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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 19)

19:1 {He departed} (\metēren\). Literally, to lift up, change
something to another place. Transitive in the LXX and in a
Cilician rock inscription. Intransitive in 13:53 and here, the
only N.T. instances. Absence of \hoti\ or \kai\ after \kai
egeneto\, one of the clear Hebraisms in the N.T. (Robertson,
_Grammar_, pp. 1042f.)
. This verse is a sort of formula in
Matthew at the close of important groups of \logia\ as in 7:28;
11:1; 13:53. {The borders of Judea beyond Jordan} (\eis ta horia
tēs Ioudaias peran tou Iordanou\)
. This is a curious expression.
It apparently means that Jesus left Galilee to go to Judea by way
of Perea as the Galileans often did to avoid Samaria. Luke (Lu
expressly says that he passed through Samaria and Galilee
when he left Ephraim in Northern Judea (Joh 11:54). He was not
afraid to pass through the edge of Galilee and down the Jordan
Valley in Perea on this last journey to Jerusalem. McNeile is
needlessly opposed to the trans-Jordanic or Perean aspect of this
phase of Christ's work.

19:3 {Pharisees tempting him} (\Pharisaioi peirazontes auton\).
They "could not ask a question of Jesus without sinister motives"
(Bruce). See 4:1 for the word (\peirazō\). {For every cause}
(\kata pasan aitian\). This clause is an allusion to the dispute
between the two theological schools over the meaning of De
24:1. The school of Shammai took the strict and unpopular view
of divorce for unchastity alone while the school of Hillel took
the liberal and popular view of easy divorce for any passing whim
if the husband saw a prettier woman (modern enough surely) or
burnt his biscuits for breakfast. It was a pretty dilemma and
meant to do Jesus harm with the people. There is no real trouble
about the use of \kata\ here in the sense of \propter\ or because
of (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 509).

19:5 {Shall cleave} (\kollēthēsetai\). First future passive,
"shall be glued to," the verb means. {The twain shall become one
(\esontai hoi duo eis sarka mian\). This use of \eis\
after \eimi\ is an imitation of the Hebrew, though a few examples
occur in the older Greek and in the papyri. The frequency of it
is due to the Hebrew and here the LXX is a direct translation of
the Hebrew idiom.

19:6 {What therefore God hath joined together} (\ho oun ho theos
. Note "what," not "whom." The marriage relation God
has made. "The creation of sex, and the high doctrine as to the
cohesion it produces between man and woman, laid down in Gen.,
interdict separation" (Bruce). The word for "joined together"
means "yoked together," a common verb for marriage in ancient
Greek. It is the timeless aorist indicative (\sunezeuxen\), true
always. {Bill} (\biblion\). A little \biblos\ (see on ¯1:1), a
scroll or document (papyrus or parchment). This was some
protection to the divorced wife and a restriction on laxity.

19:8 {For your hardness of heart} (\pros tēn sklērokardian
. The word is apparently one of the few Biblical words
(LXX and the N.T.). It is a heart dried up (\sklēros\), hard and
tough. {But from the beginning it hath not been so} (\ap' archēs
de ouk gegonen houtōs\)
. The present perfect active of \ginomai\
to emphasize the permanence of the divine ideal. "The original
ordinance has never been abrogated nor superseded, but continues
in force" (Vincent). "How small the Pharisaic disputants must
have felt in presence of such holy teaching, which soars above
the partisan view of controversialists into the serene region of
ideal, universal, eternal truth" (Bruce).

19:9 {Except for fornication} (\parektos logou porneias\). This
is the marginal reading in Westcott and Hort which also adds
"maketh her an adulteress" (\poiei autēn moicheuthēnai\) and also
these words: "and he that marrieth her when she is put away
committeth adultery" (\kai ho apolelumenēn gamēsas moichatai\).
There seems to be a certain amount of assimilation in various
manuscripts between this verse and the words in 5:32. But,
whatever reading is accepted here, even the short one in Westcott
and Hort (\mē epi porneiāi\, not for fornication), it is plain
that Matthew represents Jesus in both places as allowing divorce
for fornication as a general term (\porneia\) which is
technically adultery (\moicheia\ from \moichaō or moicheuō\).
Here, as in 5:31f., a group of scholars deny the genuineness of
the exception given by Matthew alone. McNeile holds that "the
addition of the saving clause is, in fact, opposed to the spirit
of the whole context, and must have been made at a time when the
practice of divorce for adultery had already grown up." That in
my opinion is gratuitous criticism which is unwilling to accept
Matthew's report because it disagrees with one's views on the
subject of divorce. He adds: "It cannot be supposed that Matthew
wished to represent Jesus as siding with the school of Shammai."
Why not, if Shammai on this point agreed with Jesus? Those who
deny Matthew's report are those who are opposed to remarriage at
all. Jesus by implication, as in 5:31, does allow remarriage of
the innocent party, but not of the guilty one. Certainly Jesus
has lifted the whole subject of marriage and divorce to a new
level, far beyond the petty contentions of the schools of Hillel
and Shammai.

19:10 {The disciples say unto him} (\legousin autōi hoi
. "Christ's doctrine on marriage not only separated Him
\toto caelo\ from Pharisaic opinions of all shades, but was too
high even for the Twelve" (Bruce). {The case} (\hē aitia\). The
word may refer to the use in verse 3 "for every cause." It may
have a vague idea here = \res\, condition. But the point clearly
is that "it is not expedient to marry" (\ou sumpherei gamēsai\)
if such a strict view is held. If the bond is so tight a man had
best not commit matrimony. It is a bit unusual to have
\anthrōpos\ and \gunē\ contrasted rather than \anēr\ and \gunē\.

19:11 {But they to whom it is given} (\all' hois dedotai\). A
neat Greek idiom, dative case of relation and perfect passive
indicative. The same idea is repeated at the close of verse 12.
It is a voluntary renunciation of marriage for the sake of the
kingdom of heaven. "Jesus recognizes the severity of the demand
as going beyond the capacity of all but a select number." It was
a direct appeal to the spiritual intelligence of the disciples
not to misconceive his meaning as certainly the monastic orders
have done.

19:13 {Rebuked them} (\epetimēsen autois\). No doubt people did
often crowd around Jesus for a touch of his hand and his
blessing. The disciples probably felt that they were doing Jesus
a kindness. How little they understood children and Jesus. It is
a tragedy to make children feel that they are in the way at home
and at church. These men were the twelve apostles and yet had no
vision of Christ's love for little children. The new child world
of today is due directly to Jesus.

19:14 {Suffer} (\aphete\). "Leave them alone." Second aorist
active imperative. {Forbid them not} (\mē kōluete\). "Stop
hindering them." The idiom of \mē\ with the present imperative
means just that. {Of such} (\tōn toioutōn\). The childlike as in

19:16 {What good thing} (\ti agathon\). Mark (Mr 10:17) has the
adjective "good" with "Teacher." {May have} (\schō\). Ingressive
aorist subjunctive, "may get," "may acquire."

19:17 {Concerning that which is good} (\peri tou agathou\). He
had asked Jesus in verse 16 "what good thing" he should do. He
evidently had a light idea of the meaning of \agathos\. "This was
only a teacher's way of leading on a pupil" (Bruce). So Jesus
explains that "One there is who is good," one alone who is really
good in the absolute sense.

19:20 {What lack I yet?} (\ti eti husterō?\) Here is a
psychological paradox. He claims to have kept all these
commandments and yet he was not satisfied. He had an uneasy
conscience and Jesus called him to something that he did not
have. He thought of goodness as quantitative (a series of acts)
and not qualitative (of the nature of God). Did his question
reveal proud complacency or pathetic despair? A bit of both most

19:21 {If thou wouldest be perfect} (\ei theleis teleios einai\).
Condition of the first class, determined as fulfilled. Jesus
assumes that the young man really desires to be perfect (a big
adjective that, perfect as God is the goal, 5:48)
. {That thou
(\sou ta huparchonta\). "Thy belongings." The Greek neuter
plural participle used like our English word "belongings." It was
a huge demand, for he was rich.

19:22 {Went away sorrowful} (\apēlthen lupoumenos\). "Went away
grieved." He felt that Jesus had asked too much of him. He
worshipped money more than God when put to the test. Does Jesus
demand this same test of every one? Not unless he is in the grip
of money. Different persons are in the power of different sins.
One sin is enough to keep one away from Christ.

19:23 {It is hard} (\duskolōs\). With difficulty. Adverb from
\duskolos\, hard to find food, fastidious, faultfinding, then

19:24 {It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye}
(\eukopōteron estin kamēlon dia trēmatos rhaphidos eiselthein\).
Jesus, of course, means by this comparison, whether an eastern
proverb or not, to express the impossible. The efforts to explain
it away are jejune like a ship's cable, \kamilon\ or \rhaphis\ as
a narrow gorge or gate of entrance for camels which recognized
stooping, etc. All these are hopeless, for Jesus pointedly calls
the thing "impossible" (verse 26). The Jews in the Babylonian
Talmud did have a proverb that a man even in his dreams did not
see an elephant pass through the eye of a needle (Vincent). The
Koran speaks of the wicked finding the gates of heaven shut "till
a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle." But the Koran
may have got this figure from the New Testament. The word for an
ordinary needle is \rhaphis\, but, Luke (Lu 18:25) employs
\belonē\, the medical term for the surgical needle not elsewhere
in the N.T.

19:25 {Were astonished} (\exeplēssonto\). Imperfect descriptive
of their blank amazement. They were literally "struck out."

19:26 {Looking on them} (\emblepsas\). Jesus saw their amazement.

19:27 {What then shall we have?} (\ti ara estai hēmin?\) A
pathetic question of hopeless lack of comprehension.

19:28 {In the regeneration} (\en tēi palingenesiāi\). The new
birth of the world is to be fulfilled when Jesus sits on his
throne of glory. This word was used by the Stoics and the
Pythagoreans. It is common also in the mystery religions (Angus,
_Mystery Religions and Christianity_, pp. 95ff.)
. It is in the
papyri also. We must put no fantastic ideas into the mouth of
Jesus. But he did look for the final consummation of his kingdom.
What is meant by the disciples also sitting on twelve thrones is
not clear.

19:29 {A hundredfold} (\hekatonplasiona\). But Westcott and Hort
read \pollaplasiona\, manifold. Eternal life is the real reward.

19:30 {The last first and the first last} (\hoi eschatoi prōtoi
kai hoi prōtoi eschatoi\)
. This paradoxical enigma is probably in
the nature of a rebuke to Peter and refers to ranks in the
kingdom. There are many other possible applications. The
following parable illustrates it.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 19)