[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 10)

10:1 {His twelve disciples} (\tous dōdeka mathētas autou\). First
mention of the group of "learners" by Matthew and assumed as
already in existence (note the article) as they were (Mr 3:14).
They were chosen before the Sermon on the Mount was delivered,
but Matthew did not mention it in connection with that sermon.

{Gave them authority} (\edōken autois exousian\). "Power"
(Moffatt, Goodspeed). One may be surprised that here only the
healing work is mentioned, though Luke (Lu 9:2) has it "to
preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick." And Matthew
says (Mt 10:7), "And as ye go, preach." Hence it is not fair to
say that Matthew knows only the charge to heal the sick,
important as that is. The physical distress was great, but the
spiritual even greater. Power is more likely the idea of
\exousia\ here. This healing ministry attracted attention and did
a vast deal of good. Today we have hospitals and skilled
physicians and nurses, but we should not deny the power of God to
bless all these agencies and to cure disease as he wills. Jesus
is still the master of soul and body. But intelligent faith does
not justify us in abstaining from the help of the physician who
must not be confounded with the quack and the charlatan.

10:2 {The names of the twelve apostles} (\tōn dōdeka apostolōn ta
. This is the official name (missionaries) used here by
Matthew for the first time. The names are given here, but Matthew
does not say that they were chosen at this time. Mark (Mr
and Luke (Lu 6:12-16) state that Jesus "chose" them,
"appointed" them after a night of prayer in the mountain and came
down with them and then delivered the Sermon (Lu 6:17). Simon
heads the list (\prōtos\) in all four lists including Ac 1:13f.
He came to be first and foremost at the great Pentecost (Ac 2
and Ac 3)
. The apostles disputed a number of times as to which
was greatest. Judas Iscariot comes last each time save that he is
absent in Acts, being already dead. Matthew calls him the
betrayer (\ho paradidous\). Iscariot is usually explained as "man
of Kerioth" down near Edom (Jos 15:25). Philip comes fifth and
James the son of Alphaeus the ninth. Bartholomew is the name for
Nathanael. Thaddaeus is Judas the brother of James. Simon Zelotes
is also called Simon the Canaanean (Zealous, Hebrew word). This
is apparently their first preaching and healing tour without
Jesus. He sends them forth by twos (Mr 6:7). Matthew names them
in pairs, probably as they were sent out.

10:5 {These twelve Jesus sent forth} (\toutous tous dōdeka
apesteilen ho Iēsous\)
. The word "sent forth" (\apesteilen\) is
the same root as "apostles." The same word reappears in 10:16.
{Way of the Gentiles} (\hodon ethnōn\). Objective genitive, way
leading to the Gentiles. This prohibition against going among the
Gentiles and the Samaritans was for this special tour. They were
to give the Jews the first opportunity and not to prejudice the
cause at this stage. Later Jesus will order them to go and
disciple all the Gentiles (Mt 28:19).

10:6 {The lost sheep} (\ta probata ta apolōlota\). The sheep, the
lost ones. Mentioned here first by Matthew. Jesus uses it not in
blame, but in pity (Bruce). Bengel notes that Jesus says "lost"
more frequently than "led astray." "If the Jewish nation could be
brought to repentance the new age would dawn" (McNeile).

10:7 {As ye go, preach} (\poreuomenoi kērussete\). Present
participle and present imperative. They were itinerant preachers
on a "preaching tour," heralds (\kērukes\) proclaiming good news.
The summary message is the same as that of the Baptist (3:2)
that first startled the country, "the kingdom of heaven has drawn
nigh." He echoed it up and down the Jordan Valley. They are to
shake Galilee with it as Jesus had done (4:17). That same
amazing message is needed today. But "the apprentice apostles"
(Bruce) could tell not a little about the King of the Kingdom who
was with them.

10:9 {Get you no gold} (\mē ktēsēsthe\). It is not, "Do not
possess" or "own," but "do not acquire" or "procure" for
yourselves, indirect middle aorist subjunctive. Gold, silver,
brass (copper) in a descending scale (nor even bronze). {In your
(\eis tas zōnas h–mōn\). In your girdles or belts used
for carrying money.

10:10 {No wallet} (\mē pēran\). Better than "scrip." It can be
either a travelling or bread bag. Deissmann (_Light from the
Ancient East_, pp. 108f.)
shows that it can mean the beggar's
collecting bag as in an inscription on a monument at Kefr Hanar
in Syria: "While Christianity was still young the beggar priest
was making his rounds in the land of Syria on behalf of the
national goddess." Deissmann also quotes a pun in the
_Didaskalia=Const. Apost_. 3, 6 about some itinerant widows who
said that they were not so much \chērai\ (spouseless) as \pērai\
(pouchless). He cites also Shakespeare, _Troilus and Cressida_
III. iii. 145: "Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, wherein
he puts alms for oblivion." {For the labourer is worthy of his
(\axios gar ho ergatēs tēs trophēs autou\). The sermon is
worth the dinner, in other words. Luke in the charge to the
seventy (Lu 10:7) has the same words with \misthou\ (reward)
instead of \trophēs\ (food). In 1Ti 5:18 Paul quotes Luke's
form as scripture (\hē graphē\) or as a well-known saying if
confined to the first quotation. The word for workman here
(\ergatēs\) is that used by Jesus in the prayer for labourers
(Mt 9:38). The well-known _Didachē_ or _Teaching of the Twelve_
(xiii) shows that in the second century there was still a felt
need for care on the subject of receiving pay for preaching. The
travelling sophists added also to the embarrassment of the
situation. The wisdom of these restrictions was justified in
Galilee at this time. Mark (Mr 6:6-13) and Luke (Lu 9:1-6)
vary slightly from Matthew in some of the details of the
instructions of Jesus.

10:13 {If the house be worthy} (\ean ēi hē oikia axia\). Third
class condition. What makes a house worthy? "It would naturally
be readiness to receive the preachers and their message"
(McNeile). Hospitality is one of the noblest graces and preachers
receive their share of it. The apostles are not to be burdensome
as guests.

10:14 {Shake off the dust} (\ektinaxate ton koniorton\). Shake
out, a rather violent gesture of disfavour. The Jews had violent
prejudices against the smallest particles of Gentile dust, not as
a purveyor of disease of which they did not know, but because it
was regarded as the putrescence of death. If the apostles were
mistreated by a host or hostess, they were to be treated as if
they were Gentiles (cf. Mt 18:17; Ac 18:6). Here again we have
a restriction that was for this special tour with its peculiar

10:15 {More tolerable} (\anektoteron\). The papyri use this
adjective of a convalescent. People in their vernacular today
speak of feeling "tolerable." The Galileans were having more
privileges than Sodom and Gomorrah had.

10:16 {As sheep in the midst of wolves} (\hōs probata en mesōi
. The presence of wolves on every hand was a fact then and
now. Some of these very sheep (10:6) at the end will turn out
to be wolves and cry for Christ's crucifixion. The situation
called for consummate wisdom and courage. The serpent was the
emblem of wisdom or shrewdness, intellectual keenness (Ge 3:1;
Ps 58:5)
, the dove of simplicity (Ho 7:11). It was a proverb,
this combination, but one difficult of realization. Either
without the other is bad (rascality or gullibility). The first
clause with \arnas\ for \probata\ is in Lu 10:3 and apparently
is in a _Fragment of a Lost Gospel_ edited by Grenfell and Hunt.
The combination of wariness and innocence is necessary for the
protection of the sheep and the discomfiture of the wolves. For
"harmless" (\akeraioi\) Moffatt and Goodspeed have "guileless,"
Weymouth "innocent." The word means "unmixed" (\a\ privative and
, "unadulterated," "simple," "unalloyed."

10:17 {Beware of men} (\prosechete apo tōn anthrōpōn\). Ablative
case with \apo\. Hold your mind (\noun\ understood) away from.
The article with \anthrōpōn\ points back to \lukōn\ (wolves) in

{To councils} (\eis sunedria\). The local courts of justice in
every Jewish town. The word is an old one from Herodotus on for
any deliberative body (\concilium\). The same word is used for
the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. {In their synagogues} (\en tois
sunagōgais autōn\)
. Here not merely as the place of assembly for
worship, but as an assembly of justice exercising discipline as
when the man born blind was cast out of the synagogue (Joh
. They were now after the exile in every town of any size
where Jews were.

10:19 {Be not anxious} (\mē merimnēsēte\). Ingressive aorist
subjunctive in prohibition. "Do not become anxious" (Mt 6:31).
"Self-defence before Jewish kings and heathen governors would be
a terrible ordeal for humble Galileans. The injunction applied to
cases when preparation of a speech would be impossible"
(McNeile). "It might well alarm the bravest of these simple
fishermen to be told that they would have to answer for their
doings on Christ's behalf before Jewish councils and heathen
courts" (Plummer). Christ is not talking about preparation of
sermons. "{In that hour}" (\en ekeinēi tēi hōrāi\), if not
before. The Spirit of your Father will speak to you and through
you (10:20). Here is no posing as martyr or courting a martyr's
crown, but real heroism with full loyalty to Christ.

10:22 {Ye shall be hated} (\esesthe misoumenoi\). Periphrastic
future passive, linear action. It will go on through the ages.
{For my name's sake} (\dia to onoma mou\). In the O.T. as in the
Targums and the Talmud "the name" as here stands for the person
(Mt 19:29; Ac 5:41; 9:16; 15:26). "He that endureth to the end"
(\ho hupomeinas eis telos\). Effective aorist participle with
future indicative.

10:23 {Till the Son of man be come} (\heōs elthēi ho huios tou
. Moffatt puts it "before the Son of man arrives" as
if Jesus referred to this special tour of Galilee. Jesus could
overtake them. Possibly so, but it is by no means clear. Some
refer it to the Transfiguration, others to the coming of the Holy
Spirit at Pentecost, others to the Second Coming. Some hold that
Matthew has put the saying in the wrong context. Others bluntly
say that Jesus was mistaken, a very serious charge to make in his
instructions to these preachers. The use of \heōs\ with aorist
subjunctive for a future event is a good Greek idiom.

10:25 {Beelzebub} (\beezeboul\ according to B, \beelzeboul\ by
most Greek MSS., \beelzeboub\ by many non-Greek MSS.)
. The
etymology of the word is also unknown, whether "lord of a
dwelling" with a pun on "the master of the house"
(\oikodespotēn\) or "lord of flies" or "lord of dung" or "lord of
idolatrous sacrifices." It is evidently a term of reproach. "An
opprobrious epithet; exact form of the word and meaning of the
name have given more trouble to commentators than it is all
worth" (Bruce). See Mt 12:24.

10:26 {Fear them not therefore} (\mē oun phobēthēte autous\).
Repeated in verses 28 and 31 (\mē phobeisthe\ present middle
imperative here in contrast with aorist passive subjunctive in
the preceding prohibitions)
. Note also the accusative case with
the aorist passive subjunctive, transitive though passive. See
same construction in Lu 12:5. In Mt 10:28 the construction is
with \apo\ and the ablative, a translation Hebraism as in Lu
12:4 (Robertson, _Grammar of the Greek N.T. in the Light of
Historical Research_, p. 577)

10:28 {Destroy both soul and body in hell} (\kai psuchēn kai sōma
apolesai en geennēi\)
. Note "soul" here of the eternal spirit,
not just life in the body. "Destroy" here is not annihilation,
but eternal punishment in Gehenna (the real hell) for which see
on ¯5:22. Bruce thinks that the devil as the tempter is here
meant, not God as the judge, but surely he is wrong. There is no
more needed lesson today than the fear of God.

10:29 {Two sparrows} (\duo strouthia\). Diminutive of \strouthos\
and means any small bird, sparrows in particular. They are sold
today in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa. "For a farthing"
(\assariou\) is genitive of price. Only here and Lu 12:6 in the
N.T. Diminutive form of the Roman _as_, slightly more than half
an English penny. {Without your Father} (\aneu tou patros
. There is comfort in this thought for us all. Our father
who knows about the sparrows knows and cares about us.

10:31 {Than many sparrows} (\pollōn strouthiōn\). Ablative case
of comparison with \diapherete\ (our differ).

10:32 {Shall confess me} (\homologēsei en emoi\). An Aramaic
idiom, not Hebrew, see also Lu 12:8. So also here, "him will I
also confess" (\homologēsō k'agō en autōi\). Literally this
Aramaic idiom reproduced in the Greek means "confess in me,"
indicating a sense of unity with Christ and of Christ with the
man who takes the open stand for him.

10:33 {Shall deny me} (\arnēsētai me\). Aorist subjunctive here
with \hostis\, though future indicative \homologēsei\ above. Note
accusative here (case of extension), saying "no" to Christ,
complete breach. This is a solemn law, not a mere social breach,
this cleavage by Christ of the man who repudiates him, public and

10:34 {I came not to send peace, but a sword} (\ouk ēlthon balein
eirēnēn, alla machairan\)
. A bold and dramatic climax. The aorist
infinitive means a sudden hurling of the sword where peace was
expected. Christ does bring peace, not as the world gives, but it
is not the force of compromise with evil, but of conquest over
wrong, over Satan, the triumph of the cross. Meanwhile there will
be inevitably division in families, in communities, in states. It
is no namby-pamby sentimentalism that Christ preaches, no peace
at any price. The Cross is Christ's answer to the devil's offer
of compromise in world dominion. For Christ the kingdom of God is
virile righteousness, not mere emotionalism.

10:35 {Set at variance} (\dichasai\). Literally divide in two,
\dicha\. Jesus uses Mic 7:1-6 to describe the rottenness of the
age as Micah had done. Family ties and social ties cannot stand
in the way of loyalty to Christ and righteous living. {The
(\numphēn\). Literally bride, the young wife who
is possibly living with the mother-in-law. It is a tragedy to see
a father or mother step between the child and Christ.

10:38 {Doth not take his cross} (\ou lambanei ton stauron
. The first mention of cross in Matthew. Criminals were
crucified in Jerusalem. It was the custom for the condemned
person to carry his own cross as Jesus did till Simon of Cyrene
was impressed for that purpose. The Jews had become familiar with
crucifixion since the days of Antiochus Epiphanes and one of the
Maccabean rulers (Alexander Jannaeus) had crucified 800
Pharisees. It is not certain whether Jesus was thinking of his
own coming crucifixion when he used this figure, though possible,
perhaps probable. The disciples would hardly think of that
outcome unless some of them had remarkable insight.

10:39 {Shall lose it} (\apolesei autēn\). This paradox appears in
four forms according to Allen (I) Mt 10:39 (2) Mr 8:35; Mt
16:25; Lu 9:24 (3) Lu 17:33 (4) Joh 12:25. _The Wisdom of
Sirach_ (Hebrew text) in 51:26 has: "He that giveth his life
findeth her (wisdom)." It is one of the profound sayings of
Christ that he repeated many times. Plato (_Gorgias_ 512) has
language somewhat similar though not so sharply put. The article
and aorist participles here (\ho heurōn, ho apolesas\) are
timeless in themselves just like \ho dechomenos\ in verses 40
and 41.

10:41 {In the name of a prophet} (\eis onoma prophētou\).
"Because he is a prophet" (Moffatt). In an Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 37
(A.D. 49) we find \onomati eleutherou\ in virtue of being
free-born. "He that receiveth a prophet from no ulterior motive,
but simply _qua_ prophet (_ut prophetam_, Jer.) would receive a
reward in the coming age equal to that of his guest" (McNeile).
The use of \eis\ here is to be noted. In reality \eis\ is simply
\en\ with the same meaning. It is not proper to say that \eis\
has always to be translated "into." Besides these examples of
\eis onoma\ in verses 41 and 43 see Mt 12:41 \eis to
kērugma Iōnā\ (see Robertson's _Grammar_, p. 593). {Unto one of
these little ones}
(\hena tōn mikrōn toutōn\). Simple believers
who are neither apostles, prophets, or particularly righteous,
just "learners," "in the name of a disciple" (\eis onoma
. Alford thinks that some children were present (cf.
Mt 18:2-6)

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 10)