[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 7)

7:1 {Judge not} (\mē krinete\). The habit of censoriousness,
sharp, unjust criticism. Our word critic is from this very word.
It means to separate, distinguish, discriminate. That is
necessary, but pre-judice (prejudgment) is unfair, captious

7:3 {The mote} (\to karphos\). Not dust, but a piece of dried
wood or chaff, splinter (Weymouth, Moffatt), speck (Goodspeed), a
very small particle that may irritate. {The beam} (\tēn dokon\).
A log on which planks in the house rest (so papyri), joist,
rafter, plank (Moffatt), pole sticking out grotesquely. Probably
a current proverb quoted by Jesus like our people in glass houses
throwing stones. Tholuck quotes an Arabic proverb: "How seest
thou the splinter in thy brother's eye, and seest not the
cross-beam in thine eye?"

7:5 {Shalt thou see clearly} (\diablepseis\). Only here and Lu
6:42 and Mr 8:25 in the New Testament. Look through, penetrate
in contrast to \blepeis\, to gaze at, in verse 3. Get the log
out of your eye and you will see clearly how to help the brother
get the splinter out (\ekbalein\) of his eye.

7:6 {That which is holy unto the dogs} (\to hagion tois kusin\).
It is not clear to what "the holy" refers, to ear-rings or to
amulets, but that would not appeal to dogs. Trench (_Sermon on
the Mount_, p. 136)
says that the reference is to meat offered in
sacrifice that must not be flung to dogs: "It is not that the
dogs would not eat it, for it would be welcome to them; but that
it would be a profanation to give it to them, thus to make it a
_skubalon_, Ex 22:31." The yelping dogs would jump at it. Dogs
are kin to wolves and infest the streets of oriental cities.
{Your pearls before the swine} (\tous margaritas h–mōn emprosthen
tōn choirōn\)
. The word pearl we have in the name Margarita
(Margaret). Pearls look a bit like peas or acorns and would
deceive the hogs until they discovered the deception. The wild
boars haunt the Jordan Valley still and are not far removed from
bears as they trample with their feet and rend with their tusks
those who have angered them.

7:9 {Loaf--stone} (\arton--lithon\). Some stones look like loaves
of bread. So the devil suggested that Jesus make loaves out of
stones (Mt 4:3).

7:10 {Fish--serpent} (\ichthun--ophin\). Fish, common article of
food, and water-snakes could easily be substituted. Anacoluthon
in this sentence in the Greek.

7:11 {How much more} (\posōi mallon\). Jesus is fond of the _a
fortiori_ argument.

7:12 {That men should do unto you} (\hina poiōsin h–mŒn hoi
. Luke (Lu 6:31) puts the Golden Rule parallel with
Mt 5:42. The negative form is in Tobit 4:15. It was used by
Hillel, Philo, Isocrates, Confucius. "The Golden Rule is the
distilled essence of that 'fulfilment' (5:17) which is taught
in the sermon" (McNeile). Jesus puts it in positive form.

7:13 {By the narrow gate} (\dia tēs stenēs pulēs\). The
Authorized Version "at the strait gate" misled those who did not
distinguish between "strait" and "straight." The figure of the
Two Ways had a wide circulation in Jewish and Christian writings
(cf. De 30:19; Jer 21:8; Ps 1). See the _Didache_ i-vi;
Barnabas xviii-xx. "The narrow gate" is repeated in verse 14
and {straitened the way} (\tethlimmenē hē hodos\) added. The way
is "compressed," narrowed as in a defile between high rocks, a
tight place like \stenochōria\ in Ro 8:35. "The way that leads
to life involves straits and afflictions" (McNeile). Vincent
quotes the _Pinax_ or _Tablet_ of Cebes, a contemporary of
Socrates: "Seest thou not, then, a little door, and a way before
the door, which is not much crowded, but very few travel it? This
is the way that leadeth unto true culture." "The broad way"
(\euruchōros\) is in every city, town, village, with the glaring
white lights that lure to destruction.

7:15 {False prophets} (\tōn pseudoprophētōn\). There were false
prophets in the time of the Old Testament prophets. Jesus will
predict "false Messiahs and false prophets" (Mt 24:24) who will
lead many astray. They came in due time posing as angels of light
like Satan, Judaizers (2Co 11:13ff.) and Gnostics (1Jo 4:1;
1Ti 4:1)
. Already false prophets were on hand when Jesus spoke
on this occasion (cf. Ac 13:6; 2Pe 2:1). In outward appearance
they look like sheep in the sheep's clothing which they wear, but
within they are "ravening wolves" (\lukoi harpages\), greedy for
power, gain, self. It is a tragedy that such men and women
reappear through the ages and always find victims. Wolves are
more dangerous than dogs and hogs.

7:16 {By their fruits ye shall know them} (\apo tōn karpōn autōn
. From their fruits you will recognize them." The
verb "know " (\ginōskō\) has \epi\ added, fully know. The
illustrations from the trees and vines have many parallels in
ancient writers.

7:20 See on ¯Mt 7:16.

7:21 {Not--but} (\ou--all'\). Sharp contrast between the mere
talker and the doer of God's will.

7:22 {Did we not prophesy in thy name?} (\ou tōi sōi onomati
. The use of \ou\ in the question expects the
affirmative answer. They claim to have prophesied (preached) in
Christ's name and to have done many miracles. But Jesus will tear
off the sheepskin and lay bare the ravening wolf. "I never knew
you" (\oudepote egnōn h–mās\). "I was never acquainted with you"
(experimental knowledge). Success, as the world counts it, is not
a criterion of one's knowledge of Christ and relation to him. "I
will profess unto them" (\homologēsō autois\), the very word used
of profession of Christ before men (Mt 10:32). This word Jesus
will use for public and open announcement of their doom.

7:24 {And doeth them} (\kai poiei autous\). That is the point in
the parable of the wise builder, "who digged and went deep, and
laid a foundation upon the rock" (Lu 6:48).

7:25 {Was founded} (\tethemeliōto\). Past perfect indicative
passive state of completion in the past. It had been built upon
the rock and it stood. No augment.

7:26 {And doeth them not} (\kai mē poiōn autous\). The foolish
builder put his house on the sands that could not hold in the
storm. One is reminded of the words of Jesus at the beginning of
the Sermon in 5:19 about the one "who does and teaches."
Hearing sermons is a dangerous business if one does not put them
into practice.

7:28 {The multitudes were astonished} (\exeplēssonto hoi
. They listened spell-bound to the end and were left
amazed. Note the imperfect tense, a buzz of astonishment. The
verb means literally "were struck out of themselves."

7:29 {And not as their scribes} (\kai ouch hōs hoi grammateis
. They had heard many sermons before from the regular
rabbis in the synagogues. We have specimens of these discourses
preserved in the Mishna and Gemara, the Jewish Talmud when both
were completed, the driest, dullest collection of disjounted
comments upon every conceivable problem in the history of
mankind. The scribes quoted the rabbis before them and were
afraid to express an idea without bolstering it up by some
predecessor. Jesus spoke with the authority of truth, the reality
and freshness of the morning light, and the power of God's
Spirit. This sermon which made such a profound impression ended
with the tragedy of the fall of the house on the sand like the
crash of a giant oak in the forest. There was no smoothing over
the outcome.

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 7)