The Disciples Pluck Grain on the Sabbath

121 At that time did Jesus go on the sabbaths through the corn, and his disciples were hungry, and they began to pluck ears, and to eat, 2 and the Pharisees having seen, said to him, 'Lo, thy disciples do that which it is not lawful to do on a sabbath.' 3 And he said to them, 'Did ye not read what David did, when he was hungry, himself and those with him— 4 how he went into the house of God, and the loaves of the presentation did eat, which it is not lawful to him to eat, nor to those with him, except to the priests alone? 5 'Or did ye not read in the Law, that on the sabbaths the priests in the temple do profane the sabbath, and are blameless? 6 and I say to you, that a greater than the temple is here; 7 and if ye had known what is: Kindness I will, and not sacrifice—ye had not condemned the blameless, 8 for the son of man is lord even of the sabbath.'

The Man with a Withered Hand

9 And having departed thence, he went to their synagogue, 10 and lo, there was a man having the hand withered, and they questioned him, saying, 'Is it lawful to heal on the sabbaths?' that they might accuse him. 11 And he said to them, 'What man shall be of you, who shall have one sheep, and if this may fall on the sabbaths into a ditch, will not lay hold on it and raise 'it'? 12 How much better, therefore, is a man than a sheep?—so that it is lawful on the sabbaths to do good.' 13 Then saith he to the man, 'Stretch forth thy hand,' and he stretched 'it' forth, and it was restored whole as the other.

14 And the Pharisees having gone forth, held a consultation against him, how they might destroy him,

The Chosen Servant

15 and Jesus having known, withdrew thence, and there followed him great multitudes, and he healed them all, 16 and did charge them that they might not make him manifest, 17 that it might be fulfilled that was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying, 18 'Lo, My servant, whom I did choose, My beloved, in whom My soul did delight, I will put My Spirit upon him, and judgment to the nations he shall declare, 19 he shall not strive nor cry, nor shall any hear in the broad places his voice, 20 a bruised reed he shall not break, and smoking flax he shall not quench, till he may put forth judgment to victory, 21 and in his name shall nations hope.'

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Matthew 12:1-21

Commentary on Matthew 12:1-8

(Read Matthew 12:1-8)

Being in the corn-fields, the disciples began to pluck the ears of corn: the law of God allowed it, Deuteronomy 5:14. No law must be understood so as to contradict its own end. And as Christ is the Lord of the sabbath, it is fit the day and the work of it should be dedicated to him.

Commentary on Matthew 12:9-13

(Read Matthew 12:9-13)

Christ shows that works of mercy are lawful and proper to be done on the Lord's day. There are more ways of doing well upon sabbath days, than by the duties of worship: attending the sick, relieving the poor, helping those who need speedy relief, teaching the young to care for their souls; these are doing good: and these must be done from love and charity, with humility and self-denial, and shall be accepted, Genesis 4:7. This, like other cures which Christ wrought, had a spiritual meaning. By nature our hands are withered, and we are unable of ourselves to do any thing that is good. Christ only, by the power of his grace, cures us; he heals the withered hand by putting life into the dead soul, works in us both to will and to do: for, with the command, there is a promise of grace given by the word.

Commentary on Matthew 12:14-21

(Read Matthew 12:14-21)

The Pharisees took counsel to find some accusation, that Jesus might be condemned to death. Aware of their design, as his time was not come, he retired from that place. Face does not more exactly answer to face in water, than the character of Christ drawn by the prophet, to his temper and conduct as described by the evangelists. Let us with cheerful confidence commit our souls to so kind and faithful a Friend. Far from breaking, he will strengthen the bruised reed; far from quenching the smoking flax, or wick nearly out, he will rather blow it up into a flame. Let us lay aside contentious and angry debates; let us receive one another as Christ receives us. And while encouraged by the gracious kindness of our Lord, we should pray that his Spirit may rest upon us, and make us able to copy his example.

The Man with a Withered Hand

31 And he entered again into the synagogue, and there was there a man having the hand withered, 2 and they were watching him, whether on the sabbaths he will heal him, that they might accuse him. 3 And he saith to the man having the hand withered, 'Rise up in the midst.' 4 And he saith to them, 'Is it lawful on the sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? life to save, or to kill?' but they were silent. 5 And having looked round upon them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their heart, he saith to the man, 'Stretch forth thy hand;' and he stretched forth, and his hand was restored whole as the other; 6 and the Pharisees having gone forth, immediately, with the Herodians, were taking counsel against him how they might destroy him.

A Multitude at the Seaside

7 And Jesus withdrew with his disciples unto the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed him, and from Judea, 8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumea and beyond the Jordan; and they about Tyre and Sidon—a great multitude—having heard how great things he was doing, came unto him. 9 And he said to his disciples that a little boat may wait on him, because of the multitude, that they may not press upon him, 10 for he did heal many, so that they threw themselves on him, in order to touch him—as many as had plagues; 11 and the unclean spirits, when they were seeing him, were falling down before him, and were crying, saying—'Thou art the Son of God;' 12 and many times he was charging them that they might not make him manifest.

Jesus Chooses the Twelve

13 And he goeth up to the mountain, and doth call near whom he willed, and they went away to him; 14 and he appointed twelve, that they may be with him, and that he may send them forth to preach, 15 and to have power to heal the sicknesses, and to cast out the demons. 16 And he put on Simon the name Peter; 17 and James of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, and he put on them names—Boanerges, that is, 'Sons of thunder;' 18 and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James of Alpheus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Cananite, 19 and Judas Iscariot, who did also deliver him up; and they come into a house.

A Divided House Cannot Stand

20 And come together again doth a multitude, so that they are not able even to eat bread; 21 and his friends having heard, went forth to lay hold on him, for they said that he was beside himself,

22 and the scribes who 'are' from Jerusalem having come down, said—'He hath Beelzeboul,' and—'By the ruler of the demons he doth cast out the demons.' 23 And, having called them near, in similes he said to them, 'How is the Adversary able to cast out the Adversary? 24 and if a kingdom against itself be divided, that kingdom cannot be made to stand; 25 and if a house against itself be divided, that house cannot be made to stand; 26 and if the Adversary did rise against himself, and hath been divided, he cannot be made to stand, but hath an end. 27 'No one is able the vessels of the strong man—having entered into his house—to spoil, if first he may not bind the strong man, and then his house he will spoil. 28 'Verily I say to you, that all the sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and evil speakings with which they might speak evil, 29 but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness—to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment;' 30 because they said, 'He hath an unclean spirit.'

Jesus' Mother and Brethren

31 Then come do his brethren and mother, and standing without, they sent unto him, calling him, 32 and a multitude was sitting about him, and they said to him, 'Lo, thy mother and thy brethren without do seek thee.' 33 And he answered them, saying, 'Who is my mother, or my brethren?' 34 And having looked round in a circle to those sitting about him, he saith, 'Lo, my mother and my brethren! 35 for whoever may do the will of God, he is my brother, and my sister, and mother.'

The Disciples Pluck Grain on the Sabbath

61 And it came to pass, on the second-first sabbath, as he is going through the corn fields, that his disciples were plucking the ears, and were eating, rubbing with the hands, 2 and certain of the Pharisees said to them, 'Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbaths?' 3 And Jesus answering said unto them, 'Did ye not read even this that David did, when he hungered, himself and those who are with him, 4 how he went into the house of God, and the loaves of the presentation did take, and did eat, and gave also to those with him, which it is not lawful to eat, except only to the priests?' 5 and he said to them,—'The Son of Man is lord also of the sabbath.'

The Man with a Withered Hand

6 And it came to pass also, on another sabbath, that he goeth into the synagogue, and teacheth, and there was there a man, and his right hand was withered, 7 and the scribes and the Pharisees were watching him, if on the sabbath he will heal, that they might find an accusation against him. 8 And he himself had known their reasonings, and said to the man having the withered hand, 'Rise, and stand in the midst;' and he having risen, stood. 9 Then said Jesus unto them, 'I will question you something: Is it lawful on the sabbaths to do good, or to do evil? life to save or to kill?' 10 And having looked round on them all, he said to the man, 'Stretch forth thy hand;' and he did so, and his hand was restored whole as the other; 11 and they were filled with madness, and were speaking with one another what they might do to Jesus.

Jesus Chooses the Twelve

12 And it came to pass in those days, he went forth to the mountain to pray, and was passing the night in the prayer of God, 13 and when it became day, he called near his disciples, and having chosen from them twelve, whom also he named apostles, 14 (Simon, whom also he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, 15 Matthew and Thomas, James of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes, 16 Judas of James, and Judas Iscariot, who also became betrayer;)

Jesus Ministers to a Great Multitude

17 and having come down with them, he stood upon a level spot, and a crowd of his disciples, and a great multitude of the people from all Judea, and Jerusalem, and the maritime Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him, and to be healed of their sicknesses, 18 and those harassed by unclean spirits, and they were healed, 19 and all the multitude were seeking to touch him, because power from him was going forth, and he was healing all.

Blessings and Woes

20 And he, having lifted up his eyes to his disciples, said: 'Happy the poor—because yours is the reign of God. 21 'Happy those hungering now—because ye shall be filled. 'Happy those weeping now—because ye shall laugh. 22 'Happy are ye when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you, and shall reproach, and shall cast forth your name as evil, for the Son of Man's sake— 23 rejoice in that day, and leap, for lo, your reward 'is' great in the heaven, for according to these things were their fathers doing to the prophets. 24 'But wo to you—the rich, because ye have got your comfort. 25 'Wo to you who have been filled—because ye shall hunger. 'Wo to you who are laughing now—because ye shall mourn and weep. 26 'Wo to you when all men shall speak well of you—for according to these things were their fathers doing to false prophets.

Love for Enemies

27 'But I say to you who are hearing, Love your enemies, do good to those hating you, 28 bless those cursing you, and pray for those accusing you falsely; 29 and to him smiting thee upon the cheek, give also the other, and from him taking away from thee the mantle, also the coat thou mayest not keep back. 30 'And to every one who is asking of thee, be giving; and from him who is taking away thy goods, be not asking again; 31 and as ye wish that men may do to you, do ye also to them in like manner; 32 and—if ye love those loving you, what grace have ye? for also the sinful love those loving them; 33 and if ye do good to those doing good to you, what grace have ye? for also the sinful do the same; 34 and if ye lend 'to those' of whom ye hope to receive back, what grace have ye? for also the sinful lend to sinners—that they may receive again as much. 35 'But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again, and your reward will be great, and ye shall be sons of the Highest, because He is kind unto the ungracious and evil; 36 be ye therefore merciful, as also your Father is merciful.

Judging Others

37 'And judge not, and ye may not be judged; condemn not, and ye may not be condemned; release, and ye shall be released. 38 'Give, and it shall be given to you; good measure, pressed, and shaken, and running over, they shall give into your bosom; for with that measure with which ye measure, it shall be measured to you again.' 39 And he spake a simile to them, 'Is blind able to lead blind? shall they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one perfected shall be as his teacher. 41 'And why dost thou behold the mote that is in thy brother's eye, and the beam that 'is' in thine own eye dost not consider? 42 or how art thou able to say to thy brother, Brother, suffer, I may take out the mote that 'is' in thine eye—thyself the beam in thine own eye not beholding? Hypocrite, take first the beam out of thine own eye, and then thou shalt see clearly to take out the mote that 'is' in thy brother's eye.

A Tree Is Known by Its Fruit

43 'For there is not a good tree making bad fruit, nor a bad tree making good fruit; 44 for each tree from its own fruit is known, for not from thorns do they gather figs, nor from a bramble do they crop a grape. 45 'The good man out of the good treasure of his heart doth bring forth that which 'is' good; and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart doth bring forth that which 'is' evil; for out of the abounding of the heart doth his mouth speak.

The House Built on a Rock

46 'And why do ye call me, Lord, Lord, and do not what I say? 47 Every one who is coming unto me, and is hearing my words, and is doing them, I will shew you to whom he is like; 48 he is like to a man building a house, who did dig, and deepen, and laid a foundation upon the rock, and a flood having come, the stream broke forth on that house, and was not able to shake it, for it had been founded upon the rock. 49 'And he who heard and did not, is like to a man having builded a house upon the earth, without a foundation, against which the stream brake forth, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house became great.'