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Matthew 6

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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Matthew 6:1 . After προσέχ . Tisch. inserts δέ , no doubt only in conformity with L Z א , Curss. Verss.; yet correctly, inasmuch as δέ would be readily omitted from its coming immediately after the syllable TE, and from its reference not being noticed.

δικαιοσύνην ] Elz. Matth. Scholz have ἐλεημοσύνην , against B D א , 1, 209, 217, It. (Brix. excepted) Vulg. Or. and some other Fathers. A false gloss.

Matthew 6:4 . αὐτός ] not found in B K L U Z א , Curss. Vulg. It. Copt. Syr cur and several Fathers. It seemed superfluous, and was accordingly omitted, and that all the more readily that it is likewise wanting in Matthew 6:6 ; Matthew 6:18 . Cancelled by Fritzsche, Lachm. and Tisch. 8.

σοι ] Elz. Griesb. Matth. Scholz add ἐν τῷ φανερῷ , which is not found in B D Z א , Curss. Codd. gr. in Aug. Syr cur Copt. Vulg. and several Fathers. Also in the case of Matthew 6:6 , the testimonies in favour of omitting are essentially the same; while, as regards Matthew 6:18 , the testimony for excluding is far more decided. It should be retained in Matthew 6:4 ; Matthew 6:6 , but in Matthew 6:18 it is an interpolation, and ought to be deleted. [418]

Matthew 6:5 . προσεύχῃ , οὐκ ἔσῃ ] Lachm. and Tisch.: προσεύχησθε , οὐκ ἔσεσθε , after B Z, 1, 22, 116, Copt. Sahid. Aeth. Goth. It. Vulg. Or. Chrys. Aug. Correctly; the singular was occasioned by the use of that number in what precedes and follows. א has προσεύχῃ οὐκ ἔσεσθε ; see, however, Tisch. on Cod. א .

Matthew 6:12 . ἀφίεμεν ] D E L Δ Π , 157, 253, Ev. 26 : ἀφίομεν ; B Z א *, 1, 124 (on the margin), Harl. For. Or. Nyss. Bass.: ἀφήκαμεν . So Lachm. and Tisch. The latter is to be adopted. The reading of the Received text and ἀφίομεν are from Luke 11:4 , into which, again, as quoted in Origen (once), ἀφήκαμεν has found its way from our present passage.

Matthew 6:13 . πονηροῦ ] Elz. Matth. add the doxology: ὅτι σοῦ ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία καὶ ἡ δόξα εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας , Ἀμήν . Against a preponderance of testimony, and contrary to the whole connection with Matthew 6:14 f. A very old (Syr.) addition from the liturgy; one, however, that has assumed a variety of forms.

Matthew 6:15 . τὰ παραπτ . αὐτῶν ] is correctly deleted by Tisch. It is wanting in D א , Curss. Vulg. It. Syr. Aug., and how easy was it mechanically to insert it as a supplement from Matthew 6:14 !

Matthew 6:18 . σοι ] Elz. Fritzsche add ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ; see on Matthew 6:4 .

Instead of κρυπτῷ , Lachm. and Tisch., in both instances, have κρυφαίῳ , after B D א , 1, 22; correctly, seeing that κρυπτῷ is the common reading, and derived from Matthew 6:4 ; Matthew 6:6 .

Matthew 6:21 . Instead of ὑμῶν , B א , 1, 128, and important Verss. and Fathers, have σου both times, which Griesb. has recommended, and Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. have adopted. Correctly; ὑμῶν is taken from Luke 12:34 .

Matthew 6:22 . After the first ὀφθαλμός Lachm. has σου , only after B, Vulg. Aeth. Codd. It. Or. Hil. Taken from the one which fallows. Then in what comes next Lachm. places the ᾖ immediately after οὖν , only according to B. In א and several Verss. and Fathers οὖν is omitted; deleted by Tisch. 8, against decisive testimony. Coming as it does after ἐάν , it might easily be left out through an oversight on the part of the transcriber.

Matthew 6:25 . καὶ τί ] Fritzsche, Lachm. ἢ τί , according to B, Curss. and a few Verss. and Fathers. Too inadequate testimony. א Curss. Verss. and Fathers, who are followed by Tisch. 8, omit καὶ τί πίητε altogether. In conformity with Luke 12:22 .

Matthew 6:28 . Instead of αὐξάνει , κοπιᾷ , and νήθει , Lachm. and Tisch. have the plurals , after B א , Curss. Ath. Chrys. Correctly. See Luke 12:27 . Likewise in Matthew 6:32 , where Lachm. and Tisch. have ἘΠΙΖΗΤΟῦΣΙΝ , the sing, is used to conform with Luke 12:30 .

Matthew 6:33 . Τ . ΒΑς . Τ . ΘΕΟῦ Κ . Τ . ΔΙΚΑΙΟς . ΑὐΤΟῦ ] Lachm.: Τ . ΔΙΚΑΙΟς . ΚΑῚ ΤῊΝ ΒΑΣΙΛΕΊΑΝ ΑὐΤΟῦ , only after B. In א , Τ . ΘΕΟῦ is wanting; and its omission, in which Tisch. 8 concurs, is favoured by the testimony of the reading in B. Several Verss. and Fathers also leave out Τ . ΘΕΟῦ , which, as being a supplement, ought to be deleted. The testimony is decisive, however, in favour of putting Τ . ΒΑς . first.

Matthew 6:34 . ΤᾺ ἙΑΥΤῆς ] Lachm. and Tisch. have merely ἙΑΥΤῆς , according to important. testimony. Correctly; from the genitive not being understood, it was attempted to explain it by means of ΤΆ , and in other ways ( ΠΕΡῚ ἙΑΥΤῆς , ἙΑΥΤΉΝ , ἙΑΥΤῇ ).

[418] Lachm. and Tisch. have deleted ἐν τῷ φανερῷ in all the three passages; in ver. 18 it is also erased by Griesb. Matth. and Scholz.

Verse 1

Matthew 6:1 . Connection : However ( προσέχετε δέ , be upon your guard ), to those doctrines and prescriptions regarding the true δικαιοσύνη , I must add a warning with reference to the practice of it ( ποιεῖν , 1 John 3:7 ). This warning, stated in general terms in Matthew 6:1 , is then specially applied in Matthew 6:2 to almsgiving , in Matthew 6:5 to prayer , and in Matthew 6:16 to fasting . Accordingly δικαιοσύνη is righteousness generally (Matthew 5:6 ; Matthew 5:10 ; Matthew 5:20 ), and not benevolence specially, which, besides, it never means, not even in 2 Corinthians 9:10 , any more than צרקה (not even in Proverbs 10:2 ; Proverbs 11:4 ; Daniel 4:24 ), which in the LXX., and that more frequently by way of interpretation, is rendered by ἐλεημοσύνη , in which the δικαιοσύνη manifests itself by acts of charity; comp. Tob 2:14 ; Tob 12:9 .

On εἰ δὲ μήγε , after which we are here to supply προσέχετε τὴν δικαιοσύν . ὑμ . μὴ ποιεῖν , etc., see on 2 Corinthians 11:16 .

μισθὸν … οὐρανοῖς ] See on Matthew 5:12 ; Matthew 5:46 .

Verse 2

Matthew 6:2 . Μὴ σαλπίσῃς ] do not sound a trumpet , metaphorically: make no noise and display with it (Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus). Comp. Achill. Tat . viii. p. 507; Cic. ad Div . xvi. 21 : “te buccinatorem fore existimationis meae.” Prudent, de Symmach . ii. 68. Here ἔμπρ . refers to the idea of a person sounding a trumpet, which he holds up to his mouth. Others (Calvin, Calovius, Wolf, Paulus, also τινές referred to by Euth. Zigabenus) render: cause not a trumpet to be sounded before thee . They think that, in order to make a display, the Pharisees had actually made the poor assemble together by the blowing of trumpets. But the expression itself is as decidedly incompatible with this extraordinary explanation as it is with the notion that what is meant (Homberg, Schoettgen) is the sound produced by the clinking of the money, dropped into the alleged trumpet-like chests in the temple (see on Mark 12:41 ), and this notwithstanding that it is added, ἐν τ . συναγ . κ . ἐν τ . ῥύμ . On the injunction generally, comp. Babyl. Chagig . f. v. 1 : “R. Jannai vidit quendam nummum pauperi dantem palam; cui dixit: praestat non dedisse, quam sic dedisse.” In the synagogues it was the practice to collect the alms on the Sabbath; Lightfoot and Wetstein on this passage.

ὑποκριταί ] in classical writers means actors; in the New Testament, hypocrites . “Hypocrisis est mixtura malitiae cum specie bonitatis,” Bengel.

ἀπέχουσι … α ὐ τε ͂ ν ] inasmuch as they have already attained what was the sole object of their liberality, popular applause, and therefore have nothing more to expect. ἀπέχειν , to have obtained, to have fully received . See on Philippians 4:18 .

Verse 3

Matthew 6:3 . Σοῦ δέ ] in emphatic contrast to hypocrites.

μὴ γνώτω ἡ ἀριστερά σου , κ . τ . λ .] The right hand gives , let not the left hand know it. Proverbial way of expressing entire freedom from the claiming anything like self-laudation. For sayings of a similar kind among the Fathers, see Suicer, Thes . I. p. 508. De Wette, following Paulus, thinks that what is referred to is the counting of the money into the left hand before it is given away with the right. This is out of place, for the warning is directed, not against a narrow calculating, but against an ostentatious almsgiving. For the same reason we must object to the view of Luther, who says: “When you are giving alms with the right hand, see that you are not seeking to receive more with the left, but rather put it behind your back,” and so on.

Verse 4

Matthew 6:4 . Ὁ βλέπων ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ ] who sees, i.e. knows what goes on in secret , where He is equally present. Grotius and Kuinoel arbitrarily take the words to be equivalent to τὰ ἐν τῷ κρ .

αὐτὸς ἀποδώσει σοι ] He Himself will reward you , that is, at the Messianic judgment ( i.e. ἐν τῷ φανερῷ , 2 Corinthians 5:10 ); αὐτός forms a contrast to the human rewards, which the hypocrites, with their ostentatious ways of acting, managed to secure in the shape of applause from their fellow-men, Matthew 6:2 .

Verse 5

Matthew 6:5 . Οὐκ ἔσεσθε ] See the critical remarks. The future, as in Matthew 5:48 .

ὅτι ] as in Matthew 5:45 .

φιλοῦσιν ] they have pleasure in it , they love to do it, a usage frequently met with in classical writers (Ellendt, Lex. Soph . II. p. 910 f.), though in the New Testament occurring only here and in Matthew 23:6 f.

ἑστῶτες ] The Jew stood , while praying, with the face turned toward the temple or the holy of holies, 1 Samuel 1:26 ; 1 Kings 8:22 ; Mark 11:25 ; Luke 18:11 ; Lightfoot, p. 292 f.; at other times, however, also in a kneeling posture, or prostrate on the ground. Therefore the notion of fixi, immobiles (Maldonatus), is not implied in the simple ἑστῶτ ., which, however, forms a feature in the picture ; they love to stand there and pray .

ἐν ταῖς γονίαις τ . πλ .] not merely when they happen to be surprised, or intentionally allow themselves to be surprised (de Wette), by the hour for prayer, but also at other times besides the regular hours of devotion, turning the most sacred duty of man into an occasion for hypocritical ostentation.

Verse 6

Matthew 6:6 . Ταμεῖον ] any room in the interior of the house , as opposed to the synagogues and the streets. We are therefore not to think exclusively of the closet in the strict sense of the word, which was called ὑπερῷον ; see note on Acts 1:13 . For the expression, comp. Isaiah 24:20 ; for ταμεῖον , conclave , see Xen. Hell . v. 4. 5; Matthew 24:26 ; Sir 29:12 ; Tob 7:17 .

ἀποδώσει σοι ] for thy undemonstrative piety. It is not public prayer in itself that Jesus condemns, but praying in an ostentatious manner; rather than this , He would have us betake ourselves to a lonely room. Theophylact: ὁ τόπος οὐ βλάπτει , ἀ̓ λλʼ ὁ τρόπος καὶ ὁ σκόπος .

Verse 7

Matthew 6:7 . Δέ ] indicating a transition to the consideration of another abuse of prayer.

βαττολογεῖν ] (Simplic. ad Epict . p. 340) is not to be derived, with Suidas, Eustathius, Erasmus, from some one of the name of Battus (passages in Wetstein), who, according to Herod. v. 155, was in the habit of stammering, but, as already Hesychius correctly perceived ( κατὰ μίμησιν τῆς φωνῆς ), is to be regarded as a case of onomatopoeia (comp. Βάτταλος as a nickname of Demosthenes, βατταρίζω , βατταρισμός , βατταριστής ), and means, properly speaking, to stammer , then to prate, to babble , the same thing that is subsequently called πολυλογία . B א have the form βατταλογ .; see Tisch. 8.

οἱ ἐθνικοί ] Whose prayers, so wordy and full of repetitions (hence, fatigare Deos), were well known. Terent. Heautont. v. i. 6 ff. In Rabbinical writers are found recommendations sometimes of long, sometimes of short, prayers (Wetstein). For an example of a Battological Jewish prayer, see Schoettgen, p. 58 f., comp. Matthew 23:15 ; and for disapproval of long prayers, see Ecclesiastes 5:1 , Sir 7:14 .

ἐν τῇ πολυλογίᾳ αὐτῶν ] in consequence of their much speaking; they imagine that this is the cause of their being heard. As to the thing, consider the words of Augustine: “Absit ab oratione multa locutio, sed non desit multa precatio, si fervens perseveret intentio;” the former, he adds, is “rem necessariam superfluis agere verbis,” but the multum precari is: “ad eum, quem precamur, diuturna et pia cordis excitatione pulsare” (Ep. 130. 20, ad probam).

Verse 8

Matthew 6:8 . Οὖν ] seeing that you are expected to shun heathen error.

οἶδε γὰρ , κ . τ . λ .] so that, this being the case, that βαττολογεῖν is superfluous.

Verse 9

Matthew 6:9 . “Having now rebuked and condemned such false and meaningless prayer, Christ goes on to prescribe a short, neat form of His own to show us how we are to pray, and what we are to pray for,” Luther.

The emphasis is, in the first place, on οὕτως , and then on ὑμεῖς , the latter in contrast to the heathen, the former to the βαττολογεῖν ; while οὖν is equivalent to saying, “inasmuch as ye ought not to be like the heathen when they pray.” Therefore, judging from the context, Christ intends οὕτως to point to the prayer which follows as an example of one that is free from vain repetitions , as an example of what a prayer ought to be in respect of its form and contents if the fault in question is to be entirely avoided , not as a direct prescribed pattern (comp. Tholuck), excluding other ways of expressing ourselves in prayer. The interpretation, “ in hunc sensum ” (Grotius), is at variance with the context; but that of Fritzsche (in some brief way such as this) is not “very meaningless” (de Wette), but correct , meaning as he does, not brevity in itself, but in its relation to the contents (for comprehensive brevity is the opposite of the vain repetitions).

On the Lord’s Prayer, which now follows, see Kamphausen, d. Gebet d. Herrn , 1866; J. Hanne, in d. Jahrb. f. D. Th . 1866, p. 507 ff.; and in Schenkel’s Bibellex . II. p. 346 ff. According to Luke 11:1 , the same prayer, though in a somewhat shorter form, was given on a different occasion. In regard to this difference of position, it may be noted: (1) That the prayer cannot have been given on both occasions, and so given twice (as I formerly believed); for if Jesus has taught His disciples the use of it as early as the time of the Sermon on the Mount, it follows that their request in Luke 11:1 is unhistorical; but if, on the contrary, the latter is historical, then it is impossible that the Lord’s Prayer can have been known in the circle of the disciples from the date of the Sermon on the Mount. (2) That the characteristic brevity of Luke’s version, as compared with the fulness of that of Matthew, tells in favour of Luke’s originality; but, besides this, there is the fact that the historical basis on which Luke’s version is founded leaves no room whatever to suspect that legendary influences have been at work in its formation, while it is perfectly conceivable that the author of our version of Matthew, when he came to that part of the Sermon on the Mount where warnings are directed against meaningless repetitions in prayer, took occasion also to put this existing model prayer into our Lord’s mouth. Schleiermacher, Baumgarten-Crusius, Sieffert, Olshausen, Neander, de Wette, Ewald, Bleek, Holtzmann, Weiss, Weizsäcker, Schenkel, Hanne, Kamphausen, also rightly declare themselves against the position of the prayer in Matthew as unhistorical. The material superiority of Matthew’s version (see especially Keim) remains unaffected by this verdict. On the Marcionitic form, especially in the first petition, and on the priority of the same as maintained by Hilgenfeld, Zeller, Volkmar, see the critical notes on Luke 11:2-4 .

πάτερ ἡμῶν ] This form of address, which rarely occurs in the O. T. (Isaiah 63:16 ; Deuteronomy 32:6 : in the Apocrypha, in Wis 2:16 ; Wis 14:3 ; Sir 23:1 ; Sir 51:10 ; Tob 13:4 ; 3Ma 6:3 ), but which is constantly employed in the N. T. in accordance with the example of Jesus, who exalted it even into the name for God (Mark 14:36 ; Weisse, Evangelienfr . p. 200 ff.), brings the petitioner at once into an attitude of perfect confidence in the divine love; “God seeks to entice us with it,” and so on, Luther. [419] But the consciousness of our standing as children in the full and specially Christian sense (comp. on Matthew 5:9 ), it was not possible perfectly to express in this address till a later time , seeing that the relation in question was only to be re-established by the atoning death.

ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ] distinguishes Him who is adored in the character of Father as the true God, but the symbolical explanations that have been given are of an arbitrary character (Kuinoel, “Deus optime maxime, benignissime et potentissime;” de Wette, “the elevation of God above the world;” Baumgarten-Crusius, “God who exists for all men;” Hanne, “Father of all”). Surely such a line of interpretation ought to have been precluded by ver.10, as well as by the doctrine which teaches that Christ has come from heaven from the Father, that He has returned to heaven to the right hand of the Father, and that He will return again in majesty from heaven. The only true God, though everywhere present (2 Chronicles 2:6 ), nevertheless has his special abode in heaven; heaven is specially the place where He dwells in majesty, and where the throne of His glory is set (Isaiah 66:1 ; Psalms 2:4 ; Psalms 102:19 ; Psalms 115:3 ; Job 22:12 ff.; Acts 7:55-56 ; 1 Timothy 6:16 ), from which, too, the Spirit of God (Matthew 3:16 ; Acts 2:0 ), the voice of God (Matthew 3:17 ; John 12:28 ), and the angels of God (John 1:51 ) come down. Upon the idea of God’s dwelling-place is based that very common Jewish invocation אבינו שבשמים (Lightfoot, p. 229), just as it may be affirmed in a general way that (comp. the ΘΕΟῚ ΟὐΡΑΝΊΩΝΕς of Homer) “ ΠΆΝΤΕς ΤῸΝ ἈΝΩΤΆΤΩ Τῷ ΘΕΊῼ ΤΌΠΟΝ ἈΠΟΔΙΔΌΑΣΙ ,” Aristot. de Coelo, i. 3. Comp. generally, Ch. F. Fritzsche, nov. Opusc . p. 218 ff. Augustine, Ep . 187. 16, correctly thinks there may be an allusion to the heavenly temple, “ubi est populus angelorum, quibus aggregandi et coaequandi sumus, cum finita peregrinatione quod promissum est sumserimus.” On heaven as a plural (in answer to Kamphausen), comp. note on 2 Corinthians 12:2 ; Ephesians 4:10 .

ἁγιασθήτω ] Chrysost., Euth. Zigabenus, δοξασθήτω ; more precisely, let it be kept sacred (Exodus 20:8 ; Isaiah 29:23 ). God’s name is, no doubt, “holy in itself” (Luther), objectively and absolutely so; but this holiness must be asserted and displayed in the whole being and character of believers (“ut non existiment aliquid sanctum, quod magis offendere timeant,” Augustine), inwardly and outwardly, so that disposition, word, and deed are regulated by the acknowledged perfection of God, and brought into harmony with it. Exactly as in the case of נִקְדַּשׁ , Leviticus 10:3 ; Leviticus 22:2 ; Leviticus 22:32 ; Ezekiel 28:22 ; Ezekiel 38:23 ; Numbers 20:13 ; Sir 33:4 ; 1 Peter 3:15 .

τὸ ὄνομά σου ] Everything which, in its distinctive conception, Thy name embraces and expresses, numen tuum , Thy entire perfection, as the object revealed to the believer for his apprehension, confession, and worship. So שֵׁם יְהֹוָה , Psalms 5:12 ; Psalms 9:11 ; Isaiah 29:23 ; Ezekiel 36:23 ; and frequently also in the Apocrypha. Everything impure, repugnant to the nature of God, is a profanation, a ΒΕΒΗΛΟῦΝ ΤῸ ὌΝΟΜΑ ΤῸ ἍΓΙΟΝ (Leviticus 18:21 ).

Observe once more that the three imperatives in Matthew 6:9-10 are not meant to express the idea of a resolution and a vow (Hanne, comp. Weizsäcker), which is opposed to ΠΡΟΣΕΎΧΕΣΘΕ , but they are ΑἸΤΉΜΑΤΑ (Philippians 4:6 ), supplications and desires , as in Matthew 26:39 ; Matthew 26:42 .

[419] In his translation, Luther renders it here and in Luke 11:2 by unser Vater; in the Catechism and manuals of prayer and baptism, Vater unser , after the Latin Pater noster . See Rienecker in d. Stud. u. Krit . 1837, p. 328 f. Kamphausen, p. 30 f.

Verse 10

Matthew 6:10 . [420] Ἐλθέτω , κ . τ . λ .] Let the kingdom of the Messiah appear . This was likewise a leading point in the prayers of the Jews, especially in the Kaddisch , which had been in regular use since the captivity, and which contained the words, Regnet tuum regnum; redemptio mox veniat . Hence the canon, כל ברכה שאין בה מלכוח אינה ברכה . Bab. Berac . f. 40. 2. Here, likewise, the kingdom of God is no other than the kingdom of the Messiah , the advent of which was the supreme object of pious longing (Luke 2:25 ; Luke 17:20 ; Mark 15:43 ; Luke 22:18 ; Luke 23:51 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ). This view of the kingdom and its coming, as the winding up of the world’s history , a view which was also shared by the principal Fathers (Tertullian, Chrysostom, Augustine, Euth. Zigabenus), is the only one which corresponds with the historical conception of the βασιλεία τ . θεοῦ throughout the whole of the N. T.; comp. on Matthew 3:2 , the kingdom comes with the Messiah who comes to establish it; Mark 11:9-10 ; Luke 23:42 . The ethical development (Matthew 13:31 ff., Matthew 24:14 ; comp. on Matthew 3:2 , Matthew 5:3 ff., Matthew 5:48 ; also on Acts 3:21 ), which necessarily precedes the advent of the kingdom (Luke 19:11 ) and prepares the way for it, and with which the diffusion of Christianity is bound up, Matthew 28:19 (Grotius, Kuinoel), forms the essential condition of that advent, and through ἘΛΘΈΤΩ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , is thus far indirectly (as the means toward the wished-for end) included in the petition, though not expressly mentioned in so many words, so that we are not called upon either to substitute for the concrete conception of the future kingdom (Luke 22:18 ) one of an ethical, of a more or less rationalistic character (Jerome, Origen, Wetstein: of the moral sway of Christianity; Baumgarten-Crusius: the development of the cause of God among men), or immediately to associate them together. This in answer also to Luther (“God’s kingdom comes first of all in time and here below through God’s word and faith, and then hereafter in eternity through the revelation of Christ”), Melanchthon, Calvin, de Wette, Tholuck, “the kingdom of God typified in Israel, coming in its reality in Christ, and ever more and more perfected by Him as time goes on;” comp. Bleek.

ΓΕΝΗΘΉΤΩ , Κ . Τ . Λ . ] May Thy will (Matthew 7:21 ; 1 Thessalonians 4:3 ) be done, as by the angels (Psalms 103:21 ), so also by men . This is the practical moral necessity in the life of believers, which, with its ideal requirements, is to determine and regulate that life until the fulfilment of the second petition shall have been accomplished. “Thus it is that the third petition, descending into the depths of man’s present condition and circumstances, damps the glow of the second,” Ewald. “Coelum norma est terrae, in qua aliter alia fiunt omnia,” Bengel. Accordingly the will of God here meant is not necessarily the voluntas decernens (Beza), but praecipiens , which is fulfilled by the good angels of heaven. This petition, which is omitted in Luke, is not to be taken merely as an explanation (Kamphausen) of the one which precedes it, nor as tautological (Hanne), but as exhibiting to the petitioner for the kingdom the full extent of moral requirement , without complying with which it is impossible to be admitted into the kingdom when it actually comes. As, according to Matthew 6:33 , the Christian is called upon to strive after the kingdom and the righteousness of God; so here, after the petition for the coming of the kingdom , it is asked that righteousness , which is the thing that God wills , may be realized upon the earth.

[420] On the inverted order of the second and third petition in Tertullian, see Nitzsch in the Stud. u. Krit . 1830, p. 846 ff. This transposition appeared more logical and more historical.

Verse 11

Matthew 6:11 . Τὸν ἄρτον ] same as לֶחֶם , victus; Genesis 18:5 ; Pro 30:8 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:12 ; Sir 10:26 ; Wis 16:20 .

τὸν ἐπιούσιον ] occurring nowhere else in the Greek language but here and in Luke 11:3 . See Origen, de Orat. § Matthew 27 : ἔοικε πεπλᾶσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν εὐαγγελιστῶν . It is possible that it may be derived from οὐσία , and accordingly the phrase has been supposed to mean: the food necessary for subsistence, לֶחֶם חֻקִּי , Proverbs 30:8 . So Syr., Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Etym. M.; Beza, Maldonatus, Kuinoel, Tholuck, Ewald (de Wette undecided), Arnoldi, Bleek, Weizsäcker, Keim, Hanne, and probably this explanation has also given rise to the rendering “daily bread” (It., Chrysostom, Luther), ἐφήμερος , James 2:15 ; comp. Victorinus, c. Ar. ii. p. 273, Augustine. But οὐσία does not mean subsistence ( σύστασις ), but (Ast, Lex. Plat. II. p. 491 f.) essence, as also reality, and, finally, possessions, res familiaris, in which sense also it is to be taken in Soph. Trach. 907 (911), where the words τὰς ἄπαιδας οὐσίας denote a home without children. In deriving the expression, therefore, from οὐσία , the idea of necessary food [421] must be brought out in a very indirect way (as Gregory of Nyssa: that which is requisite or sufficient for the support of the body; comp. Chrysostom, Tholuck, Hitzig). Again, if the word were to be derived from ΟὐΣΊΑ ( ΕἾΝΑΙ ), it would have to be spelt, not ἘΠΙΟΎΣΙΟς , but ἘΠΟΎΣΙΟς , in a way analogous to the forms ἘΠΟΥΣΊΑ , overplus , ἐπουσιώδης , non-essential , which come from εἶναι . Forms in which there is either a different preposition (such as ΠΕΡΙΟΎΣΙΟς ), or in which the derivation has no connection with ΕἾΝΑΙ (as ἘΠΙΟΡΚΕῖΝ ), have been brought forward without any reason with a view to support the above ordinary explanation. After all this we must, for reasons derived from grammatical considerations (in answer to Leo Meyer, Weizsäcker, Kamphausen, Keim), prefer the other possible derivation from ἘΠΙΟῦΣΑ (therefore from ἘΠΙΈΝΑΙ ), dies crastinus (Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 464; Proverbs 27:1 ), which is already expressly given by Ambrose, lib . v. de sacram . 4. 24, and according to which we should have to interpret the words as meaning to-morrow’s bread . [422] So Ar., Aeth., Copt., Sahid., Erasmus, Annot ., Scaliger, Salmasius, Grotius, Wolf, Bengel, Wetstein, Valckenaer, Schol . I. p. 190, and V; also Winer, p. 92 [E. T. 120], Fritzsche, Käuffer, Schegg, Döllinger, Hilgenfeld, Holtzmann, Schenkel, Wittichen. This explanation, furnished historically by the Gospel according to the Hebrews, where Jerome found מחר , is recommended in the context by the σήμερον , which, besides, has no correlative, nor is it incompatible with Matthew 6:34 , where the taking no thought for to-morrow does not exclude, but rather presupposes (1 Peter 5:7 ), the asking for to-morrow’s bread, while, moreover, this request is quite justified as a matter of prayer , considering how certain is the uncertainty of life’s duration. The granting to-day of to-morrow’s bread is, accordingly, the narrow limit which Christ here assigns to prayers for earthly objects, a limit not open to the charge of want of modesty (Keim), inasmuch as it is fixed only at de die in diem . Of late, Olshausen and Delitzsch (“the bread necessary for man’s spiritual and physical life”) have again adopted, at least along with the other view, the erroneous explanation, exegetically inconsistent with σήμερον , but originating in a supposed perverse asceticism, and favoured by the tendency to mystical interpretation generally, no less than by the early (Irenaeus, Haer . iv. 18) reference to the Lord’s Supper in particular, the explanation, namely, that what is here meant is supernatural , [423] heavenly food (John 6:0 ), as, indeed, many Fathers (Cyprian and Jerome) and older expositors understood both kinds of bread to be included

[421] To this amounts also the view of Leo Meyer in Kuhn’s Zeitschr. f. vergleich. Sprachforsch . VII. 6, p. 401 ff., who, however, regards the word as expressing adjectively the idea of the aim involved in the ἐπί : “ what ἐπί is .” In this Kamphausen substantially concurs. The word is said to be derived from ἐπεῖναι : “ belonging to ,” in which the idea of being “ sufficient ” or necessary is understood to be implied. But in that case we should also have expected to find ἐπούσιος , and besides, ἐπεῖναι certainly does not mean to belong to , but to be by , also to be standing over, to impend , and so on. This explanation of ἐπιούσιος is an erroneous etymological conjecture. Bengel very properly observes: “ ἐπί non semper quidem in compositione ante vocalem amittit, sed amittit tamen in ἔπεστιν .” [See Lightfoot, A Fresh Revision of the English New Testament , Appendix on the words ἐπιούσιος , περιούσιος . ED.]

[422] Not what is necessary for the next meal (Rettig in the Stud. u. Krit . 1838, p. 238). Baumgarten-Crusius, correctly, “to-day, what we need for to-morrow .” On σήμερον was founded the very ancient ( Constitutt. apost . vii. 24. 1 f., Tertullian, Cyprian) daily use of the Lord’s Prayer.

[423] The expression was derived partly from ἐπιών (as Ambrose) the bread of the World to come (so again Weisse, Evangelienfr . p. 201); partly from οὐσία , in which case it was interpreted to mean: the bread requisite for the life of the soul ; or, as though it were ὑπερούσιος : panis supersubstantialis ; as in the Vulg. and Jerome (“ super omnes substantias ”). Melanchthon fully and pointedly expresses his opposition to the view of heavenly bread, when he says: “Its advocates are deficient in eruditio et spirituale judicium .” However, it is likewise found in Erasmus’ Paraphr.; but Calvin pronounces: “ prorsus absurdum est .”

Verse 12

Matthew 6:12 . Ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς , κ . τ . λ .] does not indicate the extent (Chrysostom, Baumgarten-Crusius) to which forgiveness is asked from God, which is not in harmony with the tone of the prayer; rather is ὡς the as which assigns the reason as well as makes the comparison , doubtless not as being directly equivalent to nam (Fritzsche), but it expresses the existence of a frame of mind on the part of the petitioner corresponding to the divine forgiveness: as then , we also, and so on. See on John 13:34 ; Schaeffer, ad Dem . V. p. 108; Hartung, Partikell . I. p. 460; Klotz, ad Devar . p. 766; comp. Luke 11:4 . Yet not as though human forgiveness can be supposed to merit the divine pardon, but the former is the necessary moral “ requisitum subjecti ” (Calovius) in him who seeks forgiveness from God. Comp. Matthew 18:21 ff.; Apol. Conf. A. p. 115 f.; Cat. maj . p. 528; Kamphausen, p. 113.

ἀφήκαμεν ] see the critical remarks. Jesus justly presupposes that the believer who asks from God the remission of his own debts has already forgiven ( Sir 28:2 ; Mark 11:25 ) those who are indebted to him that, according to Luke, he does it at the same time .

Verse 13

Matthew 6:13 . After the petition for forgiveness of sin, comes now the request to be preserved from new sin, negatively and positively, so that both elements constitute but one petition. Luke makes no mention whatever of the ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι , etc.

μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς , κ . τ . λ .] Neither the idea of mere permission ( μὴ παραχωρήσῃς εἰσενεχθῆναι , Euth. Zigabenus, Tertullian, Melanchthon), nor the emphatic meanings which have been given, first to the εἰσενέγκῃς ( μὴ καταποθῆναι ὑπὸ τοῦ πειρασμοῦ , Theophylact), then to the πειρασμός (Jerome, in Ezekiel 48 : “in tentationem, quam ferre non possumus ”), and lastly, to the εἰς (Grotius: “ penitus introducere, ut ei succumbas”), are in keeping with the simple terms employed; such interpretations are rationalistic in their character, as is also, once more, the case with Kamphausen’s limitation to temptations with an evil result. God leads into temptation in so far as, in the course of His administration, He brings about a state of things that may lead to temptation, i.e. the situations and circumstances that furnish an occasion for sinning ; and therefore, if a man happens to encounter such dangers to his soul, it is caused by God it is He who does it (1 Corinthians 10:13 ). In this way is solved, at the same time, the apparent contradiction with James 1:13 , where it is a question of subjective inward temptation, the active principle of which is, not God, but the man’s own lusts. [424] In these latter are also to be found, in the case of the believer, and that in consequence of his σάρξ (Matthew 26:41 ; Galatians 5:17 ), the great moral danger which renders this prayer a matter of necessity.

ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ ] Romans 15:31 ; 1Th 1:10 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:2 ; 2 Timothy 4:18 . But ΤΟῦ ΠΟΝΗΡΟῦ may be neuter (Augustine, Luther, see, however, Catech. maj . p. 532 f.,

Tholuck, Ewald, Lange, Bleek, Kamphausen) as well as masculine (Tertullian, Origen, Chrysostom, Theophylact, Erasmus, Beza, Maldonatus, Kuinoel, Fritzsche, Olshausen, Ebrard, Keim, Hilgenfeld, Hanne). In the former case, it would not mean “ evil ” in general (“omne id, quod felicitati nostrae adversum est,” Olearius), but, according to the New Testament use of πονηρός , as well as the context, moral wickedness , Romans 12:9 . However, it is more in keeping with the concrete graphic manner of view of the New Testament (Matthew 5:37 , Matthew 13:19 ; John 17:15 ; 1 John 2:13 ; 1Jn 3:8 ; 1 John 3:12 ; Romans 16:20 ; Ephesians 6:16 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ), to prefer the masculine as meaning the devil ( κατʼ ἐξοχὴν δὲ οὕτως ἐκεῖνος καλεῖται , Chrysostom), whose seductive influence, even over believers, is presupposed in the seventh petition, which also supplicates divine deliverance from this danger , by which they know themselves to be threatened ( ἀπό : away, from ; not ἐκ , as in Romans 7:24 ; 2 Corinthians 1:10 ; Colossians 1:13 ; 2 Timothy 3:11 ; 2 Timothy 4:17 ; 2 Peter 2:9 ). Hofmann, Schriftbeweis , I. p. 447; Krummacher in the Stud . u. Krit . 1860, p. 122 ff. For an opposite view of a by no means convincing kind, see Kamphausen, p. 136 ff.

[424] Comp. Köster, bibl. Lehre v. d. Versuch , p. 19 f.


The Lord’s Prayer , as it stands in Matthew, is an example of a prayer rich and true in respect of its contents, and expressed in language at once brief and comprehensive; see on Matthew 6:9 . It is only in an indirect way that it presents itself in the light of a summary of the principal matters for which one is to pray (Nösselt, Exercitatt. sacr . p. 2 ff., Kuinoel, de Wette), inasmuch as Jesus, as matter of course, selected and connected with each other such leading requests as were appropriate to the solemn period when the establishment of His kingdom was at hand, that, by setting before us a prayer of so comprehensive a character, He might render the model thus supplied all the more instructive. Tertullian, indeed, correctly describes the contents of it as breviarium totius evangelii . According to Möller ( neue Ansichten , p. 34 ff.) and Augusti ( Denkwürdigk . IV. p. 132), the prayer before us is made up merely of the opening words of well-known Jewish prayers , which Jesus is supposed to have selected from the mass of Jewish forms of devotion as being eminently adapted for the use of His disciples. Wetstein already was of opinion that it was “ ex formulis Hebraeorum concinnata .” But between the whole of the parallels (Light-foot, Schoettgen, Wetstein), not even excepting those taken from the synagogal prayer Kaddisch , there is only a partial correspondence, especially in the case of the first and second petitions; but lively echoes of familiar prayers would so naturally suggest themselves to our Lord, and any reason for rejecting them was so entirely wanting, that the absence of such popularly consecrated echoes, extending to the very words, would even have been matter for surprise.

Augustine divides the contents into seven petitions; and in this he is followed by the Lutheran practice, as also by Tholuck, Bleek, Hilgenfeld. On the other hand, Origen and Chrysostom correctly make six, in which they are followed by the practice of the Reformed church in the catechisms of Geneva and of the Palatinate, as also by Calvin, Keim. As to the division of the prayer in respect of form , it is sufficient to observe, with Bengel: “Petita sunt septem, quae universa dividuntur in duas partes. Prior continet tria priora, Patrem spectantia: tuum, tuum, tua ; posterior quatuor reliqua, nos spectantia”. According to Calvin, the fourth petition is the beginning of “quasi secunda tabula ” of the prayer. In regard to the matter , the twofold division into coelestia and terrena , which has been in vogue since Tertullian’s time, is substantially correct; and in the more detailed representation of which there follows after the upward flight towards what is of highest and holiest interest for believers, and the specific nature of which, with the aim for which it longs, and its moral condition, floats before the praying spirit a humble frame of spirit, produced by the consciousness of man’s need of God’s favour, first in the temporal and then in the moral sphere, in which the realization of that with which the prayer begins can be brought about only through forgiveness, divine guidance, and deliverance from the power of the devil. The division into vows and petitions (Hanne) is inaccurate; see on Matthew 6:9 .

Verse 14

Matthew 6:14 f. Γάρ ] points back to Matthew 6:12 , the subject of which is now further discussed.

ἀφήσει ] like the preceding ἀφῆτε , placed first to render it emphatic. For the thought, the fundamental basis of which was stated in Matthew 6:14 ff., comp. Sir 28:2 ff.

Verse 16

Matthew 6:16 . Δέ ] indicating a transition from the subject of prayer to another kindred subject.

νηστεύητε ] here with reference to private fasting , which depended on the inclination of the individual (Ewald, Alterth . p. 110), though regularly observed by the Pharisees on Thursday (when Moses is supposed to have ascended Mount Sinai) and on Monday (when he is believed to have come down again), but never on the Sabbath and festival days, except at the feast of Purim. Mourning attire was worn during the fasting. Isaiah 58:5 ; Isaiah 61:3 ; Joel 2:12 ; Zechariah 7:3 ; Dan 10:3 ; 2 Samuel 12:20 ; 2 Samuel 13:19 ; 1Ma 3:47 .

σκυθρωποί ] common in the classics; “plerumque in vitio ponitur et notat hominem non solum tristem et tetricum vultum habentem, sed fingentem vel augentem,” Bremi, ad Aeschin. adv. Ctesiph . p. 290 f.

ἀφανίζουσι ] is a play upon the word in allusion to φανῶσι . They conceal their countenances with a view to their “ being seen of ,” and so on. This is intended to indicate how, partly by sprinkling themselves with ashes, and by the dirt on the unwashed face and beard, and partly by actual veiling of themselves (2 Samuel 15:30 ; Esther 6:12 ), they contrive to prevent it being seen what their countenance is really like. It should be observed, however, that ἀφανίζειν does not mean to disfigure , but, even in passages like the one quoted from Stob. Serm . 74, 62, with reference to a painted woman, it denotes to make invisible, e conspectu submovere . The Vulgate correctly renders by exterminant, i.e. e conspectu removent . Beck, Anecd . p. 468, 25 : ὅλως τὸ ἀνελεῖν καὶ ἀφανὲς ποιῆσαι , ὅπερ ἐκάλουν ἀϊστῶσαι . Hence in Greek writers it is often associated with κρύπτειν .

Verse 17

Matthew 6:17 . Dress thyself as if to go to a festive entertainment. Psalms 23:5 ; Luke 7:46 ; Suicer, Thes . I. p. 185; Wetstein. Of course Jesus does not intend the anointing, and so on, to be taken literally; but under this form of requirement He expresses the sincerity which He desires in connection with the of itself voluntary practice of fasting. Comp. Chrysostom. The form is one that is suited to an attitude of radical opposition to Jewish formalism. Luther: “If thou so fastest between thyself and thy Father alone, thou hast rightly fasted in that it pleases Him; yet not as if one must not go on a fast-day with few clothes, or unwashed, but the additional ceremony is rejected, because it is observed for the sake of applause, and to hoodwink people with such singular demeanour.”

Verse 18

Matthew 6:18 . Τῷ ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ ] sc . ὄντι , i.e. who is present where we are hidden from human eye . He who fasts is ἐν τῷ κρυφαίῳ everywhere, when he is present as anointed and washed, for in this state of his person no one will be able to recognise him as fasting . In accordance with this, we are bound to reject the explanation of Fritzsche, who supplies νηστεύειν (“ eo quod clam inediam in te suscipias ”), which, however, is far-fetched, and introduces a superfluous meaning, besides being inconsistent with Matthew 6:6 .

ἀποδώσι σοι ] not the fasting by itself, but the sincerely penitent and humble frame of mind, which seeks to express itself in that devout fasting which is free from everything like pretence and ostentation; there is therefore no satisfactory reason for expunging Matthew 6:16-18 (as also Matthew 6:1-6 ) from the Sermon on the Mount (Wittichen, Idee des Menschen , p. 100).

Verse 19

Matthew 6:19 . Θησαυρούς ] Treasures . To understand particular kinds of them, either stores of corn , or costly raiment , or gold and silver , is a mistake, for the special treasure meant would also require to have been specially indicated.

βρῶσις ] eating, corroding in general. Any further defining of the matter, whether with the Vulgate and Luther we understand rust (James 5:2-3 ) or weevils (Clericus, Kuinoel, Baumgarten-Crusius) to be meant, is arbitrary, as is also the assumption of a ἓν διὰ δυοῖν for σὴς βρώσκουσα (Casaubon in Wolf).

ἀφανίζει ] causes to disappear, annihilates . Comp. note on Matthew 6:16 . On ὅπου ( upon earth ) Bengel correctly observes: “Habet vim aetiologiae.” The thieves dig through (the wall, comp. Dem. 787. 13, 1268. 12; Job 24:16 ; Ezekiel 12:5 ) and steal.

Verses 19-34

Matthew 6:19-34 . Comp. Luke 12:33 f., Luke 11:34 ff., Luke 12:22 ff. The theme stated in Matthew 6:1 is still pursued, and, without any formal indication of a transition, a new and essential point in the discourse is here introduced, viz. care about earthly things , which is treated (1) as striving after wealth, Matthew 6:19-24 , and (2) as care for food and raiment, Matthew 6:25-34 . To give up the idea of a fixed plan from this point onwards (de Wette), and especially to regard Matthew 6:19-34 as an irrelevant interpolation (Neander, Bleek, Weiss), is quite unwarranted, for we must not lose sight of the fact that the discourse was intended not merely for the disciples, but for the people as well (Matthew 7:28 ). The unity of the Sermon on the Mount is not that of a sermon in our sense of the word; but the internal connection of the thought in Matthew 6:19 ff. with what goes before lies in the ἀποδώσει σοι just mentioned, and the object belonging to which is, in fact, the heavenly treasures.

Verse 20

Matthew 6:20 . Ἐν οὐρανῷ ] belongs to θησαυρίζετε . By what means is this done? By everything which the Lord has hitherto been insisting upon from Matthew 6:3 onwards as the condition on which those who believe in Him are to obtain eternal salvation, and which therefore constitutes the sum and substance of the δικαιοσύνη that comes through faith in Him. In this way, and not specially by almsgiving , Matthew 19:21 , which, according to Matthew 5:7 , Matthew 6:3 , is here only included along with other matters (in answer to Chrysostom), do men gather treasures (the Messianic felicity) for themselves, which are reserved for us with God in heaven until the establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom, in which their bestowal is then to take place. Comp. on Matthew 5:12 .

Verse 21

Matthew 6:21 . For (deep moral obligation to comply with that exhortation) if the treasure which you have gathered is upon earth, so will your heart, with its feelings, dispositions, and tendencies, be also upon the earth as in the congenial sphere of your inner life, will be ethically bound to the earth, and vice versa . From the treasure , which is the result of effort and the object of love, the heart also cannot be separated. In the ground of obligation just stated it is assumed that the believer’s heart must be in heaven (Philippians 3:20 ; Colossians 3:2 ff.; 2Co 4:17 ; 1 John 2:15 ff.).

Verses 22-23

Matthew 6:22-23 . Connection: In order to fulfil the duty mentioned in Matthew 6:19-20 , and warranted by what is said in Matthew 6:21 , you must not allow the light within you, i.e. the reason ( ὁ νοῦς , Chrysostom), which apprehends divine truth, to become obscured, i.e. it must be preserved in that state of normal action in which error and moral evil find no place. The obscuring of this faculty of thought and volition, by which the divine is perceived and morally assimilated, imparts a wrong tendency and complexion to the entire life of the individual man. Comp. Luther: “This is a warning not to allow ourselves to be taken in by fair colours and outward appearance, with which avarice may trick itself out and conceal the knave.” The supposition that Matthew 6:22 f. originally stood immediately behind Matthew 5:16 (Ewald, Jahrb . I. p. 129) is therefore without sufficient logical warrant, and Luke 11:33-36 may be a later digest of similar import. Observe, moreover, that nothing is said here about the capability of the natural reason, purely as such, to apprehend the divine by its own unaided efforts; for Jesus has in view those who are believers , whose νοῦς is already under the influence of the divine truth which He has revealed to them (Ephesians 1:18 ; Romans 12:2 ). However, the subjective meaning of ὀφθαλμός and φῶς must be preserved intact, nor is φῶς to be understood, with Hofmann, Schriftbew . II. 2, p. 320, as referring to the holy nature of God , which seeks to illuminate the hearts of men.

ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώματός ἐστιν ὁ ὀφθαλ . μός ] for without the eye the body is in darkness; the blind man is without light, which comes through the medium of the eye as though it were a lamp. The subject is not ὁ ὀφθαλμός (Luther, Bengel), but ὁ λύχνος τοῦ σώμ ., to which corresponds τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί , the subject in the application of the illustration.

ἁπλοῦς and πονηρός are mostly understood in the sense of: healthy (which many have defined more precisely as the opposite of double-sight), and damaged . But usage is in favour only of πονηρός being employed in this sense (see Kypke; comp. Plat. Hipp. min . p. 374 D: πονηρία ὀφθαλμῶν , also the German expression “ böse Augen ”), but not ἁπλοῦς , which means only integer in the moral sense of the word. Comp. Test. XII. patr . p. 624: ἁπλότης ὀφθαλμῶν , as meaning the opposite of the dishonest , hypocritical cast of the eye. Consequently the above meaning is contrary to usage, and both words must be understood in their moral signification, so that Jesus has selected the predicates in His illustration in view of the state of things to which the illustration refers, and in which the darkness of the νοῦς is the result of the evil will resisting divine truth (Romans 1:21 ). Therefore: if thine eye is honest, i.e. if it honestly does its duty, and: if it is good for nothing, i.e. if it maliciously refuses to perform its functions.

φωτεινόν ] is enlightened , so that it is clear round about him; through the light which is perceived by the eye, no one of his members is in darkness.

εἰ οὖν , κ . τ . λ .] Inference a minori ad majus .

τὸ φῶς τὸ ἐν σοί ] i.e. the νοῦς especially as practical reason (Vernunft). The figurative designation (Philo, de cond. mund . I. p. 12 : ὅπερ νοῦς ἐν ψυχῇ , τοῦτο ὀφθαλμὸς ἐν σώματι , comp. Plat. Rep . vii. p. 533 D: τὸ τῆς ψυχῆς ὄμμα , Soph. p. 254 A. Creuzer, ad Plot. de pulcr . p. 361) is suggested by, and is correlative to, ὁ λύχνος , etc., Matthew 6:22 . Comp. Euth. Zigabenus: ὁ νοῦς ὁ δωρηθεὶς εἰς τὸ φωτίζειν καὶ ὁδηγεῖν τὴν ψυχήν .

σκότος ] corresponds to πονηρός above, though denoting at the same time the effect of the evil condition.

τὸ σκότος πόσον ] s.c. ἐστί : how great then (since the worthlessness of the outward eye involves one in darkness) is the darkness , τὸ σκότος , in which thou liest! But τὸ σκότος , from being put first, is very emphatic. Luther (following the ordinary reading of the Vulg.: ipsae tenebrae ) and Calvin interpret incorrectly: how great will then be the darkness itself . Thine, in that case, is the condition in which there is no susceptibility for that divine truth which would enlighten and sanctify thee; and this darkness, how great is it!

Verse 24

Matthew 6:24 . But certainly do not suppose that ye can combine the eager pursuit of wealth with striving after the kingdom of God! no, aut, aut!

δυσί ] i.e. of course, two who are of opposite characters.

ἢ γὰρ … καταφρονήσει ] he will either hate A and love B, or if not, vice versâ , he will cleave to A and despise B. In the second clause ἑνός is without the article , because the idea is somewhat different from that in the first, namely: “or he will cleave to one (not both) and despise the other concerned.”

μισεῖν and ἀγαπᾶν , like שָׂנֵא and אָהַב , are used neither here nor anywhere else (Genesis 29:31 ; Malachi 1:2-3 ; Luke 14:26 ; Luke 16:13 ; John 12:25 ; Romans 9:13 ) “with a less forcible meaning” (de Wette, Tholuck, Bleek), so as to be equivalent to posthabere and praeferre. See, on the other hand, note on Romans 9:12 , also Fritzsche on this passage. The two masters are conceived of as being of such a nature that the one is loved, the other hated, and vice versâ, and that in a decided manner, without any intermediate attitude of indifference. Luther: although the world can do it skilfully; and as it is expressed in German, by “carrying the tree on both shoulders.” In the second alternative, then, the καταφρονεῖν corresponds to the μισεῖν as being the effect of the hatred, while to the ἀγαπᾶν corresponds the ἀντέχεσθαι as the effect of the love.

ἀνθέξεται ] he will hold to him, faithfully cleave to him. Plat. Rep. x. p. 600 D; Phil. p. 58 E; Ax. p. 369 E; Dem. 290. 9; 1Ma 15:34 ; Titus 1:9 .

μαμωνᾶς ] Chaldee מָמוֹנָא , Syr. ܡܡܘܢܐ , consequently it should be spelt with only one μ , and derived, not from אמן , but from טמן , so that its origin is to be traced to מַטְמוֹן , thesaurus (Genesis 43:23 ). Gesenius, Thes. I. p. 552. It means riches, and, according to Augustine, is, in the Punic language, equivalent to lucrum. In this instance it is personified owing to its connection with δουλεύειν , and from its antithesis to θεῷ : wealth conceived of as an idol (Plutus). Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. p. 1217 f.

Moreover, the idea implied in the δουλεύειν prevents the possible abuse of the saying. Luther says well: To have money and property is not sinful; but what is meant is, that thou shouldst not allow them to be thy master, rather that thou shouldst make them serve thee, and that thou shouldest be their master. Comp. Chrysostom, who quotes the examples of Abraham and Job. According to the axiom in the text, Christ justly (see on Luke 16:9 , the note) requires unfaithfulness in regard to mammon.

Verse 25

Matthew 6:25 . Διὰ τοῦτο ] because this double service is impossible.

οὐχὶ ἡ ψυχὴ , κ . τ . λ .] Chrysostom: ὁ τοίνυν τὸ μεῖζον (life and body) δοὺς πῶς τὸ ἔλαττον (food and clothing) οὐ δώσει ;

The care has been unwarrantably limited to anxious care, a meaning which is no less unjustifiable in Sir 34:1 ; the context would be expected to furnish such a limitation if it were intended. Jesus does not only forbid believers the πολλὰ μεριμνᾶν (Xen. Cyr . viii. 7. 12), or the ἀλγεινὰς μεριμνάς (Soph. Ant . 850), the μεριμνήματʼ ἔχειν βάρη (Soph. Phil. 187), or such like, but His desire is that simply giving themselves to the undivided ( curae animum divorse trahunt , Terence) service of God, Matthew 6:24 , and trusting to Him with true singleness of heart they should be superior to all care whatsoever as to food, drink, etc. (Philippians 4:6 ); nevertheless, to create for themselves such cares would amount to little faith , Matthew 6:30 ff., or a half -hearted faith as compared with their duty of entire resignation to that God whose part it is to provide for them. It is only by absolute and perfect faith that the moral height of αὐτάρκεια (Philippians 4:11 ff.), and of exemption from earthly care, is to be attained. Comp. A. H. Franke’s example in founding the orphanage.

τῇ ψυχῇ ] Dative of immediate reference: in regard to the soul (as the principle of physical life, Matthew 10:39 , Matthew 16:25 , Matthew 2:20 ), in so far as it is sustained by means of food and drink. In the case of μεριμνᾶν the object ( τί φάγητε ) is in the accusative (1 Corinthians 7:32-34 ; 1 Corinthians 12:25 ; Philippians 2:20 ; Philippians 4:6 ).

Verse 26

Matthew 6:26 . Τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ ] עוֹף הַשָׁמַיַם , the birds that fly in the air, in this wide, free height, are entirely resigned! Genitive of locality, as in Matthew 6:28 . This is manifest (in answer to Fritzsche: towards the heavens) from the juxtaposition of the words in Genesis 1:25 ; Genesis 2:19 ; Psalms 8:9 ; Psalms 104:12 ; comp. Hom. Il. 17. p. 675: ὑπουρανίων πετεηνῶν . On the saying itself, comp. Kiddushin, s. fin.: “Vidistine unquam bruta aut volatilia, quibus esset aliqua officina? et tamen illa nutriuntur absque anxietate.”

ὅτι ] equivalent to εἰς ἐκεῖνο ὅτι , John 2:18 ; John 9:17 ; John 11:51 ; John 16:9 ; 2Co 1:18 ; 2 Corinthians 11:10 . To this belongs all that follows as far as αὐτά .

μᾶλλ . διαφέρετε αὐτῶν ] This μᾶλλον (magis) only strengthens the comparative force of διαφέρειν τινος (to be superior to any one). Comp. on Philippians 1:23 , and the μᾶλλον that frequently accompanies προαιρεῖσθαι .

Verse 27

Matthew 6:27 . Τὴν ἡλικίαν ] the duration of life (Hammond, Wolf, Rosenmüller, Kuinoel, Schott, Käuffer, Olshausen, de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Tholuck, Ewald, Bleek, Hilgenfeld). For, after the more comprehensive exhortation of Matthew 6:25 , Jesus passes in Matthew 6:26 to the special subject of the support of life by means of τροφή , with which subject Matthew 6:27 is intimately connected. Matthew 6:28-30 refer, in the first place, specially to the body itself, regarded by itself and as an outward object. The duration of life determined by God is set forth under the figure of a definite lineal measure . Comp. Psalms 39:6 ; Mimnermus in Stobaeus, 98. 13. In opposition to this, the only true connection, others (Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Luther, Maldonatus, Jansen, Bengel, Fritzsche), following the Vulgate and Chrysostom, interpret: the height of the body, the stature , Luke 19:3 ; Luke 2:52 . But what an absurd disproportion would there be in such a relation in representing a very trifling addition (Luke 12:26 ) by πῆχυν ! For πῆχυς , אַמָּה , is equivalent to the whole length of the lower part of the arm, two spans or six handbreadths, Böckh, metrol. Unters. p. 210 ff. Fenneberg, üb. d. Längen-, Feld- u. Wegemaasse d. Völk. d. Alterth. 1859, who thinks, however, without any reason, that the sacred ell (seven handbreadths) is meant.

Verse 28

Matthew 6:28 . Καὶ περὶ ἐνδύμ .] the new object of care placed first in the sentence.

καταμάθετε ] consider, observe: occurring nowhere else in the New Testament, frequent in Greek writers, Genesis 24:21 ; Genesis 34:1 ; Job 35:5 .

κρίνον , שׁוּשָׁן , lilies generally, various kinds of which grow wild in the East, without cultivation by human hands ( τοῦ ἀγροῦ ). There is no reason to think merely of the (flower) emperor’s crown (Kuinoel), or to suppose that anemones are intended (Furer in Schenkel’s Bibellex.); the latter are called ἀνεμῶναι in Greek.

πῶς ] relatively: how, i.e. with what grace and beauty, they grow up! To take πῶς αὐξ . interrogatively (Palairetus, Fritzsche), so that οὐ κοπ ., etc., would form the answer, is not so simple, nor is it in keeping with the parallel in Matthew 6:26 . They toil not, neither (specially) do they spin, to provide their raiment. The plurals ( αὐξάνουσιν , etc., see the critical remarks) describe the lilies, not en masse, but singly (Kühner, ad Xen. Mem. iv. 3. 12, ad Anab. i. 2. 23), and indeed as though they were actual living persons (Krüger on Thuc. i. 58. 1). Comp. in general, Schoemann, ad Isaeum ix. 8.

Verse 29

Matthew 6:29 . Ἐν πάσῃ τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ ] Not even ( οὐδέ ) Solomon when he appeared in all his glory , not merely in his royal robes (Kuinoel); it is in περιεβάλετο that the special part of the whole δόξα is first mentioned. On the δόξα of Solomon, see 2 Chronicles 9:15 ff.

αὐτοῦ , not αὑτοῦ . Observe further the ἕν : his glorious apparel was not equal to any one of these.

Verse 30

Matthew 6:30 . Τὸν χόρτον τοῦ ἀγροῦ ] Placed first for sake of emphasis; ὁ χόρτος , however, is simply the grass , so that Jesus mentions the genus under which the lilies (which grow among the grass) are included, and that intentionally with a view to point them out as insignificant; 1 Corinthians 3:12 ; 1 Peter 1:24 .

σήμερον ὄντα ] which to-day exists .

εἰς κλίβ . βαλλόμ .] expresses what is done to-morrow, hence the present . Comp. Buttmann, neut. Gr . p. 178 [E. T. 206]. Dried grass with its flower-stalks and such like was also used for the purpose of heating baking ovens ( κλίβανοι , or Attic κρίβανοι , see Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 179). Comp. remark on Matthew 3:12 ; Harmar, Beobacht. üb. d. Orient , I. p. 239 f.

πολλῷ μᾶλλ .] expressing certainty .

Verse 32

Matthew 6:32 . The second γάρ does not append another reason co-ordinate with the first, but after the injunction contained in Matthew 6:31 has been justified by the reference to the heathen (to whom they are not to compare themselves), this same injunction is provided with an explanation of an encouraging nature, so that the first γάρ is logical , the second explanatory , as frequently in classical writers (Kühner, ad Xen. Anab . v. 6. 6. Frotscher, ad Hieron . xi. 6). The referring of the second γάρ to something to be supplied after τὰ ἔθνη , such as “ who know nothing of God ” (Tholuck), is arbitrary.

οἶδε is emphatic; is certainly known to your Father, and so on.

ὅτι ] that , not ὅ , τι (Paulus: that, which; Fritzsche: quatenus).

Verse 33

Matthew 6:33 . Ζητεῖτε δέ ] now states what they ought to do, instead of indulging that care forbidden in Matthew 6:31 .

πρῶτον ] in the first place , before you strive after anything else; your first striving. In that case a second is, of course, unnecessary, because their food, their drink, and their raiment προστεθήσεται . But in the πρῶτον the subordinate striving after something is not even “darkly” sanctioned (de Wette); on the contrary, and notwithstanding the πρῶτον , this striving is excluded as much by Matthew 6:32 as by καὶ … προστεθ . Accordingly, that first striving is the only one.

The simple ζητεῖτε is distinguished from ἐπιζητ . not in respect of degree, but only in such a way that the latter points out the direction of the striving. Hence ἐπιζητεῖν ἐπί τινα , 2 Samuel 3:8 . Comp. note on Romans 11:7 ; Philippians 4:7 .

τὴν βασιλ . καὶ τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ ] (see the critical remarks) where the αὐτοῦ belonging to both substantives refers, according to Matthew 6:32 , to God, and is meant to convey the idea that what is to form the object and aim of our striving is the Messianic kingdom , the becoming partakers in it, the being admitted into it, and the moral righteousness which God imparts to the believer to assist him to attain the kingdom.

ταῦτα πάντα ] See Matthew 6:31-32 . The distinction between ταῦτα πάντα and πάντα ταῦτα lies merely in this, that in the former it is the demonstrative idea on which the emphasis is placed, whereas in the latter it is the idea of universality that is so. See Winer, p. 510 [E. T. 686]. Comp. Lobeck, ad Aj . 1023; Saupp, ad Hipparch . VI. 5.

προστεθήσεται ] will be added , namely, to the moral result of your striving. Comp. the saying of Christ handed down by Clement, Origen, and Eusebius: αἰτεῖτε τὰ μεγάλα , καὶ τὰ μικρὰ ὑμῖν προστεθήσεται · καὶ αἰτεῖτε τὰ ἐπουράνια , καὶ τὰ ἐπίγεια προστεθήσεται ὑμῖν (Fabricius, Cod. Apocr . i. p. 329), which differs from our passage in the generality of its terms, and in having αἰτεῖτε .

Verse 34

Matthew 6:34 . Concluding saying of this section practical, fresh, bold, and taken from the life.

Fritzsche arranges the words thus: ἡ γὰρ αὔριον μεριμνήσει . Τὰ ἑαυτῆς ἀρκετὸν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ , ἡ κακία αὐτῆς . He takes ἡ κακ . αὐτῆς as in apposition with τὰ ἑαυτῆς ; which is forced in itself, and precluded by the reading ἑαυτῆς without τά . If this reading be adopted, the meaning will be as follows: Therefore (inference from all that has been said from Matthew 6:25 onwards) have no care about to-morrow; for to-morrow will care for itself will have itself as the object of its care, which you ought not, to-day, to take away from to-morrow ( ἡ αὔριον is personified). The day , i.e. every day (Bernhardy, p. 315) as it comes round, has enough (does not need to have anything more added, as would be the case if we cared for to-morrow) in its own evil, i.e. in its evil nature, as represented by dangers, sorrows, and so on. Luther well observes: Why wilt thou be concerned beyond to-day, and take upon thyself the misfortunes of two days? Abide by that which to-day lays upon thee: to-morrow, the day will bring thee something else. Comp. on κακία (Chrysostom: ταλαιπωρία ), Luke 16:25 ; Ecclesiastes 7:15 ; Ecclesiastes 12:1 ; Amos 3:7 ; Sir 19:6 ; 2Ma 4:47 . In classical writers, commonly κακοτής ; Hom. Il . xi. 382; Od . v. 290; Herod. ii. 128; Soph. El . 228. Comp. however, also κακία , Thucyd. iii. 58. 1; Plato, Legg . vii. p. 814 A. μεριμνᾶν does not occur elsewhere with the genitive , but, like φροντίζειν τινος , may be connected with it; Bernhardy, p. 176 f.; Krüger, § 47. 11; Kühner, IV. 1, p. 325. On the well-known neuter usage, ἄρκετον , sufficient , see Kühner, II. 1, p. 52 f.

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 6". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/matthew-6.html. 1832.
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