Matthew 19
Vincent's Word Studies
And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these sayings, he departed from Galilee, and came into the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan;
Coasts (ὅρια)

Better Rev., borders; though it is easy to see how the translation coasts arose, coast being derived from the Latin costa, a side, and hence a border generally, though now applied to the sea-side only.

And great multitudes followed him; and he healed them there.
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?

See on Matthew 6:13.

For every cause

The temptation turned upon the dispute dividing the two great Rabbinical schools, the one of which (that of Hillel) held that a man might divorce his wife for any reason which rendered her distasteful to him; and the other (that of Shammai) that divorce was allowable only in case of unchastity. The querists would be anxious to know which side Jesus espoused.

And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Shall cleave (κολληθήσεται)

Lit., shall be glued.

Shall be one flesh (ἔσονται εἰς σάρκα μίαν)

Lit., "into one flesh;" Wyc., two in one flesh.

Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
What (ὃ)

Not those. Christ is contemplating, not the individuals, but the unity which God cemented; and so Wyc., that thing that God enjoined; i.e., knit together. The aorist tense (denoting the occurrence of an event at some past time, considered as a momentary act) seems to refer to the original ordinance of God at the creation (Matthew 19:4).

They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?
Writing (βιβλίον)

Rev., bill. The word is a diminutive of βίβλος, which originally means the inner bark of the papyrus, used for writing, then a book or roll of this bark; hence a paper, bill.

He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.
Because of (πρὸς)

Rev., for: having regard to.

It was not so (οὐ γέγονεν οὕτως)

The A. V. is commonly understood to mean, it was not so in the beginning. But that is not Christ's meaning. The verb is in the perfect tense (denoting the continuance of past action or its results down to the present). He means: Notwithstanding Moses' permission, the case has not been so from the beginning until now. The original ordinance has never been abrogated nor superseded, but continues in force.

And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
Except for fornication (μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ)

Lit., not on account of fornication.

His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry.
The case (αἰτία)

Not the relation of the man to his wife, nor the circumstances, the state of the case. Αἰτία refers to cause (Matthew 19:3), and the meaning is, if the matter stands thus with reference to the cause which the man must have for putting away his wife.

But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given.
For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
Suffer (ἄφετε)

Lit., leave alone. Compare Mark 14:6; Mark 15:36; Luke 13:8. Sir J. Cheke: Let these children alone.

And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.
And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
Why callest thou me good? (τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν)

But the true reading is, τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; Why askest thou me concerning the good ?

There is none good but one, that is God (οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)

But the reading is, εἷς ἐστὶν ὁ ἀγαθός, One there is who is good. The saying of Christ appears especially appropriate in the light of the Rabbinic apothegm, "There is nothing else that is good but the law."

He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, Verily I say unto you, That a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven.
And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
Camel - through a needle's eye (κάμηλον διά τρύπηματος ῥαφίδος)

See on Mark 10:25; and Luke 18:25. Compare the Jewish proverb, that a man did not even in his dreams see an elephant pass through the eye of a needle. The reason why the camel was substituted for the elephant was because the proverb was from the Babylonian Talmud, and in Babylon the elephant was common, while in Palestine it was unknown. The Koran has the same figure: "The impious shall find the gates of heaven shut; nor shall he enter there till a camel shall pass through the eye of a needle." Bo-chart, in his history of the animals of scripture, cites a Talmudic passage: "A needle's eye is not too narrow for two friends, nor is the world wide enough for two enemies." The allusion is not to be explained by reference to a narrow gate called a needle's eye.

When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved?
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
This (τοῦτο)

Not the salvation of rich men, but salvation in general. It is in answer to the question, who can be saved ? Man cannot save himself nor his fellow. God only can save him.

Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore?

Emphatic, in contrast with the young ruler.

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Have followed

"Peter had said together the words we have left, we have followed. Jesus replies to them separately; for the latter was peculiar to the apostles, the former common to them with others" (Bengel).

In the regeneration

The final restitution of all things. To be construed with ye shall sit.

Shall sit (καθίσῃ)

Or shall have taken his seat, which brings out more vividly the solemn inauguration of Christ's judgment.

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.
Every one (πᾶς)

Compare 2 Timothy 4:8, "to all them that love his appearing." "Not only apostles, nor ought Peter to have inquired only concerning them" (Bengel). The promise hitherto restricted to the apostles now becomes general.

A hundred-fold (ἑκατονταπλασίονα)

But many very high authorities read πολλαπλασίονα, manifold. So Rev. in margin. Compare Mark 10:30, where there is added "houses and brethren," etc. Also the Arabic proverb: "Purchase the next world with this; so shalt thou win both."

But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.
Vincent's Word Studies, by Marvin R. Vincent [1886].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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