. Oehenna. 

of Jesus, it is rather to be expected that they will suf- 

26 fer even more persecutions. If this be true, then this is 
certainly not to be feared as an evil which threatens 
destruction, but must rather be expected as something 
inevitable in accordance with the counsels of God. 
Their calling naturally brings this with it. It is a 
popular saying, that the sun will bring everything to 
the light of day ; and that nothing can be so carefully 
hidden but what will some day be revealed, nor can 
anything be so cautiously covered, but it shall be un- 
covered. In this way, too, their relation to Jesus cannot 
remain a secret. How is there the slightest necessity 

27 that it should ? What Jesus has spoken to them in the 
most intimate circles, as though it could be hidden in 
the deepest darkness, this He declared to them for the 
very purpose, that they shall spread it in the full light of 
publicity. What He secretly whispered into their ears, 
this they are at a later time to proclaim as public heralds 
to the world, as though they stood on the flat roof of 
the houses in order to be heard by the greatest possible 
number of men. And even if this brings persecutions 
upon them, they will have nothing in reality to fear, be- 
cause their enemies can at most kill their bodies, but 
cannot harm the soul, upon which their eternal fate de- 
pends ; while both soul and body will be destroyed if 
they on account of unfaithfulness in their calling, shall 

29 be condemned to hell by God. But their enemies are 


MATTHEW [X, 31-34 

the ground without your Father : (30) but the very hairs of 
your head are all numbered. (31) Fear not therefore : ye are 
of more value than many sparrows. (32) Every one therefore 
who shall confess * me before men, '^ him will I also confess 
before my Father who is in heaven. (33) But whosoever shall 
deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father 
who is in heaven. 

(34) Think not that I came to ^send peace on the earth: I 

>Gr. in him. -Gt. in me. 'Gr. cast. 

not even able to hurt the body, unless it be the will of 31 
God. Without His consent not a single sparrow can 
fall dead to the ground, the utter worthlessness of which 
from a money point of vie^^', is shown by the market 
price being that of the smallest possible coin. But they, 
as the children of God, are of infinitely greater worth 
than the sparrows. For this reason even the smallest 
portion of their body is under the protection of Him, 
who has calculated the exact number of hairs upon their 
heads, so that He can protect each single one. On the 
contrary, the fate of every single soul depends on its 
fearless confession. For according to the unchangeable 
law that like shall be repaid by like, Jesus can acknowl- 
edge only him as His true disciple before the judgment 
seat of the Father, who has also acknowledged Him, 
and will be compelled to deny him by whom He Him- 
self has been denied. What Jesus says concerning the 
certainty that persecution will come, the Evangelist 
confirms by certain statements which are found in Luke 
xii. 51 sqq. in the same connection. All Israel indeed 34 
hoped that the Messiah would come in order to found a 
mighty kingdom of peace on earth ; but He cannot, as if 
by magic, force this peace upon the earth. In this sin- 
ful world peace can only come through a struggle, the 
symbol of which is the sword. This struggle, however, 
as was already predicted in v. 21, severs the most sacred 
bonds of the family relations ; so that what is stated in 



came not to send peace, but a sword. (35) For I came to set a 
man at variance against his father, and the daughter against 
her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in 
law : (36) and a man's foes shall he they of his own household. 
(37) He that loveth father or mother more than me is not 
worthy of me ; and he that loveth son or daughter more than 
me is not worthy of me. (38) And he that doth not take his 
cross and follow after me, is not worthy of me. (39) He that 
^ findeth his life shall lose it ; and he that ^ loseth his life for 
my sake shall find it. 

» Or, found. 'Or, lost. 

Micah vii. 6 will be fulfilled, namely that a man's own 
family will become his enemies. This would be un- 
pardonable if the object for which the struggle is being 
carried on were not Jesus and the confession of Him. 

37 But He has declaredthat no body is worthy of Him, who 
is not willing to be separated from what is nearest and 
dearest to him, because nobody will estimate Him at 
His true worth who has anything that he esteems higher 
than Him. The same is true of him who is not willing, 
in following Jesus, to endure even the heaviest suffering. 

38 Since the Romans introduced the punishment of cruci- 
fixion, the cross had become the symbol of the most 
painful and disgraceful suffering. But as the con- 
demned man was compelled to take up his own cross, 
and carry it to the place of execution, Jesus selects this 
picture to illustrate the willingness to suffer everything 
for His sake. But man has nothing more valuable to 
sacrifice than his own life, and nothing greater to endure 

39 than the loss of his life. And yet the greatest loss is 
in this case the greatest gain, and vice versa. For he 
who again gains his bodily life already lost in persecu- 
tions, i.e. is saved perhaps by a denial, will lose his 
real spiritual life, as he will be condemned. But he 
who has lost the former for Jesus' sake, will find the 
latter in eternity. 

After having inserted the preceding account the 

MA TTHE W [ X, 40-42 

(40) He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that re- 
ceiveth me receiveth liim that sent me. (41) He that re- 
ceiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a 
prophet's reward : and he that receiveth a righteous man in 
the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man's 
reward, (42) And wliosoever shall give to drink unto one of 

Evangelist returns to the close of the address of in- 
struction. There the threat made against those who 
would not receive the disciples (cf. x. 15), was followed 
immediately by a promise to those who would do so. 
For every messenger represents him who has sent him, 40 
as the disciples do Jesus, and as Jesus does God the 
Father. Accordingly, he who receives His disciples 
in them receives Jesus, and in Ilim God also. But the 
greatness of the reward accorded to those who have 
received them, Jesus illustrates by a double example. 
Not everybody can be a prophet ; but he who receives a 
prophet, because he is and is called a prophet, has done 
his duty just as well as the prophet himself, and will 
receive the same reward. Not everybody can be an 41 
entirely righteous man, as were the righteous men of 
the Old Covenant ; but he who receives such an one on 
account of his being such and being called such, shows 
that the state of being pleasing to God, which these 
men represent, is also the highest ideal of his efforts. 
Thereby he has fulfilled his duty as they have, and will 
receive the same reward as they. ]5ut the disciples 4-J 
whom Jesus sent out were not such great men of God 
as the prophets and the saints of the Old Covenant ; 
as compared with those they were insignificant persons. 
But he who shows these even the smallest evidence of 
love, in any act in which the intention of accepting 
them is expressed, because they are called the disciples 
sent out by the Lord, that person has done his duty as 
well as they, and will receive the same reward that 



these little ones a cup of cold water only, in the name of a 
disciple, verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his 

XI -A-^d it came to pass when Jesus had finished commanding 
his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and 
preach in their cities. 

(2) Now when John heard in the prison the works of the 
Christ, he sent by his disciples (8) and said unto him, Art thou 

they receive. With this the Evangelist in solemn 
manner brings to a close the directions which Jesus gave 
to His disciples. His account of the ordinary teaching 
activity of the Lord is therefore resumed. But he has 
placed this address at the head of this second part, 
because that which Jesus in this discourse says of the 
hostility and rejection of the gospel, which His disciples 
would meet with, in accordance with distinct hints of 
the Lord (cf x. 24, 25,) appeared to him to be a prophecy 
of that which Jesus, according to the accounts given in 
this part of the gospel, was Himself actually to en- 
counter. It was, however, a still more threatening in- 
dication of this, that even the prophet of Grod had 
erroneous views concerning His character, as is learnt 
from the message sent to Him by the Baptist, an ac- 
count of which now follows. 

John indeed was in prison, but he was permitted to 
associate with his disciples. He accordingly heard 
through them what Jesus, in whom he had expected to 
find the promised Messiah, was doing, as He was jour- 
neying through the land teaching and healing the sick. 
How entirely different this was from what he had 
expected of the Messiah, when he was announcing that 
judgment which should appear with Him and which 
3 must precede the advent of the kingdom of God. He 
accordingly sends several of his disciples to ask Him, 
if He really were the Promised One, or possibly only 



he that cometh, or look we for another ? (4) And Jesus 
answered and said unto them, Go and tell John the things 
which ye hear and see : (5) the blind receive their sight, and 
the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf liear, and 
the dead are raised up, and the poor have ^ good tidings 
preached to them. (6) And blessed is he, whosoever shall 
find no occasion of stumbling in me. 

1 Or, the gospel. 

His predecessor, so that they were still to expect an 
entirely different person as the real Messiah. Jesus 4 
answered only by drawing his attention through them to 
that which they had heard concerning Ilis activity and 
of which they could convince themselves by opening 
their eyes. The reference to Is. xxxv. 5, 6, is somewhat 5 
obscure in meaning from the fact, that in the oldest 
traditions of this matter the answer of Jesus was ex- 
plained by a reference to the several miraculous healings 
of Jesus which were already narrated in that form of 
the stor5^ The prophet had in grande pictures de- 
scribed the restoration, which in the ]Messianic era would 
remove all the troubles of the people and heal all their 
evils. Now Jesus points to the fact, that already in 
His healings, this promise was being literally fulfilled. 
As yet this restoration can take place only in those 
individuals who accept Him as the i)romised Messiah, 
because the people as a nation have not yet this faith. 
But that Jesus really has this prophecy in mind, is 
shown to a certainty by the fact that the other prophecy, 
given in Is. Ixi. 1, has something added, according to 
which the nation in its misfortune, which is always 
material, political, religious and spiritual alike, receives 
a joyful message, which He is just bringing by announc- 
ing the near approach of the kingdom of God. In this 
way John is to see, that in His teaching and healing, 
which seemed so insufficient to John, the prophecy con- 
cerning the Messiah was really being fulfilled. But 



(7) And as these went their way, Jesus began to say unto 
the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the 
wilderness to behold ? a reed shaken with the wind ? (8) But 
what went ye out to see ? a man clothed in soft raiment f 
Behold, they that wear soft raiment are in kings' houses. 
(9) iBut wherefore went ye out? to see a prophet? Yea, I 

* Many ancient authorities read But what went ye out to see f a prophet f 

He sends him a warning not to doubt, because His way 
of working does not correspond to the idea which he 
had formed of the advent of the Messiah, 

The discourse of Jesus concerning the Baptist, with 
which He at once begins when the messengers are at 
the point of leaving, evidently has for its purpose to 
counteract the unfavorable impression which the ques- 
tion of John might easily have made upon the assem- 
bled people. He asks them, if they, when they went 
out to the Baptist, merely wanted to behold what 
could be seen anywhere in the desert, namely, the reeds 
found all along the Jordan river, which were moved 
back and forth by every breath of the wind. Unless 
this were the ease they did not want to find a change- 
able person such as is to be met anywhere, nor to look 
upon a man of whom the shaking reed is a type. Even 
now, in spite of his momentary wavering in faith, they 

8 are not to regard him as such. But further, did they 
expect to see in him an effeminate weakling, dressed in 
soft clothing ? But people of this kind are to be found in 
royal palaces, not in the desert. They are not then to 
regard him as such an one as in his impatience on ac- 
count of his hard lot as a prisoner desires to exchange this 
as soon as possible for the alluring pleasures of the 
Messianic kingdom, and had for this reason begun to 

9 doubt Jesus. But why had they gone out ? Certainly 
it was to see a prophet ; and indeed Jesus must declare 
that John was to be regarded as more than this, since 
they had shown by the acceptance of his baptism unto 


JMA TTHE W [XI, 10-13 

say unto you, and much more than a prophet. (10) This is he, 
of whom it is written, 

1 Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, 

Who shall prepare thy way before thee. 
(11) Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of 
women there hath not arisen a greater than John the Baptist t 
yet he that is '^ but little in the kingdom of heaven is greater 
than he. (12) And from the days of John the Baptist until 

* Mai. iii. 1. * Gr. lesser. 

repentance that they considered him the forerunner of 
the Messianic period. And this he really was. Jesus 10 
too declares him to be that messenger of God of whom 11 
Malachi (iii. 1), says, that he is to precede the Messiah 
and prepare the way for Him. It is a natural conclusion 
from this that among all those bom of woman, there 
has been none whose historical importance is greater 
than that of John, with whom, as the last and the 
highest messenger of God, the time of the Old Covenant 
is closed. But notwithstanding this, he who is of less 
significance than John, provided he is in the kingdom of 
God, is still greater than the former, since the kingdom 
of God, in which all the counsels of God for redemption 
are realized, stands infinitely above the preparatory 
stage of the Old Covenant. Accordingly, then, that 
greatest prophet is not yet in the kingdom of Grod, because 
he asks in doubt, if Jesus is the Messiah, whereas the 
least one who joyfully believes that He is the One 
with whom the kingdom of God has come, is already a 
member of His kingdom. But even if that greatest 12 
prophet is not yet in the kingdom of heaven, he never- 
theless has called forth a mighty movement that is 
leading toward it, even if this be not a healthy agita- 
tion. Since the days of John's activity, which have now 
passed by, efforts have been made to force the kingdom 
with all power. That Jesus does not intend to praise 
this storming and violence, appears from the fact that 



now the kingdom of heaven suflfereth violence, and men of 
violence take it by force. (13) For all the prophets and the 
law prophesied until John. (14) And if ye are willing to re- 
ceive lif, this is Elijah that is to come. (15) He that hath 
ears ' to hear, let him hear. (16) But whereunto shall I liken 
this generation ? It is like unto children sitting in the mar- 
ketplaces, who call unto their fellows (17) and say. We piped 

* Or, him. * Some ancient authorities omit to hear. 

He calls those violent who do not seek the kingdom of 
God in the regular way pointed out by Him, but aim to 
seize it by force for themselves on its completion. The 
Baptist could not understand the ways by which Jesus 
desired to bring about the kingdom of God, any more 
than the Messianic agitation he had inaugurated could 

13 achieve this result. Jesus excuses this in a certain way 
by declaring that every prediction in the prophets and 
in the law finds its fulfilment in John as the last of the 
prophets, and accordingly it was natural to expect in 

14 him the arrival of that kingdom. But he is also the 
Elias, who, according to Mai. iii. 23 (iv. 5), is to come ; so 
that with John already begins the actual fulfilment of the 
prophecy, and in this way the promised kingdom neces- 
sarily is instituted. But Jesus questions, whether he 
is to be accepted as the Elias. For in this case we 
must also acknowledge, that this Elias has come to 
bring about the conversion of his people (cf. Mai. iii. 
2-4) ; and that accordingly the fulfilment of the pre- 
diction cannot come until this conversion has taken 

15 place. Therefore He exhorts them earnestly to attend 
to what he says, because nothing but the failure to see in 
the Baptist the Elias in the sense of scriptural prophecy, 
has produced the uncontrollable storm and violence 

16 which greeted his appearing. He must, however, com- 
pare the present generation to self-willed and notional 
children, who demand of all their playmates that they 

17 shall dance to their piping. Sometimes they complain 


JIA TTHE W [ XI, 18-20 

unto you, and ye did not dance ; we wailed, and ye did not 
1 mourn. (18) For John came neither eating nor drinking, 
and they say, He hath a demon. (19) The Son of man came 
eating and drinking, and they say. Behold, a gluttonous man 
and a winebibber. a friend of ^ publicans and sinners ! And 
wisdom ^ is justified by her * works. 
(20) Then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of 

*Gr. beat the breast. 'See marginal note on ch. 5. 46. 

^ Or, tens * Many ancient authorities read children : as in Luke. vii. 35. 

that the others do not join in the dances \Yhen they play 
dance music on the flute ; at another time, their play- 
mates do not strike their breasts as signs of grief when 
they with lamentations play a dirge. Nobody can suit 18 
them ; everything is to be done in accordance with their 
whims. When John came living in strict abstemious- 
ness they said that such fanatical austerity could only 
have been inspired by an evil spirit. But when the 19 
Son of man came living among men like a man, they 
attributed this to His love of eating and drinking and 
His delight in loose society. How can it be expected of 
them, that they ^^•ould accept Jesus as the one He really 
was when His way of bringing the kingdom of God did 
not correspond to their wishes or expectations ? But 
the wisdom of (Tod, which had marked out different 
methods of life for the Baptist and tlie Son of God, and 
had especially prescribed for Jesus, how He was to bring 
in the kingdom of God, had already been shown by its 
success to be the only true wisdom. For as long as the 
people were not converted l^y His preaching of repentance 
the kingdom of God could nc>t yet come, but He must 
be content to promote its coming by His teaching and 
acts of healing. This is evident from the reflections 
which Jesus makes on His own works, and which the 
Evangelist here adds. 

At that time, when, according to the Evangelist, Jesus 20 
gave to His disciples these instructions. He began also 
to pronounce condemnation on those cities in which He 



his 1 mighty works were done, because they repented not. 
(21) Woe unto thee, Chorazin ! woe unto thee, Bethsaida ! for 
if the 1 mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which 
were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sack- 
cloth and ashes. (22) But I say unto you, it shall be more 
tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment, than for 
you. (23) And thou, Capernaum, shalt thou be exalted tmto 
heaven ? thou shalt " go down unto Hades : for if the i mighty 
works had been done in Sodom which were done in thee, it 
would have remained until this day. (24) But I say unto you 

* Gr. powers. * Many ancient authorities read be brought down. 

had performed the greatest number of miracles, which 
cities revealed their absolute corruption in that they, 
notwithstanding the fact that His preaching had been 
confirmed by miracles, had not repented as His preach- 
ing had demanded of them. He cries out His Woe 
over two cities in which He had labored most abun- 
dantly. For if the opulent cities of Tyre and Sidon had 
received such an incentive to repent, they would long 
ago have wrapped themselves in the sacklike garments 
of sorrow, and sitting in ashes like Job in ashes (Job 

22 ii. 8 ; xvi. 15.), would have repented. Therefore 
Jesus cannot do otherwise than say, that these heathen 
cities would receive a lighter punishment in the last 
judgment than those that had heard His appeal to 

23 repentance and seen His miracles. He pronounced His 
judgment also over Capernaum, because this city had 
been exalted to the highest degree, from the fact that 
Jesus had selected it to be the center of His activity ; and 
for this reason it was also to suffer the deepest fall. 
Jesus does not say this is to be as a punishment for their 
conduct. The connection shows this, as He is here 
thinking of the fact that they had shown themselves 
to be incapable of receiving His preaching of repent- 
ance which had been confirmed by the greatest of mir- 

24 acles. The reference to Sodom, which did not have 
such an appeal to repent, because even in this case it 


JIA TTIIE W [ XI. 25-26 

that it sliall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the 
day of judgment, than for thee. 

(25) At that season Jesus answered and said, I i thank thee, 
O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these 
things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal 
them unto babes : (26) yea. Father, 2 for so it was well-pleas- 

'Or, praise. -Or, that. 

Avould not have repented and been delivered from the 
divine judgment, but nevertheless in the final judg- 
ment can expect a lighter punishment, recalls the 
words in His address of instruction where He speaks 
of those who refuse to receive the disciples (x. 15), 
and seems to show that these Woes originally formed 
a part of that address, which is inserted by the Evan- 
gelist at this place, in order thereby to show at length 
how incapable of receiving the word the people were. 
This is shown from another point of view by the state- 25 
raents that are added and are expressly said to have 
been spoken exactly at this time. It appeared that the 
educated classes of the people, the Scribes and Phari- 
sees, had not attained to the knowledge of who Jesus 
was and what He purposed doing. Jesus maintains 
that this was the result of the counsel of the All-ruling 
God, who had hidden this from them, because He, in 
accordance with the laws of the human soul as estab- 
lished by Him, shuts off the self-conceit of human wis- 
dom from the truths of redemption ; while, on the other 
hand, the simple-hearted people, who are not blinded 
by any prejudice, receive the message in an unpreju- 
diced spirit, and for that reason is revealed to them 
what is hidden from the other class. Jesus glorifies 
the Father for the fact that this very thing is His 
good pleasure. For if the opposite had been done, 
then the simple-minded would necessarily be excluded 26 
from the knowledge of the truths of redemption, while 
the wise and the learned would only come to the conclu- 



ing in thy sight. (27) All things have been delivered unto me 
of my Father : and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father ; 
neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to 
whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal Mm. (28) Come unto 
me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you 
rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me ; for I 
am meek and lowly in heart : and ye shall find rest unto your 

sion that all their knowledge and wisdom does not lead 
to this knowledge, and decline to accept it in simplicity. 

27 But how does Jesus know of this divine counsel ? He 
knows it because God has confided to Him everything 
hidden or revealed that is necessary for carrying out 
His counsel. God, who alone, as the Searcher of hearts, 
knows this thoroughly, knew that He alone was fitted 
for this purpose ; and He, who knows the Father as 
none other knows him, is alone fitted for the work of 
revealing Him to mankind, as He wishes to reveal Him- 
self, i. e. as the One who in Jesus has brought salva- 
tion. And He can reveal Him to whomsoever He will. 
For as He glorifies the Father for the counsel accord- 
ing to which he determined to make known His revela- 
tion, so He fixes His purpose not to reveal the truths 
of redemption to any one except those to whom they 
are intended to be revealed. This divine counsel has 

28 indeed a deeper foundation. Jesus invites all those 

29 who are anxiously trying to fulfil the law, to come to 
Him, inasmuch as they are conscious of the insuffi- 
ciency of their obedience, and find that unfulfilled 
duty a heavy burden. He is willing and able to fur- 
nish them with relief by showing them a new way of 
fulfilling the law of God. They need but to submit to 
His guidance and learn from Him and His life of what 
all the deepest roots of godliness consist, namely of 
that meek and heartfelt love which lends itself to the 
lowliest service and is not embittered by any ingrati- 



souls. (30) For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. 
XII At that season Jesus went on the sabbath day through 
the grainfields ; and his disciples were liungry and began 
to pluck ears and to eat. (3) But the Pharisees, when they saw 
it, said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which it is not 
lawful to do upon the sabbath. (3) But he said unto them, 

tude on the part of others. In this school they will 30 
find rest for their souls ; for the yoke He lays upon 
them is easy to carry, because learning from Him who 
leads the way in the fulfilment of every duty, comes 
as a matter of course, as soon as we have learned to 
recognize Him as the divinely sent Mediator of salva- 
tion, from whom we cannot be separated, and whom we 
must follow. Those wise and learned of the people 
were in fact those who were not even oppressed by the 
burden of the law, for which reason He has little to offer 
these men, self-righteous in the conceit of their own 
virtues; as little as He has to reveal to those who 
think they are wise, and to those unrepentant masses 
who desu-e it still less than they. 

The Evangelist expressly emphasizes the fact that just 1 
at this time, when the people were showing that they 
were not capable of receiving the message of Jesus, the 
hostility of the Pharisees also began to show itself. The 
occasion for this was furnished them by a contention 
concerning the Sabbath. An illustration of this is given 
in the following episode. Jesus was going through the 
grain fields ; and as His disciples were hungry, they 
began to pluck ears and to eat the grain. This was 2 
permitted by the humane law of Deut. xxiii. 25 ; but 
as it just happened to be the Sabbath, the Pharisees 
looked upon it as a kind of harvest work, which of 
course was not allowed on the Sabbath day, and they 
complained to Jesus that His disciples were transgress- 
ing the Sabbath law. In reply Jesus referred them to 8 
7 97 


Have ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, and 
they that were with him ; (4) how he entered into the house 
of God, and * ate the showbread, which it was not lawful for 
him to eat, neither for them that were with him, but only 
for the priests ? (5) Or have ye not read in the law, » that on 
the sabbath day the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, 
and are guiltless ? (6) But I say unto you, that * one greater 
than the temple is here. (7) But if ye had known what this 
meaneth, ^i desire mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not 

» 1 S. xxi. 6. 

* Some ancient authorities read they ate. ' Num. xzviii. 9, 10. 

* Gr. a greater thing. * Hos. vi. 6. 

4 1 Sam. xxi., where it is narrated that David with his com- 
panions went into the house of God — at that time the 
tabernacle — and there ate the shewbread, which, accord- 
ing to the law, only the priests were permitted to eat. 
Here there evidently was a case, where the Old Testa- 
ment itself, which in no way rebuked this action, regards 
it as perfectly correct, that when in danger of life one can 
transgress the limitations laid down by the ordinances 

5 for the religious duties of life. Indeed there are cases 
where the Old Testament even demands such transgres- 
sion. When it so happens that the priests enter upon 
their public functions in the Temple on the Sabbath day, 
they evidently, if the purely external interpretation of 
the Sabbath laws is correct, violate the Sabbath ; and 
yet they are without guilt, because the law itself pre- 
scribes these observances. But if we would object by 
stating that they are engaged in the services of the 
sanctuary, it can be replied that the disciples are in 

6 the service of One who is more than the Temple. For 
in Him for the first time God had in a perfect manner 
come to His people, and had before only typically dwelt in 
His sanctuary. In this reference Jesus could also have 
drawn attention to Hos. vi. 6, as He does, according to 

7 our Evangelist, already in ix. 13. If they had under- 
stood the word of the prophet then they would rather 
have thought of mercy in considering the needs of the 



have condemned the guiltless. (8) For the Son of man is lord 
of the sabbath, 

(9) And lie departed thence, and went into their synagogue : 
(10) and behold, a man having a withered hand. And they 
asked him, saying. Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? 
that they might accuse him. (11) And he said unto them. 

disciples, which had driven them to this seeming 
transgression of the Sabbath law, than have stringently 
condemned this violation, and would not have made 
the mistake of condemning those whom Jesus has 
now shown to be innocent. But this He can do be- 
cause He, as the Son of man, who alone has perfectly 
fulfilled the law, and teaches us how to fulfil it, has the 
right to determine how the Sabbath law in accordance 
with the will of God is to be kept. 

Since in the gospel of Mark the narrative of a healing 9 
on the Sabbath day immediately follows the preceding, 
the Evangelist represents Jesus as having gone from 
there into the synagogue and as having come into col- 
lision there with His opponents again. It just so hap- 10 
pened that a man was there, one of whose hands had 
been withered so that he had lost all power of using it ; 
and the Pharisees accordingly put the question whether 
it would be lawful to heal him on the Sabbath day 
or not. Their purpose was to induce Jesus, not only to 
heal the man, but to express Himself on the principle 
involved, on the basis of which they could accuse Him 
of having violated the Sabbath law. On this occasion 
Jesus took some illustrations from daily life, showing 
that no man, partly out of pity, partly out of prudence, 
would hesitate to transgress even the demands of the 
Sabbath law nor would dare to apply the laws for Sab- 
bath rest to these cases. If a single sheep falls into a 11 
pit on the Sabbath day the owner would not hesitate 
at once to seize the animal and raise it upon its feet 



What man shall there be of you, that shall have one sheep, 
and if this fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay 
hold on it, and lift it out ? (12) How much then is a man of 
more value than a sheep ! Wherefore it is lawful to do good 
on the sabbath day. (13) Then saith he to the man. Stretch 
forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth ; and it was re- 
stored whole, as the other. (14) But the Pharisees went out, 
and took counsel against him, how they might destroy him. 

(15) And Jesus perceiving it withdrew from thence : and 
many followed him ; and he healed them all, (16) and charged 

12 again. And certainly a human being is more than a 
sheep, and it is a duty to help him in distress and to do 

13 a good work even on the Sabbath day. Only after He 
had shown that He was entirely justified in His action 
did He direct the man to stretch out his hand, and at 
once his power to use it returned, and it was healed like 
the other. Such cases as these called forth the deadly 
hostility of the Pharisees against Jesus. He was in 
their eyes not only a breaker of the Sabbath law, who 
according to the law deserved death, but He had de- 
fended His actions in a way so in accordance with the 
sober judgment of all, that they were very careful not 
to reply to them by tricky answers. But from this fact 
His victory over them, who had all along been the undis- 
puted leaders of the people, was sealed. For this rea- 
son they began from the moment when they left the 
synagogue, to counsel diligently how they could slay 

15 Him. Jesus knew well what was going on in the 
hearts of His enemies and withdrew, in order to avoid 
this fruitless controversy. But He kept right on in 
His work of healing, without asking whether it was the 

16 Sabbath day or not on which He healed the sick. He 
however tried to avoid all excitement in connection with 
these healings, and therefore at all times commanded 
those whom He healed not to mention Him as the one 


MATTHEW [XII, 17-31 

them that they should not make him known : (17) that it 
might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the 
prophet, saying, * 

(18) Behold, my ^servant whom I have chosen ; 
My beloved in whom my soul is well pleased : 
I will put my Spirit upon him, 

And he shall declare judgment to the * Gentiles. 

(19) He shall not strive, nor cry aloud ; 

Neither shall any one hear his voice in the streets. 

(20) A bruised reed shall he not break. 
And smoking flax shall he not quench, 
Till he send forth judgment unto victory. 

(21) And in his name shall the * Gentiles hope. 

> Is. xlii. 1 fif. * See mar^nal note on Acts 3. 13. 
3 See marginal note on ch. 4. 15. * See marginal note on ch. 4. 15. 

who had healed them. In this conduct of Jesus the 17 
Evangelist sees the fulfilment of a word of the prophet 
Isaiah (xlii. 1-4,) where the servant of Jehovah is de- 
scribed, whom Grod has selected as the object of His love, 
in whom He is well pleased, and whom He has for this 
reason anointed with His Spirit and who accordingly is 
the Messiah. Of this one it is there narrated, that 19 
although Jehovah has extended to Him the judgment 
over the heathen, He does not for this reason enter upon 
sharp controversies and does not cause any public ex- 
citement. It is clear how this picture exactly fits to 
the conduct of Jesus ; and if He does not at once to the 
Pharisees, who have proved their enmity to God by 
their plots to murder Jesus, announce their judgment, 
He abstained from this because He did as the prophets 
had foretold. He did not want by such stringent treat- 
ment entirely to destroy the remnant of good that was 
still in them, but to try if the judgment concerning 
them, which was already contained in the proof that 
He gave of the correctness of His healings on the Sab- 
bath, could not overcome them and thus lead to a vic- 
tory of the truth. The conclusion of the account of 
the prophet, however, is of special importance for the 



(22) Then was brought unto him one possessed with a 
demon, blind and dumb : and he healed him, insomuch that 
the dumb man spake and saw. (23) And all the multitudes 
were amazed, and said, Can this be the son of David ? (24) But 
when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This man doth not cast 
out demons, but ^ by s Beelzebub the prince of the demons. 
(25) And knowing their thoughts he said unto them. Every 
kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation ; and 

*0r, a demonixic. *0r, in. ' Gr. Beelzebul. 

Evangelist, for it was thus that even the Gentiles could 
put their hopes on one who proceeded as He did 
against His enemies, if He was pronounced to be the 
Messiah, the Bringer of salvation. 

22 At this time, when the hostility of the opponents 
constantly became more bitter, the slander of the 
Pharisees mentioned in ix. 34, was uttered. He had 
healed a demoniac, whom the evil spirit had deprived 
not only of speech, but also of sight, and who now 

23 recovered both. The Evangelist gives a vivid picture 
of the amazement of the masses at this miracle by re- 
lating that even those who up to this time had not be- 
lieved in Him now began to ask themselves whether 
one who could do such great miracles was not in 
reality the promised Son of David. This was one of 
those occasions when the Pharisees tried to destroy the 
impression made by the driving out of devils, on the 
part of Jesus, by claiming that He did so through the 
power of the chief of the evil spirits, who gave Him the 
power in order to draw men. Jesus, however, saw 
through their wickedness, by which they, in order to 
rob Him of the sympathies of the people, resorted to 
slander, which they themselves could not possibly have 
believed. Jesus illustrates the ridiculous character of 

25 the charges by several examples. A kingdom in which 
different parties contend against one another will infal- 
libly be destroyed by internecine war, and the govern- 
ment of a city, or of a house which is divided against 


31 A TTHE W [XII, 26-29 

every city or house divided against itself shall not stand : 
(26) and if Satan casteth out Satan, he is divided against him- 
self ; how tlien shall his kingdom stand? (27) And if I ^ by 
■■2 Beelzebub cast out demons, ^ by whom do your sons cast 
them out ? therefore shall they be your judges. (28) But if I 
1 by the Spirit of God cast out demons, then is the kingdom of 
God come upon you. (29) Or how can one enter into the 

» Or, in. 2 Or Beelzebul. 

itself cannot be permanent. But if Satan combats 26 
the satan Avho is doing liis work in the evil spirits 
that hold possession of the demoniacs, by excit- 
ing his subordinates against himself, then certainly 
his kingdom cannot stand. But now there were 
among these people who opposed Him not a few who 
were sorcerers. If they, then, claimed that it was 
possible to drive out the devil by the power of the 
Devil, they were therebj^ putting the sorcerers under 
the same charge. But if they would not apply this 
rule to their oun people, their action thereby showed 
the inconsistency of the position that they maintained 
that His driving out of devils was something of a dif- 
ferent kind from that practised by the sorcerers ; and 
that, accordingly, this could be only through super- 
natural power. If He had now shown that this could 
not have been through the power of the Devil, only one 
thing remained, namely, that He was driving out the 
devils through the power of God and througli His 
Spirit. But if this was a fact, then it had become clear 28 
that the time had come when the power of God had 
begun to gain the victory over the power of Satan ; so 
that the kingdom of God was already appearing in 
Him. In this ease, naturally, He would be one who is 
more powerful than the Devil, and indeed had already 
conquered him. For as it is impossible to rob the 29 
house of one who is mighty unless we have first de- 
prived him of his power, so would He be unable to 



house of the strong man, and spoil his goods, except he first 
bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. 
(30) He that is not with me is against me ; and he that 
gathereth not with me scattereth. (31) Therefore I say unto 
you, Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men ; 
but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. 
(32) And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of 
man, it shall be forgiven him ; but whosoever shall speak 
against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither 

overcome the power of Satan in the demoniacs unless 
He had first gained the victory over Satan himself. 
From this we see that He must have told His disciples 
of His experience with the Devil at the time of His 
temptation in the desert, as this appears from the con- 
tents of chapter iv. 

Now Jesus proceeds to show how the Pharisees 
have come to this manifestly groundless calumny. 

30 They had not been able to join Him as His disciples ; 
for this reason they, as a matter of necessity, were 
hostile to Him. They had not been willing to help 
Him in the upbuilding of the kingdom of God in 
Israel, and for that reason they necessarily would seek 
to destroy His work ; for it is impossible to be neutral 

31 in regard to Him. But He seeks to warn them. If 
they, in the face of the clear proof that He is driving 
out devils only by the power of the Spirit of God, yet 
slander Him, saying that this was the work of the 
Devil, then they blasphemed thereby the Spirit Him- 
self. And even if every other sin and blasphemy can 
be forgiven, this is the unpardonable sin. Even if a 
person speaks in such a way against the Son of Man, 
it can be forgiven him, because, perchance, he does not 
know Him as the One He is. But the power of the 
Holy Spirit in the driving out of devils cannot be de- 
nied ; therefore an evil word against Him cannot be 


MA TTHE W [ XII, 33-38 

in this * world, nor in that which is to come. (33) Either 
make 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) Ye offspring of vipers, how can ye, being evil, 
speak good things ? for out of the abundance of the heart the 
mouth speaketh. (35) The good man out of his good treasure 
bringeth forth good things : and the evil man out of his evil 
treasure bringeth forth evil things, (36) And I say unto you, 
that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give 
account thereof in the day of judgment. (37) For by thy 
words thou shalt be jtistified, and by thy words thou shalt be 
(38) Then certain of the scribes and Pharisees answered 

* Or, age. 

forgiven, because it shows permanent hardening. But 33 
the character of each tree must be judged by the 
nature of its fruits, since the tree can only be judged by 
its fruits. Therefore He recognizes the wickedness of 34 
their slanderous work just as surely as the mouth can 
only speak what the heart contains. The heart is, as 35 
it were, the storehouse, from which the mouth can 
only utter what it finds there. Accordingly, whoever 
brings forth from there something bad, shows that his 
heart is wicked, and vice versa. Nor can it be said 
that single words cannot be something so bad, that 
Jesus should designate such as an unpardonable sin. 36 
For every one of his words a man will be compelled to 
give an account on the day of judgment, even if it were 
only an idle and insignificant, and therefore unjustifi- 
able word. For his words are the infallible index of 37 
the condition of the heart of a man, and from that 
he will be pronounced good or be condemned in the 

Another proof of the hostility of His enemies was 
their demand for a sign, by which they intended to 
demonstrate the weakness of Jesus in the presence of the 
whole people. This demand proceeded from a number 38 



him, saying, Teacher, we would see a sign from thee. (39) But 
he answered and said unto them. An evil and adulterous 
generation seeketh after a sign ; and there shall no sign be 
given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet : (40) for as 
Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the 
1 whale ; so shall the Son of man be three days and three 
nights in the heart of the earth. (41) The men of Nineveh 

' Gr. sea-monster. 

of Scribes, who, although they hated Him as much as 
the Pharisees did, were yet more willing to recognize 
Him as a Rabbi, and they approach Him with their 
request in a seemingly friendly spirit. The Evangelist 
regards their demand as an answer to the remarks 
uttered by Jesus against the Pharisees ; for as Jesus 
had claimed that the kingdom of God had come 
in Him, then He certainly must be able to prove it by 
one of those signs which the prophets had declared 

39 would precede the Messianic period. Jesus, however, 
in His reply does not directly comply with their wishes, 
but states that no sign like that demanded could be 
given to a generation like the present, which was 
wicked and had been guilty of that rebellion against God, 
which in the Old Testament is often called adultery. 
It was doubtless because the Scribes knew that the 
whole people were longing for such a sign, that they 

40 brought the question forward. To them He declares 
that only the sign of the prophet Jonah will yet be 
given, i.e. the sign of His resurrection. When the 
people through their indifference, and His enemies 
through their maliciousness, shall have brought 
Him to His death, then God would in a very short 
time deliver Him from the realm of the dead, as He 
had once delivered Jonah from the belly of the whale 

41 (Jonah ii). No other sign would do the present gen- 
eration any good. For in the days of the judgment 
the inhabitants of Nineveh would come and bring 


MA TTHE W [XII, 42-45 

shall stand up in the judgment with this generation, and shall 
condemn it : for they repented at the preaching of Jonah ; and 
behold, 1 a greater than Jonah is here. (42) The queen of the 
south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation, and 
shall condemn it : for she came from the ends of the earth to 
hear the wisdom of Solomon ; and behold, ^ a greater than 
Solomon is here. (43) But the unclean spirit, when ^he is 
gone out of the man, passeth through waterless places, seek- 
ing rest, and findeth it not. (44) Then ^ he saith, I will return 
into my house whence I came out ; and when ^he is come, ^he 
findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. (45) Then goeth * he, 

* Gr. more than. * Or, t^ 

their condemnation, because they had been the living 
witnesses of the fact that it was possible to repent as a 
result even of Jonah's preaching, while they, who had 
One who was much more than Jonah, did not repent. 
The queen of the south, who possessed all that her heart 42 
could desire, and had not hesitated to undertake a 
great journey in order to hear the wisdom of Solomon 
(cf. 1 Kings. X.), will condemn them who had had 
closest intimacy with that One who was more than 
Solomon, and yet had hardened themselves against His 
word. What good could signs do to such a people ? It 
is true that they had once shown a better disposition, 
when the appeal of the Baptist for repentance caused 
a great revival, and when in the first excitement they 
flocked around Jesus. But theirs had been the expe- 43 
rience of the one possessed of a devil, and of whom, 
perhaps, the Jewish exorcists had for a certain time 
driven out the evil spirit. But when he returned to 
his former sinful life, then the evil spirit, who so long 
had been wandering about without rest in the desert, 
found his former place of abode prepared for him at- 
tractively, and returned with seven spirits worse than 
himself ; so that the demoniacal possession of that man 
was more complete than before. This will be the fate 
of the present evil generation. After it has sunk back 



and taketh with * himself seven other spirits more evil than 
1 himself, and they enter in and dwell there : and the last 
state of that man becometh worse than the first. Even so 
shall it be also unto this evil generation. 

(46) While he was yet speaking to the multitudes, behold, 
his mother and his brethren stood without, seeking to speak 
to him. (47) ^ And one said unto him, Behold, thy mother 
and thy brethren stand without, seeking to speak to thee. 
(48) But he answered and said unto him that told him. Who is 

> Or, itself. *Some ancient authorities omit ver. 47. 

into its old impenitence and hardness of heart, it will end 
only by slaying the Messiah. But then will the hour 
have come for God to give them a sign that will do 
them some good, and that is the sign of Jonah. 

46 The narrative of the visit of the relations of Jesus 
had in the oldest traditions already been connected 
with one of the two preceding events. The Evangelist 
makes use of it, to show that in the cases described in 
the dark picture that Jesus has just drawn of the people, 
there were exceptions. Here, too, it is presupposed that 
the last address was delivered not to the Scribes but 

47 to the people. Jesus, however, was still engaged in 
that discussion, when it was amiounced to Him, that 
His relatives were standing without and wanted to 
speak to Him. The Evangelist presupposes that it was 
in the house where Jesus, surrounded as was so often 
the case by crowds of people, from among whom the 
demoniac had been brought to Him, had held His dis- 
cussion with the Pharisees and Scribes. But as it is 
taken for granted as indubitable from i. 25, that the mar- 
riage of Joseph and Mary was in no wise a mock mar- 
riage, but that she later bore other children to him, so 
those who are here called His brethren were naturally 

48 actual sons of Mary and Joseph. And when Jesus asks 
who His mother is and who are His brothers, there is 
here nothing that implies a denial of His genuine rela- 



my mother ? and who are my brethren ? (49) And he stretched 
forth his hand towards liis disciples, and said, Behold, my 
mother and my bretliren ! (50) For whosoever shall do the 
will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and 
sister, and mother. 

]J^JJ J On that day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the 

sea side. (2) And there were gathered unto him great 

multitudes, so that he entered into a boat, and sat ; and all 

tions. lie wishes in this way to prepare them for the 49 
declaration, that lie knows of more intimate ties than 
those of blood, and points to His twelve disciples, as 
those who are His real kinsmen. That He by this does 50 
not at all wish to repudiate His family relations, He 
expressly shows by the fact that He does not place the 
disciples in a contrast to those present as such, but 
adds in an explanatory way that the essence of real 
relationship for Him does not lie in this, that He has 
a brother or sister or mother, in the flesh, but in 
the fact of their being like unto Him. Moreover, the 
relationship between them lies in this, that He fulfils 
the will of His father in Heaven, and His disciples do 
the same. 

Since ^lark in his gospel immediately connects with 1 
the preceding narrative the great parable series, our 
Evangelist understands that Jesus at once left the 
house where the foregoing had occurred, and went 
down to the sea and sat down tliere. But as a great 
multitude streamed forth to Him and were not able to 
find room on the narrow bank, for sitting down around 
Him and listening to Him, He entered into a boat and 
sat down in it, while the people spread themselves out 
along the shore. Of the many parables which He 
on this occasion spoke to the people, the Evan- 
gelist tells us first of the parable of the sower and the 
seed. Here we see plainly, what the Evangelist under- 



the multitude stood on the beach. (3) And he spake to them 
many things in parables, saying, Behold, the sower went forth 
to sow ; (4) and as he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, 
and tlie birds came and devoured them : (5) and others fell 
upon the rocky places, where they had not mucli earth : and 
straightway they sprang up, because they had no deepness of 
earth : (6) and when the sun was risen, they were scorched ; 
and because they had no root, they withered away. (7) And 
others fell upon the thorns ; and the thorns grew up and 

stands by parables. They are word pictures, in which 
Jesus narrates some incident in the common course of 
natural human life, in order to point out the law that is 
operative there as one that is applicable to the higher life 
also. What He here tells us of the sower who on one 
occasion went out to sow his seed, is certainly nothing 
else than what he regularly does when engaged in this 

4 work. It will happen to the best of sowers, that when 
he is sowing along the edge of his field, some seed will 
fall upon the path which runs along the field. Nothing, 
in the nature of the case, can come out of these, as the 

5 birds will alight and eat the seed. In the same way 
there are found even in the best of fields certain places, 
where the rocky ground of Palestine shows itself and 
is covered only by a thin layer of earth. This hot rock 
easily warmed this coating of earth and readily caused 
the seed to shoot up, for the simple reason that there 
was no deep soil for it to penetrate. But just for the 
same reason it is impossible for the seed to develop 
strong roots, and because the shoot cannot there 
secure strength and substance from the ground, it is 
easily scorched by the rising sun and withers away as 
quickly as it came forth. Again, there are other places 
where the seeds of thorns are already lying in the 
ground. If the seed of the sower falls upon such spots, 
the thorns also sprin]^ up with it until they gradually 



choked them : (8) and others fell upon the good ground, and 
yielded fruit, some a liundredfold, some sixty, some thirty, 
(9) He that hath ears^, let him hear. 
(10) And tlie disciples came, and said unto him, Why 

'Some ancient authorities add here, and in ver. 43, fo /leo?-/ as in Mk. 4. 9; 

L!:. 8. S. 

smotlier it. Only a part of the seed fell upon good 8 
g-round. But even all of this is not equally productive. 
In this way it happens that some of the grain corns 
produce one hundred, others sixty, and others thirty 
grains. The parable closes with the injunction to heed 
it carefully. In this a plain indication of its deep 
significance is given. And as Jesus later on ex- 
pressly states that the secrets of the kingdom of 
heaven are contained in the parable that He is now 
speaking, so are they to point out the manner in which 
the kingdom of God is established upon earth. It is 
not to come as the people had expected, through a 
direct, irresistible exhibition of divine power, but 
through a spiritual development, the success of which 
depends as much on the condition of the human heart, 
just as the success of the work of the sower depends on 
the character of the field upon which the seed falls. 
There are those who absolutely cannot be affected by 
the word ; again, those with whom it has only a passing 
success ; and again, those in whom its effects are 
rapidly displaced by counter influences. And this was 
in fact tlie fundamental idea of this whole plan of the 
gospel, which purpose this parable is especially to serve 
in order to show that the activity of Jesus was success- 
ful only in a very small section of the people, and here, 
too, in different degrees. 

When Jesus began to relate His second parable, the 10 
disciples came to Him and asked Him the reason of His 
speaking in parables, with the assumption that Jesus 
would interpret the parables to them, but not to the 



speakest thou unto them in parables ? (11) And he answered 
and said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the my- 
steries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 
(13) For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall 
have abundance : but whosoever hath not, from him shall be 
taken away even that which he hath. (13) Therefore speak 
I to them in parables ; because seeing they see not, and hear- 
ing they hear not, neither do they understand. (14) And 
unto them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, 

1 By hearing ye shall hear, and shall in no wise understand ; 

And seeing ye shall see, and shall in no wise perceive : 
(15) For this people's heart is waxed gross, 

And their ears are dull of hearing, 

1 Is. vi. 9, 10. 

11 people. Jesus accordingly answers, that to them has 
been granted the privilege of understanding through 
His explanations, the secret information concerning the 
character of the kingdom of God, that was to be found 

12 in the parables, and this only for the reason, that he 
who already has something, that is, the ability to 
receive the word, can receive more, namely, the inter- 
pretation as well as the parable, while those who have 
not this ability will also lose that which they have, 
because the parable without its interpretation is with- 

13 out significance and is soon forgotten. But the people 
are without perception; they lack understanding to 
receive even a truth which is introduced by a figure. 
For this reason the word is given to them only in a fig- 
urative form, and is worthless to them. This inability 
which has practically developed on the part of the peo- 
ple into an absolute incapacity to receive any spiritual 
truth, to the consideration of which the Evangelist in 
this part of his book repeatedly returns, is declared to 
be a judgment of God. Those who again and again 
refuse to hear, are now no longer allowed the power to 

14 hear. Thus is fulfilled in their case what the prophet 
once declared to be a divine judgment upon the people 


MA TTHE W [ XIII, 16-19 

And their eyes they have closed ; 

Lest haply they should perceive with their eyes, 

And hear with their ears, 

And understand with their heart, 

And should turn again, 

And I should heal them. 
(16) But blessed are your eyes, for they see ; and your ears, 
for they hear. (17) For verily I say unto you, that many 
prophets and righteous men desired to see the things which 
ye see, and saw them not ; and to hear the things which ye 
hear, and heard them not. (18) Hear then ye the parable of 
the sower. (19) When any one heareth the word of the king- 
dom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the evil one, and 
snatcheth away that which hath been sown in his heart. This 

of Israel (Is. vi. 9, 10). Over against these Jesus 16 
declares His disciples blessed, who were still able to 
see and to hear that which the prophets and the men 
of God in the past had in vain desired to see, namely, 
the fulfilment of the promises which Jesus has brought, 
if they understand the way in which He has estab- 
lished the kingdom of God. But this can be under- 
stood only if they hear the explanation of the parable 
as Jesus now proceeds to give it to His disciples. 

What is there said of the seed that falls on the way- 19 
side is true of everybody who hears the preaching of 
Jesus concerning the kingdom, but is utterly incapa- 
ble of understanding it. Through his purely external 
hearing nothing but the figure of speech has entered 
into his heart, without his having any conception of its 
higher meaning, and accordingly Satan comes and 
takes it away from him again. A word that to the 
hearer seems to be without significance, is soon forgot- 
ten. In this way the duU-mindedness of the people in 
general is pictured, in which case the word of Jesus 
enters into one ear and goes out of the other, and they 
do not become real hearers. But what is said of the 
8 113 


is he that was sown by the way side. (20) And he that was 
sown upon the rocky places, this is he that heareth the word, 
and straightway with joy receiveth it ; (21) yet hath he not 
root in himself, but endureth for a while ; and when tribula* 
tion or persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway 
he stumbleth. (22) And he that was sown among the thorns, 
this is he that heareth the word ; and the care of the ^ world, 
and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he be- 

* Or, age. 

seed that falls on the stony ground, applies to the 

20 indifference that is equally widespread. Open to every 
impression, many a one receives the word quickly and 
gladly; but it is not allowed to take root in their 
hearts, because every impression made upon them is 
only of short duration. Every new impression easily 

21 drives out the preceding one. This appears at once 
when persecutions arise, which Jesus had foretold 
would occur to all of His disciples, and bring troubles 
upon them such as had already in the Old Testament 
been compared to the scorching of the sun's rays. The 
superficial impression received cannot stand the revul- 
sion of feeling that is aroused in them, when they 
suffer persecutions on account of the word ; and the 
impression of this experience expels all other impres- 

22 sions so that the faith is repudiated. But what is said 
of the seed that falls upon the thorny ground applies 
to those who indeed accept the word but will not cast 
away the worldly-mindedness that rules in their hearts. 
They are those of whom Jesus has said that they desire 
to serve two masters, which, however, is an impossibil- 
ity. Hence with them it will always be true, that the 
cares of the world and riches, which deceive the heart 
by pretending that they are the greatest good, at last 
make it impossible for the word to have any effect, and 
accordingly the word is not heeded. Only the seed 
that falls upon the good ground is a picture of those in 


MA TTHE W [ XIII, 23-28 

Cometh unfruitful. (23) And he that was sown upon the 
good ground, this is he that heareth the word, and under- 
standeth it ; who verily beareth fruit, and bririgeth forth, 
some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 

(24) Another parable set he before them, saying. The king- 
dom of heaven is likened unto a man that sowed good seed in 
his field : (25) but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed 
1 tares also among the wheat, and went away. (26) But when 
the blade sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared 
the tares also. (27) And the ^ servants of the householder 
came and said unto him, Sir, didst thou not sow good seed in 
thy field ? whence then hath it tares? (28) And he said unto 
them, 8 An enemy hath done this. And the ^ servants say 

* Or, darnel. * Gr. bondservants. » Gr. A man, that is an enemy. 

whom the word that is heard is fully understood, and 
for this reason has its due effect. This effect, however, 23 
will not be the same in all cases. But where it is 
really present, there a person truly becomes a child of 
the kingdom of God and experiences in himself how 
Jesus establishes this kingdom in the hearts of men, 
which the people do not understand, and cannot under- 
stand, because it remains a deep secret for them. 

When Jesus returned to His teaching by parables in 
speaking to the people. He expressly stated that the 
parable of the tares among the wheat referred to the 
kingdom of God, and particularly to the experiences 
which had already been undergone in that kingdom as 
founded by Him. A man sowed wheat in his field, but 
during the night the enemy sowed tares among the 
wheat. But as the blades of tares look very much like 26 
those of wheat, their presence was not detected until 
the grain began to appear. The question of the serv- 27 
ants as to where the tares came from, is intended again 
to draw attention to the main thing in the parable and 
their proposal to gather together the tares in order to 
submit them to the decision of the householder, in 
which the real meaning of the parable is to be found. 



unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up ? 
(29) But he saith, Nay ; lest haply while ye gather up the 
tares, ye root up the wheat with them. (30) Let both grow 
together until the harvest : and in the time of the harvest I 
will say to the reapers, Gather up first the tares, and bind them 
in bundles to burn them ; but gather the wheat into my barn. 

(31) Another parable set he before them, saying. The king- 
dom of heaven is like unto a grain of mustard seed, which a 
man took, and sowed in his field ; (32) which indeed is less 
than all seeds ; but when it is grown, it is greater than the 
herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the heaven 
come and lodge in the branches thereof. 

(33) Another parable spake he unto them ; The kingdom of 
heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in 
three ^ measures of meal, till it was all leavened. 

* The word in the Greek denotes the Hebrew seah, a measure con 
' taining nearly a peck and a half. 

29 The point is, that since no sensible farmer would think 
of having the tares growing among the wheat pulled 
out, because then, as a necessary result, the wheat 
would be uprooted with them, but would not separate the 
two before the time of the harvest, so the Founder of the 
kingdom of God could not begin, as John the Baptist 
had expected Him to do, with the divine judgment, 

30 which is to separate the good from the evil. For even 
into the kingdom of God, as founded by Jesus, evil still 
will find its way ; and since there is no Searcher of hearts 
on earth, and as it is possible that in the course of time 
bad members may develop into good, so these can be 
separated only at the end. 

31 Upon this follow at once the companion parables of 
the mustard seed and the leaven, in which is pictured 
how the kingdom of God, starting from the smallest be- 
ginnings, will yet in the end embrace all people and is 

32 destined to penetrate their entire life. The mustard 
seed which a man sows upon his field, is the smallest 
of all the seed and yet becomes the largest of all the 
garden plants, under the tree-like branches of which 

33 the birds build their nests. The leaven, which the 


MA TTHE W [XIII, 34-89 

(34) All these things spake Jesus in parables tinto the mul- 
titudes ; and without a parable spake he nothing unto them : 
(35) that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the 
prophet, saying, 

1 I will open my mouth in parables ; 

I will utter things hidden from the foundation * of the 

(36) Then he left the multitudes, and went into the house : 
and his disciples came unto him, saying. Explain unto us the 
parable of the tares of the field. (37) And he answered and 
said, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man ; (38) 
and the field is the world and the good seed, these are the sons 
of the kingdom ; and the tares are the sons of the evil one ; 
(39) and the enemy that sowed them is the devil : and the 

* Ps. Ixxviii. 3. * Many ancient authorities omit of the world. 

woman mixes with the amount of dough usually used 
for baking, will gradually leaven the whole lump. 

The Evangelist once more expressly states that Jesus 34 
on this occasion spoke only through parables to the 
people, and finds in this a fulfilment of Ps. Ixxviii. 2, 
where according to his intepretation the psalmist speaks 
of the teaching method of the Messiah, who would 36 
speak in riddles the secrets that had been hidden since 
the foundation of the world. But when He had dis- 
missed the people and had gone back home, the disciples 
ask Him for an explanation of the parable of the tares, 
as He had explained to them that concerning the sower. 
In this case too, the answer is rather an edifying appli- 37 
cation than an explanation, and had already been given 
by Jesus at the outset. Here the main stress is laid on 38 
the fact that the good seed, which, as a result of its 
being sown by the Son of man, grows up in the world, 
are the participants of the kingdom of God, and all 
the tares which appear among the wheat, are the work 
of the Devil, who knows how to mingle those who at 
heart are his with the members of the kingdom. But 39 
above all He in warning words points to this, that at 



harvest is ^ the end of the world ; and the reapers are angels. 
(40) As therefore the tares are gathered up and burned with 
fire ; so shall it be in * the end of the world. (41) The son of 
man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of 
his kingdom all things that cause stumbling, and them that 
do iniquity, (42) and shall cast them into the furnace of fire : 
there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. (43) 
Then shall the righteous shine forth as tlie son in the kingdom 
of their Father. He that hath ears ^, let him hear. 

(44) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a treasure hidden in 

* Or, the consummation of the age * See ver. 9. 

the end of the world, which is to come with the judg- 

41 ment indicated by the harvest in the parable, the 
Son of man will cause His angels to collect from His 
kingdom those who have in it led many into unbe- 
lief and sin, and more particularly those who in the days 
of the Evangelist, as we hear in vii. 23, had refused to 
acknowledge the divine law as binding and had done 

42 only evil. Their lot will be the fire of hell, which on 
the basis of Dan. iii. 6, is represented as a furnace 

43 where weeping and gnashing of teeth prevail. The 
righteous, however, i. e. the members of the kingdom of 
God, because they are pleasing to God, shall shine in 
the perfect state of the kingdom of God, with a glory 
which can only be compared to the splendor of the 

44 The other parables dealing with the kingdom of God 
which have been handed down, the Evangelist de- 
scribes as having been spoken to the disciples. The 
first two, dealing with the treasure and the pearl, form 
a pair of parables with the common underlying thought, 
that everybody is willing to give up everything else in 
order to acquire in exchange that which he regards as 
the most valuable of all. The first parable presupposes 
the unique case of somebody by chance finding a treasure 
in the field belonging to somebody else. He disposes 
of everything he has in order to acquire possession of 



the field ; which a man found, and hid ; and i in his joy he 
goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. 

(45) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that 
is a merchant seeking goodly pearls : (46) and having found 
one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had, and 
bought it. 

(47) Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a ^net, that 
was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind : (48) which, 

* Or, for joy thereof. * Gr. drag net. 

this field and the treasure hidden therein. It is self- 
evident that Jesus does not want to teach what we are 
to do in such case, or to deny that it would be our duty 
to notify the owner of the field in order not to cheat 
him in securing this valuable piece of land. He makes 
use of this similitude merely because it aptly sets forth, 
how one unexpectedly learns from the preaching of 
Jesus, that it is possible by being His disciple to attain 
the kingdom of God, and therefore spares no sacrifice 
in order to join the ranks of His subjects. On the other 45 
hand, the dealer in pearls is one who, after a long search, 
has finally found salvation in becoming a disciple of 
Jesus, and now in this must be willing to take upon 46 
himself the heaviest burdens and make the greatest 
sacrifice demanded of him in order to attain this^ 
kingdom in its perfection. The parable of the fisher- 
man's net certainly originally formed one of a pair with 
the parable of the tares, for it illustrates the same 
principle. Only it shows this, that already at the 
foundation of the kingdom unworthy members find 
their way into the circle of the disciples, as nobody who 
comes shall be hindered from joining, because it is 
surely possible that he may become a good disciple. 
For according to this parable, too, it will be posadble 48 
only at the end of the development, during which time 
the work of gaining new members for the kingdom is 
continually going on, to separate between the true and 



when it was filled, they drew up on the beach ; and they sat 
down, and gathered the good into vessels, but the bad they 
cast away. (49) So shall it be it * the end of the world : the 
angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the 
righteous, (50) and shall cast them into the furnace of fire : 
there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth, 

(51) Have ye understood all these things? They say unto 
him, Yea. (52) And he said unto them. Therefore every 
scribe who hath been made a disciple to the kingdom of 
heaven is like unto a man that is a householder, who bringeth 
forth out of his treasure things new and old. 

(53) And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished these 
parables, he departed thence. 

* Or, the consummation of the age. 

49 the false members. For this reason the parable also 
closes with a warning reading exactly as the parable 

51 of the tares does (cf, v. 41, 42). When the disciples in 
reply to the question of Jesus, whether they have 
understood what had been said, declare that they have. 
He again shows to them in a parable how this success 
has resulted from the selection of the parables as a 
method of teaching, and that for this reason His 

52 method is the most suitable for His purpose. As a 
householder, when he exhibits his treasures, brings out 
not only new treasures but also the family pieces of long 
standing, thus too the right teacher of the Scriptures, 
who has not been merely a pupil in the school of some 
rabbi, but has been in the school of the kingdom of God 
itself, i. e. has by actual experience become a member 
thereof, will understand its character. Then He too 
makes use of the parables to illustrate and to explain 
the new truths concerning the character of the kingdom 
by the well-known phenomena of nature or of human 

53 life. "With the remark that Jesus, after He had com- 
plete these parables, went thence, the Evangelist 
marks this as the close of a stage in His work, in order 
now to make mention of an episode which constitutes 


J/ll TTIIE W [ XIII, 54-57 

(54) And coming into liis own country he taught them in 
their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and 
said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these ^ mighty 
works? (o.j) Is not this the carpenter's son ? is not his mother 
called Mary? and his hrethren, 2 James, and Joseph, and 
Simon, and Judas? (56) And liis sisters, are the}' not all with 
us ? Whence tlien hath this man all these things ? (57) And 
they were ^otfended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A 
prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and in 

' Gr. powers. ^ Or, Jacob. ^ Gr. caused io stumble. 

tlie most flagrant example of hard-heartedness on the 
jjart of His contemporaries, namely, the visit of Jesus in 

When Jesus, probably for the first time after His 54 
entrance upon the public ministry, returns to His 
native city, and, as He was accustomed, began to 
teach in the synagogue, the people indeed were 
astounded at His wisdom and at His miracles, of which 
they had heard, but could not understand how He had 
attained such eminence. They state that He is the son 55 
of the well-known carpenter and are able to mention 
His mother and brothers by name. His sisters, who it 56 
seems were the only ones yet living in the city, pos- 
sibly because they were married in Xazareth when the 
family had moved elsewhere, could at any moment 
testify, that He was nothing but a member of this in- 
significant family. It Avas accordingly jealousy against 57 
their fellow-citizen, who, in their opinion, had without 
any justification, risen so high, that closed the hearts of 
His fellow-citizens to Him and prevented them from 
believing in Him. Jesus then explains that it is the 
way of the world, that a prophet nowhere finds so little 
honor as iri his own fatherland and in his own family. 
For neilher did the latter, as we have seen, join the 
closer circle of His actual followers, but they did so be- 
cause the exalted expectations which had been awakened 
in them through the prophecies that had been spoken 



his own house. (58) And he did not many ^ mighty works 
there because of their unbelief. 

]J^J"y At that season Herod the tetrarch heard the report 

concerning Jesus, (2) and said unto his servants, This 

is John the Baptist ; he is risen from the dead ; and therefore 

do these powers work in him. (3) For Herod had laid hold on 

* Qr. powers. 

58 concerning Him in His infancy, were still unfulfilled. So 
great was the apathetic indifference which Jesus met 
with in His fatherland, that even the need for healing 
could not cause them to have confidence in the great 
Worker of miracles, and accordingly He could not do 
any of His miracles in this place. But as this second part 
of the gospel began prophetically with a look toward the 
final fate of Jesus expressed in His address of instruc- 
tion to His disciples, so too it closes with the death of 
. the Baptist, which the Evangelist has no doubt chosen 
as a prophetic type of the death of Jesus. 

1 In order to come back to John, the Evangelist re- 
marks that at this time, in the account of which the 
second part of his book is taken up, the report of Jesus 
also reached the court of the Tetrarch, where, how- 

2 ever, it only awakened superstitious fears. Herod de- 
clared to his courtiers, who in regular Oriental manner 
are called his slaves, that this worker of miracles could 
be none other than the Baptist, who had risen from the 
dead, since only in one who had himself reappeared in 
life in a miraculous manner could such wonderful 
powers show themselves as were presupposed by the 
signs of wonder reported of Jesus. Here we suddenly 
hear of the death of the Baptist, and thus occasion is 
given to explain how this occurred. But this explana- 
tion must go back still further ; for we read in xi. 2, 
that John was in prison, after he had by God been de- 
livered over into the hands of his enemies (cf. iv. 12), 

3 but nothing is said as to how this happened. It was 


MA TTHE W [XIV, 4-8 

John, and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of 
Herodias, his brother Philip's wife. (4) For John said unto 
him, It is not lawful for thee to have her. (5) And when he 
would have put him to death, he feared the multitude, be- 
cause they counted him as a prophet. (6) But when Herod's 
birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst, 
and pleased Herod. (7) Whereupon he promised with an oath 
to give her whatsoever she should ask. (8) And she, being 

Herod who arrested him and put him in prison, and 
did so because the Baptist had declared to his face that 
his marriage with Herodias was illegal. It was illegal 4 
in two ways : for, in the first place, he had enticed her 
away from his stepbrother, whose wife she was, and on 
her account he had cast aside his legal wife, the daugh- 
ter of Aretas, king of the Arabs ; and then, according 
to Lev. xviii. 16, a marriage with a sister-in-law was 
forbidden. The Evangelist presupposes that Herod 5 
had from the outset wished to kill the Baptist, but was 
deterred only by fear of the people, who regarded him 
as a prophet. With this statement the subsequent 
intimation that afterwards, when he had been induced to 
take the Baptist's life, he was sorry, is not in full agree- 
ment ; but here we have the traces of an older form of 
the narrative, from which we learn the details of this 
matter. The opportunity for this crime was given by 
a plot that had without doubt been conceived by Hero- 
dias, who had been most deeply offended by the plain 
words of the Baptist and entertained the fear that he 
would persuade the Tetrarch to dissolve his illegal mar- 
riage. For when Herod, evidently encircled by his 6 
courtiers, was celebrating his birthday, he caused her 
daughter to dance before the festal assembly ; and 
when the king, delighted at the spectacle, promised 
with an oath to fulfil any wish of hers, the mother in- 8 
stigated her to ask for the head of the Baptist. 



put forward by her mother, saith, Give me here on a plattex 
the head of John the Baptist. (9) And the king was grieved ; 
but for the sake of his oaths, and of them which sat at meat 
with him, he commanded it to be given; (10) and he sent 
and beheaded John in the prison. (11) And his head was 
brouglit on a platter, and given to the damsel : and she 
brought it to her mother. (13) And his disciples came, and 
took up the corpse, and buried him ; and they went and 
told Jesus. 

(13) Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew from thence in 
a boat, to a desert place apart: and when the multitudes 

9 The Tetrarch, who is here in the wider sense of the term 

called king, could not possibly violate his word, which 

he had given with an oath in the presence of his boon 

10 companions, and he at once directed that her wish be 

12 carried out. The disciples of John had only the sad 
comfort of burying the body of their master ; and with 
the remark that Jesus was informed of his death, the 
Evangelist returns to the story of the latter. He 
accordingly presupposes, and certainly rightly, that the 
execution of John took place in the second period de- 
scribed in the gospel. He now begins his third 
part, in which he describes the closing events of the 
Galilean activity ; and in doing so, he follows through- 
out the order of events as recorded in the older narra- 
tive in the gospel of Mark. 

13 According to our Evangelist, it was the news of the 
beheading of John that induced Jesus to avoid all occa- 
sions on His part of attracting the attention of Herod 
to Himself, by retiring to a desert. The Evangelist, 
accordingly, presupposes that Jesus has returned from 
Nazareth to His usual abiding place at Capernaum, 
where His disciples find Him; and then, having en- 
tered a ship, He goes to the eastern shore. But when 
the report was spread here that He had returned and 
had gone to the eastern shore, crowds of people follow 


JIA TTIIE W [XIV, 14-18 

heard thereof, they followed him ^ on foot from the cities. 
(14) And he came forth, and saw a great multitude, and he 
had compassion on them, and healed their sick. (15) And 
when even was come, the disciples came to him, saying, The 
place is desert, and the time is already past ; send the multi- 
tudes away, that they may go into the villages, and buy them- 
selves food. (16) But Jesus said unto them, Tliey have no 
need to go away ; give ye them to eat. (17) And they say 
unto him. We have here but five loaves, and two fishes. (18) 

' Or, by land. 

Ilim, also from the cities of the ^vestern shore, by going 
on foot around the northern edge of tlie lake. This is 
exactly as it was before (cf. iv. 25; viii. 1), only that 
in this case it was not the desire to hear Ilim that 
caused them to come to Jesus, but the wish to have 
their sick healed. For when Jesus, coming forth from 14 
His retiren^Mit, sees the great multitude assembled, lie 
is filled with compassion for them, and, although lie is 
no longer able to do anything with this thoroughly 
hardened people, He yet devotes Himself to them and 
heals their sick. While doing this the late afternoon 15 
had come, the first of the two evenings, which the Jews 
were accustomed to distinguish (ef. Ex. xii. 6). Xow 
the Evangelist tells the story of the feeding of the five 
thousand. The disciples had drawn the attention of 
Jesus to the fact that the crowds could not there in the 
desert secui'e any food, and that it was already too late 
to dismiss them in order to get something to eat. 
They ask Him, nevertheless, to let them go, so that 
they can l)uy food in the neighboring villages, as 
they themselves naturally had nothing to give them. 
Then Jesus speaks the memorable word that it 16 
would not at all be necessary for the crowds to go 
away, and tliat the disciples should give them to eat. 17 
The latter, in I'cply, draw attention to the small supply 
of food on hand, which certainly would not suffice for 
this purpose. Jesus, however, directs that they bring 18 



And he said, Bring them hither to me. (19) And he com- 
manded the multitudes to ^ sit down on the grass ; and he took 
the five loaves, and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, 
he blessed, and brake and gave the loaves to the disciples, 
and the disciples to the multitudes. (20) And they all ate, 
and were filled : and they took up that which remained over 
of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full. (21) And they that 
did eat were about five thousand men, besides women and 

(22) And straightway he constrained the disciples to enter 
into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side, till he 

* Gr. recline. 

it to Him, and sends word to the masses that they 

19 shall lie down on the grass as though for a meal. He 
then takes the five loaves and the two fishes, and, like 
the father of a household, pronounces the blessing over 
them, raising His eyes to heaven, glorifying God for the 
gift. Then, after having broken the bread. He gives it to 
the disciples, and these to the multitude. In this way 
it happened that the words of Jesus, which had seemed 

20 incomprehensible to them, were yet fulfilled. They 
gave the people to eat ; and notwithstanding the small 
supply, these were all satisfied. Indeed, the disciples 
gathered together the broken pieces, and each disciple 

21 had one traveling basket full. And yet the number 
who ate were five thousand men, and, the Evangelist 
yet adds, the women and children who also partook of 
the food were not counted. Very remarkable is the 

22 close of the story. The fact that Jesus was at once, 
after the meal, compelled to urge His disciples into the 
boat in which they had come and proceed ahead of 
Him, presupposes the fact that the disciples were not 
at all inclined to do this ; and yet we do not under- 
stand what detained Jesus on the eastern coast. For if 
He departed with the disciples, the multitude would 
scatter of themselves, and we cannot understand 


MATTHEW [XIV, 23-27 

Bhotild send the multitudes away. (23) And after he had sent 
the multitudes away, he went up into the mountain apart to 
pray : and when even was come, He was there alone. 

(24) But the boat ^ was now in the midst of the sea, dis- 
tressed by the waves ; for the wind was contrary. (25) And 
in the fourth watch of the night he came unto them, walking 
upon the sea. (26) And when the disciples saw him walking 
on the sea, they were troubled, saying. It is a ghost ; and they 
cried out for fear. (27) But straightway Jesus spake unto 

* Some ancient authorities read was many furlongs distant from the land. 

why He was compelled first to dismiss them. Still 23 
more remarkable is this, that after He had done this 
He did not, as the disciples had expected, return by 
way of the northern edge of the lake on foot, in order 
to precede and to meet them, but by Himself withdrew 
to the higher hills in order there to pray. Here it 
is clear that the Evangelist is guided in his story by an 
older tradition, which, indeed, was acquainted with the 
facts, but not with their inner connection. Only through 
the eyewitness report, found only in John, do we 
understand the whole matter clearly. The narrative 
closes with the statement that in the later evening, 
i. e. after sundown, Jesus was alone in those districts 
in the mountains. 

Now comes the narrative of the night voyage of the 24 
disciples. The boat was already a number of stadia 
away from the land, and, as it encountered opposing 
winds, was hard pressed by the waves. Then in the 25 
fourth watch of the night, between three and six in the 
morning, Jesus came to them walking on the sea. 26 
When the disciples saw this, they thought that this 
could not be so, and, imagining that they saw a ghost, 
began to cry out for fear, until Jesus, by speaking to 27 
them, made Himself known and quieted them. Now 
follows an episode which is found only in this Gospel, 
in which is shown an inclination to report traditions con- 
cerning Peter, whom the author, in x- 2. denominates th* 



them, saying, Be of good cheer ; it is I ; be not afraid. (28) 
And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me 
come unto thee upon the waters. (29) And he said. Come. 
And Peter went down from the boat, and walked upon the 
waters ^ to come to Jesus. (30) But when he saw the ^ wind 
he was afraid ; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 
Lord, save me. (31) And immediately Jesus stretched fortli 
his hand, and took hold of him, and saith unto liim, O thou of 
little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt ? (32) And when they 
were gone up into the boat, the wind ceased. (33) And they 
that were in the boat ^ worshipped him, saying, Of a truth 
thou art the Sou of God. 

(34) And when they had crossed over, they came to the 
land, unto Gennesaret. (35) And when the men of that place 

• Some ancient authorities read and came. 
* Many ancient authorities add strong. * See marginal note on eh. 2. 2. 

28 first of the apostles. To convince himself that Christ is 
really the Lord, Peter asks Him for a command to come 

29 to Him upon the water. At His command he steps over 
the side of the boat and, like Jesus, walks upon the water 

30 and already has come near to Him. But as he, when on 
the water for the first time, sees the full fury of the 
waves, he is seized with fear and he begins to sink, and 

31 cries out to Jesus to help him. The Lord takes him by 
the hand and chides his little faith. He had indeed be- 
lieved that at Jesus' command all things would be pos- 
sible for him ; but when he sees the greatness of the dan- 
ger in which he found himself, he began to doubt ; and 
since faith in the miraculous power of Jesus avails only 
when it overcomes all danger, this danger set in only 

32 when his faith began to waver. "When both had eu- 

33 tered into the boat, the wind ceased ; and now the other 
disciples, who were in the boat, cast themselves down 
before Him and worship Him as the Son of God who 
has been chosen to be the Messiah. He must truly be 
He ; for only to His recognized chosen One can God give 
this power to perform miracles, which He has just 

34 exhibited. And now they at once cross over the sea and 

35 come to land at the plain of Gennesaret. As soon 



knew him, they sent into all that region round about, and 
brought unto him all that were sick ; (36) and they besought 
him that they might only touch the border of his garment : 
and as many as touched were made whole. 
X"y Then there come to Jesus from Jerusalem Pharisees and 
scribes, saying (3) Why do thy disciples transgress the tra- 
dition of the elders ? for they wash not their hands when they 
eat bread. (3) And he answered and said unto them. Why 
do ye also transgress the commandment of God because of 

as the multitude recognize Him, they send messengers 
throughout the whole region, to have all the sick brought 
to Him. But the people do not seem to have enter- 36 
tained the same hope that they had before, that Jesus 
would regard their wishes, as He had chided the people 
so hard. Therefore they ask that they be permitted to 
touch Him, as did the woman with the bloody flux (cf. 
ix. 20). It is not even stated that Jesus permitted them 
to do this, in order to help their weak faith ; but as 
many as actually did touch Him, these were healed on 
account of their faith, and in view of the misery into 
which the people would sink, if Jesus should turn His 
back to them. 

The Evangelist states that, in this period which he 1 
has begun to describe, even people in Jerusalem began to 
watch Him. For this reason, for the first time, represent- 2 
atives of His chief enemies, the Pharisees and the 
Scribes, came from there and ask in a censorious manner, 
why His disciples transgress the ancient and holy tradi- 
tions which were regarded as equal to the divine com- 
mands by them. They base their charges on the fact, that 
the disciples partake of their meals without having first 
observed the custom of washing their hands, which is to 
protect them from any contamination that might adhere 
to the hands. Jesus asks them, in return, why they have 3 
made themselves guilty of an equal transgression, and in 
9 129 


your tradition ? (4) For God said, ^ Honor thy father and thy 
mother : and, "He that speaketh evil of father, or mother, let 
him *die the death. (5) But ye say, Whosoever shall say 
to his father or his mother, That wherewith thou mightest 
have been profited by me is given to God ; (6) he shall not 
honor his father.* And ye have made void the * word of God 
because of your tradition. (7) Ye hypocrites, well did Isaiah 
prophesy of you, saying, 

(8) * This people honoreth me with their lips ; 
But their heart is far from me. 

(9) But in vain do they worship me, 

Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. 
(10) And he called to him the multitude, and said unto 

» Ex. XX. 12 ; Dt. v. 16. » Ex. xxi. 17 ; Lev. xx. 9. » Or, surely die. 

* Some ancient authorities add or his mother. 

* Some ancient authorities read law. « Is. xzix. 13. 

their case of the violation of an actual command of God, 

4 and do so for the sake of their traditions. He declares 
that they are violating Ex. xx. 12, on account of their 
tradition. He quotes Ex. xxi. 17., in order to make the 

5 subject clear. They, however, teach that if anybody, 
in the presence of his parents, dedicates the property 
with which he is to support his old parents, to the 
Temple, that then he is no longer obligated to support 
his father and mother with any of his possessions with 

6 which he ought to have helped them. Thereby they 
have directly violated the word of God in Ex. xx., 12, 

7 and have done so on account of their traditions. Now 
He is justified in directly applying the term hypocrite to 
them, because their seeming zeal for the law was in 
reality only zeal for their traditions, which are in conflict 

8 with the law. He states that, in Is. xxix. 13, where the 
people are described as one that honor God only with 
their lips but not with their hearts, is a prophecy that 
can be throughout applied to them, because in that 
passage, the honoring of God according to human ordi- 

10 nances is declared to be displeasing to the Lord. Then 
Jesus calls the multitude, in the midst of whom His ene- 
mies had found Him, and who in accustomed reverence 


MA TTHE W [XV, 11-14 

them, Hear, and understand: (11) Not that which entereth 
into tlie mouth defileth the man ; but that which proceedeth 
out of the mouth, this defileth tlie man. 

(12) Then came the disciples, and said unto him, Knowest 
thou that the Pharisees were ^ offended, when they heard this 
saying ? (13) But he answered and said, Every * plant which 
my heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up. (14) Let 

* Gr. caused to stumble. * Gr. planting. 

for their leaders had drawn back, to Him, and demands 
of them to hear and to understand well, what He has to 
say to them concerning the real reasons why His dis- 
ciples do not observe the ancient ordinance of wash- 
ing their hands. Not that which enters into the mouth, 11 
such as food defiled by unclean hands, can rob a man of 
his relation to God, which he holds by the fact that he 
is an Israelite, and to make him profane. But that 
which comes out of the mouth, like the unjust charges 
against His disciples, and such anti-divine ordinances as 
those that proceed from His enemies, these things defile 
a man. 

As the disciples now come to the Lord without re- 12 
tiring with Him, Jesus effects the rupture with His 
enemies purposely in the presence of the people. When 
the disciples drew His attention to the fact, that the 
Pharisees had taken offense at His last words, since 
these tended to make the people neglect the observance 
of a legal order such as the ordinances concerning un- 
clean food, He in principle declares, in a figurative 13 
manner, that the traditional ordinances, because they 
have not been given by the Father, must be abolished, 
because they destroy the holiness of the law of God 
and do away with the distinction between the law of 
God and the law of man. The disciples are told not 14 
to worry on account of this offense and to pay no atten- 
tion to the matter, as the Pharisees are only blind leaders 
of the blind, and for this reason, together with their 



them alone ; they are blind guides. And if the blind guide 
the blind, both shall fall into a pit. (15) And Peter answered 
and said unto him, Declare unto us the parable. (16) And he 
said, Are ye also even yet without understanding? (17) Per- 
ceive ye not, that whatsoever goeth into the mouth passeth 
into the belly, and is cast out into the draught ? (18) But the 
things which proceed out of the mouth come forth out of the 
heart ; and they defile the man. (19) For out of the heart 
come forth evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, 
thefts, false witness, railings : (20) these are the things which 
defile the man ; but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not 
the man. 

15 victims, shall be destroyed. Thereupon Peter for the 
first time speaks in the name of the disciples and refers 
to the word of Jesus that had caused the offense. 
They, too, need an explanation, since they suspect that 

16 it is really intended to be a parable. Jesus is indeed 
surprised that they, who have so long been under His 
instruction, still are not yet able to understand such 

17 words, which, in v. 10, He has presupposed that even 
the people understood. For Him that which entered 
into the mouth was only a picture or an example of 
everything that comes to a man from without, such as 
food, and which cannot profane him, because it only 
enters the meaner parts of man and then is cast again 
into the draught. On the other hand, every wicked 
word comes from the heart and profanes a man, since 

19 it comes from a wicked and dark disposition. Only 
when the reason is assigned is this sentiment entirely 
generalized, in so far as not only the thoughts uttered 
in words, but also all other sins, come from the heart 
and profane a man, because they give evidence of his 

20 deeply seated wickedness. Then Jesus returns once 
more to the point from which the controversy arose and 
concludes from this, that eating with unclean hands 
does not profane, because it has nothing to do with the 


MATTHEW [XV, 21-24 

(21) And Jesus went out thence, and withdrew into the 
parts of Tyre and Sidon. (22) And behold, a Canaanitish 
woman came out from those borders, and cried, saying, Have 
mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is 
grievously vexed with a demon. (23) But he answered her not 
a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, 
Send her away ; for she crieth after us. (24) But he answered 
and said, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house 

character of the heart. Therefore, also, no divine com- 
mand prohibits such eating, but this is done only by a 
human ordinance that deals only with externals. But 21 
now, too, Jesus avoids all further controversy with His 
opponents and departs for the western borders of the 
land, where He is perfectly sure not to meet them. In 
this connection the oldest tradition already makes 
mention of the story of the Syro-Phoenician woman. 

When Jesus reached the borders of Tyre and Sidon, 22 
a heathen woman, who was a descendant of the original 
inhabitants of Canaan, came out to meet Him. Even in 
the heathen countries people had already heard of the 
Son of David, who was destined to become the King of 
Israel, and who by His great miracles had proved that 
He was the Promised One. With a loud outcry she ap- 
pealed to Him for help for her daughter was possessed 
of a devil and was sorely afflicted by the plagues with 
which Satan was accustomed to torment his victims. 
But when He did not answer her a word, the disciples 23 
asked Him to dismiss the woman by granting her re- 
quest, since she, by her outcries, was causing a commo- 
tion, which they well knew that Jesus was trying very 
much to avoid (xii. 16). Jesus then reminds them that 24 
His mission was only to Israel, as He had once declared 
that theirs also was (cf . x. 6). But here along the borders 
He has special reasons for preventing it from becoming 
generally known, that He had come and had extended 



of Israel. (25) But she came and ^ worshipped him, saying, 
Lord, help me. (26) And he answered and said, It is not meet 
to take the children's 2 bread and cast it to the dogs. (27) But 
she said, Yea, Lord : for even the dogs eat of the crumbs 
which fall from their masters' table. (28j Then Jesus answered 
and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it done 
vmto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was healed 
from that hour. 

(29) And Jesus departed thence, and came nigh unto the 

* See marginal note on ch. 2. 2. * Or, loaf. 

25 His activity to the Gentiles. But when the woman, 
who had in the meanwhile come up to Him, showing her 
humility in a most abject manner, had renewed her 

26 petition for help, He gives a reason for His refusal in 
a comparison. He does not compare the unclean Gen- 
tiles with the dogs, of which He spoke in vii. 6, but the 
comparison says, that as it was not proper to take away 
the bread that was intended for the children of the 
house, in order to throw this to the dogs, so little is He 
permitted to apply to the Gentiles the good things that 

27 He was sent to bring to Israel. Then the woman takes 
advantage of the figure used by Jesus as a basis of a 
plea for herself. She states that the dogs do not take 
away the bread from the children that is intended for 
these, but are satisfied with the crumbs that fall from 
the master's table. For this reason the heathens, too, 
can share in the wealth of Israel, without having 
hindered these from enjoying their blessings to the full, 

28 In this faith, which was not even shaken by the refusal 
of her petition, Jesus recognizes a sufficient reason for 
granting her request by way of exception ; and this is 
immediately done. It was not He whom she had over- 
come by her petition, the refusal of which had been in 
accordance with the redemptive counsels of God, who de- 
termined all His doings, but it was God Himself, who 
never refuses to listen to a persistent faith. 

29 In order not to encourage further appeals on the part 


MA TTRE W [ XV, 30-33 

sea of Galilee ; and he went up into the mountain, and sat 
there. (30) And there came unto him great multitudes, 
having with them the lame, blind, diunb, maimed, and many 
others, and they cast them down at his feet ; and he healed 
them : (31) insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they 
saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, and the lame 
walking, and the blind seeing : and they glorified the God of 

(33) And Jesus called unto him his disciples, and said I have 
compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me 
now three days and have nothing to eat : and I would not send 
them away fasting, lest haply they faint on the way. (33) And 

of the heathens for the performance of miracles, Jesus 
returns to the western coast of the sea of Galilee. But 30 
scarcely had He sat down on a small hill, when a large 
multitude came to Him, who bring with them a number 
of persons afficted with various diseases, in order to lay 
them down before His feet as quickly as possible, in 
the hope, that the very sight of them would move Him 
to have compassion on them. And He healed them 31 
so that the multitude were amazed when they saw 
them all healed of their diseases, and they glorified the 
God of Israel, who had bestowed such mercies upon 
their people. It was thus proved, that the help that had 
been granted to the heathen woman, had in no way 
diminished the fulness of mercies that Israel was to 
enjoy in accordance with the redemptive plan of God. 
But He was to show in a still more literal form that 
the bread had not been taken away from the chil- 
dren, and this through the feeding of the four thou- 
sand. For three days the crowds had surrounded the 32 
Lord, before He could complete His work with those 
who needed help. During this time their provisions 
had given out, and Jesus was not willing that they 
should be dismissed without food, lest they should faint 
from hunger by the way. Accordingly Jesus Himself 
proposes to feed them. The disciples, however, ask 33 



the disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so many 
loaves in a desert place as to fill so great a multitude? 
(34) And Jesus said imto them, How many loaves have ye ? 
And they said, Seven, and a few small fishes. (35) And he 
commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground ; (36) and 
he took the seven loaves and the fishes ; and he gave thanks 
and brake, and gave to the disciples, and the disciples to the 
multitudes. (37) And they all ate, and were filled : and they 
took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, seven 
baskets full. (38) And they that did eat were four thousand 
men, besides women and children. (39) And he sent away 
the multitudes, and entered into the boat, and came into the 
borders of Magadan. 
XVI And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him 

how it will be possible here in the desert, where there 
is nothing to be had, to secure enough of bread to 

34 satisfy the multitude. Then Jesus asks expressly how 

35 much they have. But from this point on the story con- 
tinues exactly after the manner of the first feeding of the 

36 thousands, only that in this case there were four thou- 
sand men without women and children, and there were 
seven loaves and a few small fish, and there were just 

39 seven full baskets left. Even in this respect the story is 
like the preceding, that after the event, without assign- 
ing any special reason, Jesus separates Himself from the 
disciples, and in this case to go over to the eastern coast, 
in a neighborhood the locality of which is not known 
1 Here, in a neighborhood where the Pharisees had not 
yet begun to antagonize Jesus, these men came and 
this time in company with their hereditary enemies, 
the Sadducees, in order again to demand a sign. And 
in this connection it is expressly stated that they 
want one of those signs from heaven, which are to an- 
nounce the advent of the Messianic period (cf xxiv. 29); 
and that they declared that they were willing to believe, 


MA TTHE W [ XVI, %-i 

asked him to show them a sign from heaven. (2) But 
he answered and said unto them, i When it is evening, ye say, 
It vnll be fair weather : for the heaven is red. (3) And in the 
morning, It will be foul weather to-day : for the heaven is red 
and lowering. You know how to discern the face of the 
heaven ; but ye cannot discern the signs of the times. (4) An 
evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign ; and there 
shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of Jonah. And he 
left them, and departed. 

1 The following words, to the end of ver. 3, are omitted by some of the most 
ancient and other important authorities. 

but only asked that He would permit them to see such 
a sign, in order to convince them fully. But they 
nevertheless could not hide the fact that they by there 
actions were tempting Him, to see if He could do 
such things. As they are of course convinced that He 
cannot do this, their purpose is to expose Him before 
the people of this neighborhood also in His weakness. 
For this reason Jesus, in the first place, shows them 2 
how foolish it is to demand such a sign at all, since, as 
His message to the Baptist had clearly indicated (cf. 
xi. 5) the advent of the promised era of redemption was 
itself an unmistakable sign. Now they were certainly 
acquainted with the current signs of the weather. A 
red sky in the evening made them conclude that there 
would be good weather. When the morning dawn 3 
becomes cloudy, they prophecy stormy weather. But 
if they understood to interpret the signs which they 
could read, so to say, on the face of the heavens, then they 
certainly ought to be able to understand the signs ac- 
cording to which the character of the times was to 
be interpreted. For this reason He refuses them in the 4 
same words that are found, xii. 39, every other sign ex- 
cept that of Jonah ; by which He indicates that they are 
the same kind of people as that wicked and adulterous 
generation, of whom He spoke at that place. Then He 
abruptly dismisses them and goes away. 



(5) And the disciples came to the other side and forgot to 
take ^ bread. (6) And Jesus said unto them, Take heed and 
beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (7) 
And they reasoned among themselves, saying, *We took no 
^ bread. (8) And Jesus perceiving it said, O ye of little faith, 
why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have no ^ bread ? 

(9) Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves 
of the five thousand, and how many * baskets ye took up ? 

(10) Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how 
many 'baskets ye took up? (11) How is it that ye do not 
perceive that I spake not to you concerning i bread ? But be- 

* Gr. loaves. * Or, It is becavse tee took no bread. 

* Basket in ver. 9 and 10 represents different Greek words. 

6 In the meanwhile the disciples had come to the east- 
em shore. But in leaving the western shore they had 
forgotten to take with them the provisions that they 
needed for a journey into a district where they as yet 

6 had no adherents. When Jesus then, still filled with 
the thoughts of His opponents, warns them against the 

7 leaven of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they thought 
that it was His intention to warn them against trying 
to secure leaven to bake bread from His enemies,as these 
might give them some that would be poisoned, in order 
in this easy way to get rid of their bitterly-hated 

8 enemy. Jesus, who in this case also knew their 
thoughts, rebuked them on account of their little faith. 

9 After they had so often seen His miracles, they cer- 
tainly ought not to have troubled themselves because 
they had no bread. Had they really not understood 

10 what He meant, or do they not remember the two 
occasions on which He fed the thousands, and how 
many baskets were left over from the five loaves with 
which He had fed the five thousand, and of the seven 
loaves with which He fed the four thousand ? They 

11 certainly had all reason for believing that He was not 
in any way concerned about the lack of bread, and that 
He was not speaking of real bread, but figuratively of 



ware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. (12) 
Then understood they that he bade them not beware of the 
leaven of ^ breu'.I. but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sad- 

(loj Now when Jesus came into the parts of Ccesarea Phil- 
ippi. he aske'l liis disciple^, saying. Who do men say ^that the 
Sou of man is ': \\ • AuX they said. Some scrj John the Bap- 
tist : some. Elijah : and others Jeremiah, or one of tiie proph- 
ets. (lOj He saith uuuj thern. But wjio say y-r that I am? 

1 (ir. luar.,^ 

' Many ancieut au:'..ori:ie? rea^l thnt I t'r.^ .Son of //ia/i av,. See Mk. ?. ••.'? 
Lk.9. is. 

Spiritual things. Then He ivpea:e<l ilie warning. But 12 
as Jesus does not int^-rpret Tlis wi,>rJs, the Evangelist 
points out that trie disciples no^^" understood Him. He 
interprets the figure as having reference to the specific 
doctrines of l>otii tlie scIk'ioIs of tlieology in tlie people, 
and intentionally mentions the Sadducees first, whose 
teachings most glaringly conflicted with orthodox 
Judaism (cf. also xxii. -Jo sqq.). 

In the mind of the Evangelist, the contrast to the 
opponents in their demands for a sign from heaven is 
found in the great confession of Peter. The journey 13 
which the disc-iides are now n^'tking in ct.impany with 
Jesus, to<'k them to the ca^'ital city of the Tetrarch 
Philip, which in its enlarged ai^l heautiful reconstruc- 
tion, was alter him called C'a'sarea Philippi. In this 
region a renuirka.hly fixed and serried traditi-'^n locates 
a conversation oi Jesus witl: His disciples, in which He 
asks tliem wlio men. generally say that He. the Son of 
Man, is. From their answer.- it is clear that the people 14 
do not yet, or do not any lunger, call Him the ^fessiah, 
but some reg-ard Him as JmIui the Ba[»tist, who had been 
beheaded, and whom they venerate as having risen 
from the dead : uthers consider Him as the Elias, who 
was expected as a forerunner of the Messiali ; others 
considered Him as even so!uething less, and only as 
some prophet who had risen from the dead. as. per- 
haps, Jeremiah. In answer to the question whom they 15 



(16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, 
the Son of the living God. (17) And Jesus answered and said 
unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-Jonah : for flesh and 
blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father who is in 
heaven. (18) And I also say unto thee, that thou art ^ Peter, 
and upon this ^ rock I will build my church ; and the gates of 

1 Qr. Petros. . * Qr.petra. 

consider Him to be, which question already presup- 
poses that they certainly must know better, Peter, in 
the name of the disciples, answers that they consider 
Him to be the Son of (rod, who had been sent to be the 
Messiah, in the sense of iii. 17. In this connection he 
expressly calls God " the living," because only as such 
was He able to select the Son of His affection for this 

17 highest mission and to equip Him for it. In reply to 
this confession, Jesus declares Peter blessed, addressing 
him in a solemn manner by the name of his father, 
in order to distinguish him from others of the same 
name. For such a firm faith, which stood out in bold 
contrast to the unbelief and the doubt of the people, 
could not be produced from a human source, nor from 
personal impressions and other evidences, but must be 
the working of God's grace in him (cf. xi. 25-27) that 
opened up to him the real character and purpose of the 

18 Son of Man. Accordingly, then, Jesus too wants to 
tell Peter what his character and mission is. He is, as 
Jesus says, on the basis of the additional name that He 
Himself had given to him, a rock, and by his firm 
faith has shown that he is such. Upon this rock, later, 
when He will be forced to give up the people as a na- 
tion, Jesus will establish the congregation of those who 
believe in the Messiah, in which He, for the present, 
must be doing the work alone. For as the rocky 
foundation secures the firmness of a house (cf. vii. 
24-25), thus his rocky character shall furnish the 
guarantee that the congregation gathered by Him will 


31 A TTHE W [ XVI, 19-21 

Hades shall not prevail against it. (19) I will give unto thee 
the keys of the kingdom of heaven : and whatsoever thou 
shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and whatsoever 
thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (20) 
Then charged he the disciples that they should tell no man 
that he was the Christ. 

(21) From that time began ^ Jesus to show unto his disciples, 
that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the 
elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and the third 

' Some ancient authorities read Jesus Christ. 

have a firmness that would surpass even the firmest, 
namely, the gates of the region of the dead, which none 
can open after they Iiave once been closed behind him. 
And just as the head steward is entrusted with the 19 
keys of the house, and its management and control 
(cf. Is. xxii. 22), in the same manner is the kingdom of 
heaven, which is realized in this congregation. Peter 20 
is to determine what, according to the regulations 
thereof, is to be allowed and what is forbidden : for 
this is to 1)6 allowed and forbidden in heaven also. 
But the disciples in general are earnestly commanded by 
Jesus that they shall tell no one that He is the Mes- 
siah, because, under the present state of mind on the 
part of the people, this would either only create carnal 
Messianic expectations, or else renewed hostility to 

The Evangelist states with great emphasis that only 21 
from this time, when Jesus had broken with all of His 
opponents (cf. xv. 7 ; xvi. 4), did He begin to predict 
His death to the disciples. Intentionally he terms 
Him Jesus Christ, by which name He was called in the 
congregation, because it was the purpose of Jesus to 
show the disciples that He was the one destined to the 
Messianic glory. He was to go to Jerusalem, to suft'er 
at the hands of the leaders of the people, whom He fully 
specifies, to be killed, and then to be awakened again on 



day be raised up. (32) And Peter took him, and began to re- 
buke him, saying, ^ Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall never 
be unto thee. (33) But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get 
thee behind me, Satan : thou art a stumbling-block unto me : 
for thou mindest not the things of God, but the things of men. 
(34) Then said Jesus unto his disciples. If any man would 
come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, 
and follow me. (25) For whosoever would save his life shall 
lose it : and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find 
it. (26) For what shall a man be profited, if he sliall gain the 

* Or, God have mercy on thee. 

the third day, after which He was to be exalted to His 

22 Messianic glory. In amazement at this Peter takes 
Him aside and rebukes Him, telling Him that He 
should not have such unjustifiable tlioughts concerning 
His future. God forbid that such things should hap- 

23 pen to Him. But Jesus again sees, as He did in the 
desert (iv. 16), the tempter before Him, because Peter 
would mislead Him, and instead of permitting Him to 
go on the way marked out by God, would induce Him 
to follow human wishes. He therefore, and in an 

24 equally energetic manner, refuses to listen. But just 
at that time, when He had declared His willingness to 
fulfil the mission that had been assigned Him by God, 
He tells the disciples how they, too, must prepare 
themselves for the same fate. He who is really willing 
to follow Him, must also be willing to bear the heavy 
burden that this step demands. It is the same sen- 
tence that the Evangelist had (in x. 38), made a part of 
the address of instruction to the disciples, except that 
in the present case the willingness to suffer is termed 
self-denial, in which one's own self is regarded as 

25 somebody else's. In the same way the statement of x. 
39 is utilized, to the effect that the loss of life for 

26 Jesus' sake is to be regarded as the highest gain. In 
the Greek original the word used does not mean life, 
but the soul, which is equally regarded as the seat of 



whole world, and forfeit his life ? or what shall a man give in 
exchange for his life ? (27) For the Son of man shall come 
in the glory of his Father with his angels ; and then shall he 
render unto every man according to his de eds. (28) Verily 
I say unto you, There are some of them that stand here, who 
shall in no wise taste of death, till they see the Son of man 
coming in his kingdom. 

XVII -^"^ after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and 
* James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up 

* Gr. doing. * Or, Jacob. 

the bodily life, as it is of the spiritual life. For this 
reason, Jesus, connecting at this point what is said of 
the loss of the soul taken in this sense, can declare that 
the gain of the whole world would not compensate a man 
if he suffered harm in his soul ; since he, in spite of all 
the possessions which the world values, would have 
nothing to pay for the ransom of his soul, which was sub- 
ject to condemnation, and is therefore lost. But that 27 
in this case the whole world would profit him nothing, 
Jesus bases on the fact, that at the certain return of the 
Son of Man, on which occasion He will come again in 
the glory of the Father, in company with the angels to 
serve Him, these goods will do their possessor no 
good ; and that then He will reward every one accord- 
ing to his conduct, including him, too, who for the 
sake of saving his soul (as the seat of his physical life), 
by denying Jesus, will lose his soul (as the seat of true 
life), and it will be irredeemably destroyed. This return, 28 
however, when He comes in His Messianic dignity, and 
as ruler of His kingdom, to whom the judgment has 
been entrusted, is so near at hand that some of those 
present will yet live to see it. 

The narrative of Mark, which our Evangelist follows, 1 
by the fact that it expressly makes mention of the time 
that the transfiguration took place, i. e., after the pre- 
diction of the return of Jesus, already indicates that 



into a high mountain apart : (2) and he was transfigured be- 
fore them ; and his face did shine as the sun, and his gar- 
ments became white as the light. (3) And behold, there 
appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with him. (4) 
And Peter answered, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for 
us to be here : if thou wilt, I will make here three ^ taber- 
nacles ; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 
(5) While he was yet speaking, behold, a bright cloud over- 

* Or, booths. 

the former was to be a guarantee of the latter. In 
addition, one learns for the first time from this story, 
that Jesus on special occasions showed a preference for 
Peter and the sons of Zebedee, and made them his con- 
fidants. Then we are here told, that Jesus was trans- 
figured in their presence. His face is described as hav- 
ing shone like the sun and His garments like the light, 
which shows no other color than shining white- 
ness. This shows that they saw Jesus in His heavenly 
glory in which He is to return again according to 
promise. But the expression makes it entirely a mat- 
ter of doubt whether he intends it to say that this 
transformation actually took place before their eyes, or 
whether they only saw Him who had thus been trans- 

8 formed in a vision. But the following can be understood 
only from the standpoint latter ; for it was only in a 
divinely wrought vision that the two heavenly forms, 
whom they saw in conversation with Him, can be rec- 

4 ognized as Moses and Elias. Peter, indeed, is so fully 
convinced that what he sees is actual reality, that he 
expresses the opinion that it was a good thing that he 
and his fellow disciples happened to be here, so that 
they can pitch some tents for the two men of God, in 
order that these may abide with Jesus for a longer 
period of time. But he is soon to be taught something 

6 better. While he is yet speaking a cloud, through 
which the glory of God shines, descends upon them 



shadowed them : and behold, a voice out of the cloud, saying, 
This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased ; hear ye 
him. (6) And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their 
face, and were sore afraid. (7) And Jesus came and touched 
them and said, Arise, and be not afraid. (8) And lifting up 
their eyes, they saw no one, save Jesus only. 

(9) And as they were coming down from the mountain, 
Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, 
until the Son of man be risen from the dead. (10) And his 
disciples asked him, saying. Why then say the scribes that 
Elijah must first come? (11) And he answered and said, 

and out of it the voice of God, as at the baptism of 
Jesus (cf . iii. 17), is heard, only with the additional com- 
mand that they are to listen to the Messiah, even if He 
predicts dark and burdensome things. The Evangelist 6 
describes their fear at this manifestation of the near- 
ness of God, after Dan. x. 9, 10, so that, just as it is 
described in that passage, they are only quieted by the 
touch of Jesus' hand and induced to arise. But when 8 
they then open their eyes, they see none except the 
One who has just spoke to them, namely, Jesus, alone. 
The vision has passed ; and when descending from the 9 
mountain Jesus forbids them to say anything about the 
matter until after His resurrection. Only then, when 
by the resurrection He shall have entered upon His 
heavenly glory, could this vision be rightly understood 
as a prediction of His return to this glory. How 10 
strangely they still misunderstood this vision is clear 
from the question addressed to Jesus, asking how the 
Scribes could still maintain that Elias must yet come 
before the Messiah appears. Manifestly they thought 
that in the vision they had seen the promised coming 
of Elias, which they then thought had taken place after 
He had long ago appeared in whom they had recog- 11 
nized the Messiah. Jesus, however, draws their atten- 
tion to the fact, that according to the prediction, Elias 
10 145 


Elijah indeed cometh, and shall restore all things : (12) but 
I say unto you, that Elijah is come already, and they knew 
him not, but did unto him whatsoever they would. Even so 
shall the Son of man also suffer of them. (13) Then under- 
stood the disciples that he spake unto them of John the Baptist. 
(14) And when they were come to the multitude, there 
came to him a man, kneeling to him, and saying, (15) Lord, 
have mercy on my son : for he is epileptic, and suffereth 
grievously ; for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft-times 
into the water. (16) And I brought him to thy disciples, and 
they could not cure him. (17) And Jesus answered and said. 

is indeed to come, and that, too, to restore all things 
that in Israel had been perverted through sin, i. e., in 
order to prepare the way for the Messiah, whom he is 

12 accordingly in reality to procede. But Elias has 
already come ; only that he was not recognized as 
such, and instead of permitting him to do what it was 
his mission to do to the people, they did to him as 
they pleased, i. e., they killed him. In this way the 
fate of this Elias turns out to be a direct type of that 

13 which the Son of Man is about to suffer. Only now the 
disciples notice that He has designated John the Baptist 
as the promised Elias, who, as they knew, had been 

14 When Jesus came down from the mountain with the 
three disciples. He found a multitude of the people 

1 5 gathered together. Among them was a father who on his 
knees asked Him to have compassion on his son, who 
was an epileptic afflicted with the most terrible results 
of this disease. For in his unconscious condition he 
would fall sometimes into the water and sometimes into 

16 the fire, so that his life was in constant danger. He 
had already brought him to the disciples, who were 
waiting at the foot of the mountain, but they had not 

17 been able to help him. But Jesus includes together 
with the petitioner the whole perverse and unbelieving 



O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with 
you? how long shall I bear with you? bring him hither to me. 
(18) And Jesus rebuked him ; and the demon went out of 
him : and the boy was cured from that hour. 

(19) Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why 
could not we cast it oul ? (20) And he saith unto tlieiu, 
Because of your little faith : for verily I say unto you. If ye 
liave faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say i.'ito this 
mountain. Remove lience to yonder place ; and it shal emove ; 
and notliing sliall be impossible unto you.^ 

' Many autlioriries. S(5iiie ancient, insert ver. 21. Bid this kind goeth nut 
out s(iv'«by pra'jpr and fusting. See 3Ik. 9. 29. 

geiiei'ation witli "wliom He had been laboring so long 
and whom lie had borne in all their weakness, because, 
as lie said, this man had made an attempt to have the 
disciples heal his son, without the true confidence that 
he could through them too receive the wonderful help 
of God. He, however, directs that the boy be brought 
to Ilim. When now the Evangelist all at once pre- 18 
supi)oses tliat tlie boy was a demoniac, of which fact 
tlie father had said nothing, it becomes clear, that he 
has modeled tlie narrative here after another one, witli 
wliicli we will yet become acquainted. For after he 
had statt'il tliat tlie Devil, ^^•llen threatened b}^ Jesus, 
[)ass('d (jiu, lie again returns to the older tradition, 
;icc(»rdiiig to which the boy was at once healed. IJut 19 
A\iicn the disciples asked, why they had not been able 
to h(4p him. He attributes this to their little faith, be- 
cause they too had evidently not tried to heal him in 
al)Solute confidence in the authority which had been 
entrusted to them (cf. x. 1). If they have but a spark 20 
of faith, they wotild be able to move mountains, and 
nothing would lie impossible for them. Later copyists 
add V. 21 according to Mark ix. 29; but this is not a 
part of the oldest text. 

Having returned to Galilee from the journey to 
Cacsarea Philipi)i, in the neighborhood of which the 
Evangelist locates the Transfiguration, Jesus again 



(23) And while they * abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto 
them, The Son of man shall ^ be delivered up into the hands of 
men ; (23) and they shall kill him, and the third day he sliall 
be raised up. And they were exceeding sorry. 

(24) And when they were come to Capernaum, they that 
received the ^ half-shekel came to Peter, and said, Doth not 
your teacher pay the 8 half-shekel ? (35) He saith. Yea. And 
when he came into the house, Jesus spake first to him, saying, 
What thinkest thou, Simon? the kings of the earth, from 
whom do they receive toll or tribute ? from their sons, or from 
strangers? (26) And when he said. From strangers, Jesus 

* Some ancient authorities read were gathering themselves together. 
' See ch. 10. 4. * Gr. didrachma. Comp. marginal note on Lk. 15. 8. 

makes a circuit of the land in company with the disciples 
and here continues the predictions of His approaching 
sufferings, which He had there begun. He now informs 
them that His passion will take place in the immediate 
future, and that the Son of man will be delivered over 
by the heads of the people into the hands of hostile 
men, by which term He evidently means the heathen. 

23 But His statement concerning the resurrection, with 
which He always closed His discourses of this character, 
the disciples understood so little, that they were 
saddened by what they heard concerning His death, 
just as though they had heard nothing of His resurrec- 

24 When they then came to Capernaum, the time had 
already passed for the collection of the two drachmas 
as Temple tax. The collectors accordingly approach 
Peter, who was everywhere regarded as the spokesman 
of the disciples and the confidant of Jesus, with the 
question, whether Jesus did not intend to pay the 
Temple tax ? They evidently regarded it as possible, 
that He, in view of His claims of being the Messiah, 
would consider Himself dispensed from this duty, 

25 Peter at once declares, that Jesus will pay the tax, be- 
cause He always complies with the legal enactments. 

26 But after they have entered the house, and before he 



said unto him, Therefore the sons are free. (27) But, lest we 
cause them to stumble, go thou to the sea, and cast a hook, 
and take up the fish that first cometh up ; and when thou hast 
opened his mouth, thou shalt find a ^ shekel : that take, and 
give unto them for me and thee. 

XY^III In that hour came the disciples unto Jesus, saying. 
Who then is ^ greatest in the kingdom of heaven? 

* Qr. stater. • Gr. greater. 

can report the matter to Jesus, the latter anticipates 
him with the demand to consider the question again. 
Since he must acknowledge that the kings do not re- 
ceive their revenues from the royal princes and from 
the members of their families, it follows, that He, as 
the Son of God, and all those who through Him have be- 
come the sons of God, are really under no obligation to 
pay the Temple tax, which is to be rendered to God as 
the king of the Theocracy. But for the sake of those 27 
who do not yet recognize Him as the Son of God, and 
in order not to offend these, as though He in any way 
wanted to overthrow the existing Temple ordinances. 
He directs that Peter is to secure the money and pay 
for Him and His followers. It will only be necessary 
for him to apply his former trade of catching fish, and 
God will easily give him what he needs, and by that 
very fact too demonstrate that they are really free. 
The tradition, which our Evangelist follows, has under- 
stood this word to mean, that God would do this by a 
special miracle and that Peter would find a four 
dmchma piece of money in the mouth of the first fish 
he would catch. But, at any rate, it is not reported 
that such a miracle took place. 

In the older narrative the comments of Jesus on the 
contention of the disciples concerning their rank takes 
place immediately after they had entered the house, as 
had just before been the case with the conversation of 
Jesus and Peter. Therefore the Evangelist emphasizes 1 


XVIII, 3-5] w^jjjSS'jS commentary 

(3) And he called to him a little child and set him in the midst 
of them, (3) and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye turn, 
and become as little children, ye shall in no wise enter into 
the kingdom of heaven. (4) Whosoever therefore shall 
humble himself as this little child, the same is the ^greatest 
in the kingdom of heaven. (5) And whoso shall receive 

* Or. greater, 

it SO particularly that it was in the same hour in which 
the disciples had begun the discussion, as to who would 
be the greater in importance among the members of the 
kingdom of God. The more direct occasion for their 
discussion, concerning their rank we will learn from 
Mark ix. 33-34. In the eyes of our Evangelist it is a 
matter of great importance that Jesus on this occasion 
expresses Himself on the inner arrangements of the 
kingdom that He is about to establish. The occasion 
for this was ever present, also just now in the manner 
in which Peter had been shown a preference both by the 

2 tax collectors and by Jesus Himself. Jesus replies by 
stating that He sets in their midst the child as a pattern 
of the simple-minded humility, which is conscious only 

3 of its own weakness and helplessness. But whoever 
acts as the disciples do, thereby shows that he would 
like to be greater than others ; and whoever does not 
altogether walk upon this path of pride and ambition 
and return to the simple-minded state of a child can 
not only make no claim to importance in the kingdom 
of heaven, but is not' even a member of the same, 
because with his disposition he can never take part iu 
the consummation of this kingdom. Only in the degree 
in which this mind is found in the hearts of the children 
of the kingdom can the individual have any significance 

4 for it at all. And to secure this there is a constant need 
of humility and the consciousness of one's weakness and 

5 helplessness, such as a child possesses by nature. He 
who receives such a child and affectionately takes care 



one such little child in my name receiveth me : (6) but whoso 
shall cause one of these little ones that believe on me to 
stumble, it is profitable for him that ^ a great mill-stone should 
be hanged about his neck, and that he should be sunk in the 
depth of the sea. 

(7) Woe unto the world because of occasions of stumbling I 
for it must needs be that the occasions come ; but woe to that 
man through whom the occasion cometh ! (8) And if thy 

* Gr. a millstone turned by an ass. 

of it, not out of natural love for children, but on the 
basis of the name of Jesus, i. e. because He has com- 
manded us to see in it a pattern of simple-minded 
humility, such a person receives Jesus Himself. But he 6 
who causes such a child, if it has attained to faith in 
Jesus, to stumble, and gives it occasion to lose faith or 
to do wrong, such an one has committed a sin so great, 
that it would be to his advantage to endure the most 
terrible death, because thereby he would be delivered 
from the still harder punishment for that sin. Jesus 
gives a picture of this punishment, by speaking of a 
large mill stone, such as are found in the mills turned 
by an ass, which would be put around his neck, and he 
would be sunk into the awful depths of the deepest sea 
That this sentence here so aptly applied is found in a 
more general application in another connection (cf. 
Luke xvii, 1-2), is seen from the appended remark con- 
cerning taking offense in general. It is only natural 7 
that in a sinful world there will be many temptations 
to sin. But notwithstanding this, every individual, who 
furnishes the occasion to sin, is to be punished. In the 
other passage Jesus passes on from the temptation to 
sin which proceeds from another to that temptation 
which is found in the possession of any property for 
ourselves. Here those statements, which the Evangelist 
has woven into the Sermon on the Mount (v. 29-30) 
no doubt originally had their place. For here it be- 8 



hand or thy foot causeth thee to stumble, cut it off, and cast 
it from thee : it is good for thee to enter into life maimed or 
halt, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into 
the eternal fire. (9) And if thine eye causeth thee to stumble, 
pluck it out, and cast it from thee : it is good for thee to enter 
into life having one eye, rather than having two eyes to be 
cast into the ^hell of fire. (10) See that ye despise not one of 
these little ones : for I say unto you, that in heaven their 
angels do always behold the face of my Father who is in 
heaven.2 (12) How think ye? if any man have a hundred 
sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth ho not leave the 
ninety and nine, and go unto the mountains, and seek that 

*Gr. Gehenna of fire. 

•Many authorities some ancient, insert ver. 11 For the Son of man 
came to save that which was lost. See Lk. 19. 10. 

comes perfectly clear, that hand or foot is only a figure 
of that which is most necessary, and the eye a figure of 
what is most valuable that we possess. But both must 
be cheerfully sacrificed, no matter how much suffering 
it costs, if they furnish us with the occasion to sin, since 
it is better to be without earthly possessions than to 
suffer that eternal punishment, which will overcome 
a man in the judgment while yet in the body, if he per- 

10 mits himself to be led to sin thereby. But we are not 
to say, we are told by the Evangelist, again referring 
to verse 6., that the sin to which we may mislead a 
child cannot be such a serious thing. This would 
be a despising of the children, whom God has so highly 
honored that He has ordained His highest angels — who 
because they are nearest to His throne always see His 
face — to be their guardians. It is clear that when 
Luther, after the manner of later copyists inserts as v. 
11 the passage in Luke xix. 19, he only destroys the 

12 connection. For the parable of the lost sheep (Luke xv. 
4 sqq.) is to be applied expressly to the children, in so far 
as this parable sets forth not only the love of God in 
general with which He searches for lost sinners, but also 
His care for the soul of every single child. Going down 


which goeth astray ? (13) And if so be that he find it, verily 
I say unto you, he rejoiceth over it more than over the ninety 
and nine which have not gone astray. (14) Even so it is not 
1 the will of 2 your Father who is in heaven, that one of these 
little ones should perish. 

(15) And if thy brother sin ^ against thee, go, show him his 
fault between thee and him alone : if he hear thee, thou hast 
gained thy brother. (16) But if he hear thee not, take with 

* Qr. a thing willed before your Father. 
•Some ancient authorities read my. 

• Some ancient authorities omit against thee. 

into the subject deeper, Jesus describes how the shep- 
herd will permit the whole flock to wander over the 
hills in order to hunt for the one that has gone astray. 13 
And such is his joy at the recovery of the lost one that 
he momentarily forgets the ninety-nine of which he had 
remained ia undisturbed possession. Such is the deter- 14 
mination of God that not even a single one of these 
children should be lost. 

That the parable of the lost sheep in the oldest tra- 
ditions directly followed the discourse concerning of- 
fenses (cf. Luke xvii. 3), is hidicated by the manner in 
which, in cases where through any offense (which 
another person or one's own possessions have given him) 
a brother is led to sin, the love of God in its search 
for the sinner is represented as the ideal for man's con- 
duct over against this erring brother. In this case, 15 
namely, it is the duty of one brother to go after the 
other, as the shepherd goes after the lost sheep and 
win him back for the kingdom of God. He is, first of 
all, to attempt to adjust matters between themselves, 
as it will be more easily possible in this way, to convince 
his brother of his wrong-doing and to bring him to an 
acknowledgment of the same. But if he refuses to 16 
hear, then he is to take two or three witnesses with 
him. If in this way, in accordance with the command 
of Deut. xix, 15, everything that has been said for the 
purpose of convincing the brother of his sin, has been 



thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or 
three every word may be established. (17) And if he refuse 
to hear them, tell it unto the i church : and if he refuse to hear 
the ^ church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentle and the 
•publican. (18) Verily I say unto you. What things soever y« 
shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven ; and what things 
soever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 
(19) Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on 

* Or, congregation. ' See marginal note on ch. 5. 46. 

established by the evidence of two or three witnesses, 
then all possibility has been taken from the guilty person 
of claiming that the judgment has been the result of par- 

17 tiality. But if he even then refuses to hear, it is to be 
told to the whole congregation, so that they, who 
certainly cannot be thought to be acting partially, shall 
confirm the judgment of the individual brethren. But 
if he will not even hear the congregation, he thereby 
furnishes proof, that he will not hear and repent. Then, 
however, in the place of the duty of love toward the 
brother, there steps in the duty of self-preservation from 
being misled by an erring brother. As in Israel all 
dealings with Gentile neighbors and with the publicans 
were regarded as contaminating, in the same way Chris- 
tian fellowship shall be denied to such an one, in order 
that others may not by him be misled into a similar sin. 
Of course he is thereby excluded from the greatest good 
which the Christian fellowship of brothers brings with it, 

18 namely, from the forgiveness of sms. But if the con- 
gregation, so to say, binds tight the sins of him who 
will not acknowledge or repent of his sins, so that his 
guilt adheres to him, then his act shall be regarded as 
unpardonable in heaven also ; as on the other hand, in the 
case of every repentant sinner for whose forgiveness 
the congregation prays, this forgiveness shall be recog- 
nized as accepted in heaven also. Here we evidently 
have the original meaning of the statement, which in a 
different sense is in xvi. 19 applied to Peter. This con- 



earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it i shall be 
done for them of my Father who is in heaven. (20) For 
where two or three are gathered together in my name, there 
am I in the midst of them, 

(21) Then came Peter and said to him, Lord, how oft shall 
my brother sin against me, and I forgive him ? until seven 

* Gr. shall become. 

firms the repeated statements of Jesus, namely the 
promise of a certain hearing to the prayer made in com- 
mon, hence also to the prayer for the forgiveness of sins 
in the case of a repentant sinner. For He especially em- 20 
phasizes the fact, that this does not depend on the num- 
ber who unite in this ; but, whether there be few or be 
many, it depends only upon this, that the congregation 
be assembled in the name of Jesus, i. e., that the congre- 
gation consist of the confessors of Jesus, who in the 
certainty of having their prayer heard, ask for forgive- 
ness for the repentant sinner, and refuse to do this for 
the unrepentant. But this, however, Jesus bases on the 
fact, that, as God had once promised to be in the midst 
of His people (cf. Joel ii. 27), thus, too. He, as the divine- 
ly sent Messiah and Saviour, will be in the midst of His 
congregation, in order to secure for them at all times 
the answer to their prayers. 

On this occasion another question had been brought 21 
up by Peter, namely, how we are to deport ourselves 
over against the brother who has sinned against our- 
selves (cf. Luke xvii. 4). For so much is clear, that all 
efforts to bring the erring brother to repentance, can be 
of the right kind, only if we have, in the first place, for- 
given in our hearts the wrong that he has done to us ; 
for as long as we retain wrath in our hearts against 
him, every bitter charge of his sins will only have the 
opposite effect. But Peter asks, whether the greatest 
willingness to forgive would have its limits, and pro- 
poses, accordingly, seven as the greatest number of times 



times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Unti^ 
seven times ; but, Until ^seventy times seven. 

(23) Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a 
certain king, who would make a reckoning with his ^ servants. 
(24) And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto 
him, that owed him ten thousand ^talents. (25) But foras- 
much as he had not wherewith to pay, his lord commanded 
him to be sold, and his wife and children, and all that he had, 
and payment to be made. (26) The ^servant therefore fell 
down and ^worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with 
me, and I will pay thee all. (27) And the lord of that *ser- 
vant, being moved with compassion, released him, and for- 

* Or, seventy times and seven. * Gr. bondservants. 

•This talent was probably worth about £800, or $1000. * Gr. bcmdservant. 

* See marginal note on en. 8. 8. 

22 thinkable. When Jesus wants this number to be made 
tenfold greater, He naturally wishes thereby to declare 
that the duty of forgiving must be without any limita- 
tion, and He illustrates this by the parable of the un- 
merciful servant. 

23 Because the duty of forgiving is in the kingdom of God 
so unlimited, since to each one who has entered the 
same an unmeasured sum of guilt has been forgiven, so 
this kingdom has become like unto a king, who through 
unbounded generosity on his part has put his servants 

24 under the obligation of doing the same. Therefore the 
case is supposed, that in taking an account with them, 
one is brought before him, who owes him ten thousand 

25 talents — an enormous sum. As it is utterly impossible 
for him to pay it, the king first lays hands on his per- 
son ; he and his family are to be sold into slavery ; all 
his possessions to be turned into money, and at least so 

26 much as possible of the debt to be paid. In the terror 
of his heart, the debtor, attesting his deepest reverence, 
first asks for more time. He promises to pay, something 
that in the nature of the case he cannot think of doing. 

27 Thereupon compassion for the servant takes possession 
of the lord, although he had only been exercising his 


3IA TTIIE W [XVIII, 28-31 

gave him the ^debt. (28) But that ^servant went out, and 
found one of his feliow-sei'vants, who owed him a hundred 
^shillings : and he laid hold on him, and took lihn by the 
throat, saying, Pay what thou owest. (29) So his fellow-ser- 
vant fell down and besought him, saying. Have patience with 
me, and I will pay thee. (30) And he would not : but went 
and cast him into prison, till lie should pay that which was 
due. (31) So when his fellow-servants saw what was done, 

' Gr. loan. - Gr. bondservant . 

^The word in the Greek denotes a coin worth about eight pence 
half-penny, or nearly seventeen cents. 

rights. He releases the servant, ah^eady a captive, and 
in addition forgives him all his debts. And now the 28 
narrative describes the conduct of the servant, who 
while still under the impress of the magnanimity he 
had experienced, meets one of his fellow servants, who 
owes him one hundred denars, the sixtieth part of a 
talent. For whatever harm a neighbor may have done 
to us is perfectly insignificant compared with the tre- 
mendous debt which God has forgiven to each one. By 
way of contrast, the hardness of heart displayed by the 
servant is described in detail ; he seizes the debtor by 
the throat, drags him before the judge, and in unmerci- 
ful logic, which takes no consideration of peculiar 
features in the case, simply insists, that when a man owes 
something he must pay. In contrast to his lord's treat- 29 
ment of him the unmerciful servant, when the fellow 
servant, in exactly the same words in which his creditor 
had on his knees begged his master for time to pay, does 
this for this insignificant sum, the payment of which 
would easily be possible, refuses mercy. There are no 80 
special reasons given why the creditor insists upon his 
rights. He simply refuses, and has the debtor cast into 
prison, where he is to remain until he has paid the 
money. How every humane feeling must revolt against 31 
this conduct, is shown by the impresssion made upon 
the other servants, who, in sorrow at the sad fate of 



they were exceeding sorry, and came and told unto their lord 
all that was done. (32) Then his lord called him unto him, 
and saith to him, Thou wicked ^servant, I forgave thee all 
that debt, because thou besoughtest me : (38) shouldest not 
thou also have had mercy on thy fellow-servant, even as I 
had mercy on thee ? (34) And his lord was wroth, and de- 
livered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was 
due. (35) So shall also my heavenly Father do unto you, if 
ye forgive not every one his brother from your hearts. 

their fellow servant, report to their master everything 
32 that has occurred. The latter causes the first servant 
to be brought before him again and upbraids him on 
account of his wickedness, and points out to him in the 
plainest language that it was his duty to exercise to- 
wards others the mercy which he himself had experi- 

34 enced. Then, however, the wrath of the master bursts 
forth against him who has failed to do his duty. 
Now absolute justice is to take its course, and in this 
case with regard to him personally. To this end he is 
to be tortured on the rack and thus urged to pay his 
debts, no matter whether this be possible or not. Ex- 
actly in the same words in which his conduct towards 
his debtor is described, we are told that this torture 

35 shall continue, until he has paid everything. In this 
way Jesus Himself draws the lesson from this parable, 
that he who does not from his heart, i.e., as a matter of 
pure mercy, forgive as he has received forgiveness, that 
person will necessarily forfeit the forgiveness that he 
had secured and become subject to the decision of ab- 
solute justice. Here, first, the statement of vi. 14-15 is 
fixed in its meaning beyond any possibility of misinter- 
pretation. Not through his forgiving others is the dis- 
ciple to secure his own forgiveness ; for his becoming a 
disciple begins with this, that all his guilt has been for- 
given. But this remittance of guilt will be withdrawn ; 
if he will not consent to forgive in the same manner. 


JIA TTUE W [ XIX, 1-5 

^J^ And it came to pass when Jesus had llnished these 
words, he departed from Cxalilee. and came into tlie 
borders of Juda'a beyond tlie Jordan ; (2j and great multi- 
tudes followed liini ; and lie healed them there. 

(3) And there came unto him iPliai'isees, trying him, and 
saying, Is it lawful for a r,ian to put away his wife for every 
cause? (4) And he answered and said, Have ye not read, 
^tliat he who ^made iheni from the beginning made them 
male and female. (3) and said, ^ For this cause shall a man 

' Many authorities, some ancient, insert thn. "(ien. i. 37' : v, 2. 

".•^'inie ancient authorities read credtcd. *(ien. ii. '-4. 

The fourtli })art of the gospel of ^Matthew reports 1 
the events that happiMied on tlie way to Jerusalem. It 
begins by narrating how Jesus, after the discourses 
just recorded, left Galilee for the last time and went to 
Judea ; but not by the direct Avay through Samaria, but 
beyond the Jordan, or tlirough Perifa. There among 2 
a people in whose country He had not yet labored, 
Jesus resumed unreservedly His healing work. But 3 
here too the Pharisees, wlio had become His most pro- 
nounced enemies, canu^ tt) 1 1 im, to try i f they could in any- 
way entice Him to say a word on account of which they 
could lay charges Him ; and on this occasion they 
try to catch Him witli a question concerning divorce. 
It was known from the Sermon on the Blount that He 
rejected divorce altogether ; and as there was a school, 
that, on the basis of Dent. xxiv. 1, claimed that a man 
could dismiss his wife for any reason whatever, they 
brought such a case before Him for decision. Evidently 
they expected that He, in indignation on account of 
this laxness, would with eijual energy declare Himself 
against all divorce, so tliat tlicy could chai'ge Him with 
resistance to the Mosaic law. But Jesus sim])ly ap- 4 
pealed to the Scriptures, where tlie words were written, 
that God had created mankind in two .sexes (Gen. i. 
liT), and had directed them, as Jesus concltides from 
(tcu. ii. "24, by the fleslily union in marriage to remove 
this separation. If God has implanted in man this 5 



leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife ; and 
the two shall become one flesh? (6) So that they are no more 
two, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, 
let not man put asunder. (7) They say unto him, ^ Who then 
did Moses command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put 
her away ? (8) He saith unto them, Moses for your hardness 
of heart suffered you to put away your wives : but from the 
beginning it hath not been so. (9) And I say unto you, 
Whosoever shall put away his wife, "^ except for fornication, 
and shall marry another, committeth adultery: ^andhethat 
marrieth her when she is put away committeth adultery. 

» Dt. xxiv. 1^. 

'Some ancient authorities read saving for the cause of fornication, 
maketh her an adulteress ; as in ch. 5. 32. 

* The following words, to the end of the verse, are omittedby some 
ancient authorities. 

desire, which draws him away from father and mother 
to his wife, in order to become one flesh with her, then 
God has Himself established the marriage relation, 

7 which man for this reason dare not break. But, over 
against this, it was thought, that they could appeal to 
Deut. xxiv. 1, at which place Moses commands, that when 
a wife is dismissed, the husband shall give her a letter 
of divorcement ; from which the conclusion was drawn 
that divorce was something entirely consistent with the 

8 law. Jesus also acknowledges that Moses had allowed 
the dismissal of a wife, but expressly adds, that he did 
this only because on account of the hardness of their 
hearts ; an enforced living together of man and wife 
would lead to something worse than divorce. Originally 
it had not been so, since God had, as was shown by the 
story of creation, demanded that marriage should not be 

9 broken. He accordingly is only enforcing the original 
order of creation, when He declares that the remarriage 
of a man, who has dismissed his wife, is adultery, since 
the former marriage is still valid in the eye of God. 
Here, too, it is added, that if the woman is dismissed 
because she has committed adultery, then the husband 
does not break the bond by dismissing her, because she 


MATTHEW [XIX, 10-13 

(10) The disciples say unto him, If the case of the man is so 
with his wife, it is not expedient to marry. (11) But he said 
unto them, Not all men can receive this saying, but they to 
whom it is given. (12) For there are eunuchs, that were so 
born from their mother's womb : and there are eunuchs, that 
were made eunuchs by men : and there are eunuchs that made 
tliemselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He 
that is able to receive it, let him receive it. 

(13) Then were there brought unto him little children, that 

has already broken it. The disciples indeed think, that 10 
if this is the only gronnd of divorce, it would not be 
prudent to marry, in so far as a mistake in the selection 
of a wife could not be remedied by her dismissal. Jesus 11 
acknowledges that under certain circumstances it would 
not be prudent to marry, on the presupposition that 
this word is correctly understood, which is not given to 
all and is not to be found in the common utility ideas 
of the disciples, at the bottom of which there is nothing 
but their anxiety in view of the serious phases, which 
married life undoubtedly will bring with itself. In 12 
order to explain the sense in which this is so meant, 
lie distinguishes three kinds of eunuchs, i.e., those 
who as such are incapable of marriage. These are 
those who are such from birth ; again, those who were 
made such by castration ; but there is the third 
kind, namely, those who made themselves such, by ded- 
icating themselves with all their gifts and powers to 
the service of the kingdom of God. For such, indeed, 
it is not advisable to marry, because marriage always 
brings with it a multitude of duties and cares, which 
prevent them from devoting tliemselves entirely to this 
service. Everything depends upon the ability to un- 
derstand the word in this only correct sense. 

But at this time Jesus also was the recipient of a 13 
special mark of high esteem. They even brought small 
children to Ilira, and that, too, solely that with the 
11 161 


he should lay his hands on them, and pray : and the disciples 
rebuked them. (14) But Jesus said, Suffer the little children, 
and forbid them not, to come unto me : for ^ to such belongeth 
the kingdom of heaven. (15) And he laid his hands on them, 
and departed thence. 

(16) And behold, one came to him and said, ^ Teacher, what 
good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? (17) And 
he said unto him, ' Why askest thou me concerning that which 
is good ? One there is who is good : but if thou wouldest 

* Or, of such is. 

' Some ancient.authorities read Good Teacher. See Mk. 10. 17 ; Lk. 18. 18. 

* Some ancient authorities read Why callest thou me good t None is 
good save one even God. See Mk. 10. 18 ; Lk. 18. 19. 

laying on of hands He should pray over them. The lay- 
ing on of hands was to symbolize the bestowal of that 
which was requested. Here it was not bodily suffering 
that drove the parents to Jesus, but they hoped that the 
prayers of the mighty man of God would bring their 
children a blessing for their entire life. And this hope 

14 was not to be disappointed. For when the disciples 
attacked the parents, because they were uselessly 
troubling the Master, Jesus rebuked them. But when 
He bases this on the ground that the kingdom of God 
belongs to those who are like children in their helpless- 
ness and humility of heart, then those, themselves, who 
possess these qualities by nature, must be in a condi- 
tion to receive the spiritual blessings which are 

15 bestowed in the kingdom of God. In this case, then, it 
is perfectly right to briag the children to Him, for 
which reason Jesus did not depart from this region 
until He had fulfilled the wishes of the parents. 

16 The same high estimate of Jesus is shown by the 
rich young man, when he puts to the honored Master 
the question, what particular good he might do in order 

17 to be perfectly sure of having earned eternal life. 
Jesus in surprise asks him why he comes to Him with 
the question as to what is the good thing through which 
he could earn eternal life. God certainly is the absolute 


MATTHEW [XIX, 18-21 

enter into life, keep the commandments. (18) He saith unto 
liim. Which? Ami Jesus said, ^ Thou shalt not kill, Thou 
shiilt not cuinmit adultrv. Thou shalt not. steal. Thou shalt not 
l)ear false witness, (19) Honor thy fatlier and thy mother ; and, 
■ Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thN'self. (20) The yovmg 
man saith unto him, All these tilings have I observed : what 
lack I yet? (21) Jesus said unto him. If thou wouldestbe per- 
fect, go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and 
thoti shalt have treastu'e in heaven : and come, follow me. 

1 Ex. XX. 12-16; Dt. v. 16-20. = Lev. xix. 18. 

good, who accordingly tells lis in His commandments 
what that good is which He demands. But if he wanted 18 
to enter into eternal life, he need but keep these com- 
mandments. The 3'oung man, however, adhered to the 
idea, that there must be in the multitude of single com- 
mandments certain ones the fulfilment of which would 
be i)artieularly acceptable to God, so that this would 
secure for him eternal life. Jesus, however, simply re- 19 
fers him to the ten commandments, by adding to the four 
])rohil)itions of Ex. xx. lo-lG, with reference to the 
young man, only the one positive command of Ex. xx. 
12, and the comprehensive commandment to love our 
neighbors from Lev. xix. 18. The young man is con- 20 
vinced that he has kept all these conniiandments, but 
still has the feeling that he has not yet done enough, 
that he still lacked something in order to be certain of 
his salvation. Jesus recognizes this, since moral per- 21 
fection does not consist in the fulfilment of single 
commandments, but in the state of heart that is willing 
to sacrifice; anything tliat (iod demands of us, if eternal 
salvatit)n is the thing at stake. Therefore He puts him 
to the test liy which he is to prove himself. lie is told 
to sell his possessions and give the proceeds to the poor, 
in order then to enter the closer connnunion of Jesus' 
disci])les. If he desires nothing else upon earth than 
to partake of the salvation that is secured in the 
communion of Jesus, then he can be sure of eternal sal- 



(22) But when the young man heard the saying, he went 
away sorrowful ; for he was one that had great possessions. 

(23) And Jesus said unto his disciples, Verily I say unto 
you, it is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of 
heaven. (24) And again I say unto you, It is easier for a 
camel to go through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to 
enter into the kingdom of God. (25) And when the disciples 
heard it, they were astonished exceedingly, saying. Who 
then can be saved? (26) And Jesus looking upon them said 
to them. With men this is impossible.but with God ; all things 
are possible. 

vation. It is a treasure that is reserved for him in heaven 

22 and which he cannot lose. The young man, however, 
could not stand this test ; for he had many possessions, 
and the word of Jesus filled him with sorrow, because 
he was conscious of the fact, that he was not capable of 

23 making such a sacrifice. In view of this case Jesus re- 
minds His disciples, how hard it is for a rich man to 
enter into the kingdom of heaven, the possession of 
which He had held out to the young man providing he 
was willing to make the sacrifice demanded. It is the 
peculiarity of earthly possessions that they lead the 
heart captive, so that it cannot tear itself away from 
them, not even to attain the highest good. Yet, Jesus 

24 was compelled to say something more. For if that 
which at first glance seems to be an impossibility is yet 
easier than such an entrance, namely, that a camel with 
his high back can go through the smallest possible 

25 opening, such an entrance must really be an entire im- 
possibility. This word caused the disciples to be 
greatly astounded, because then no rich man could 
be delivered from the destruction that befalls every 
one that is excluded from the kingdom of heaven. 

26 Jesus acknowledges that this is not possible with men. 
But as everything is possible for God, He can through 
the workings of His grace even loosen the fetters with 


MA TTHE W [XIX, 27-30 

(27) Then answered Peter and said unto him, Lo, we have 
left all, and followed thee ; what then shall we have ? (28) 
And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, that ye who 
have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man 
shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve 
thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (29) And every 
one that hath left houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
mother, i or children, or lands, for my name's sake shall, re- 
ceive *a hundredfold, and shall inherit eternal life. (30) But 
many shall be last that are first ; and first that are last. 

* Many ancient authorities add or wife : as in Lk. 18. 29. 

* Some ancient authorities read manifold. 

which wealth has chained the hearts of men. This 
was the mistake of the rich young man, that he 
imagined that with his own powers he could do what 
was necessary to secure salvation. That this is not 
so Jesus had intended to demonstrate by the test with 
which He tried him. Not through his own achieve- 
ments, but by his longing for divine grace he was to 
try to secure his salvation. 

Referring to the young man who could not sell all that 27 
he had and follow Jesus, Peter points to the fact that 
he and his fellow disciples had in reality left all things 
in order to follow Jesus and asks what they are to re- 
ceive for this. Jesus then drew their attention to the 28 
fact, that in the future, when after the destruction of 
the old world, the world beyond, as one born anew, 
shall come forth, they shall share with Him His royal 
and judicial glory, as they, who have declared the mes- 
sage of redemption to the twelve tribes of Israel, shall 
also, in the sense of xii. 41-42, pronounce the judgment 
over them, demonstrating to them how culpable they 
were in that they had not accepted the proffered redemp- 
tion. But all others, too, who had been robbed of their 29 
possessions or had been cast out by their families, be- 
cause they had confessed that name with which they de- 
signate Him as the Messiah, shall for this receive a mani- 
30 fold return through the possession of eternal life. True, 



XX (1) For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that 
was a householder, who went out early in the morning 
to hire laborers into his vineyard. (3) And when he had 
agreed with the laborers for a ^ shilling a day, he sent them 
into his vineyard. (3) And he went out about the third hour, 
and saw others standing in the market place idle ; (4) and to 
them he said. Go ye also into the vineyard, and whatsoever is 
right I will give you. And they went their way. (5) Again 
he went out about the sixth and the ninth hour, and did like- 
wise. (6) And about the eleventh hour he went out, and 
found others standing ; and he saith unto them. Why stand 
ye here all the day idle ? (7) They say unto him, Because no 

' See marginal note on ch. 18. 28. 

many who are now first on account of their wealth will 
then be last, when they are denied this greatest of pos- 
sessions ; because they were not willing to give up their 
earthly goods for Jesus' sake ; and those, who here, be- 
cause they have given up everything, thus have be- 
come the last, shall be first, as they before all others 
will receive their share of the salvation in the perfected 
kingdom of God. The fact that He gives this promise 
to all true disciples without distinction, is shown by 

1 Jesus in the parable of the laborers in the vineyard. A 
householder went out early in the morning, to hire la- 

2 borers for his vineyard and agreed to pay them a de- 

3 narius (a shilling) as their day's wages. It is not stated 
that he was in sore distress for more workingmen ; 
but when at nine o'clock he again went to the market- 
place and still found some men standing there idle, he 
promised that if they would go to work in his vine- 

5 yard he would pay them what was right. He does the 

6 same at ten o'clock and at three. And even at five o'- 
clock, an hour at which he could not expect any longer 
to get much benefit from a workingman, he goes out 
and asks those whom he still finds without work, why 

7 they are standing there idle ? When he hears nobody 
has hired them, he sends them too into his vineyard, 


MA TTIIE W [ XX, 8-15 

man hath hired us. He saith unto them, Go ye also into the 
vineyard. (8) And wlien even was come, the lord of the 
vineyard saith unto liis steward, Call the laborers, and pay 
them their liire, beginning from the last unto the fii'st. (9) 
And when they came that xnere hired about the eleventh hour, 
they received every man a * shilling. (10) And when the first 
came, they supposed that they would receive more ; and they 
likewise received every man a ^shilling. (11) And when they 
received it, they murmured against tlie householder, (12) say- 
ing. These last have spent but one hour, and thou hast made 
them equal unto us, who have borne the burden of the day 
and the -scorching heat. (13) But he answered and said to 
one of them. Friend, I do thee no wrong : didst not thou agree 
with me for a i shilling ? (14) Take up that which is thine and 
go thy way ; it is my will to give unto this last even as unto 
thee. (15) Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine 

1 See marginal note on ch. 18. 28. ' Or, hot wind. 

\vdthout liaving made any agreement whatever as to 
their pay, as they naturall}" could ask but a small sum. 
But when in the evening the time came to pay the la- 8 
borers, the owner of tlie vineyard expressly instructs 
his steward to pay those hired last their wages first, so 
that the expectation, which would be raised by this 
order in those who had been hired first, would place 
into their right light the peculiar features of the pay- 
ment of wages upon which he had decided. For natu- 9 
rally these expected, since the others had already re- 
ceived each his denarius, in turn to get more; and they 10 
murmur when this does not take place, because they 
had labored so mucli more than the others and had yet 
received tlie same pay. 13ut the master addresses oiu* \?> 
of them, liecause earth oiu; is regarded as having said 
this for himself. H*; t(!lls him that he has nothing to 14 
complain of, since each liad received what he had bar- 
gained for, and as far as the free good- will of the mas- 15 
ter was concerned, who certainly has the right to con- 
trol his own property, he surely had no right to com- 
plain from pure jealousy. The parable accordingly 



own or is thine eye evil, because I am good ? (16) So the last 
shall be first, and the first last. 

(17) And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the 
twelve disciples apart, and on the way he said unto them, (18) 
Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the Son of man shall be 
1 delivered unto the chief priests and scribes ; and they shall 
condemn him to death, (19) and shall deliver him unto the 
G«ntiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify : and the 
third day he shall be raised up. 

(20) Then came to him the mother of the sons of Zebedee 

» See ch. 10. 4. 

teaches, that m the kingdom of God those called last shall 
be made equal to those called first, and vice versa, since 
the bestowal of wages is, exactly as is the case with the 
call, a matter of the free grace of the Lord and is not 
payment for any certain labors, whether this pay was 
promised or not. 

17 The Evangelist makes a note of the time when Jesus 
came from Persea over the Jordan, in order to begin the 
ascent proper to Jerusalem. On this way it was that 
He expressly took His disciples apart from the crowds 
that followed, and told them that with the ascent the 
fate that had been predicted concerning the Son of 

18 Man would begin. Now He tells them that the 
enemies into whose hands He would be delivered are 
the high priests, and His opponents of long standing, 
the Scribes, for which reason it is now expressly 

19 stated that these will condemn Him to death. Now, 
too, those into whose hands He will be delivered that 
the sentence of death should be executed, are expressly 
called heathens, because it can be expected only of 

20 these that they will ridicule His Messianic claims, and 
that they will inflict the terribly cruel Roman method 
of scourging and of crucifixion. It must have been 
the prediction of His resurrection on the third day, 
which here again is added, that awakened in the 
disciples, who did not understand these words, the 


MA TTHE W [XX, 21-24 

with her sons, * worshipping him, and asking a certain thing 
of him. (21) And he said unto her, What wouldest thou? 
She saith unto him. Command that these my two sons may sit, 
one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy king- 
dom. (22) But Jesus answered and said. Ye know not what 
ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I am about to 
drink ? They say unto him. We are able. (23) He saith unto 
them, My cup indeed ye shall drink : but to sit on my right 
hand, and on viy left hand, is not mine to give ; but it is for 
them for whom it hath been prepared of my Father. (24) And 

* See marginal note on ch. 2. 2. 

hope that all these predicted calumnies would in a 
very short time be followed by the ascent of the 
Messiah to His throne, as is seen from their con- 
versation about their respective seats of honor in the 
kingdom of the Messiah. This conversation can be 
understood only on the basis of John xix. 25, where 
we are told that the mother of the two sons of 
Zebedee, who were related to Jesus through His mother, 
and who accordingly could naturally get this idea, 21 
asked Him that the position of honor on the right 
and on the left be given to her sons in the Mes- 
sianic kingdom. Jesus, however, in His reply, ad- 
dresses the disciples direct. They know not what 22 
they are asking for, in so far as they do know that 
they can attain to this highest good only if they, like 
Himself, pass through the direst affliction, which He, 
drawing His image from Is. lii. 17, calls a cup that is 
given to them to drink. But when they declare that they 23 
are even willing to do this, Jesus tells them that this 
suffering will indeed come over them, but that the right 
to the highest position of honor they ask for is not yet 
thereby attained. To grant this is not His preroga- 
tive, because God has already decided the matter, who 
alone has this right. But to whom this is assigned has 
been clearly pointed out by Jesus in xvi. 18-19. But 24 
when the other ten disciples murmur that the two broth- 



when the ten heard it, they were moved with indignation 
concerning the two brethren. (25) But Jesus called them 
unto him, and said, Ye know that the rulers of the Grentiles 
lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over 
them. (26) Not so shall it be among you: but whosoever 
would become great among you shall be your ^ minister ; 
(27) and whosoever would be first among you shall be your 
2 servant : (28) even as the Son of man came not to be minis- 
tered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for 

' Or, servant. * Gr. bondservant. 

25 ers are striving for such high positions above them, 
Jesus directed their attention to the fact that it was in- 
deed the custom of earthly rulers and princes to use 

26 their power for trampling down and oppressing others. 
In their own communion, however, matters were entirely 

27 different. Here each one is to seek to be great only 
in order to serve all, and to be the first by becom- 
ing the servant of all, and giving up himself with all 
his possessions and powers for the benefit of others. 
Thus it will be when everything takes place as it 
should, in accordance with the spirit of this com- 
munion ; and for this reason these things should be 
thus. Therefore each one should try to surpass the 
other in such things ; but a different position of honor 
than that thus acquired does not exist in the kingdom 

28 for them. To illustrate this Jesus points to Himself 
as an example. It is not His calling that service 
should be rendered to Him, although the most unique 
among the children of men, but that He should serve 
all, and this service is to go even so far that He will 

give up His life for them But how thereby a service 
will be rendered to all is explained by Jesus in the 
statement that, because none of them is able to redeem 
his soul lost on account of sin, by offering a ransom 
that would buy the soul back (cf. xvi. 6), He will 
give His own soul (as the seat of His physical life) as 


MA T THE ^y [ XX, 29-34 

(29) And as they went out from Jericho, a great multitude 
followed him. (30) And behold, two blind men sitting by the 
way side, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried 
out, saying. Lord, have mercy on us, thou son of David. 
(81) And the multitude rebuked them, that they should hold 
their peace : but they cried out the more, saying, Lord, have 
mercy on us, thou son of David. (32) And Jesus stood still, 
and called them, and said, What will ye that I should do unto 
you? (33) They say unto him;, Lord, that our eyes maybe 
opened, (34) And Jesus, being moved with compassion, 
touched their eyes ; and straightway they received their sight, 
and followed him. 

such a ransom. Only His death, given as the vokm- 
tary sacrifice of love for mankind, will be so valuable 
before God that for this reason He A\-ill declare them 
free from the punishment they were to suffer. 

The Evangelist presupposes that Jericho was known 30 
as the last stopping place for the pilgrims on the way to 
Jerusalem, and closes His narrative of this journey with 
the story of the healing of the two blind men who are 
sitting at the gates as Jesus passes out. We are told 
that tAvo blind men sat there by the wayside, and hear- 
ing from the crowds that followed that Jesus was pass- 
ing, cried to Him, addressing Him as the Son of David, 
called to be king of Israel, whom they already rev- 
erence as the Lord, and appeal to Him for pity. The 31 
croAvd tries to force them to be silent, as they have 
already in mind to declare Him as king upon His entrance 
into Jerusalem, and they fear that a premature declara- 
tion of their purpose would hinder it. But this only 
causes them to cry out all the louder. Jesus stands 32 
still and calls them to Him and asks what they desire. 33 
From their answers He sees that they believe that 
they can be healed by Him. He accordingly heals them 34 
by touching their eyes, and after this they join the 
ranks of those who accompany Him. 



XXI -A-nd when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and came 
unto Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then Jesus 
sent two disciples, (2) saying unto them, Go into the village 
that is over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass 
tied, and a colt with her : loose them, and bring them unto me. 

(3) And if any one say aught unto you, ye shall say. The Lord 
hath need of them ; and straightway he will send them. 

(4) Now this is come to pass, that it might be fulfilled which 
was spoken through the prophet, saying, (5) * Tell ye the 
daughter of Zion, 

Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, 
Meek, and riding upon an ass, 
And upon a colt the foal of an ass. 

» Is. Ixii. 11 ; Zech. ix. 9. 

The fifth part of this gospel, which narrates the 
activity of Jesus in Jerusalem, begins with an account 

1 of His entrance into that city. That Jesus intended 
that it should be one of special solemnity, the Evange- 
list shows by drawing special attention to the fact, that 
Jesus, when He came toward Bethphage, near the Mount 
of Olives, sends two disciples into this village, which lies 
nearest to the city, in order to secure an animal upon 
which He can ride into the city. The disciples 

2 are told that they will find an ass there together 

3 with a colt tied : and if anybody should raise any ob- 
jection to their untying the animal to take it to Jesus, 
then the mere statement that the Lord had need of her 
would induce him to let them take her. Why Jesus, 
who seems now to be going to Jerusalem for the first 
time, can here, at the very gates of the city expect to 
find adherents so faithful, that they follow His every 
beck and nod, is made clear only from the accounts of 

4 the other Evangelists. For our Evangelist, it is only a 
matter of importance that in this way the fulfilment of 

5 the prophecy found in Zech. ix. 9, took place according to 
which, as he takes it, the Messiah is to enter the city 
not upon a war horse, but as the Prince of Peace, upon a 



(6) And the disciples went, and did even as Jesus appointed 
tliem, (7) and hrouglit tlie ass, and the colt, and put on them 
their garments ; and he sat thereon. (8) And the most part 
of the multitude spread tlieir garments in the way ; and others 
cut branches from the trees, and spread them in the way. 
(9) And the multitudes tliat went before him, and that 
followed, cried, saying. Hosanna to the son of David : Blessed 
is he that cometli in the name of the Lord ; Hosanna in the 
highest. (10) And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the 

colt the foal of an ass. For that reason too the dis- 6 
ciples must bring both animals to Him, and lay upon 7 
them their outer garments and then make them ready 
for Ilis use. That He rode upon the foal we know 
from the entire gospel tradition. Our Evangelist re- 
gards it of chief interest to emphasize that Jesus sat 
upon the animal thus prepared for His use. But this 
fact, as it ^^■ere, gave the signal for the exultation that 
now sets in among the people, proclaiming Him as the 
king. For, as before a, king, tliey s])read out their gar- 8 
ments on tlie way before Him who was to come (cf. 
Kings ix. 18) and strew over the way branches of 2 
trees that they had hewn down. With the hosannas 9 
of Ps. cxviii. U5-26, which petitions for the help of God 
for Him, who is approaching and amid the prayers for 
the divine blessing, Jesus is directly saluted as the 
Son of David, in the name, i. e., by the authority of God, 
who comes, to enter upon His government. In tlie final 
hosanna resounds distinctly the original sense of the 
word, according to wliieh He who is unthroned in heaven, 
who alone can do this, is asked to bring perfect salva- 
tion to Him that brings redemption. As Jesus thus in 10 
the midst of tlie cries of exultation on the part of the 
Galilean caravan, wliicli had l)een accompanying Him 
on tlie way, enters into the city, the whole population 
was greatly excited. Since, according to the idea of the 
Evangelist, Jesus comes to Jerusalem for the first time, 



city was stirred, saying, Who is this ? (11) And the multitudes 
said, This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee. 

(12) And Jesus entered into the temple ^of God, and cast 
out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and over- 
threw the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of 
them that sold the doves ; (13) and he saith unto them. It is 
written, ^My house shall be called a house of prayer : » but ye 
make it a den of robbers. (14) And the blind and the lame 

* Many ancient authorities omit of Ood. ' Is. Ivi. 7. 

• Jer. vii. 11. 

men ask : Who it is that is being received with such 

11 salutations ? Naturally it is only necessary to mention 
the name of Jesus of Nazareth of Galilee ; for that He 
was everywhere in that province revered as a prophet 
was universally known in Jerusalem, and Him now the 
people are greeting as the Messiah whom God has sent. 

12 The first thing that Jesus does by virtue of his royal 
prerogatives, is the cleansing of the temple. The Evan- 
gelist indicates, that He had for this very purpose gone 
at once on entering the city, to the temple, i. e., to the so 
called court of the Gentiles, where a regular market had 
been established, in order to facilitate the purchase of ar- 
ticles necessary for the sacrifices and to exchange the cur- 
rent money for old silver shekels, which had to be used 
as the payment of the temple dues. This abuse Jesus 
stops at once and entirely with a simple act of driving out 
those that bought and sold, and who desecrated the holy 
places ; doing this in order to show how culpable this 
market business was. He then overthrows the tables 

13 of the money changers and the chairs of those that were 
selling doves. In doing this He quotes Is Ivi. 7, accord- 
ing to which the temple was to be a house of prayer, 
which they had flagrantly desecrated, since, in accord- 
ance with Is. vii, through the deception and cheating that 
14 accompanied trading they had turned it into a den of 
thieves. And when further, He now begins to heal the 
blind and the lame, who were to be found in goodly num- 


MATTHEW [XXI, 15-18 

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 that were crying in the 
temple and saying, Hosanna to the son of David ; they were 
moved with indignation, (16) and said unto him, Hearest thou 
what these are saying ? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea : did 
ye never read, ^ Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou 
hast perfected praise ? (17) And he left them, and went forth 
out of the city to Bethany, and lodged there. 

(18) Now in the morning as he returned to the city, he 

1 Ps. viii. 2. 

bers here as elsewhere, He through these miracles 
worked by the power of God's grace that had appeared 
to Him, as it were, consecrates this desecrated house 
anew. His opponents indeed, see in these wonderful 
deeds only a new desecration of the temple, as they re- 
gard His healings as ordinary medicinal acts, by which 
He has also desecrated the sabbath. Naturally they are 15 
only all the more outraged by the fact that children now, 
as is the manner of children, repeat again in the temple 
the hosanna which they had heard when He entered 
the city. When they then ask Him, if He does not 
also hear that which He, if He actually does hear it, 
must stop as a desecration of the temple in the 
highest degree. He refers them to Ps. viii. 3, according 
to which even God has prepared His glory out of the 
mouths of the smallest of the small, just as the hosan- 
na cries were raised in the honor of Him, who had 
sent His Messiah. Then He shows how He despises 17 
them by simply leaving them and going out. He however 
not only leaves the temple, but, as in the meanwhile, it 
had become evening, He goes to Bethany, where He was 
accustomed to stay over night while attending the festi- 

Early on the following morning Jesus returns to the 18 
city, which He now made the real scene of His activity. 
As He was hungry. He looks around to see if He can 



hungered. (19) And seeing ^a fig tree by the way side, he 
came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only ; and 
he saith unto it, Let there be no fruit from thee henceforward 
for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away. 
(20) And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying. 
How did the fig tree immediately wither away ? (21) And 
Jesus answered and said unto them. Verily I say unto you, If 
ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do what is done 
to the fig tree, but even if ye shall say unto this mountain. 
Be thou taken up and cast into the sea, it shall be done. 
(22) And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believ- 
ing, ye shall receive. 

1 Or, a single. 

19 find something to eat. But He sees nothing but a single 
fig tree on the highway, and goes up to it and finds 
notliing on it except leaves, although in the case of fig 
trees the fruit comes before the leaves, and He accord- 
ingly had the right to expect fruit where there were 
leaves. He then pronounces the prediction concerning 
the tree, that it shall never again bear fruit. Already 
the old prophets sought to make their prophecies more 
emphatic by adding symbolical acts. Jesus sees in the 
fig tree, which had deceived Him by bearing leaves but 
not fruit, a picture of His people, which at His entrance 
had saluted Him with a semblance of faith, but yet 
could not prove faithful in His further labors in Jeru- 
salem. Therefore He warned the people by the example 
of the fig tree of the judgment that was inevitably ap- 

20 proaching. When the disciples, surprised at this, ask 

21 Him how this had been possible, He reminds them of 
what He had said in xvii, according to which a real faith 
that does not doubt, would be able not only to cause a fig 

22 tree to wither, but would remove mountains. For every- 
thing that they ask of God in prayer they shall also re- 
ceive, if only they ask surely confident of being heard. 
"With this He has answered the question of the disciples. 

He has prayed to God to show the disciples in the ex- 

JIA TTIIE W [ XXI, 23-25 

(23) And when he was come into the temple, the chief 
priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was 
teaching, and said, B}' what authuriry doest thou these things? 
and who gave thee this authority ? ('24) And Jesus answered, 
and said unto th^Mn. I also will ask you one i question, which 
if ye tell me, I likewise will tell j'ou by what authority I do 
these things. (25) The baptism of Jolin, whence was it? 

' Cir. icord. 

ample of the unfruitful fig tree the future fate of the 
people that refused to accept Ilim. lie has done so in 
the full assurance with which He had pronounced Ilis 
prediction concerning the fig tree, and God has heard 
Him. Ilis wonder-working hand has touched the tree, 
and it is withered, so that it shall never again bear any 

As soon as Jesus again appeared in the temple the 23 
leaders of the people came to Ilim in their official 
capacity, in which the Evangelist is accustomed to 
descrilje them as high priests and elders of the people, 
and came with a question as to Ilis authority. This 
question, as the Evangelist points out, has reference to 
His teacliing in the temple, and perliaps, also, to such 
actions as the cleansing of the temple. The issue 
at stake is first of all, wliat kind of an authority He 
claims, whetlier it Ije that of a prophet, or possibly 
even of a 3Iessiah ; and tlien, no matter how He may 
answer the first (piestion, \\\\o has given Him this 
authority? Jesus answers that He nmst first ask them 24 
a (luestion, and not before they have answered His, will 
He answer their question. It was clear, since He has 
only just now permitted Himself to be saluted as the 
^Messianic king, tliat He would claim Messianic author- 
ity, and that this had been given Him by God. But 25 
for this He was able to appeal over against the spiritual 
leaders of tlie people to the case of John the Baptist ; 
but before He did this, He must first know if they 
12 177 


from heaven or from men? And they reasoned with them 
selves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven ; he will say unto 
us. Why then did ye not believe him ? (26) But if we shall 
say, From men ; we fear the multitude ; for all hold John as a 
prophet. (27) And they answered Jesus, and said, We know 

would recognize the Baptist' s authority. Accordingly 
He puts to them the counter question, asking if the 
baptism of John came from heaven, and accordingly 
was a divine ordinance, or was it a merely human insti- 
tution. Only in this former case had John received 
his directions from heaven, and then, too, they would 
be compelled to accept his testimony concerning the 
Messianic character of Jesus. But if they pronounce 
for the heavenly source of John's baptism, then, too, 
the statements of the Baptist with reference to Him, 
who was to come after him, must have come by 
divine direction ; and yet they did not believe these 
words, or they must have recognized Him as the Mes- 

26 siah. But still less could they declare that John's bap- 
tism was of human origin for fear of the people, who 
believed that John was a prophet and that his baptism 
was accordingly of divine origin. They did not dare to 
antagonize the people on this subject, because all the 
power that the Romans had still left them they 
possessed on account of their influence over the people. 

27 They accordingly hid themselves behind the subter- 
fuge that they did not know ; and as they did not 
answer His question. He did not answer theirs. Nor 
could He do so in any hope of convincing them, unless 
they would state from which standpoint He could pro- 
ceed to do so. And, in addition, their lack of truthful- 
ness that became evident in their subterfuge, shows that 
they were not capable of receiving any answer. For in 
reality the seeming shrewdly devised ignorance was a 
manifest impossibility. If they did not dare to say a 


JA 1 T THE W [XXI, 2S-32 

not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what 
authority I do these things. (28) But what think ye? A 
man had two i sons ; and lie came to the first, and said, -Son, 
go worii; to-day in the vineyard. (29) And he answered and 
said, I will not: but afterward he repented himself, and went. 
(30) And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he 
answered and said, I go, sir : and went not. (31) Which of 
the two did the will of his father? They say. The first. 
Jesus saitli unto them. Verily I say unto you. that the ^ pub- 
licans and the harlots go into the ivingdom of God before j'ou. 
(32) For John came unto j'ou in the way of righteousness, 
and ye believed liim not ; but the ^ publicans and the harlots 
believed iiim : and ye, when ye saw it, did not even repent 
yourselves afterward, that ye might believe him. 

1 (4r. Children. ^ Gr. Child. 

^ See inarf,'inal note on eh. 5. -16. 

word agaiiLst the prophetic authority of the Baptist, 
this authority tlien, as lie liacl claimed it, would stand. 
And tlioii it was their duty to follow his direction.s, by 
.sutfering themselves to he l^aptized and to recognize 
Him who was to come after him. Therefore Jesus '28 
oifers the parable of the two dissimilar brothers. The 
one .isscnt(^d in a hy])0('ritical manner to tlie command 
of the r'atlier to work in the vin(^yard, but did not go; 
the other stubbornly refused oliedience, but afterwards 30 
rep;'nting of liis inihlial conduct went notwithstand- 
in^-. Wlii'u .Icsus afterwards asked of them to decide 
themselves, wliich one of these sons liad done tlie will 
of the fatlier. they naturally must reply, that it was 
the one who had been asked last. Jesus accordingly 
can draw the conehision tliat tliey nuist give prece- 
dence to ihc most ('(U'rupt class of men, to the publicans, 
and to the most degraded, such as the liarlots, in enter- 
ing the kingdom of (Jod, practically already the king- 
dom here upon earth, nnich more the kingdom above, 
without Jesus deciding thereby if such persons really 
became His followers. For .rohn came in the way 32 
of righteousness, in which lie not only taught the 



(33) Hear another parable : Tliere was a man that was a 
householder, who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it 
and digged a wine-press in it, and built a tower, and let it out 
to husbandmen, and went into another country. (34) And 
when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his ^servants 
to the husbandmen, to receive %is fruits. (35) And the hus- 
bandmen took his ^servants, and beat one, and killed another, 
and stoned another. (36) Again, he sent other ^servants moi-e 

* Gr. bondservants. * Or, the fruits of it. 

deeds demanded by God, but gave an example in 
doing them ; but they, who had all along pretended that 
they wanted to do the will of God and to teach others 
to do it, did not do so because they refused to believe 
what he declared to them to be the will of God. Those 
persons, however, who so far had always actually 
refused to do His will, now were really doing it, while 
the official leaders of the people, even when they saw 
this, were not influenced thereby to change their minds 
and to believe in Him. 

33 According to the account of our Evangelist, the fol- 
lowing parable of the Wicked Husbandman was spoken 
to the same hearers to whom the preceding was ad- 
dressed, only that it represents in still darker colors 
the guilt as well as the punishment of the heads of 
the people. The parable is founded on Is. v. 2, where 
the Theocracy of Israel is represented as a vineyard 
which God Himself has planted carefully, protected 
with a trench, and provided with a wine-press and 
a tower for watching it. But here we have the 
picture of an earthly master of a house, who does all of 
this, and because he is going into foreign lands, he en- 
trusts the care of his vineyard to husbandmen, who are 

34 to deliver to him the fruit thereof. And when the time 
for delivering the fruit came, he sent one servant after 

35 the other to receive it. But the men abuse and kill the 

36 servants, treating one more harshly than another. 


MA TTIIE W [XXI, 37-41 

than the first : and they did unto them in like manner. 
(37) But afterward he sent unto them his son, saying, They 
will reverence my son. (38) But the husbandmen, when tliey 
saw the son, said among themselves, This is the heir ; come, 
let us kill him, and take his inheritance. (39) And they took 
him, and cast him forth out of tlie vineyard, and killed liim. 
(40) When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what 
will he do unto those husbandmen? (41) They say unto him, 
He will miserably destroy those miserable men, and will let 
out tlie vineyard unto other husbandmen, who shall render 

And when the master sought to attain his object by 
.sending a large number of servants, they treated them 
in the same manner. So far the paraljle goes to show 
how God had at all times, and with increasing earnest- 
ness, sent, through the prophets, to demand back of this 
people and of their leaders, the fulfilment of their 
promised duties ; but this had only brought with it the 
abuse or the murder of His messengers But now the 37 
parable changes into a transparent allegory ; for in 
reality the husbandmen cannot actually have conceived 
the iilea of appropriating the vineyard to themselves 
])}" murdering the iieir, whom the Father has sent in the 
hope that they would drop tlie rebellion and tlieir 
(lisobedi(ince in the presence of the Son. Tn the alle- 38 
gory it is liere most plainly pictured how God seeks to 
attain that which He had failed to secure througli Ilis 
prophets, by sending Ilis Son, who, as the Messiah, is to 
assume tiie government of the Theocracy, but how the 
present heads of tlie i)eoi)le, in order to n^tain their 
supremacy, slay tlie .Messiah, and that, too, '' outside of 
the gate" (cf. Ileb. xiii. 0). Jesus, as was done in the 
preceding i)arable, has tlu; leaders of the people to pro- 
nounce tlie judgment upon themselves, according to 
which the master of tlu! vineyard, wlien he finally re- 40 
turns himself, will surely slay these evil-doers most 
ignominious ly, and will give his vineyard to otliers, 



him the fruits in their seasons. (42) Jesus saith unto them, 
Did ye never read in the scriptures, 

iThe stone which the builders rejected, 

The same was made the head of the comer ; 

This was from the Lord, 

And it is marvellous in our eyes ? 
(43) Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be 
taken away from you, and shall be given to a nation bringing 
forth the fruits thereof. (44) ^And he that falleth on this stone 

* Ps. cxviii. 22 f. *Some ancient authorities omit ver. xliv. 

42 who will deliver its fruit in the proper season. Only 
one point Jesus corrects in their answer. Not to other 
vineyardmen, but to the Messiah Himself, God will 
give the vineyard of the Theocracy, since, in Ps. cxviii. 
12, He has already represented Him as the stone which 
the builders have cast aside, but which God in a 
miraculous manner had made the head of the corner for 
the new Theocracy. And when the conclusion is 
drawn that this is to be taken away from the hearers, 
we see in the contrast that is thereby implied stUl 
more plainly the other interpretation of the parable, 
which is entirely in harmony with Is. v. 2 (cf. v. 33). 

43 It is the people of Israel themselves from whom the 
kingdom of God, which has been realized in the Old 
Testament Theocracy in a typical form, but of which 
they have made themselves unworthy by their conduct 
with regard to the Son, is to be taken away in order to 
be given to a people selected from the Gentiles, who 
will bring forth its fruits, i. e., will fulfil the duties de- 
manded by the kingdom of God. And, concerning the 
children of Israel, it is now said that not only the sal- 
vation intended for them through the Messiah will be 
taken away from them, but that the Messiah, rejected 

44 by them, will now bring destruction upon them. That 
stone, which is the head of the corner, has become a 
rock of offense, and whosoever falls upon it will be 
crushed, and he upon whom it falls as a judgment will 


31 A TTIIE W [ XXII, 1-4 

shall be broken to pieces : but on whomsoever it shall fall, it 
will scatter him as dust. (45) And when the chief priests and 
the Pharisees heard his parables, they perceived that he spake 
of them. (46) And when they sought to lay hold on him, 
they feared the multitudes, because they took him for a 

X^J J And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto 
them, saying, (2) The kingdom of heaven is likened 
unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 
(8) and sent forth his ^servants to call them that were bidden 
to the marriage feast : and they would not come. (4) Again 

1 Gr. bondservants. 

be completely demolished as by a mighty rock, so that 
the pieces are scattered around. The Evangelist re- 45 
marks that the leaders of the people are the chief op- 
ponents of Jesus. The Pharisees understood very well 
that these parables applied to them, but they did not 
touch Him for fear of the masses, who, even if they did 
not attain to a faith in Ilini as the promised Messiah, 
yet still looked upon Ilim as a prophet. 

In reference to their hostile plans, Jesus began once 1 
more to speak to them in parables ; and now comes the 
parable of the Marriage Feast and Slighted Invita- 
tion. This parable, too, is based on actual events which 
had already taken place in connection with the estab- 
lishment of the kingdom of God by Jesus. The pecu- 
liarity of the parable,however, is this, that this establish- 
ment is represented as an invitation to a festal meal, in- 
asmuch as Jesus came for the purpose of offering the sal- 
vation He has brought to mankind. In this picture of 2 
a human king, who prepares a wedding feast for his son, 
is an allusion to the fact, that in the perfected kingdom 
of God the Messiali celebrates His most intimate union 
with His congregation. The parable itself presupposes 3 
that those who had before this been invited to the feast, 
now that the hour for the celebration has come, are 
asked to appear at the same, and when they refuse to 
come are, through other servants, admonished still more 4 



he sent forth other ^servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden 
Behold, I have made ready my dinner ; my oxen and my 
failings are killed, and all things are ready : come to the mar- 
riage feast. (5) But they made light of it, and went their 
ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise ; 
(6) and the rest laid hold on his ^servants, and treated them 
shamefully, and killed them. (7) But the king was wroth ; 

* Gr. bondaervanta. 

urgently, being reminded that all things are ready to 
begin the festival with the early meal. Here already 
the allegorical character of the parable is unmistakable. 
Those who were originally invited are the people of 
Israel, for whom the salvation of the kingdom of the 
Messiah is intended. The servants of the first invita- 
tion are the prophets, who in vain appealed to the 
people to prepare themselves for the coming salvation. 
The servants of the second invitation are John and 
Jesus, who announce that the kingdom is near at hand, 
and appeal to the people to accept the salvation already 

5 offered in Jesus. On the other hand, the real funda- 
mental thought of the parable, as it is set forth in sim- 
plicity and clearness, is this, that those who are invited 
despise the invitation they have received, because their 
possessions and their business are esteemed by them 
more highly than the feast offered to them. Their 
guilt is indeed aggravated by the fact that it is the 

6 marriage feast of the king's son which they despise. 
But quite inconsistent with the picture proper is this 
feature, that some of those invited abuse the servants and 

7 slay them, and for this reason are attacked by the king's 
army and destroyed together with their city. Here the 
object is only to give a figurative representation of the 
guilt which the heads of the people have brought upon 
themselves by putting Jesus to death, as their prede- 
cessors did by slaying the prophets, and of the t€rrible 
punishments which the Roman army will inflict when 


MA TTHE W [ XXII, 8-12 

and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and 
burned their city. (8) Then saith he to his ^servants, The 
wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. 
(9) Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as 
many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast. (10) And 
those Servants went out into the highways, and gathered to- 
gether alias many as they found, both bad and good : and the 
wedding was filled with guests. (11) But when the king 
came in to behold the guests, he saw there a man who had not 
on a wedding-garment : (13) and he saith unto him, Friend, 

1 Gr. hofndservants. 

they shall burn down Jerusalem. Notwithstanding 
this, it appears clearly in the second part of the parable 
that this is not directed solely against the heads of the 
people. For here the idea is that, when those first 8 
invited had proved themselves unworthy of the salva- 
tion intended for them, by despising the same as of less 
importance than their earthly interests, others must 
then be invited. And if those first invited were the 9 
Jews, then those called from the crossroads, where 
different roads meet and business intercourse is most 
active, are the Gentiles. In this way Jesus early pre- 
dicted to His people that the salvation they have 
despised will be offered to the heathen. Now any one 10 
can come in who will ; and they will come, and the 
royal wedding hall will be entirely filled. But by this 11 
it is not meant that the king will forego the right of 
examining his guests to see if they are suitable for the 
banquet hall. Suddenly he appears in their midst and 12 
finds one who is not properly attired for the feast. Of 
course this one is but given as an example of what is 
true of every one like him ; for it had been expressly 
stated before that good and bad had crowded into the 
banquet hall. But the only ornament that the king de- 
mands is the righteousness of the kingdom of God 
Whoever will not permit this to be realized in his heart 
cannot participate m the blessedness of the kingdom 



how earnest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment ? 
And he was speechless. (13) Then the Iring said to the ^ser- 
vants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast him out into the 
outer darkness ; there shall be the weeping and tlie gnashing 
of teeth. (14) For many are called, but few chosen. 

(15) Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they 
might ensnare him in Ms talk. (16) And they send to him 

* Or, minister. 

12 above. The fact that this one, upon whom the king 
missed the wedding garment, is silent, is proof that he 
has no excuse to offer. In the kingdom of God upon 
earth, the possibility is offered to everyone to become 
worthy of its consummation. But whosoever has not 
become worthy, must not think that he can in this or 
that way by stealth find his way into the kingdom. 

13 The king knows how to hinder this, and directs his 
servants waiting at table to bind the unworthy one, 
and to cast him out into the dai-kness, which here, as 
always, represents eternal condemnation. On this oc- 

14 casion the interpretation of the parable appears as a 
reason for the conduct of the king, and here it becomes 
perfectly clear that the one unworthy man only repre- 
sents a whole class. Many are called for the salvation 
of the kingdom of God, but the perfection of the king- 
dom is not for those who esteem earthly possessions 
higher than the heavenly, nor for those who think they 
can partake of this perfection beyond without proper 
moral endeavor on their side, such as Jesus had come 
to realize in the kingdom of God. There are always 
only a few left. 

15 At this time when the heads of the people were per- 
plexed as to how they could lay hold of Jesus, the 
Pharisees among them went to work independently and 
took council, how they could put a question to Him, in 

16 answering which He could be ensnared. For this pur- 
pose the tribute question was splendidly adapted. For 



their disciples, with the Herodians, saying, Teacher, we know 
that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, and 
carest not for any one : for thou regardest not the person of 
men. (17) Tell us therefore. What thinkest thou? Is it law- 

all the strict adherents of the Theocracy were firm in the 
conviction that God was the only king of Israel, and 
that therefore they were not to pay tribute to any 
earthly ruler. Since Judea had become a part of the 
Roman province of Syria, the Jews were of course 
compelled to pay taxes to the Emperor. They could 
indeed pay them under the compulsion of the foreign 
rule, but they would never acknowledge that this was 
justifiable. Now, it was thought that certainly Jesus, 
who on all occasions defended the cause of God, would 
most energetically deny all justification of this payment, 
and then they could charge Him with being a rebel 
against the Roman government. For this reason they 
selected several well-known members of the Pharisaic 
party and several members of the party that upheld the 
claims of the Herodian princes, because they thought 
that in the presence of the strict adherents of the 
Theocracy and of the adherents of the national royal 
house, He would not hesitate to risk a distinct utter- 
ance against the rights of the Roman supremacy. In 
order to encourage Him in doing so they address 
Him with flattering words acknowledging His absolute 
truthfulness, which always had the courage to speak its 
thoughts. In this way they pretended that they were 
convinced that He was in truth teaching the way which 
one must go in accordance with the will of God, and in 
doing so feared no man. It is accordingly thought that 
no consideration for the outward standing of a person, 
such as fear of the Roman government, will prevent 
Him from openly speaking the truth. Accordingly He 17 
can then openly answer their question, which at that 



ful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not ? (18) But Jesus per- 
ceived their wickedness, and said. Why make ye trial of me, 
Ye hypocrites ? (19) Show me the tribute money. And they 
brought unto him a ^ denarius. (20) And he saith unto them, 
Whose is this image and superscription? (21) They say unto 
him, Caesar's. Then he saith unto them, Render therefore 
unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's ; and unto God the 

^ See marginal note on ch. 18. 28. 

time was moving the hearts of the most pious, namely, 
whether it was consistent with the divine right, which 
alone prevailed in Israel, that they should pay tribute 

18 to the Roman Emperor. Jesus, of course, sees through 
the malicious purpose of their question and calls them 
hypocrites, because they act as though they were con- 
cerned about getting an answer to a question of con- 
science, while in reality they only wanted Him to give 
an answer that would destroy Him. He asks them 
how they have come to put Him to a test, if He 
would declare Himself in favor of a Jewish revolution, 
since He had never in the least given them reason to 
think that He in any way would attack the existing 

19 civil order. Then He asks them to show Him the coin, 
which had to be used in the payment of tribute, and 
has them confirm that this coin bears the picture and 

20 the name of the Emperor. The currency of this coin 
shows, that the imperial government existed as a matter 
of fact and was recognized as such ; and the impress 
showed, that in using the coin for the payment of taxes, 
they were really only returning to the Emperor what 
was his. From this the conclusion is drawn, that we 
are obligated to render everything to the Emperor which 
he as ruler of the country has a right to demand. But 
Jesus, in connecting with this the duty of rendering 
also the things to God that are demanded by Him, in- 

21 dicates that there is no conflict between the two. What 
we are to render to God no Emperor has a right to de- 


MATTII£:W [XXII, 22-25 

things that are God's. (22) And when they heard it, they 
marvalled, and left him, and went away. 

(23) On that day there came to him Sadducees, ^they that 
say that there is no resurrection : and they asked him, (24) 
saying, Teacher, Moses said, ^ If a man die, having no children, 
his brother ^ shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his 
brother. (25) Now there were with us seven brethren : and 

* Many ancient authorities read saying. ' Dt. xxv. 5. 

* Qr. shall perform the duty of a husbancfs brother to his wife. 

mand and this cannot interfere with the fulfilment of 
the duties of a subject. Tliis was indeed the most pro- 
nounced denial of the right of rebellion on the part of 
the Jews, and thereby the plans of the opponents were 
thwarted ; but Jesus knew also that He thereby was 
completely disappointing the hopes of the Jews that 
were yet centered on Him. The Pharisees, however, 22 
who were amazed at His answer, had to acknowledge 
that they were defeated, and they retired. 

Because in the older narrative the tribute question 23 
was immediately followed by the discussion with the 
Sadducees, the Evangelist remarks that this took place 
on that same day. Since the denial of the resurrection 
was the chief distinguishing doctrine of the Sadducees, 
they brought this subject to the attention of Jesus whom 
they, although perhaps only seemingly, acknowledged 
as an authority, and asked Him a question, which they 
thought could not possibly be answered on the presup- 
position of a resurrection. They no doubt had with this 
question often perplexed their opponents, and hoped 
thereby too to prove that this famous teacher would 
also be unable to reply. They proceed from the express 24 
demand of the Mosaic law (cf. Deut. xxv. 5-7,) in refer- 
ence to the marriage of the widow of a deceased 
brother, according to which, if a man dies without chil- 
dren, his brother is compelled to marry the widow, so 
that through him the family may be continued. They 25 
now claim that the case had occurred of seven brothers 



the first married and deceased, and having no seed left his 
wife \into his brother ; (26) in like manner the second also, 
and the third, unto the ^ seventh. (27) And after them all, 
the woman died. (28) In the resurrection therefore whose 
wife shall she be of the seven ? for they all had her. (29) But 
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing 
" the scriptures, nor the power of God. (30) For in the resur- 
rection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are 
as angels * in heaven. 

(31) But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye 
not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, (32) 
' I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 

^ Gr. seven. * Many ancient authorities add of God. * Ex. iii. 6. 

one after the other of which had taken the widow of his 
next older deceased brother to wife, in accordance with 
the demands of the law. On this presupposition, then, 
in the resurrection the problem, incapable of solution, 
would arise, whose wife she would be, since all had the 

29 same right to claim her. Jesus claims that notwith- 
standing this their denial of the resurrection was an 
error, and that the difficulty which they had made so 
prominent only shows, that they do not understand the 
Scriptures, which really teach the resurrection of the 
dead, nor the omnipotence of God, who would be able 
to create a new order of things in heaven differing from 

30 that on earth. For their question proceeds from the 
presupposition that the resurrection of the dead is only 
a restoration of the arrangements on earth, although in 
reality it is an exaltation into an angelic, heavenly life, 
in which the ordinary conditions of this earthly life and 
the distinctions of sex shall cease ; and for this reason 

31 marriage itself will be no more. But to prove the resur- 
rection of the dead, Jesus refers to a clear statement 

32 of God's word. For when God, in Ex. iii. 6, calls Him- 
self the God of the Patriarchs, because He had entered 
into personal relations to them, and did this long after 
they had passed out of the life of this earth, and since 
He cannot enter into such relations with the dead but 



God of Jacob ? God is not the God of the dead, but of the liv- 
ing. (33) And wlien the multitudes heard it, they were as- 
tonislied at his teaching. 

(34) But tlie Pharisees, when they heard that he had put 
tlie Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. 
(3o) And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question, trying 
liim : (3')) Teacher, which is the great commandment in the 
law? (37) And he said unto him. ^Thou shalt love the Lord 
thy (jod with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all 
thy mind. (3S) This is tlie great and first commandment. 

' Dt. vi. 5. 

only with the living, then certainly these men must have 
eome forth from death again into a real life, so that He 
can continue this relation with them. This naturally 33 
could not liut ciitisi' amazement among the many at the 
teacliing of .h-siis, fnr tliey had all along been tatight by 
the Pharisees to expect a restoration of earthly con- 

Only after llieir opponents had been defeated could 34 
the Pharisees not resist the temptation to attack Jesus 
again, in order on their part, to demonstrate to the people 
tliat lie was grossly ignorant. Therefore, in order to 
enjoy tlie victory they so conlidently expect to win, they 
C(Mue in large numbeis, and send a lawyer from their 35 
party to Ilim, wlio in a hy[)ocritieal manner addresses 36 
Ilitn as Master, ami lays liefore Him the famous conten- 
tion concerning the charaeteristic by which a great com- 
mandment eould b.' disiinguislied from a lesser. They 
felt sure that tliey would have in hand some kind of 
an ol)jeetion by wliieh they could show that the feature 
He woulil ineiition could be shown not to apply in every ; for wliieh reason the ({Uestion is called one by 
whicli they make a test of His abilities as a teacher. 
But Jesus simply refei-s to Dcmt. vi. 5, where it is de- 37 
manded, that the love of (iod shall till our whole life on 
earth. That this is the great commandment as such, 38 



(39) ^And a second like unto it is this ^ Thou shalt love thy 
neighbor as thyself. (40) On these two commandments the 
whole law hangeth, and the prophets. 

(41) Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus 
asked them a question, (42) saying, What think ye of the 
Christ ? whose son is he ? They say unto him. The son of 
David. (43) He saith unto them, How then doth David in the 
Spirit call him Lord, saying. 

(44) 3The Lord said unto my Lord, 
Sit thou on my right hand, 

Till I put thine enemies underneath thy feet ? 

(45) If David tlien calleth him Lord, how is he his son ? 

* Or, And a second is like unto it. Thou shalt love etc. * Lev. xix. 18. 

* Ps. ex. 1. 

and for that reason, the most important, does not require 
any proof, since by virtue of its all comprehensive con- 
tents and its position in the connection of Deut. vi., it is 

39 such. But this does not exclude, that the same can be 
said of another commandment, that it is equally promi- 

40 nent, namely. Lev. xix. 18. These two are not to be called 
great commandments for any fanciful reasons, but for 
the simple fact, that the entire revelation of the will of 
God hinges on them, since all of His commandments 
are contained in the love to God or love to the neighbor. 

41 As Jesus sees His opponents gathered around Him in 
such large numbers. He makes use of the opportunity 
to convict them of their shortsightedness in theological 
matters. By His counter question concerning the 
character of the Messiah, He induces them to state the 
current Jewish doctrine, that the Messiah is a descen- 
dent of David, but after He has ascended the throne of 

43 His father, shall fully unfold His nature. In reply to 
this Jesus refers to Ps. ex., which has all along been re- 

44 garded as the production of David and as Messianic. 
Here David, by the power of the Holy Spirit, appeals to 
the Messiah to ascend His throne, and in doing so calls 

45 Him his Lord. It certainly is impossible, that He whom 
he calls his Lord could be his son. Naturally Jesus finds 



(46) And no one was able to answer him a word, neither durst 
any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. 
X^IJ J Tlien spake Jesus to the multitudes and to his dis- 
ciples, (2) saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit 
on Moses' seat : (3) all things therefore whatsoever they bid 

the solution in tliis, that David does not call Ilim his 
o^^•n son, hut the Son of God who lias heen chosen to bo 
the Messianic Ruler of the world (cf Ps. ii. 7). But the 
Jewish people of those times, who always presupposed 
that J(>sus could only become the Messiah by ascending 
His earthly throne, had naturally no answer to this 
question ; and it was tlie purpose of Jesus once for 
all to malvo this clear, in order to cut off for good the 
objections to Ilim arising from this position. After 46 
their soc-ond defeat no one any longer dared to annoy 
Jesus with controversial questions, and thus this day 
became a day of victory for Jesus. 

After Jesus had in this way compelled all of His oppo- 1 
nents to ]<;e(;p silence, H(; now {jroceeds, in the presence 
of the multitude that surrounded Him and of His disci- 
ples, unsparing'ly to ex])ose the character of their pres- 
ent leaders. 'J'his terrible arraiginnent was the last 
attemi)t on His |)art to deliver the people from these 
men who only too soon were able to lead the people 
into coiimiitlitig a horrible deed of blood. l>ut even in 2 
this hour He is eai'eful to avoid all appearance of 
being ;in innovator, wlio indiscriminately casts aside 
the ti'aditional teaehings. In so far as tlie Scribes, 
as it were, occupy tlu! seal of .Moses, i. e., merely inter- 
pret his law, and in so far as tlu^ Pharisees merely 
insist upon its sti'ict oiiservance, Ih' has no objections 
to tliem; but their own ordinances, which they put on 3 
an e([uality with those of (Jud, are emphatically rejected 
by Jesus (ef. xv. IH). Put t'verything that they say 
in the former capacity, tlu; piiople shall do and con- 
V6 193 


you, these do and observe : but do not ye after their works ; 
for they say, and do not. (4) Yea, they bind heavy burdens 
*and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; 
but they themselves will not move them with their finger. 
(5) But all their works they do to be seen of men : for they make 
broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their gar- 

* Many ancient authorities omit and grievous to be home. 

stantly adhere to. But they shall not be guided by 
their deeds, since they do not themselves follow the 
law for which they show such hypocritical zeal. Jesus 
had raised the same accusations against them in vii. 3, 
4, XV. 3, 6, and the next discourse will furnish us fur- 

4 ther examples of how this is meant. One point, how- 
ever, He must condemn, is their teaching of the law. 
Through the manner in which they enlarge the law, 
they apply it to all the minute details of life, for which 
the law is not at all intended, so that they make the 
fulfilment of the law a heavy and scarcely tolerable 
burden. If a person is thus conscious of the fact that 
at every step he is in danger of transgression, he will 
always be filled with dire anxiety ; or, as a perfect ful- 
filment is an impossibility, finally a spiritual indiffer- 
ence will result. To this must be added, that the bur- 
dens which they thus load upon men, they do not even 
with a finger try to put into motion, i. e., do not make 
the least effort to help people to carry them, or to show 
them how those commandments are to be fulfilled. 

6 Their own fulfilment of the law, which they intend 
shall be an example to others, is, on the contrary, hyp- 
ocritical, and at all times has only the purpose of 
attracting the notice of men. For this reason they 
make those parchment strips upon which the passages 
of the law are written and which are bound to the 
forehead and on the arras, so that they may have them 
constantly before their eyes and in their hearts, so 
broad, in order to show how careful they are to think 


merits, (6) and love the chief place at feasts, and the chief 
seats in the synagogues, (7) and the salutations in the market- 
places, and to be called of men. Rabbi. But be not ye called 
Rabbi : for one is your teacher, and all ye are brethren. 
(9) And call no man your father on the earth : for one is 
your Father, ^even he who is in heaven. (10) Neither be 
ye called masters : for one is your master, even the Christ. 
(11) But he that is ^greatest among you shall be your 
^servant. (12) And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be 

* Gr. the heavenly. ' Gr. greater. * Or, minister. 

of the fulfilment of the law; for this reason they 
make the border of their garments, which are to 
remind them of God's law (cf. ix. 20), so large, in order 
to make a parade of their fidelity to the law. For this 6 
reason, too, they always demand to be honored and 
recognized as models of piety, and they are fond of 
occupying the first places at feasts and to occupy the 
seats of honor in the synagogue, and to be respectfully 
saluted in the public places and addressed with the 
honorable title of Rabbi. In this connection Jesus 8 
takes occasion to warn His disciples against this ambi- 
tion for titles. It is, of course, only His method of 
illustrating such general admonitions by concrete exam- 
ples, if He commands them not to permit themselves to 
be called Rabbi, because in contradistmction to their one 
Teacher they are all brethren. This leads Him to speak 9 
of the title of distinction, viz.. Father, by which the 
Rabbis loved to be addressed. This title, too. He for- 
bids them to apply to men, because this distinction 
really belongs only to their heavenly Father, and He 
finally extends this prohibition to the Greek title of 
leader in instruction. "What lies at the bottom of this 
warning is really only the principle which Jesus had 
already inculcated in xx. 26, 27. Each of His disciples 11 
must find his greatness only in service. The greater 12 
in rank and dignity among them is at all events only 
he who surpasses the others in service. But he who 



humbled ; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be 

(13) But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! 
because ye shut the kingdom of heaven ^ against men : for ye 
enter not in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are enter- 
ing in to enter. 2 

(15) "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for 
ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte ; and when he 

1 6r. before. 

• Some authorities insert here, or after ver. 12, ver. 14. Woe unto you, 
scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye devour widows' houses, even while 
for a pretense ye make long prayers : therefore ye shall receive greater 
condemnation. See Mk. 12. 40 ; Lh. 20.47. 

is seeking honor or in any other selfish purpose 
exalts himself above the others, will one day be humili- 
ated by God, who will deny him the highest honor, 
that of being a true disciple of Jesus. On the con- 
trary, however, he who in service humbles himself, 
because no service which he can render to others is too 
mean for him, will be raised to the highest honor in the 
judgment of God. 

13 Jesus having entered upon the attack on His opponents 
hurls against them His Woes. The Evangelist reports 
that they were directed against the Pharisees and the 
Scribes without distinction, both of whom Jesus brands 
as hypocrites. The subject-matter itself of the first 
three pertains directly to the Scribes. For they were 
those who through their purely external interpretation 
of the law made it apparently impossible for men to 
fulfil the law and to merit the pleasure of God. 
Further they needed no salvation and no Saviour, and 
for this reason heaven was closed to them and would 
remain so. Those false teachers, who imagined that they 
possessed salvation in the very fact that they studied 
the law, would not enter the kingdom ; but the fact that 
they through their deception prevented those from enter- 
ing who were preparing to take this step, was their most 
grevious sin, and this they committed every day in trying 

15 to make the people distrust Jesus. When Luther, on 



is become so, ye make him twofold more a son of ^ hell than 

(16) Woe unto you, ye blind guides, that say, Wliosoever 
shall swear by the ^ temple, it is nothing ; but whosoever shall 
swear by the gold of the* temple, he is 'a debtor. (17) Ye 
fools and blind : for which is greater, the gold, or the * temple 
that hath sanctified the gold ? (18) And, Whosoever shall 
swear by the altar, it is nothing ; but whosoever shall swear 
by the gift that is upon it, he is* a debtor. (19) Ye blind: 
for which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the 
gift ? (20) He therefore that sweareth by the altar, sweareth 

* Qr. Oehenna. ' Or, sancttiary: as in ver. 35. * Or, bound by his oath. 

the basis of later copyists, inserts as v. 14, the woe 
taken from Mark xii. 40, it appears clearly that this 
breaks the connection with the following woe, where it 
again is the Scribes who undertake long journeys in 
order to make a single convert, although in reality they 
have only the one purpose of extending the supremacy of 
their power. But experience shows, that such proselytes, 
on account of the sacrifices that they make in accepting 
the new doctrines, only become fanatics with double zeal 
for their faith, and hence to a twofold degree are more de- 
serving of hell than their teachers. In a direct way the 
third woe mentions those leaders of the people who are 
themselves blind and do not know the way. This Jesus 
demonstrates by their senseless teaching concerning the 
oath, by which they undermine all conscientiousness and 
thereby the foundation of all religious life. When they 
teach that not the oath by the temple or the altar is bind- 
ing, but only that by the temple gold and the sacrifice on 
the altar this, doubtless, was the most extreme foolish- 
ness, since this gold and this sacrifice derived their sacred 
character, on account of which it was possible to swear 
by them, solely from the temple and from the altar, 
which assuredly were more than they. Indeed swear- 20 
ing by the altar includes swearing by the sacrifice, 
which only by the former is dedicated as the property 



by it, and by all things thereon. (21) And he that sweareth 
by the * temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth 
therein. (22) And he that sweareth by the heaven, sweareth 
by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon. 

(23) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for 
ye tithe mint and ^ anise and cummin, and have left undone 
the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith : 
but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the 
other undone. (24) Ye blind guides, that strain out the gnat, 
and swallow the camel ! 

(25) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites 1 for 

* Or, sanctuary : as in ver. 35. ' Or, dill. 

of God, whom every one who takes an oath should regard 
as present, as the oath by the temple includes the oath 
by God Himself, who dwells in the temple. Jesus had 
already shown, in the Sermon on the Mount, that the oath 
by the heavens always included the oath by God Him- 
self, who sits enthroned there (v. 34), so that all distinc- 
tion between different formulas of oath and of the 

23 degrees of obligation is absolute folly. Then follow 
three woes which in their contents are directed against 
the Pharisees. For they are those who by their zeal for 
the fulfilment of the law purpose to prove that they 
pay their tenth even on the most insignificant garden 
plants, but the more heavy things that the law de- 
mands, such as the practice of justice in the courts, 

24 mercy and faithfulness, they entirely ignore. Jesus, 
too, has no objection to the most rigid observance of 
the law of God ; but He says that in doing this the 
main thing is not to be forgotten, so that the Avine may 
not be strained to discover the smallest unclean animal 
and so remove it, and yet drink down the largest of the 
unclean animals. But the Pharisees are the ones who 
with the greatest of care wash the outside of the 
drinking cups and the utensils, but do not ask if their 
contents are the result of manifest robbery and of in- 
temperance which in secret does not hesitate to lay 


JAl TTIIE W [XXllI, -26-80 

ye cleanse the outside of tiie cup and of the platter, but with- 
in they are full from extortion and excess. (20) Thou blind 
Pliarisee, cleanse tirst the inside of the cup and of the platter, 
that the outside thereof may become clean also. 
(27) AVoe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye 
are like unto wliited sepulchres, which outwardly appear 
beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men's bones, and of 
all uncleanness. (28) Evensoj'ealsooutwardly appear righte- 
ous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and ini- 

(29) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites ! for ye 
build the sepulchres of the prophets, and garnish the tombs 
of the righteous. (30) and say, If we had been in the days of 

haiid^; upon the possessions of the neighbor. It cer- 20 
tainly is pure blindness not to see that in God's eyes 
the outside of a vessel ean be truly clean only if 
there is no sinful contamination adhering to the con- 
tents. The third woe in particular describes the nature 27 
of the Pharisaic hypocrisy. The Jews were accustomed 
at certain times to whiten the toml)S with a covering of 
chalk, in order to mark them as such, and to warn against 
being contaminated by touching them. Then these 
tombs look attractive enough from without and yet 
within they were full of dead bones and of everything 
that contaminated in connection with death. This was a 2S 
picture of t!ie Pharisees, Avho with their external zeal 
for the law a[)[)eared as righteous men l)cfore men, but 
inwardly they ^\'cre full of liypocrisy, which claims to bt' 
something ditferent fi'om what it in trutli is, and luli of 
that mind wliicli in its innermost dei)ths is ant:igv)nisiii' 
to tlie hiw of (lod. 

TheseviMUh woe is dirt'cted against the Seribes and the 
Pharisees as members of tlie Sanhedrin. For oidy the 
heads of tlie people in this ca[);icity could build se[)ul- 
chres on tht; spots arouudJerusalem marked as the 
graves of the prophets and from time to time decorate 
the tombs of the saints of the Old Covenant. They did 30 



our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in 
the blood of the prophets. (31) Wherefore ye witness to your- 
selves, that ye are sons of them that slew the prophets. (32) 
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. (33) Ye serpents, 
ye offspring of vipers, how shall ye escape the judgment of 
^hell ? (34) Therefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and 
wise men, and scribes : some of them shall ye kill and crucify ; 
and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and 

* Gr. Gehenna. 

this in order to give public evidence of their purpose to 
clear themselves of the guilt of their fathers in having 
slain these men, and that they would never have taken 
part in the murder of the prophets, if they had lived at 
those times. With fearful irony Jesus takes them at their 

31 word. For by their own statement they acknowledge 
that they are the sons of those prophet murderers, and 
they too are the ones, who in His sense are entirely like 
their fathers, and for this reason He can demand of them 
now entirely to complete the measure of the guilt of their 

32 fathers. He does this, however, because the judgment 
is to come only when sin has attained its highest de- 
velopment and the measure of their guilt has thus been 
made fuU. But to this judgment all His woes re- 

33 f erred. The Baptist already had threatened the genera- 
tion of vipers of his day with the judgment, which 
condemns to hell, and told them that they could not 
escape it (cf, iii. 7). Accordingly He Himself will give 
them the opportunity to bring this judgment down 
upon themselves by making the measure of the guilt of 
the fathers full. He does not intend to speak of His own 
crucifixion, which can perhaps be excused on the ground 
of ignorance, because they did not know Him as the one 

34 He really was. But He will send His apostles to them, 
who with the message of His resurrection and His ex- 
altation to the complete Messianic glory will make 
every excuse impossible. He calls these the messengers 


MA TTIIE W [ XXIII, 35-37 

persecute from city to city : (3o) that upon you may come all 
the righteous blood shed on tlie earth, from the blood of Abel 
the righteous unto the blood of Zachariah son of Barachiah, 
whom ye slew betsveen the sanctuary and the altar. (36) 
Verily I say unto j'ou, All these tilings shall come upon this 

(37) O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and 

of God as were those in the past, whom their fathers 
slew, and as werethe wise and the learned of the present, 
ill whose place these sliall become the true teachers of 
the people. 'J'hen those men N^'ill have the opportunity 
of demonstrating that tiiey are the true sons of their 
fathers. Of the disciples, too, they will slay some 
and crucify some, as they do llim ; and in case they are 
not successful in this, they will scourge them in the syna- 
gogue or drive them from one city to the other, in order 
to do this. And then the measure of their guilt will be 
complete. But it is to be made full also for this pur- 
pose, that th(.' final judgment may at last come, in 
which the entii'e guilt of mankind shall be punished. 35 
ThtMi will come ovi'r them all the blood which has been 
shed upon th(; earth from that one of wliom the first 
l^ook of the Scriptures reports, the blood of A1)el, which 
cries to heaven ((ieii. iv. 10), down to that one of whom 
the last book tells the same thing (cf. 2 Chron. xxiv. 
"20 s(((|.) Indeed th(! Evangelist cannot for])ear in con- 
nection \\\W\ that Zachariah, A\ho was stoned to death 
between tlie temple house and the altar, to mention the 
son of Baracliiah of the saiiui name, whom they had 
slain in his own days. In this way, this generation, 36 
wliich instead of rei)enting, only completes the guilt of 
the fathers, will experi(Mice the judgment of ptmishment. 
But the judgment will also strike Jerusalem, to which 37 
Jesus in conclusion dii'ccts His mind. It is true that 
this city was a murderer of the prophets from the be- 



stoneth them that are sent unto her ! how often would I have 
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her 
chickens under her wings, and ye would not ! (38) Behold, 
your house is left unto you ^ desolate. (39) For I say unto 
you, "Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say. Blessed 
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. 
XXIV ^^^ Jesus went out from the temple, and was going 
on his way ; and his disciples came to him to show 
him the buildings of the temple. (2) But he answered and 
said unto them, See ye not all these things ? verily I say unto 
you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that 
shall not be thrown down. 

* Some ancient authorities omit desolate. 

ginning ; but how often had Jesus, with a tenderness 
which He illustrates by a beautiful picture from nature 
tried to gather the people together, in order to lead 
them to salvation ! But they would not. Now the gra- 
cious presence of God is withdrawn, for all time from the 
city that was His (cf. v. 35), who had appeared to them 
again in the person of the Messiah. God will leave the 
39 people of the city to their fate. And if then the same 
judgments break in, then they will look around for a 
deliverer ; but Him, who is now about to leave them, 
they surely will not again find, until they in a future 
day, as on Palm Sunday, but then in full faith, will 
greet Him with the words of Ps. cxviii, 26, as the 
true Messiah. But will that ever happen? They 
themselves will be compelled at some time to give the 

1 When Jesus now left the temple He closed His 
work in it for good. The Evangelist expressly empha- 
sizes the fact that now He goes His way with no inten- 
tion of entering it again. But as He turned back to take 
a view of the temple, the disciples came to Him, in order 
to draw His attention to the magnificent beauty of the 

2 structure. He, however, replies, that they should take 
a good look at the building, for not one stone of it would 



(3) And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came 
unto him privately, saying, Tell us, wlien shall these things be? 
and what shall be- the sign of thy ^ coming, and of ^ the end of 
the world ? (4) And Jesus answered and said unto them. 
Take heed that no man lead you astray. (5) For many shall 
come in my name, saying, I am the Christ ; and shall lead 

* Or. presence. * Or, the consummation of the age. 

remain upon another, and that the temple would be 
entirely destroyed. And when soon after He sat do^vn 3 
on the Mount of Olives and the disciples were about 
Him, they asked Him when all this would tiike place, 
and what the signs would be by which they could 
recognize the coming of these terrible events. The 
Evangelist, who already was acquainted with the escha- 
tological discourses of Jesus in their oldest forms and 
knows from these, that together with these the re- 
turn of the Lord and the end of the world are most 
closely connected, describes the signs for which they 
ask and which will constitute the theme of the discourse 
on the signs of this end. However, He does not do this 4 
merely to satisfy their curiosity, but in order that these 
shall be a serious warning to them in view of that which 
He is about to mention to them as the first sign, and 
that is the pseudo-Messianic movement, which will 
deceive many. The point here is not if and how many 5 
false Messiahs will put forth their claims and will win 
adherents. This is in the customary language of a 
prophet nothing but the expression for the fact that 
the people will, in the end, try to secure through their 
own means and power that salvation which they had 
expected to receive from the JMessiah, and will do this 
since Jesus, whom they for this very reason had re- 
jected, had not brought it to them. This was the 
pseudo-Messianic revolution, which broke out in the 
last Jewish war, and was able to mislead even some 
who believed in Jesus but sought to realize their national 



many astray. (6) And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of 
•wars ; see that ye be not troubled : for these things must needs 
come to pass ; but the end is not yet. (7) For nation shall 
rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom ; and there 
shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places. (8) But all 
these things are the beginning of travail. (9) Then shall they 
deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you : and ye 

6 ambitions in this way. Not any kind of a war in which 
they were engaged or of which they heard could bring 
destruction over this people, who had so often been 
the battle-ground in the wars of the surrounding world 
powers, and least of all a destruction that would put an 
end to the glory of the temple too. They are for this 
reason not to be frightened by such, as this is to take 
place in accordance with the counsel of God ; but this is 

7 not the end of which He speaks. Repeatedly it has been 
prophesied that at the end there will be direful times, 
and Jesus Himself speaks of mighty wars of nations and 
governments, of famine and of pestilence, which always 
follow such wars, of earthquakes, that frighten men, 

8 now here, then there. These troublous times were often 
compared with the birth-throes, which will be necessary 
for the advent of the new Messianic kingdom. But 
Jesus says that all these are only the beginnings of these 
throes. No terrors that the history of the world has 
to record or that nature has produced from its bowels, 
could result in the destruction of the people of God to- 

9 gether with their city and their temple. Only the 
pseudo-Messianic movement with its deceptions could 
bring about this last great suffering upon the people, 
with which the end will come. True it is that since 
there is a congregation of believers in the midst of these 
people, the former are to suffer even worse afflictions 
than those mentioned above ; especially persecutions that 
will sorely afflict them and endanger their lives. They 
shall be hated not only by these people but by all peo- 



shall be hated of all the nations for my name's sake. (10) And 
then sliall many stumble, and shall ^deliver up one another, 
and shall hate one another. (11) And many false propliets 
shall arise, and shall lead many astray. (12) And because 
iniquity sliall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax 
cold. (13) But lie thatendureth to the end, the same shall be 
saved. (14) And - this gospel of the kingdoni shall be preached 

1 See oil. 10. 4. = Or. tlicxc good tidiiuj.'i. 

pics, because they confes.s the name of Jesus. Still worse 10 
will he their ('xperienee when in the heat of trouhles 
many heeome unfaithful and will consent to deny 
their faitli, and when in the midst of the Christians the 
unfaithful will hate tlie faithful and will deliver them 
over into the liands of the enemies. The most terrible, 11 
however, will be tliis, tliat ainonc: themselves false proph- 
ets .shall arise and shall deceive many. The reference 
here is not primarily to specific false doctrines, but to 
their seduction into an immoral life, which these prophets 
will seek to justify by a false intcrjiretation of the doc- 
trine of salvation, and wliich the EvanjTjelist designates 
lawlessness, wuidi in iiis day resulted from tlie per- 
version of C'hrisiian liberty. ^Vhen this tendency be- 12 
comes overwlu'lmingly strong their love will lu'come 
cohl, iH'cause sucli dissensions among Christians always 
destroy fraternal relations, often even among those who 
have remaincfl faithful. Hut he who in view of all 13 
these dangeis remains tirni to the end, in the right faith 
and in the right life, this one and liealone shall be saved 
in the linal judgment (chap, x 'I'l). Ihit ewn in this 14 
dark picture there is a- ray of hope; lor all this 
cannot check the \ietorious advance of the gospel, 
according to ^hirk xiii. Id. This gospel of the coming 
of Jesus in His kingdom, whicli is the real object of the 
whole eschatological discourse, will \n' preached through- 
out the entii'i! world, so that it will be })roclaimed to 
all tlie nations where salvation can be found, and only 



in the whole ' world for a testimony unto all the nations ; and 
then shall the end come. 

(15) When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, 
which was *spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in 
'the holy place (let him that readeth understand) , (16) then 
let them that are in Judse flee unto the mountains : (17) let 

1 Gr. inhabited earth. * Dan. ix. 27 ; xi. 31 ; xii. 11. ^ Or, a holy place. 

then will it be possible that tliis final end can come of 
which the final calamity that will come over Israel, and 
of which Jesus is now at the point of speaking, is only a 

Jesus returns to the subject from which He started 
out, namely, to the misleading of the people through the 
pseudo-Messianic agitation, with which the last Jewish 

15 war must begin. Then will be fulfilled the prophecy 
of Dan. xii. 11, concerning the abomination of desola- 
tion in the sacred places ; for then the Roman armies, 
who were an offense to the Jews, will desolate the 
Holy Land, in order to crush the Jewish rebellion with 
a bloody hand. This took place at the time when the 
oldest tradition of this prophecy was written down j 
and for this reason, the Apostle Matthew adds the 
word " Let him that readeth understand ! " He wanted 
to say with these words, that the time had now come con- 
cerning which Jesus had spoken, when He commanded 
all the believers in Judea to flee to the mountains beyond 
the Jordan. And although at this time in the beginning 
of the war the people were confident of gaining the vic- 
tory, the believers nevertheless understood the prediction 
of the Lord to mean that the beginning of the end had 

16 come, and they obeyed His command. In this way the 
congregation of the believers were delivered from the uni- 
versal destruction and found protection in the little city 
of Pella. But Jesus at this time had urged a speedy 
flight and in His vivid manner had by examples in- 

17 sisted that there be no delay. He who happened to be on 


JLl TTUE W [ XXI \\ 18-21 

him that is on the housetop not go down to take out the 
things that are in his house : (18) and let him that is in the 
field not return back to take his cloak. (19) But woe unto 
tlieni that are witli child and to them that give suck in those 
days I ('JO) And pray J'e that your flight be not in the winter, 
neither on a sabbath : (21) for then shall be great tribulation, 

the tliit roof of his house, shull not descend to get 
something out of tlie house to take along ; but as soon 
as he heard that the Roman army has entered the 
Holy Land, shall Hee hy going from one flat roof to the 
other. lie who is working in the field and would be 18 
wearing only his under garment, sliall not return to his 
house to gel his outer garment. Jesus laments the fate 19 
of those pregnant on that day on account of their bodily 
condition, as also of tliose that give suck and who by 
their maternal duties will be i)revented from fleeing 
quickly. He had urged upon them to pray that their 20 
flight miglit not take i)lace in the winter, when it would 
be made harder by the weather ; or on the sabbath, when 
religions scruples, on account of the sabbath law, would 
permit tliem oidy to make a short journey. All these 
things show the urgency of the journey. For then this 21 
terrible calamity will l)reak forth over this unhappy, 
misguided ])cople, as it had not been before and never 
will b(! again. In tliis time the destruction of the 
temple \\\\\ occur, which Jesus had predicted xxiv. 2, 
;in(l tlien too the cajiture of the city that had been de- 
sei'ted by its Ood and its 3Iessiah, (xxiii. 8S,) ; and in it 
too that terrible Judgment of punishment over the entire 
present generation of which xxiii. ;-iG, had spoken. But it 
is not the })rovincc of true prophecy to enter upon any 
such historical details. Jesus in this coiniection, too, 
keeps His eyes on His disciples in those terrible days. It 
is their own flesh and blood that is here engaged in the 
last struggle of despair ; and the longer the contest lasts, 



such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until 
now, no, nor ever shall be. (22) And except those days had 
been shortened, no flesh would have been saved : but for the 
elect's sake those days shall be shortened. (23) Then if any 
man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or. Here ; be- 
lieve 1 it not. (24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false 
prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders ; so as to 
lead astray, if possible, even the elect. (25) Behold, I have 
told you beforehand. (26) If therefore they shall say unto 

* Or, him. 

all the more the hope sinks, that anything at all that 

22 is called flesh will live through those days. Then it is 
these chosen ones out of Israel, the believers in their 
haven of safety, who will intercede with Grod, as Abra- 
ham did for Sodom (Gen. xviii.) ; and on account of 
their petitions those days will be shortened so that at 

23 least a remnant will be saved. But the disciples them- 
selves must also be warned, not to expect the end too 
soon, and not to suffer themselves to be deceived by 
premature announcements that the Messiah had ap- 

24 peared at this or at that place. For in these terrible 
days more than at any other time there will not be 
lacking those who claim to be the Messiah and promise 
deliverance to the people in their extreme suffering. In 
fact, even false prophets will go before them, who by lying 
miracles prepare the way for them. Then even the be- 
lievers can be deceived and imagine that the Messiah had 
already appeared at this or at that place, even if they of 

25 course think that it is the returned true Messiah. Jesus 
still hopes that this will be impossible ; but He wants 
them to be on their guard by telling them beforehand 

26 that they would encounter such danger. Therefore He 
again warns them against pretended mysterious voices, 
which claim now that the expected one has appeared in 
the empty desert, and then, that He is in the secret 
chamber and was merely keeping Himself in hiding. 



you, Behold, he is in the wilderness ; go not forth : Behold, he 
is in the inner chambers ; believe Ht not. (27) For as the 
lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto 
the west ; so shall be the ^coming of the Son of man. 
(28) Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the ^eagles be 
gathered together. 

(29) But immediately after the tribulation of those days the 
sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, 

* Or, them. * Gr. preBence. ' Or, vultures. 

For this is an impossibility, since the advent of the Son of 27 
Man will be like the lightning, which is visible at 
the same time from one end of the heavens to the other, 
and accordingly is revealed to all men at the same mo- 
ment. For He comes to judge the world ; judgment is 
to take place everywhere at the same time. Just as 28 
where there is a dead body the vultures will gather (cf . 
Job. xxxix. 30), the judgment of the returning Messiah 
must take place wherever the wickedness of man makes 
it necessary. 

The disciples had asked for the signs that would 
precede the destruction of the temple, and Jesus had 
answered the question completely. But He had done 
more. He had told them that with the judgment upon 
Israel the end would also come, which will be signal- 
ized by the return of Jesus. In the grand pictures 
of the Old Testament prophets, which now were 
to become literal realities, He described how, after the 
terrors of those days, the destruction of the world 
would come. For when the lights of the heavens are 29 
extinguished, when the eternal stars, which look as 
though they were fastened to the firmament, are 
loosened from it, and in this way the powers of heaven 
which hitherto had constituted a well organized host of 
the heavens, rove about without any order or law, 
then the conditions of the present form of the world, as 
it came forth from the hand of the Creator, will be 
14 209 

XXIV, 30-33] wbisjS'jS commentary 

and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the 
heavens shall be shaken : (30) and then shall appear the sign 
of the Son of man in heaven : and tlien shall all the tribes of 
the earth mourn, and they shall see the Sorj of man coming 
on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, (31) And 
he shall send forth his angels ^vvith % great sound of a trum- 
pet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four 
winds, from one end of heaven to the other. 

(33) Now from the fig tree learn her parable : when her 
branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye 
know that the summer is nigh ; (33) even so ye also, when ye 
see all these things, know ye that » he is nigh, even at the 

* Many ancient authorities read toith a great trumpet, and they shall 
gather, etc. 

* Or, a trumpet of great sound. * Or, it. 

30 utterly changed, and the world is sure of destruction. 
Then the signs prophesied by Dan. vi. 13, shall appear, 
and all mankind lament, because they recognize in the 
sign of the Son of Man as He appears in the clouds with 
great power and glory, the beginning of the judgment 
of the world, of which Jesus had spoken in xxiv. 28. 
The powers of the heavens, which are then at His dis- 
posal, is the host of heaven, which now belongs to Hira 
as a sign of His divine glory. For while godless humanity 
is hopelessly destroyed when the world comes to an 

31 end, and is lost forever. His angels will serve Him by 
using their trumpets to gather around Him from all the 
ends of the earth His chosen ones, and He will take 
them in the clouds of the heaven into His heavenly 
kingdom. The disciples are to learn a lesson from the 
fig-tree, the natural development of which can teach 

32 it. When the spring causes the sap to rise into the 
branches, so that they become soft and the leaves come 

33 forth, then we can know that the summer is near. Just 
so surely they can tell from the appearance of this 
judgment upon Israel that the returning Messiah is, as 
it were, already at the very door. As He has predicted 
the former to the men of the present generation, so they 


MA TTIIE W [ XXn^ ;J4-3'J 

doors. (34) Verily I say unto j'ou, This generation shall not 
pass away, till all these things be accomplished. (35) Heaven 
and earth sjiall pass away, but my words shall not i^ass away. 

(36) But of that day and liour knoweth no one, not even the 
angels of heaven, i neither the Son, but the Father onh'. 

(37) And as were, the days of Noah, so shall 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 ark, 
(.39) and they knew not until the flood came, and took them 

Many authorities, some ancient, omit neither tite .S'oji. - Gr. presence. 

shall live to see what He has said concerning Plis return. 34 
While heaven and earth will pass aAvay, Plis words, as 
well as the predictions of this discourse, will surely turn 
out to be true. Just as surely as all He had predicted 
concerning the punishment of Israel will promptly 
come to pass, so surely, too, will the prediction of His re- 
36 turn be fulfilled in every particular. Day and hour of 
tlie same is known to nobody, not even to the angels 
in heaven, who, liecause standing nearest to the throne 
of (>od, Avould be the first to l)ecome ac(|uainted with His 
counsels ; and not the Son of His Idvc, to whom God has 
made known tlie whole counsel of His grace (cf. xi. 27). 
l>ut lie knows only what (lod has made known to the 
l)r()])liets of the old covenant concerning His original 
plan of redemption, according to wliich tlie generation to 
wliom HcAvould send the iNh^ssiah would also experience 
tlie Ihial consnunuation of redemption. I)Ut, asa matter 
of fact, tlu! Father lias rc^served to Himself to determine 
the day and tht; hour in wliich tlie return of the Son 
shall take place. Jt will surely come, but it shall re- 
main hidden to mankind. It will come as a surprise, 37 
as did the deluge in the days of Koali. Tlien tlu; 38 
world lived in security and witliout care, until the 
flood came and destroyed them all. Thus will it be 39 
with the return of Jesus, which will bring with the de- 
struction of the world also the great final judgment, 



all away ; so shall be the * coming of the Son of man. (40) 
Then shall two men be in the field ; one is taken, and one is 
left : (41) two women shall be grinding at the mill ; one is 
taken, and one is left. (42) Watch therefore : for ye know 
not on what day your Lord cometh. 

(43) 2 But know this, that if the master of the house had 
known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have 
watched, and would not have suffered his house to be ' broken 

* Qr. presence * Or, this ye know. ' Gr. digged through. 

the type of which was the great deluge just mentioned. 
We already know that in that time only the chosen 
ones will be delivered from the universal destruction, 
because they will be carried in safety by the angels 

40 into the heavenly kingdom. But this separation will 
in many cases bring a different fate to two persons, 

41 who in this world are most intimately connected. Of 
the two servants who work in one field, of the two 
maids who together turn the mill, one will be seized by 
the judgment as it breaks in upon them, and the other 

42 will be left untouched. Therefore we must be on our 
guard, i. e., must at every moment regard it as possible 
that the Lord will come to judgment, so that we may 
be prepared for it, and thus belong to those that escape 
it. Here it becomes clear why in God's counsel, the day 
and hour, in which the Lord will come has not been re- 
vealed, not even to the Son of Man, who otherwise 
would have come to reveal it to mankind. His 
disciples are to be ready at every moment to receive 
the Lord, because they do not know when He will 
come. This Jesus has impressed upon them in His 
parables concerning His return. 

43 A full parable already underlies the statement that 
Jesus makes to His disciples, saying that the thief could 
not break into a house, if the master knew in which 
watch of the night the thief would come, for then he 
would watch at least during this period, and would pre- 



through. (44) Therefore be ye also ready ; for in an hour that 
ye think not the Son of man cometh. 

(45) Who then is the faithful and wise ^ servant, whom his 
lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in 
due season ? (46) Blessed is that ^ servant, whom his lord 
when he cometh shall find so doing. (47) Verily I say unto 
you, that he will set him over all that he hath. (48) But if 
that evil ^ servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth 
(49) and shall begin to beat his fellow -servants, and shall eat 

* Gr. bondservant. 

pare himself to stop the thief. But they know only 44 
this much for a certainty, that the Lord will come at 
an unexpected hour; but for this very reason, they 
should at all times be ready to appear before His judg- 
ment seat, because in this case they can never be sur- 
prised by His coming. The following parable too is 45 
not consistently developed. He begins at once with the 
question if a servant, whom a master has appointed 
over his household so that he should give food to them 
in the proper manner, would be faithful and prudent, 
in so far as he, by the fulfilment of the duty entrusted 
to him, would also take care of his own interests. Jesus 45 
Himself answers the question by declaring such a serv- 
ant blessed, whom the master when he returns finds 
doing what he has told him, for he has been true to the 
confidence which the master has placed in him ; he has 
been faithful. But how, in doing this, he has also done 47 
the best for himself, is seen from this, that the master 
now entrusts him with a higher and even the highest 
position of confidence. But here is the point in which 
this parable goes beyond the preceding, by showing that 
constant readiness for the return of the Lord consists 
only in the faithful fulfilment of His commands. But 48 
the opposite side of the picture is fully developed, by the 
account of the servant who, occupying such a position 
of trust, proves unfaithful. Trusting that the return of 49 
the master will be delayed, he begins to beat his fellow- 



and drink with the drunken ; (50) the lord of that ^ servant 
shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an Iiour 
when he knoweth not, (51) and sliall ^cut him asunder, and 
appoint his portion with the hypocrites : there shall be the 
weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 

^XV Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten 
virgins, who took their » lamps, and went forth to 
meet the bridegroom. (2) And five of them were foolish, and 
five were wise. (3) For the 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 bride- 

* Or. 6on<Jseri'anf. ^ Ov, severely scour gehim. ^ Or, torches. 

servants instead of providing for them, and instead of 
giving them to eat, he gives himself up to drunken 
carousals with like-minded associates. It now was im- 
possible to abuse his trust m a more flagrant manner. 

50 But how unwise he also was appears from the fact, that 
the master unexpectedly returns early and at an hour 

51 that was not thought of. The fact that he condemns 
the slave to the terrible death of being sawed asunder, 
is to be explained by the statement, that he now re- 
ceives his portion with the hypocrites. For since he 
did what he did believing that his master would be de- 
layed, it had been his purpose as soon as he thought 
that the master would return, to pretend that he had 
done his full duty. In the conclusion the inter- 
pretation contains a reference to the regular description 
of the punishment in hell. 

The parable of the ten virgins is complete and pic- 
turesque in accordance with real life, without a trace of 

1 allegorizing explanation. In the house of the bride a 
marriage is taking place. Ten virgins are appointed 
with their lamps to receive the bridegroom as coming 

2 in the evening. But only half of this number are wise 
enough to provide oil suflBcient for all contingencies. 

5 The bridegroom is delayed in this instance, and long 
enough that the virgins on the way enter a house, and 


MA TTIIE W [ XXV, 6-13 

groom tarried, tliey all slumbered and slept. (6) But at mid- 
night there is a cry, Behold, the bridegi'oom ! Come ye forth 
to meet him. (7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed 
their * lamps. (8) And the foolish said unto the wise. Give us 
of your oil ; for our ^ lamps are going out. (9) But the wise 
answered, saying, Peradventure there will not be enough for 
us and you : go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for your- 
selves. (10) And while they went away to buy, the bride- 
groom came ; and they that were ready went in with him to 
the marrage feast : and the door was shut. (11) Afterward 
came also the other virgins, saying. Lord, Lord, open to us. 
(12) But he answered and said. Verily I say unto you, I know 
you not. (13) Watch therefore, for ye know not the day nor 
the hour. 

' Or, torches. 

all, tired, of waiting, fall asleep. But at midnight they 6 
are startled out of their sleep by the cry that the bride- 
groom is coming, and that it is time to go out to meet 
him. In the meanwhile their lamps have almost gone 
out. The wise ones can readily fill theirs again, but the 7 
foolish are in trouble because their lamps are nearly out. 
They want to borrow oil from their companions ; but 8 
these are sure that their supply is not enough for both 9 
parties. Only one thing is to be done, namely, to go to 
the merchant and secure a new supply of oil. In the 10 
meanwhile the bridegroom actually comes, and only 
those who are in a condition to receive him in the 
proper manner enter with him to celebrate the mar- 
riage. Only after the doors had been locked the others 11 
put in their appeai'ance and urgently ask to be admitted. 
The bridegroom does not know them, as they were not 12 
in the bridal procession. Arbitrary and only confusing 
are the different allegorizing interpretations of this par- 
able. Jesus has Himself interpreted it as referring to 13 
the duty of watchfulness, which consists in this, that, 
in view of the fact that the day or the hour is unknown 
when He will return, we are to be prepared for this at 
all times. The beautiful marriage picture for this 



(14) For it is as when a man, going into another country, 
called his own ^ servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 
(15) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, to 
another one ; to each according to his several ability ; and he 
went on his journey. (16) Straightway he that received the 
five talents went and traded with them, and made other five 
talents. (17) In like manner he also that received the two 
gained other two. (18) But he that received the one went 

• Gr. bondservants. 

reason makes such an indelible impression, because the 
matter does not deal with serious duties, but with a 
beautiful duty of honor ; not with pay and punishment, 
but with participation in a joyous marriage feast, which 
the foolish virgins lost because they had been so thought- 
less. But this, as was shown by the parable of the royal 
banquet, is only the other side of what is given in the 
call to the kingdom of God. In this kingdom the ful- 
filment of the highest duty is identical with the attain- 
ment of the highest good. He who fails in the first 
loses the second. The watchfulness which the Lord 
demands is nothing more than ordinary prudence itself 
urges upon us. 

14 As is his favorite custom, the Evangelist connects 
with the preceding parables the parable of the Talents, 
because this too treats of the reward for faithfulness 
shown during the absence of a master. But in itself 
there is nothing in connection with it that refers 
to the return of Jesus, for the long absence of the 
master is only the occasion to test the faithfulness 

15 of the servants. In absenting himself, the master from 
the outset takes into consideration the abilities of the 
different servants, by entrusting to the one five talents, 
to the second two, and to the third only one. Here the 
picture, which is based on a comparison, is lost sight of, 

16 and the real parable begins. Immediately after the 
master has departed, the first two go to work, and by 

18 diligent business double their capital. But the third 


jVA TTHE W [ XXV, 19-^^6 

away and digged in the earth, and liid his lord's money. 
(19) Now aftei' a long time the lord of those ^ servants cometh, 
and maketh a reckoning witli them. (20) And he that re- 
ceived the five talents came and brought other five talents, 
saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents : lo, I have 
gained other five talents. (21) His lord said unto him, Well 
done, good and faitliful ' servant : thou hast been faithful 
over a few tilings, I will set thee over many tilings ; enter 
tiiou into the joy of thy lord. (22) And he also that received 
the two talents came and said. Lord, thou deliverest unto me 
two talents : lo, I have gained otlier two talents. (23) His 
lord said unto him. Well done, good and faithful -servant: 
thou hast been faithful over a few things. I will set thee over 
many things ; enter thou into the joy of tliy lord. (24) And 
he also that had received the one talent came and said. Lord, 
I knew thee tliat tliou art a hard man, reaping where thou 
didst not sow, and gathering where thou didst not scatter ; 
(25) and I was afraid, and went away and hid thj- talent in 
tlie earth : lo, thou hast thine own (26) But his lord an- 

^ Gr. biindservanfs. - Gr. bondservayit. 

does nothing bnt dig a hole in the ground and hide the 
talent of his master in it. When, then, the master re- 19 
turns home and asks for an accounting, lie rewards 
the first two, who had been faithful in small things, and 
places them over many, i.e., entrusts more to their care 
than he had done before. Here now, as is often the 
case, a prophetic glance into the Avorld beyond is in- 
troduced into the picture, when of both it is said that 
they entered into the joy of their Lord. The third 24 
servant tries to excuse himself on the ground that he 
knew the master to be a man hard to please. As one who 
wants to reap where he has not sown, and gather the 
kernels from the thrashing-floor ujion wdiich he has not 
thrashed, he asks more than he has a right to claim. 
For this reason he had buried the treasure, lest he 25 
would lose it in business, or lest lie would not be able 
to earn as much as the master wanted, and now thinks 
that he is free of all responsibility by returning to 
the master exactly the sum he had received. But the 26 



swered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful ^ servant, 
thou knew est that I reap where I sowed not, and gather 
where I did not scatter ; (27) thou oughtest therefore to have 
put my money to the bankers, and at my coming 1 should 
have received back mine own with interest. (28) Take ye 
away therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him that 
hath the ten talents. (29) For unto every one that hath shall 
be given, and he shall have abundance : but from him that 
hath not, even that which he hath shall be taken away. 
(30) And cast ye out the unprofitable i servant into the outer 
darkness : there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of 

1 Gr. bondservant. 

master sees through the servant, whose wickedness, in 
contrast to the two good servants and notwithstanding 

27 all excuses, consists in his idleness. He exposes his 
contradictory character, since the imagined strictness 
of the master ought to have impelled him, not to save 
himself the little trouble of taking the money to a 
banker, from whom it could be demanded back with 

28 interest. He therefore takes from him the talent with 
which he had not known what to do, and gives it to 
him who has shown the greatest business ability. 

29 Now the statement of xiii. 12, appears in an altogether 
new meaning as an interpretation of this parable. He 
who has the good will and the ability to make the right 
use of what Grod has entrusted to him, to him more and 
more will be entrusted until he has the richest fulness. 

30 But he who has neither the one nor the other, from 
him even that which had been entrusted to him, as a test 
of his merits, will be taken away, because he has not 
even made good use of this. This can and will be ap- 
plied also in the widest sense in the kingdom of God. 
This is true not only of earthly possessions, the faithful 
management of which God will bless by increasing it, 
while He punishes slovenliness in its use by withdraw- 
ing it. It is true in a special sense of other possessions 
and gifts, bodily and spiritual ; the whole parable ac- 


MATTHEW [XXV, 31-34 

(31) But when the Son of man shall corae in his glory, and 
all the angels with him, then shall He sit on the throne of his 
glory : (32) and before him shall be gathered all the nations : 
and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd 
separateth the sheep from the goats ; (33) and he shall set the 
sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. (34) Then 

cordingly pertains to the life in the kingdom of God 
here on earth. But here, too, the glance at the recom- 
pense beyond the grave must not be lost sight of, since 
the servant who has not been able to make good use of 
the possessions and the gifts which the Lord has 
created to be used, by not employing them in His 
service, is to be excluded from the kingdom of God and 
is to be delivered over to punishment in hell. 

The close of the address again falls in with the 31 
central thought, that of the coming of the Son of Man 
with His angels in His glory (xxiv. 30, 31), in order 
again to emphasize the fact that He will come to judge 
the world. The separation that then takes place, as 32 
the great majority of mankind will be destroyed when 
the end of the world comes, is here described as a judi- 
cial act, which the Messiah in His royal exaltation, 
carries out, as He before whose judgment seat all the 
nations will be gathered. Then the two different 33 
classes of men, who so far have only been inwardly sep- 
arated, are also externally placed apart, as a shepherd 
separates the sheep from the goats, and are placed to 
the right and to the left of the Judge, in order to receive 
their sentences. Then it will become clear, that only 
those on the right are the blessed of the Lord, who are 
permitted to receive the kingdom that in the counsel of 
God before creation had been prepared for them. But 
this is not the feature which the discourse is to make 
prominent, but is an explanation of Jesus as to what 
it was that had made His chosen ones pleasing to Him, 


XXV, 35-41] wuijSS's commentary 

shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye 
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you 
from the foundation of the world : (35) for I was hungry, and 
ye gave me to eat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink ; I 
was a stranger, and ye took me in ; (36) naked, and ye clothed 
me ; I was sick, and ye visited me ; I was in prison, and ye 
came unto me. (37) Then shall the righteous answer him, 
saying. Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or 
athirst, and gave thee drink ? (38) And when saw we thee a 
stranger, and took thee in ? or naked, and clothed thee ? 
(39) And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto 
thee ? (40) And the King shall answer and say unto them, 
Verily I say unto you. Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these 
my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. (41) Then 
shall he say also unto them on the left hand, i Depart from 
me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the 

^ Or, Depart from, me under a curse. 

85 and which has secured them this blessed fate. These 
are the works of mercy as they are here four times men- 
tioned most solemnly : the feeding of the hungry and 
the giving of drink to the thirsty ; the entertainment 
of strangers ; the clothing of tlie naked ; the visiting of 

40 the prisoners and the sick. These works He will regard 
as though they had been done to Him ; and when these 
people there who had merely done these things to help 
the needy, ask when they had ever done these things 
to Him, He explains to them that what they have 
done even to the most humble of those that stand on 
His right, who are His Father's children, and therefore 

41 His brethren, this has been done to Him. Accord- 
ingly, then, only those who have proved themselves 
faithful through their works of love and mercy to 
others, are the blessed of the Father. All others will 
be accursed, with the curse that rests upon mankind in 
its enmity to God, and therefore will be the victims of 
the divine judgment of wrath. It is true that from 
the beginning the eternal fire, which deprives man of 
all hope of salvation, had been intended only for the 


JA 1 T THE W [XXVI, 1-3 

devil and his angels : (42) for I was hungry, and ye did not 
give me to eat ; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink ; (43) I 
was a stranger, and ye took me not in ; naked, and ye clothed 
me not ; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. (44) Then 
shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee 
hungry, or athirst. or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in 
prison, and did not minister unto thee? (45) Then shall he 
answer them, saying. Verily I say unto j'ou. Inasmuch as ye 
did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. 
(46) And these shall go away into eternal punishment : but 
the righteous into eternal life. 

^^^^J And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all 

tliese words, lie said unto his disciples, (2) Ye 

know that after two days the passover cometh, and the Son 

of man is ^delivered up to be crucified. (3) Then were gath- 

1 See ch. 10. 4. 

Devil and his angels. But those who do not show forth 42 
these works of niercj' to Jesus, will suffer the same 
fate. They will indeed try to excuse themselves by 44 
stating that they never had an opportunity to do such 
works, but then they will be compelled to hear that 
what they had not done to the least among the children 
of God, they have not done to Jesus. Tlierefore they 46 
will depart into eternal punishment, as the righteous 
do into eternal life. This picture of the judgment has 
then as its purposes, to impress deeply upon the disci- 
ples the fuct, that the returning ^Messiah will measure 
their hdelity by their works of mercy and love. 

The sixth part of the gospel, which contains the 2 
story of Christ's passion, is introduced l)y the Evan- 
gelist with the statement of Jesus, in which He directly 
says that after two days, on the i)assover festival, He 
will be crucified. This accordingly, as it Avere, is 
the title of tlie whole following narrative. But the 3 
fact that Jesus speaks of His death just two days 
before Easter, is explained by the Evangelist by stating 
that just at this time au ofiicial meeting of the Sanhe- 



ered together the chief priests, and the elders of the people, 
unto the court of the high priest, who was called Caiaphas ; 
f4) and they took counsel together that they might take 
Jesus by subtlety, and kill him. (5) But they said. Not dur- 
ing the feast, lest a tumult arise among the people. 

(6) Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon 
the leper, (7) there came unto him a woman having ^an ala- 
baster cruse of exceeding precious ointment, and she poured 
it upon his head, as %e sat at meat. (8) But when the dis- 
ciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose 
is this waste ? (9) For this ointtnent might have been sold for 
much, and given to the poor. (10) But Jesus perceiving it 
said unto them, "Why trouble ye the woman ? for she hath 

' Or, o jiaik * Or, reclined at table 

drin was being held in the palace of the high priest, 
when counsel was taken how to put Jesus to death. 
4 Since it had been otherwise clear how dangerous it was, 
in view of public opinion, which was still favorable to 
Jesus, to arrest Him publicly, it was necessary to resort 
to some stratagem that would make it possible to arrest 
Him in secret. But even this seemed very risky during 
the festival season, because the mere announcement 
of His arrest could easily cause a tumult among the 
people. But while the Sanhedrin had not all yet been 
able to agree upon a plan, Jesus had already announced 
His impending death as certain within a short time, as 

6 is seen from the following story of His anointing. This 
occurs in Bethany, where Jesus had been staying over 

7 night, (cf. xxi. 17.) On this occasion, too, He was tak- 
ing His evening meal there in the house of a certain 
Simon, whom He had cured of leprosy, when a woman 
came into Him and poured out of an elaborate vessel a 

8 very expensive unguent upon his head. When the dis- 
ciples then declared this to be an act of extravagance, 

9 since with the money for which this unguent might 
10 be sold, many poor people would be helped, Jesus 

objected to this criticism of the woman, and declares 



wrought a good work upon mc (II) For ye have tiio poor 
always with you ; but uie ye have not always. (T-') For in 
that she ^ poured this ointment upon my body, she did it to 
prepare me for burial, (lo) Verily I say imto you, Whereso- 
ever -tills gospel sliall be preached in tlie whole world, that 
also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a 
memorial of her. 

(14) Then one of the tu-elve. wlio was called Judas Iscariot, 
went untt)thi> clucf [iiicsts, (15) and said, What are ye willing 
to give me, aiid I will 'Meliver him unto j'ou ? And they 
weighed unto him thirty pieces of silver. (16) And from that 
time he sougiit op[)ortunity to ^deliver him unto them. 

' tir, c«,sf. - Or, f/n se good tidings. 

= Sep oh. X. 4. * See ch. 10. 4. 

that wluit slie liad done was a good work. lie then 
remiiuls tlieiii tliat they will always liave the i^oor with 
them hut not Him, as lie was soon to die. This lie 12 
contirms hy stating that this anointing of His body 
was already tlu» beginning of His embalmment for 
burial. lint He aeeordingl}^ })romises the woman an 
honorable eommemoration in the congregation, Ijecause 
wdierever the message of His atoning death should be 
preached, there i)eoi)]e would recall this anointing. 
And just as though it was to be a confirmation of what 14 
had been said, Judas Iscariot just then went out to the 
high priests and promised, for thirty pieces of silver, 15 
to deliver Jesus into their hands, which could be done 
in the complete secrecy that they desired. All that 16 
was now needed was that Judas should watch for an 
opportunity to do what he had promised. 

But Jesus knew perfectly well l)eforeliand of the 
secretly concocted and treacherous plan for His de- 
struction. This became apjiarent as the Paschal fes- 
tival came on. It was the day on which all leaven 
had to be removed from the houses, and in the evening 
of whicli the festival began with the Paschal meal, 
during wdiich only unleavened bread could be eaten. 



(17) Novv^ on the first day of unleavened bread the disciples 
came to Jesus, saying, Wliere wilt thou that we make ready 
for thee to eat the passover? (18) And he said, Go into the 
city to such a man, and say unto him, The Teacher saith. My 
tim.e is at hand ; I keep the passover at thy house with my dis- 
ciples. (19) And the disciples did as Jesus appointed them ; 
and they made ready the passover. 

(20) Now when even was come, he was ' sitting at meat 
with the twelve 2 disciples ; (21) and as they were eating, he 
said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall * betray me. 
(22) And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began to say 
unto him every one. Is it I, Lord ? (33) And he answered 

* Or, reclining at table. 

* Many authorities, some ancient, omit disciples. 

* See marginal note on cli. 10. 4. 

17 When the disciples asked where they should prepare 
the paschal lamb, the Evangelist passes over the details 
that Mark gives, because for him it was only of im- 

18 portance to show how Jesus had sent them into the city 
to a householder described more fully in Mark, and tell 

19 him that the hour of His departure was at hand. lie 
knew that this would at once induce him to fulfil the 
Master's last wish and permit Him and His disciples 

20 to eat this supper in his house. The Evangelist men- 
tions merely that when the supper had been prepared 
at His command, Jesus, as soon as the evening had 
come, sat down to table with His disciples, because in 
his eyes the most important thing in this conversation 
was that Jesus, while at table, made the distinct 
declaration that one out of their number should de- 

21 liver Him over to His enemies. He then describes the 
deep sorrow which fell upon His disciples, so that 
each one asked the Lord if it were he whom Jesus had 

23 in mind. How it happened that at last He expressly 
declares that it is Judas, we learn from the Gospel of 
St. John. Our Evangelist sees in the statement that it 
is he who should, according to the custom of the pass- 
over, dip the bread, around which bitter herbs had 

MA TTHE W [XXVI, 24-26 

and said, He that dipped his hand with me in the dish, the 
same shall ^ betray me. (24) The Son of man goeth, even as it 
is written of him : but woe unto that man through whom the 
Son of man is ^ betrayed ! good were it ^ for that man if he had 
not been born. (25) And Judas, who ^ betrayed him, answered 
and said. Is it I, Rabbi ? He saith unto him, Thou hast 

(26) And as they were eating, Jesus took * bread, and 

* See marginal note on ch. 10. 4. ' Gr. For him if that man. * Or, loaf. 

been wrapped, into the dish, a last warning to the 
unliappy disciple. He reports the statement of Jesus 
after Mark, according to which the way which the Son 
of Man must go has already been marked out by the 
Scriptures ; but that thereby the guilt of that man 
through whom He was delivered over to His enemies 
was not removed. The punishment for this was to be so 
terrible, that it would have been better for that man if 
he had never been born. It is a matter of importance 
for the Evangelist to make it prominent that Jesus 
knew His betrayer very well. For when Judas even 25 
ventured to ask if it were he, who was to betray the 
Master, He told him directly that it was. 

The Evangelist reports concerning the Last Supper 26 
of Jesus with His disciples nothing else except the 
institution of the Holy Communion, which he narrates 
in the solemn manner of Mark, and as it was always 
traditionally reported. Jesus took one of the loaves that 
were lying on the table and, with thanksgivings, broke 
it into pieces, and gave these to His disciples to eat. 
And as the housefather during the paschal meal ex- 
plains the different parts of the supper, thus too. He, 
by His explanation of this breaking of the bread, made 
it to be a symbolical picture of that which they would 
in the future receive in connection with it. For as this 
bread had to be broken, so that all could take of it and 
eat, thuf too His earthly body would be destroyed by 
If 225 


blessed, and brake it ; and he gave to the disciples, and said, 
Take, eat ; this is my body. (37) And he took * a cup, and 
gave thanks, and gave to them, saying. Drink ye all of it ; 
(28) for this is my blood of the * covenant, which is poured out 
for many unto remission of sins. (29) But I say unto you, I 
shall not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that 
day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom. 

(30) And when they had sung a hymn, they went out into 
the mount of Olives. 

(31) Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended in 

^ Some ancient authorities read the cup. 
* Many ancient authorities insert new. 

death, so that they all could have a part in it. But 
what this participation in His body that was slain 
would bring to them as a blessing is indicated by the 

27 second part of the rite. For He now a second time 
pronounces a blessing as He takes the cup before He 
gives it to them to drink, and points to the fact that 
the drinking of the red wine in the cup was a symbolical 
picture of the participation every one would have 

28 in His blood. But this blood is the blood of a covenant, 
as, in the establishment of the Old Testament covenant, 
it was only the blood of the atoning sacrifice that made 
it possible for the people to enter into the covenant 
communion with God (cf. Ex. xxiv. 8). Thus, too. His 
blood was to be shed for many, in order to make them 
worthy of the new communion with God which He 
was about to found. With this Jesus brings the meal 
to a close, and tells them that this is to be the parting 

29 supper. He will no more on earth drink of the joy- 
bringing fruit of the vine until He would drink it anew 
at the feast in the completed kingdom of God, the 
blessedness of which is symbolically represented by 

30 this drinking. Then the customary psalm is sung, and 
Jesus goes out with His disciples to the Mount of 

31 Olives. It was on His way to this place that He fore- 
told to them that they would all this night take offense 
at Him ; as it was prophesied in Zech. xiii. 7, that the 



me tliis night : for it is written, ^ I will smite the shepherd, 
and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. (32) But 
after I am raistxl up. I will go before you into Galilee. 
(33) But Peter answered and said unto him. If all shall be 
"otiended in thee. I will never be -offended. (34) Jesus said 
unto him. Verily I say unto thee, that this night, before the 
cock crow, tluni shalt deny me thrice. (35) Peter saith unto 
liim, EwMi if I must die with thee, yet will I not deny thee. 
Likewise also said all the disciples. 

(36) Then cometh Jesus with them unto ^a place called 
Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I 

' Zech. xiii. T. - (Ir. caused to stionble. ^Gr. an enclosed 2:)iccc of ground. 

blow tlnit would strike down the shepherd would also 
scatter the slieep. But when He tells them that He 32 
must, after Ills resurrection, precede them to Galilee, an 
intimation is conveyed in these words that they were 
to come together again there after their dispersion. In 
connection with this the narrative of Mark had men- 
tioned the fact that Jesus had in particular also pre- 
dicted the denial of Peter, who had claimed that even 33 
if all should take offense at Ilim, he certainly would 
not. Then Jesus had declared to him that in this night 3-i 
yet, before the crowing of the cock should announce 
the dawn of morning, he should deny Him not once, 
but again and again. This, however, for the present 35 
had only the effect of making Peter all the more posi- 
tive in claiming that he would be willing to go into 
death Avith Him, l)ut would not deny the Lord ; and 
further, that the other disciples, who did not want to 
be regarded less relial)le, did the same. 

The narrator takes us to Gethsemane. This was, as 36 
is indicated by the name, a quiet and retired place on 
the Mount of Olives where an abandoned oil press still 
stood. At the entrance He tells the disciples to sit 
down, as together with His three confidential pupils He 
intended to go farther into the garden to pray there. 36 



go yonder and pray. (37) And he took with him Peter and 
the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and sore 
troubled. (38) Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding 
sorrowful, even unto death : abide ye here, and watch with 
me. (89) And he went forward a little, and fell on his face, 
and prayed, saying. My Father, if it be possible, let this cup 
pass away from me : nevertheless, not as I will but as thou 
wilt. (40) And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth 
them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, "What, could ye not watch 
with me one hour ? (41) i Watch and pray, that ye enter not 

* Or, Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not. 

37 For now, since His work with His disciples was finished, 
and His own fate was impending, a deep sorrow seized 
Him and anxious unrest in the thought of the 
destiny that was approaching and was known to Him 

38 in all of its details. He did not want to conceal from 
His friends, that He was sorrowful unto death and 
already felt as though death was overtaking Him ; and 
He asked them to remain here to watch with Him. 
Their presence is to be His comfort in the anxiety of 

39 His soul. And yet He had to be alone with the Father ; 
for only after He had withdrawn from these three, 
too. He falls upon His face and turns to Him, who in His 
fatherly love was able to cause this approaching fateful 
event to pass by and spare Him. He still regards it as 
possible, that God may find another way to save mankind 
than through His death. As for the rest, He must be 
content that not His own will shall have its way, but only 

40 the will of God, In fact, Jesus now tries to gain strength 
in His terrible struggle by association with the disciples. 
Bodily weakness and mental exhaustion had over- 
powered them. He awakens them and administers a 

41 mild rebuke to Peter. But in this case, too, it is only 
concern for them that prompts Him ; and He reminds 
them that their profound drowsiness only proves, even 
if the spirit is perfectly willing to fulfil one's duties, 
as it was doubtless the case with them, that the physical 


HA TTIIE TF [ XX^^I, 43-46 

into temptation : the spirit indeed is -svilling, but the flesh is 
weak. (4;)) Again a second time he went away, and pi-ayed, 
saying, My Father, if this cannot pass away, except I drink 
it, thy will be done. (43) And he came again and found them 
sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. (44) And he left them 
again, and went away, and prayed a third time, saying 
again tlie same words. (45) Tlien conieth he to the disciples, 
and saitli unto them, ^ Sleep on now, and take your rest : be- 
hold, the hour is at hand, and tiie Son of man is -betrayed 
into the luuids of sinners. (46) Arise, let us be going : behold, 
he is at hand that - betrayetli me. 

(47) And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, 

' Or, Do (/r' xlt'cp oil, tlieyt. and fake your rest ? 
'See iiiarg'iiial note on eh. 10 4. 

body in its weakness would nevertheless cause men to 
fall. For this reason it was all important, through con- 
stant prayer, to preserve the strength of the soul, which 
is always conscious of its duty, so that in an unguarded 
hour we may not be led into sin. The Evangelist 42 
emphasizes that when Jesus again went away to pray, 
He already took into consideration more distinctly that 
the passing by of the cup could not take place, and now 
directly declared His willingness to submit to the will 
of God. lie wants to show also that prayer gives the 
strength to submit in every respect. "When He returned 43 
to the disciples and again found them sleeping, He is 
convinced that their eyes were closed from profound 
drowsiness. Xow He leaves them without saying a word, 44 
in order again to repeat His prayer. And when He 45 
came for the last time. He knew that it was the un- 
alterable will of the Father to deliver Him over into the 
hand of sinners, and that the hour for this had come. 
Therefore He is willing to give His disciples a short 
rest. He already hears the soldiers coming and asks 45 
the disciples to rise and go to meet the betrayer. 46 

Jesus had heard aright. For while He was yet speak- 47 
ing Judas arrived. When and how he, one of the twelve, 
had left the circle of the disciples, we learn only from 



came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, 
from the chief priests and elders of the people. (48) Now he 
that * betrayed him gave them a sign, saying. Whomsoever I 
shall kiss, that is he : take him. (49) And straightway he 
came to Jesus, and said, Hail, Rabbi ; and 2 kissed him. 
(50) And Jesus said unto him. Friend, do that for which thou 
art come. Then they came and laid hands on Jesus, and took 
him. (51) And behold one of them that were with Jesus 
stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and smote the 

* servant of the high priest, and struck off his ear. (52) Then 
saith Jesus unto him. Put up again thy sword into its place : 
for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. 
(53) Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and 

* See marginal note on ch. x. 4. * Gr. kissed him much. • Qr. bondservant. 

the gospel of St. John. Now he came, sent by the 
heads of the people, with a large crowd. There were 
the Temple guard who, in order to meet any possible 
opposition, had armed themselves with staves ; but as 
we hear from the other gospels, there were also members 
of the regular soldiers. Of the story of the capture of 
Jesus tradition has preserved really only two episodes. 

48 The first is that Judas, approaching Jesus with a 

49 cordial greeting, gives Him a friendly kiss. Of course 
this was recognized as a sign which Judas had given to 
the watch, in order to make Him known who was to be 

60 taken captive. Jesus, however, purposed to show him 
how foolish it was to practice this hypocrisy, as it was 
not His purpose to try to escape being taken captive, 
and He asks him to do what he had come for. ' But his 
voice failed him. He could not speak the awful word, 

51 and Jesus permits Himself to be taken captive. The 
second is, that one of the three, who were with Him, 
took his sword and cut off the ear of the servant of the 

52 high priest, who happened to be present. But Jesus 
rebuked him sharply, reminding him of the fact, that 
all who take the sword deserve to be destroyed by 

53 the sword. He has no need of the assistance of His 



he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels ? 
(54) How then should the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it 
must be ? (55) In that hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are 
ye come out as against a robber with swords and staves to 
seize me ? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and ye took me 
not. (56) But all this is come to pass, that the scriptures of 
the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples left 
him. and fled. 

(57) And they that had taken Jesus led him away to the 
house of Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the 
elders were gathered together. (58) But Peter followed him 

disciples, since His Father could in their place send 
Him just so many legions of angels, as there were in- 
dividuals of them, to help Him, if He were to ask for 
this. But if this were done, then the Scriptures, which 54 
predict His death, would not be fulfilled. Only one 65 
other statement of Jesus has been preserved by tradi- 
tion from the hour of His capture, which is addressed 
not so much to those who take Him prisoner, as to 
those who sent them. Jesus shamed them by showing 
how useless it had been to come to Him, as against a 
robber, with armed men, for He had been in the temple 
daily, sitting there quietly, and they surely had oppor- 
tunities enough to capture Him. Of course they had 56 
not ventured to do so ; but all this was to be the ful- 
filment of a prophecy concerning His capture. The 
narrative closes with the statement, that all the disci- 
ples, including those who were waiting at the entrance 
of Gethsemane, fled, so that the prophecy of xxvi. 31 
was fulfilled. 

In the meanwhile all the other members of the 57 
Sanhedrin had assembled at the palace of the High 
Priest, where all the members of the high priest's 
party leaders had doubtless also been gathered, 
because the business before them now was the legal 
condemnation of Jesus. To this place accordingly the 58 


XXVI, 59-62] WEISS' s comm:entart 

afar off, unto the coxirt of the high priest, and entered in, 
and sat with the officers, to see the end. (59) Now the chief 
priests and the whole council sought false witness against 
Jesus, that they might put him to death ; (60) and they found 
it not, though many false witnesses came. But afterwards 
came two, (61) and said. This man said, I am able to destroy 
the * temple of God, and to build it in three days. (62) And 

* Or, aanctvMry : as in ch. 23. 35 ; 27. 5. 

prisoner is then taken ; and Peter followed Him from a 
distance and succeeded in penetrating the inner court 
of the palace, in order to sit down with the servants, 

59 and there await the result of the court proceeding. A 
beginning was made by hearing the testimony of wit- 
nesses. The Evangelist, who knows that there are 
none who in truth could charge anything criminal 
against Jesus, says that from the outset the accusers 
sought only false testimony, which would prove Him 

60 worthy of death. And even then they prove nothing, 
although there were plenty of false witnesses, for the 
simple reason that nothing of what they said could 
really be proven. Only when at last two appeared, 
whose combined testimony according to Deut. xvii. 6 
was suflBcent proof, they hoped to attain their object. 

61 For the form into which they had perverted the state- 
ment in John ii. 19 attributed a blasphemous arrogance 
to Jesus, which led Him to say that He not only intended 
to destroy the sanctuary of God, but also would erect in 
the shortest period of time, and with ease, one that 
would be a greater. But as Jesus refuses to enter upon 
any further explanation of this statement, of which 
even this court must be able to see that it could not 
have been meant in a literal sense, but for the real un- 
derstanding of which Jesus cannot possibly expect the 
court to have any appreciation, nothing could be accom- 

62 plished even with their charge. The High Priest had 
already risen to ask Jesus if He had nothing in reply 


3IA T THE W [ XXV I, 03-66 

the high priest stood up, and said unto him, Answerest tliou 
nothing ? what is it whicli these witness against thee ? 
(63) But Jesus }ield his peace. And tlie higli priest said unto 
him, I adjure the<' by tlie HviiigGod, tliat tliou tell us whether 
thou art the Christ, the Son of God. (64) Jesus saith unto 
liim, Thou hast said : nevertheless I say unto you, Henceforth 
ye shall see the Son of nuin sitting at the riglit hand of 
Power, and comiiii:; o\\ the clouds of heaven. (G.*)) Then the 
high {iriest rent liis garments, saying. He hath s^wken blas- 
phemy : wliat furtlier need have we of witnesses? behold, 
now ye iiave iieard the blasphemy: (6G) what think ye? 

to this testimony, and on his own part now began the 
examination and adjnivd Him with an oatli to confirm 
as to Ilis claims to the ^lessianic dignity. lie reminds 63 
Him of the living God, who will punish every false 
word, and demands of Him an answer, as to whether 
He is really the prr^mised ]N[«'ssiah, since only He 
who is the vSon of God is called to tliis ofltico. Jesus 
thereupon breaks silence and a)is\vers in the affirmative 
to the question, with the assertion that meets the enquiry 
of the High Priest as with the solemnity of an oath. 
Yet, there is no need of such an oath on His part; for 
from now on, when His death is jireparing the way for 
Him to His heavenly exaltation, they themselves will 
see Him prevailing in the godlike glory of His power, 
which, if chey do not yet understand, will surely be 
clear to them when He returns in the clouds of the 
heavens. "With these wcnxls He has claimed for Him- 64 
self a dignity equal to God, and this from their stand- 
point must be condemned as a manifest blasphemy. 
As a sign of extreme indignation on their account, the 
High Priest rends his clothes, and demands of his fellow 66 
judges, that they render their judgment, which, accord- 
ing to Lev. xxiv. 16 can only be death. Only after 
Jesus has in this way l)een condennied as a crinunal 
worthy of death, does their concealed wrath break forth 



They answered and said, He is ^ worthy of death. (67) Then 
did they spit in his face and buffet him : and some smote him 
* with the palms of their hands, (68) saying, Prophesy unto 
us, thou Christ : who is he that struck thee ? 

(69) Now Peter was sitting without in the court : and a 
maid came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus the 
Galilaean. (70) But he denied before them all saying, I know 
not what thou sayest. (71) And when he was gone out into 
the porch, another maid saw him, and saith unto them that 
were there, This man also was with Jesus of Nazareth. 
(72) And again he denied with an oath, I know not the man. 

* Gr. liable to. * Or. with rods. 

against the rival they have feared so long, and whom 
they now thought they could abuse as they wished. 

67 Besides spitting on the despised criminal, they treat Him 
with the grossest cruelty, and, in addition to this, with 
mockery and vituperation of every kind. He is to 

68 show them the evidences of being the Messiah He claims 
to be, by mentioning the name of the one who had 
struck Him on the cheek, and who naturally was un- 
known to Him. 

69 The narrative continues with the story of Peter in 
the palace of the high priest, in order now to describe 
the denial of the Lord, which occurred while the trial 
was going on. It was here that a maid thought that 
she recognized in Peter a follower of the Galilaean ; 

70 which fact caused him for the first time to deny this 
in the presence of all that were there assembled. At 
the outset it was indeed only a mere excuse, he declaring 
that he did not understand what the maid wanted of 
him. But he nevertheless regarded it as expedient to 
withdraw into the doorway that leads to the outer 

71 court. Here another maid charged him, in the presence 
of the company, with being an associate of the 

72 Nazarene. But he denied for a second time, and with 
an oath explicitly averred, that he did not know the 



(73) And after a little while they that stood by came and said 
to Peter, Of a truth thou also art one of tnem ; for thy speech 
maketh thee known. (74) Then began he to curse and to 
swear, I know not the man. And straightway the cock crew, 
(75) And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, 
Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he 
went out, and wept bitterly. 

XXVII Now when morning was come, all the cliief 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 Pilate the governor. 

man. But those who had heard the maid, after dis- 73 
cussing the matter a little, went to him, and directly 
charged him with being one of those, because his 
Galilsean pronunciation betrayed him. Xow when he 74 
saw that he had been discovered as not only an adherent 
of Jesus but also a liar, he began to wish himself 
accursed if he was not telling the truth, and again swore 
that he did not know the man of whom they were 
speaking. But when at this moment he heard the cock 
crow, Peter thought of the prediction of Jesus xxvi 76 
34. At once it flashed across his mind that he had 
actually denied the Lord, a thing which he then had 
declared to be impossible. He then left the place that 
had become so fateful to him, without awaiting the close 
of the trial, and wept tears of bitter repentance. 

In the meanwhile, with cock's-crow, the dawn of 1 
the morning had come. Now nothing was left but to 
decide how the sentence of the court should be carried 
into execution. It was of course certain that only the 
Roman Proconsul had the right to approve of and 
execute sentences of death; but the point was just this, 
to discover a pretext under which this conviction could 
be secured, since it was evident that he would not on 
purely religious grounds cause Jesus to be put to death. 
After reaching an agreement on this matter, they take 2 



(3) Then Judas, who ^ betrayed hmi, when he saw that he 
was condemned, repented himself, and brought back the 
thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, (4) say- 
ing, I have sinned in that I ' betrayed ^ innocent blood. But 
they said, Wliat is that to us? see thou to it. (5) And he cast 
down the pieces of silver into the sanctuary, and departed ; 
and he went away and hanged himself. (6) And the chief 
priests took the pieces of silver, and said, It is not lawful to 
put them into the * treasury, since it is the price of blood. 

* See marginal note on ch. 10. 4. 

* Many ancient authorities read righteous. 

* Gr. combeinas, i. e. sacred treasury, comp. Mk. vii. 8. 

Him away, and in order to thwart any effort to escape 
they bind Him, and deliver Him over to the governor. 

3 From this Judas knew that He had been convicted, and 
that too to death ; for otherwise the heads of the people 
would themselves have inflicted the punishment. The 
Evangelist accordingly inserts here the story of the 
end of Judas. For whatever may have been his motives 
in betraying Jesus, he had never wished for this 

4 outcome and never expected it. He accordingly takes 
the thirty pieces of silver and gives them back to the 
originators of the conspiracy, he himself declaring it to 
be a sin to have betrayed an innocent man and thus to 
have caused his death. But he was met with chilling 
scorn. He was told that this was none of their busi- 
ness, and that he should see how he made good the 

5 wrong he felt he had done. In despair he rushes into 
the sanctuary, which the priests only were permitted to 
enter, throwing down the money there, in a vain attempt 
to atone for his guilt and remove the curse ; but before 
anybody could compel him to take the money away 
6 again, he rushed out and committed suicide. It is 
highly characteristic that the Pharisees now had legal 
scruples about putting the money, which they them- 
selves had paid as a reward for the betrayal of one who 
was to be put to death, into the Temple treasury, and 



(7) And they took counsel, and bought with them the potter's 
field, to bury strangers in. (8) Wherefore that field was 
called. The field of blood, unto this day. (9) Tlien was ful- 
filled that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet, 
saying, And ' they took th.e thirty pieces of silver, the price 
of him that was priced, -wlioni certain of the children of 
Israel did price; (10) and ^they gave them for the potter's 
field, as the Lord appointed me. 

(11) Now Jesus stood before the governor : and the governor 

' Or, T took. - Or. ichnm they priced on the part of the sons of Israel. 
^ Some ancient authorities read. I took. 

that they prefei'red to use it for pious purposes. They 7 
bought for it a piece of land, belonging to a potter, as a 
burial place for foreign Jews and Jewish pilgrims from 
abroad who came to Jerusalem and happened to die 
there, for which reason this Potter's Field was called a 
" field of blood," and it was still known by this name in 
the days of the Evangelist. He sees in this a fulfilment 9 
of Zech. xi. 13, which passage he, however, misled 
through a certain outward agreement in the accentual 
sound of the names, ascribes to Jeremiah. He finds in 
it the meaning, that He who had been so highly 
estimated by God was sold by the children of Israel 
for the price of thirty pieces of silver, which w^ere set 
upon His head, as also the command of God to give 10 
them for the Potter's Field. 

When Jesus is placed before Pilate we see from his 11 
first question very clearly, how it had been decided in 
the final meeting of the Jewish council to secure the 
confirmation and execution of the sentence of death 
through the governor. In accordance with the popular 
conception of a purely political Messiah, they had inter- 
preted the claims of Jesus to the Messianic dignity in 
this way, that He had been striving to secure the king- 
dom of Israel, and was accordingly guilty of high treason. 
Now it would not be clear why Pilate, after Jesus had 
given an affirmative answer to the question as formu- 



asked him, saying, Art thou the King of the Jews? And 
Jesus said unto him, Thou sayest. (12) And when he was 
accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing, 
(13) Then saith Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many 
things tliey witness against thee? (14) And he gave him no 
answer, not even to one word : insomuch that the governor 
marvelled greatly. (15) Now at ^ the feast the governor was 
wont to release unto the multitude one prisoner, whom they 
would. (16) And they had then a notable prisoner, called 

* Or, o feast. 

lated by the hierarchical authorities, did not condemn 
Him, but declared Him innocent, and finallj'^ even 
thought of setting Him free, if we did not know from 
the gospel of John, that Pilate did this only after he 
had inquired of Jesus in which sense He claimed to be 
12 the King of the Jews. We can understand full well 
why He does not reply to the other charges of Pilate, 
even after being admonished repeatedly to do so, 
because the matter at issue was purely religious 
in character, and involved questions which Pilate 

14 could not possibly understand or judge of. The sur- 
prise felt by Pilate at this silence, here so strongly 
emphasized, could as a matter of fact only confirm him 
in the opinion, that the matter at issue was a purely 
religious difference concerning which Jesus did not feel 
called upon to defend Himself before the governor. 

15 Now it was a custom of those days that the Roman 
government, at the Paschal festival, which was the 
national independence day and was celebrated by the 
Jews in remembrance of their delivery from bondage 
in Egypt, to set a prisoner free, and even that one 

16 whom the people themselves selected. At that time 
there was a certain famous prisoner on hand, and Pilate 
asked the people who had collected around him for 
their wishes in regard to the Paschal pardon, in order 
that he might set free either this prisoner or Jesus, 


JL I TTJIB W [ XXVII, 1 7-21 

Barabbas. (17) Wlien therefore they were gathered together, 
Pilate said unto them, Whom will ye that I release unto you ? 
Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ? (18) For he knew 
that for envy they luul delivered him up. (19) And while he 
was sitting on tlie judgment-seat, his wife sent unto him, say- 
ing. Have thou nothing to do with that righteous man ; for I 
have suffered many tilings this day in a dream because of him. 
C^O) Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the 
nuiltitudes tliat they should ask for Barabbas, and destroy 
Jesus. (21) But the governor answered and said unto them, 

who had been l)y the people themselves called the Mes- 
siah, and accordingly enjoyed a high honor. He 18 
expected as a self-evident matter, that they would cer- 
tainly choose the latter, since it was perfectly clear 
to the governor that the leaders had sought to kill 
Him only from jealousy, on account of His popularity. 
The situation was complicated by another circum- 19 
stance. Just as he was sitting down in his oflficial chair 
in order to hear the wishes of the people, his wife sent 
him word not to lay violent hands on this innocent 
man, the mere thought of which had troubled her 
grievously in a dream. There certainly had been 
enough of talk in Jerusalem, especially during the past 
weeks, of this Jesus to arouse the interest of the wife of 
Pilate also in this remarkable personage ; and the fear 
of the punishment of tlie gods against one who should 
injure an innocent person, was instinctive in every 
stern Roman. In the meanwhile the leaders of the 20 
hierarchy had made excellent use of the time given the 
people for the settlement of their decision, to persuade 
them, who always recognized these men as their 
authoritative guides, to ask for the liberation of Barab- 
bas and the execution of Jesus. For that they had 21 
only acted under the instigation of their leaders, 
appears from the fact that in response to the repeated 
questions of Pilate, they not only demanded the lib- 



Which of the two will ye that I release unto you ? And they 
said, Barabbas. (22) Pilate saith unto them, What then shall 
I do unto Jesus who is called Christ ? They all say, Let him 
be crucified. (23) And he said. Why, what evil hath he 
done? But they cried out exceedingly, saying. Let him be 
crucified. (24) So when Pilate saw that he prevailed nothing, 
but rather that a tumult was arising, he took water, and 
washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent 
1 of the blood of this righteous man; see ye fo it. (25) And 
all the people answered and said, His blood he on us, and on 
our children. (26) Then released he unto them Barabbas ; but 
Jesus he scourged and delivered to be crucified. 

* Some ancient authorities read of this blood : see ye etc. 

eration of Barabbas, but also when he asked them 
what he should do to the honored Jesus, required 
His crucifixion; for the disappointment of the high 
hopes kindled as He entered Jerusalem amid the 
spreading of palms could not have turned their enthu- 
siasm for Jesus into such bitterness as to give them the 
least reason for demanding His death, much less His cru- 
cifixion. But after they had once decided to comply 
with the wishes of the leaders, for whom it was a mat- 
ter of the greatest importance to have the execution 
appear as a purely Roman act, they could not be 
moved by any word of Pilate in favor of His innocence ; 

23 but the fanatic crowd demanded with constantly 

24 increasing passion that Jesus should be crucified. But 
when Pilate saw that the popular tumult was becom- 
ing more dangerous, he, by a symbolical act, perfectly 
intelligible to all, declared that he, at least, must 
decline to accept any guilt in connection with the exe- 
cution they demanded; and that they alone were 

25 responsible. But the people in their fury cried out as 
though they wanted to call down upon themselves a 
fulfilment of the words of Jesus, xxiii. 35, 36, that if 
the crucifixion of Jesus was a Avrong, then they and 

26 their children would gladly atone for it. In this way 




(27) Then the soldiers of the goveruor took Jesus into the 
*Pra?toriuin, and gathered unto him the whole ^ band. 

(28) And they ^ stripped him, and put on liim a scarlet robe. 

(29) And they platted a crown of thorns and put it upon his 
head, and a reed in his right hand ; and they kneeled down 
before liini, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews ! 

(30) And tiioy spat upon liim. and took the reed and smote 

1 Or. piilnrv See Mk. ].\ IG. = Or, cohort. 

^ Some ancient authorities read clothed. 

it happened that the governor excused in his own eyes 
his eonteni}*til)le weakne-ss, and while he both set free 
Barabbas and condennied Jesus to death, caused the 
execution of this terrible sentence to be preceded by 
the infliction of the equally terrible scourging, in 
accordance with tlie Roman criminal code. The Evan- 
gelist has here reached tlie climax of his description, as 
it was his purpose to prove that the people, through 
the deception of their leaders, were alone to blame that 
tlie Messiah and Saviour wlio had been sent to them and 
in every respect had fullllled the prophecies of the 
Old Testament, had now become their Judge, and the 
agent to them of divine vengeance. 

In the castle in which the governor lived wdien he 27 
stayed in Jerusalem, and wliere the cohort that consti- 
tuted the garrison stationed in the city had their bar- 
racks, the soldiers who had been scourging Jesus now 
assembled tlie entire troop, in order rudely to mock 
the criminal condemned to the most disgraceful death. 
This was directed rather against the hated Jewish people 28 
than against Him ; for when they, in order to scourge 29 
Ilim, had taken Ilis garments olf and put upon 
Ilim a purple cloak, and woven a crown of thorns, and 
put a reed into His hands as a scepter, this was nothing 
but ridiculing the people whoso king they were in a 
mocking manner saluting. I'hen again, the intense dis- 30 
gust of the Roman soldiers for the Jewish people was 
expressed in the act of spitting on their king and 
16 241 


him on the head. (31) And when they had mocked him, they 
took off from him the robe, and put on him his garments, and 
led him away to crucify him. 

(32) And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, 
Simon by name : him they ^ compelled to go with them, that 
he might bear his cross. 

(33) And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, 
that is to say, The place of a skuU, (34) they gave him wine 
to drink mingled with gall : and when he had tasted it, he 
would not drink. (35) And when they had crucified him, 
they parted his garments among them, casting lots ; (36) and 

* Gr. impressed. 

31 striking Him upon His head with His own scepter. The 
Evangelist, however, regards this mockery expressly as 
a prelude to the crucifixion, to which they, after hav- 

32 ing restored to Jesus His clothing, led Him away. How 
exhausted Jesus now was, as the result of the scourg- 
ing and mocking, appears from this, that when, as was 
always the case with the criminals. He was to carry His 
cross to the place of crucifixion. He had to decline 
this, and they then in an arbitrary manner compelled 
the first foreign Jew whom they happened to meet, 

33 to carry it for Him. The name of this place of cruci- 
fixion signifies, as the Evangelist states, the place of 
the skull, i. e., an elevation that had the appearance of 
a skull. The drink that was offered to Jesus before 
the execution is regarded by the Evangelist as a mock- 
ing act, after the manner of Ps. Ixix. 92, for which 

34 reason he explains that Jesus refused to accept it. He 
avoids giving the terrible details of the act of cruci- 

35 fixion, and only says that since the criminal was in 
these cases deprived of his clothing, the soldiers 

36 divided His garments among themselves by lot before 
they sat down to guard the cross. The reference men- 
tioned by John xix. 24, and Ps. xxii. 19, as found, too, in 
Luke, does not belong to the original text. What now 
follows describes how the crucified Lord was yet mocked 



they sat and watched him there. (37) And they set up over 
his head his accnisatiou written, This is Jesus the King of 
THE Jews. (38) Tlien are there crucified with him two rob- 
bers, cue on the right hand and one on the left. (39) And 
they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, 
(40) and saying. Thou tli?/: destroyest the ^ temple, and 
buildst it in tliree days, save tliyself : if thou art tlie Son of 
God, come down from the cross, (41) In like manner also, 
tlie chief priests mocking liim, witli the scribes and elders, 
said, (4',') He saved others; -himself he cannot save. He is 
the King of Israel ; let him now come down from the cross, 
and we will believe on iiim. (43) He trusteth on God ; let liim 
deliver him now, if he desireth lum : for he said, I am the Son 
of God, (44) And the robbers also that were crucified with 
him cast upon him the same reproach. 

' Or, sanctuarij. ' Or, c((n he not save himself ? 

on all sides. Tlie very tablet that was placed over the 37 
cross to mark the guilt of the criminal, the Evangelist 
regards as mockery, since the one so disgracefully put 
to death here upon the cross is designated as the King 
of the Jews, as also the fact that two robbers were cru- 38 
cified with Ilim, and His being placed between them, 
was to indicate that lie was one of them. The idlers 39 
wh(j passed by the cross ridiculed Him by shaking 
their heads after the manner described in Ps. xxii. 8, 
at Ilim who had tried to do such great things and now, 40 
notwithstanding that He claimed to be the Son of God, 
could not deliver Himself from the cross. Especially 41 
the leaders of the peo^jle of all classes are in their 
maliciousness enjoying to their heai'ts' content the suc- 
cess of their work and mock Him, the promised King 
of Israel, who cannot save Himself, and whom they 
now offer to believe in if He Avill descend from the 
cross. In this way Ps. xxii. 9, is now being entirely 
fulfilled, the statement of which, if He is really the Sou 
of God, certainly would prove true. Finally, even the 44 
robbers crucified with Him consider Him a worthy 
object of their sport and they mock Him. 



(45) Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all 
the ^ land until the ninth hour. (46) And about the ninth 
hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ^Eli, Eli, lama 
sabaclithani? that is. My God, my God, *why hast tliou for- 
saken me ? (47) And some of them that stood there, when 
they heard it, said. This man calleth Elijah. (48) And 
straightway one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it 
with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink. 

* Or, earth. * Ps. xxii. 1. 

* Or, vjhy didst thou forsake me f 

45 In a solemn manner the narrative proceeds to detail 
how in the quarter of the day that preceded the death 
of Jesus, thick darkness spread over the whole earth. 
It seemed as though the sun wanted to hide its face 
in the presence of the terrible scene that was being 

46 enacted on Golgotha. For toward three o'clock in the 
afternoon the last cry of lament from the lips of the 
Saviour resounded, which already the oldest tradition 
has preserved in the words of the Palestinian dialect 
which Jesus spoke. These were the opening words of 
Ps. xxii. in which He laments that God has not come 
to His assistance, but has deserted Him in His last 
suffering. It is true that He has submitted to the will 
of the Father, since no other way of accomplishing the 
work of redemption could be found. But now He was 
compelled to drink the cup to the dregs and endure all the 

47 torture of being forsaken by God. We know why tradi- 
tion has preserved these words as they originally sounded. 
For some, who stood beneath the cross, thought that He 
had been crying for the great miracle-worker of the Old 
Testament, namely, Elijah. And there was really found 
a man among them with enough of pity to desire to re- 

48 lieve the sufferer in His extreme torture. It is described 
in detail how this man at once ran and filled a sponge with 
wine vinegar, the usual drink of the soldiers, which 
the military guards carried with them, and putting this 


3IA T TIIEW [XXVII, 49-54 

(49) And the rest said, Let be ; let us see whetlier Elijali 
Cometh to save him.^ (.lO) And Jesus cried again with a loud 
voice, and yielded up his spirit. (51) And behold, the veil of 
the * temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom ; and 
the earth did quake ; and the rocks were rent : (5'2) and the 
tombs were opened ; and many bodies of the saints tliat had 
fallen asleep were raised ; (53) and coming forth out of the 
tombs after his resurrection tliey entered into the holy city 
and appeared unto many. (54) Now the centurion, and they 

' Many ancient authorities add And another took a spear and pierced his 
side, and there came out water and blood. See Jn. 19. 34. ' Or, sanctuary. 

upon a staff, lifted it up to the lips of the crucified. The 49 
others, however, moekingl}' cried out to hiiu, not to antici- 
pate the assistance of Elijah, so that they could see if the 
latter would realh' come to help the dying man. Then 50 
again the voice of Jesus resounded in a loud cry with 
which Pie yielded up His spirit. The Gospel thoughtfully 
dwells on this moment. In the rending of the veil of 51 
the temple, which separated the Holy of Holies from the 
Holy place, it sees a sign tliat henceforth those who haA'e 
been absolved by the death of Jesus, have now free access 
to the throne of God's grace (cf . Ilel). x. 19, 20). But still 
more : An earthquake, which splits the rocks, opens up 52 
the tombs, so that many of the saints of the Old 
Covenant, like Jesus Himself, could be awakened 
and go bodily into the heavenly life. These could now, 53 
after their resurrection, as was true of Jesus, appear to 
many, in order to bring them the news that they too 
had been delivered by the death of Jesus, that the seal 
of the tombs had been broken, in order to bring resur- 
rection to eteriVcil life to all. At last even tlie centurion 54 
who had command of tlie guard watching t!ie crucifixion, 
felt compelled to testify as to who He was that was 
dying on the Cross. For when tliey saw, what they could 
perceive from these signs, especially tlie earthquake, they 
were very much affrighted, because they now knew tliat 
He whom they had crucified, was no less than the Sou 



that were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earth- 
quake, and the things that wore done, feared exceedingly, 
saying. Truly this was ^ the Son of God. (55) And many 
women were there beholding from afar, who had followed 
Jesus from Galilee, ministering unto him : (56) among whom 
was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of ^ James and 
Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 

(57) And when even was come, there came a rich man from 
Arimathsea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' dis- 
ciple : (58) this man went to Pilate, and asked for the body of 
Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up. (59) And 

Or, a son of Ood. * Or, Jacob. 

of God, as was intimated by the superhuman great- 
55 ness of Jesus and the name which He had claimed. In 
addition to them the Evangelist mentions a number of 
women who had accompanied Jesus on His journey from 
Galilee to Jerusalem, in order to minister to Him here 
66 as they had done there. Tradition has preserved the 
names of three of them, who from a distance watched 
the crucifixion. These were. Mary, who from her 
birthplace Magdala, was called Magdalene, and another 
Mary, who is called the mother of two men prominent 
in the earliest Church, possibly even of two apostles, 
since Joses can easily have been the proper name of 
the twin brother of Matthew (cf. x. 3). Finally the 
mother of the sons of Zebedee is mentioned, whom we 
became acquainted with in xx, 20. 

57 But when it was evening there came yet another per- 
son to the place of crucifixion, namely, a wealthy man 
from Ramathaim, the birthplace of Samuel. It was prob- 
ably his object to convince himself that Jesus, whose 
disciple he was in the wider sense of the term, was really 

58 dead, and then to provide for Him an honorable burial. 
For this reason he asked Pilate for the body of Jesus, 
and the latter gave orders that it should be delivered to 
him. Here it is presupposed that the soldiers had taken 

59 the body down from the cross. Joseph then took pos- 


31A TTIIE W [ XXVII, 60-65 

Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 
(60) and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out 
in the rock : and lie rolled a great stone to the door of the 
tomb, and departed. (61) And Mary Magdalene was there, 
and the other Maiy, sitting over against the sepulchre. 

(62) Nosv on the morrow, which is the day after the Prep- 
aration, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gatliered 
together unto Pilate, (63) saying, Sir, we remember tliat that 
deceiver said while he was yet alive, After three days I rise 
again. (64) Command therefore that the sepulchre be made 
sure until the third day, lest haply his disciples come and 
steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from 
the dead : and the last error will be worse than the first. 
(65) Pilate said unto them, ^ Ye have a guard : go, 2 make it as 

'Or, Take a gtiard. ^Gr. make it sure, as ye know. 

session of the l)ody, and wrapped it in bands of pure linen 
Then he buried it in his own rocky tomb, which had 60 
not yet been used, and rolled a heavy stone in front of the 
entrance to protect it against wild animals. When he 
had completed his work, he went away. But the sacred 
tomb was not to remain without its guards. For the 61 
two Marys did not leave it after the burial, but sat op- 
posite it, in deep sorrow. But the grave was to have 
guards of an altogether different kind. For on the next 62 
day, which is here expressly called tlie day after the prep- 
aration for the festival, and hence was the great first day 
of the Paschal celebration, the high priests and the most 
bitter enemies of Jesus, the Pharisees, came to Pilate in 
great numbers and asked him to have the tomb carefully 
watched. They claimed to remember that this deceiver, C3 
during His lifetime, had spoken of His resurrection after 
three days. It would accordingly be an easy thing 04 
for His disciples to steal His body and by claiming that 
He had risen after three days, mislead the people even 
more than Jesus Himself had done. Pilate furnished 65 
them with a guard but left it to them to make all pos- 
sible arrangements to have the tomb carefully watched. 



sure as ye can. (66) So they went, and made the sepulchre 
sure, sealing the stone, the guard being with them. 
XXVIII Now late on the sabbath day, as it began to dawn 
toward the first day of the week, came Mary Mag- 
dalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (2) And be 
hold, there was a great earthquake ; for an angel of the Lord 
descended from heaven, and came and rolled away the stone, 
and sat upon it. (3) His appearance was as lightning, and his 
raiment white as snow : (4) and for fear of him the watchers 
did quake, and became as dead men. (5) And the angel 
answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye ; for I know 
that ye seek Jesus, who hath beeu crucified, (6) He is not 
here ; for he is risen, even as he said. Come, see the place 
1 where the Lord lay. (7) And go quickly, and tell his disci- 
ples. He is risen from the dead ; and lo, he goeth before you 
into Galilee ; there shall ye see him : lo, I have told you. 

* Many ancient authorities read where he lay. 

66 This they did by sealing the stone and protecting 
the seal against any possible damage on the part of the 

1 The conclusion of the gospel opens with the story of 
Easter morning. The Evangelist says it was the dawn 
of the first day of the week, after the close of the Sab- 
bath. Again the two Marys came to look at the grave, 

2 They now became witnesses, how with a terrible earth- 

3 quake an angel came down from heaven in snow-white 
garments, with a countenance shining like lightning. 
He rolls the stone away and sits down on it as the 

4 heavenly guardian of the tomb ; for the human guard, 
trembling with fear at the earthquake, had fallen down 

5 at his coming and lay there as if dead. But to the 
women he says that they need not fear, for he knew that 

6 they had only come to seek Him that was crucified. 
But He is not here, but has risen, in accordance with the 

7 promise. But the angel does not wait for them to follow 
his invitation to see for themselves that the tomb is 
empty, but orders them to hasten and notify the disciples 
of the resurrection of Jesus, and tell them to go to Gal- 


JIA T THE W [ XX\' III, 8-U 

(8) And they departed quickly from the tomb ^vith fear and 
great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. (9) And be- 
hold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and 
took hold of his feet, and i \vorship2:)ed him. (10) Then saith 
Jesus unto them. Fear not : go tell my brethren that they de- 
part into Galilee, and there shall they see me. 

(11) Now while they were going, behold, some of the guard 
came into the city, and told unto the chief priests all the 
tilings that were come to pass. (12) And when they were 
assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave 
much money unto the soldiers, (13) saying, Say ye, His dis- 
ciples came by nig'it, and stole him away while we slept. 
(1-1) And if this ^come to the governor's ears, we will persuade 

^ S'-'e mai'Lcinal note on ch. 'I 2. 

- Or, come to a hearing before the governor. 

ilee wliere He would see them. ITis vrovd should be a 
sufficient guarantee for them. Still, hesitating l)et^yeen 8 
fear and great joy, the women at once start in order to 
bring the disciples the message of the angel. But l)y a 
solemn repetition of these words the Evangelist draws 
attention to the fact, that while yet on the way the good 
news is confirmed for them. For Jesus Himself meets 9 
and greets them, so that they cast themselves down be- 
fore Him in the awe of deepest reverence, daring only to 
touch His feet. In order to remove all their fears Jesus 10 
names the disciples to whom He sends them with the 
message of ITis resurrection, calling them His brethren. 
He, too, repeats the word, that they are to go to Galilee, 
where He will meet them. 

But now comes the contrast to this picture. Even be- 
fore the disciples hear the news, it has come to the ears 
of tlie high priests. For while the 'women are still on 11 
the way, some of the watch appear, after they liave re- 
covered from their fright, and go to the high priests, in 
order to rejjort to them. These, however, after they 12 
have held a consultation with the other members of the 
Sanhedrin, ])ribe the soldiers, to say that the disciples 13 
had taken the body while the guard was asleep. If the 14 



him, and rid you of care. (12) So they took the money, and 
did as they were taught : and this saying was spread abroad 
among the Jews, and continueth vmtil this day. 

(16) But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the 
mountain where Jesus had appointed them. (17) And when 
they saw him, they * worshipped him; but some doubted. 
(18) And Jesus came to them and spako unto them, saying, 
All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. 

'See marginal note on ch. ii. 2. 

governor should hear of it, they would be able to quiet 
him, and to see that the soldiers suffered no harm. The 
intense indignation of the Evangelist on account of this 
contemptible intrigue on the part of the leaders of the 
people, by which they sought to destroy the effect of 
the news of Jesus' resurrection, is clearly discernible 

15 in the concluding words of the episode. The bribed sol- 
diers did as they were taught, and the story still was 
circulated among the unbelieving Jews concerning the 
stealing of the body of Jesus, which had first been 
brought forth by the lies of the hierarchical party, down 
to the days of the Evangelist. This leads to the conclud- 
ing words of Jesus, which only draw the necessary 
conclusion from the preceding. 

16 In obedience to the command of Jesus, the eleven go 
to Galilee, and there they gather on the hill where Jesus 
had once taught them how the law of the Old Testament 
was to be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. Here Jesus 
appears to them, as He had promised, and we read what 

17 occurred when ever He appeared. The most of the dis- 
ciples fall down in reverence before Him, but there are 

18 always a few who doubt. He then appeared to them in 
the body and took away from them all doubt. But He 
is not the same that He was when walking upon the 
earth ; but it is He who has been exalted to the heavens. 
He has not ascended the throne of His fathers in the 
midst of His people, who, misled by their chiefs, had 



[XXVIII, 19-20 

(19) Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, 
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of 
the Holy Spirit : (20) teaching tliem to observe all things 
whatsoever I commanded you : and lo, I am with you i always, 
even unto ^ the end of the world. 

*Gr, all the days. 

* Or, the consummation of the age. 

rejected Him, but it was the throne of the world, upon 
which at the right hand of God, all the power of heaven 
and of earth had been given to Him. In the fulness of 19 
His divine glory He now gives them His last commands, 
He no longer sends them, as He did before, to the lost 
sheep of the house of Israel, but to all peoples. These 
they are to make His disciples, but these not to be received 
into the national organization of Israel through circum- 
cision, but taken into the communion of the new con- 
gregation of disciples by baptism into Him, who is now 
called the Father, because He has sent the Son, and 
through the greatest gift of the time of redemption, 
the Holy Spirit, has revealed His will to them. They 20 
shall no longer teach the new congregation to fulfil the 
divine commands of the Old Testament, but shall instruct 
them to do all the things that He had commanded them 
to do and only thereby in reality to fulfil the will of God 
completely. God does not any longer make His dwelling 
place in the national congregation of Israel, as He had 
promised the fathers ; but Jesus, in whom God Himself 
had appeared, promises His disciples His gracious pres- 
ence to the end of the world. These are the last words 
of Jesus, which briefly sum up the whole doctrine of 
our gospel. 



J The beginning of the ^ gospel of Jesus Christ, ^ the Son of God. 
(2) Even as it is written *in Isaiah the prophet. 
* Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, 
Who shall prepare thy way ; 

* Or, good tidings : and so elsewhere. 

*Some ancient authorities omit t?ie Son of God. 

* Some ancient authorities read in the prophets. * Mai. iii. 1. 

1 The shape and manner in which this gospel begins 
is only the form in which it receives a superscription 
which declares what its contents shall be, namely 
the joyful message concerning Jesus, who in the 
congregation is called the Messiah, or the Son of God. 
Its purpose is to strengthen the faith, that this Jesus 
Christ, of whom it speaks is really the chosen well be- 
loved of God, through whom He has promised to bring 

2 perfect salvation. The fact that this message, however, 
begins with John, is explained by Mark, to whom trust- 
worthy tradition ascribes this Gospel, by this, that with 
the Baptist the promise of the time of salvation begins, 
as is proved by the prophecy of Isaiah (xl. 3), which 

3 was generally applied to John (cf. Matth. iii. 3). But 
he places ahead of this the passage of Mai. iii., applied 
by Jesus Himself to John (cf. Matth. xi. 70), without 
taking into consideration that this comes from another 
prophet, because in it God in a direct manner promises 
that Forerunner, whom Isaiah calls the one crying in 

4 the desert. His object was only to show how exactly 
these words had been fulfilled in John, generally called 
the Baptist, in accordance with his well known ministry. 
For he began his activity in the southern districts of 


MAKK [I, 1-9 

1 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 

Make ye ready tlie way of the Lord, 

Make his paths straight ; 
(4) John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached 
the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins. (5) And 
there went out unto him all the country of Judaea, and all they 
of Jerusalem ; and they were baptized of him in the river 
Jordan, confessing their sins. (6) And John was clothed with 
camel's hair, and had a leathern girdle about his loins, and did 
eat locusts and wild honey. (7) And he preached, saying, 
There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the latchet 
of whose shoes I am not * worthy to stoop down and unloose. 
(8) I baptized you *in water ; but he shall baptize you «in the 
Holy Spirit, 

(9) And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from 

» Is. xl. 3. » Gr. sufficient. » Or, with. 

the Jordan valley, which really consists of steppes, and 
with the voice of a herald preached a baptism which in 
a typical manner sealed the change of heart demanded 
by him, and thereby, as also by the forgiveness of sin 
connected with it, was to make it possible for the com- 
ing Messiah to bring salvation to His people. But in 5 
order to show how in reality he thereby did prepare the 
way for the Messiah, Mark describes how the whole 
populace of the province of Judea and of the capital city 
flocked out to him and willingly submitted to his teach- 
ings, as we read in Matth. iii. 5-6, and then describes the 6 
Baptist himself, how he was clothed in camel hair rai- 
ment and ate only the meager food of the desert (cf. 
Matth. iii. 4) and pointed to the greater One, who was 
to come after him. In still stronger terms than the 
older tradition (cf. Matth. iii. 11) Mark pictures the 7 
humility of the Baptist before Him, before whom he was 
not worthy to bend down and loose the strings of His 
sandals, for he had baptized only with water, but the 
Other was to baptize with the Holy Ghost. Among 9 
those who then came to the Baptist to be baptized was 
Jesus of Nazareth in Galilee. But in this case the bap- 



Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John i in the Jordan. 
(10) And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw 
the heavens rent asunder, and the Spirit as a dove descending 
upon him : (11) and a voice came out of the heavens, Thou art 
my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. 

(12) And straightway the Spirit driveth him forth into the 
wilderness. (13) And he was in the wilderness forty days 
tempted of Satan ; and he was with the wild beasts ; and the 
angels ministered unto him. 

(14) Now after John was delivered up, Jesus came into 
Galilee, preaching the ^ gospel of God, (15) and saying. The 

* Gr. into. * Or, good tidings : and so elsewhere. 

tism of water was at once accompanied by the baptism 

10 of the spirit promised for the time of redemption. For 
Jesus sees, as soon as He comes out of the water, that 
out of the heavens, which as it were split asunder above 

11 Him, a dove descend and hears a voice from heaven de- 
claring Him to be the beloved Son in whom God has 

12 good pleasure (cf. Matth, iii. 16-17). The first thing, 
however, to which the spirit impels Him is to go into 

13 the desert in order to stand the Messiah test. For 
in the forty days which He spent there. He was tempted 
by the Devil, as already told by the oldest tradition, 
(Matth. iv. 1-10) ; and that He came forth victorious 
is clear from the fact that in the desert there, where 
there were no human beings and only the wild beasts 
were around him, God sends to Him as a mark of His 
abiding good pleasure the angels to serve Him. This 
Son of Man, so declared to be by the testimony of the 
Baptist, His Forerunner and anointed as such in His 
baptism and now approved as such in the temptation, is 
the subject of the joyful message which the present book 
is to report. 

14 The first part of the gospel gives us a picture of the 
earliest activity of Jesus, at a time when He was still 
received everywhere with unbounded enthusiasm. 

15 Mark formulates more accurately than is done by Matth. 


MARK [I, 16-19 

time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand : repent 
ye, and believe in the ^gospel. 

(16) And passing along by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon 
and Andrew the brother of Simon casting a net in the sea ; 
for they were fishers. (17) And Jesus said unto them, Come 
ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. 
(18) And straightway they left the nets, and followed him. 
''19) And going on a little further, he saw ^ James the son of 

* Or, good tidings : and so elsewhere. - Or, Jacob. 

iv. 17 the glad message which God has sent out by 
His Messiah, when the latter, after John had been taken 
captive, begins His activity in Galilee. He announces 
that the time which had to elapse according to the coun- 
sel of God before the promises could be fulfilled, had 
now passed by, and that accordingly the kingdom of 
God in wliich redemption was to be realized is at hand ; 
therefore He appeals for a change of heart without 
which it would be impossible to partake of this salvation, 
and demands at the same time, as the basis of that 
joyful message which He brings, faith that in Him and 
with Him salvation has come. Here we learn why the 16 
narrative of the beginning of Jesus' activity opens 
with the call of Simon, since according to trustworthy 
tradition, Mark wrote his gospel substantially on the 
basis of the reports he received from Peter, and for 
this reason begins at tlie point where the latter be- 
comes a prominent companion of Jesus. The call of 
Peter, whom ^Nlark intentionally yet calls by his origi- 
nal name, is the real kernel of the story that now fol- 
lows of the first call extended to the disciples, which 
we already read in Matth. iv. 18-'2-2; for which reason 
Andrew, who was called at the same time?, is said to be the 
brother of Peter. Still more plainly is it here empha- 17 
sized that Jesus did not at this time call them to be 
fishers of men, but promised that He would train 
them to be such on their becoming His followers. Here 19 



Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat 
mending the nets. (20) And straightway he called them : 
and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired 
servants, and went after him. 

(21) And they go into Capernaum ; and straightway on the 
sabbath day he entered into the synagogue and taught. 
(22) And they were astonished at his teaching : for he taught 
them as having authority, and not as the scribes. (23) And 
straightway there was in their synagogue a man with an un- 
clean spirit ; and he cried out, (24) saying, What have we to 
do with thee, Jesus thou Nazarene ? art thou come to destroy 
us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. 
(25) And Jesus rebuked ^him, saying. Hold thy peace, and 

1 Or, it. 

too it becomes clear, as something long ago agreed upon, 
that the sons of Zebedee are to follow this call at once ; and 

20 it is now explained how they happened to do this, since 
not only their father but also the fishing servants, who 
were in his pay, remained behind, and hence the father 

21 could dispense with his sons' services. With the disciples 
thus gained Jesus goes to Capernaum, and as soon as 
the sabbath gives Him the opportunity to do so, visits the 

22 synagogue, in order to teach there. And here it is that 
Mark takes occasion to picture the impression which 
His teaching made in comparison with the scribes, who 
were accustomed to teach there (cf. Matt, vii, 28-29). 

23 The narrator emphasizes the fact that Jesus at once 
caused those present to be filled with still greater 

24 amazement by expelling a devil. For there happened 
to be in the synagogue at that moment a man who was 
entirely in the power of an evil spirit, and under the 
influence of this spirit, he cried out in the name of all 
the evil spirits, that they would have nothing to do with 
Jesus, who had come to destroy them, since he recog- 
nizes Him to be the Holy One of God, i. e. the one dedi- 

25 cated to be the Messiah. When Jesus commanded him 
with threatening words to keep sUent and to go out, it 


MARK I, 27-29 

come out of him. (26) And the unclean spirit, * tearing him 
and crying witli a loud voice, came out of him. (27) And 
they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among 
themselves, saying. What is this ? a new teaching ! with 
authority he commandeth even the unclean spirits, and they 
obey him. (38) And the report of him went out straightway 
everywhere into all the region of Galilee round about. 

(29) And straightway, * when they were come out of the 
synagogue, the}' came into the house of Simon and Andrew, 
with - James and John. (30) Now Simon's wife's mother lay 

1 Or, convulsing, 

-Some aucieat authorities re^A ichenhe was come out of the synagogue, 
he came etc. 
' Or, Jacob. 

was possible to see in tlie tortured convulsions into 
which the unfortunate man was thrown that the evil 
spirit was putting forth his last efforts, Ly throwing him 
hither and thither as with a loud cry he left his victim. 
At this the amazement of the people knew no bounds, 27 
so that they began to discuss in a lively manner what 
all this meant. For His teaching was accompanied by 
the exhibition of a power never before shown, and by a 
word of command which even the evil spirits obeyed. 
And soon throughout the neighborhood of the city was 
told the story of all Jesus had done in the synagogue. 

Immediately after the service in the synagogue, Jesus 29 
pays his first visit to the home of Simon ; and now we 
understand why Mark lingers so long upon the details 
of this day in Capernaum, concerning which Peter no 
doubt often spoke with fond recollection. As soon as 
Jesus, in company with the two sons of Zel^edee, enters 
the house of the two other brothers, who had preceded 
them, they tell Him of the mother-in-law of Simon, who 
was the housekeeper there, and informed Him that she 
was sick of a fever. This sounds like an excuse for the 
fact that the house did not appear more ready to receive 
a guest, for it cannot be thought possible that it was their 
purpose to make use of the miracle-working power of 
the Master which they had just witnessed for their little 
17 257 

1,31-33] W^JIS^'^S COMMENTARY 

sick of a fever ; and straightway they tell him of her: 
(31) and he came and took lier by the hand, and raised her 
up ; and the fever left her, and she ministered unto them. 

(32) And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto 
him all that were sick, and them that were ^ possessed with 
demons. (33) And all the city was gathered together at the 
door. (34) And he healed many that were sick with divers 

*Or, demoniacs. 

31 domestic troubles. He accordingly of Himself ap- 
proaches the sick bed, and taking her by the hand raises 
her up. That the fever thereby completely left her, is 
attested by the fact, that she at once ministers to Him 

32 and His companions. Here it first becomes clear, what 
we also read in Matth. viii, 14, sqq., that only during the 
evening, and that too after the sun had set, did they begin 
to bring all kinds of sick persons and demoniacs to Him. 
This happened on the sabbath, on which before this 
the law of sabbath rest for all had prevented them from 
bringing the sick to be healed. It was, too, on the sabbath 
the day of the week on which He had, in the synagogue, 
expelled the evil spirit, so that all now, especially de- 
moniacs, could expect to receive help in their sufferings 

33 from His wonderful power. The concourse was so great 
that, as Mark in his picturesque way, so full of coloring, 
tells us, the whole town was assembled around the door, 
so that it was not possible to force an entrance. Jesus 
healed many, who were afflicted with various diseases, 
and expelled many devils, and in doing so He ordered 
these from the very outset not to speak from the mouths 
of the possessed. The reason for this was, as we have 
already seen in connection with what took place in the 
synagogue, that as they knew Jesus to be the Messiah, 
He did not wish to be confessed as such by unclean lips, 
least of all now, when He was Himself carefully re- 
fraining from proclaiming His Messianic dignity, lest 
enthusiasm for Him develop in a false, i. e. a political, 


MARK [I, 35-39 

diseases, and cast out many demons ; and he suffered not the 
demons to speak, because they knew him.' 

(35) And in the morning, a great while before day, he rose 
up and went out, and departed into a desert place, and there 
prayed. (36) And Simon and they that were with him 
followed after him ; (37) and they found him, and say unto 
him, All are seeking thee. (38) And he saith unto them, 
Let us go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach 
there also ; for to this end came I forth. (39) And he went 
into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and 
casting out demons. 

* Many ancient authorities add to be Christ. See Lk. 4. 41. 

direction. On the next morning while it was still dark, 35 
in order that others could not see Him arise and depart 
from the house, Jesus went out of the city into a de- 
serted region in order to pray there without being dis- 
turbed. True, Simon and his companions, as soon as 36 
they noticed that He had escaped, went after Him and 
announced to Him, as soon as they found Him, that great 37 
crowds were seeking Him. For naturally on the pre- 
ceding day, on account of the lateness of the hour, many 
who had sought healing did not have the opportunity to 
secure it, and they accordingly came early in the morn- 
ing, as they did not know how long He would remain. 
But Jesus tells the disciples that for this very reason 38 
He had left the city, in order not to be detained there. 
They must go also into other neighboring villages, in 39 
order to proclaim the message there, too ! and He accord- 
ignly began a circuit of all Galilee, preaching everywhere 
in the synagogue and driving out the devils. It is these 
wonderful deeds that are for our Evangelist, as also for 
his chief authority the Apostle Peter (cf Acts. x. 38), the 
most significant works of Jesus. That He could heal 
other sicknesses also that were brought to His attention 
is a self-evident matter. 

In this circuit of Galilee, Mark describes the healing 
of the leper, which we have heard of already in the 



(40) And there cometli to him a leper, beseeching him, ^and 
kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou 
canst make me clean; (41) And being moved with compassion, 
he stretched forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto 
him, I will ; be thou made clean. (42) And straightway the 
leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. (43) And 
he * strictly charged him, and straightway sent him out, 
(44) and saith unto him, See thou say nothing to any man : 
but go show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing 
the things which Moses 'commanded, for a testimony unto 
them. (45) But he went out, and began to publish it mucli, 

^ Some ancient authorities omit and kneeling down to him. 
*0r, sternly. »Lev. xiil. 49 ; xiv. 2 ff. 

40 older tradition of Matt. viii. 2-4. It happened in one 
of the synagogues, where He was accustomed to teach 
and to which lepers too were admitted under certain 
restrictions, where such an one came to Jesus and upon 
his knees asked for help, although timidly, as we are 
told by the older narrative, yet fully acknowledging the 

41 power of Jesus' power to help him. Mark expressly 
emphasizes the fact that Jesus out of compassion could 
not refrain from touching the unclean man, without the 

42 fear of contracting uncleanness thereby, and how in 
consequence of this the leprosy left the sick man and he 

43 was cleansed. But strictly speaking the healing was at 
this point regarded as only having begun, and the 
danger of contagion was still great; for Jesus rebukes 
him because he had come near Him and at once drives 

44 him out of the synagogue. In connection with the still 
more stringent command to say nothing to anybody 
until he had fulfilled his legal obligations in reference 
to the purification sacrifices, our Evangelist certainly 
regards it as the most important matter, that Jesus did 
everything in His power to check the reports concerning 
His miracles, since it was on quite another account that 
He wanted to concentrate the enthusiasm of the people 

45 on Himself. He intimates how little this command 


MAPiK [II, 1-3 

and to spread abroad the ' matter, insomuch that - Jesus could 
no more openly enter into ^a city, but was without in desert 
places : and they came to him from every quarter. 
JJ And when lie entered again into Capernaum after some 
days, it was noised that he was * in tlie house. (2) And 
many were gatliered together, so that there was no longer 
room/o/" them, no, not even about the door : and he spake the 
word unto them. (3) And tliey come, bringing unto him a 

' Gr. u-onl. ■ Or, lie. ° Or, the ciiy. * Or, at home. 

availed, for wo are told that he that was healed, as soon 
as he had left the presence of Jesus, began to herald 
Christ's deed, and to s})read the news of it everywhere. 
This gives the Evangelist the opportunity at the close 
of this part of his story, to show how through such 
deeds the enthusiasm for Jesus rose to the highest 
pitch. He could scarcely venture any longer to appear 
publicly on the streets, because the gathering of the 
people would Ijecome too great, but He j^referred to re- 
main outside of the cities, in deserted places. But here, 
too, people from all sides sought and found Ilim. 

An altogether different picture is presented by the 
second part of this gospel, which descril)es how more and 
more offense was taken by the people at Jesus. The first 
example of this was the healing of the lame man, which 
is already briefly reported by the oldest tradition in 
Matt. ix. 2-8. Here, however, in the account of Peter, 1 
we hear of a number of noteworthy details. "When 
Jesn.s, after an interval of several days, returned again 
to Capernaum, we see at once with what good reason 
lie avoided this place. For scarcely had it been re- 2 
ported that He was in a certain house, than a multitude 
collected, so great that not even the open space around 
the door was large enough to liold them. Jesus, how- 
ever, sat within and was preachiug the word of salva- 
tion. Then came four men, carrying a bed upon which 3 
was a man sick with the palsy, whom they wished to 



man sick of the palsy, borne of four. (4) And when they 
could not ^ come nigh unto him for the crowd, they uncovered 
the roof where he was : and when they had broken it up, they 
let down the 2 bed whereon the sick of the palsy lay. (5) And 
Jesus seeing their faith saith unto the sick of the palsy, ^Son, 
thy sins are forgiven. (6) But there were certain of the 
scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, (7) Why 
doth this man thus speak ? he blasphemeth : who can forgive 
sins, but one, even God. (8) And straightway Jesus, per- 
ceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves 
saith unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts ? 

• Many ancient authorities read bring him unto him. 

• Or, pallet. » Gr. Child. 

be healed by Jesus. But on account of the multitude 

4 it was not possible to bring him to Jesus. Thereupon, 
they carry the bed up the stairs, which were on the 
outside of the house, until they gained the flat roof, 
and begin to uncover the roof over the place where 
Jesus was sitting. After they had done this, they let 
down the bed upon which the lame man lay, so that it 

5 stood before Jesus. Now the older narrative reports 
that Jesus on account of the faith of the carriers, ad- 
dresses friendly words to the lame man, announcing to 

6 him the forgiveness of his sins. Now Mark draws 
attention to the fact, that on this occasion there were 
some Scribes present among the hearers of Jesus, who, 
however, did not yet give expression to the offense 
that they took at His words, but in their hearts objected 
that this man, in whom they did not recognize any such 

7 authority, should speak as He had done. They declare 
that it is blasphemy, since there is only one who can 
forgive sins, and that is God ; Christ, therefore, they 
assume, was claiming a prerogative that exclusively be- 

8 longed to God. Mark emphasizes expressly the fact 
that Jesus, through the Spirit that He had received in 
His baptism, knew the thoughts which had been only 
in their hearts, and speaks to them in reference to the 


3[AEK [11,9-11 

(9) Which is easier, to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sin. 
are forgiven ; or to say, Arise, and take up thy * betl, and walk ? 

(10) Bui that ye may knou- that tlie Son of man hath authority 
oneartli to forgive sins (he saith to tlie sick of the palsy), (11) I 
say unto tliee. Arise, take up tliy ' bed, and go unto thy houses 
(12) And he arose, and straightway took up the 'bed, and 
went fortli before them all ; insomuch that they were all 
amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this 

(13) xVnd lie went forth again by the sea side ; and all the 
multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. (14) And 
as he passed by, lie saw Levi the son of Alphajus sitting at the 
place of toll, and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose 
and followed him, 

1 Or, pallet. 

justice of their remark. .\ncl then foUows, only in a 9 
more detinite form, and more pointed in reference to the 
present case, the qnestion which also in the older tradi- 
tion lie puts to His opponents, and also the conniiand 
to the lame man as is found in the account of JMatthew. 
Mark, however, states more expressly the facts that the 12 
healed man, carrying his heavy bed, went out in the 
presence of all, and that all were filled with amazement 
and praised God, because ih.Qy had never seen a healing 
performed in such a manner, that the mere word of 
command made a lame man well. 

When Jesus on this occasion left the city He again 13 
went along the sea-shore. Mark, in describing that 
here too a great multitude came to Ilim and that lie 
taught them, distinctly separates tliis in point of time 
from the preceding narrative. His object is to report, 
a second instance of offense that was taken at Jesus. 1-1 
The occasion for this was given by the call of the pub- 
lican, which we liave already learned from Matth. 
ix. 9. We are told here, however, that the apostle 
who afterwards was called Matthew was originally 
named Levi and was a son of Alphseus, as was the 



(15) And it came to pass, that he was sitting at meat in his 
house, and many ^ publicans and sinners sat down with Jesus 
and his disciples : for there were many, and they followed 
him. (16) And the scribes ^ of the Pharisees, when they saw 
that he was eating with the sinners and 2 publicans, said unto 
his disciples, ^How is it that he eateth *and drinketh with 
* publicans and sinners? (17) And when Jesus heard it, he 
saith unto them, They that are ^ whole have no need of a 
physician, but they that are sick : I came not to call the 
righteous, but sinners. 

(18) And John's disciples and the Pharisees were fasting : 

* That is, collectors or renters of Roman taxes. 

' Some ancient authorities read ond the Pharisees. 
' Or, He eateth . . . sinners. 

• Some ancient authorities omit and drinketh. » Gr. strong 

second James among the apostles, whose brother he in 

15 all probability was. In the same way we now learn 
that it was the house of the new disciple in which 
Jesus was reclining at table, and this fact explains 
the great company of publicans and sinners present 
on that occasion (cf. Matt, ix. 10.) as these formed the 
ordinary associates of a publican. Mark, however, ex- 
pressly adds, that the disciples too were at the table, and 
that, too, not only those two sets of brothers who were 
called first, but many others also, whom Jesus had 
in the meanwhile called and who followed Him where- 
ever He went, and accordingly, too, into the house of 

16 the publican. For when several Scribes of the Phara- 
isee party took oflfense when they saw Jesus, who also 
claimed to be a Rabbi, in such disreputable company, 
they on this occasion did not keep their objections to 
themselves, although they did not venture to approach 
Jesus with them, but to attack the disciples. They 
draw the attention of these, who they think are probably 
unaware what kind of people they are with, to the fact 
that the Master is at table with publicans and sinners. 

17 To meet this objection Jesus spoke His parable of the 
physician, which here is directly applied to Him as the 

18 healer of sinners (cf. Matt. ix. 12-13). The third example 


MARK [II, 19-22 

and they come and say unto him, Why do John's disciples and 
the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not ? 

(19) And Jesus said unto them, Can the ^sons of the bride- 
chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them ? as long as 
they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 

(20) But the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be 
taken away from them, and then will they fast in that day. 

(21) No man seweth a piece of undressed cloth on an old gar- 
ment : else that which should fill it up taketh from it, the new 
from the old, and a worse rent is made. (22) And no man 

' That is, companions of the bridegroom. 

of such oft'ense ]Mark also adds without connecting it 
in point of time with tlie preceding, but merely remarks 
that it occurred on a day when all the pious in the land, 
including the disciples of the Pharisees and of John, 
were fasting. It is not directly stated who it was that 
on this occasion raised the objection. In all probability 
those are meant, who heretofore had been taking offense 
at Jesus ; but now they turn to Jesus Himself with the 
question, why His disciples do not fast like those of the 
Pharisees and of John, who were taught to do this by 

19 a recognized prophet. Of course the objection was 
really raised against Jesus, who was not teaching His 
disciples to live after tins pious custom of the fathers. 

20 For this reason Jesus justifies them by the parable of 
the bridegroom (Matt. ix. 15.) and then explains in the 
parable of the new cloth and the new wine (Matt. ix. 
16-17), why the disciples of John could not yet adopt 
this new custom of His disciples in reference to fasting. 

IVIatters became much worse when the sabbath con- 
troversy broke out. For whatever company Jesus se- 
lected or whether He taught His disciples to fast or not, 
was at bottom solely His own affair. But the sabbath 
was a divine institution and its observance was con- 
sidered as the real fundamental law of the Old Cove- 
nant ; the punishment for breaking the sabbath was 
death. But the way in which lie observed the sabbath 



putteth new wine into old ^ wine-skins ; else the wine will burst 
the skins, and the wine perisheth, and the skins : but they piit 
new wine into fresh wine-sking. 

(23) And it came to pass, that he was going on the sabbath 
day through the grainfield ; and his disciples * began, as they 
went, to pluck the ears. (24) And the Pharisees said unto 
him. Behold, why do they on the sabbath day that which is 
not lawful ? (25) And he said unto them, ^ Did ye never read 
what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, he, and 
they that were with him ? (26) How he entered into the 
house of God *when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the 
show bread, which it is not lawful to eat save for the priests, 

' That Is, skins used as bottles. 

* Gr. began to make their way plucking. *1 S. xxi. 6. 

* Some ancient authorities read in the days of Abiathar the high priest. 

also became a subject of dispute between Jesus and the 
Pharisees, who claimed to be the real guardians of the 

23 law in the nation. Again Mark narrates an episode 
without mentioning the time. It was on a sabbath day, 
when Jesus was walking through the fields of ripening 
grain on a road that led by them, that His disciples 
began to pluck grain on their way. It is the same story 
that we read in Matt. xii. 1 ; but Mark confines himself 
to the plucking of the grain, which the Pharisees con- 
sidered as a kind of harvest work, and accordingly de- 

24 clared to be a transgression of the sabbath. Then 
Jesus referred those who on this occasion complained 
to Him of His disciples, to the eating of the shewbread 

25 by David and his companions, as we read in Matt. xii. 3-4. 
But He emphasizes here more decidedly, that this was a 
case of necessity, and that it did not take place at a time 
when the sanctuary was without a service, but when 
Abiathar was high priest, and must have approved of the 
act. Mark, however, is mistaken when he mentions Abia- 
thar, who according to Sam. xxii. 20, sqq. was on friendly 
terms with David, while the episode here recorded, 
according to Sam. xxi. 2, happened under his father 
Ahimelech. In addition, he has preserved for us a 
significant statement which Jesus made in this con- 


JIAliK [III, 1-4 

and gave also to thein tliat were with liiiu ? (2T) And lie said 
unto them, Tlie sabbath was made for man, and not man for 
the sabbath : (28) so that the Son of man is lord even of the 

XII And he entered again into the synagogue ; and there was 
a man there wlio had his hand withered. (2) And tliey 
watched him, whetlier he svoidd heal him on the sabbath day ; 
that they might accuse him. (8) And he saith unto the man 
that had his hand withered, 'Stand fi;rtli. (4) And he saith 

1 (iv. Arise info the inidnf. 

nection. It is clear from this tliat Jesus did not regard 27 
the observance of the sabbath as a legal act, through 
which men were obligated to serve God, but as an ar- 
rangement made for the good of man. From this then 
it follows as a niiitter of C(Hirse, that nothing that is 
necessary for man to do in order to give him strength, 
such as the plucking of grain on the sabbath daj^ by the 
disciples, is contrary to rest on the sabbath. Oidy from 
this point can the statement of Matt. xii. 8, be regarded as 
a conclusion dra^^'n from this. P\)r tlie Son of man, who 28 
came solely for the salvation of man, must also deter- 
mine how the sab])ath rest tliat has been appointed 
for his welfare, can l)e observed in a manner best in 
harmony with its purpose. 

With the preceding ]Mark connects, purely on the 
ground of its contents, a similar sal)bath e[)isode. 1 
Jesus is again in a synagogue, where He finds 2 
a man with a withered hand. It is the same 
case of which we have heard in ."\Iatt. xii 9, 10, only 
that here the opponents are not re})orted as asking 
openly what He thinks of healing on the sabbath day, 
but watch to see if He will heal him, in order then to 
charge Him with having transgressed the law of the sab- 
bath. Jesus discerning these intentions caused the sick 3 
man to come into the midst of them, to show that He 
need not avoid the greatest publicity, and puts to them 
a question with reference to the observance of the 4 


111,5-6] WEISS' S aOMMEN^TARY 

unto them, Is it lawful on the sabbath day to do good, or to do 
harm? to save a life, or to kill? But they held their peace. 
(5) And when he had looked round about on them with anger, 
being grieved at the hardening of their heart, he saith unto 
the man. Stretch forth thy hand. And he stretched it forth ; 
and his hand was restored, (6) And the Pharisees went out, 
and straightway with theHerodians took counsel against him, 
how they might destroy him. 

sabbath law. He makes them regard the healing 
from the general standpoint of duty, to omit an 
act of which duty in any circumstances, even on 
the sabbath, is wrong; and to omit all effort to 
save life and thus be the possible agent of death 
to some one can be as little permitted as is murder it- 
self. And when He then asks, what is allowed on the 
sabbath day, good or evil, to save life or to take life, 
they are naturally compelled to keep silent. Then He 
in anger looks about Him, because none will yield to the 
truth. But afterwards compassion takes possession of 
Him on account of the hardening of their hearts which 
has come upon them like a judgment of God. And 
when the man, at His command, stretches out the fully 
healed hand. He furnishes them the irrefutable proof, 
that the healing achieved by a manifest divine miracle 
was not a violation of the sabbath. But over against 
such opponents nothing could do any good. In their 
eyes He was and continued to be a sabbath breakerj 
worthy of death ; and the manner in which He had 
forced them to a disgraceful silence, could only arouse 
in them the determination to put Him to death at all 
hazards. But how this was to be done was hard to say, 
since the Jewish party of His enemies as such had no 
means of accomplishing it. They accordingly apply 
to the party of the Herodian monarchy, who through 
their connection with the court of the ruler of the coun- 


MARK [III, 7-11 

(7) And Jesus with his disciples withdrew to the sea : and a 
great multitude from Galilee followed ; and from Judaea, 

(8) and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and beyond the 
Jordan, and about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing 
iwhat great things he did, came unto him. (9) And he 
spake to his disciples, that a little boat should wait on him be- 
cause of the crowd, lest they should throng him : (10) for he 
had healed many ; insomuch that as many as had ^ plagues 
' pressed upon him that they might touch him. (11) And the 

* Or, aU the. things that he did. * Qr. scourges. • Gr. fell. 

try could probably induce the latter to take some steps 
against Jesus. From this time on they confer with 
this party, to see how they can get rid of Jesus. This 
is the climax to which the description of this period of 
the gospel carries us. 

The third part of the gospel, which begins with the 
formation of the circle of apostles, shows that in the 
people, too, a separation gradually took place between 
those who would receive the word and those who would 
not. Jesus, in order to avoid fruitless controversy with 
the Pharisees, goes down to the sea, where the people 
were accustomed to gather around Him. But now the 7 
crowds that followed Him from Galilee gradually as- 
sumed phenomenal proportions, and from all parts of the 
country, where the fame of His deeds had spread, they 
came in great masses, from the south and the east of 
the land and even from the extreme western borders. 
The crush was so great, that Jesus was compelled to 
direct His disciples to keep a boat ready for Him at all 
times, so that He could make use of it to withdraw. 9 
And in addition to this, it was always the healings that 10 
caused all of those that were afflicted in any way 
to rush to Him, in order at least to touch Him, if He 
declined to pay them any attention. But the greatest 11 
trouble was caused Him by those possessed, who driven 
by the evil spirits, continually cried out to Him as the 



unclean spirits, whensoever they beheld him, fell down before 
him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God. (12) And 
he charged them much that they should not make him 

(13) And he goeth up into the mountain, and calleth unto 
him whom he himself would ; and they went unto him. 
(14) And he appointed twelve, ^that they might be with him, 
and that he might send them forth to preach, (15) and to have 
authority to cast out demons: (16) ^ and Simon he surnamed 
Peter; (17) and » James the scm of Zebedee, and John the 
brother of ' James ; and them he surnamed Boanerges, which 
is. Sons of thunder: (18) and Andrew, and Philip, and Bar- 
tholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and 'James, the son of 

* Some ancient authorities add whom also he named apostles. See Lk. 
6.13 : comp. Ch. 6. 30. 

* Some ancient authorities insert and he appointed twelve. ' Or, Jacob. 

Messiah, so that He could not rebuke them too severely, 
biddmg them not to make known to the people who He 

13 was. It was under these circumstances that He de- 
cided to organize a smaller circle of disciples. He as- 
cended a small hill ; and through His regular com- 
panions He caused those to come to Him, whom He had 
chosen for this purpose. And as they all followed the 
call, He could appoint only twelve to be His regular 
companions, who later were to assist in His work. 
He sending them out to proclaim the joyful message 
and confirming them by giving them the power to drive 

16 out devils. But as Mark now proposes to mention the 
Twelve, he cannot call him of whom so much has al- 
ready been said by the name of Simon, but must add 
that Jesus had given this Simon the name of Peter, 
which he always had in the circle of the apostles, just as 
he later constantly calls the publican Levi by the name 

12 by which he was always known among the apostles. 
He also mentions that Jesus on one occasion gave the 
name of sons of thunder to the sons of Zebedee on ac- 
count of their fiery temperament. For this reason the 
name of the brother of Simon is first inserted at this 


MARK [III, 19-22 

Alphseus, and Tliaddfeus and Simon the ^Canansean, (19)and 
Judas Iscariot, who also ^ betrayed him. 

And he cometh ^into the house. (20) And the multitude 
cometh together again, so that they could not so much as eat 
bread. (21) And when his friends heard it, they went out to 
lay hold on him : for they said, He is beside himself. (22) And 
the scribes that came down from Jerusalem said, He hath 
* Beelzebub, and, ^ By tlie prince of the demons casteth he out 

' Or, Zealot. See Lk. 6. 15 ; Acts 1. 13. ' Or, delivered him ujy. 

^ Ov, home. * Gr. Beelzehid. *Or, />?. 

place, and not as in Matt. x. 2 sqq., in connection with 
Peter ; but as for the rest, the same order is observed 
tliat is found there, with tlie exception that the twin 
])rother of Matthew is placed after the latter, and in 
this way is found between this one and the other son of 
Alphgeus in the catalogue of the apostles. 

But in addition to the Twelve there was another group 
of disciples who were willing to receive the word ; and 
how highly Jesus esteemed these is clear from the narra- 
tive of Mark concerning the visit of His relatives. Jesus 
was on this occasion in a certain house and was being 
besieged by a multitude, so that Tie was not even able 
to partake with the disciples of His frugal meal. His 
elatives heard that He was wont to be there, thought 
tliey may not have known it upon this particular occa- 
sion ; for this remark is intended merely to serve as an 
introduction for their visit while He was liere. But they 21 
had heard of His exhausting activity among the crowds 
that were constantly surging around Him, and it was 
their purpose to take Him away with them. It was 
even reported that He Avas out of His mind i.e., that He 
was not Himself in the zeal of His activity, so that in 
His ecstatic enthusiasm He had forgotten Himself 
entirely and was not able to keep within bounds. For 
this reason they started out to take Him, and if 
this should become necessary, with gentle force to bring 
Him back into the bosom of His family. In this con- 22 


111,33-27] W^I^S'S COMMEIiTART 

the demons. (23) And he called them unto him, and said unto 
them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan ? (24) And 
if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot 
stand. (25) And if a house be divided against itself, that 
house will not be able to stand. (26) And if Satan hath risen 
up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but hath 
an end. (27) But no one can enter into the house of the 
strong man, and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong 

» Or, home. 

nection Mark recalls a similar charge that had been made 
against Him by the Rabbis, who had come with this 
crowd from Jerusalem. They thought that they could 
most effectively destroy the effect that He was making 
in expelling the devils, by claiming that He Himself 
was possessed by the chief of the evil spirits and by his 
power was driving out the devils. Mark knows how to 
express the idea more clearly than can be done in a 
modern tongue, that he is only inserting this by way of 
parenthesis, as well as certain sentences from Jesus* 
defense against them, which Matt. xii. 25 sqq. has pre- 
served according to an older tradition, especially cer- 
tain parables from this defense through which it is 
Mark's intention to characterize the teaching methods 
23 of Jesus. Here he starts with the statement that Jesus, 
as reported in Matt. xii. 26, desired to prove that it cer- 
tainly is impossible that Satan would wish to drive him- 
self out of the demoniacs, and He illustrates this through 
the parables which He gives in detail, concerning the 
kingdom and its government, and of a house, which could 
not stand if it were divided against itself since one part 

26 would always antagonize the other. Then Jesus draws 
the further conclusion, that if Satan were opposed to 

27 himself in rebellion, he would soon be undone. In con- 
tradiction to their senseless explanation of His act of 
driving out the devil, Jesus sets up the only correct ex- 
planation, in the parable of the strong man, who must 


MABK [III, 38-34 

man ; and then he will spoil his house. (28) Verily I say unto 
you, All their sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and 
their blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: 

(29) but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit 
hath never forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin: 

(30) because they said, He hath an unclean spirit. 

(31) And there come his mother and his brethren ; and, 
standing without, they sent unto him, calling him. (32) And 
a multitude was sitting about him ; and they say unto him, 
Behold, thy mother and thy brethren without seek for thee. 
(33) And he answereth them, and saith, Who is my mother 
and my brethren ? (34) And looking roimd on them that sat 

first be overpowered if anybody would rob him of his 
property (Matt. xii. 29). Finally comes the threatening 28 
reference to their blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, which, 
even if all other sins and blasphemies can be forgiven, 
will find no forgiveness, because thereby they have be- 29 
come guilty of a sin that cannot be wiped out (cf . Matt, 
xii. 31-32). The reference to the slander that called 30 
forth this threat clearly brings this insertion to a close. 31 
Now the original story is taken up again, that the 
mother, and the brothers of Jesus, as we saw in v. 21 
had arrived, but were outside of the house, which is sur- 
rounded by the crowd, and they sent to have Him called 
out. Now, however, He is not dealing with a noisy 
crowd that is anxious only to have their sick healed, 
but it is a multitude that is attentively sitting around 
Him listening, and these report the message of the re- 32 
latives to Him, among whom also, in the account of Matt. 
XX. 50, His sisters are expressly mentioned. For here 
too the question that is raised by Jesus has only the 
purpose of introducing the explanation of what He has 
to say as to the nature of real relationship with Him. 33 
Now He expressly designates those who sit about Him 
and attentively listen to the word as those who, because 
they do the will of God, are related to Him. As He 84 
18 278 


round about him, he saith, Behold, my mother and my 
brethren ! (35) For whosoever shall do the will of God, the 
same is ray brother, and sister, and mother. 
YY -^"*i again he began to teach by the sea side. And there 
is gathered unto him a very great multitude, so that he 
entered into a boat, and sat in the sea ; and all the multitude 
were by the sea on the land. (3) And he taught them many 
things in parables, and said unto them in his teaching, 
(3) Hearken : Behold, the sower went forth to sow : (4) and it 
came to pass, as he sowed, some seed fell by the way side, and 
the birds came and devoured it. (5) And other fell on the 
rocky ground, where it had not much earth ; and straightway 
it sprahg up, because it had no deepness of earth : (6) and 
when the sun was risen, it was scorched ; and because it had no 
root, it withered away. (7) And other fell among the thorns, 
and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no 
fruit. (8) And others fell into the good ground, and yielded 
fruit, growing up and increasing ; and brought forth, thirty- 
fold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold. (9) And he said, Who 
hath ears to hear, let him hear. 

fulfils this through His discourses, they do so by listen- 
ing to Him, and for this reason they are also His disciples 
in the wider sense of the term. Since the visit of the 
relatives was mentioned merely apropos of this dec- 
laration, we are not informed what Jesus did with His 
relatives in reference to the fears that they entertained. 
But how Jesus showed His preference for this circle of 
disciples as distinguished from the masses who would 
not hear Him, is indicated by Mark in the parables of 
which His subsequent address is composed. 

Again Jesus began to teach by the sea. But on this 
occasion the crowds were so great that Jesus was forced 
to make use of the boat which He had directed should 

2 be ready for Him for just such events. He entered it 
and sat down so that He could teach the multitudes 

3 who were ranged along the shore. Of the parables 
that Jesus spoke on this occasion Mark first makes 
mention of the Sower and the Seed, exactly as this is 


MARK [IV, 10-12 

(10) And when he was alone, they that were about him with 
the twelve asked of him the parables. (11) And he said unto 
them, Unto you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God : 
but unto them that are without, all things are done in para- 
bles : (12) that seeing they may see, and not perceive ; and 

reported in Matt. xiii. 3-9, excepting that in reference 
to the seed that fell upon good soil, it is expressly 
stated that this seed alone came up, something that the 
seed on the roadway could not do ; and then that it 
grew while that sown upon the stony ground already 
withered soon after it had began to shoot forth ; and 
that moreover it brought forth fruit, while that which 
fell among the thorns did not. But to our narrative 10 
the parable itself is not of prime importance. It was 
merely on account of the conversation that was held at 
the conclusion of the whole parable address, after the 
people had scattered, although Mark represents them as 
still present, that he made mention of the parables at 
all. In this case not only the Twelve but the whole group 
of those who had shown a willingness to hear, asked 
Jesus concerning the purpose of His speaking in 
parables. They had accordingly not only been listen- 
ing attentively but they had also noticed that a deeper 
meaning was concealed in the parables ; and, as they 
were really anxious to learn, they asked Him to reveal 
these hidden things to them. Thereupon Jesus ex- 11 
plains to them, that it has been granted to them in 
accordance with the divine counsel, to understand 
the mysteries of the kingdom of God contained in the 
parables, while those who were yet without, that is, the 
masses of the people, were to hear this only in parables. 12 
This answer implied that they, for the very reason that 
they asked and were anxious to learn, were to be in- 
structed as to the meaning of these parables, while the 
others cannot understand it in the parable form. But 



hearing they may hear, and not understand ; lest haply they 
should turn again, and it should be forgiven them. (13) And 
he saith unto them, Know ye not this parable ? and how shall 
ye know all the parables ? (14) The sower soweth tlie word. 

(15) And these are they by the way side, where the word is 
so\vn ; and when they have heard, straightway cometh Satan, 
and taketh away the word which hath been sown in them. 

(16) And these in like manner are they that are sown upon 
the rocky places, who, when they have heard the word, 
straightway receive it with joy ; (17) and they have no root in 
themselves, but endure for a while ; then, when tribulation or 
persecution ariseth because of the word, straightway they 
stumble. (18) And others are they that are sown among the 

these are not to understand these things, for in them 
the judgment of God that was prophesied in Is. vi. 9-10 
is being accomplished. Because they in the hardness 
of their hearts until now would not hear, since His 
method of teaching by parables, which naturally arouses 
the curiosity to learn, has not even caused them to ask 
what the meaning of these parables is, they are no longer 
permitted to understand what the real import of the 
parables is. Because they are not willing to be con- 
verted, now they shall not be able to be converted and 

13 thereby obtain forgiveness. True it is that even the 
willing hearers cannot of themselves understand the 
parables ; their questioning concerning the meaning 
shows that they can do this as little as the other. But 
for this reason Jesus gives them an explanation, of which 
Mark furnishes an example which we have already 

14 read in Matt. xiii. 19-23. In a more simple manner it 

15 is here explained, that the seed is the word of 
the gospel proclamation, which, whenever it falls upon 

a hard road, is at once seized by Satan. As for the 
rest, we have exactly the same explanation, only that in 
addition to the care of the things of this world and the 
deception of riches, the lusts also, which concern them- 

MABK , [IV, 19-22 

thorns ; these are they that have heard the word, (19) and the 
cares of the ^ world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the 
lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it be- 
cometh unfruitful. (20) And those are they that were sown 
upon the good ground ; such as hear the word, and accept it, 
and bear fruit, thirtyfold, and sixtyfold, and a hundredfold. 
(21) And he said unto them, Is the lamp brought to be put 
under the bushel, or under the bed, and not to be put on the 
stand? (22) For there is nothing hid, save that it should be 

* Or, age. 

selves about other earthly possessions, are expressly 
mentioned as those that, entering the heart, choke the 
word, and that in the end the ability to accept the word 
is declared to be what makes the word fruitful. 
. Before Mark introduces several other parables that 
belong to this address, he inserts some statements con- 
cerning the call to discipleship, which were spoken at 
different times but which were of importance for that 
circle of disciples to whom Jesus had imparted such 
great truths and naturally can be applied to them. Just 
in this way had it been the habit of Peter from whose 
report, according to tradition, Mark wrote this gospel, 
to compile and place together in his teachings sayings of 
Jesus on certain subjects without regard to their orig- 
inal connection. He begins with the statement found 21 
in Matt. v. 15. For as we do not place the lamp, when 
it is brought into a room, under a bushel or under a 
couch, but put it upon a stand, so the disciples are 
not to keep to themselves the secrets of the kingdom 
of Grod that have been revealed to them in the para- 
bles, since these are intended to be revealed to all. For 
men do not hide or cover anything up that it may be 22 
hidden for all times, but that in the right time and in 
the presence of the right persons it may be revealed, as 
has already been said in Matt. x. 26. Accordingly too 
this secret is hidden from the people only for the time 


IV, 23-26] w^IjSS's commentary 

manifested ; neither was anything made secret, but that it 
should come to light. (23) If any man hath ears to hear, let 
him hear. (24) And he said unto them, Take heed what ye 
hear : with what measure ye mete it shall be measured unto 
you; and more shall be given unto you. (25) For he that 
hath, to him shall be given : and he that hath not, from him 
shall be taken away even that which he hath. 

(26) And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man 

being ; but the time will come when it will be revealed 

23 to all, and these are ordained to reveal it. Therefore 
they first of all must hear aright, as Jesus exhorts them 
to do at the end of His parables ; and must have ears 

24 that can hear. The matter of importance is that we ap- 
preciate at its full worth that which we do hear. For here, 
too, applies what has been said, Matt. vii. 2, in the sense 
that the higher the importance which we assign to what 
we hear, the greater will be the measure of meaning 
that we derive from it. Indeed we can say with Matt, 
vi. 33, that a person will ever receive more than he has 
suspected even when putting the highest estimate on a 

25 subject. Here the statement of Matt. xxv. 29, can be 
applied. For he who shows the degree of attention de- 
manded of a disciple, to him a constantly increasing 
measure of understanding will be granted. But he who 
has not this attention will soon be deprived of what he 
really did hear, but which without this attention was 
perfectly meaningless. 

As Mark now returns to the parables that were spoken 
on this occasion, he selects one that depicts just m the 
same way the development of the kingdom of God, as the 
first parable did the founding of the same, namely 

26 the parable of the growing seed. What more does a 
man than sow the seed into the ground ? This is little 
enough, and then he goes and sleeps and arises, as the 
change of day and night brings this with it ; but for that 



MAJIK [II, -rr-si 

should cast seed upon the earth : ('^T) and should sleep and rise 
night and day. and the seed should spring up and grow, he 
knoweth not how. i^Oiil Tiie earth ^bearetli fruit of herstlf ; 
first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 
(•^'9) But when the fruit •^is ripe, straightway he ^putteth forth 
the sickle, because tlie harvest is come. 

(30) And he said. How shall we liken the kingdom of God? 
or in svhat parable shall we set it forth? (31)* It is like a 

' Or. ,,iehleth. ' Or, .wnchth forth. 

2 Or. * Gr. .I.s uido. 

which he ha.s sown he can do nothing more. In the 27 
meanwhile the seed sprouts, becomes larger and larger, 
and he himself does not know how. Entirel}' of itself 28 
the seed fructilies the earth, and one thing after the 
other comes forth, the blade, the ear, the full grains in 
the ear. Only when the frtiit has developed sufficient!}' 
does the sower intervene. But even then he can do 
nothing else than to put in the sickle by which the ripe 
grain is harvested. Thtts it is with the kingdom of 
God when once it has been estal)lis]ied. Without 
htiman cooperation does it ripen into ftill development. 30 
And how grand this development is, can be seen from 
the third parable. Jesus looks around him searchingly, 
to find an illtistration, in which this can be shown in 
a worthy manner; and He resorts to the example 31 
of the nmstard seed, which we became acquainted 
with in Matt. xiii. 31-32. For the mustard seed, 
when it is sown into the ground, is smaller than all 
other seed kernels that fall upon the ground. l>ut when 
it has once been sown, then it l)ecomes greater than all 
the garden plants, all of which the ratistard tree 
surpasses ; for it grows branches like a tree, under tlie 
shadow of which birds can Ijttild their nests. Thus it 
is with the kingdom of God, which is now being realized 
only in the small circle of the disciples, but later on 
.shall overshadow the entire nation. Here, too, it is not 
the purpose of ^lark to report one of the long addresses, 



grain of mvistard seed, which, when it is sown upon the earth, 
though it be less than all the seeds that are upon the earth, 
(32) yet when it is sown, groweth up, and becometh greater 
than all the herbs, and putteth out great branches ; so that 
the birds of the heaven can lodge under the shadow thereof. 

(33) And with many such parables spake he the word unto 
them, as they were able to hear it ; (34) and without a parable 
spake he not unto them : but privately to his own disciples he 
expounded all things. 

(35) And on that day, when even was come, he saith unto 

which were well known to him from the oldest gospel 
writing. His purpose is, as he himself states, to show in 
what parables Jesus preached the message of the king- 

83 dom of God. If He had preached these things in the or- 
dinary method of teaching, the people would have turned 
away in disappointment from a proclamation that was 
so completely opposite to their own ideas. In this way 
at all events, it was possible to awaken in them a desire 
for instruction in higher things, as was the case with 

84 those who were willing to hear. Therefore He does 
not speak of these things except in parables ; but to 
those who, as His disciples in the narrow sense, were 
constantly around Him and who could always, when 
they were alone with Him, demand a solution of the 
riddle that was contained in their parables — to all of 
these He gave an explanation of each parable. 

Mark retained a distinct remembrance, that still on 
the same day on which Jesus had taught the people 
through parables, He also directed the disciples in the 
35 evening to go over to the other shore. This excursion 
to the eastern shore is described according to the oldest 
tradition, in Matt viii. 18, and probably had an original 
connection with the parable address. Why Mark 
brings in this story just at this place becomes clear from 
the close ; and since that which they experienced while 
going over the sea has nothing to do with the point of 


MARK [IV, 36-40 

them, Let us go over unto the other side. (36) And leaving 
the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in 
the boat. And other boats were with him. (37) And there 
arisetli a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the 
boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling. (38) And he 
himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion : and they 
awake him. and say unto him. Teacher, carest thou not that 
we perish? (39) And he awoke, and rebuked the wind, and 
said unto the sea. Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and 
there was a great calm. (40) And he said unto them, 'Why 

view from which he narrates the story proper, this 
must have been handed down traditionally as haAang 
occurred during this journey. IIow vivid this picture 36 
yet was in the mind of Mark, as a result of the account 
given by Peter, is seen by the way in which he de- 
scribes how the disciples at once took Jesus with them 
as He was in the boat, from which lie taught the people, 
and by which He could leave them. For if He had been 
among the multitude on the lake side. He would prob- 
ably not have been able so easily to get away. But, 37 
at any rate, the people insisted upon taking what- 
ever vessels were still there and accompanying Him for 
some distance. In the same way Mark, on the basis of 
Peter's accounts, could understand how the storm 
broke forth, and the boat was already beginning to fill 
with the water flung over it by the waves, and how 
Jesus was lying on the pillow in the rear of the boat 
calmly sleeping. Here it almost sounds like a gentle 39 
reproof when the disciples awaken Him with the ques- 
tion whether He is not at all concerned that they 
were perishing. Jesus does not answer this question 40 
at once after being awakened, but only after He has 
ordered the winds and the waves to become quiet, and 
in this way His word first made itself felt. He asks 
them, rather, how they could be so extremely fear- 
ful. How is it possible that they have not enough 



are ye fearful? have ye not yet faith ? (41) And they feared 
-r exceedingly, and said one to another, Who then is this, that 
even the wind and the sea obey him ? 

\ And they came to the other side of the sea, into the 
country of the Grerasenes. (2) And wlien he was come 
out of the boat, straightway there met him out of the tombs a 
man with an unclean spirit, (3) who had his dwelling in the 
tombs: and no man could any more bind him, no, not with a 
chain ; (4) because that he had been often bound with fetters 

of confidence in the miraculous protection of God, 
41 which never fails His Representative? Then they 
were overcome with a great fear, because they had in- 
curred the censure of the Master ; and now they began 
to suspect that He, to whom wind and storm was obedi- 
ent, must be something more than their Master, the 
title by which they had hitherto addressed Him. 

And now they came to the east shore in the neigh- 
borhood of the little city of Gersa, where to the 
present day the overhanging cliffs can be seen. 

2 Here Jesus, after He had left the ship, meets a de- 
moniac coming forth from the tombs that had been 
dug in these overhanging cliffs. This meeting is 
already described by the oldest narrative (cf. Matt, 
viii. 28) ; and there also only one was undoubtedly 
spoken of ; for Mark has retained for us the most exact 

3 reports, which were given him by Peter. He explains 
why this unfortunate man, who was evidently suffering 
from acute lunacy, lived in these tombs, and that he could 
not by force, if necessary, be prevented from doing any 

4 harm to others. The attempt had been frequently 
made, even with chains, to fetter him ; but he possessed 
the almost superhuman strength found in such men, 
and had torn asunder his fetters and his chains. 
And now his fury had reached such a stage, that he 
could not be subjugated sufiBciently to be bound by 
chains. In this way he raged day and night in the 


MARK [V, 5-10 

and chains, and the chains liud been rent asunder by him, and 
the fetters broken in pieces : and no man had strength to 
tame liim. (5) And always, night and day, in the tombs and 
in the mountains, lie was crying out. and cutting himself with 
stones. (6) And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and 
1 worshipped him; (7) and crying out with a loud voice, he 
saith, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of the 
Most High God? I adjure tliee by God, torment me not. 
(8) For he said unto him, Come forth, thou unclean spirit, out 
of the man. (9) And Ijc asked liim. What is thy name ? And 
he saitii unto him. My name is Legion ; for we are many. 
(10) And he besought him juucli that he would not send them 

* The Greek word denotes an act of reverence, whether paid to a creature 
(see Mt. 4. 9 ; 18. 26) or to the Creator (see Mt. 4. tO). 

tombs and around over the hills, crying aloud, and in 
his wild hatred of men, which he could not show in 
any other way, wounding himself with rocks. Then 
we meet again that mysterious double consciousness, 
according to which the unfortunate man, who feels that 
he is bound by the spirit that recognizes Jesus as the 
Messiah, as soon as he sees liim, even from afar, runs 
out to meet Ilim and falls down, because he knows that 
only lie sent by CJod can loosen the bonds that fetter 
him. But now he cries out again, as soon as Jesus 7 
undertakes to drive out the evil spirit, and keeps Him 8 
off; indeed, in the name of and at the instigation of 
the spirit, he appeals to Him in the name of the Most 
High not to torment him by driving out the spirit. In 
order to quiet the terrible exhibition of wrath, which 
in this case will be connected with the expulsion of the 
evil spirit, Jesus permits the demoniac to converse witli 
Him. This one naturally refers the question as to his 
name to the o\il spirit, in whose name he is speaking, 
and calls it Legion, because, as he himself explains, his 
terrible condition has produced in him the conviction, 
that he is possessed by a whole army of evil spirits. 
We find here again this regular mixing of self and the 10 


V, 11-15] W£:iSS'S COMMENT AR Y 

away out of the country. (11) Now there was there on the 
mountain side a great herd of swine feeding. (12) And they 
besought him saying, Send us into the swine, that we may 
enter into them. (13) And he gave them leave. And the un- 
clean spirits came out, and entered into the swine : and the 
herd rushed down the steep into the sea, in number about two 
thousand ; and they were drowned in the sea. (14) And they 
that fed them fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. 
And they came to see what it was that had come to pass. 
(15) And they come to Jesus, and behold ^ him that was pos- 
sessed with demons sitting, clothed and in his right mind, even 

' Or, the demoniaCj 

evil spirit that is driving him on, and who, after 
Jesus has once begun to speak with him, induces him 
to ask again and again, that He would at least, when 

11 He expels them, not drive them from these regions, 

12 where they (i. e. really the demoniac) are well satisfied. 
Mark also narrates the fact that along the hill- 
sides there some herds of swine happened to be feed- 
ing, to give special form to this petition, that Jesus 
would command them to enter the swine (cf. Matt. 
viii. 30-31). But the word of Jesus, which commands 

13 them to depart, is here regarded as an explicit per- 
mission to this effect, because now, in exact agreement 
with the older narrative, the destruction of the herd 
brought about through the raging man, is ascribed to 
the evil spirits, which passed into them (cf. Matt. viii. 
32). "We again hear from the eyewitnesses how the 
people of the neighborhood, called together by the 
shepherds, for the purpose of convincing themselves of 
the destruction of the herds of almost two thousand 

14 swine, the loss of which they deplore and naturally 
with exaggerations, now see the demoniac in the full 
possession of his senses and decently clothed, sitting by 
Jesus, although formerly he had always torn off his 

15 clothes together with his fetters. But instead of en- 
thusiastically praising Him, who had brought about 


31 AUK [V, 16-20 

him that had the legion : and they were afraid. (16) And 
they that saw it declared unto theui how it befell ^liim that 
was possessed with demons, and concerning the swine. 
(17) And they began to beseech him to depart from their 
borders. (18) And as he was entering into the boat, ^he that 
had been possessed with demons besought him tliat he might 
be with liim. (19) And he sutTered him not^, but saith unto 
him, Go to thy house unto thy friends, and tell them how 
great things the Lord hath done for thee, and lioic he had 
mercy on thee. (20) And he went his way, and began to 
publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him : 
and all men marvelled. 

^ (3r, the demoniac. 

this change, a silly fear of this wonder-worker seizes 
these people ; and this fear, when they hear of the con- 16 
nection of the destruction of the herds with the ex- 17 
pulsion of the devil from the demoniac, is so great that 
they, fearing further harm to their earthly interests, ask 
Him urgently to leave these regions. In this we can 
see the reason why Mark lias narrated this story at 
this i:)lace, namely as a proof of the hardness of heart 
which Jesus at times met, even in the presence of His 
great miracles. For properly this event, as well as the 
parable address, belongs to an earlier period, as we can 
see from the fact, that when Jesus entered into the boat, 18 
the former deinoniac asked Him to take him along as a 
regular companion ; and hence the circle of the Twelve 
at that time was not yet completed. But Jesus, apart 
from other reasons, that probably moved Him to refuse 
this, wanted to leave behind Him at least one witness 19 
of the grace of God that had appeared in these regions. 
And the former demoniac at once began to fulfil His 
command, and did it so thoroughly, that in the whole 
region of the Decapolis, to which these districts be- 
longed, this miracle of Jesus aroused the greatest of 



(21) And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat 
unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him ; 
and he was by the sea. (22) And there cometh one of the 
rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name ; and seeing him, he 
falleth at his feet, (23) and beseecheth him much, saying My 
little daughter is at the point of death : I pray thee, that thou 
come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be ^ made whole, 
and live. (24) And he went with him ; and a great multitude 
followed him, and they thronged him. 

(25) And a woman, who had an issue of blood twelve years, 
(26) and had suffered many things of many physicians, and 

' Or, saved. 

21 When Jesus had now crossed over in the boat in which 
He had arrived, He again came to the western shore of 
the sea, where He was accustomed to stay. Here a 
great multitude again assembled around Him, and He 
remained with them on the shore of the sea. In this 
way Mark, in point of time, completely separates this 
from the preceding, and shows that he wants to narrate 
the story of the waking of the dead only as another 
example of the unwillingness to hear, which Jesus 
found even in the presence of His miracles. We are 
acquainted with this story from the old narrative in 

22 Matt. ix. But Mark knows from the accounts of 
Peter, that it was the leader of a synagogue who 
came to Jesus, and even calls Him by name. Above 
all he makes more definite the older story, which was 
more in the nature of a sketch, and at once begins 
by stating that the subject matter was the awak- 
ening of a dead person (Matt. ix. 18) ; and he adds fur- 
ther that the father, since his little girl was at the 
point of death, begged upon his knees of Jesus, that He 
would come and lay His hands upon his daughter in 

23 order to heal her. But Mark tells us also the story of 

24 the woman with the bloody flux, who steps out of the 

25 crowd that is thronging around Jesus. All kinds of 

26 physicians had already vexed her with various medi- 


MARK [V, 27-33 

had spent all that she had. and was nothing bettered, but 
rather grew worse, ("27) having heard the things concerning 
Jesus, came in the crowd beliind, and touched his garment. 
(28) For slie said, If I touch but liis garments, I shall be i made 
wliole. (29) And straightwaj' the fountain of her blood was 
dried up ; and she felt in her body that she was healed of her 
-plague. (30) And straightway Jesus, perceiving in liimself 
that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned 
liim about in the crowd, and .said. Who touched my garments? 
(31) And Iiis disciiiles said unto him, Thou the multitude 
thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me ? (32) And 
he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. 
(33) But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what 

• Saved. 'Gr. scoxtrge. 

cines, and she had spent all her possessions on them 
but no good had resulted ; on the eontrarj^ she had 27 
become worse. But what she had heard of Jesus had 28 
encouraged her to come to Him, just as this is explained 
hi Matt. ix. 20-27, in order to touch His garment. Now 
we are told that already among the eyewitnesses the 
idea gained ground, that the woman had been healed by 
a power that had gone out from Jesus when she touched 
His garmeiit, and that she had perceived this from the 29 
fact that a new strength was pervading her whole 30 
body, as Jesus had noticed that strength had passed 
from Him. For Jesus, when He turned around (cf. 
Matt. ix. 22), because He liad noticed that His garment 
had been touched, asked who had touched His garment. 
The disciples were amazed at this, because in such 
a crowd He could not avoid being touched at any 31 
moment; and it was tlieret'ore felt, that He could have 
noticed this touching only as it had become known to Him 
by the passing away of some of His liealing strength. 
But Peter liad also further narrated, that the woman, 32 
when Jesus looked around to see who had touched Him, 33 
feared of being discovered, and trembling lest tlie 
healing that she had, as it were, through stealth gained 



had been done to her, came and fell down before him, and told 
him all the truth. (34) And he said unto her. Daughter, thy 
faith hath ^ made thee whole ; go in peace, and be whole of 
thy 2 plague. 

(35) While he yet spake, they come from the ruler of the 
synagogue's house, saying. Thy daughter is dead : why 
troublest thou the Teacher any further? (36) But Jesus, 
^not heeding the word spoken, saith unto the ruler of the 
synagogue. Fear not, only believe. (37) And he suffered no 
man to follow with him, save Peter, and « James, and John 

* Or, saved thee. ' Or, overhearing. • Or, Jacob. 

for herself, might again be lost, because she had against 
His knowledge and will enticed the healing power from 
Him, now casts herself down before Jesus and confesses 
the whole truth. On this Jesus declared, not only that 
84 it was her faith that had healed her (Matt. ix. 22), but 
in view of her fears also promised that the cure 
should be permanent, so that she could now enjoy a 
well-being free from all danger and trouble. In the 

35 meanwhile messengers came from the house of Jairus, 
and announced that his child had died, and that he should 
no longer trouble the Master. We see here clearly that 
this must have been the first case of an awakening of 
the dead by Jesus, since, notwithstanding all confi- 
dence in His miraculous power, it was regarded as 
self-evident that nothing more was to be expected. 
Jesus, however, who had only accidentally heard the 
message brought to the leader of the synagogue, ad- 

36 monished him not to be afraid, but to continue in his 
trust in His power to help. For persistent faith is 
always heard by God, even when all help seems out 
of the question. And that the father believes, is seen 
from the fact that he does not ask Jesus not to go with 
him any farther. Jesus, however, knows that God will 
grant to Him in an extraordinary degree the power to 

37 help, and for that reason suffers only three confidential 
disciples, whom we here for the first time see as such 


MARK [V, 38-43 

the brother of * James. (38) And they come to the house of 
the ruler of the synagogue ; and he beholdeth a tumult, and 
many weeping and wailing greatly, (39) And when he was 
entered in, he saith unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and 
weep ? the child is not dead, but sleepeth. (40) And they 
laughed him to scorn. But he, having put them all forth, 
taketh the father of the child and her mother and them that 
were with him, and goeth in where the child was. (41) And 
taking the child by the hand, he saith unto her, Talitha cumi ; 
which is, being interpreted. Damsel, I say unto thee. Arise. 
(43) And straightway the damsel rose up, and walked; for 

confidants, to follow Him with the father. As Peter is 
one of these, the narrator can appeal for all that fol- 
lows to an eyewitness. When they now come to the 
house of Jairus, Jesus sees here the tumult of the 38 
weeping women and of those mourning with the fam- 39 
ily, and orders them, as soon as He has entered, to keep 
silent ; and He explains in the double-meaning words of 
Matt. ix. 24, that there was no occasion for lamentation 
over the dead. And now comes the fact itself, on ac- 
count of which the narrator considers this as another 
example of the marvellous unwillingness of the multi- 
tude to hear Him even in view of His miracles. They 
laugh at Him, because they take His words in their 
literal sense. The narrator, however, who knows how 
this is to be understood in view of the success, con- 40 
siders this lack of confidence in His miraculous power 
as so impudent, that he can understand the driving out 
of the mourning assembly only as a punishment of the 
mockers. Those who will not believe in the miracle are 
not to see it at all. Only the two parents and the three 
disciples Jesus takes with Him into the room where the 
dead girl lay. In this connection Mark, on the basis of 
the report of Peter, has preserved to us the word 41 
and that too in the language in which Jesus spoke, 
with which He took her by the hand and raised her to 42 
19 289 


she was twelve years old. And they were amazed straight- 
way with a great amazement. (43) And he charged them 
much that no man should know this : and he commanded that 
something should be given her to eat. 

^\ And he went out from thence ; and he cometh into his 
own country ; and his disciples follow him. (2) And 
when the sabbath was come, he began to teach in the syna- 
gogue : and * many hearing him were astonished, saying, 

* Some ancient authorities insert the, 

life and commanded her to arise. Mark emphasizes the 
fact, that she did not only at once obey the command, 
but that she walked about like one perfectly well, as 
she was, notwithstanding the friendly word which 
Jesus addressed to her, not a little child, but a girl of 
twelve years. By describing how the eyewitnesses 
were amazed beyond measure, Mark desires to make it 
prominent, that they did not entertain the least doubt 
that the girl had really been recalled to life from death 
in contradistinction to those who mocked; the fact 
certainly is beyond dispute, that Jesus was right when 
He said, as they understood it, that the girl was only 
asleep. For He forbade most earnestly that the eye- 
witnesses should say anything of what had really 
43 occurred. People were not to believe that He had 
come to awaken their dead, or to heal their sick, even if 
God had given to Him, under the special features of 
this case, power to do this great thing. The command, 
too, to give the child to eat, is meant to indicate that 
she had returned to a perfectly normal life. 

As the worst phase of this unwillingness to hear, 
which Jesus found both in connection with His preach- 
ing and His healing, Mark finally narrates, as was done 

1 in Matt, xiii., the story of the visit of Jesus to Nazareth. 
Here He at last returned with all His disciples ; and on 
the sabbath day He began to teach in the synagogue. 

2 Intentionally His failure to succeed at this place 
(of. Matt. xiii. 54) is ascribed to the majority of the 


MARK [VI, 3-6 

Whence hath this man these things ? and, What is the wis- 
dom that is given unto this man, and what mean such i mighty 
works wrought by his hands ? (3) Is not this the carpenter, 
the son of Mary, and brother of ^ James, and Joses, and Judas, 
and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us? And they 
were ^ offended in him. (4) And Jesus said unto them, A 
prophet is not without honor, save in his own country, and 
among his own kin, and in his own house. (5) And he could 
there do no ''mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a 
few sick folk, and healed them. (6) And he marvelled because 
of their unbelief. 
And he went round about the villages teaching. 

* Qr. powers. *Or, Jacob. ' Qr. caused to stumble. * Gr. power. 

population. Rere He is expressly called the son of 
the well-known carpenter, because He, in His youth, had 3 
Avith His father been engaged in this trade, and the son of 
the well-known Mary, and the brother of four men whose 
names are mentioned, and of the sisters who were still 
living in this city. The main purpose is, as it was in 
Matt. xiii. 57, that they took offence at Him, because 
they could not understand how this man, who was so 
well known to them, and who was remarkable in 
nothing, could be so highly preferred before them. 
In the saying, with which Jesus replies to them 4 
(cf. Matt. xiii. 57), Mark explains that which is said of 
His family expressly by a reference to that which is said 
of His relatives (iii. 33, 34). He particularly empha- 
sizes the fact that He, who at all times makes faith a 5 
condition of His healings, could do here none of His 
miraculous acts of which they had heard (cf. v. 2). 
Only a few weak persons, who suffered only from in- 
significant diseases, showed so much confidence in 
Him that He could heal them by the laying on of hands ; 6 
so that Jesus Himself was amazed at their entire lack 
of faith. But as this part of the gospel had begun 
with the choosing of the Twelve, it closes with the 
sending of the disciples, that was already contemplated 



(7) And he calleth unto him the twelve, and began to send 
them forth by two and two ; and he gave them authority over 
the unclean spirits ; (8) and he charged them that they should 
take nothing for their journey save a staff only ; no bread, no 
wallet, no ^ money in their ^ purse ; (9) but to go shod with 
sandals : and, said he, put not on two coats. (10) And he 
said unto them, Wheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide 

1 Gr. brass. ' Gr. girdle. 

7 at that time (cf. iii. 14). "Without making special note 
of the time, IVIark states that it was during His jour- 
neys back and forth that Jesus called the Twelve to 
Him and began to send them out, two by two, so that 
they would learn to strengthen and help each other. 
In doing this He gives them, as was foretold in iii. 15, 
power over the evil spirits. In this connection Mark 
does not reproduce the address which Jesus delivered 
on this occasion, but mentions only several instructions 

8 in reference to the preparations for the journey that 

9 seemed to him to be noteworthy (cf. Matt. x. 9-10). 
Here it becomes clear that He enjoined upon them to 
undertake their journey only with a staff in their 
hands, without provisions, without a wallet for other 
requirements for a journey, even without the smallest 
coin in their pockets, with light ordinary sandal shoes, 
and not, as distinguished travellers do, carrying two 
undergarments. Another item in this instruction was 
of such importance for the narrator, because it presup- 
poses that the disciples would here and there find 
in those they met the same unwillingness to hear 

10 which Jesus had found in His recent work. He had 
directed that they should remain in the house which 
they should enter until they left the place (cf. Matt. x. 
11), because every change of quarters could only be for 
the purpose of finding things better and more com- 
fortable somewhere else, and they would offend their 


MARK [YI, 11-14 

till 3'e depart tlience. (11) And whatsoever place shall not 
receive you. and they hear you not, as ye go forth thence, 
sliake off the dust tliat is under your feet for a testimony unto 
tiuMU. (12) And they went out, and preached ih-Aimen should 
repent. (13) And they cast out many demons, and anointed 
with oil many tliat were sick, and healed them. 

(14) And king Herod heard tJiereof ; for his name had be- 
come known : and i he said, John the Baptizer is risen from 

'Some authorities read they. 

hosts by such ungrateful conduct. But He had also 11 
anticipated the occasions on which hospitality would be 
refused them in certain places. In this case they 
should, in agreement with ^Matt. x. 14, shake the dust 
from ort' their feet, as a testimony to these hardened 
people that they had not the least in common 12 
with them. And in this way then the disciples went 
forth ; and it was their chief work to demand a 
change of heart which they, just as Jesus Himself did, 
connected with the announcement of the near ap- 
proach of the kingdom of God, and they further con- 
tirmed, on the basis of the authority given to them, 
this preaching by driving out devils and by healings. 13 
Mark, indeed, seems to indicate that they were success- 
ful in this only in those cases where the sicknesses 
were of a perhaps comparatively mild type. But just 
for this reason Jesus had evidently given them the di- 
rection to apply the most simple remedy, and anoint 
the sick with oil, calling upon God for His wonderful 
lielp. We know that for a long time this custom of 
healing the sick was still practised in the church 
(cf. James v. 14). 

The fourth X)art of this gospel finds Jesus at the 
height of His popular activity, and indicates, too, 
what induced men gradually to withdraw from Him. 14 
The introduction reports the impression that was 
made in the house of the king, as Mark calls the court 



the dead, and therefore do these powers work in him. (15) But 
others said, It is Elijah. And others said. It is& prophet, even 
as one of the prophets. (16) But Herod, when he heard there- 
of, said, John, whom I beheaded, he is risen. (17) For Herod 
himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound 
him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip's 
wife ; for he had married her. (18) For John said unto Herod, 
It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife. (19) And 

of the Tetrarch in order to describe his position in the 
land, by the reports concerning Jesus. For as the 
disciples, in their journeying through the land, every- 
where preached Jesus, and in His name expelled 
devils, naturally His name became generally known, 
and the report of what the disciples were doing finally 

15 penetrated the court of the king. We now hear that 
the opinion entertained of Him by Herod, with which 

*we become acquainted in Matt. xii. 2, was widely 
spread abroad, but that another opinion besides his 
had gained ground, namely, that He was Elijah, who 
was to be a forerunner of the Messianic period, or that 
in Him some one of the Old Testament prophets had 

16 again appeared. But when Herod heard these views, 
he decided that only the first could be correct, because 
his wicked conscience would not permit him to see in 
Jesus any one but him whom he had caused to be exe- 
cuted. This circumstance furnished our Evangelist 
with the occasion to narrate the story of the capture and 
the beheading of the Baptist, which, at the same time, 
in a suitable manner fills the gap between the sending 
out of the disciples and their return. The reason for 
taking John prisoner we have seen in Matt. xiv. 3-4 ; 
but here we are merely told that it was done at the 
instigation of Herodias, who hated John because he had 
disapproved of her marriage, and wanted to take his 
life because she was afraid of his influence on her hus- 
band. But for the present she could not carry out her 


MARK [VI, 20-24 

Herodias set herself against him, and desired to kill him ; and 
she could not ; (20) for Herod feared John, knowing that he 
was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. And when 
he heard him, he ^ was much perplexed ; and he heard him 
gladly. (21) And when a convenient day was come, that 
Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, and the 
2 high captains, and the chief men of Galilee ; (22) and when 
8 the daughter of Herodias herself came in and danced, * she 
pleased Herod and them that sat at meat with him ; and the 
king said unto the damsel. Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, 
and I will give it thee. (23) And he sware unto her. Whatso- 
ever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of 
my kingdom. (24) And she went out, and said unto her 
mother. What shall I ask ? And she said, The head of John 

^ Many ancient authorities read did many things. 

* Or, military tribunes Gr. chiliarchs. 

' Some ancient authorities read his daughter Herodias. 

* Or, it. 

plans, because Herod was afraid of doing violence to a 
man who was so generally regarded as just and pious ; 
and by imprisoning him he purposed rather to save 
him from the murderous plots of his wife than to harm 
him. For Herod heard him gladly, although he there- 20 
by was led to question many things that he himself 
had done. Mark accordingly tells us that the behead- 
ing of the Baptist subsequently tortured him with 
remorse. But how he came to commit this crime we 
see in the history of a birthday festival which Herod 
gave, and which offered his wife a favorable oppor- 
tunity for carrying out her project (cf. Matt. xiv. 6). 
Mark describes in detail the festive company which 21 
was assembled there. It consisted of the highest mili- 
tary and civil officials and prominent people of the 
province. For we now understand why Herod, after 
he had allowed himself to be forced into making the 
rash promise, as Mark narrates after Esther v, 3, and 
Herodias had persuaded her daughter to ask for the 
head of the Baptist (cf. Matt. xiv. 7-8), and although 22 
he was sorry, he nevertheless, since the whole aris- 



the Baptizer. (25) And she came in straightway with haste 
unto the king, and asked, saying, I will that thou forthwith 
give me on a platter the head of John the Baptist. (26) And 
the king was exceeding sorry ; but for the sake of his oaths, 
and of them that sat at meat, he would not reject her. 
(27) And straightway the king sent forth a soldier of his 
guard, and commanded to bring his head : and he went and 
beheaded him in the prison, (28) and brought his head on a 
platter, and gave it to the damsel ; and the damsel gave it to 
her mother. (29) And when his disciples heard thereof, they 
came and took up his corpse, and laid it in a tomb. 

(30) And the apostles gather themselves together unto 
Jesus ; and they told him all things, whatsoever they had 
done, and whatsoever they had taught. (31) And he saith 
unto them. Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and 
rest a while. For there were many coming and going, and 

tocratic company had heard the promise, did not ven- 
ture to take back his word, which he had confirmed' 

26 with an oath. "What was to be done must be done 
rapidly in order to save him further scruples ; and he 
accordingly sent one of his body-guards who, as the 
girl had demanded, brought the head upon a platter. 

27 It is perfectly clear why the girl with her own hand 
brings the head to her mother, namely, so that the lat- 
ter could gloat her vengeance with this sight (cf. Matt. 
xiv. 10-11). Of the burial of John by his disciples 
we have heard in Matt. xiv. 12. 

30 According to Mark it was the return from the 
mission journey of the disciples, who after its comple- 
tion are for the first time called Apostles, that induced 
Jesus to take a journey to the Eastern Shore (cf. Mark 

31 xi, 13). They had just begun to give a report to 
Jesus of their teaching and deeds, when there was 
again such a continuous coming and going of the 
people around Him, that they could not even take their 
meal in peace, and still less could discuss the experi- 



MARK [VI, 32-87 

they had no leisure so much as to eat. (32) And they went 
away in the boat to a desert place apart. (33) And the people 
saw them going, and many knew them, and they ran together 
there ^on foot from all the cities, and outwent them. (34) And 
he came forth and saw a great multitude, anu he had com- 
passion on tliem, because tliey were as sheep not having a 
shepherd : and he began to teach them many things. (35) And 
when the day was now far .spent, his disciples came unto him, 
and said, The place is desert, and the day is now far spent ; 
(3G) send them away, tliat they may go into the country and 
villages round about, and buy themselves somewliat to eat. 
(37) But he answered and said unto them, Give ye tliem to eat. 

' Or, by land. 

ence of the disciples on their journey. This it was that 32 
mdiiced Jesus to enter a boat in order to find some rest 
m a less crowded spot. But IMark narrates more fully 
how this purpose was tliwarted. For many had 33 
noticed them depart and had seen what direction they 
had taken. At once they ran around tlie northern 34 
edge of the sea and came from all the cities round about, 
and arrived at the place even in advance of Jesus and the 
disciples. Thus it happened that Jesus, when He 
stepped out of the boat, found a multitude already as- 
sembled ; and in compassion for the flock that had no 
shepherd (cf . Matt. ix. 38), He gave up His purpose and 
resumed Ilis instructions. How it happened that the 
multitude swelled to unprecedented proportions and 
that in the evening tlie feeding of tlie five thousand 
took place, is not described by ]Mark. We hear from 35 
him exactly as in ^Matt. xiv. 15 that the disciples 
asked Jesus to dismiss tlie people^ as it was already 
late, so that they could go to tlie neigliboring farms and 
market places to buy food. And here the disciples, 36 
when Jesus asks tlunn to give the people something to 
eat, estimate how much it would cost to do so. They 37 
would be compelled to buy two Innulred denars' worth 
of bread if they were to do this, and this was naturally 



And they say unto him, Shall we go and buy two hundred 
1 shillings' worth of bread, and give them to eat? (38) And 
he saith unto them, How many loaves have ye ? go and see. 
And when they knew, they say, Five, and two fishes. 
(39) And he commanded them that all should * sit down by 
companies upon the green grass. (40) And they sat down in 
ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. (41) And he took the five 
loaves and the two fishes, and looking up to heaven, he blessed, 
and brake the loaves ; and he gave to the disciples to set be- 
fore them ; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 
(42) And they all ate, and were filled. (43) And they took up 
broken pieces, twelve basketfuls, and also of the fishes. 
(44) And they that ate the loaves were five thousand men. 

(45) And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter 
into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side to 

^ The word in the Greek denotes a coin worth about eight pence half- 
penny, or nearly seventeen cents. 
* Gr. rtcline. 

88 a sum that they could not bring together. After this 
report, too, Jesus causes an examination to be made as 
to the provisions they have on hand, and directs them, 
although there are only five loaves and two fishes, to 
cause the people to sit down and prepare for a meal. 
We now learn how it came to pass that afterwards the 
number of these people could be calculated ; for Jesus 
ordered that they should, after the manner of table 
companies, lie down in groups of fifties and hundreds 
that looked like garden beds, and made it possible 
quickly and systematically to distribute the food ; and 
thus it was only necessary to count the groups, to 

40 which the disciples had distributed it. The feeding 
itself is described entirely after the report of Matt, 
xiv. 19 sqq., only that repeatedly the fishes are men- 
tioned, which in the oldest reports were included in the 

44 bread. Further, the manner in which Mark describes 
the parting of Jesus and His disciples is exactly after 
Matt. xiv. 21-23, only that in this case Bethsaida is 
mentioned as the place to which they are to precede 

45 Him. The experience on the night journey is, however, 


MARK [VI, 46-52 

Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the midtitude away. 
(46) And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into 
the mountain to pray. (47) And when even was come, the 
boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone on the land. 
(48) And seeing them distressed in rowing, for the wind was 
contrary unto them, about the fourth watch of the night he 
Cometh unto them, walking on the sea ; and he would have 
passed by them : (49) but they, when they saw him walking 
on the sea, supposed that it was a ghost, and cried out ; (5ft) 
for they all saw him, and were troubled. But he straightway 
spake with them, and saith unto them. Be of good cheer : it is 
I ; be not afraid. (51) And he went up unto them into the 
boat ; and the wind ceased : and they were sore amazed in 
themselves ; (52) for they understood not concerning the 
loaves, but their heart was hardened. 

introduced by the statement that Jesus saw from the 
top of the hill how the disciples were compelled to 
struggle in rowing against contrary winds. Then, 
rather remarkably, it is said that Jesus purposed pass- 
ing them by, when He was compelled by the supersti- 
tious fears of the disciples to speak to them and to 
quiet them. But this in a measure is explained by the 
fact that all the disciples saw this remarkable appear- 
ance, which was therefore no figment of the imagina- 
tion ; and this astounded them. But that the disciples 51 
were amazed beyond all measure when Jesus entered 
their ship and the wind was quieted, Mark explains by 
saying that the disciples, e^'en by the miraculous feed- 
ing, had not yet reached the full understanding of the 
wonderful powers of Jesus. His intention is, therefore 
not only to report a great miracle performed by Jesus, 
but to emphasize the fact that the disciples, notwith- 
standing all this, still possessed only a faint apprecia- 
tion of the greatness of Jesus, because their hearts 
were hardened against the significance of such deeds as 
the feeding of the thousands and the walking of Jesus 
upon the water. For this at last naturally compelled 



(53) And when they had i crossed over, they came to the 
land unto Gennesaret, and moored to the shore. 

(54) And when they were come out of the boat, straightway 
the people knew him, (55) and ran round about that whole 
region, and began to carry about on their 2 beds those that 
were sick, where they heard he was. (56) And wheresoever 
he entered, into villages, or into cities, or into the country, 
they laid the sick in the market-places, and besought him that 
they might touch if it were but tlie border of his garment : 
and as many as touched ^ him were made whole. 

* Or, crossed over to the land, they came unto Oennesaret. 
» Or, pallets. » Or, it. 

Jesus to withdraw more and more from His activity 
among the people at large and apply Himself to the 

53 instruction of the disciples. The narrative closes with 
the statement that they, since the proposed meeting 
was not necessary on account of the arrival of Jesus, 
crossed over the sea and came to the plain of Gen- 
nesaret, where they landed. 

54 The description of the manner in which the people 
on the plain of Gennesaret at once recognized Jesus, 
and as rapidly as possible spread the news of His 
return, so that they could bring the sick to Him, 
(cf. Matt. xiv. 35), is here still further emphasized by 

55 the statement that they brought them on beds at every 
place. As soon as they heard that Jesus had left one 
place and had gone to another, they followed Him and 
laid the sick down on the public squares where He hap- 

56 pened to be. But here, too, it is especially noted that 
Jesus did not pay attention to all of these cases, but 
merely permitted them, by touching His garments as 
He passed, to receive the benefit of His healing powers. 
We see here Jesus already beginning to retire from 

1 His public ministry. But His enemies, the Scribes and 
some of the Rabbis, opposed Him even while on His 
journey, because they took offense at certain prac- 
tices of the disciples, which they probably noticed 
during their missionary journey. They eat their bread 


MARK [VII, 3-6 

■yj J And there are gathered together unto him the Pharisees, 
and certain of the scribes, who liad come from Jeru- 
salem, (2) and had seen that some of his disciples ate their 
bread with • defiled, that is, unwashen, hands. (3) (For tlie 
Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands 
diligentl}% eat not, holding the tradition of the elders ; 
(4) and ivhen they come from the market-place, except they 
8 bathe themselves, they eat not ; and many other things there 
are, which they have received to liold, ^wasliings of cups, and 
pots, and brasen vessels^.) (o) And the Pliarisees and the 
scribes ask him. Why walk not thy disciples according to the 
tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with i defiled hands ? 
(6) And lie said unto them. Well did Isaiah prophesy of you 
hypocrites, as it is written, 

' Or, common. - Or, up t<.> the elhoiv Gr. vith the fist. 

^ Gr. bajiti-i'. Some ancient authorities read S2)rinkie tliemsclves. 
* Gr. bajifisiiigs. 
^ Many ancient autlK^rities add and nnicJw.'i. 

as they state it, with profane hands, i.e., hands, that had 
not through the customary washings attained the 
purity proper for the children of God. Mark inter- 3 
rupts the account by an explanation of the custom 
that is involved in this controversy concerning the 
washing of hands (cf. Matt. xv. 2). He states tliat it 
was the custom of the Jews, and especially a rigid 
observance of their models of piety, to wash the inner 
part of the liand thoroughly before every meal, by 
cleaning eacli hand with the list of the other from all 
legal impurity with which it may have come into con- 
tact. "When they came from the market, where it was 4 
easily possible to come into contact with something 
that defiled, it was necessary to apply at least the 
.simplest form of cleansing, which was practicable in 
any place, that of sprinkling. Then there are many 
other observances of this kind, such as the rinsing of 
eating and drinking vessels and of the table ware. 
When Ills opponents asked Jesus why Ilis disciples 5 
did not observe this honored custom, Jesus simply 
rebuked them as hypocrites, of whom Isaiah in 
xxiv. 13 had prophesied (cf. Matt. xv. 7, sqq.), because 6 



1 This people honoreth me with their lips, 
But their heart is far from me. 

(7) But in vain do they worsliip me, 

Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. 

(8) Ye leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the 
tradition of men. (9) And he said unto them, Full well do ye 
reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your 
tradition. (10) For Moses said, ^ Honor thy father and thy 
mother ; and. He that speaketh evil of father or mother, let 
him * die the death : (11) but ye say. If a man shall say to his 
father or his mother. That wherewith thou raightest have 
been profited by me is Corban, that is to say, Given to Ood; 
(12) ye no longer suffer him to do aught for his father or his 
mother ; (13) making void the word of God by your tradition, 
which ye have delivered : and many such like things ye do. 
(14) And he called to him the multitude again, and said unto 
them, Hear me all of you, and understand : (15) there is noth- 
ing from without the man, that going into him can defile 
him ; but the things which proceed out of the man are those 

1 jg xxix. 13. 

« Ex. XX. 12 ; Dt. v. 16 ; Ex. xxi. 17 ; Lev. xx. 9. » Or, surely die. 

on account of their zeal for these human ordinances 
they had neglected the commandments of God ; and 
hence their zeal was not for the latter, but for the 

8 former. But He also cites an example of the way in 
which they, of their own will are ignoring a time- 
honored tradition, really makes a divine command of 

9 none effect. It is the point discussed in Matt. xv. 4 
sqq., excepting that Jesus here adds that they do many 

10 other things of like character. But to the people, as is 
also reported in Matt. xv. 10-11, He attempts to make 
clear that He does not hereby try to destroy the laws 
of purification by employing them, as He does all 
natural customs, as a parable for the higher order of 

14 things in the Kingdom of God. For as these proceed 
from the presumption that not that which enters into 

16 a man, but that which proceeds from him, such as a 

bloody flux, leprosy, putrefaction, makes a man profane, 


MABK [VII, 17-24 

that defile the man. ^ (17) And when he was entered into the 
house from the multitude, his disciples asked of him the par- 
able. (18) And he saitli unto tliem, Are ye so without under- 
standing also? Perceive ye not, that whatsoever from with- 
out goeth into the man, it cannot defile him ; (19) because it 
goeth not into his heart, but into his belly, and goeth out into 
the draught? This he said, making all meats clean. (20) And 
he said, That which proceedeth out of the man, that defileth 
the man. (21) For from within, out of the heart of men, 
2 evil thoughts proceed, fornications, thefts, murders, adul- 
teries. (22) covetings, wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, an 
evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: (23) all these evil things 
proceed from within, and defile the man. 

(24) And from thence he arose, and went away into the 

1 Many ancient authorities insert ver. 10. If any man hath ears to 
hear, let him hear. See ch. 4. 9. ;^3. 
- Gr. thoughts tliat are evil. 

i.e., makes an Israelite lose the sanctity which he has 
as a child of God, so, too, the moral purity is lost, not 
by a cause coming from without, but by the evil that 
comes from the heart. "When the disciples, as soon as 17 
they were alone with Jesus, asked for the interpretation 
of this parable, Jesus rebuked them sharply for not IS 
understanding such a parable, and explained it to them 
according to Matt. xv. 17-'20. It is here expressly 19 
made evident that nothing that enters into a man from 
without goes into his heart, liut originally all sins, as '20 
enumerated with some fulness, come from the heart, 
and it is therefore clear that oidy what comes from 
within can pollute a man. Ilencetorth it appears that 
further public teaching, as it is constantly bringing 
Jesus into renewed controversies with His oi)ponents, 
fails of its object since He can do nothing more than 
condenm them; and He is forced to tlu^. conclusion that 
the disciples, as well as the peoi)le, whom He had long 
since given up, are still in great need of further educa- 
tion in order to understand Him. 
In order to devote Himself entirely to His disciples, 1^4 



borders of Tyre ^ and Sidon. And he entered into a house, and 
would have no man know it ; and he could not be hid. (25) 
But straightway a woman, whose little daughter had an un- 
clean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his 
feet. (36) Now the woman was a ^ Greek, a Syrophoenician 
by race. And she besought him that he would cast forth the 
demon out of her daughter. (27) And he said unto her. Let 
the children first be filled : for it is not meet to take the chil- 

1 Some ancient authorities omit and Sidon. 

*0r, Gentile. 

Jesus leaves the Jewish country, where new attacks 
were always being made upon Him, and crossing the 
western border in the neighborhood of Tyre, enters a 
house. Mark places this episode at a moment when 
Jesus by His actions could confirm the principles just 
enunciated by Him, in reference to clean and unclean 
things. He does not regard Himself as defiled, as the 
Jews would have done, by entering into the house of a 
heathen, which is really not forbidden anywhere in the 
law of God. Of course it is by no means His pur- 
pose to begin a public ministry in the heathen land. 
He therefore does not wish His presence to be known ; 

25 but concealment proved to be impossible, as is seen 
from the story, reported in Matt. xv. from the oldest 
traditions, of the Syro-Phcenician woman, which Mark 

26 assigns to this place. For as soon as she hears of 
Jesus she comes to Him, and casting herself down, begs 
of Him to cast out a devil from her afflicted daughter. 
In this connection Mark, in order to explain the follow- 
ing narrative, adds that she was a Greek woman, who 
came from Phcenicia, which belonged to the province 
of Syria. "Without entering into the details of the 
story, he only reports the word of Jesus, with which, 
according to Matt. xv. 26, He spurns the woman, but not 
without explaining it by declaring, in contradiction to 
the current error, that salvation is not to be denied to the 
heathen as such, although the Jews are first to be 



MARK [VII, 28-33 

dren's * bread and cast it to the dogs. (28) But she answered 
and saith unto him, Yea, Lord ; even the dogs under the table 
eat of the children's crumbs. (29) And he said unto her. For 
this saying go thy way ; the demon is gone out of thy daugh- 
ter. (30) And she went away unto her house, and found the 
child laid upon the bed, and the demon gone out. 

(31) And again he went out from the borders of Tyre, and 
came through Sidon unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst 
of the borders of Decapolis. (32) And they bring unto him 
one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech ; and 
they beseech him to lay his hand upon him. (33) And he took 
him aside from the miiltitude privately, and put his fingers 

*Or, loaf. 

filled with its blessings. And he especially emphasizes 28 
the fact that Jesus, on account of the statement of the 
woman who recognizes the superior claims of Is- 
rael to redemption, and accordingly herself states the 
sense in which Jesus can comply with her request, 
promises that her wish shall be granted. Finally he 29 
describes how she, in accordance with this promise, 
finds on her return home her daughter, hitherto tor- 
mented by the evil spirit, lying upon her bed released 
from its power. Without remaining any longer in the 31 
neighborhood of Tyre, Jesus now returns in a more 
northerly direction through Sidon, and making a wide 
circuit of the northern part of the Holy Land from the 
east, returns to the Sea of Galilee in the midst of the 
district of the disciples. 

But it was not His purpose there to take up again 
His work of healing. For when they bring to Him a 32 
deaf mute. He takes him aside, in order to heal him by 
the laying on of hands ; so that the people might not 
le^rn whether He healed him or not. This single case of 
the healing of the deaf, Mark makes use of, in order to 
explain in detail the method of Jesus in dealing with 
such cases. First, Jesus touches the original seat of 33 
the trouble, by putting His finger into the ear of the 
20 305 


into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue ; (34) and 
looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Eph- 
phatha, that is, Be opened. (35) And his ears were opened, 
and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. 
(36) And he charged them that they should tell no man : but 
the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal 
they published it. (37) And they were beyond measure aston- 
ished saying. He hath done all things well ; he maketh even 
the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. 

unfortunate man, and then He touches the tongue, by 

34 moistening it with spittle. And now He looks up with 
a sigh in prayer to God, who alone can give Him the 
power to remove the evil, and, as He is always sure of 

35 being heard, He pronounces His Ephphatha, and the 
result shows that He was not mistaken in trusting to 
this help. For as soon as the ears of the deaf man had 
been opened, the bond of his tongue was also loosened, 

36 and he spoke in a perfectly normal manner. But Jesus 
expressly orders him and those who had brought him 
to Him, not to say anything about it, in order that no 

37 further demands be made upon Him to heal others. 
It is true that this did no good. The very fact that 
Jesus wished the healing to remain a secret increased 
their desire to publish it abroad as something extraor- 
dinary. And it is clear, why Mark reports the sequel 
at such length. It was in these regions that He had 
once been asked to depart, and had left behind Him 
one witness of His miraculous power, (cf. v. 17-20), 
Now when the people heard of the healing of the deaf 
and mute man, they were amazed beyond measure, 
and did not tire of praising Jesus for all that He had 
done so well, although on the former occasion they had 
feared only evil from Him. But now the time was 
passed when Jesus sought to testify to the people 
through His miracles, that in Him had appeared that 



"^"^JJJ In those days, when there was again a great multi- 
tude, and they had nothing to eat, he called unto })im 
his disciples, and saith unto them, (3) I have compassion on 
the multitude, because they continue with me now three 
days, and have nothing to eat : (3) and if I send tliem away 
fasting to their home, they will faint on the way ; and some 
of them are come fronr far. (4) And his disciples answered 
him, Wlieuce shall one be able to fill these men with i bread 
here in a desert place? (o) And he asked them, How many 
loaves have ye ? And thej* said, Seven. (6) And he com- 
mandeth the multitude to sit down on the ground : and he 
took the seven loaves, and having given thanks, he brake, and 
gave to liis disciples, to set before tliem ; and they set them 

1 Gr. loaves. 

grace of God which the people would not accept in the 
form in which Jesus brought it to them. 

It was during the verA' daN's when the enthusiasm of 
the jieople for Jesus reached its culmination, and Jesus 
was yet gradually withdrawing from His puhlic min- 
istry, that a large multitude was once more collected 
around Ilim and had nothing to eat. It is possible 
that Mark thought that the people assembled on ac- 
count of the miracle just performed in Decapolis. In 
this wa}" was brought about the feeding of the four 
thousand, which the first Evangelist had already nar- 
rated after 3Iark. With mc>ro detail than ^Matthew 2 
gives, our Evangelist descriljcs Jesus as basing ITis 
action on the needs of tlie people, as some of them had 
come from afar. For evidently the narrator wishes to 3 
emi)liasize the fact that this miracle, too, was Avrung 
from Ilim by the extreme want of Ilis followers. 
The disciples do otherwise than is related in .Matt. xv. 4 
33, and merely remind Jesus of the fact, that here in a 
desert place nothing can be had with which to satisfy 
hunger. It is rather remarkable that nobody thinks 
of the first feeding of the thousands. For from this 5 
point the narrative continues exactly as the story in 



before the multitude. (7) And they had a few small fishes : 
and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also 
before them, And they ate, and were filled : and they took up, 
of broken pieces that remained over, seven baskets. (9) And 
they were about four thousand : and he sent them away. (10) 
And straightway he entered into the boat with his disciples, 
and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. 

(11) And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question 

Matt. XV. 34 sqq. excepting that it is expressly said, 
that the disciples distributed the bread that had been 
given them, and that fishes so far had not been 
9 mentioned. Jesus spoke a blessing. Then comes yet 
the final statement modeled after the story of the first 

10 feeding exactly as found in Matt. xv. 37-38. Imme- 
diately after this Jesus dismissed the people, with 
whom He no longer wishes to have anything to do, by 
entering a boat with His disciples and sailing away. 
As the destination of His journey is not mentioned, 
nor is known in the gospels as the seat of His activity 
on any other occasion, it must be concluded that He 
again wished to withdraw entirely from the people ; and 
since it is not said that He crossed the sea, it may have 

11 been the south-eastern regions of the lake. But as 
immediately after the first feeding of the thousands 
we hear of a collision with His enemies, so here Mark 
tells us that the Pharisees came also to this place, 
although, to judge from this expression, the locality 
must have been outside of the Holy Land. On this 
occasion it is their purpose to begin a controversy with 
Him ; for their demand for a sign from heaven (Matt, 
xvi. 1) has manifestly no other purpose than to try and 
see if He can furnish such a sign ; and as they naturally 
presuppose that He cannot do so, His inability will be a 
proof of His folly. Hence Jesus will not enter into a 
discussion with them at all. He does not even undertake 


MARK [VIII, 12-16 

with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, trying him. 
(12) And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith. Why doth 
this generation seek a sign ? verily I say unto you, There shall 
no sign be given unto this generation. (13) And he left them, 
and again entering into the boat departed to the other side. 

(14) And they forgot to take bread ; and they had not in 
the boat with them more than one loaf. (15) And he charged 
them, saying. Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees 
and tlie leaven of Herod. (16) And they reasoned one with 

to condemn them, as He did in the controversy concern- 
ing the washing of hands, but only sighs in the depths 12 
of His heart on account of the hardness of their heart, 
and briefly explains with emphatic asseveration, that to 
such a generation a sign of this character can under no 
circumstances be given, and tlien leaves them there and 
in a vessel crosses over to the western shore. 

Jesus accordingly desires to have as little to do with 
His opponents as with the people. This it was that 
induced Him now to devote Himself entirely to His 
disciples. And it was soon to appear how imperatively 
necessary this was. In the instance given by Mark it 
becomes still clearer than we can gather from Matt, 
xvi. 5, why the disciples, when Jesus departed so sud- 
denly on account of the attack of the Pharisees, had 
forgotten to take provisions with them. They had as 14 
a matter of fact only a single loaf of bread left in the 
boat. This was the cause of the inexplicable misun- 
derstanding of a word spoken figuratively by Jesus 
(cf Matt. xvi. 6-7). Jesus had warned them against 15 
the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. He had of 
course meant the sinful character of these people that 
penetrated all their doings and actions ; in the case of 
the former this being a hypocritical piety, in the case 
of the latter, a worldly-minded lack of piety. The dis- 
ciples, who in their daily intercourse with Jesus could 



another, i saying, 2 We have no bread. (17) And Jesus per- 
ceiving it saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have 
no bread ? do ye not yet perceive, neither understand ? have 
ye your heart hardened? (18) Having eyes, see ye not? and 
having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember? (19) 
When I brake the five loaves among the five thousand, how 
many * baskets full of broken pieces took ye up ? They say 
unto him. Twelve. (20) And when the seven among the four 
thousand, how many ^ basketfuls of broken pieces took ye up ? 
And they say unto him. Seven. (21) And he said unto them, 
Do ye not yet understand ? 

' Some ancient authorities read because they had no bread. 

* Or, It is because we have no bread. 

' Basket in ver. 19 and 30 represents dififerent Greek words. 

not presuppose as self-evident what we naturally so 
understand, that every word that we know of Him 
must point to spiritual things, believed as they thought 
over His words, that He referred to their lack of bread. 
But Jesus, who now knew the thoughts of their mind, 
was seriously offended at this. Already in vii. 18, 
He had rebuked them, because they did not under- 
stand the figurative use of a word that He spoke ; and 
17 now this is again the case. Jesus, finds, as the Evan- 
gelist did in vi. 52, that they have a hardened heart, 
and that in fact, they are not much better equipped to 
understand Him than are the people in general who 
with seeing eyes do not see and with hearing ears do 

19 not hear. (cf. iv. 12). Therefore He reminds them of 

20 the two occasions on which He fed thousands. Jesus 
shames them doubly, making them state themselves 
how many baskets they had filled with what was left 
on the first time and how many were left over on the 

21 second, and for this reason. He again asks in surprise, 
how it had been possible for them not to notice that 
He was speaking of spiritual things, since through their 
own experience they certainly ought to have known 
that there would be no need of bread. Mark narrates 
all this so fully in order to point out again at the con- 


MARK VIII, 22-25 

(22) And they come unto Bethsaida. And they bring to 
him a blind man, and beseech him to touch him. (23) And 
he took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him 
out of the village ; and when he had spit on his eyes, and laid 
his hands upon him, he asked him, Seest thou aught ? (24) 
And he looked up, and said, I see men ; for I behold them as 
trees, walking. (25) Then again he laid his hands vipon his 

elusion of this part of his book that it was the pressing 
necessity of instructing His weak disciples that induced 
Jesus to Avithdraw from His public activity more and 
more. For that He did this appears once again from 
the narrative of the healing of the blind man. 

Jesus comes with His disciples to Bethsaida, on the 22 
west coast, where He had already intended to go after the 
first feeding of the thousands (cf. vi. 45). But when 22 
they here bring to Him a blind man with tlie request 
to heal him by the laying on of hands, He leaves those 
behind who bring him and with His own hand leads 
the blind man out of the city. As in the case of the 
deaf mute, He does not wish it to be known there what 
He does to the blind man, in order not to encourage 
new demands on His healing powers. And again, as in 
the description of the preceding healing, 3Iark here 
enters upon the details of this miracle. Jesus lays His 
hands upon the eyes of the blind man, that have been 
moistened by spittle, and asks if he can see any tiling. 
The latter opens his eyes in order to try what he can see, 24 
and is ready to think that he already sees certain forms, 
but in indistinct outline, and believes they are men walk- 
ing about that look as though they were trees. There- 25 
fore Jesus repeats the laying on of hands, that bad 
brought help; and now at once it seems as though his 
glance can penetrate the mist that had veiled every- 
thing before this, and he can see again perfectly. From 
now on he can see all things, even in the distance. 


VIII, 26-28] W^JISjS'S communtaey 

eyes ; and he looked stedfastly, and was restored, and saw all 
things clearly. (26) And he sent him away to his home, say- 
ing, Do not even enter into the village. 

(27) And Jesus went forth, and his disciples, into the villages 
of Caesarea Philippi : and on the way he asked his disciples, 
saying unto them, Who do men say that I am ? (28) And they 
told him, saying, John the Baptist ; and others, Elijah ; but 

26 But in this case too the story ends with the injunction, 
that the miracle is not to be reported. For this reason 
the healed man is not even to return to the village, 
where the miracle would naturally become known, even 
without his saying a word ; but he is to go directly to 
his house, which was outside of the village. Since 
Mark closes this part of his gospel with this narrative, 
the thought forces itself upon us spontaneously that 
he sees something representative in it. He who opened 
the eyes of the blind man will also be able to overcome 
even the great incapacity of the disciples to understand 
Him; and the account of how He accomplishes this 
through the instruction He gives them forms the con- 
tents of the fifth part. 

Mark again and again makes it manifest that the 
subject that was discussed by Jesus in instructing the 
disciples was the suffering and passion that awaited 
the Messiah. But Jesus could speak of this subject only 
after the disciples had been firmly grounded in the 
faith that He was the Messiah; and to see if this 
is the case, is now the purpose of Jesus' ques- 

27 tion. Again He had withdrawn with His disciples 
from the usual scene of His activity, and had gone to 
the territory of the Tetrarch Philip. But here too He 
did not enter the capital city, just as He went not into 
the capital of His own ruler. But He was walking 
through the villages around Csesarea Philippi with His 
disciples, when He suddenly put the question to them, as 


JIAEK [VIII, 29-31 

others, One of the prophets. (29) And he asked them, But 
who say ye that I am? Peter answereth and saith unto him, 
Thou art the Christ. (30) And he charged them that they 
sliould tell no man of him. 

(31) And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must 
suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, and the 
chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three 

to what conclusion men had reached in reference to Ilim- 
.self. We have here exactly the same conversation with 29 
the disciples that is reported in 3[att. xvi. 13-16, from 
the oldest tradition, excepting that in this case Peter, 
in the name of the disciples, simply confesses the Mes- 
sianic character of Jesus, which was the matter of chief 
importance in this connection. For this reason it is 30 
also clear that the purpose of the prohibition ^^'as only 
that they are not, as was stated in Matt. xvi. 20, to 
speak of His Messianic character, which fact could only 
awaken false hopes in the people at large, as these could 
not receive the actual truth. But the disciples, too, share 
this popular belief in the earthly ^Messianic glory which 
awaits their Master, and for that reason it is necessary 
that they are to be instructed concerning the passion 
that, according to the counsel of God, impends over 
Him, as was the case in Matt, xvi., 21. But the fact 31 
that the present gospel has preserved this point of the 
instruction in the original form, is clear from this, that 
the prediction of a resurrection that is always connected 
with this passion, is here only made to im})ly that lie 
will rise again after three days. Certain it is that this 
was, on the basis of IIos. vi., 2, only a proverbial way of 
saying that the miraculous act of God, which was to re- 
call Plini from the grave and raise Ilim to His ^Messi- 
anic glory, was to take place in a very short time. So 
surely this passage shows, that it was only another ex- 
pression for the same thought, when, later, in reference 



days rise again. (32) And he spake the saying openly. And 
Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. (33) But he turn- 
ing about, and seeing his disciples, rebuked Peter, and saith, 
Get thee behind me, Satan ; for thou mindest not the things 
of God, but the things of men. (34) And he called unto him 
the multitude with his disciples, and said unto them, If any 
man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his 

to the actual fulfilment of this prediction, it was said, 

32 " in three days." Mark emphasizes particularly that 
Jesus had already, now and then, especially in figura- 
tive form, hinted at these things, but that now He be- 
gan to speak of them, openly and frankly. It is 
Mark who describes the amazement of Peter on account 
of this announcement, which we read already in Matt, 
xvi. 22, so that he makes use of the same terms with 
which he describes how Jesus reproves the disciples 

33 (cf . y. 30), and soon afterwards himself. So far Peter for- 
gets his relation towards his Master ; for which reason 
Mark emphasizes the fact, that Jesus turning around 
and looking at the disciple who was following Him, 
declares this to be a Satanic temptation, in that he 
would try to persuade Him to depart from the divinely 
ordered submission to His passion. They are all to hear, 
that even the formal confessor of His Messiahship 
will become a Satan, if by this confession he seeks the 
fulfilment only of his earthly expectations, and not that 
of the divine will, to accomplish which Jesus has come 

34 into the world (Matt, xvi., 23). But the people shall 
also hear, although He has withdrawn Himself from 
them, while discussing these matters with His disciples, 
that He demands of all who are really following Him, 
not only, that they follow after Him to hear what He 
has to say, but also that they with self-denial be 
prepared to take upon themselves all the suffering 
that will attend their calling (cf. Matt. xvi. 24). 


MABK [VIII, 35-38 

cross, and follow me. (35) For whosoever would save his life 
shall lose it ; and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and 
the 1 gospel's shall save it. (36) For what doth it profit a man, to 
gain the whole world, and forfeit his life ? (37) For what should 
a man give in exchange for his life ? (38) For whosoever shall 
be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful 
generation, the Son of man also shall be ashamed of him, when 
he Cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. 

^ See marginal note on ch. 1. 1. 

We see, exactly as in iv. 21-25, that Mark here con- 35 
nects with this episode of Peter's confession a series of 
statements of Jesus, in which He points to the neces- 
sary fact, that the disciples must expect to suffer (cf. 
Matt. xvi. 25, 26). This must have been one of the 
most certain things noted by Mark from the communi- 
cations of Peter, namely, that Jesus in this connection 38 
referred for the first time to His return in glory, (cf. 
Matt- XXV. 31), when He will appear in the company 
of angels (Matt. xxiv. 31). From the verj'^ fact that 
He was compelled to predict for His disciples such a 
lot of suffering. He has also told them what would be 
the end of this suffering, if they would remain faithful. 
But this is only an application of what Jesus had said 
in Matt. x. 33, when in order to furnish a reason for 
this exhortation to undertake suffering, He points out 
what would happen to him who is not willing to bear 
even the lightest suffering or the worldly contempt 
that must be the fate of His followers and the de- 
fenders of that message of redemption which He had 
intrusted to His disciples. Jesus emphasizes the fact 
that it would be an honor to be despised by a genera- 
tion so forgetful of God (Matt. xii. 39), and so sinful 
as this is. For this reason He also will be ashamed of 
him who is ashamed to bear His disgrace, when He 
returns and will not recognize him as a true dis- 
ciple ; and Mark expressly points out, that He added yet 


IX, 1-4] 


IX (^) -^°*^ ^^ ^^^^ iinto them, Verily I say unto you, 
There are some here of them that stand by, who shall in 
no wise taste of death, till they see the kingdom of God come 
with power. 

(2) And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and 
1 James, and John, and bringeth them up into a high mountain 
apart by themselves : and he was transfigured before them ; 
(3) and his garments became glistering, exceeding white, so as 
no fuller on earth can whiten them. (4) And there appeared 
unto them Elijah with Moses : and they were talking with 

' Or, Jacob. 

another statement, in which Jesus indicates how near 
that return is, in which not only their suffering would 
be ended, but it would also be decided who has been 
His true disciples and who not. For there are 
some among those standing here, who, no matter 
how many shall suffer death on His account, will not 
suffer this dire aflBiction until they have seen the King- 
dom of God coming in its full realization, when not 
only all suffering will be at an end, but it will also be 
decided who is to have a part in the eternal salvation. 

Here it becomes clear that it was Mark who knew 
from the reminiscences of Peter, that the transfigura- 
tion had taken place exactly six days after the predic- 
tion concerning the return of Jesus ; for which reason 
he regards it as a guarantee of His return (cf. 2 Pet. 1. 

2 16). From him, too, we have the statement, that it was 
only the three confidants of Jesus, to whom it was 

3 given to see the transfiguration. While the trans- 
figuration of His person is not described further, Mark, 
depicts the intense whiteness that was reflected by 
His garments, in accordance with his picturesque 

4 style, as such which no earthly fuller could achieve. 
It is further peculiar to him, that the words which 
Peter uses after the appearance of the two men 
speaking to Jesus (Mark, xvii. 3-4), were entirely 


MARK [IX, 5-10 

Jesus. (5) And Peter answereth and saith to Jesus, Rabbi, 
it is good for us to be here: and let us make three * taber- 
nacles ; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah. 
(6) For he knew not what to answer ; for they became sore 
afraid. (7) And there came a cloud overshadowing them : and 
there came a voice out of the cloud, This is my beloved Son : 
hear ye him. (8) And suddenly looking round about, they 
saw no one any more, save Jesus only with themselves. 

(9) And as they were coming down from the mountain, he 
charged them that they should tell no man what things they had 
seen, save when the Son of man should have risen again from 
the dead. (10) And they kept the saying, questioning among 
themselves what the rising again from the dead should mean. 

* Or, booths. , 

thoughtless, since he rightly believes that Peter had 
regarded this vision as an objective reality. That he, 5 
in his confusion did not know what he was saying is 
described by Mark as a result of the fright roused in the 6 
disciples by the vision, which Matt. xvii. 5-6, probably 
on the basis of an older tradition, reports as only ex- 7 
cited later, when the cloud overshadows them and 
they hear the voice of God. The narrative concludes 8 
with the statement, that suddenly, when the disciples 
looked around, the vision had disappeared and they 
saw Jesus alone. But the prohibition to say anything, 9 
before the resurrection to anybody of that which they 
had seen is found already in Matt., xvii. 9. But IC 
Mark tells us that they observed this prohibition 
strictly, and only began to discuss with one another 
what this resurrection would be. For they indeed 
knew of a resurrection through the Messiah on the 
last day, but of a resurrection of the Messiah Himself, 
which should take place very shortly after His death, 
they could not form any conception. So also of the con- 
versation concerning Elijah, which was caused by their 
misunderstanding on account of the appearance of 
Elijah, as we can see by the thoughtless statement of 


IX, 11-14] 


(11) And they asked him, saying, ^How is t^that the scribes say 
that Elijah must first come? (12) And he said unto them, 
Elijah indeed cometh first, and restoreth all things : and how 
is it written of the Son of man, that he should suffer many 
things and be set at naught ? (13) But I say unto you, that 
Elijah is come, and they have also done unto him whatsoever 
they would, even as it is written of him. 

(14) And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great 
multitude about them, and scribes questioning with them. 

* Or, 7%e scribes say . . . come. 

11 Peter, as already reported in Matt. xvii. 10, sqq. Here, 
however, Jesus gives a new turn to the conversation, 
by making the concession that the Scribes are right 
in claiming that Elijah was first to come, but adds that, 
according to prophecy, not only Elijah is to come, but 
that he is to restore the people to their normal condi- 
tion, adding the question, how this is to be harmonized 
with the facts also plainly taught by the Scriptures 
concerning the Messiah. For if Elijah fulfills his mis- 
sion and restores all things, then the way has been 
prepared for the Messiah, and it is hard to understand 

12 how He is then to suffer much and be despised. Jesus, 
accordingly, only makes use of the question with the 
disciples in order to return to the subject that engages 
His attention more than any other in instructing 

13 them. He then solves the seeming contradiction of 
the two passages of Scriptures, as in Matt., xvii. 12-13 
on the supposition that John the Baptist was the prom- 
ised Elijah, who was, however, by the conduct of the 
people, prevented from doing what his mission had 
implied ; which again led to the conclusion, that the 
Messiah was not welcomed but was regarded as noth- 
ing; yet He goes further in this matter by stating, 
that this fate of the Baptist too had been predicted 
in the Scriptures and evidently in what is said in 1 

15 Kings xix, of the persecutions of Elijah. 


MARK [IX, 15-17 

(15) And straightway all the multitude, when they saw him, 
were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him. (16) 
And he asked them, What question ye with them? (17) And 
one of the multitude answered him, Teacher, I brought unto 

"When Jesus returned with His three confidants from 
the hill to the other disciples awaiting their return on 
the plain, they meet a scene which only one of the three 
could so vividly have described, and which Mark un- 
doubtedly often heard from the lips of Peter. In the 
midst of a large multitude are the disciples and some 
Scribes, who are engaged in a lively discussion with each 
other. Of course those coming from the hill do not yet 
know what the discussion is about ; but we know from 
what follows, that it was concerning the miraculous 
power of Jesus, in whose name the disciples had in vain 
been trying to heal an epileptic. The incident is related 
in much briefer form by the first Evangelist according 
to the oldest tradition. But the fact that Mark too 
inserts the narrative at this place, shows that already 
in the oldest reports it was connected with the narrative 
of the transfiguration and that he did not wish to omit 
it because he had received the information of the 
significant details from Peter. To this belongs also 15 
the description of the way in which the people were 
amazed beyond measure, when, just at the moment 
when He was the object of the discussion, Jesus Him- 
self appears, in order to decide the matter. The peo- 
ple rush towards Him and enthusiastically greet Him. 16 
Jesus, however, who does not yet know what we know 
from the narrator, that it was the Scribes among 
the people who were debating with the disciples, turns 
to them with the question why they are disputing 
with them ? Then one from among the crowd speaks, 
and from his words we see that he was the father who 
had brought his epileptic son to Jesus, in order to have 



thee my son, who hatha dumb spirit ; (18) and wheresoever it 
taketh him, it ^ dasheth him down : and he foameth, and grind- 
eth his teeth, and pineth away : and I spake to thy disciples 
that they should cast it out ; and they were not able. (19) 
And he answereth them and saith, O faithless generation, how 
long shall I be with you? how long shall I bear with you? 
bring him unto me. (20) And they brought him, unto him : 
and when he saw him, straightway the spirit ^tare him griev- 
ously ; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. (21) 
And he asked his father. How long time is it since this hath 

* Or, rendeth him. See Mt. 7 6. » Or, convulsed. See ch. 1. 26. 

Him drive out the evil spirit, which is here called 
dumb, but later also designated as deaf, because when 
the boy was attacked he was speechless and could not 

18 during his attack be influenced by the words of others. 
We learn here that the epileptic attacks, by which the 
boy was periodically afliicted, were attributed to the 
influence of an evil spirit, who does not have him in 
his power at all times, but ever pursues him and when 
he seizes him, throws him back and forth in his 
spasms. The father describes that in such attacks he 
foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and in con- 
sequence of this he has become terribly emaciated. As 
he did not find Jesus, he had appealed to the disciples 
to drive out the evil spirit, but they had not been able 

19 to do so. Jesu&ithereupon breaks out into lamentation 
on account of this unbelieving generation, with whom 
He had been tarrying so long and which He Avas com- 
pelled to bear in their unbelief, and includes in this the 
father, as we have seen already from- Matt., xvii. 17. 

20 When then at His command the boy is brought to 
Him, a violent spasm at once results, and during this 
he rolls around upon the ground, and foams at the 
mouth. This was ascribed to the evil spirit, who, 
recognizing Jesus and fearful lest he may be expelled, 

21 rages in his final fury with all his power. Jesus, who 


MARK [IX, 22-26 

come unto him ? And he said, From a child. (22) And oft- 
times it hath cast him both into the fire and into the waters, 
to destroy him : but if thou canst do anything, have com- 
passion on us, and help us. (33) And Jesus said unto him, If 
thou canst ! All things are possible to him that believeth. 
(24) Straightway the father of the child cried out, and said, 
1 1 believe ; help thou mine unbelief. (25) And when Jesus 
saw that a multitude came I'unning together, he rbeuked the 
unclean spirit, saying unto him. Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I 
command thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. 
(26) And having cried out, and ^torn him much, he came out : 
and the hoy became as one dead ; insomuch that the more part 

1 Many ancient authorities add with tears. 

2 Or, convulsed. See ch. 1. 26. 

desires to awaken faith in the father in order that He 
may help him, enters into a conversation with him. 
But when the father had answered that the boy has 22 
been subject to these attacks from his childliood, he 
again in the anxiety of his heart describes the danger 
that surrounds the boy, ascribing those phenomena 
described in Matt., xvii. 15, to the evil spirit, who wants 
to destroy his victim. Then, however, he begs of Jesus 
to have compassion on him and his child, asking that 
He should help, if it were at all possible. Jesus then 23 
takes him by his word and answers that this : "If 
thou canst," is no faith, and that faith alonec an expect 
to be heard. The father, however, clinging to this 24 
word, utters a heartrending cry, saying, that he 
believes, and if Jesus does not find this faith sufficient, 
He should help him, notwithstanding his unbelief. 25 
This saying implies complete faith that trusts Jesus 
for all things ; but as lie sees that the crowd is con- 25 
stantly growing, and in order to avoid further excite- 
ment, He interrupts the conversation and commands 
the spirit to depart and never again to torment the 
boy. But now a last terrible attack is made, which 
with the loud outcry that the boy makes, is ascribed to 
21 321 


said, He is dead. (27) But Jesus took him by the hand, and 
raised him up ; and he arose. (28) And when he was come 
into the house, his disciples asked him privately. ^How is 
it that we could not cast it out ? (29) And he said unto 
them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.2 

(30) And they went forth from thence, and passed through 
Galilee ; and he would not that any man should know it. (31) 
For he taught his disciples, and said unto them. The son of 

' Or, saying, We could not cast it out. 

* Many ancient authorities add and fasting. 

the evil spirit and is followed by a deathlike exhaus- 

27 tion. But it is only necessary for Jesus to take him by 
the hand and the boy arises and is fully restored to 

28 health. And when Jesus afterwards was alone in a 
house with the disciples, they asked how it was that 
they had not been able to drive out the evil spirit. 
This included the question, why the authority that had 

29 been given them had in this case failed. But Jesus 
gives them to understand that the worse the case is, 
the more there is need of prayer ; this only is on the 
part of him who seeks help, as on the part of the helper, 
the expression of that confidence of faith, which is 
capable of securing everything and of doing every- 
thing (Matt. xvii. 20). 

Inasmuch as this incident, described in such detail, 
has nothing to do with the principal theme of this part 
of this gospel, Mark, in closing, returning again to the 

30 former subject. When Jesus returned from the journey 
to Caesarea Philippi, during which Mark probably places 
also the story of the transfiguration, goes and through 
Galilee, He proceeds without stopping, taking care only 
that nobody should learn of His presence and make 
new demands on Him, because He was engaged in in- 
structing His disciples with reference to the passion to 
which the Messiah was destined, as this has already 
been detailed by Matt. xvi. 22, on the basis of the 

81 present passage. There it is further added, in order to 


MABK [IX, 32-35 

man is * delivered up into the hands of men, and they shall 
kill him ; and when he is killed, after three days he shall rise 
again. (32) But they understood not the saying, and were 
afraid to ask him. 

(33) And they came to Capernaum : and when he was in 
the house he asked them, What were ye reasoning on the 
way ? (34) But they held their peace : for they had disputed 
one with another on the way, who was the ^ greatest. 
(35) And he sat down, and called the twelve ; and he said 
unto them. If any man would be first, he shall be last of all, 

» See ch. 3 19. * Gr. greater. 

explain the constant repetition of the matter, that the 
disciples had not yet understood about His sufferings ; 
and because they feared they would yet hear something 
worse, they were afraid to make further enquiries. 

The occasion for a more thorough discussion servmg 
to further the training of the disciples is furnished 
by their dispute concerning their relative greatness. 
When Jesus came to Capernaum with them, where He 33 
had an opportunity for engaging in a fuller conver- 
sation. He asked what they had been disputing about 
on the way. He asked this question merely to have 
them confess, for He knew them thoroughly. But they 
were ashamed, because they had on the way disputed 
who was the greatest among them. As this episode is 
so positively placed in the time of the return from the 
Mount of Transfiguration to Capernaum, it is highly 
probable that the fact of Jesus having taken His three 
confidants with Him on this occasion had led to 
haughty remarks on the one side and to jealous words 
on the other. And now Jesus makes use of this op- 34 
portanity to discuss in detail humility as a necessary 
virtue of the disciple, as is indicated by the solemn man- 
ner in which He sits down to teach and gathers the 
Twelve around Him. But it is not Mark's habit, as it 35 
is of the older wi-iters, to report such addresses 



and 1 servant of all. (36) And he took a little child, and set 
him in the midst of them : and taking him in his arms, he said 
unto them, (37) Whosoever shall receive one of such Uttle 
children in my name, receiveth me : and whosoever receiveth 
me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. 

(38) John said unto him, Teacher, we saw one casting out 
demons in thy name ; and we forbade him, because he followed 

* Or, minister. 

fully, but, as he had heard this from Peter, to compile a 
number of sayings of Jesus on the subject discussed. 
In this manner he begins with the statement, which in 
a variety of versions is found in the gospel traditions, 
and which we have read in another connection in 
Matt, xxiii. 11. It is here formulated with special ref- 
erence to the case in hand. The disciples had claimed 
each one to be greater than the other ; but if every- 
thing were done among them that should be done, then, 
in case a certain one wanted to be first in rank, he, as 
though he were the last, would offer to do all services 
to all. Only in this self-abasing humility should the 

36 one seek to surpass the other. On another occasion 
Jesus had placed a child among them, and, embracing 
it before them all, had shown His love for children, 
and had admonished them to show true humility also 
m such love of children as at His command con- 
descends even to the most modest things and to 
those of the greatest helplessness. At that time He, as 
we found in Matt, xviii. 5, had already said that He 
would look upon the reception rf such a child as 
though we had received Him, and had given His rea- 
sons for this. He adds that in Him we receive the One 
who has sent Him, namely, God Himself (Matt. x. 40). 

38 Again, on another occasion, John had boasted that 
the disciples had forbidden a certain man, who had 
been casting out devils in the name of Jesus, using it 
as a formula of sorcery, without joining the ranks of 


MARK [IX, 39-42 

not lis. (39) But Jesus said, Forbid him not : for there is no 
man who shall do a ^ mighty work in my name, and be able 
quickly to speak evil of me. (40) For he that is not against 
us is for us. (41) For whosoever shall give you a cup of water 
to drink, * because ye are Christ's, verily I say unto you, he 
shall in no wise lose his reward. (42) And whosoever shall 

• Gr. power. * Gr. in name that ye are. 

the followers of Jesus, to do this work, because, not- 
withstanding repeated invitations on their part, he had 
persisted in his refusal to join them, and thereby shown 
that he would have nothing to do with Jesus. But 39 
such intolerance was only another expression of the 
pride, which, unmindful of its owik weaknesses, puts 
too much stress on that which another still lacks to be- 
come a disciple of Jesus. Jesus had distinctly forbid- 
den them to stop this man in his work, because he who 
makes such a use of His name, thereby at least is pre- 
vented from abusing Him, as His opponents did. 
In the impossibility of this man's being His enemy, 40 
already lies the promise of a decision for Him, concern- 
ing whom it is always a question of for or against 
(Matt. xii. 30). This is based on the fact that already 
in Matt. x. 42, an imperishable reward had been 
promised to him who would show them even the 
smallest service, yet only because they were the repre- 
sentatives of the Messiah, whom He is already re- 
garded as standing near ready to protect. Thus 42 
too, Jesus had also said in Luke xvii. 2, that for him who 
causes the least one of those who believe in Christ to 
be doubtful of his faith in Him, it would be better had 
he died the most horrible death (cf. Matt, xviii. 6). 
From this it follows that it is not even allowed by in- 
tolerant treatment to cause a person who is but a be- 
ginner in the faith to stumble, and he who should cast 
out the devil by trusting in the name of Jesus was just 
such a beginner. 



cause one of these little ones that believe ^ on me to stumble, 
it were better for him if * a great millstone were hanged about 
his neck, and he were cast into the sea. (43) And if thy hand 
cause thee to stumble, cut it off : it is good for thee to enter 
into life maimed, rather than having thy two hands to go into 
'hell, into the unquenchable fire.* (45) And if thy foot cause 
thee to stumble, cut it off : it is good for thee to enter into life 
halt, rather than having thy two feet to be cast into * hell. 
(47) And if thine eye cause thee to stumble, cast it out : it is 
good for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, 
rather than having two eyes to be cast into « hell ; (48) where 
their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. (49) For 

* Many ancient authorities omit on me. 

' Gr. o millstone turned by an ass. * Gr. Gehenna. 

* Ver. 44 and 46 (which are identical with ver. 48) are omitted by the 
best ancient authorities. 

Thus the series of statements here given had ended 
in touching upon an altogether different subject, 
namely, that of offenses. When Jesus on another occa- 
sion had discussed this subject. He had spoken not 
only of the offense that we give to others, but also of 
that which may be caused by the most valuable and 
useful of our possessions. He thought that in this case 
it was necessary to make a sacrifice (Matt. v. 29, 30), as 
illustrated by the example of the hand and foot as the 
most indispensable things and of the eye as the most 
valuable thing that we possess, and the sacrifice of these 
is commanded in a most impressive manner and with 

43 pointed repetition. It is not a serious matter if we enter 
the kingdom of God as cripples or as lame or with one 
eye and thus enter into in eternal life, if during our life- 
time the last judgment should overtake us. It is much 
worse to go into hell with the body whole, (cf . Matt, xviii. 

49 8-9. There the fire of divine wrath is unquench- 
able, which is shown by a reference to Is. Ixvi. 24, which 
the later copyists have inserted at verses 44 and 46. The 
painful sacrifices by which a person thus saves himself 
from being misled constitute a part of the purifying 
fire of adversity, with which in the end everybody 


2IABK [X, 1 

every one shall be salted with fire.^ (50) Salt is good : but if 
the salt have lost its saltness, wherewith will ye season it ? 
Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace one with another. 
^ And he arose from thence, and conieth into the borders of 
Judasa and beyond tlie Jordan : and multitudes come to- 
gether unto him again ; and, as he was wont, he taught them 

'3Iany ancient authorities add and every sacrifice shall be salted v:ith 
salt. See Lev. 2. 13. 

must be salted, i. e., made pleasing to God, just as 
aceording to Lev. ii. 13, every sacriflce had to be salted. 
The image of salt very naturally leads over to the last 50 
point of these instructions. If the disciples, whose 
work it is to make the world pleasing to God, as salt 
makes food palatable (cf. ]Matt. v. 13), are themselves 
through such proud ambitions made displeasing to 
God, like salt that has lost its savor, then nothing can 
make them again acceptable to God, just as the salt, 
which is the only thing with which one can salt, can- 
not under any circumstances regain its salting power 
once lost. Therefore they are to see to it that at all 
times tliey have with them the humility which 
alone will make them pleasing to God, as it was only 
their pride that led them to the dispute as to who 
was the greatest among them. 

But Jesus did not at this time remain in Capernaum, 
as ever since the events recorded in cliap. vii, He was 
continually journeying about to tlie nortliwest and to 
the northeast. He now goes to the south, sometiuu'S 
to Judaea and sometimes l)eyond th(,' Jtirdan. It is not 
the intention of Mark to represent tliis s[)ecial stage in 
his history. He merely remarks that here in tliese 
regions wliere He had never before l)een, great crowds 
once more assembled around Him, and that He liad no 
reason for resuming His teaching work here. But the 
Evangelist's purpose is still, as it was before, to show 
that Jesus allows no opportunity to pass for instruct- 


X,2-9] WJSISjS'S commejsttaby 

(2) And there came unto him Pharisees, and asked him, Is 
it lawful for a man to put away Ms wife ? trying him. (3) And 
he answered and said unto them, ^ What did Moses command 
you? (4) And they said, Moses suffered to write a bill of 
divrorcement, and to put her away. (5) But Jesus said unto 
them. For your hardness of heart he wrote you this command- 
ment. (6) But from the beginning of the creation, Male and 
female made he them.2 (7) For this cause shall a man leave 
his father and mother, '' and shall cleave to his wife ; (8) and 
the two shall become one flesh : so that they are no more two, 
but one flesh. (9) What therefore God hath joined together, 

»Dt.xxiv. 1, 8. 

s Some ancient authorities omit and shall cleave to his wife. 

ing His disciples, as this is shown very plainly in the 
following section, where two episodes are put together 
in which He instructs them concerning marriage and 

2 concerning children. As we have already seen in 
Matt. xix. 3, the Pharisees furnish Him with the occa- 
sion for the discourse on marriage. They knew from 
the Sermon on the Mount, that Jesus condemned 
all divorce, and they hoped that they could entice Him 
into making a more decided utterance against the laws 
of Moses, by asking Him if it was permissable to dis- 

3 miss a wife. He asks them directly what it is that 
Moses has commanded in reference to this matter. 

4 But when they answer that Moses in Deut. xxiv. 1, has 
expressly stated that it is lawful to dismiss her by giv- 

5 ing her a letter of divorcement, Jesus does not enter 
upon this seeming permission, but only explains that 
Moses had given this command concerning the letter of 
divorcement, which is contained only in this one place, 
on account of the hardness of their heart which, as a 
matter of fact, often made divorces necessary, and he 

6 had merely legally regulated this evil. In opposition 
to this, He shows exactly as He did in Matt. xix. 4 sqq., 
that on the basis of the account of the creation, to which 

9 He unmistakably refers, and which Moses had written 


MABK [X, 10-15 

let not man put asunder. (10) And in the house the disciples 
asked him again of this matter. (11) And he saith unto them. 
Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, com- 
mitteth adultery against her : (12) and if she herself shall put 
away her husband, and marry another, she committeth 

(13) And they were bringing unto him little children, that 
he should touch them : and the disciples rebuked them. 
(14) But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, 
and said unto them. Suffer the little children to come unto 
me ; forbid them not : for ^ to such belongeth the kingdom of 
God. (15) Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive 
the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall in no wise enter 

* Or, of such is. 

down, the original order of God demands that marriage 
be indissoluble. But here, too, the narrator regards 
it as the most important thing, that when the disciples 
afterwards, as was their custom, asked Him when they 
were alone, concerning what had been said, He 10 
directly explains, as was done in Matt. v. 32, that every 
remarriage of a divorced person was adultery. In 11 
Israel, of course, such a case could only be that of a 
dismissed wife ; but in this instance this principle is 
applied to the conditions of the Grseco-Latin world, 
in which the disciples were later to work, where a 12 
woman could also dismiss a husband. 

Without connecting it in point of time, Mark nar- 13 
rates, after the preceding, another incident in which 
children were brought to Jesus, so that by touching 
the holy man they would receive a blessing for life. 14 
That the disciples needed instructions with reference to 
children, we saw already in Matt. xix. 13, 14, when 
Jesus is compelled to forbid them from trying to hin- 
der the very thing on account of which He here seri- 
ously upbraids them. In the same way He adds to the 
reason for this there given, the statement that he who 
does not receive the kingdom of God and the salvation 



therein. (16) And he took them in his arms, and blessed 
them, laying his hands upon them. 

(17) And as he was going forth ' into the way, there ran one 
to him, and kneeled to him, and asked him. Good Teaclier, 
what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life? (18) And 
Jesus said unto him. Why callest thou me good ? none is good 
save one, even God. (19) Thou knowest the commandments, 
'Do not kill, Do not commit adultery. Do not steal. Do not 
bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor thy father and 

* Or, on his way. * Ex. xx. 12-16 ; Dt. v. 16-20. 

therein given in the simplicity of a childlike feeling of 
his own helplessness and trust in the Giver, will never 

16 at all become a member of the same. Mark sets forth 
expressly that Jesus embraced the children lovingly, 
and blessed them by laying His hands upon them. 
Here Mark adds the teaching of Jesus to the disciples 
concerning earthly possessions, although the occa- 
sion that called forth these statements, as they them- 
selves show, is to be placed at a time when the number 

17 of the disciples was not yet completed. He accordingly 
only states in general, that Jesus was at the point of 
taking a journey, when a certain man who desired to 
see Him, ran to Him, and, showing him the greatest 
reverence in actions and words, asked the question, 
with which we are already acquainted from Matt. xiv. 

18 16. In the present account, however, Jesus, discussing 
the epithet which the man had applied to Hira with 
the implication that He not only taught what was good, 
but that He also perfectly exemplified goodness, de- 
clines to accept the appelation, because even the man, 
who is always doing good, still finds at all times 
new duties to perform, and accordingly must first be- 
come good, while there is but one Being who is actually 

19 good, namely, God. For this reason, too. He can only 
direct the man who asks Him, to the commandments 
with which he is well acquainted, namely, the sixth 


MABK [X, 20-24 

mother. (20) And lie said unto him, Teacher, all these things 
have I observed from my youtii. (21) And Jesus looking upon 
him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest : go, 
sell -whatsoever thou hast, a^id give to the poor, and thou shalt 
have treasures in heaven : and come, follow me. (22) But his 
countenance fell at the sa3-ing, and he went away sorrowful : 
for he was one that had great possessions. 

(23) And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his dis- 
ciples, IIow hardly shall tliey tliat have riches enter into the 
kingdom of God ! (24) And the disciples were amazed at his 

seventh, eighth and ninth, ^vhile lie gives to the tenth, 
because He is dealing with a rich man, on the basis of 
Deut. xxiv. 14, tlie meaning, that he sliall not retain 
that which belongs to anyi»ody else. And as these are 
all only prohibitions, Jesus adds yet, as lie does in 
Matt, xix, 19, the fifth coniniandnient. The rich man, 20 
however, honestly gives Ilim tlie assurance that he 
has, from his youth up, been on liis guard against all 
these things, in wliich claim he includes above 
everything the reverence lie owes to liis parents. "11 
As Jesus then looked at him intently, He rec- 
ognized the honesty of his puri)Oscs and tlie 
anxiety for redemption ; and He began to love him, 
so that He thought of receiving him into the inner 
circle of His discii)les. He ac-cordingly asks of him to 
sell all of liis eartlily })ossessions for the benefit of the 
poor, and to find the certainty (jf salvation in following 
Him (cf. 3Iatt. xix. 21). Thi'ri'upon liis countenance 22 
fell, because he did not want to give u]) his many pos- 
sessions (cf. Matt. xix. 22). This it was that caused 23 
Jesus to lo(jk around upon His disci})les, who had 
listened to this convcM'sation, in order to discover what 
impression it had made on them, and then to bid them 
consider how difficult it was for the possessor of 
riches to enter the kingdom of (iod (cf. Matt. xix. 
23) . When the disciples were amazed at this, lie re- 24 



words. But Jesus answereth again, and saith unto them, 
Children, how hard is it ' for them that trust in riches to enter 
into the kingdom of God ! (25) It is easier for a camel to go 
through a needle's eye, than for a rich man to enter into the 
kingdom of God. (26) And they were astonished exceedingly, 
saying ^ unto him. Then who can be saved ? (27) Jesus look- 
ing upon them saith. With men it is impossible, but not with 
God : for all things are possible with God. (28) Peter began 
to say unto him, Lo, we have left all, and have followed thee. 

(29) Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that 
hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or mother, or father, 
or children, or lands, for my sake, and for the 'gospel's sake, 

(30) but he shall receive a hundredfold now in this time, 

^ Some ancient authorities omit for them that trust in riches. 

* Many ancient authorities read among themselves. 

* See marginal note on ch. 1. 1. 

25 peated His words, saying, that it was in general hard 
to enter into the kingdom of God, and for the rich 
man, humanly speaking, it was even impossible (cf. 
Matt. xix. 24), The disciples, who were still more sur- 
prised at this, were then admonished by Him, as in 
Matt. xix. 25-26, that even this was possible with 

28 When Peter thereupon stated that he and his fel- 
low disciples had done exactly what Jesus had de- 
manded of the rich man, He tells them that He fully 

29 appreciates the importance of their acts. But the 
promises which He in return gives to them for this are 
intended for all who, for His sake, and because they 
have confessed Him on account of their devotion to 
the gospel which they proclaim, have given up every- 

30 thing that they loved and considered valuable. This 
promise is already to be fulfilled in this world, 
where they will be rewarded a thousandfold. For in 
place of the house which they have lost, all Christian 
houses are open to them ; in place of the sisters and 
brothers who have left them, all Christians will be 
their sisters and brothers ; in the place of the mother 


3IABK [X, 31-33 

houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, 
and lands, with persecutions ; and in the ' world to come 
eternal life. (31) But many that are first shall be last ; and 
the last first. 

(32) And they were on the way, going up to Jerusalem ; and 
Jesus was going before them : and they were amazed ; and 
they that followed were afraid. And he took again the twelve, 
and began to tell them the things that were to happen unto 
him, (33) saying. Behold, we go up to Jerusalem ; and the 

' Or, aye. 

whom they have left they would be taken care of by 
all the Christian matrons. Children every one can 
have as many as he begets through the gospel (1 Cor. 
iv. 15), and for lands they shall enjoy all the common 
possessions of the Christian community. (Acts ii. 44.) 
True, they possess all these tilings now only amid 
persecution ; but for tliis they will in the coming world 
have eternal life (cf. ]\ratt. xix. 29). Jesus closes this 
discourse with the admonition of ]Matt. xix. 30. 

The close of tlie instructions given to the disciples 32 
transfers us to the time when the journey upon which 
Jesus was engaged with His disciples, turns towards 
Jerusalem. It was not a journey that had been agreed 
upon among them, for the disciples were astonished 
when Jesus, who was preceding them, proposed to go 
there. That the conflicts with Ilis enemies would only 
be increased there was certainly clear, for the rabbis, 
who had come from J(!rusalem, had attacked Ilim 
more bitterly than others. Moreover, the crowd that 
followed Ilim nmst have been acquainted with public 
sentiment in the city, and they were afraid that His 
going to Jerusalem would prove disastrous to Ilim, 
Then Jesus again takes the Twelve aside, and tells 
them that He knew for a certainty what was in store 
for Him there. In connection with this journey to 33 
Jerusalem was to be fulfilled what He had predicted 


X, 34-41] 


Son of man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and the 
scribes ; and they shall condemn him to death, and shall de- 
liver him unto the Gentiles : (34) and they shall mock him, 
and shall spit upon him, and shall scourge him, and shall kill 
him ; and after three days he shall rise again. 

(35) And there come near unto him ^ James and John, the 
sons of Zebedee, saying unto him, Teacher, we vrould that 
thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall ask of thee. (36) 
And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for 
you ? (37) And they said unto him, Grant unto us that we 
may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, 
in thy glory. (38) But Jesus said unto them. Ye know not 
what ye ask. Are ye able to drink the cup that I drink ? or to 
be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with ? (39) 
And they said unto him. We are able. And Jesus said unto 
them. The cup that I drink ye shall drink ; and with the bap- 
tism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized : (40) but 
to sit on my right hand or on my left hand is not mine to give ; 
but it is for them for whom it hath been prepared. (41) And 

^ Or, Jacob. 

concerning the betrayal of the Son of Man into the 
hands of the leaders of the people and the consequences 

34 of this step (cf. Matt. xx. 18-19). He was to become 
not only an object of contumelious mockery, but also 
of abomination to the heathen. But on this occasion it 
is not the details of His suffering and death which con- 
stituted the basis of the last instructions to His disci- 
ples, but rather the hope that arose from the predic- 
tion of His resurrection for the final victory of His 

35 cause which induced the sons of Zebedee to pray that 
they might be permitted to be the nearest to Him in 
His glory (cf. Matt. xv. 20-21). For according to 
this report it is these disciples themselves who ask for 
this ; yet as they are seemingly afraid to state the 
wish openly and ask first, Jesus promises to fulfil their 
desire before they utter it. The remaining conversa- 

41 tion of Jesus with them we know from Matt. xx. 22-23. 
In the present passage the fate that awaits them is 


MARK [X, 42-45 

when the ten heard it, they began to be moved with indig- 
nation concerning 1 James and John. (43) And Jestis called 
them to him, and saith unto them. Ye know that they who are 
accounted to rule over the Gentiles lord it over them ; and 
tlieir great ones exercise authority over them. (43) But it is 
not so among you : but whosoever would become great among 
you, shall be your 2 minister ; (44) and whosoever would be 
first among you, shall be 'servant of all. (45) For the Son of 
man also came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and 
to give his life a ransom for many. 

* Or, Jacob. * Or, servant. ' Gr. bondservant. 

given under another figure than that of a baptism, in 
which the waters of tribulation, into which they are to 
be immersed, are to overwhelm them. Then, the 
discussion connected with the preceding one concern- 
ing true greatness and superiority in the commu- 
nion of the disciples, we know already from Matt. xx. 
24-27. It is, however, to be noted here that it is 
stated more sharply, that while among the Gentiles 
greatness and power pertain to the rulers, owing to their 
oppression and suppression of others, amongst Christ's 
followers he becomes the first who with all his powers, 
renders the greatest service to all. But in this passage 45 
of Mark, the instructions to the disciples close with the 
words in which Jesus for the first time explains why 
the Messiah must suffer and die. We know this state- 
ment also from Matt, xx.- 28, but it is Mark who finds 
the central thought in the instruction of the disciples 
concerning true greatness in service, in the words in 
which Jesus points to the fact that His life was to be a 
model of such service, in which, through His volun- 
^tary submission unto death, the many were to be de- 
livered from that destruction which had been their lot 
on account of their sins. 

In the sixth part of this Gospel we find an account 
of the activity of Jesus in Jerusalem, beginning with 


X, 46-52] weijSS's commentary 

(46) And they come to Jericho : and as he went out from 
Jericho, with his disciples and a great multitude, the son of 
Timaeus, Bartimseus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the 
way side. (47 J And when he heard that it was Jesus the 
Nazarene, he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou son of 
David, have mercy on me. (48) And many rebuked him, 
that he should hold his peace : but he cried out the more a 
great deal, Thou son of David, have mercy on me. (49) And 
Jesus stood still, and said, Call ye him. And they call the 
blind man, saying unto him, Be of good cheer : rise, he calleth 
thee. (50) And he, casting away his garment, sprang up, and 
came to Jesus. (51) And Jesus answered him, and said. What 
wilt thou that I should do unto thee ? And the blind man said 
unto him, • Rabboni, that I may receive my sight, (52) And 
Jesus said unto him. Go thy way ; thy faith hath * made thee 
whole. And straightway he received his sight, and followed 
him in the way. 

* See John 20. 16. » Or, saved thee. 

the incident of His entry into the city. Mark begins 

46 with the departure of Jesus from Jericho. Here we 
are informed, with circumstantial accuracy, that one 
blind beggar sat by the wayside. His father must 
have been known to the readers, as Mark begins to 
speak of the son of Timseus, and only afterwards called 
him by the Hebraistic name, which Greek readers of 

47 the Gospel do not recognize as the same name. What 
we hear further of this blind beggar is exactly what is 
told in Matt. xx. 30-31, who evidently follows Mark's 
account. From this it appears that the disciples and 
the people are already preparing for the solemn en- 
trance of Jesus, and do not wish that the intention be 

49 known too soon. On the other hand, the Evange- 
list vividly describes how the unfortunate man, when 
he hears that Jesus has called him, throws off his outer 
garment, and with a leap of joy, runs to Jesus, from 

51 whom he now expects healing. Then the manner in 
which Jesus causes him again expressly to confirm his 
faith in his recovery of sight is the same as in Matt. xx. 


MABK [XI, 1-4 

XI And when they draw nigh tinto Jerusalem, unto Beth- 
phage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth 
two of his disciples, (2) and saith unto them. Go your way 
into the village that is over against you : and straightway as 
ye enter into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon no man ever 
yet sat ; loose liim, and bring him. (3) And if any one say 
unto you, Why do ye this ? say ye. The Lord hath need of 
him; and straightway he iwill send him *back hither. 
(4) And they went away, and found a colt tied at the door 

* Qr. sendeth. * Or, again, 

32-33. Here Jesus promises him healing solely on 
account of his faith ; and, having been restored to sight 
at once, he joins the festive procession. We also learn 1 
that evangelical tradition mentions Bethphage as stand- 
ing before the gates of Jerusalem (cf. Matt. xxi. 1), 
only because it was the largest and the best known of 
these surrounding places, through the mention of which 
the reader could locate Bethany, which was in the 
immediate neighborhood on the Mount of Olives, and 
was generally not known, but mentioned by the Evan- 
gelist for the first time. To this place Jesus sends the 
two disciples with the instruction to loosen a foal of an 
ass that they would find as they entered the village. 
This beast had never yet been used, and accordingly 
alone was worthy of His use. They were to bring it to 2 
Him ; and those who perhaps would try to hinder this 3 
were simply to be referred to the needs of the Lord, 
and given the promise of a speedy return of the animal, 
(cf. Matt. xxi. 2-3.) Only one of the two disciples 
could have narrated how they actually found the 
foal tied at the entrance of the way leading to the 
place, and that those who stood there and tried to 
prevent them from loosening it, when informed of the 
wishes of Jesus, at once suffered this to be done. In 4 
this connection it becomes still more evident that Jesus 
was well known at this place ; but the manner in which 
22 337 


without in the open streei. •, and they loose him. (5) And cer- 
tain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, 
loosing the colt ? (6) And they said unto them even as Jesus 
had said : and they let them go. (7) And they bring the colt 
unto Jesus, and cast on him their garments ; and he sat upon 
him. (8) And many spread their garments upon the way ; 
and others ' branches, which they had cut from the fields. 

(9) And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, 
Hosanna ; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord : 

(10) Blessed is the kingdom that cometh, the kingdom of our 
father David : Hosanna in the highest. 

(11) And he entered into Jerusalem, into the temple ; and 
when he had looked round about upon all things, it being now 
eventide, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve. 

(12) And on the morrow, when they were come out from 

* Qr. layers of leaves. 

the agreement was reached with the owner is again 
made intelligible only through the Fourth Gospel. 

7 That Jesus then takes His seat upon the ass, which had 
been prepared by the disciples putting their garments 

8 upon the animal; that the people then spread their 

9 garments and the branches of trees in the way ; and 
that Jesus enters the city amid the Hosannas of the 

10 crowds, we know from Matt. xxi. 6-9. However 
here it is shown still more clearly that they glorify 
the Kingdom of David coming in the one sent by 
God, the re-establishment of which the people now ex- 

11 pect. In this way Jesus, saluted as the longed-for 
Messiah, enters the capital city, and at once goes to the 
Temple. The Evangelist indicates that He, already as 
He looks around Him, sees the abuses which were con- 
nected with the well-known Temple market. But for 
this day it was too late to interfere here. The Evan- 
gelist accordingly describes the entrance of Jesus as 
having taken place in the evening, and states that 
He at once returned with the Twelve to Bethany. 

12 It was on the morning after the entrance that Jesus, 


MARK [XI, 13-15 

Bethany, he hungered (13) And seeing a fig tree afar off having 
leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon : and 
when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves ; for it was 
not the season of figs. (14) And he auswerd and said unto it, 
No man eat fniit from thee henceforward for ever. And his 
disciples heard it. 

(15) And they come to Jerusalem : and he entered into the 
temple, and began to cast out them that sold and them that 
bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money- 

on His way to the city, became hungry, and sought in 
vain for fruit on a certain Sg tree (Matt. xxi. 18-19). 
But Mark describes more vividly how Jesus saw from 
a distance the tree in foliage ; and for this reason hoped 
to find fruit on it, since in the case of the fig tree the 
fruit comes before the leaves. But when He came near 
He found nothing but the leaves. Mark expressly adds 
that it was not the time for figs, and that accordingly 
the abnormal condition of the tree had deceived Jesus. 
In this, as we saw m Matthew, the abnormal character 
of the people, as symbolized by the fig tree, consisted in 
that they deceived Him with the semblance of faith, 
which they did not turn out really to possess, because 
they would not accept Him as the Messiah, as He was, 
and would not be instructed by Him in the way of 
salvation, but insisted upon a Messiah after their own 
notions. Just as from this fig tree, which did not bear 14 
the fruit that was expected of it because of its foliage, 
no more fruit should ever again be gathered, so, too, 
this people should never again bear fruit, such as 
God, who had chosen them, had sought from them. 
With the remark that the disciples heard this word, 
Mark introduces the narrative that only on the next 
day the fulfilment of the prediction of Jesus took 
place. For on this day Jesus went to Jerusalem in 15 
order to put an end to the profanation of the Temple, 
which He had observed the day before but without 



changers, and the seats of them that sold the doves ; (16) and 
he would not suffer that any man should carry a vessel through 
the temple. (17) And he taught, and said unto them, Is it not 
written, ' My house shall be called a house of prayer for all 
the nations ? ^ but ye have made it a den of robbers. (18) And 
the chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they 
might destroy him : for they feared him, for all the multitude 
was astonished at his teaching. 
(19) And ' every evening * he went forth out of the city. 

1 Is. Ivi. 7. * Jer. vii. 11. * Gr. whenever evening came. 

* Some ancient authorities read they. 

being able to interfere on account of the lateness of the 
hour. And then Mark narrates the story of the puri- 
fication of the Temple, as we have already read in 

16 Matt. xxi. 12-13, excepting that he emphasizes the fact 
that Jesus did not permit anyone, in order to spare 
himself the trouble of making a circuit, to carry any 
household utensil through the courts of the Temple, 

17 because by this also the Sanctuary was profaned. 
And he further reports that Jesus in His instructions 
later on in the Temple, chides the people on account of 
this profanation by a citation from an old prophet, and 
expressly draws attention to the fact that the place, 
where the Temple market stood, according to Is. Ivi. 
7, was the court which the heathen were permitted to 

18 enter in order to worship the God of Israel. Mark 
narrates further that the heads of the people, when 
they heard of the interference on the part of Jesus 
with an abuse which they themselves ought to have 
abolished long ago, and that He had exposed them 
before the people for having neglected their duty, 
inasmuch as He was meddling with their rights, sought 
to put Him out of the way. Only fear of Him pre- 
vented them, since the people were struck by the way 
in which He defended His action by His words, and 
thus recognized it as perfectly just. 

19 And here Mark makes a note of the fact that on these 
days Jesus was accustomed at nightfall to go out of the 


MARK [XI, 20-25 

(20) And as they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig 
tree withered away from the roots. (21) And Peter calling to 
remembrance saith unto him, Rabbi, behold, the fig tree 
which thou cursedst is withered away. (22) And Jesus 
answering saith unto them. Have faith in God. (23) Verily I 
say unto you, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain. Be 
thou taken up and cast into the sea ; and shall not doubt in his 
heart, but shall believe that what he saith cometh to pass ; he 
shall have it. (24) Therefore I say unto you. All things what- 
soever ye pray and ask for, believe that ye receive them, and 
ye shall have them. (25) And whensoever ye stand praying, 
forgive, if ye have aught against any one ; that your Father 
also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.* 

* Qr. received. 

* Many ancient authorities add ver. 26 But if ye do not forgive, neither teill 
your Father who is in heaven forgive your trespasses. Com p. Mt. 6. 15 ; 

city, manifestly, as on the evening after His entry into 
Jerusalem, in order to revisit Bethany. He wishes by 20 
this to explain how it came to pass that on the follow- 
ing morning, when at daylight they passed by the fig 
tree, which they had not seen in the darkness of the 
preceding evening, they saw that it was withered to the 
roots. God had put His seal upon the words of Jesus, 
and with His wondrous hand had touched the root. 
Now this withered tree, from which no one should ever 
again gather any fruit, is a symbol of the punishment 
of God about to fall upon the nation on account of its 
unfruitfulness. Then Peter recalls the word of Jesus, 21 
and draws attention to the fact that the tree, in accord- 
ance with the words of Jesus, had withered. This 22 
suggested the question, how this had been possible, and 
the answer is contained in the admonition to the dis- 
ciples, to place their trust in God, who, as is promised in 
Matt. xxi. 21-27, will hear the faith that does not 
doubt. For a suppliant who believes that he will 
surely receive that for which he asks will not be disap- 
pointed. But we are not to misunderstand Jesus. We 25 
are not to believe that God will inflict upon an enemy 



(27) And they come again to Jerusalem • and as he was walk- 
ing in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the 
scribes, and the elders ; (<iS) and they said unto him, By what 
authority doest thou these things? or who gave thee this 
authority to do these things ? (29) And Jesus said unto them, 
I will ask of you one • question, and answer me, and I will 
tell you by what authority I do these things. (30) The baptism 
of John, was it fi'om heaven, or from men ? answer me. (31) 
And they reasoned with themselves, saying. If we shall say, 
From heaven ; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him : 

^ Gr. word. 

evil which we pray may fall upon, him, as evil had 
fallen upon the fig tree which Jesus had cursed. For 
according to Matt. vi. 15, it is not possible at all to pray 
with the expectation of being heard if we have not 
forgiven him against whom we are angered. Only 
under these conditions can we hope for that pardon for 
our sins, of which we stand in constant need, since he 
who does not himself forgive, merely shows thereby, 
that he is no disciple of Jesus, and hence cannot re- 
ceive any forgiveness ; since according to Matt, xviii. 
35, the forgiveness that is bestowed upon those who are 
called the disciples, must be taken back, if it does not 
render us also willing to forgive. 

27 As soon as Jesus comes to Jerusalem, there occurs the 
first collision with the leaders of the people as such. 
Mark expressly draws attention to the fact that He had 
not yet done or said anything on account of which they 
would attack Him, but was merely walking about in the 
Temple, so that it was only their anger on account of 
the cleansing of the temple, which they presumed would 

28 be only one of similar acts on His part, which made them 
ask, as in Mark xxi. 23, for His authority to do this. 

29 Jesus is quite willing to give an answer if they first tell 

30 Him whether they acknowledge the divine authority 

31 of the Baptist. The Evangelist describes them as be- 
ing so embarrassed by this question that they could 


MARK [XII, 1-6 

(32) ' But should we say, From men — they feared the people : 
* for all verily held John to be a prophet. (33) And they 
answered Jesus and say, We know not. And Jesus saith unto 
them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things. 
XII And he began to speak unto them in parables. A man 
planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged 
a pit for the winepress, and built a tower, and let it out to 
husbandmen, and went into another country. (2) And at the 
season he sent to the husbandmen a ^ servant, that he might 
receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of tlie vineyard. 

(3) And they took him, andbeathim, and sent him away empty. 

(4) And again he sent unto them another * servant ; and him 
they wounded in the head, and handled shamefully. (5) And 
he sent another ; and him they killed : and many others ; 
beating some, and killing some. (6) He had yet one, a beloved 

* Or, But shall we say. From men ? 

* Or, for all held John to be a prophet indeed. 

* Gr. bondservant. * Gr.bondservant. 

not say yes or no to it. He gives his own explanation 32 
why they could not answer negatively. But why Jesus, 33 
in view of their pretended ignorance, refuses every an- 
swer, is seen in Matt. xxi. 27-28. 

Jesus can accordingly at once proceed to the condem- 1 
nation of them, and He does so in two parables. The first 
is that of a vineyard, the master of which entrusts it, as 
he goes abroad, to certain husbandmen (Matt. xxi. 33). 2 
But in this case the contract relation with these is some- 
what different, as the master demands only a part of 
the fruits, which he sends for at a fixed time, and the 
husbandmen are to keep the rest as pay for their 
work. Thereby the analogy is brought out all the 
clearer. The leaders of the Old Testament Theocracy 
certainly are not to be denied their share of honor and 
profits, if they will only see to this, that (^rod receives 
His due. In the same way attention is drawn more 3 
fully to the long succession of prophets who admon- 
ished the people to fulfil their duty, but were rejected 
with mockery and were even slain. More solemnly 6 



son : he sent him last unto them, saying, They will reverence 
my son. (7) But those husbandmen said among themselves, 
This is the heir ; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance 
shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast 
him forth out of the vineyard. (9) What therefore will the lord 
of the vineyard do ? he will come and destroy the husband- 
men, and will give the vineyard unto others. (10) Have ye not 
read even this scripture : 
(2) The stone which the builders rejected, 
The same was made the head of the corner ; 

(11) This was from the Lord, And it is marvellous in our 

(12) And they sought to lay hold on him ; and they feared 
the multitude ; for they perceived that he spake the parable 
against them : and they left him, and went away. 

» Ps. cxviii. 22 f. 

than is described in Matt. xxi. 37 sqq., is here nar- 
rated the sending of the only Son, i. e., of the Messiah, 
whom the leaders of the Theocracy, because He is to 
be the Lord of the Theocracy, put to death and even 
refuse His body, which the husbandmen throw out of 

9 the vineyard, a decent burial. Here Jesus Himself an- 
swers the question, what is to be done to the husband- 
men, when the master returns, as this is done in Matt. 
xxi. 41. The other parable is that of the stone, which 
the builders have rejected and which by the power of 
God (through the miracle of the resurrection and the 
exaltation of Jesus), has become the head of the comer, 
on the basis of Ps. cxviii. 22 sqq. (cf. Matt. xxi. 

12 42). Their anger on account of these words of Jesus 
reached such a pitch that they attempted to take Him 
prisoner. And yet the fear of the people prevented 
the leaders from doing this, because they knew very 
well that the parable of the husbandmen referred to 
them, and that they accordingly, as soon as they used 
violence on Jesus, thereby merely confirmed His claim, 
that He was the Son of God, chosen by Him to be the 


MABK [XII, 13-16 

(13) And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of 
the Herodians, that they might catch him in talk. (14) And 
when they were come, they say unto him, Teacher, weknowthat 
thou art true, and carest not for any one ; for thou regardest 
not the person of men, but of a truth teachest the way of God : 
Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not ? (15) Shall we 
give, or shallwenotgive? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said 
unto them, Why make ye trial of me ? bring me a ^ denarius, 
that I may see it. (16) And they brought it. And he saith 

* See marginal note on ch. 6. 7.8 

Lord of the Theocracy, the slaymg of whom would 
necessarily bring the judgment of Grod on them. 

Finally, Mark describes how Jesus during His sojourn 
in Jerusalem came into contact with all classes of people, 
especially with the Pharisees and Sadducees. On the 13 
present occasion the leaders of the people send a number 
of Pharisees and Herodians to Him, in order to catch 
Him through the tribute question, because they thought 
that the only answer that He could give would surely 
prove His ruin, (cf . Matt. xxii. 15 sqq.) The flattery with 14 
which they encourage Him to make an off-hand and 
imprudent answer, is based upon His love for absolute 
truth, which, without fear of the rank or favor of 
anybody, teaches the way which in truth has been 
pointed out by (jod ; and the question is pointed and 15 
exactly in accordance with their usual craftiness. 
They pretend that they are really troubled in their 
conscience, how this question is to be answered. Here, 
Jesus, who sees through their hypocrisy, asks them 
how they had come upon the idea of enticing Him to 
give a revolutionary reply (Matt. xxii. 18), and He 
simply asks them to bring to Him a current coin, the 
denarius, in order to prove by the inscription and 
image upon it, the fact of the actual existence of the 
imperial government. On the basis of these premises 16 
He then gives the answer discussed in connection with 



unto them, Whose is this image and supeiscription? And 
they said unto him, Caesar's. (17) And Jesus said unto tliem. 
Render unto Caesar, the things that are Caesar's, and unto 
Gk)d the things that are God's. And they marvelled greatly 
at him. 

(18) And there come unto him Sadducees, who say that there 
is no resurrection ; and they asked him, saying, (19) Teacher, 
Moses wrote unto us, ^ If a man's brother die, and leave a wife 
behind him, and leave no child, that his brother sliould take his 
wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. (20) Tliere were seven 
brethren : and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed ; 
(21) and the second took her, and died, leaving no seed behind 
him ; and the third likewise : (22) and the seven left no seed. 
Last of all the woman also died. (23) In the resurrection whose 
wife shall she be of them ? for the seven had her to wife. 
(24) Jesus said unto them, Is it not for this cause that ye err, 

* Dt. XXV. 5. 

Matt. xxii. 21, on account of which they are much 
amazed, without being able to do Him any harm. 

18 "Without in any way connecting it with the preceding, 
Mark now introduces the narrative of the Sadducees, 
who for the sake of the Roman readers of the gospel, 
are described as those who deny the resurrection, and 
these now approach Jesus with a question intended 

19 to embarrass Him. They base their enquiry, as they 
do in Matt. xxii. 24, on the Mosaic law in reference 
to the marriage of the widow of a deceased brother, in 
order to show in a hypothetical case, the insurmount- 
able difficulties that would arise in case there were a 

20 resurrection. The matter is formulated exactly as in 
Matt. xxii. 28. Jesus, however, in the full conscious- 
ness of the truth of the doctrine of the resurrection, 
puts to them the question, whether it does not rather 
follow from this, that their idea of the resurrection, 
which they denied, was wrong, as though they main- 

24 tained that the Scriptures taught their idea, and He 
actually points out, exactly as in Matt. xxii. 30, that 

MARK [XII, 25-29 

that ye know not the scriptures, nor the power of God ? (25) 
For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, 
nor are given in marriage ; but are as angels in heaven. 26 
But as touching the dead, that they are raised ; have ye not 
read in the book of Moses, in the place concei'ning the Bush, 
how God spake unto him, saying, ^ I am the God of Abraham, 
and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob ? (27) He is not 
the God of the dead, but of the living : ye do greatly err. 

(28) And one of the scribes came, and heard them question- 
ing together, and knowing that he had answered them well, 
asked him, What commandment is the first of all ? (29) Jesus 
answered, The first is * Hear, O Israel ; ^The Lord our God, 

» Ex. iii 6. » Dt. vL 4 ff. 

* Or, The Lord is our Ood ; The Lord is one. 

the power of God is great enough to create new life in 
the resurrection, such as the angels in heaven possess. 
But for these, marriage such as prevails in human life, 25 
naturally does not exist. Then He proves, as He does in 
Matt. xxii. 31-32, from the appearance of Grod in the 
buruing bush, that the name applied there by God to 
Himself shows that the Patriarchs, long since dead, 
were yet destined for a life, such as could be given them 
only in the resurrection. From this it then follows, 27 
that His opponents, in regarding this as a diflBculty 
that would seemingly prove the impossibility of the 
resurrection, now on their part find themselves involved 
in a double error. 

Finally, we have the discussion of Jesus with the 28 
Scribes, who had been the first to oppose Him, Mark 
regards it as noteworthy, that there was at least one 
among them, who, when he heard Him in the debate 
with the Sadducees, found this answer good ; and now 
in turn this Scribe puts to Him a famous question, viz., 
of what character a commandment must be, in order 
that it be regarded as the first in comparison to every- 
thing else that is commanded (cf. Matt. xxii. 36.) Here 29 
Jesus assigns as a reason why He regards Deut vi. 5, as 



the Lord is one : (80) and thou shalt love the Lord thy God 
^ with all thy heart, and i with all thy soul, and ^ with all thy 
mind, and ■• with all thy strength. (31) The second is this^ 
' Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. There is none other 
commandment greater than these. (32) And the scribe said 
unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is 
one ; and there is none other but he : (33) and to love him 
with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with 
all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much 
more than all whole burnt-oflferings and sacrifices. (34) 
And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto 
him. Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man 
after that durst ask him any question. 

(35) And Jesus answered and said, as he taught in the 

* Gr. from. 

2 Lev. xix. 18. 

such a commandment, that it begins with the declaration 
of the unity of God from vi. 4, and that the Jews 
add this to that prayer morning and night and hence 

30 regard it as the first. But when He joins to this, as 
second, Lev. xix. 18, as was done in Matt. xxii. 39, and 
declares that there can be none greater than these two, 
He thereby elevates the command to love our neighbor 

32 to an equality with that demanding love to God. But 
when the Scribe explicitly declared that he was satis- 
fied with this, since he too regarded this double com- 
mandment of love as higher than any command con- 

34 cerning sacrifice, Jesus declares that this is a perfectly 
sensible reply, and says that he is not far from the 
kingdom of God. For he who has once come to the 
full knowledge of what is required for the complete 
fulfilment of God's will, soon also will see, that he is of 
himself not able to do this, and wUl be anxious to be 
accepted as a disciple of Jesus in the kingdom of God, 
"When, as a result of this series of striking answers, 
nobody any longer dared to come to Him with new 

35 questions. He took advantage of this situation while 
teaching the people in the temple to expose the theo- 


MARK [XII, 36-40 

temple, How say the scribes that the Christ is the son of 
David ? (36j David liimself said iu the Holy Spirit, 

^ Tlie Lord said unto iny Lord, 

Sit thou ou my right haud. 

Till I make thine enemies ^the footstool of thy feet, 
(37) David himself calleth him Lord ; and whence is he his son ? 
And ^ the common people heard him gladh". 

(38) And in his teaching tie said, Beware of the scribes, who 
desire to walk iu long robes, and to have salutations in the 
marketplaces, (39) and cliief seats in the synagogues, and chief 
places at feasts: (-40) they that devour widows' houses, ^and 
for a pretence make long prayers ; these shall receive greater 

* Ps. ex. 1. ' S(i;ne ancii-nt authorities read iiinierneatli tliy feet. 

^ Or, i]i>' </rr:.if''. * Or, t-viL u-hil'- for k jjret'/nre ihey maki 

logical hel[) of th(' Sc'ribe.s. He sct.s up agaiiLst 
tlieir tc'iu'liing.^, that the .Ale.ssiali is the Son of David 
and con.seciuently can only a,s hi.s .succes.sor a.scend his 
throne, the statement of David on the subject (Ps. ex. 1), 
cf. ^NTatt. xxii. 4o sqq. Fvcjni this statement it follows, 30 
that lie whom David calls his Lord, in order to attain 
to this highest dignity of particijjatiiig in the divine 
government of tlie world, cannot be the svai of David 
and ])ecome the .Messiah only by ascending the eartldy 
throne. Kut rather His jtrophesied descent from David o7 
has nothing to do willi this His highest destiny. And 3"^ 
because the ci'nwd assembled iu tlie temple were glad 
to hear Jesus, He warns them earnestly iu His dis- 
courses against the Scribes, by jticturing their vanity, o'.> 
which they sliowed iu wearing traiHug garments and 
everywheie deuiauding tJie greatest marks oi honor 
(Matt, xxiii. (>). He describes them as uuui, who, while 4ii 
best infoiaueil in s[)iritual tilings, demanded such ex- 
orbitant sums for their prayrs, (liat th(\v tluuvby 
robbed the widows of their houses and homes; and He 
warns them that their punishment will be all the 
greater, because they have abused that which is holy 



(41) And he sat down over against the treasury, and beheld 
how the multitude cast ^ money into the treasury : and many 
that were rich cast in much. (42) And there came ^a poor 
widow, and she cast in two mites, which make a farthing- 
(43) And he called unto him his disciples, and said unto them. 
Verily I say unto you, This poor widow cast in more than all 
they that are casting into tlie treasury : (44) for they all did 
cast in of their superfluity ; but she of her want did cast in all 
that she had, even all her living. 

XIII And as he went forth out of the temple, one of his 
disciples saith unto him, Teacher, behold, what 

^ Gr. brass. ' Or. one. 

for the satisfaction of their own greed. Just why 
Jesus takes this robbing of poor widows as an ex- 
ample, is explained by Mark in conclusion by the fact, 
that often such persons were much more liberal than 

41 were the very rich. For when Jesus on one occasion 
was sitting in the temple, near the receptacles for 
charitable gifts. He noticed that a number of people 
threw in copper coins, but that many rich people threw 

42 in large sums. And once there came a poor widow, 
whose sole wealth consisted of a quadrans ; and as she 
possessed this in the form of two small copper pieces, 
she could easily have kept one of them for herself, yet 

43 she threw both of them into the treasury. Jesus there- 
upon said to His disciples, whom He expressly called 
to Himself in order to draw their attention to the case 
that she had put in more than all the rest. For the 
value of a gift is not measured by its size, but by the 

44 sacrifice that the giver makes. All the others had only 
put in of their superfluity and had given what they 
could easily do without ; but she, notwithstanding her 
poverty, had put in everything that she had and even 
what she needed for her own support. 

Here it is one particular disciple, probably Peter, 
the reporter himself, who, as Jesus leaves the temple, 


MARK [XIII, 2-9 

manner of stones and what mariner of buildings I ('2) And 
Jesus said unto liim, Seest Lliou these great buildings? lliern 
shall not be left here one stone upon another, wliich slial! not 
be thrown down. 

(3) And as he sat on the mount of Olives over against the 
temi)]e, Peter and ^ James and Jolm and Andrt^w askfd liim 
privately, (4) Tell us, when sliall these things be? ami uli;it 
slidli be, tlie sign when these things are al! abuut tu lie acconi 
jilished '.■' (.")) And Jesus liegan to say unt<j ihfui. Take he.-d 
t!iat no man It^ad y(.u astray. (')) Many sliiili come in my 
name, saying. I am //r ; ;uid sliail If.-nl m;niy ast ra\'. iTi And 
when he shall liear of wars and ru mors of wars, lie not troubh' i : 
theac thiiKjs mn^t needs come to pass ; but tin- eii'i is not yet. 
(8) P'or nation shall rise against nation, and kingdi.iu against 
kingdom: tliere shall be earthi[uakes in di vers placi s ; tliere 
shall be famines : tliese things are thf lieginniii;^ of fra\ail. 

(U) lint tak<' ye heed to yourselves: for th.-ysh;ill d. diver 
you up to councils ; and in syna^Mj^ues sh;dl ye b.- l>e;itep. : and 
bef(;re g<jV(;rnois ami kings shall ye stand for my s;ike, for a 

' ' ir, .litr.,h. 

draws Ilis iitlciitioii to the iiiiiufiisf imirbh' bhicks ;inil 
to the iiKi^iiiticciicc of the stnictiirr, in reply tn wliich '1 

JciSU.s J)r(i|i!lccicS the cdlii I jlctr I lest ruction of tlic tclliplc, 

as is done in .M;iU. \\i\. ■_'. Ag-iin, it is the thicc con- ;{ 
fi(l;nits<ir.Icsiis, |oo-,.( her wit h t he hn.llici' of I'ctci-. who, 
ai)r()[)(ts of till' temple, ask Mini concerning the time 
and the i>rcccdiiio si.i^Us of \\\\~. dcsi laici ion. .Icviis \ 
does not directly reply to this (|iicstion; Iwit, .is in 
M;i(t. .\\i\'. \ ■'), \\v wiwns thcin :igaiii->t the dc;. 'ptiiiii 
of the jisciido- Mi-^sianic ;igit;ition, which is to hiing 
al)out the dcstniciion. It uoidd not he the \s:iis, of 7 
which the)- Would pcihaps hear, t!i:it Would ctVc< t this 
end. Such wai's would come, :is ;i1no famine, caft h- s 
(lU;dv('S, and distress, s id" :dl kiiid-^; hut these ;irc 
onlv tin: hceinniiig^ id' tiouhlcs. 'I'hesc .iie to he c\- 
jx'cted according; to .^hltI. \\i\. <), scpp ot \) 
hcini!^ troul)lc(l on ;icconnt of such phcnonu'n;i, they 
shall rather look to Ihemsches. i. c, to tiieir faith and 


testimony unto them. (10) And the ^ gospel must first be 
preached unto all the nations. (11) And when they lead you 
to judgment, and delivered you up, be not anxious beforehand 
what ye shall speak : but whatsoever shall be given you in 
that hour, that speak ye ; for it is not ye that speak, but the 
Holy Spirit. (12) And brother shall ^ deliver up brother to 
death, and the father his child ; and children shall rise up 
against parents, and » cause them to be put to death. (13) And 
ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake : but he that 
endureth to the end, the same shall be saved. 

(14) But when ye see the abomination of desolation standing 
where he ought not (let him that readeth understand), then 
let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains : (15) and 
let him that is on the housetop not go down, nor enter in, to 
take anything out of his house : (16) and let him that Is in the 
field not return back to take his cloak. (17) But woe unto 

* See marginal note on ch. 1. 1. *See ch. 8. 19. 

* Or, put them to death. 

their conduct. For at this place Mark inserts the pre- 
dicted persecution of the disciples among the signs 
preceding the end (cf. Matt. x. 17-18). He has already 

10 developed the hint of Matt. x. 18, by saying that before 
the end comes, the gospel must be preached to all the 

11 nations. Just as he connects with this also the promise 

12 of Matt. X. 19-20, he also adds the prediction of terror, 
the climax of severity, which the persecutions shall 

14 reach, according to Matt. x. 21-22. Here, too, the ex- 
pression, abomination of desolation, which the destruc- 
tion of the temple prophesied by Jesus shall bring, 
clearly refers to the Roman army, which takes its 
station on the soil of the Holy Land, where it hitherto 
dared not take its stand. This expression is to be 
compared with the insertion of Matt. xxiv. 15, which 
originally had another connection, if we would attain 
a correct interpretation of its enigmatical character. 

15 Then follows the command that they should resort to 
17 flight at once, as in Matt. xxiv. 16, sqq., a flight par- 
ticularly attended with suffering to those who are with 


MARK [Xin, 18-31 

them that are with child and to them that give suck in those 
days ! (18) And pray ye that it be not in the winter. (19) For 
those days shall be tribulation, such as there hath not been 
the like from the beginning of the creation which God created 
until now, and never shall be. (20) And except the Lord had 
shortened the days, no flesh would have been saved ; but for 
the elect's sake, whom he chose, he shortened the days. 
(21) And then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the 

child, or who give suck, and concerning which the 
prayer is to be uttered that it take not place in the win- 
ter (Matt. xxiv. 19-20). Just as in Matt. xxiv. 21-22, the 
terrible sufferings are described, such as God has never 
before inflicted upon mankind, and by the shortening of 
which salvation, even for the elect, is alone possible. 
In this time of desolation the prophesied destruction of 18 
the temple shall occur, and through the enumeration of 
the signs that shall precede it the question of the dis- 
ciples is answered. But Jesus had connected with the 
terrors of these times of destruction that should befall 
Judsea the promise of His return ; and it is for this reason 
that Mark here gives us, on the basis of the oldest tradi- 
tion, the only longer address of Jesus in his gospel, 
in order to strengthen the hope for His return, which in 
his days had begun to waver. 

But this time of tribulation, which shall spread over 21 
Judsea, is also the time of tribulation prophesied in 
V. 9-13 as impending over the faithful, and then attaining 
its greatest severity ; and it is accordingly pointed out 
by Mark in v. 20 that, by the shortening of this time 
the trial shall be prevented from becomuig so great 
that even the faithful fall away. Therefore Jesus 
warns the disciples that they are not in those terrible 
times to permit tliemselves to be deceived by prema- 
ture announcements of the return of the Messiah who 
is to deliver them from their trials. For then it will 
28 853 


Christ ; or, Lo, there ; believe * ii not : (33) for there shall arise 
false Christs and false prophets, and shall show signs and 
wonders, that they may lead astray, if possible, the elect. 
(33) But take ye heed : behold, I have told you all things be- 

(34) But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun shall 
be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, (35) and 
the stars shall be falling from heaven, and the powers that 
are in the heavens shall be shaken, (36) And then shall they 
see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and 
glory. (27) And then shall he send forth the angels, and shall 
gather together his elect from the four winds, from the utter- 
most part of the earth to the uttermost part of heaven. 

(38) Now from the fig tree learn her parable : when her 
branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye 

* Or, him. 

22 be reported that He is here and is there. But this 
will not only be declared by a man here and 
there, but false prophets will arise, who confirm their 
declarations by signs and wonders, so that, if it were 

23 possible, they would deceive the very elect. And even 
if the unwavering faithfulness of God, who has chosen 
them, shall protect them against falling away, yet 
Jesus would do what He can to warn by His predic- 
tions against such false announcements of His return 

24 (cf. Matt. xxiv. 24 sqq). But only in the days that shall 
follow this great distress will the return of the Son of 
Man take place with the infallible signs of the destruc- 
tion of the world, as this has been prophesied in 
Matt. xxiv. 29-30. This is the end, at which time it 
has been prophesied in xiii. 13, that those who shall 
have been faithful to the end are to be saved, when He 
shall cause His angels to gather them from the ends of 
the earth, when the vault of heaven, sinking down 

28 over them, shall enfold them (Matt. xxiv. 31). By 
the parable of the fig-tree (Matt. xxiv. 32-33), Jesus 
points out how it will be possible to know by the com- 


MARK [XIII, 29-35 

know that the summer is nigh ; (29) even so ye also, when ye 
see these things coming to pass, know ye that ^he is nigh, 
even at the doors. (30) Verily I say unto you, This generation 
shall not pass away, until all these things be accomplished. 
(31) Heaven and earth shall pass away : but my words shall 
not pass away. (33) But of that day or that hour knoweth no 
one, not even the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the 

(33) Take ye heed, watch *and pray : for ye know not when 
the time is. (34) It is as when a man, sojourning in another 
country, having left his house, and given authority to his 
'servants, to each one his work, commanded also the porter to 
watch. (35) Watch therefore : for ye know not when the lord 

* Or, it. * Some ancient authorities omit and pray. 

* Gr. bondservants. 

ing of the time of distress prophesied in v. 14-20, that 
the return of the Messiah may be expected as a cer- 
tainty. The present generation will live to see this, 30 
even if the knowledge of the day and hour has 32 
been reserved by God for Himself. Therefore the 
address closes with an admonition to be watchful. 
For the very reason that nobody knows what mo- 33 
ment God has appointed, they are to be ready at all 
times for the return of the Lord, who comes to judge 
whether they have been faithful to the end or not. 
It is as though a human master had gone on a 
journey, and before leaving his house had entrusted 
each of his servants with a special commission to do 
the work assigned to him by their master. In this way 
Jesus has entrusted to the four apostles, to whom He is 
speaking, the guidance and the care of His congrega- 
tion ; and it is to be their duty at all times to do this 
work. For they know Jis little when the Lord comes 36 
to demand an accounting from them as a doorkeeper 
knows whether his master will return in the late eve- 
ning (i. e., between 9 and 12), or at the cockcrow 
(i. e., about 3 a. m.), or at early dawn (i. e., between 8 



of the house cometh, whether at even, or at midnight, or at 
cockcrowing, or in the morning ; (36) lest coming suddenly 
he find you sleeping. (37) And what I say unto you I say 
vmto all, Watch. 

XIV Now after two days was the feast of the passover and 
the unleavened bread : and the chief priests and the 
scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and 
kill him : (2) for they said. Not during the feast, lest haply 
there shall be a tumult of the people. 

36 and 6). At all events, He will come suddenly ; and it 
dare not be that He finds the doorkeeper asleep, as 
little as the Lord dare find them neglectful of their 

37 duty when He returns. But this warning to be watch- 
ful is intended not only for these four, but for all the 
disciples ; for to each the Lord has assigned a duty to 
perform until He returns. And God has not informed 
them of the day and the hour of the return of Jesus, 
to this very end, namely, that His disciples may 
keep themselves ready at all times, and not become 
negligent in the performance of their disciple duty. 

1 The seventh part of the gospel, which is devoted to 
the story of the passion, begins by informing us of the 
fact that Jesus went up to Jerusalem on the feast of 
the Passover, which was followed by the days upon 

2 which only unleavened bread dare be eaten. It was now 
three days before the feast, when the leaders of the 
people began to search for ways and means to put Him 
to death. But so much, as was seen from xii. 17, was 
already clear, that taking Him prisoner, which was 
necessary for the consummation of their plot, could only 
be done secretly ; since if it were done on the festival, in 
the presence of a multitude that favored Him, this 
would surely result in a tumult, which would deliver 
Him out of the hands of His enemies and make Him a 
king. Then as a matter of necessity the Romans 
would interfere, and this would make an end of their (the 


MARK [XIV, 3-7 

(3) And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the 
leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having ^an 
alabaster cruse of ointment of ^ pure nard very costly ; and 
slie brake the cruse, and poured it over his head. (4) But 
there were some that had indignation among themselves, say- 
ing. To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been 
made ? (5) For this ointment might have been sold for above 
ttiree hundred ' shillings, and given to the poor. And they 
murmured against her. (6) But Jesus said, Let her alone; 
wliy trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 
(7 ) For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye 
will ye can do them good : but me ye have not always. 

* Or, a flask. * Gr. liquid nard. * See marginal note on ch. 6. 37, 

Jewish leaders') power. Here we can plainly see how 
Mark, according to his usual custom, inserts the story 
of His anointing only for the purpose of explaining 
that at the time when the leaders of the people were 
yet deliberating unsuccessfully how to put Jesus to 
death, He Himself clearly foresaw His death impending 
in the near future. The first Evangelist has followed 3 
him in this (cf. Matt. xxvi. 4 sqq.), and from him we 
have already heard that during the evening meal at 
Bethany a woman anointed Him. Here we only hear 
in addition to this that the ointment she used con- 
sisted of pure, that is unadulterated, and therefore 
costly, nard, and ttiat she broke the alabaster box be- 
cause she would use the entire contents, and did not 
intend to employ a vessel that had been sanctified in 
such a way for profane purposes. And further, we are 4 
told here that those who so severely rebuked the 
woman for her wastefulness, and who are not men- 
tioned by name in the oldest tradition, estimate the 6 
value of the ointment at three hundred denarii. Jesus, 6 
however, who directs them not to interfere with the 
woman, expressly explains that they always have with 
them the poor, for whose benefit they wanted the nard 
to be sold, but that this woman had only this oppor- 



(8) She hath done what she could ; she hath anointed my Ijody 
beforehand for the burying. (9) And verily I say unto you, 
Wheresoever the ^ gospel shall be preached throughout the 
whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be 
spoken of for a memorial of her. 

(10) And Judas Iscariot, *he that was one of the twelve, 
went away unto the chief priests, that he might * deliver him 
unto them. (11) And they, when they heard it, were glad, 
and promised to give him money. And he sought how he 
might conveniently ^ deliver him unto them. 

• See marginal note on ch. 1. 1. ' Qr. the one of the twelve. 
'Seech. 3. 19. 

tunity of anointing His body beforehand for His 
9 burial (cf. Matt. xxvi. 8-12). So certain is He that His 
death is impending in the immediate future that this 
anointing is regarded by Him as an embalming of His 
body. He promised to the woman an enduring remem- 

10 brance for her service. And now Mark returns to the 
story begun in xiv. 1-2, because just at this time when 
the leaders could not discover how to put Him to 
death, an entirely unexpected way was opened to 
them, which would enable them to carry out their 
murderous purpose. This way was, that one of the 
Twelve, who in iii. 19 was already designated as the 
one should betray Jesus into the hands of His ene- 
mies, appeared in this gathering and really offered 

11 so to do. In great delight at this, they strengthened 
him in his purpose by the promise of money if he 
would carry out this proposal ; for now the means had 
been found by which to lay hands on Jesus by trickery, 
and even at the feast, an occasion on which the pres- 
ence of Jesus furnished the best opportunity to take 
Him prisoner. For now this could take place secretly 
without any fear of a tumult among the people ; for 
the consummation of which plan Judas was only wait- 
ing for a good opportunity. 

12 Now on the first day of unleavened bread (cf. Matt. 


MARK [Xiy, 12-16 

(12) And on the first day of unleavened bread, when they 
sacrificed tlie passover, liis disciples say unto him, AVhere wilt 
thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the 
passover? (13) And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith 
unto them, Go into the city, and tliere shall meet you a man 
bearing a pitcher of water : follow him ; (14) and wheresoever 
he shall enter in, say to the master of the house, The Teacher 
saith, Wliere is my guest-chamber, where I shall eat the pass- 
over with my disciples? (15) And he will himself show j-ou 
a large upper r(jom furnished and ready : and there make 
ready for us. (16) And the disciples went forth, and came 
into tlie city, and found as he had said unto them : and they 
made ready the passover. 

xxvi. 17), on wliicli tlie Passover lainl) ^vas to ])e killed, 
so that the solemn Passover meal could be eaten in 
the evening, the disciples asked Jesus where they 
should pre])are for it. If, however, Jesus desired to 
partake of this feast with His disciples without being 
disturbed, it would not do for Judas to discover the 
house in Jerusahun in which it was to be celebrated, 
lest he should .seize the opi)ortunity of apprehend- 
ing Jesus dui'ing the meal. Accordingly, Jesus, who 13 
perfectly uiuhu'stood the plan of Judas, had already 
come to an understanding with a guest-friend in the 
city. It was not m^cessary for Iliiu to inform the 
disciples which house this was, sincci the gu(\st-friend 
was to si'iid a servant to meet the two disci[)les, who;u 
Jesus had sent into the city, and this ser\aiit they 
would be abh; to recogni/e from tht; fact that he was 
carrying a water ])itciier. 'I'his sei'\ant was instructed IT) 
to take them to his house, where lu; would show them 
the upi)er room fully i)rei)arcd with the necessary 
couches foi' the meal ; and here they were to be per- 
mitted to prepare the Kaster lamb and what belonged 
to it, for Jesus. When this liad been done, Jesu.s, as IG 

3;') 9 


(17) And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve. 
(18) And as they ^sat and were eating, Jesus said, Verily I say 
xintoyou, One of you shall ^ betray me, even he that eateth 
with me. (19) They began to be sorrowful, and to say unto 
him one by one, Is it I ? (20) And he said unto them, It is 
one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish. (21) 
For the Son of man goeth, even as it is written of him : but 
woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is * be- 
trayed I good were it ' for that man if he had not been born. 

(22) And as they were eating, he took * bread, and when he 
had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye : 
this is my body. (23) And he took a cup, and when he had 
given thanks, he gave to them : and they all drank of it. (24) 
And he said unto them, This is my blood of the ^ covenant, 
which is poured out for many. (25) Verily I say unto you, I 
shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day 
when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. 

1 Gr. reclined. 

• Or. for him if that man. 

* Some ancient authorities insert new 

* See marginal note on ch. 3. 19. 

* Or, a loaf 

soon as the festal evening had arrived, went there with 

17 the Twelve. Mark reports only two incidents in con- 
nection with the meal, as he shows by the introductory 

18 words, which in both cases are the same. The first is 
that Jesus explicitly predicts that one of the Twelve 
who was united to Him by the closest possible bonds, 
that of being a table companion, was to betray Him 

19 into the hands of His enemies. We know already from 
Matt. xxvi. 21, 22 the consternation of the disciples at 
this announcement, for they one after the other de- 

21 clared that it was not he. But Jesus could only repeat 
that it still was one of them, and that one who should 
dip into the bowl with Him, as also His intense aver- 
sion to one who could abuse this close bond of commun- 
ion so shamefully, on the ground of the words found 

22 in Matt. xxvi. 24. The second memorable episode was 
the solemn breaking of the bread, which Jesus declares 
to be the founding of a covenant through His blood 

25 (cf . Matt. xxvi. 27, 28). The words, too, of Jesus, with 



MARK [Xiy, 26-33 

(26) And when they had sung a hymn, they went out unto 
the mount of Olives. 

(27) And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be ^ offended : 
for it is written, ^ I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall 
be scattered abroad. (28) Ilowbeit, after I am raised up I will 
go before you into Galilee. (29) But Peter said unto him, 
Although all shall be i offended, yet will not I. (30) And 
Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, 
even this niglit, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me 
thrice. (31) But he spake exceeding vehemently. If I must 
die witli thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also 
said they all. 

(32) And they come unto ^a place which was named Gethse- 
raane : and he saith unto his disciples. Sit ye here, while I 

' Gr. caused to stumble. ' Zech. xiii. 7. 

' Gr. an enclosed piece of ground. 

which He declares that this is Ilis last meal, we know 
already from Matt. xxvi. 29, and also the conversation 
with the disciples on the way to the Mount of Olives 
(Matt. xxvi. 30-35), only that we are informed at this 
place that the words in which Jesus announced to 27 
Peter that he would betray Him, stated more particu- 30 
larly how this would take place, namely, before the 
second crowing of the cock should announce the coming 
of the morning. ^lark, also, in his more picturesque 
way, describes how Peter with each new assertion seeks 
to surpass the preceding, declaring that he would not 31 
betray the ^Fastt^r, even if he had to go into death for 
Him, and how the disci])les then, one after the other, 
gave the same assurance. 

We have already heard in Matt. xxvi. 36 sqq. that 
Jesus, leaving His other disciples sitting at the entrance 
of Gethsemane, withdrew with His three confidants 
further into the garden, there to pray, and that here 
for the first time the terror at the thought of the ap- 
proaching crisis and tlie anxious unrest on a('ct)unt of 
the uncertain sutferings that awaited Ilim, overwhelmed 
Him. In His own sadness H(> had asked the three to 32 



pray. (83) And he taketh with him Peter and ^ James and 
John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. (34) 
And he saith unto them. My soul is exceeding sorrowful 
even unto death : abide ye here, and watch. (35) And he 
went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, 
if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. (36) 
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee ; 
remove this cup from me : howbeit not what I will, but what 
thou wilt. (37) And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, 
and saith unto Peter, Simon, steepest thou ? couldest thou not 
watch one hour ? (38) ^ Watch and pray, that ye enter not 
into temptation : the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is 
weak. (39) And again he went away, and prayed, saying the 

* Or, Jacob. 

* Or, Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not. 

remain there and to watch ; and Mark describes that 
He, going only a little further on, again and again casts 
Himself down on the ground praying that, if at all 
possible, the hour that was to bring the terrible suffer- 
ings might pass without them. What the disciples 
heard of the earnest prayers of Jesus, Mark summarizes 

33 in his words. He had petitioned the Father, with the 
Abba cry, which His congregation had learned from 
Him ; He had appealed to the omnipotence of God, 
which surely could find another way to accomplish the 

34 divine purpose ; He had spoken of the cup of suffering 
which the Father had placed before Him ; but in each 
instance He had declared His willingness to submit to 

37 the Father's will. In this case it is Peter, the source 
of our Gospel writer, to whom alone Jesus, when He 
returns, addresses the word of reproof, " Peter, sleepest 
thou?" and asks if he cannot watch with Him a single 
hour. He had expected the fulfilment of His request 
from the energetic disciple, whom He here addressed 
with his proper name, and not with that given him by 

38 Himself (iii. 16.). But the earnest admonition to be 

39 watchful is addressed to all the disciples in general. 
So much does the report of Mark enter into the details 


MARK [XIV, 40-47 

same words. (40) And again he came, and found them sleep- 
ing, for their eyes were very heavy ; and they knew not what 
to answer him. (41) And he cometh the third time, and saith 
unto them, * Sleep on now, and take your rest : it is enough ; 
the hour is come ; behold, the Son of man is ^ betrayed into 
the hands of sinners. (42) Arise, let us be going : behold, he 
that * betrayeth me is at hand. 

(43) And straightway, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one 
of the twelve, and with him a multitude with swords and 
staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 
(44) Now lie that ^ betrayed him had given them a token, say- 
ing. Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he ; take him, and lead him 
away safely. (45) And when he was come, straightway he 
came to him, and saith. Rabbi ; and ^ kissed him. (46) And 
they laid hands on him, and took him. (47) But a certain one 
of them that stood by drew his sword, and smote the ♦ servant 

* Or, Do you sleep on, then, and take your rest f 

* See marginal note on ch. 3. 19. 

* Or. kissed him much. * Qr. bondservant. 

of what the disciples experienced that he briefly men- 
tions that Jesus, when going a second time to pray, 
repeats His request, and naturally in the same words, 40 
and that when He returns He finds the disciples sleep- 
ing, because their eyes were heavy and they knew not 
how to answer His silent reproof. They had become 
the victims of the weakness of the flesh, which they 
could not master. For this reason, no mention is made 41 
of the third time that He withdrew, but only of His 
returning the third time, when He expressly states that 
it is enough ; that He needs their society, and therefore 
their watchfulness, no longer. That His desire to give 42 
the disciples a little more time to rest is thwarted by 
the appearance of the watch is narrated in Matt. xxi. 
45, sqq. Now we also see that it was Mark who speaks 45 
of the arrest with deep indignation, and that, Judas, 
in order to point out to the watch with certainty who 
was to be arrested, meets Jesus with a hypocritical 
greeting and kiss. Then he places in contrast to the 47 



of the high priest, and struck off his ear. (48) And Jesus an- 
swered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a rob- 
ber, with swords and staves to seize me? (49) I was daily 
with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not : but this 
is done that the scriptures might be fulfilled. (50) And they 
all left him, and fled. 

(51) And a certain young man followed with him, having a 
linen cloth cast about him, over his naked body : and they lay 
hold on him ; (52) but he left the linen cloth, and fled naked. 

(53) And they led Jesus away to the high priest : and there 

folly of one of those who had followed Jesus and had 
struck at the attacking party with the sword (Matt. 
xxvi. 51), the fact that Jesus, with the words found in 
Matt. xxvi. 55-56, describes the folly of these in arrest- 
ing by force a man who had never attempted to avoid 

50 arrest. But in connection with the flight of all the 
disciples, Mark adds a singular episode. In addition 
to the disciples there was present as a witness of these 
things a certain young man who had followed Jesus 
and His company from the house where they had taken 
their Passover supper. He, when the company started 
and he had by his curiosity been impelled to follow to 
see what would occur, had quickly seized a cloth, 
because he had already disrobed, and had stealthily 
followed them. He had yet hesitated a moment 
when all the other disciples had fled, because he 
hoped that they would pay no attention to him. But 
he was willing to confess that he was no more coura- 
geous than the rest. For when they tried to seize him 
he preferred to leave the cloth in the hands of his pur- 
suers and to flee naked. In order to understand how 
it happened that the Gospel writer reports this episode, 
which was of no interest to anybody but to him who 
experienced it, it must be implied that Mark himself 
was this young man. 

53 When Jesus was then led to the high priest, there 


MARK [XIV, 54-58 

come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and 
the scribes. 

(54) And Peter had followed him afar off, even within, into 
the court of the high priest ; and he was sitting with the of- 
ficers, and warming himself in the light of the fire. (55) Now 
the chief priests and the whole council sought witness against 
Jesus to put him to death ; and found it not. (56) For many 
bare false witness against him, and their witness agreed not 
together. (57) And there stood up certain, and bare false wit- 
ness against him, saying, (58) We heard him say, I will de- 
stroy this 1 temple that is made with hands, and in three days 

' Or, sanctuary 

gathered around him all the members of the Sanhe- 
drin, who had at once been notified of the successful 
arrest. In this connection it becomes clear, that it was 
Mark, who from the beginning had in mind the experi- 
ence of his authority, Peter, during the deliberation 
of this, the highest court ; for he narrates how Peter, at 54 
first timidly, then with greater courage, follows Jesus 
from a distance till he finds his way into the court of 
the palace of the high priest, and describes how he there 
sat with the servants and warmed himself at the fire 
(cf. Matt. xxvi. 38). Meanwhile the trial began before 55 
the Sanhedrin by hearing the witnesses. Here we 56 
are expressly told that many false witnesses appeared 
against Jesus (cf. Matt. xxvi. 59-GO), l)ut that their 
evidence \Aas not valid, because it did not agree, as was 
expressly demanded by the ^Mosaic law (Deut. xvii. 6). 
Then several false witnesses came forward, who had 57 
themselves heard that Jesus had spoken the word 
about demolishing the temple (cf. Matt. xxvi. Ol). 
Mark explains that J(?sus had spoken of the temple of 58 
the new congregation of God not made with hands, in 
which God is to dwell in a higher of the term 
than in the temple made by the hands of men ; and in 
this sense had pledged to destroy this profane sanc- 
tuary and to erect one that was much more exalted. 



I will build another made without hands. (59) And not even 
so did their witness agree together. (60) And the high priest 
stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou 
nothing? wliat is it which these witness against thee? (61) 
But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high 
priest asked him, and saith unto him. Art thou the Christ, the 
Son of the Blessed ? (62) And Jesus said, I am : and ye shall 
see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power, and 
coming with the clouds of heaven. (63) And the high priest 
rent his clothes, and saith. What further need have we of wit- 
nesses ? (64) Ye have heard the blasphemy : what think ye ? 

59 And however heavy the charge may be in this pervert- 
ing of the word of Jesus in John ii. 19, even as it is 
interpreted by the Evangelist, yet the exact words 
which the different witnesses pretend to quote from 
actual hearing of them, agreed so little, that they did not 
constitute a ground for condemning Jesus. Then the 
high priest commanded Jesus to reply to the testimony 
against Him (cf. Matt. xxvi. 62), in the hope of induce- 
ing Him to make some unfortunate utterance by which 

60 they could catch Him ; but when Jesus refused to comply, 
nothing finally remained, but to bring up the question, 
with which they could have begun at once, if they 
had had any hope on the basis of Jesus' conduct so 

61 far, of receiving a sound, direct answer. The high 
priest in asking Him if He is the Messiah, implied that 
the latter was the Son of the Blessed One, which no 
ordinary person could claim to be ; but which nobody 

62 who had a right to it, could refuse to state. And this 
time Jesus gives a plain and clear answer, directing 
attention to the future, which would prove the correct- 

63 ness of His claim (cf. Matt. xxvi. 64) ; upon which, as is 
reported by Matt. xxvi. 65-66, He was unanimously con- 

64 demned to death. At this point certain individuals 
spat upon Him, and after covering His face, asked Him 
in derision, who it was that struck Him, and to announce 


MARK [XIV, 65-70 

And they all condemned him to be ^ worthy of death. (65) 
And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to 
buffet him, and to say unto him. Prophesy : and the officers 
received him with * blows of their hands. 

(66) And as Peter was beneath in the court, there cometh 
one of the maids of the high priest ; (67) and seeing Peter 
warming himself, she looked upon him, and saith. Thou also 
wast with the Nazarene, even Jesus. (68) But he denied, say- 
ing, 8 1 neither know, nor understand what thou say est : and 
he went out into the * porch ; * and the cock crew. (69) And 
the maid saw him, and began again to say to them that stood 
by, This is one of them. (70) But he again denied it. And 

* Qr. liable to. * Or, strokes of rods 

* Or, 1 neither know, nor understand : thou, what sayst thou f 

* Qr. forecourt. * Many ancient authorities omit and the cock crew. 

how this one whom He did not see was to be punished. 
The further statement is made that the servants, into 65 
whose charge He had now again been put, had the 
boldness to strike Him with their fists when they re- 
ceive Him. With this the narrative again returns to 66 
Peter, who sat in the court below, while the trial was 
being conducted in the upper room of the palace of the 
high priest. As in Matt. xxvi. 69, it is one of the maids 
of the high priest, who thinks that she recognizes 
Peter as one of the companions of the Nazarene, of that 
Jesus who is being tried, and stated this as she saw 
him standing in the light of the fire when he was 
warming himself. But Peter simply expresses his 68 
great surprise at the question, which he maintains 
he cannot even understand. And the same maid 69 
repeats her assertion that he is one of the companions 
of Jesus, when she sees him after he had retired to 
the outer court and was standing there with others ; 
and this time he does not dare to lie directly. Instead, 70 
however, of making use of this opportunity to make 
good his wrong-doing by an open confession, he con- 
tinues, as Mark reports, his prevaricating denial. 
While doing this, some of those around him begin to 



after a little while again they that stood by said to Peter, Of a 
truth thou art one of them ; for thou art a Galilaean. (71) But 
he began to curse, and to swear, I know not this man of whom 
ye speak. (72) And straightway the second time the cock 
crow. And Peter called to mind the word, how that Jesus said 
unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me 
thrice. ■ And when he thought thereon, he wept. 
XV And straightway in the morning the chief priests with 
the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a con- 
sultation, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and de- 

* Or, And he began to weep. 

notice him more closely and with a greater positiveness 
to maintain that he was a disciple, since, in addition to 
the fact, that the maid felt sure that she had recognized 
him, he, like all of Jesus' followers, was a Galilaean, 
which they can in this case also recognize by his dia- 

71 lect. And now he goes to the extreme, described so 
impressively already in Matt. xxvi. 74, of beginning 
to wish himself accursed if he knew the man of whom 

72 they were speaking. And as just at this moment the 
second crowing of the cock announced that the day 
was breaking, Peter remembered the prediction of 
Jesus. It certainly is a gross misunderstanding of the 
incident, when a later copyist states that after the first 
denial the cock crowed for the first time. For Jesus 
had spoken of the second crowing of the cock only in 
contradistinction from the first, which generally occurs 
at midnight. Our narrative closes with the statement 
that Peter, as soon as he called to mind the word of 
Jesus and became conscious of what he had done, 
began to weep bitterly; naturally these were bitter 
tears of repentance that he shed. 

1 Since the morning broke with the crowing of the 
cock on which it was permitted to come before the Pro- 
curator with business matters, there at once follows, 
since the condemnation had taken place during the 


livered him up to Pilate. (3) And Pilate asked him, Art thou 
the King of the Jews? And he answering saith unto him, 
Thou sayest. (3) And the chief priests accused him of many- 
things. (4) And Pilate again asked him, saying, Answerest 
thou nothing ? behold how many things they accuse thee of. 
(5) But Jesus no more answered anything ; insomuch that 
Pilate marvelled. 

(6) Now at ' the feast he used to release unto them one 
prisoner, whom they asked of him. (7) And there was one 
called Barabbas, lying bound with them that had made insur- 
rection, men who in the insurrection had committed murder. 
(8) And the multitude went up and began to ask him to do 

» Or, a feast 

denial of Peter, the transfer of the prisoner to the 
governor, as is narrated in Matt, xxvii. This could 
indeed not take place, as is stated by Mark, without a 
decision to this effect having been found, through which 
that official was to be induced to have Him put to 
death. He also emphasizes the fact, that they, in order 
not to leave the governor in doubt on the state of affairs, 
all came together with the fettered Jesus to the Procura- 
tor, the hearing being before Pilate as we know already 
from Matt, xxvii. 11-14, when the Evangelist tells the 2 
same story that Mark does. But we hear at this place 5 
more accurately concerning that Barabbas, whose name 6 
afterward plays such a fateful r61e. He had been a 
rebel, who in connection with an insurrection, together 
with his fellow conspirators, had committed murder, 
and for that reason lay in chains. Mark evidently 7 
mentions this fact, for the purpose of showing that 
Pilate could not possibly have conceived the thought 
that they would ask him to let this man go. "We hear 
in this connection that the question of the Paschal 
amnesty was not brought forward by the governor at 
all, but by the people, who came in great masses to the 8 
castle, and demanded that Pilate should do according 
to his custom. Without a doubt this demand was very 
24 869 


as he was wont to do unto them. (9) And Pilate answered 
them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the 
Jews? (10) For he perceived that for envy the chief priests 
had delivered him up. (11) But the chief priests stirred up 
the multitude, that he should rather release Barabhas unto 
them. (12) And Pilate again answered and said unto them. 
What then shall I do unto him whom ye call the King of the 
Jews? (13) And they cried out again. Crucify him. (14) And 
Pilate said unto them. Why, what evil hath he done ? But 
they cried out exceedingly. Crucify him. (15) And Pilate, 
wishing to content the multitude, released unto them Barab- 
bas, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be 

(16) And the soldiers led him away within the court, which 
is the ' Prsetorium ; and they call together the whole * band. 

* Or, palace. * Or. cohort, 

welcome to Pilate, as he was convinced that the wishes 

of the people demanded that Jesus be freed, whose 

9 appellation as the Kong of the Jews he regarded as only 

10 a mark of honor bestowed by the people, but which had 
aroused the jealousy of the high priests against Him. 
But when he then proposed to them to let Jesus go 

11 free, the high priests cajoled the people into declining 
this proposal and asking for the freedom of Barabbas. 
This demand already they must have made with loud 
outcries ; for when Pilate a second time makes an appeal 
for Jesus, asking what he is to do with the King of the 

12 Jews, they demand with an outcry His crucifixion. 

13 We saw already in Matt, xxvii. 20 sqq. that the people 
did this only in obedience to their leaders, and that, 
after Pilate had drawn attention to the innocence of 
Jesus, they repeated vociferously the fanatical demand. 

14 In this way the trial before the governor comes to 

15 an end with the decision of yielding to the wishes of 
the people, as this he does according to Matt, xxvii. 26. 

16 Here it becomes perfectly clear, that the locality 
where the mockery took place (Matt, xxvii. 27-30), was 


MAEK [XV, 17-23 

(17) And they clothe him with purple, and platting a crown 
of thorns, they put it on him ; (18) and they began to salute 
him, Hail, King of the Jews ! (19) And they smote his liead 
witli a reed, and spat upon him, and bowing their knees ^ wor- 
sliipped him. (20) And when they had mocked him, tliey 
took off from him the purple, and put on him his garments. 
And they led him out to crucify him. 

(21) And they ^ compel one passing by, Simon of Cyrene, 
c<miing from the country, the fatlier of Alexander and Rufus, 
to go loith them, that he might bear his cross. 

(22) And they bring Iiini unto the place Golgotha, which is, 
being interpreted, The place of a skull. (2:J) And they offered 

1 See marginal note on ch. 5. 6. - CJr. itnpresn. 

tlie inner court of the castle, wliich Mark calls the bar- 
racks of the Roman cohort, because it was quartered in 
the neighboring building. Mark describes vividly liow 18 
the soldiers greet Jesus in the mocking cai'icature as 19 
the King of Jews, first maltreat Iliin, and then spit on 
Ilim, and then in mockery again show Ilim the deepest 
I'everence. Here too we are informed tliat the name of 
the man, who ])ecause he happened to be coming from 
the field, was forced to carry the cross for Jesus, who 
in the luc^inwhile had again received baik His garments 
and was 1)eing led to the place of crucilixion, has been 
retained in the memory of the Evangelist. It wastbat *20 
Simon of Cyrene, who was tlu; fatlier of two Christians '1\ 
v.'cll known to the readers of .^hirk, wliose most cher- 
ished remem])rance it was tliat th(Mr fatlnu- had been 
privileged on His way to His (h^atli, to giv(> some ri'lief 'I'l 
to Jesus. Tn the same way we read that the drink tbat 23 
was given to Jesus wlien He Iiad arrived at tbe phici; 
of crucifixion, was a wint; mixed witli myi'rli, and tbcre- 
fore benvnnbing, the object l)eing to makc^ Ilim insens- 
ible to the pains of the crucilixion, but which Jesus for 
this reason refused to drink, because He wanted to enter 
upon His sufferings with a clear mind. Tn connection 
with the distribution of His garments, after the eruci- 



him wine mingled with myrrh : but he received it not. (24) 
And they crucify him, and part his garments among them, 
casting lots upon them, what each should take. (25) And it 
was the third hour, and they crucified him. (86) And the 
superscription of his accusation was written over, the King 
OF THE Jews. (27) And with him they crucify two robbers ; 
one on his right hand, and one on his left.' (29) And they 
that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, 
Ha ! thou that destroyest the * temple, and buildest it in three 
days, (30) save thyself, and come down from the cross. (31) 
In like manner also the chief priests mocking Mm among them- 
selves with the scribes said, He saved others ; * himself he 
cannot save. (32) Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now 
come down from the cross, that we may see and believe. And 
they that were crucified with him reproached him. 

(33) And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness 
over the whole * land until the ninth hour. (34) And at the 

* Many ancient authorities insert ver. 28, And the scripture iDosfvl- 
ftUed, which saith. And he was reckoned with transgressors. See Lk. 22. 87. 

• Or, sancttiary. ' Or, can he not save himself f * Or, earth. 

24 flxion (Matt, xxvii. 35), it is noted, that lots were cast 
for them, as to which each of the watchers at the cru- 
cifixion was to receive as his share. When it is stated 
that the hour of the crucifixion was the third, it is 

26 clear from the manner of Mark in dividing the whole 
day of Jesus' death according to quarters, that this can 
mean only the second, or from 9 to 10. Concerning the 

26 crucifixion itself, there is yet mention made of the in- 

28 scription, which here is stated to have been simply that 
Jesus was the King of the Jews, as also of the fact that 
two murderers were crucified with Him (Matt, xxvii. 
37-38) ; for the reference to Is. viii. 17 (cf. Luke xxii. 
37), is not a part of the oldest text. The mocking after 

29 He had been crucified we know from Matt, xxvii. 39-44, 
where already, following Mark, it is narrated, that dur- 
ing the third quarter of the day a deep darkness pre- 

33 vailed over the whole earth, at the conclusion of which 

34 the final death sigh of Jesus was heard. (Matt, xxvii. 
45-46). Here we are also informed, that the man who 


MARK [XV, 35-41 

ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sa- 
bachthani ? which is, being interpreted, 'My God, my God, 
^why hast thou forsaken me? (35) And some of them that 
stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elijah. 
(36) And one ran, and filling a si)onge full of vinegar, put it 
on a reed, and gave Wun. to drink, saying, Let be ; let us see 
whether Elijah cometh to take liim down. (37) And Jesus 
uttered a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. (38) And the 
veil of the ^ temple was rent in two from tlie top to the bottom. 
(39) And when the centurion, who stood by over against him, 
saw that he * so gave up the ghost, he said. Truly tins man was 
5 the Son of God. 

(40) And tliere were also women beholding from afar: 
among whom icere both Mary Magdalene, and Mary the 
mother of ''James the "less and of Joses, and Salome; (41) 

* Ps. xxii. 1. ^ Or, vhy d id-it thou fontdkr )/u' f '^ ( ir, sanctuary. 

* Many aucient authorities read ku cried out, and ijavf uji thf-gliost. 

5 Or, a son of God. * Or, Jacob. '' (ir. little. 

in compa.ssioii offered Jesus something to refresli Ilini, 
answers to the rude pleasantry of the others, only that 
they may not prevent him from doing this service. He 35 
wants to Iveep Him alive only long enough to see if the 8G 
Elias, who has been called by Ilim, will really appear, 
and take Ilim from the cross. Of the signs that totjk 
place at the death of Jesus, ]\hu-k mentions only the 
rending of the veil of the temple (Matt, xxvii. r)0-51). 88 
But of special significance is still the imjircssion which 
the Roman captain, who stood o])])ositc the cross aiul 
could accordingly watch the dying Jesus closely, re- 
ceived. For while those that are crucitied geuerally die ol) 
of exhaustion, he saw in the loud cry witli wliich Jesus 
died, a sigii that He was really the Son of (ioil. In this 
way the gospel closes with the confession, which, Mark, 
according to i. 1, wanted to establish l>y it, and which 
now even a heathen man must coidirm. From this it 
appears, that all that yet follows is to be regarded only 
as an appendix to the gospel. 

The appendix treats of the experience of several 40 
women, which goes beyond the earthly life of Jesus. 41 



who, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered 
unto him ; and many other women that came up with him 
unto Jerusalem. 

(43) And when even was now come, because it was the 
Preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, (43) there 
came Joseph of Arimathaea, a councillor of honorable estate, 
who also himself was looking for the kingdom of God ; and 
he boldly went in unto Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus. 
(44) And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead : and call- 
ing unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he ' had 
been any while dead. (45) And when he learned it of the 

i Many ancient authorities read were already dead. 

These are the same that are mentioned in Matt, xxvii. 
55, 56, as those who had served Jesus in Galilee and 
had followed Him to Jerusalem. They had from a dis- 
tance been witnesses of the death of Jesus, and from 
them no doubt Mark learned many of the things that 
he reports on this subject. From them, too, he received 
the account of the burial of Jesus, which must be nar- 
rated first, because the experiences of the women are con- 
nected with this. Here we are informed that Joseph of 
ArimathsBa (Matt, xxvii. 37), was a member of the San- 
hedrin, who for this reason was not a regular disci- 
ple of Jesus, but yet belonged to those, who, like all 
the pious in Israel, were waiting for the kingdom of 

43 God, and for this reason wanted to show the last 
honors to Him who had lived and died for this hope of 
Israel. There was need of haste, as it was already late 
in the afternoon (3-6 o'clock), and the day of Jesus' 
death was a Friday, with the close of which the Sabbath 
began, on which nothing could be done for the burial of 
the dead. On account of his oflBcial position Joseph could 
venture to go to the governor with the request for the 

44 body of Jesus. The governor was indeed astonished at 
this, because people that are crucified die slowly, and it 
accordingly seemed doubtful to him, if this could already 

45 be the case with Jesus. But after he had learned of the 


MARK [XVI, 1^ 

centurion, he granted the corpse to Joseph. (46) And he 
bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the 
linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out 
of a rock ; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb, 
(47) And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses 
beheld where he was laid. 

XVI -^"^ when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and 
Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spies, 
that they might come and anoint him. (2) And very early on 
the first day of the week, they come to the tomb when the 
sun was risen. (3) And they were saying among themselves, 
"Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the tomb ? 
(4) and looking up, they see that the stone is rolled back : for 

centurion, who had command of the guard, that Jesus 
had been some time already dead, he grants the 
request of Joseph, and as it appears, without taking 
any money for this. Now new linen was bought in a 
hurry, in order to wrap in it the body that had been 
taken from the cross ; and it was laid into a tomb in 
the rocks, which was closed with a stone, according to 
Matt, xxvii. 39-60. The women must have heard of 
this burial ; for on the same evening the two Marys go ' 
to that place in order to look at it carefully. For now 
their work is to begin by embalming the beloved dead. 
Of course this could be done only after the Sabbath 
had passed by, but after that, they go at once with 
Salome to buy the necessary aromatic herbs and mix 1 
these into a salve. On the first dawn of the Sunday we 
find them on their way to the tomb, but naturally with 
anxious thoughts as to who would roll away the stone 2 
for them, which, as they saw the day before, covered 3 
the entire entrance to the tomb. But as they came 
near enough to the tomb to see it by the first rays of 
the sun, they noticed that the stone, which was large 4 
enough to be seen from a distance, was no longer on the 
entrance of the tomb, but lay at the side. Now fol- 



it was exceeding great. (5) And entering into the tomb, they 
saw a young man sitting on the right side, arrayed in a white 
robe ; and they were amazed. (6) And he saith unto them, 
Be not amazed : ye seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who hath been 
crucified : he is risen ; he is not here : behold, the place where 
they laid him I (7) But go, tell his disciples and Peter, He 
goeth before you into Galilee : there shall ye see him, as he 

5 lows their Easter experience with which Mark wanted 
to close his gospel, because from this the message of 
joy dates, which his gospel is to confirm. The women 
entered the tomb and it was empty. In a constant 
change of imagery the women describe the heavenly 
vision, through which they were confirmed in the 
blessed certainty of the Easter revelation. Now it is a 

6 youth in flowing white garment, who quiets their first 
fright by the good news, that Jesus is risen. He is no 
more in the tomb; the place where His body lay is 

7 empty. But to them the command is given to tell both 
disciples and particularly Peter, that the hour had 
come when the words spoken by Jesus in Matt, xxvii., 
5, sqq., are to be fulfilled. He who had been a witness of 
what Mark had reported concerning the earthly life of 
Jesus, was also to be the first witness of His heavenly 
life. That which the Evangelist had reported of this 
heavenly revelation in the words of men, could of course 
become clear to the women only gradually. At first they 
trembled and were amazed, when instead of the 
beloved body they saw a heavenly vision in the empty 
tomb, at the sight of which a human being cannot but 
be filled with fear. Therefore they fled from the tomb 
and did not dare to say anything to anybody about 
what they have seen and heard. But that they did this 
later is proved by the fact that our gospel reports these 
tilings. But the fact that the gospel closes with the 
statement that they did not at that time do what 


MABK [XVI, 8-13 

said imto you. (8) And they went out, and fled from the 
tomb ; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them : 
and they said nothing to any one ; for they were afraid. 

(9) Now when he was risen early on the first day of the week, 
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast 
out seven demons. (10) She went and told them that had 
been with him, as they mourned and wept. (11) And they, 
when they heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, 

(12) And after these things he was manifested in another 
form unto two of them, as they walked, on their way into 

1 The two oldest Qreek manuscripts, and some other authorities, omit 
from ver. 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different ending 
to the Gospel. 

had been commanded them from the empty tomb, can 
only be understood, on the supposition that at once 
certain events happened that made this necessary. 
These events are the appearances of the risen Lord ; 
but these do not belong to the earthly life of Jesus, 
which Mark purposed to report. In the appearances. 
He who by His resurrection was exalted to a heavenly 
life, revealed Himself to His disciples in visible form, 
in order to make them certain of His eternal life in 
the body. 

Later copyists were not satisfied with the close 9 
of the gospel, because they thought that the story of 
Jesus' appearances should be inserted. They accord- 
ingly added three of these on the basis of the reports of 
the other Evangelists. The first was the one received 
by Mary Magdalene, according to John xx. 14-18, and 
she personally is described more particularly accord- 10 
ing to Luke viii. 2. The fact that the disciples 
did not believe her message, the narrator concludes 
from the fact that at different places the gospel reports 
that doubts were raised which were quieted only by the 
actual appearance of the Risen One Himself. For this 
reason this is expressly stated to have been the case 
with the two disciples of Emmaus, of whom Luke xxiv. 


XVI, 13-18] WJEISS'jS commentaby 

the csountry. (13) And they went away and told it unto the 
rest : neither believed they them. 

(14) And afterward he was manifested unto the eleven them- 
selves as they sat at meat ; and he upbraided them with their 
unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them 
that had seen him after he was risen. (15) And he said unto 
them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the ^gospel to the 
whole creation. (16) He that believetli and is baptized shall 
be saved ; but he that disbelieveth shall be condemned. (17) 
And these signs shall accompany them that believe : in my 
name shall they cast out demons ; they shall speak M'ith * new 
tongues ; (18) they shall take up serpents, and if they drink 
any deadly thing, it shall in no wise hurt them ; they shall 
lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 

' See marginal note on ch. 1. 1. * Some ancient authorities omit new. 

12 13-35 speaks, and the appearance of Jesus on this 
occasion is evidently intended for the second. For that 
He appeared to them in a different form than that in 
which they were accustomed to see Him, follows from 
this, that they did not know Him. To this is added 
the appearance in the presence of the Twelve on Easter 
evening, as in Luke xxiv. 36-43, in which in- 
stance Jesus was compelled to chide their unbelief and 
declares that this comes from the hardness of their 
hearts. Finally the narrator summarizes all that 
Jesus after His resurrection said to His disciples, after 

15 the manner of Matt, xxviii. 19, only that sending them 

16 out to all the nations is not regarded as a baptismal 
command, but as an exposition of the doctrine that the 
believer, if he has sealed his faith by baptism, can be 
saved, while the unbeliever would surely be con- 
demned. In the place of the promise of the gracious 
presence of the exalted Christ (Matt, xxviii, 20), there 
follows a list of signs, by which He will confirm in a 
miraculous manner the preaching of His believers. 
The driving out of the devils and the speaking with 
tongues, which were known from 1 Cor. xiv , and the 
healing of the sick by the laying on of hands, probably 


MARK [XVI, 19-20 

(19) So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, 
was received up into lieaven, and sat down at the right hand 
of God. (20) And they went forth, and preached everywhere, 
the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the 
signs that followed. Amen. 

stand in some connection ^yith special experiences, that 
they, ^yitllout suffering tliereliy, can take serpents in 
their hands (cf. Acts xxviii. 3-5), and can even drink 
a poison cup. The conclusion is made by a reference 19 
to the fulfilment of these promises, for only He, who 20 
after His resurrection and Ascension to heaven, i. e. 
after He has received His full power to govern the 
whole world, could in this way co-operate with the 
preachers of the gospel, that He would confirm their 
message of redemption by the signs and wonders which 
He caused to accompany His preaching. 








c o 

-P erf cd 

OH (h 

E-1 ^ 2 

a> i 

0) o 


•H O 

no ^ 

University of Toronto