19:1 And it came to pass when Jesus had finished these words1, he departed from Galilee2, and came into the borders of Judaea beyond the Jordan; JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM. CONCERNING DIVORCE. Matthew 19:1-12; Mark 10:1-12
When Jesus had finished these words. The words contained in Matthew
18, which are the last teachings in Galilee recorded by any of the
He departed from Galilee. Having come into the borders of it again
from Ephraim. It seems likely that Matthew takes in at one view both
departures from Galilee, viz.: that mentioned at Section 75, John
7:9, and that at Section 95, see Luke
17:11. for Matthew records none of the intervening events, and Jesus
spent no time in Galilee between the two journeys, merely returning to the
border of the land and making a second journey thence to Jerusalem. He now
left Galilee to return thither no more until after the resurrection (Matthew
19:2 and great
multitudes followed him1; and he healed them there.
Great multitudes followed him. See Mark
19:3 And there
came unto him Pharisees, trying him1, and saying, Is
it lawful [for a man] to put away his wife for every cause2?
There came unto him Pharisees, trying him. See Mark
Is it lawful [for a man] to put away his wife for every cause? That
is, for every cause satisfactory to the husband.
19:6 So that they are no more two, but one
flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not
man put asunder1.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
19:7 They say unto him, Why then did Moses
command to give a bill of divorcement, and to put [her] away?
Why then did Moses then command, etc. See Mark
19:8 He saith unto them, Moses
for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives1:
but from the beginning it hath not been so.
Moses for your hardness of heart suffered you to put away your wives.
19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever
shall put away his wife, except for fornication1, and
shall marry another, committeth adultery: and he that marrieth her when she is
put away committeth adultery.
Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, etc. See
19:10 The disciples say unto him, If
the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to marry1.
If the case of the man is so with his wife, it is not expedient to
marry. The disciples illustrate not only the hardness of heart of which
Jesus spoke, but also the wisdom of allowing divorce under the law of Moses.
19:11 But he said unto them, Not all men
can receive this saying1, but
they to whom it is given.
This saying is the saying which Jesus himself had just uttered
concerning divorce (Matthew
19:12 For there
are eunuchs1, that were so born from their mother's womb:
and there are eunuchs, that were made eunuchs by men: and there are eunuchs,
that made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able
to receive it, let him receive it.
For there are eunuchs, etc. His teaching is that the prohibition of
divorce does not apply to eunuchs. If a woman finds herself married to a
eunuch, she is not bound to him. So with a man married to a hermaphrodite.
NOTE.--I dissent from the above interpretation for many reasons: If the
cases be confined to the two instances given, the rule presents nothing but
what every man and woman would gladly receive, which is contrary to what
Jesus says about the saying. But, if the cases be extended to those who make
themselves eunuch for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and it be contended that
evangelists and others who sacrifice their home ties for the good of the
cause thereby give to their wives a right of divorce, the saying becomes on
the other hand too hard for any to receive.
My understanding of the passage is this: The disciples, startled by the
Lord's declaration as to the indissolubility of marriage, declared that
marriage was inexpedient. Jesus accepts their saying, because applicable to
but three cases. Jesus is therefore speaking with regard to
"celibacy" and "divorce". He says that eunuch are unfit
for marriage, whether made so by nature or by the violence of man. The two
first--the "physical" eunuch--are introduced to illustrate the
last or "spiritual" eunuch--the man whose intense interest in the
affairs of the kingdom of heaven makes him prefer the celibate state. The
saying with regard to him is indeed hard to receive, for it borders on the
abnormal and unnatural, and hence it is no command save to those who, being
in that abnormal and almost unnatural condition, are in a shape to receive
it. Marriage is the natural condition of man, and celibacy is abnormal, but
to some extent Biblically countenanced. The trend of Scripture shows that
Jesus here speaks about celibacy and not about divorce, for it has much to
say about the celibate principle involved here--those who prefer to be
eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and nothing to say about women
obtaining divorces because of their husbands' sacrifices for the kingdom of
The Scripture everywhere treats of celibacy as a difficult problem, and
the teaching is this: When any in the kingdom of heaven feel called to such
extreme labors therein as render marriage impracticable (Acts
13:2; 1 Corinthians
9:4,5), they are permitted to abstain from marriage; and when seasons of
persecution seriously interfere with the regular order and course of life
among Christians, they may find it expedient to live as eunuchs (1 Corinthians
7:25-34). But in no case must celibacy be practiced unless it can be
done so without the sin of incontinency (1 Corinthians
7:1-9). The Bible nowhere countenances any celibate vow, for it teaches
that celibacy is to be continued only so long as it is expedient. Much less
does it give countenance to the doctrine that a church can pass laws
enforcing celibacy on the whole class of clergy, without any regard for
their natural constitution, their spiritual powers, or their faithful
continuance.--Philip Y. Pendleton.
19:13 Then were there brought unto him
little children, that he should lay his hands on them, and pray: and the
disciples rebuked them.
BLESSING CHILDREN. CONCERNING CHILDLIKENESS. (In Perea.) Matthew
Then were brought unto him little children, etc. See Mark
19:14 But Jesus said, Suffer
the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me1:
for to such belongeth the kingdom of heaven.
Suffer the little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me,
etc. See Mark
19:15 And he laid
his hands on them1, and departed thence.
And he laid his hands on them. See Mark
19:16 And behold, one came to him and
said, Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may
have eternal life1?
THE RICH RULER. PERIL OF RICHES. REWARD OF SACRIFICE. PARABLE OF THE LABORERS
IN THE VINEYARD. (In Perea.) Matthew
Teacher, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
19:17 And he said unto him, Why
askest thou me concerning that which is good1? One there
is who is good: but if thou wouldest enter into life,
keep the commandments2.
Why askest thou me concerning that which is good? Jesus' reply to
the "question" of the young man "What good thing", etc.
19:16). See Mark
But if thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments. By
referring the ruler to the commandments, Jesus not only answered the
question as to obtaining life, but he emphasized the confession of his
divinity contained in the question, "Why askest", etc. God, who
knows what is good, had revealed that good in the commandments which he had
given. Yet the ruler had asked Jesus to be wise above God's revelation, and
to propound a law or rule of goodness in addition to that already given, and
of such a nature as to more fully insure the attainment of life by obeying
it. The ruler's question reveals that common weakness in man which prompts
him to look to his fellow-men for religious and moral instruction;
forgetting that only God can propound the absolute standards of goodness. We
should note, too, that the young man, being under the law given through
Moses, was bidden to attain life by keeping the law. After the death of
Christ a new law was given. Had the man waited until that time, he would
have been directed to this new law, and obedience to it would have been
required. Compare Acts
2:37,38 2 Thessalonians
19:18 He saith
unto him, Which1? And Jesus said, Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false
He saith unto him, Which? etc. See Mark
19:19 Honor thy
father and mother1; and, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as
Honor thy father and mother. Exodus
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. For the last commandment,
"Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus
5:21), Jesus substitutes its equivalent, being a summary of all the six
commandments. See Leviticus
19:20 The young man saith unto him, All
these things have I observed1: what lack I yet?
All these things have I observed. See Mark
19:21 Jesus said unto him, If thou
wouldest be perfect, go, sell that which thou hast, and
give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me1.
Go, sell that which thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt
have treasure in heaven: and come, follow me. See Mark
19:22 But when
the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful1;
for he was one that had great possessions.
But when the young man heard the saying, he went away sorrowful,
etc. See Mark
19:23 And Jesus said unto his disciples,
Verily I say unto you, It is hard for a rich man to
enter into the kingdom of heaven1.
It is hard for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. See Mark
19:24 And again I say unto you, It
is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye1, than
for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.
It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye, etc. See Mark
19:25 And when the disciples heard it,
they were astonished exceedingly, saying, Who then can
Who then can be saved? See Mark
19:26 And Jesus looking upon [them] said
to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all
things are possible1.
With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
19:27 Then answered Peter and said unto
him, Lo, we have left all, and followed thee; what then
shall we have1?
Lo, we have left all, and followed thee; what then shall we have?
19:28 And Jesus said unto them, Verily I
say unto you, that ye who have followed me, in the
regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory1,
ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the
twelve tribes of Israel2.
In the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his
glory. By the term "regeneration", Jesus in this case means
the period in which the process of regenerating men would be in progress;
that is, the period of the mediatorial reign. After his ascension Jesus sat
upon his throne (Matthew
2:33-35; 1 Corinthians
1:13). And on the day of Pentecost next following (Acts
2:1), he began this process of regeneration.
Ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of
Israel. Having enthroned himself, Jesus enthroned the apostles also, not
as kings but as judges, having jurisdiction over all questions of faith and
practice in the earthly kingdom. During their personal ministry, they judged
in person; and since then they judge through their writings. True, we have
written communications from only a part of them, but judgments pronounced by
one of a bench of judges with the known approval of all, are the judgments
of the entire bench. Moreover, the passage must be construed metaphorically,
for the apostles are judges in the church of Christ--the true Israel--and
not over the literal twelve tribes of Jacob. And again, the twelve who then
heard Jesus speak were not all enthroned, Judas having fallen from his
position before the day of enthronement (Acts
1:16-18), and Matthias and Paul were afterwards added to the group (Acts
9:17-19). Jesus here causes the number of the judges to correspond to
the number of the tribes, to indicate that there will be sufficiency of
judgment commensurate to the need.
19:29 And every
one that hath left houses, or brethren1, or sisters, or
father, or mother, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall
receive a hundredfold2, and shall inherit eternal life.
Every one that hath left houses, or brethren, etc. See Mark
Shall receive a hundredfold. See Mark
19:30 But many
shall be last [that are] first; and first [that are] last1.
But many shall be last [that are] first; and first [that are] last.