Notes on Matthew
1) 2) Among the ancestors of Christ who had brothers, Many of whom Jesus descended from where younger brothers; such Abraham himself was, and Jacob, and Judah, and David, and Nathan, and Rhesa; this goes to show that the pre-eminence of Christ did not come from the line of earthly princes. Normally earthly princes would descend through the oldest son.
2) The wife successively of Er and Onan, the two sons of Judah (Gen 38:6-30). Her importance in the sacred narrative depends on the great anxiety to keep up the lineage of Judah. It seemed as if the family were on the point of extinction. Er and Onan (q.v. respectively) had each in turn perished suddenly. Judah’s wife, Bathshuah, died; and there only remained a child, Shelah, whom Judah was unwilling to trust to the dangerous union, as it appeared, with Tamar, lest he should meet with the same fate as his brothers. That he should, however, marry her seems to have been regarded as part of the fixed law of the tribe, whence its incorporation into the Mosaic law in after-times (Deut. 25:5; Matt 22:24); and, as such, Tamar was determined not to let the opportunity escape through Judah’s parental anxiety. Accordingly, she resorted to the desperate expedient of entrapping the father himself into the union which he feared for his son. He, on the first emergence from his mourning for his wife, went to one of the festivals often mentioned in Jewish history as attendant on sheep-shearing. He wore on his finger the ring of his chieftainship; he carried his staff in his hand; he wore a collar or necklace round his neck. He was encountered by a veiled woman on the road leading to Timnath, the future birthplace of Samson, among the hills of Dan. He took her for one of the unfortunate women who were consecrated to the impure rites of the Canaanitish worship. He promised her, as the price of his intercourse, a kid from the flocks to which he was going, and left as his pledge his ornaments and his staff. The kid he sent back by his shepherd, Hirah of Adullam. The woman could nowhere be found. Months afterwards it was discovered to be his own daughter-in-law, Tamar, who had thus concealed herself under the veil or mantle, which she cast off on her return home, where she resumed the seclusion and dress of a widow. She was sentenced to be burned alive, and was only saved by the discovery, through the pledges which Judah had left, that her seducer was no less than the chieftain of the tribe. He had the magnanimity to recognize that she had been driven into this crime by his own neglect of his promise to give her in marriage to his youngest son. “She hath been more righteous than I… and he knew her again no more” (Gen 38:26). The fruit of this intercourse was twins, Pharez and Zarah, and through Pharez the sacred line was continued. B.C. 1885. Hence the prominence given to Tamar in the nuptial benediction of the tribe of Judah (Ruth 4:12) and in the genealogy of our Lord (Matt 1:3). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
3) At the time of the arrival of the Israelites in Canaan Rahab was a young unmarried woman, dwelling in a house of her own alone, though she had a father and mother, and brothers and sisters, living in Jericho. She was a “harlot,” and probably combined the trade of lodging-keeper for wayfaring men. She seems also to have been engaged in the manufacture of linen, and the art of dyeing, for which the Phoenicians were early famous; since we find the flat roof of her house covered with stalks of flax put there to dry, and a stock of scarlet or crimson thread in her house. Her house was situated on the wall, probably near the town gate, so as to be convenient for persons coming in and going out of the city. Traders coming from Mesopotamia or Egypt to Phcenicia would frequently pass through Jericho, situated as it was near the fords of the Jordan; and of these many would resort to the house of Rahab. Rahab, therefore, had been well informed with regard to the events of the Exodus. When, therefore, the two spies sent by Joshua came to her house, they found themselves under the roof of one who, alone, probably, of the whole population, was friendly to their nation. Their coming, however, was quickly known; and the king of Jericho, having received information of it — while at supper, according to Josephussent, that very evening, to require her to deliver them up. It is very likely that, her house being a public one, someone who resorted there may have seen and recognized the spies, and gone off at once to report the matter to the authorities. But not without awakening Rahab’s suspicions; for she immediately hid the men among the flax-stalks which were piled on the flat roof of her house, and, on the arrival of the officers sent to search her house, was ready with the story that two men — of what country she knew not — had, it was true, been to her house, but had left it just before the gates were shut for the night. If they pursued them at once, she added, they would be sure to overtake them. Misled by the false information, the men started in pursuit to the fords of the Jordan, the gates having been opened to let them out, and immediately closed again. When all was quiet, and the people were gone to bed, Rahab stole up to the house-top, told the spies what had happened, and assured them of her faith in the God of Israel, and her confident expectation of the capture of the whole land by them — an expectation, she added, which was shared by her countrymen, and had produced a great panic among them. She then told them her plan for their escape: it was to let them down by a cord from the window of her house, which looked over the city wall, and that they should flee into the mountains which bounded the plains of Jericho, and lie hidden there for three days, by which time the pursuers would have returned, and the fords of the Jordan be open to them again. She asked, in return for her kindness to them, that they should swear by Jehovah that. when their countrymen had taken the city, they would spare her life, and the lives of her father and mother, brothers and sisters, and all that belonged to them. The men readily consented; and it was agreed between them that she should hang out her scarlet line at the window from which they had escaped, and bring all her family under her roof. If any of her kindred went out-of-doors into the street, his blood would be upon his own head; and the Israelites, in that case, would be guiltless. The event proved the wisdom of her precautions. The pursuers returned to Jericho after a fruitless search, and the spies got safe back to the Israelitish camp. The news they brought of the terror of the Canaanites doubtless inspired Israel with fresh courage, and within three days of their return the passage of the Jordan was effected. In the utter destruction of Jericho which ensued, Joshua gave the strictest orders for the preservation of Rahab and her family; and, accordingly, before the city was burned, the two spies were sent to her house, and they brought out her, her father, and mother, and brothers, and kindred, and all that she had, and placed them in safety in the Israelite camp. The narrator adds, “and she dwelleth in Israel unto this day;” not necessarily implying that she was alive at the time he wrote, but that the family of strangers of which she was reckoned the head continued to dwell among the children of Israel. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
4) Ruth, a Moabitess, the wife, first, of Mahlon, secondly of Boaz, and by him mother of Obed, the ancestress of David and of Christ, and one of the four women (Tamar, Rahab, and Uriah’s wife being the other three) who are named by Matthew in the genealogy of Christ. She thus came into intimate relation with the stock of Israel, and her history is given in one of the books of the sacred canon which bears her name It is the domestic history of a family compelled, by the urgency of a famine, to abandon the land of Canaan, and seek an asylum in the territories of Moab. Elimelech, the head of the emigrating household, dies in the land of his sojourn, where his two surviving sons “took them wives of the women of Moab; the name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth.” On the death of the sons, the widowed parent resolving to return to her country and kindred, the filial affection of the daughters-in-law is put to a severe test, and Ruth determines at all hazards to accompany Naomi. “Whither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: where thou diest, I will die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me,” was the expression of the unalterable attachment of the young Moabite widow to the mother, to the land, and to the religion of her lost husband. They arrived at Bethlehem just at the beginning of barley harvest, and Ruth, going out to glean for the support of her mother-in-law and herself, chanced to go into the field of Boaz, a wealthy man, the near kinsman of her father-in-law, Elimelech. The story of her virtues and her kindness and fidelity to her mother-in-law, and her preference for the land of her husband’s birth, had gone before her; and immediately upon learning who the strange young woman was, Boaz treated her with the utmost kindness and respect, and sent her home laden with corn which she had gleaned. Boaz had bidden her return from day to day, and directed his servants to give her a courteous welcome. An omen so propitious could not but be regarded as a special encouragement to both, and Naomi therefore counselled Ruth to seek an opportunity for intimating to Boaz the claim she had upon him as the nearest kinsman of her deceased husband. Boaz entertained the proposal favorably, yet he replied that there was another person more nearly related to the family than himself, whose title must first be disposed of. Without delay he applied himself to ascertain whether the kinsman in question was inclined to assert his right — a right which extended to a purchase of the ransom (at the Jubilee) of Elimelech’s estate. Finding him indisposed to the measure, he obtained from him a release, ratified according to the legal forms of the time, and next proceeded himself to redeem the patrimony of Elimelech, and finally, with all due solemnity, took Ruth to be his wife, amid the blessings and congratulations of their neighbors. Ruth has always held a foremost place among the Scripture characters. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
5) BATH-SHEBA daughter of Eliam (2 Sam 11:3) or Ammiel (1 Chron 3:5), the grand daughter of Ahithophel (2 Sam 23:34), and wife of Uriah. She was seduced by King David during the absence of her husband, who was then engaged at the siege of Rabbah (2 Sam 11:4,5; Ps 51:2). B.C. 1035. The child thus born in adultery became ill and died (2 Sam 12:15-18). After the lapse of the period of mourning for her husband, who was slain by the contrivance of David (2 Sam 11:15), she was legally married to the king (2 Sam 11:27), and bore him Solomon (2 Sam 12:24; 1 Kings 1:11; 2:13; comp. Matt 1:6). It is probable that the enmity of Ahithophel toward David was increased, if not caused, by the dishonor brought by him upon his family in the person of Bath-sheba. The other children of Bath-sheba were Shimea (or Shammu’ah), Shobab, and Nathan, named in 2 Sam 5:14; 1 Chron 3:5. When, in David’s old age, Adonijah, an elder son by Haggith, attempted to set aside in his own favor the succession promised to Solomon, Bath-sheba was employed by Nathan to inform the king of the conspiracy (1 Kings 1:11,15,23). After the accession of Solomon, she, as queen-mother, requested permission of her son for Adonijah (q.v.) to take in marriage Abishag (q.v.) the Shunamite. B.C. 1015. This permission was refused, and became the occasion of the execution of Adonijah (1 Kings 2:24,25). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
6) Rehoboam means enlarger of the people, the only son of Solomon, by the Ammonitish princess Naamah (1 Kings 14:21,31), and his successor (1 Kings 11:43). Rehoboam was born B.C. 1014, when Solomon was but twenty years old, and not yet anointed to the throne. His reign was noted for the splitting of the kinfdom continued to the end of both lines of monarchy. Rehoboam selected Shechem as the place of his coronation, probably as an act of concession to the Ephraimites, and perhaps in deference to the suggestions of those old and wise counsellors of his father whose advice he afterwards unhappily rejected. The people demanded a remission of the severe burdens imposed by Solomon, and Rehoboam promised them an answer in three days, during which time he consulted first his father’s counsellors, and then the young men “that were grown up with him and which stood before him,” whose answer shows how greatly during Solomon’s later years the character of the Jewish court had degenerated. Rejecting the advice of the elders to conciliate the people at the beginning of his reign, and so make them “his servants forever,” he returned as his reply, in the true spirit of an Eastern despot, the frantic bravado of his contemporaries, “My little finger shall be thicker than my father’s loins. . . I will add to your yoke; my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions”
Rehoboam assembled an army of 180,000 men from the two faithful tribes of Judah and Benjamin in the hope of reconquering Israel. The expedition, however, was forbidden by the prophet Shemaiah, who assured them that the separation of the kingdoms was in accordance with God’s will (1 Kings 12:24). Still, during Rehoboam’s lifetime peaceful relations between Israel and Judah were never restored (2 Chron 12:15; 1 Kings 14:30). The pure worship of God was maintained in Judah, and the Levites and many pious Israelites from the North, vexed at the calf-idolatry introduced by Jeroboam at Dan and Bethel, in imitation of the Egyptian worship of Mnevis, came and settled in the southern kingdom and added to its power. But Rehoboam did not check the introduction of heathen abominations into his capital. The lascivious worship of Ashtoreth was allowed to exist by the side of the true religion (an inheritance of evil doubtless left by Solomon), “images” (of Baal and his fellow-divinities) were set up, and the worst immoralities were tolerated (1 Kings 14:22-24). He died B.C. 956, after a reign of seventeen years, having ascended the throne at the age of forty-one (1 Kings 14:21: 2 Chron 12:13). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
7) ABIJAH – The second king of the separate kingdom of Judah, being the son of Rehoboam, and grandson of Solomon (1 Chron 3:10). He began to reign B.C. 956, in the eighteenth year of Jeroboam, king of Israel, and he reigned three years (2 Chron 12:16; 13:1,2). At the commencement of his reign, looking on the well-founded separation of the ten tribes from the house of David as rebellion, Abijah made a vigorous attempt to bring them back to their allegiance (2 Chron 13:3-19). In this he failed. In the book of Kings we are told that “he walked in all the sins of his father” (1 Kings 15:3). He had fourteen wives, by whom he left twenty-two sons and sixteen daughters (2 Chron 13:20-22). Asa succeeded him (2 Chron 14:1; Matt 1:7). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
8) ASA – The son of Abijah, grandson of Rehoboam, and third king of the separate kingdom of Judah (1 Kings 15:2 Chron 14-16; Matt 1:7,8). He began to reign two years before the death of Jeroboam, in Israel, and he reigned forty-one years ( B.C. 953-912). As Asa was very young at his accession, the affairs of the government were administered by his mother, or, according to some (comp. 1 Kings 15:1,10), his grandmother Maachah, who is understood to have been a granddaughter of Absalom. But the young king, on assuming the reins of government; was conspicuous for his earnestness in supporting the worship of God, and rooting out idolatry with its attendant immoralities, and for the vigor and wisdom with which he provided for the prosperity of his kingdom. In his zeal against heathenism he did not spare his grandmother Maachah. She had set up some impure worship in a grove but Asa burnt the symbol of her religion, and threw its ashes into the brook Kidron, as Moses had done to the golden calf (Ex 32:20), and then deposed Maachah from her dignity.
Toward the latter end of his reign (the numbers in 2 Chron 15:19, and 16:1, ) the king failed to maintain the character he had thus acquired. At his death, however, it appeared that his popularity had not been substantially impaired, for he was honored with a funeral of unusual cost and magnificence (2 Chron 16:11-14; with which 1 Kings 15:24, does not conflict). He was succeeded by his son Jehoshaphat. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
9) JEHOSHAPHAT – The fourth separate king of Judah, being son of Asa (by Azubah, the daughter of Shilhi), whom he succeeded at the age of thirty-five and reigned twenty-five years, B.C. 912-887 (1 Kings 22:41,42; 2 Chron 20:31). He commenced his reign by fortifying his kingdom against Israel (2 Chron 17:1,2); and, having thus secured himself against surprise from the quarter which gave most disturbance to him, he proceeded to cleanse the land from the idolatries and idolatrous monuments by which it was still tainted (1 Kings 22:43). Even the high places and groves which former well-disposed kings had suffered to remain were by the zeal of Jehoshaphat in a great measure destroyed (2 Chron 17:6), although not altogether (2 Chron 20:33). In the third year of his reign, chiefs, with priests and Levites, proceeded from town to town, with the book of the Law in their hands, instructing the people, and calling back their wandering affections to the religion of their fathers (2 Chron 17:7-9). The results of this fidelity to the principles of the theocracy were, that at home he enjoyed peace and abundance and abroad security and honor. His treasuries were filled with the “presents” which the blessing of God upon the people, “in their basket and their store,” enabled them to bring. His renown extended into the neighboring nations, and the Philistines, as well as the adjoining Arabian tribes, paid him rich tributes in silver and in cattle. He was thus enabled to put all his towns in good condition, to erect fortresses, to organize a powerful army, and to raise his kingdom to a degree of importance and splendor which it had not enjoyed since the revolt of the ten tribes (2 Chron 17:10-19). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
10) JEHORAM – The eldest son and successor of Jehoshaphat, and fifth king on the separate throne of Judah, who began to reign (alone) at the age of thirty-six years, and reigned three years, B.C. 887-884. It is indeed said in the general account (2 Chron 21:5,20; 2 Kings 8:16) that he began to reign at the age of thirty-two and that he reigned eight years; but the conclusions deducible from the fact that his reign began in the fifth year of Jehoram, king of Israel (2 Kings 8:16), show that the reign thus stated dates back three years into the reign of his father, who from this is seen to have associated his eldest son with him in the later years of his reign, as, indeed, is expressly stated in this last cited passage.
Jehoram was unhappily been married to Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, and her influence seems to have neutralized all the good he might have derived from the example of his father. One of the first acts of his reign was to put his six brothers to death and seize the valuable appanages which their father had in his lifetime bestowed upon them. After this we are not surprised to find him giving way to the gross idolatries of that new and strange kind the Phoenician which had been brought into Israel by Jezebel and into Judah by her daughter Athaliah. For these atrocities the Lord let forth his anger against Jehoram and his kingdom. At length the Philistines on one side, and the Arabians and Cushites on the other, grew bold against a king forsaken of God, and in repeated invasions spoiled the land of all its substance; they even ravaged the royal palaces, and took away the wives and children of the king, leaving him only one son, Ahaziah. Nor was this all: Jehoram was in his last days afflicted with a frightful disease in his bowels, which, from the terms employed in describing it, appears to have been malignant dysentery in its most shocking and tormenting form. After a disgraceful reign and a most painful death, public opinion inflicted the posthumous dishonor of refusing him a place in the sepulchre of the kings. Jehoram was by far the most impious and cruel tyrant that had as yet occupied the throne of Judah, though he was rivalled or surpassed by some of his successors (2 Kings 8:16-24; 2 Chron 21:1). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
11) There are a number of Kings who have been left out here, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, and Amaziah
UZZIAH – The tenth king of the separate kingdom of Judah, B.C. 808-756. After the murder of Amaziah, his son Uzziah was chosen by the people to occupy the vacant throne, at the age of sixteen; and for the greater part of his reign of fifty-two years he lived in the fear of God, and showed himself a wise, active, and pious ruler. He began his reign by a successful expedition against his father’s enemies, the Edomites, who had revolted from Judah in Jehoram’s time, eighty years before. He strengthened the walls of Jerusalem at their weakest-point’s, furnished them with formidable engines of war, and equipped an army of 307, 500 men with the best inventions of military art. He was also a great patron of agriculture, dug wells, built towers in, the wilderness for the protection of the flocks, and cultivated rich vineyards and arable land on his own account. He never deserted the worship of the true God, and was much influenced by Zechariah, a prophet who is only mentioned in connection with him (2 Chron 26:5); for, as he probably died before Uzziah. The end of Uzziah was less prosperous than his beginning. Elated with his splendid career, he determined to burn incense on the altar of God, but was opposed by the high-priest Azariah and eighty others. (See Ex 30:7,8; Num 16:40; 18:7.) The king was enraged at their resistance, and, as he pressed forward with his censer, was suddenly smitten with leprosy. In 2 Kings 15:5 we are merely told that “the Lord smote the king, so that he was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in several house; but his invasion of the priestly office is not specified. This catastrophe compelled Uzziah to reside outside the city, so that the kingdom was administered till his death by his son, Jotham as regent. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
12) JOTHAM – The eleventh king of the separate kingdom of Judah, and son of Uzziah (by Jerusha, daughter of Zadok), whom he succeeded B.C. 756; he reigned sixteen years. His father having during his last years been excluded by leprosy from public life, the government was administered by his son, at that time twenty-five years of age (2 Chron 26:21,23: 27:1; 2 Kings 15:33). Jotham profited by the experience which the reign of his father, and of the kings who preceded him, afforded, and he ruled in the fear of God, although he was unable to correct all the corrupt practices into which the people had fallen. His sincere intentions were rewarded with a prosperous reign. He was successful in his wars. The Ammonites, who had “given gifts” as a sort of tribute to Uzziah, but had ceased to do so after his leprosy had incapacitated him from governing, were constrained by Jotham, but not till several years after he had become settled as sole monarch, to pay, for the three remaining years of his reign, a heavy tribute in silver, wheat, and barley (2 Chron 26:8; 27:5,6). Many important public works were also undertaken and accomplished by Jotham. The principal gate of the Temple was rebuilt by him on a more magnificent scale; the quarter of Ophel, in Jerusalem, was strengthened by new fortifications; various towns were built or rebuilt in the mountains of Judah; and castles and towers of defense were erected in the wilderness. Jotham died greatly lamented by his people, and was buried in the sepulchre of the kings (2 Kings 15:38; 2 Chron 17:3,9). B.C. 740. His reign was favored with the ministrations of the prophets Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah (Isa 1:1; 7:1; Hos 1:1; Mic 1:1). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
13) AHAZ – The son and successor of Jotham, being the twelfth king of the separate kingdom of Judah, who reigned fourteen years, B.C. 740-726 (besides two years as viceroy under his father). In 2 Kings 16:2, he is said to have ascended the throne at the age of 20 years. At the time of his accession, Rezin, king of Damascus, and Pekah, king of Israel, had recently formed a league against Judah, and they proceeded to lay siege to Jerusalem, intending to place on the throne Ben-Tabeal, who was not a prince of the royal family of Judah, but probably a Syrian noble. Upon this the prophet Isaiah, full of zeal for God and patriotic loyalty to the house of David, hastened to give advice and encouragement to Ahaz , and it was probably owing to the spirit of energy and religious devotion which he poured into his counsels that the allies failed in their attack on Jerusalem. the Edomites , attacked and wasted the east part of Judah, while the Philistines invaded the west and south. The weak-minded and helpless Ahaz sought deliverance from these numerous troubles by appealing to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, who freed him from his most formidable enemies by invading Syria, taking Damascus, killing Rezin, and depriving Israel of its northern and Transjordanic districts. But Ahaz had to purchase this help at a costly price: he became tributary to Tiglath-pileser, sent him all the treasures of the Temple and his own palace, and even appeared before him in Damascus as a vassal. He also ventured to seek for safety in heathen ceremonies, despite the admonitions of Isaiah, Hosea, and Micah; making his son pass through the fire to Moloch, consulting wizards and necromancers (Isa 8:19), sacrificing to the Syrian gods, introducing a foreign 7) altar from Damascus, and probably the worship of the heavenly bodies from Assyria and Babylon, as he would seem to have set up the horses of the sun mentioned in 2 Kings 23:11; and “the altars on the top (or roof) of the upper chamber of Ahaz” (2 Kings 23:12) were connected with the adoration of the stars. The worship of Jehovah became neglected, and the Temple at length altogether closed.. He died at the age of fifty years, and his body was refused a burial in the royal sepulcher (2 Kings 16, and 2 Chron 28; Isa 7:1). He was succeeded by his son Hezekiah (see Simeon’s Works, 4, 177). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
14) HEZEKIAH – whom Jehovah has strengthened, The thirteenth king of the separate kingdom of Judah, son of Ahaz, born B.C. 751-750 (2 Kings 18:2), and his father’s successor on the throne for twenty-nine years, B.C. 726-697.
The history of Hezekiah’s reign is contained in 2 Kings 18:20; Isa 36:1-39:8, and 2 Chron 29-32, illustrated by contemporary prophecies of Isaiah and Micah. He is represented as a great and good king (2 Kings 18:5,6), who set himself, immediately on his accession, to abolish idolatry, and restore the worship of Jehovah, which had been neglected during the careless and idolatrous reign of his father. This consecration was accompanied by a revival of the theocratic spirit, so strict as not even to spare “the high places,” which, though tolerated by many well-intentioned kings, had naturally been profaned by the worship of images and Asherahs (2 Kings 18:4
The history of this Reformation, commenced with the cleansing of the Temple “in the first month” of Hezekiah’s first year, i.e. in the month Nisan next after his accession, and was followed in the next month (because at the regular season neither Levites nor Temple were in a due state of preparation) by a great Passover, extended to fourteen days, to which not only all Judah was summoned, but also the “remnant” of the Ten Tribes, some of whom accepted the invitation. Some writers contend that this passover must have been subsequent to the fall of Samaria, alleging that the mention of the “remnant” (2 Chron 30:6) is unsuitable to an earlier period, and that, while the kingdom of Samaria still subsisted, Hezekiah’s messengers would not have been suffered to pass through the land, much less would the destruction of the high places in Ephraim and Manasseh have been permitted (2 Chron 31:1). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
It is during the reign of Hezekiah that the Kingdom of Israel is taken into captivity by Assyria in 722-721 BC.
15) MANASSEH – The only son and successor of Hezekiah on the throne of Judah. He was twelve years old when he began to reign (2 Kings 21:1), and he reigned fifty-five years (698 B.C. – 643 B.C.). Though he reigned so long, yet comparatively little is known of this king. His reign was a continuation of that of Ahaz, both in religion and national polity. He early fell under the influence of the heathen court circle, and his reign was characterized by a sad relapse into idolatry with all its vices, showing that the reformation under his father had been to a large extent only superficial (Isa 7:10; 2 Kings 21:10-15). A systematic and persistent attempt was made, and all too successfully, to banish the worship of Jehovah out of the land. Amid this wide-spread idolatry there were not wanted, however, faithful prophets (Isaiah, Micah) who lifted up their voice in reproof and in warning. But their fidelity only aroused bitter hatred, and a period of cruel persecution against all the friends of the old religion began. Manasseh has been called the “Nero of Palestine.”
Esarhaddon, Sennacherib’s successor on the Assyrian throne, who had his residence in Babylon for thirteen years (the only Assyrian monarch who ever reigned in Babylon), took Manasseh prisoner (681 B.C.) to Babylon. Such captive kings were usually treated with great cruelty. They were brought before the conqueror with a hook or ring passed through their lips or their jaws, having a cord attached to it, by which they were led. This is referred to in 2 Chron 33:11, “took Manasseh in chains;” or literally, as in the margin, “with hooks.” (Comp. 2 Kings 19:28.)
The severity of Manasseh’s imprisonment brought him to repentance. God heard his cry, and he was restored to his kingdom (2 Chron 33:11-13). He abandoned his idolatrous ways, and enjoined the people to worship Jehovah; but there was no thorough reformation. After a lengthened reign extending through fifty-five years, the longest in the history of Judah, he died, and was buried in the garden of Uzza, the “garden of his own house” (2 Kings 21:17,18; 2 Chron 33:20), and not in the city of David, among his ancestors. He was succeeded by his son Amon. (from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
16) AMON – The son of Manasseh (by Meshullemeth the daughter of Haruz of Jotbah), and fifteenth separate king of Judah, B.C. 642-640. He appears to have derived little benefit from the instructive example which the sin, punishment, and repentance of his father offered; for he restored idolatry, and again set up the images which Manasseh had cast down. To Amon’s reign we must refer the terrible picture which the prophet Zephaniah gives of the moral and religious state of Jerusalem; idolatry supported by priests and prophets (1:4; 3:4), the poor ruthlessly oppressed (3:3), and shameless indifference to evil (3:11). He was assassinated in a court conspiracy; but the people put the regicides to death, and raised to the throne his son Josiah, then but eight years old (2 Kings 21:18-26; 2 Chron 33:20-25). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
17) JOSIAH – , healed by Jehovah, The sixteenth king of Judah after its separation from the kingdom of Israel, the son (by Jedidah) and, at the early age of eight years, B.C. 640, the successor of Amon (2 Kings 22:1; 2 Chron 33:1). His history is contained in 2 Kings 22-24; 2 Chron 34; 35; and the first twelve chapters of Jeremiah throw much light upon the general character of the Jews in his days. Avoiding the example of his immediate predecessors, he “did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, and walked in all the ways of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left” (2 Kings 22:2; 2 Chron 34:2).
As early as the sixteenth year of his age (B.C. 633) he began to manifest that enmity to idolatry in all its forms which distinguished his character and reign; and he was not quite twenty years old (B.C. 628) when he proclaimed open war against it, although more or less favored by many men of rank and influence in the kingdom (2 Chron 34:3). He then commenced a thorough purification of the land from all taint of idolatry. by going about and superintending in person the operations of the men who were employed in breaking down idolatrous altars and images, and cutting down the groves which had been consecrated to idol worship. His detestation of idolatry could not have been more strongly expressed than by ransacking the sepulchres of the idolatrous priests of former days, and consuming their bones upon the idol altars before they were overturned. Yet this operation, although unexampled in Jewish history, was foretold 345 years before Josiah was born by the prophet who was commissioned to denounce to Jeroboam the future punishment of his sin. He even named Josiah as the person by whom this act was to be performed, and said that it should be performed in Beth-el, which was then a part of the kingdom of Israel (1 Kings 13:2). All this seemed much beyond the range of human probabilities; but it was performed to the letter, for Josiah did not confine his proceedings to his own kingdom, but went over a considerable part of the neighboring kingdom of Israel, which then lay comparatively desolate, with the same object in view; and at Beth-el, in particular, executed all that the prophet had foretold (2 Kings 22:1-19; 2 Chron 34:3-7,32). In these proceedings Josiah seems to have been actuated by an absolute hatred of idolatry, such as no other king since David had manifested, and which David had scarcely occasion to manifest in the same degree. So important was this reformation of the public cults under Josiah that it forms an epoch whence Jeremiah dates many of his prophecies (Jer 25:3,11,29).
In the eighteenth year of his reign and the twenty-sixth of his age (B.C. 623), when the land had been thoroughly purified from idolatry and all that belonged to it, Josiah proceeded to repair and beautify the Temple of the Lord (2 Kings 22:3; 23:23). In the course of this pious labor the high priest Hilkiah discovered in the sanctuary a volume, which proved to contain the books of Moses, and which, from the terms employed, seems to have been considered the original of the law as written by Moses. But it may be observed that it is founded very much on the fact that the king was greatly astonished when some parts of the law were read to him. It is indeed perfectly manifest that he had previously been entirely ignorant of much that he then heard; and he rent his clothes in consternation when he found that, with the best intentions to serve the Lord, he and all his people had been living in the neglect of duties which the law declared to be of vital importance. It is certainly difficult to account for this ignorance. Some suppose that all the copies of the law had perished, and that the king had never seen one. But this is very unlikely; for. however scarce complete copies may have been, the pious king was likely to have been the possessor of one. The probability seems to be that the passages read were those awful denunciations against disobedience with which the book of Deuteronomy concludes, and which, for some cause or other, the king had never before read, or which had never before produced on his mind the same strong conviction of the imminent dangers under which the nation lay, as now when read to him from a volume invested with a character so venerable, and brought with such interesting circumstances under his notice.
The king, in his alarm, sent to Huldah “the prophetess” for her counsel in this emergency, her answer assured him that, although the dread penalties threatened by the law had been incurred and would be inflicted, he should be gathered in peace to his fathers before the days of punishment and sorrow came.
It was perhaps not without some hope of averting this doom that the king immediately called the people together at Jerusalem, and engaged them in a solemn renewal of the ancient covenant with God. When this had been done, the Passover was celebrated with careful attention to the directions given in the law, and on a scale of unexampled magnificence. (On the public importance of this era, see Ezek 1:1,2.) But all was too late; the hour of mercy had passed; for “the Lord turned not from the fierceness of his great wrath, wherewith his anger was kindled against Judah” (2 Kings 22:3-20; 23:21-27; 2 Chron 34:8-33; 35:1-19).
That removal from the world which had been promised to Josiah as a blessing was not long delayed, and was brought about in a way which he probably had not expected. Pharaoh-necho, king of Egypt, sought a passage through his territories on an expedition against the Chaldaeans; but Josiah refused to allow the march of the Egyptian army through his dominions, and prepared to resist the attempt by force of arms. The appearance of the Hebrew army at Megiddo, however, brought on a battle, in which the king of Judah, although disguised for security, was so desperately wounded by a random arrow that his attendants removed him from the war chariot and placed him in another, in which he was taken to Jerusalem, where he died, after a reign of thirty-one years. B.C. 609. No king that reigned in Israel was ever more deeply lamented by all his subjects than Josiah. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
18) JEHOIACHIN – (Heb. Yehoyakin’, Jehovah appointed; son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, by Nehushta, daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem; he succeeded his father as the nineteenth monarch of that separate kingdom, but only for three months and ten days, B.C. 598. He was then eighteen years of age according to 2 Kings 24:8
Jehoiachin followed the evil courses which had already brought so much disaster upon the royal house of David and upon the people under its sway. He seems to have very speedily indicated a political bias adverse to the interests of the Chaldaean empire, for in three months after his accession we find the generals of Nebuchadnezzar again laying siege to Jerusalem, according to the predictions of Jeremiah (Jer 22:24-30). Jerusalem at this time was quite defenseless and unable to offer any resistance to the regular army which Nebuchadnezzar sent to besiege it in the eighth year of his reign and which he seems to have joined in person after the siege was commenced (2 Kings 24:10,11). In a very short time, apparently, and without any losses from famine or fighting which would indicate a serious resistance, Jehoiachin surrendered at discretion; and he, and the queen mother, and all his servants, captains, and officers, came out and gave themselves up to Nebuchadnezzar, who treated them, with the harem and the eunuchs, as prisoners of war (Jer 29:2; Ezek 17:12; 19:9). He was sent away as a captive to Babylon, with his mother, his generals, and his troops, together with the artificers and other inhabitants of Jerusalem, to the number of ten thousand. (This number, found in 2 Kings 24:14, is probably a round number, made up of the 7000 soldiers of verse 16 and the 3023 nobles of Jer 52:28, exclusive of the 1000 artificers mentioned in 2 Kings 24:16. Among these was the prophet Ezekiel. Few were left but the poorer sort of people and the unskilled laborers; few indeed, whose presence could be useful in Babylon or dangerous in Palestine. The Babylonian king neglect to remove the treasures which could yet be gleaned from the palace or the Temple and he now made spoil of those sacred vessels of gold which had been spared on former occasions. These were cut up for present use of the metal or for more convenient transport, whereas those formerly taken had been sent to Babylon entire and there laid up as trophies of victory. If the Chaldaean king had then put an end to the show of a monarchy and annexed the country to his own dominions, the event would probably have been less unhappy for the nation; but, still adhering to his former policy, he placed on the throne Mattaniah, the only surviving son of Josiah, whose name he changed to Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:11-16; 2 Chron 36:9,10; Jer 37:1). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
19) Babylonian captivity – Nebuchadnezzar, early in his reign, B.C. 606-562, repeatedly invaded Judea, and finally besieged Jerusalem, carried away the inhabitants to Babylon, and destroyed the city and Temple. The two principal deportations were, (1) that which took place B.C. 598, when Jehoiachin, with all the nobles, soldiers, and artificers were carried away; and (2) that which followed the destruction of the Temple and the capture of Zedekiah, B.C. 588.
In 2 Kings 24:8-16, we find 18,000 carried off at once, in the third month of king Jehoiachin, and in the eighth year of Nebuchadnezzar. After this, the vassal king Zedekiah having rebelled, his city is beleaguered, and finally, in his eleventh year, is reduced by Nebuchadnezzar in person; and in the course of the same year, “the nineteenth of Nebuchadnezzar” (2 Kings 25:8), Nebuzaradan carries away all the population except the peasants. The first expatriation was directed to swell the armies and strengthen the towns of the conqueror; for of the 18,000 then carried away, 1000 were “craftsmen and smiths, all strong and apt for war,” and 7000 of the rest are called “mighty men of valor.” (Yet there is an uncertainty about verses 14 and 16 in 2 Kings 24. Probably here, as well as in Jeremiah 53, heads of families only are counted.) It was not until the rebellion of Zedekiah that Nebuchadnezzar proceeded to the extremity of breaking up the national existence. As the Temple was then burnt, with all the palaces and the city walls, and no government was left but that of the Babylonian satrap.
The captives were treated not as slaves, but as colonists. There was nothing to hinder a Jew from rising to the highest eminence in the state (Dan 2:48), or holding the most confidential office near the person of the king (Neh 1:11; Tob 1:13,22). The advice of Jeremiah (Jer 29:5, etc.) was generally followed. The exiles increased in numbers and in wealth. They observed the Mosaic law (Est 3:8; Tob 14:9). They kept up distinctions of rank among themselves (Ezek 20:1). It is certain that they at least preserved their genealogical tables, and were at no loss to tell who was the rightful heir to David’s throne. They had neither place nor time of national gathering; no temple, and they offered no sacrifice. But the rite of circumcision, and their laws respecting food, etc., were observed; their priests were with them (Jer 29:1); and possibly the practice of erecting synagogues in every city (Acts 15:21) was begun by the Jews in the Babylonian captivity. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
20) SHEALTIEL – asked of God; the son of Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin, king of Judah, and father of Zorobabel, according to Matt 1:12, but son of Neri (Neriah) and father of Zorobabel (Zerubbabel) according to Luke 3:27; while the genealogy in 1 Chron 3:17-19 leaves it doubtful whether he is the son of Assir or Jechoniah, and makes Zerubbabel his nephew. The truth seems to be that he was the son of the captive prince Jechoniah, or Jehoiachin (for the prophecy in Jer 22:30 seems only to mean that he should have no successor on the throne), by a daughter of Neri, or Neriah, of the private line of David; and that having himself no heir, he adopted his nephew Zerubbabel, or perhaps was the father of this last by his deceased brother’s widow. B.C. cir. 580. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
21) ZERUBBABEL – sown in Babylon; the head of the tribe of Judah at the time of the return from the Babylonian captivity in the first year of Cyrus. B.C. 536. ” On the issuing of Cyrus’s decree, he immediately availed himself of it, and placed himself at the head of those of his countrymen “whose spirit God had raised to go up to build the house of the Lord which is in Jerusalem.” It is probable that he was in the king of Babylon’s service, both from- his having, like Daniel and the three children, received a Ghaldee name (Sheshbazzar), and from’ his receiving from Cyrus the office of governor of Judaea. The restoration of the sacred vessels which Nebuchadnezzar had brought from the Temple having been effected, and copious presents of silver and gold and, goods and beasts having been bestowed upon the captives, Zerubbabel went forth at the head of the returning colony, accompanied by Jeshua the high-priest, and perhaps by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah, and a considerable number of priests, Levites, and heads of houses of Judah and Benjamin, with their followers. On arriving at Jerusalem, Zerubbabel’s first care was to build the altar on its old site, and to restore the daily sacrifice. Perhaps, also, they kept the Feast of Tabernacles, as it is said they did in Ezra 3:4. But his great work, which he set about immediately, was the rebuilding of the Temple. Being armed with a grant from Cyrus of timber and stone for the building, and of money for the expenses of the builders (Ezra 6:4), he had collected the materials, including cedar-trees brought from Lebanon to Joppa, according to the precedent in the time of Solomon (2 Chron 2:16), and got together masons and carpenters to do the work by the opening of, the second year of their return to Jerusalem. Accordingly, in the second month of: the second year of their return, the foundation of the Temple was laid with all the pomp which they could command: — the priests in their vestments with trumpets, and the sons of Asaph with cymbals, singing the very same psalm of praise for God’s unfailing mercy to Israel which was sung when Solomon dedicated his Temple (5:11-14); while the people responded with a great shout of joy “because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.” At his bidding the daily sacrifice had been restored after a cessation of half a century, and now the foundations of the Temple were actually laid, amid the songs of the Levites singing according to David’s ordinance, and the shouts’ of the tribe of Judah. It was a heart-stirring situation; and, despite all the discouragements attending it, we cannot doubt that Zerubbabel’s faith and hope were kindled by it into fresh life.
But there were many hindrances and delays to be encountered before the work was finished. The Samaritans put in a claim to join with the Jews in rebuilding the Temple; and when Zerubbabel and his companions refused to admit them into partnership, they tried to hinder them from building, and hired counselors to frustrate their purpose. They were successful in putting a stop to the work during the seven remaining years of Cyrus, and through the eight years of Cambyses and Smerdis.
( in Hag 1:4, and 1 Kings 7:3,7). They had, in fact, ceased to care for the, desolation of the Temple (Hag 1:2-4), and had not noticed that God was rebuking their luke warmness by withholding his blessing from their labors (ver. 5-11). But in the second year of Darius light dawned upon the darkness of the colony from Babylon.. In that year-it was the: most memorable event in Zerubbabel’s life-the spirit of prophecy suddenly blazed up with a most brilliant light among the returned captives; and the long silence which was to ensue till the ministry of John the Baptist was preceded by the stirring utterances of-Haggai and Zechariah. Their words fell like sparks upon tinder. In a moment Zerubbabel, roused from his apathy, threw his whole strength into the work, zealously seconded by Jeshua and all the people. Undeterred by a fresh attempt of their enemies to hinder the progress of the building, they went on with the work even while a reference was made to Darius; and when, after ‘the original decree of Cyrus had been found at Ecbatana, a most gracious and favorable decree was issued by- Darius, enjoining Tatnai and Shetharboznai to assist the Jews with whatsoever they had need of at the king’s expense, the work advanced so rapidly that on the third day of the month Adar, in the sixth year of Darius, the; Temple was finished, and was forthwith dedicated with much pomp and rejoicing.
The other works of Zerubbabel which we learn from the Scripture history are the restoration of the courses of priests and Levites, and of the provision for their maintenance, according to the institution of David (Ezra 6:18; Neh 12:47); — the registering of the returned captives according to their genealogies (7:5); and the keeping of a Passover in the seventh year of Darius, with which last event ends all that we know of the life of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
22) ABIHUD – The great-great-grandson of Zerubbabel, and father of Eliakim, among the paternal ancestry of Jesus (Matt 1:13, where the name is Anglicized “Aliud”); (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
23) Christ is the Greek form of the Hebrew Messiah. Both of these words mean the anointed one, or the chosen one.
24) Engagement – A man and woman were betrothed, each to the other, when they were engaged to be married. Among the Hebrews this relation was usually determined by the parents or brothers, without consulting the parties until they came to be betrothed. The engagement took place very early, as is still the case in Oriental countries, though it was not consummated by actual marriage until the spouse was at least twelve years of age. The betrothing was performed a year or more before the marriage, either in writing, or by a piece of silver given to the espoused before witnesses, as a pledge of their mutual engagements. Sometimes a regular contract was made, in which the bridegroom always bound himself to give a certain sum as a portion to his bride. From the time of espousal, however, the woman was considered as the lawful wife of the man to whom she was betrothed: the engagement could not be ended by the man without a bill of divorce; nor could she be unfaithful without being considered an adulteress. Thus Mary, after she was betrothed to Joseph, might, according to the rigor of the law, have been punished if the angel of the Lord had not acquainted Joseph with the mystery of the incarnation. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
25) Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Joshua or Yeshua. It means the Lord saves.
26) Immanuel is note to be the name of the child, it is a description of what the child is. It is made up of three Hebrew words; imman means us, u means with, and el is God. God with us.
27) HEROD – Antony took Herod under his protection, and, seeing that he might prove useful to him, obtained a decree of the senate appointing him king of Judaea. These events took place in B.C. 40. He died a few days before the Passover, B.C. 4.
Though technically Jewish by birth, since his family was from the Idumeans (Edomites), who had been forcibly converted to Judaism under the Hasmonean Maccabees in the second century B.C.E., neither his religious behavior nor his ethics reflected anything of Judaism. He did, however, reconstruct and enlarge the Second Temple, which had been built under Zarubbabel in 520 B.C. – 516 B.C.
Herod was consistently paranoid about his power. He had all his rivals exterminated, including those of his wife’s family (he had married Mariamne, a Hasmonean, and feared the restoration of the Hasmonean dynasty) and even some of his own children (he had fifteen). He built remote fortresses, Herodion and Masada, as refuges should he be deposed. The events described in 2:1-17 are entirely in keeping with the man’s independently attested character.(from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.) (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
28) MAGI – The term magi was used as the name for priests and wise men among the Medes, Persians, and Babylonians. While the priests and literati were known by the general name of magi, they were also known by the name of wise men, and likewise Chaldaeans (Isa 44:52; Jer 1; 35; Dan 2:12-27; 4:6,18; 5; 7; 11; 12, 15). To their number doubtless belonged the astrologers and star-gazers (Isa 47:13). So, also, the Chaldee soothsayers and dream-interpreters either denote various orders of magi, or they are merely different names of the same general class (Dan 1:20; 2:2; 10:27; 4:7; 5:7, 11). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
29) His star. This seems to allude to Numbers 24:17, where Balaam prophesies, “There shall come forth a star out of Jacob.” Judaism understands this “star” to be the Messiah. (from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
30) Gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Visits were seldom paid to sovereigns without a present. “Frankincense” was an aromatic used in sacrificial offerings; “myrrh” was used in perfuming ointments. These, with the gold which they presented, seem to show that the offerers were persons in affluent circumstances. That the gold was presented to the infant King in token of His royalty; the frankincense in token of His divinity, and the myrrh, of his sufferings; or that they were designed to express His divine and human natures; or that the prophetic, priestly, and kingly offices of Christ are to be seen in these gifts; or that they were the offerings of three individuals respectively, each of them kings, the very names of whom tradition has handed down;-all these are, at the best, precarious suppositions. But that the feelings of these devout givers are to be seen in the richness of their gifts, and that the gold, at least, would be highly serviceable to the parents of the blessed Babe in their unexpected journey to Egypt and stay there-thus much at least admits of no dispute. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
31) Under cover of darkness, Joseph obeyed, and his family left Bethlehem and journeyed into Egypt. Why Egypt? The Messiah was sent to and returned from Egypt so that the prophet’s words, Out of Egypt I called My Son, might be fulfilled. This is a reference to Hos 11:1, which does not seem to be a prophecy in the sense of a prediction. Hosea was writing of God’s calling Israel out of Egypt into the Exodus. Matthew, however, gave new understanding to these words. Matthew viewed this experience as Messiah being identified with the nation. There were similarities between the nation and the Son. Israel was God’s chosen “son” by adoption (Ex 4:22), and Jesus is the Messiah, God’s Son. In both cases the descent into Egypt was to escape danger, and the return was important to the nation’s providential history. While Hosea’s statement was a historical reference to Israel’s deliverance, Matthew related it more fully to the call of the Son, the Messiah, from Egypt. In that sense, as Matthew “heightened” Hosea’s words to a more significant event – the Messiah’s return from Egypt – they were “fulfilled.” (from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
32) Archelaus, one of Herod’s surviving sons, exhibited his father’s worst flaws and was also a bad ruler. That his mother was a *Samaritan surely also failed to commend him to his Jewish subjects. His rule was unstable, and the Romans ultimately deposed him and banished him to Gaul (France). (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
33) The fact that the family moved to Nazareth was once again said to be in fulfillment of prophecy (Matt 2:23). However, the words He will be called a Nazarene, were not directly spoken by any Old Testament prophet, though several Prophecies come close to this expression. Isaiah said the Messiah would be “from [Jesse’s] roots” like “a Branch” (Isa 11:1). “Branch” is the Hebrew word neser, which has consonants like those in the word “Nazarene” and which carry the idea of having an insignificant beginning.
Since Matthew used the plural prophets, perhaps his idea was not based on a specific prophecy but on the idea that appeared in a number of prophecies concerning Messiah’s despised character. Nazareth was the town which housed the Roman garrison for the northern regions of Galilee. Therefore most Jews would not have any associations with that city. In fact those who lived in Nazareth were thought of as compromisers who consorted with the enemy, the Romans. Therefore to call one “a Nazarene” was to use a term of contempt. So because Joseph and his family settled in Nazareth, the Messiah was later despised and considered contemptible in the eyes of many in Israel. This was Nathanael’s reaction when he heard Jesus was from Nazareth (John 1:46): “Can anything good come from there?” This concept fit several Old Testament prophecies that speak of the lowly character of the Messiah (e.g., Isa 42:1-4). Also the term “Nazarene” would have reminded Jewish readers of the similar-sounding word “Nazirite” (Num 6:1-21). Jesus was more devoted to God than the Nazirites. (from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
34) JOHN THE BAPTIST – was of the priestly race by both parents, for his father Zacharias was himself a priest of the family of Abijah, offering incense at the very time when a son was promised to him; and Elizabeth was of the daughters of Aaron (Luke 1:5), the latter relative of Mary, the mother of Jesus, whose senior John was by a period of six months (Luke 1). Both parents, too, were devout persons, walking in the commandments of God and waiting for the fulfillment of his promise to Israel. The divine mission of John was the subject of prophecy many centuries before his birth, for Matt 3:3 tells us that it was John who was prefigured by Isaiah as “the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight” (Isa 40:3), while by the prophet Malachi the Spirit announces more definitely, “Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me” (Isa 3:1). His birth — a birth not according to the ordinary laws of nature, but through the miraculous interposition of Almighty power — was foretold by an angel sent from God, who announced it as an occasion of joy and gladness to many, and at the same time assigned to him the name of John, to signify either that he was to be born of God’s especial favor, or, perhaps, that he was to be the harbinger of grace. Elizabeth delivered a son, B.C. 6. The exact spot where John was born is not determined.
A single verse contains all that we know of John’s history for a space of thirty years, the whole period which elapsed between his birth and the commencement of his public ministry: “The child grew and waxed strong in the spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his showing unto Israel” (Luke 1:80). John it will be remembered, was ordained to be a Nazarite (see Num 6:1-21) from his birth, for the words of the angel were, “He shall drink neither wine nor strong drink” (Luke 1:15)
The very appearance of the holy Baptist was of itself a lesson to his countrymen; his dress was that of the old prophets — a garment woven of camel’s hair (2 Kings 1:8), attached to the body by a leathern girdle. His food was such as the desert spontaneously afforded — locusts (Lev 11:22) and wild honey (Ps 81:16) from the rock. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
35) John’s baptism – Not altogether a new rite, for it was the custom of the Jews to baptize proselytes to their religion; not an ordinance in itself conveying remission of sins, but rather a token and symbol of that repentance which was an indispensable condition of forgiveness through him whom John pointed out as “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world.” Still less did the baptism of John impart the grace of regeneration of a new spiritual life (Acts 19:3,4). This was to be the mysterious effect of baptism “with the Holy Ghost,” which was to be ordained by that “mightier one” whose coming he proclaimed. The preparatory baptism of John was a visible sign to the people, and a distinct acknowledgment by them that a hearty renunciation of sin and a real amendment of life were necessary for admission into the kingdom of heaven, which the Baptist proclaimed to be at hand. But the fundamental distinction between John’s baptism unto repentance and that baptism accompanied with the gift of the Holy Spirit which our Lord afterwards ordained is clearly marked by John himself (Matt 3:11,12). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
36) PHARISEES – The Qualfications for Menbership of the Pharisaic Association. — The most essential conditions which were enacted from everyone who wished to become a member of the Pharisaic association were two. Each candidate was required to promise in the presence of three members that —
(i) He would set apart all the sacred tithes on the produce of the land, and refrain from eating anything which had not been tithed, or about the tithing of which there was any doubt; and
(ii) He would scrupulously observe the most essential laws of purity which so materially affected the eating of food and all family affairs.(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
37) SADDUCEES – The Tenets and Practices of the Sadducees. — To apprehend duly the doctrines and usages of this sect, it must be borne in mind that the Sadducees were the aristocratic and conservative priestly party, who clung to their ancient prerogatives and resisted every innovation which the ever-shifting circumstances of the commonwealth demanded; while their opponents, the Pharisees, were the liberals, the representatives of the people their principle being so to develop and modify the Mosaic law as to adapt it to the requirements of the time, and to make the people at large realize that they were “a people of priests, a holy nation.” Thus,
standing immovably upon the ancient basis, the Sadducees, whose differences were at first chiefly political, afterwards extended these differences to doctrinal, legal, and ritual questions.(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
38) The sandals were tied and untied, and borne about by the lowest of the servants.
39) winnowing is an agricultural method developed by ancient cultures for separating grain from chaff. It is also used to remove weevils or other pests from stored grain. Threshing, the loosening of grain or seeds from the husks and straw, is the step in the chaff-removal process that comes before winnowing.
In its simplest form it involves throwing the mixture into the air so that the wind blows away the lighter chaff, while the heavier grains fall back down for recovery. Techniques included using a winnowing fan (a shaped basket shaken to raise the chaff) or using a tool (a winnowing fork or shovel) on a pile of harvested grain.
40) To fulfil all righteousness. That is, Every righteous ordinance: so I think the words should be translated; The following passage, quoted from Justin Martyr, will doubtless appear a strong vindication of this translation. “Christ was circumcised, and observed all the other ordinances of the law of Moses, not with a view to his own justification; but to fulfil the dispensation committed to him by the Lord, the God and Creator of all things.”-Wakefield. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
41) “Desert” or “wilderness” is also the symbol in Scripture of temptation, solitude, and persecution (Isa 27:10; 33:9). The figure is sometimes emblematical of spiritual things, as in Isa 41:19; also in Isa 32:15, where it refers to nations in which there was no knowledge of God or of divine truth, that they should be enlightened and made to produce fruit unto holiness. A desert is mentioned as the symbol of the Jewish Church and people, when they had forsaken their God (Isa 40:3); it is also spoken of with reference to the conversion of the Gentiles (Isa 35:1). The solitude of the desert is a subject often noticed (Job 38:26; Jer 9:2). The desert was considered the abode of evil spirits. or at least their occasional resort (Matt 12:43; Luke 11:24). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
42) DEVIL – This term signifies one who impugns another’s character for the purpose of injuring it, a slanderer, the arch enemy of man’s spiritual interest, whom the Jews represented as continually impugning the character of saints before God (comp. Job 1:6; Rev 12:10; Zech 3:1). with a reference to forensic usages. It is used with the article as a descriptive name of Satan, except that in John 6:70, it is applied to Judas (as “Satan’ to Peter in Matt 16:23), because they — the one permanently, and the other for the moment — were doing Satan’s work The name describes him as slandering God to man, and man to God. See DIABOLUS. a. The former work is, of course, a part of the great work of temptation to evil.(from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
43) [And when he had fasted forty days] It is remarkable that Moses, the great lawgiver of the Jews, previously to his receiving the law from God, fasted forty days in the mount; that Elijah, the chief of the prophets, fasted also forty days; and that Christ, the giver of the New Covenant, should act in the same way. Was not all this intended to show that God’s kingdom on earth was to be spiritual and divine?-that it should not consist in meat and drink, but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. Moses, Elijah, and our blessed Lord could fast forty days and forty nights, because they were in communion with God, and living a heavenly life. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
44) Jesus quotes from Deuteronomy 8:3. This is a reminder to the Jewish people that God cared for their ancestor as the wandered for 40 years in the wilderness. God provided for them manna to meet their daily needs as he promised he would. God had promised that he would send a savior for his people and for all people. Jesus is also telling us that he is the answer to all God’s promises.
45) Shortly after he had given his testimony to the Messiah, John’s public ministry was brought to a close. He had, at the beginning of it, condemned the hypocrisy and worldliness of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and he had now occasion to denounce the lust of a king. In daring disregard of the divine laws, Herod Antipas had taken to himself the wife of his brother Philip; and when John reproved him for this, as well as for other sins (Luke 3:19), Herod cast him into prison. Josephus, however, assigns a somewhat different cause for Herod’s act from that given in the Gospels: “Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod’s army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John that was called the Baptist; for Herod slew him, although he was a good man, and commanded the Jews to exercise virtue, both as to righteousness one towards another and piety towards God, and so to come to baptism. Now when others came in crowds about him — for they were greatly moved by hearing his words — Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion (for they seemed ready to do anything he should advise), thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it should be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod’s suspicious temper, to Machaerus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death” (Ant. 18, 5, 2). There is no contrariety between this account and that which is given in the New Testament. Both may be true: John was condemned in the mind of Herod on political grounds, as endangering his position, and executed on private and ostensible grounds, in order to gratify a malicious but powerful woman. The scriptural reason was but the pretext for carrying into effect the determination of Herod’s cabinet.
The event, indeed, proved that John was to Herod what Elijah had been to Ahab, and a prison was deemed too light a punishment for his boldness in asserting God’s law before the face of a king and a queen. Nothing but the death of the Baptist would satisfy the resentment of Herodias. Though foiled once, she continued to watch her opportunity, which at length arrived. A court festival was kept in honor of the king’s birthday. After supper the daughter of Herodias, came in and danced before the company, and so charmed was the king by her grace that he promised with an oath to give her whatsoever she should ask. Salome, prompted by her abandoned mother, demanded the head of John the Baptist. The promise had been given in the hearing of his distinguished guests, and so Herod, though loath to be made the instrument of so bloody a work, gave instructions to an officer of his guard, who went and executed John in the prison, and his head was brought to feast the eyes of the adulteress whose sins he had denounced. According to the Scripture account, the daughter of Herodias obtained the Baptist’s head at the entertainment, without delay. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
46) PETER – was the son of a man named Jonas (Matt 16:17; John 1:43; 21:16), and was brought up in his father’s occupation, a fisherman on the sea of Tiberias (Galilee). The occupation was of course a humble one, but not, as is often assumed, mean or servile, or incompatible with some degree of mental culture. His family were probably in easy circumstances.
It is uncertain at what age Peter was called by our Lord. The general impression of the early church fathers is that he was an old man at the date of his death, but this need not imply that he was much older than our Lord. He was probably between thirty and forty years of age at the date of his first call. That call was preceded by a special preparation. He and his brother Andrew, together with their partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, were disciples of John the Baptist (John 1:35).
Jesus changes Simon’s name to Cephas. Cephas in Hebrew means rock or stone. The Greek word for Stone is Petros, from where we get the name Peter. The change of name is of course deeply significant. He bore as a disciple the name Simon, i.e., hearer; but as an apostle, one of the twelve on whom the Church was to be erected, he was hereafter to be called Rock or Stone. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
47) The Greek word here is praeis (praeis) which is better translated as humble or gentle. There no intent of weakness associated with this word.
48) The Greek word here is kaqaroi (katharoi) which is better translated as clean instead of pure.
49) SALT – Indispensable as salt is to ourselves, it was even more so to the Hebrews, being to them not only an appetizing condiment in the food both of man (Job 6:6) and beast (Isa 30:24), and a most valuable antidote to the effects of the heat of the climate on animal food, but also entering largely into their religious services as an accompaniment to the various offerings presented on the altar (Lev 2:13).
The associations connected with salt in Eastern countries are important. As one of the most essential articles of diet, it symbolized hospitality; as an antiseptic, durability, fidelity, and purity. Hence the expression, “covenant of salt” (Lev 2:13; Num 18:19; 2 Chron 13:5. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
50) Raka – (raka) – is an Aramaic word that means empty headed one, i.e. you’re worthless (as a term of utter vilification): (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
51) SANHEDRIM – consisted of seventy-one judges. From Num 11:16, where it is said, ‘Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel.’ To these add Moses, and we have seventy-one.
These members represented three classes of the nation, viz.
(a) The priests, who were represented by their chiefs, called in the Bible the chief priests
(b) The elders, also called the elders of the people because they were the heads of the families and tribes of the people, for which reason these elders, who most probably were also twenty-four in number (Rev 4:4), were the representatives of the laity, or the people generally.
(c) The scribes or lawyers who, as the interpreters of the law in ecclesiastical and civil matters, represented that particular portion of the community which consisted of the literary laity, and most probably were twenty-two in number. As the chief priests, elders, and scribes constituted the supreme court, these three classes are frequently in the New Test. called by the word Sanhedrim.
- Qualification and Recognition of Members. — The qualifications for membership were both very minute and very numerous. The applicant had to be morally and physically blameless. He had to be middle aged, tall, good looking, wealthy, learned (both in the divine law and diverse branches of profane science, such as medicine, mathematics, astronomy, magic, idolatry, etc.), in order that he might be able to judge in these matters. He was required to know several languages, so that the Sanhedrim might not be dependent upon an interpreter in case any foreigner or foreign question came before them.
In addition to all these qualifications, a candidate for the Great Sanhedrim was required, first of all, to have been a judge in his native town; to have been transferred from there to the Small Sanhedrim, which sat at the Temple mount or at its entrance, thence again to have been advanced to the second Small Sanhedrim, which sat at the entrance of the Temple hall before he could be received as member of the seventy-one. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
52) Fool could better be translated today as moron. It is from the Greek word moros (mo-ros’); it means dull or stupid: (Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
53) The Pharisees were notorious for their oaths, which were made on the least provocation. Yet they made allowances for mental reservations within their oaths. If they wanted to be relieved of oaths they had made by heaven… by the earth… by Jerusalem, or by one’s own head, they could argue that since God Himself had not been involved their oaths were not binding. (from Bible Knowledge Commentary/Old Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries; )
54) The words Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth come from several Old Testament passages (Ex 21:24; Lev 24:20; Deut 19:21); they are called the lex talionis, the law of retaliation. This law was given to protect the innocent and to make sure retaliation did not occur beyond the offense. Jesus pointed out, however, that while the rights of the innocent were protected by the Law, the righteous need not necessarily claim their rights. A righteous man would be characterized by humility and selflessness. Instead he might go “the extra mile” to maintain peace. When wronged by being struck on a cheek, or sued for his tunic (undergarment; a cloak was the outer garment), or forced to travel with someone a mile, he would not strike back, demand repayment, or refuse to comply. Instead of retaliating he would do the opposite, and would also commit his case to the Lord who will one day set all things in order. (from; Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament Copyright © 1983, 2000 Cook Communications Ministries. All rights reserved.)
55) The poorest people of the Empire (e.g., most peasants in Egypt) had only an inner and outer garment, and the theft of a cloak would lead to legal recourse. Although conditions in first-century Palestine were not quite that bad, this verse could indicate divestiture of all one’s possessions, even (*hyperbolically) one’s clothes, to avoid a legal dispute affecting only oneself. Jesus gives this advice in spite of the fact that, under Jewish law, a legal case to regain one’s cloak would have been foolproof: a creditor could not take a poor person’s outer cloak, which might serve as one’s only blanket at night as well as a coat (Ex 22:26-27). (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
56) Roman soldiers had the legal right to impress the labor, work animal or substance of local residents (cf. Mark 15:21). Although impressment may not have happened often in Galilee, it happened elsewhere, and the fact that it could happen would be enough to raise the eyebrows of Jesus’ hearers at this example of nonresistance and even loving service to the oppressor. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
57) The *Aramaic word for “perfect” can mean “complete” or “whole,” including the nuance of “merciful” (Luke 6:36); in this context, it means fulfilling the requirements of Matt 5:21-47. The Bible already commanded being holy as God is holy (Lev 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:26), and Judaism (as well as some Greek philosophers) sometimes argued ethics on the basis of imitating God’s character. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
58) the word here that is translated as money by the NIV translation is the Aramaic word Mammon. A better translation for this word would be possessions.
59 the Greek word that is translated as feed is trefei (trephei) it would be better to translate it as cares for or provides for. It carries with it the idea of more than just feeding.
60) The word translated as pagan here, is the Greek word eqnh (ethna) it is better translated in this passage as other nations or peoples.
61) The word translated as run after here is the Greek word epizhtousin (epidzatousin) is better translated as strive for or seek after. The idea is that this is something that they are putting effort into getting.
62) The idea here in the Greek is that tomorrow will bring with it its own concerns.
63) Pigs and dogs were considered unclean animals, which had no appreciation for valuable things. Pigs typically ate the vilest foods, and dogs were scavengers, consuming even human blood. Stray dogs were known to growl at those who tossed them food as well as those who ignored them. The image would thus be forceful and beyond dispute for ancient hearers. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
64) The Greek that is translated as ask is aiteite, and it is better translated desire, crave or beg for. Grammatically it is also written as a command.
65) The nearest legion of Roman troops was stationed in Syria; many troops were also stationed at Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast and in the fortress Antonia in Jerusalem; Capernaum, as a customs post, would naturally have warranted at least some soldiers. Centurions commanded a “century,” but in practice this consisted of sixty to eighty troops, not one hundred. They were the backbone of the Roman army, in charge of discipline. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)
66) During their twenty or so years of service in the Roman army, soldiers were not permitted to marry. Many had illegal local concubines, an arrangement that the army overlooked and the concubines found profitable; but centurions, who might be moved around more frequently, would be less likely to have such informal families than most soldiers. By ancient definitions, however, a household could include servants, and household servants and masters sometimes grew very close — especially if they made up the entire family unit. Centurions were paid much better than lower-ranking troops; servants were too expensive for common soldiers. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press.)
67) The Greek text does not mention a feast. But only says that those from the east and the west will sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom. This verse reflects the standard Jewish image of the future banquet in God’s *kingdom. Although the Bible declared that it was for all peoples (Isa 25:6; cf. 56:3-8), Jewish literature by this period emphasized that it was prepared for Israel, who would be exalted over its enemies. People were seated at banquets according to rank. Jesus also brings this idea into Christianity is his teaching on the wedding feast in Luke 14:15-24. This idea can also be found in Revelation 19:9
68) One of an eldest son’s most basic responsibilities (in both Greek and Jewish cultures) was his father’s burial. The initial burial took place shortly after a person’s decease, however, and family members would not be outside talking with *rabbis during the reclusive mourning period immediately following the death. It has recently been shown that what is in view here instead is the secondary burial: a year after the first burial, after the flesh had rotted off the bones, the son would return to rebury the bones in a special box in a slot in the tomb’s wall. The son in this narrative could thus be asking for as much as a year’s delay.
Nevertheless, Jesus’ demand that the son place him above the greatest responsibility a son had toward his father would have sounded like heresy: in Jewish tradition, honoring father and mother was one of the greatest commandments, and to follow Jesus at the expense of not burying one’s father would have been viewed as dishonoring one’s father (cf. Tob 4:3-4). (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
69) “Gergesenes” would seem the true one, and not “Gerasenes” or “Gadarenes” While the manuscript evidence for it is satisfactory, some recent geographical discoveries seem to favour it. Gadara perhaps denoted the general locality. Josephus (Ant. xvii. 11 , 4) speaks of it as the chief city of Perea, and a Greek city. It or its suburbs lay on the southern shore of the lake on the east side. Possibly the reading “Gergesenes,” which seems a corrupted form of “Gadarenes,” originated in that tract of country being still called after the “Girgashites” of ancient Canaan. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
70) In both Mark 5:2 and Luke 8:27 there is only one man mentioned. Matthew is the only one who tells this story using two men.
71) [What have we to do with you] is the literal translation of the Greek phrase here; which perhaps might be understood to imply their disclaiming any design to interfere with the work of Christ, and that he should not therefore meddle with them; for it appears they exceedingly dreaded his power. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
72) The Greek text leaves out the name Jesus. Jesus here is referred to the demons simply as the Son of God.
73) We are told that some demons have been locked in the abyss and will be set free to punish the earth (Rev. 9:1-11). We are also told the final punishment for the devil and his angels will take place in the Book of Revelation Chapter 20:1-10.
74) Matthew tells us in 4: 13 that Jesus left Nazareth and he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali.
75) Judaism believed that only God could forgive sins, but most Jews allowed that some of God’s representatives could speak on God’s behalf. The *Old Testament penalty for blaspheming God’s name — reproaching rather than honoring it — was death (Lev 24:10-23). According to later *rabbinic law, blasphemy technically involved pronouncing the divine name or perhaps inviting people to follow other gods. According to the more common, less technical usage, it applied to any grievous insult to God’s honor (cf. Num 15:30). But these legal scholars were mistaken in interpreting Jesus’ words as blasphemy, by any definition. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
76) Jesus ask the religious leaders this question because of the belief that sickness, disease and physical problems were brought on by sin. It may have been the sins of the parents passed on to the son or the sins of the man himself. This thought process is brought up by the disciples in John 9:1-2 when talking about the man born blind. Jesus is saying, to them, you believe that sin causes this so both statements mean the same thing.
77) Tax collectors were among the most hated people in Israel. They were Jews but they collected taxes for the Roman government. They were given an amount to collect and anything above that amount was theirs to keep. Many tax collectors cheated the people to become rich at the peoples expense. You can see in this passage that they are put into a different category than other sinners.
78) The Greek in this passage eleoz qelw kai qusian is better translated as I will have mercy and not sacrifice.
79) [A certain ruler] There were two officers in the synagogue overseer of the congregation; and the head or ruler of the congregation. The overseer takes the book of the Law, and gives it to the ruler; and he appoints who shall read the different sections, etc. Jairus, who is the person intended here, was the ruler of one of the synagogues, probably at Capernaum. Mark 5:22 and Luke 8:41 give us his name. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
80) Flutes were used among the Jews, in times of calamity or death. This is evident from Jer 48:36. Persons were hired on purpose to follow the funeral processions with lamentations. See Jer 9:17-21; Amos 5:16. Even the poorest among the Jews were required to have two Flute players, and one mourning woman. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
81) The end of verse 23 provides us with a problem. We know that Jesus has not come back yet, so how do we interpret what Matthew is telling us Jesus has said. First of all I will tell you that most commentaries bypass this part of the verse or just gloss over it. There are two other ways in which it is dealt with.
- A) this passage is interpreted from the view that this part of this verse is talking about the tribulation times. This in itself provides some problems. In this verse Jesus is talking to the disciples about their ministry in spreading the gospel to the people of Israel. Why would Jesus go from talking to the disciples about their ministry at that time to talking about the end times. This argument does not seem to make sense to me.
- B) the other interpretation of this passage seems to make more sense to me. First of all this passage appears in both Luke and Mark also.
Mark is the first gospel written so it often assumed that Mark is the most accurate as he has no specific agenda or audience for which he is writing. In Mark 9:1 this passage reads, “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God come in power”. Matthew leaves off the phrase “in power.”
The first thing we must do here is understand what is meant by the Kingdom of God. Often we understand this to mean heaven, but I think this is a misunderstanding of what the kingdom of God is. Heaven and the final judgement are the culmination of the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God began with the coming of Jesus Christ and the growth of the early church and the Kingdom of God continues to grow as new Christians are added to the Kingdom.
I believe that this passage can be understood as Jesus telling the disciples they are going to see things very shortly that will show them the power of God active in their world. They will see the Transfiguration of Jesus on the mountain. They will see the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. They will also see the ascension of Jesus back into heaven. All of these events show God at work within the world.
82) All the Greek manuscripts write “Beelzebul,” which undoubtedly is the right form of this word. The other reading came in no doubt from the Old Testament “Baalzebub,” the god of Ekron (2 Kings 1:2), which it was designed to express. As all idolatry was regarded as devil-worship (Lev 17:7; Deut 32:17; Ps 106:37; 1 Cor 10:20), so there seems to have been something peculiarly Satanic about the worship of this hateful god, which caused his name to be a synonym of Satan. Though we nowhere read that our Lord was actually called “Beelzebul,” He was charged with being in league with Satan under that hateful name (Matt 12:24,26), and more than once Himself was charged with “having a devil” or “demon” (Mark 3:30; John 7:20; 8:48). Here it is used to denote the most opprobrious language which could be applied by one to another. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
83) The Greek word omologhsei translated as acknowledge would be better translated as confess
84) The Greek word apnhshtai translated as disown would be better translated as deny or refuse.
85) The Greek word here eirhnhn means peace. This is a translation of the Hebrew word mloc (Shalom). The word Shalom was used among the Hebrews to express all possible blessings, temporal and spiritual; but especially the former.-The expectation of the Jews was, that, when the Messiah should come, all temporal prosperity should be accumulated on the land of Judea. The import of our Lord’s teaching here is this, Do not imagine, as the Jews in general vainly do, that I am come to send forth peace and prosperity, by forcing out the Roman power. I am not come for this purpose, but to send forth persecution and struggle.
86) A disciple is a follower or student of a teacher. Every teacher had his disciples who followed and learned from him. John also had his followers. Andrew and Peter started out as disciples of John the Baptizer.
87) A better translation of the end of this verse may be; “the kingdom of heaven has been greatly or violently opposed, and the urgent people work hard to enter the kingdom.” The idea here is that to enter or seek the kingdom of heaven is not easy. There will be those who will work hard to oppose you, so you should expect that you also will have to work hard.
88) The Greek word eprofetusan which is translated here as prophesied might be better translated as have spoken for God. A prophets calling was to speak to the people for God. Here Jesus is calling scriptures of the Old Testament the words of God. Most Christians would agree that the New Testament are the inspired Word of God. Jesus is claiming the same status for the Old Testament.
89) “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal 4:5,6). Our Savior also declares that Elijah had already come in spirit, in the person of John the Baptist. Many of the Jews in our Lord’s time believed him to be Elijah, or that the soul of Elijah had passed into his body (Luke 9:8). How deep was the impression which he made on the mind of the nation may be judged from the fixed belief which many centuries after prevailed that Elijah would again appear for the relief and restoration of his country. The prophecy of Malachi was possibly at once a cause and an illustration of the strength of this belief. Each remarkable person, as he arrives on the scene, be his habits and characteristics what they may — the stern John, equally with his gentle Successor — is proclaimed to be Elijah (Matt 16:14; Mark 6:15; John 1:21). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
90) The word which is translated as woe here would be better to translated as, alas for you, than woe to you. Alas is an exclamation of pity; woe is a denunciation of wrath. It seems evident that Jesus used it in the sense of pity for these towns.
It is not known precisely where Chorazin was situated; but as Christ joins it in the same censure with Bethsaida, which was in Upper Galilee, beyond the sea, it is likely that Chorazin was in the same area.
91) Tyre and Sidon – ancient and celebrated commercial cities, on the northeastern shores of the Mediterranean sea, lying north of Israel, Since their wealth and prosperity engendered luxury and evil-irreligion and moral degeneracy-their overthrow was repeatedly foretold in ancient prophecy, and once and again fulfilled by victorious enemies. Yet they were rebuilt, and at this time were in a flourishing condition. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
92) Capernaum is the home base of Jesus during the whole period of His public life which He spent in Galilee. Some may have felt that this gave it a special or exalted place in the world.
93) This verse should read; “come to me all who are worn out from your labors also those who are over burdened and I will give you rest and refreshment.
94) there are two purposes for a yoke. The first is to control and animal when it is used for plowing or pulling a wagon or cart. The second use for a yoke is to keep the animals going in the same direction and so that two animals can share the weight of the work that needs to be done. I believe that the second purpose of the yoke is what Jesus is talking about. Jesus does not wish to control us but to help us in completing the work that we are to do.
95) The Greek word here is praus is translated as gentle. I believe a better translation for the word would be considerate or caring. The Greek word here is tapeinos it is translated as humble. It can also be translated as disciplined. This idea comes from the Old Testament idea of spiritual disciple, submitting to God. This would be the better translation especially since in this passage it is linked to the heart which is the seat of our faith.
96) the Greek word here is anapausin it is translated as rest. The idea behind the word is more a break or intermission.
97) HEROD ANTIPAS was the son of Herod the Great, by Malthace, a Samaritan (Joseph. Ant. 17, 1, 3; War, 1, 28, 4). His father had already given him “the kingdom” in his first will. but in the final arrangement left him the tetrarchy of Galilee and Persea (Josephus, Ant. 17, 8,1; War, 2, 9,1; Matt 14:1; Luke 3:1 3:19 9:1; Acts 13:1), which brought him the yearly revenue of 200 talents (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5, 1). On his way to Rome he visited his brother Philip, and commencing an intrigue with his wife Herodias, daughter of Aristobulus, the son of Mariamne, he afterwards incestuously married her. He had previously been married to a daughter of Aretas, king of Arabia Petrsea, who avenged this insult by invading his dominions, and defeated him with great loss (Josephus, Ant. 18, 5, 1). An appeal to the Romans afforded the only hope of safety. Aretas was haughtily ordered by the emperor to desist from the prosecution of the war, and Herod accordingly escaped the expected overthrow. Josephus says that the opinion of the Jews was that the defeat was a punishment for his having imprisoned John the Baptist on account of his popularity, and afterwards put him to death, but does not mention the reproval that John gave him, nor that it was at the instigation of Herodias that he was killed, as recorded in the Gospels (Joseph. Ant. 18, 5, 4; Matt 14:1-11; Mark 6:1:1416; Luke 3:19;. 9:7-9). In A.D. 38, after the death of Tiberius, he was persuaded, especially at the ambitious instigation of Herodias. to go to Rome to procure for himself the royal title. Agrippa, who was high in the favor of Caligula, and had already received this title, opposed this with such success that Antipas was condemned to perpetual banishment at Lyons, a city of Gaul (Joseph. Ant. 18, 7, 2), and eventually died in Spain, whither his wife Herodias had voluntarily followed him (War, 2, 9, 6). He is called (by courtesy) king by Matthew (Matt 14:9) and by Mark (Mark 6:14).
It was before Herod Antipas, who came up to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover (comp. Joseph. Ant. 18:6, 3), that our Lord was sent for examination when Pilate heard that he was a Galilaean, as Pilate had already had several disputes with the Galileans, and was not at this time on very good terms with Herod (Luke 13:1; 23:6-7), and “on the same day Pilate and Herod were made friends together” (Luke 23:12; comp. Josephus, Ant. 18, 3, 2; Ps 83:5). The name of Herod Antipas is coupled with that of Pilate in the prayer of the apostles mentioned in the Acts (4:24-30). His personal character is little touched upon by either Josephus or the evangelists, yet from his consenting to the death of John the Baptist to gratify the malice of a wicked woman, though for a time he had “heard him gladly” (Mark 6:20), we perceive his cowardice, his want of spirit, and his fear of ridicule. His wicked oath was not binding on him, for Herod was bound by the law of God not to commit murder. He was in any case desirous to see Jesus, and “hoped to have seen a miracle from him” (Luke 23:8). (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
98) [The fourth watch] Anciently the Jews divided the night into three watches, consisting of four hours each. The first watch is mentioned, Lam 2:19: the second, Judg 7:19; and the third, Ex 14:24; but a fourth watch is not mentioned in any part of the Old Testament. This division the Romans had introduced in Judea. The first watch began at six o’clock in the evening, and continued till nine; the second began at nine, and continued till twelve; the third began at twelve, and continued till three next morning; and the fourth began at three, and continued till six. It was therefore between the hours of three and six in the morning that Jesus made his appearance to his disciples. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
99) tradition, has occupied a most distinguished place, both in the Jewish and Christian church. Man is ever fond of mending the work of his Maker; and hence, he has been led to put his finishing hand even to divine revelation! This supplementary matter has been called paradosis, to deliver from hand to hand-to transmit. Among the Jews, tradition signifies what is also called the oral law, which they distinguish from the written law: this last contains the Mosaic precepts, as found in the Pentateuch: the former, the traditions of the elders, i.e. traditions, or doctrines, that had been successively handed down from Moses through every generation, but not committed to writing. The Jews feign that, when God gave Moses the written law, he gave him also the oral law, which is the interpretation of the former. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
100) Corban means “a gift.” If a Jew wanted to escape some financial responsibilities, he would declare his goods to be “Corban – a gift to God.” This meant he was free from other obligations, such as caring for his parents. (from The Bible Exposition Commentary. Copyright © 1989 by Chariot Victor Publishing, and imprint of Cook Communication Ministries. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
101) Tyre and Sidon are situated in Phoenicia, on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They are on the northern edge of Israel. They are mentioned in Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the minor prophets. They are used as examples of excess and materialism among the Gentiles that surround Israel. They were two very important trading cities and were known for shipping and ship building. This area is known to the Jewish people as part of Canaan.
102) Mark tells us that the woman was a Greek, that is, ‘a Gentile,’ ; a Syrophoenician by nation-so called as inhabiting the Phoenician tract of Syria. Matthew calls her “a woman of Canaan” – a more intelligible description to his Jewish readers. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
103) Jesus’ first feeding miracle (Matt 14:13-21) was not an exception; he was able to repeat it at any time.(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
104) Magadan (v. 39) was Mary Magdalene’s hometown; it has been identified with Tarichea, where many fishermen seem to have worked.(from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
105) Cesarea Philippi. It lay at the foot of mount Lebanon, near the sources of the Jordan, in the territory of Dan, and at the northeast extremity of Palestine. It was originally called Panium (from a cavern in its neighborhood dedicated to the god Pan) and Paneas. Philip, the tetrarch, the only good son of Herod the Great, in whose dominions Paneas lay, having beautified and enlarged it, changed its name to Cesarea, in honor of the Roman emperor, and added Philippi after his own name, to distinguish it from the other Cesarea (Acts 10:1) on the northeast coast of the Mediterranean sea. (Joseph Ant. xv. 10, 3; xviii. 2,1.) This quiet and distant retreat Jesus appears to have sought, with the view of talking over with the Twelve the fruit of His past labors, and breaking to them for the first time the sad intelligence of His approaching death.(from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
106) This phrase is better translated; Who do people say that I, the Son of Man am? There is no question that Jesus is talking about himself in this statement. It is also an I AM statement of Jesus. In his I AM statements Jesus is telling the disciples that he is God, by referring to himself with the term I AM which is the name of God from the Hebrew.
107) ELIJAH – This belief comes from Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord”. The impression which Elijah made on the mind of the nation may be judged from the fixed belief which many centuries after prevailed that Elijah would again appear for the relief and restoration of his country. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
108) “Peter” and “Rock” are one word in the Aramaic Cephas. In Greek Peter is Petros and rock is Petra. These are form of the same word.
109) This passage includes so many allusions to God revealing his glory to Moses on Mount Sinai that most ancient Jewish readers would certainly have caught them. The six days alludes to Ex 24:16, when God began to speak to Moses from his cloud on the mountain. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
110) In Ex 34:29, Moses’ face radiated glory because of God’s revelation of himself to Moses. We are told that Moses had to cover his face because the people could not bear to look at him.
111) Moses and Elijah had been in the presence of God while they were still alive, and both of them on the same mountain. Moses represents the Law given by God to the people of Israel and Elijah represents the Prophets of which he was the greatest. Elijah had been such a man of God that he was taken up to heaven in a chariot of fire and did not die. The two of them represent all the chances God has given the people of Israel to follow Him. In Jesus god provides his final plan in bringing people to Him. Jesus is the completion of all that the Law and Prophets have said. It is also the beginning of the Kingdom Period in which the Gentiles will join in the promises of God to the Jewish people.
112) The booths or tents suggest the tent in the wilderness where God’s worship took place and also the Feast of Tabernacles. There is some reason to believe that in this period, the Feast of Tabernacles was marked by enthusiasm over the coming triumph of Israel. Zech. 14:16-19 prophesies that all nations will come up to Jerusalem to worship at the Feast of Tabernacles. Peter may think that the final age is come and Moses and Elijah will remain there permanently. He therefore wants to build shelters for them to dwell in as they began the reign of Jesus the Messiah. ( The Interpreters Bible Vol. 7 Abingdon Press )
113) In the Greek is says that the man’s son is moonstruck. This is someone who was most affected with this disorder at the change and full of the moon. The KJV translates this as lunatic which has come to mean crazy, but it did not at the time of Jesus.
114) There are two schools of thought on who Jesus is speaking to here.
1) Jesus is speaking to the disciples only. By this time, they should have been able to heal this young boy and it is only their lack of faith which has kept them from being able to do this. There are a couple of problems with this thinking. a) The disciples are neither unbelieving or perverse and Jesus would not call them that because it is untrue. They may be weak or lacking in faith but that is not eh same as unbelieving and perverse. b) Jesus will never give up on the disciples so I do not believe he would make the statement, “how long will I put up with you” to them. He may get frustrated with them, but he would never not put up with them.
2) Jesus is speaking to everyone there. The disciples, the religious leaders, and the man. Jesus would have and did at other times call the religious leaders and unbelieving and perverse generation, so it is nothing new for him to speak to them in this way. “How long shall I stay with you” is something that he has said to the disciples before and it expresses his frustration with their seeming lack of faith to heal this boy. Jesus knows that it will not be long now before he will be leaving the disciples and he wants the m to be ready to carry on the work. “How long shall I put up with you.” I believe is aimed at the religious leaders also for the same reasons mentioned above. The only problem that I see with this school of thought is that I don’t believe that Jesus would condemn the father for it his faith that has brought him to Jesus and his disciples to find healing for his son.
So let’s say there are three schools of thought!
115) Some Bible translations have a verse 21 and some do not. Verse 21 reads, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The verse does not appear in early translations but does appear in some later translations. And it also does not fit with concern about the disciples lack of faith. Most Scholars believe it should not be a part of the text.
116) Temple tax- payable, toward the maintenance of the Temple and its services, by every male Jew of twenty years old and upwards. For the origin of this annual tax, see Ex 30:13-14; 2 Chron 24:6,9. Thus, it will be observed, it was not a civil, but an ecclesiastical tax. The tax mentioned in the next verse was a civil one. The whole teaching of this very remarkable scene depends upon this distinction. (from Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1997, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
117) millstone — for grinding corn, mentioned as used in the time of Abraham (Gen 18:6). That used by the Hebrews consisted of two circular stones, each 2 feet in diameter and half a foot thick, the lower of which was called the “nether millstone” (Job 41:24) and the upper the “rider.” The upper stone was turned around by a stick fixed in it as a handle. There were then no public mills, and thus each family required to be provided with a hand-mill. The corn was ground daily, generally by the women of the house (Isa 47:1,2; Matt 24:41). (from Easton’s Bible Dictionary, PC Study Bible formatted electronic database Copyright © 2003, 2006 Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
118) Verse 11 does not appear in all ancient manuscripts but it does appear in a number of them. Some translations include this verse some do not. Arguments can be made for in being included or excluded as to whether it fits into the text. In my opinion it does seem to link the little ones statement of Jesus with the illustration of the lost sheep. Without verse 11 this passage seems disjointed.
119) This procedure was standard Jewish custom; the *Dead Sea Scrolls, the *rabbis and others demand that one begin with private reproof. Publicly shaming someone unnecessarily was considered sinful, and Jewish teachers stressed the importance of receiving reproof. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
120) The words, bind and loose, is used in a declaratory sense, of things, not of persons. Whatsoever in the Greek, appears in the neuter gender here in this: i.e. Whatsoever thing or things ye shall bind or loose. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
121) The question from the disciples begins a new discussion which may have taken place at the same time or at a different time.
122) Eunuch – has, in its literal (Greek) sense, the harmless meaning of “bed-keeper,” i.e., one who has the charge of beds and bed-chambers; but as only persons deprived of their virility have, from the most ancient times, been employed in Oriental harems, and as such persons are employed almost exclusively in this kind of service, the word “bed-keeper” became synonymous with “castratus.” Castration, according to Josephus (Ant. 4:8, 40), was not practiced by the Jews upon either men or animals, though it is referred to in the Old testament. Apparently though the word intended a class of attendants who were not always mutilated.
The law, Deut 23:1 (comp. Lev 22:24), is repugnant to thus treating any Israelite; and Samuel, when describing the arbitrary power of the future king (1 Sam 8:15, marg.), mentions “his eunuchs,” but does not say that he would make “their sons” such. This, if we compare 2 Kings 20:18; Isa 39:7, possibly implies that these persons would be foreigners. It was a barbarous custom of the East thus to treat captives (Herod. 3:49; 6:32), not only of tender age (when a non-development of beard, and feminine mold of limbs and modulation of voice ensues), but, it would seem, when past puberty, which there occurs at an early age. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
123) There have been many attempts to explain this passage. I will mention a few of them here
1) there is a small gate within the main gate, called the eye of the needle, by which a person could enter a city without opening the main gate for safety reasons. A loaded camel could not enter this gate until it was unloaded and then it must crawl through on its knees.
2) The word here is not camel but cable or large rope. The rope would have to be taken apart and each piece put through the eye of the needle.
3) Jesus felt it was impossible for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. The problem here is how do we define rich?
124) A denarius was an average day’s wage.
125) When our Lord saw this fig tree by the way-side, apparently flourishing, he went to it to gather some of the figs: being on the way-side, it was not private, but public property; and any traveler had an equal right to its fruit. As it was not as yet the time for gathering in the fruits, and yet about the time when they were ready to be gathered, our Lord with propriety expected to find some. But as this happened about five days before that Passover on which Christ suffered, and the Passover that year fell on the beginning of April, it has been asked, “How could our Lord expect to find ripe figs in the end of March?” Answer, Because figs were ripe in Judea as early as the Passover. Besides, the fig tree puts forth its fruit first, and afterward its leaves. Indeed, this tree, in the climate which is proper for it, has fruit on it all the year round, as I have often seen. All the difficulty in the text may be easily removed by considering that the climate of Judea is widely different from that of Great Britain. The summer begins there in March, and the harvest at the Passover, as all travelers into those countries testify; therefore, as our Lord met with this tree five days before the Passover, it is evident,-Firstly, that it was the time of ripe figs: and, secondly. That it was not the time of gathering them, because this did not begin until the Passover, and the transaction here mentioned took place five days before.
For further satisfaction on this point, let us suppose:
- That this tree was intended to point out the state of the Jewish people.
- They made a profession of the true religion.
- They considered themselves the peculiar people of God, and despised and reprobated all others.
- They were only hypocrites, having nothing of religion but the profession-leaves, and no fruit.
- That our Lord’s conduct towards this tree is to be considered as emblematical of the treatment and final perdition which was to come upon this hypocritical and ungodly nation.
- It was a proper time for them to have borne fruit: Jesus had been preaching the doctrine of repentance and salvation among them for more than three years; the choicest influences of Heaven had descended upon them; and everything was done in this vineyard that ought to be done, in order to make it fruitful.
- The time was now at hand in which God would require fruit, good fruit; and, if it did not produce such, the tree should be hewn down by the Roman axe. Therefore,
- The tree is properly the Jewish nation.
- Christ’s curse the sentence of destruction which had now gone out against it; and,
- Its withering away, the final and total ruin of the Jewish state by the Romans. His cursing the fig tree was not occasioned by any resentment at being disappointed at not finding fruit on it, but to point out unto his disciples the wrath which was coming upon a people who had now nearly filled up the measure of their iniquity.
A fruitless soul, that has had much cultivation bestowed on it, may expect to be dealt with as God did with this unrighteous nation.
(from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
126) HERODIANS , the designation of a class of Jews that existed in the time of Jesus Christ, evidently, as the name imports, partisans of Herod, but whether of a political or religious description it is not easy, for want of materials, to determine. The passages of the New Testament which refer to them are the following: Mark 3:6; 12:13; Matt 22:16; Luke 20:20. From these it appears that the ecclesiastical authorities of Judaea held a council against our Savior, and, associating with themselves the Herodians, sent an embassy to him with the express but covert design of ensnaring him in his speech, that thus they might compass his destruction, by embroiling him. But what additional difficulty did the Herodians bring? Herod Antipas was now tetrarch of Galilee and Persea, which was the only inheritance he received from his father, Herod the Great. As tetrarch of Galilee he was specially the ruler of Jesus, whose home was in that province. The Herodians, then, may have been subjects of Herod, Galilueans, whose evidence the priests were desirous of procuring, because theirs would be the evidence of fellow-countrymen, and of special force with Antipas as being that of his own immediate subjects (Luke 23:7). Herod’s relations with Rome were in an unsafe condition. He was a weak prince, given to ease and luxury, and his wife’s ambition conspired with his own desires to make him strive to obtain from the emperor Caligula the title of king. For this purpose he took a journey to Rome, but he was banished to Lyons, in Gaul. The Herodians may have been favorers of his pretensions; if so, they would be partial hearers, and eager witnesses against Jesus before the Roman tribunal. It would be a great service-to the Romans to be the means of enabling them to get rid of one who aspired to be king of the Jews. It would equally gratify their own lord should the Herodians give effectual aid in putting a period, to the mysterious yet formidable claims of a rival claimant of the crown. If the Herodians were a Galilaean political party who were eager to procure from Rome the honor of royalty for Herod (Mark 6:14, the name of king is merely as of courtesy), they were chosen as associates by the Sanhedrim with especial propriety. This idea is confirmed by Josephus’s mention of a party as “the partisans of Herod” (Ant. 14, 15, 10). The deputation were to “feign themselves just men,” that is, men whose sympathies were entirely Jewish, and, as such, anti-heathen: they were to intimate their dislike of paying tribute, as being an acknowledgment of a foreign yoke; and by flattering Jesus, as one who loved truth, feared no man, and would say what he thought, they meant to inveigle him into a condemnation of the practice. In order to carry these base and hypocritical designs into effect, the Herodians were appropriately associated with the Pharisees; for as the latter were the recognized conservators of Judaism, so the former were friends of the aggrandizement of a native as against a foreign prince. (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
127) By the seat of Moses, we are to understand authority to teach the law. Moses was the great teacher of the Jewish people; and the scribes, etc., are here represented as his successors. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
128) Phylacteries, which means to keep or preserve. These were small slips of parchment or vellum, on which certain portions of the law were written. The Jews tied these about their foreheads and arms, for three different purposes.
- To put them in mind of those precepts which they should constantly observe.
- To procure them reverence and respect in the sight of the pagan. And
- To act as amulets or charms to drive away evil spirits.
The first use of these phylacteries is evident from their name. The second use appears from what is written, in Deut 28:10. All the people of the earth shall see that thou art called by the name (of Yahweh)-and they shall be afraid of thee.The third use of them appears from the Targum, on Song 8:3. His left hand is under my head, etc. “The congregation of Israel hath said, I am elect above all people, because I bind my phylacteries on my left hand, and on my head, and the scroll is fixed to the right side of my gate, the third part of which looks to my bed-chamber, that demons may not be permitted to INJURE me.”
Even the phylactery became an important appendage to a Pharisee’s character, insomuch that some of them wore them very broad, either that they might have the more written on them, or that, the characters being larger, they might be the more visible, and that they might hereby acquire greater esteem among the common people, as being more than ordinarily religious. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
129) For the same reason, they wore the fringes of their garments of an unusual length. Moses had commanded (Num 15:38-39) the children of Israel to put fringes to the borders of their garments, that, when they looked upon even these distinct threads, they might remember, not only the law in general, but also the very minutiae, or smaller parts of all the precepts, rites, and ceremonies, belonging to it. As these hypocrites were destitute of all the life and power of religion within, they endeavored to supply its place by phylacteries and fringes without. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
130) The NIV and some Greek manuscripts omit this verse. It may have been added because of Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47. If it is authentic here, the number of woes is eight.
131) the word that is translated hell here is GEHENNA, the “valley of Hinnone,” or “of the son” or children of Hinnom,” a deep narrow glen to the south of Jerusalem, where, after the introduction of the worship of the fire-gods by Ahaz, the idolatrous Jews offered their children to Moloch (2 Chron 28:3; 33:6; Jer 7:31; 19:2-6). In consequence of these abominations the valley was polluted by Josiah (2 Kings 23:10); subsequently to which it became the common lay-stall of the city, where the dead bodies of criminals, and the carcasses of animals, and every other kind of filth was cast, and, according to late and some, what questionable authorities, the combustible portion consumed with fire. From the depth and narrowness of the gorge, and, perhaps, its ever-burning fires, as well as from its being the receptacle of all sorts of putrefying matter, and all that defiled the holy city, it became in later times the image of the place of everlasting punishment, “where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched;” in which the Talmudists placed the mouth of bell: “There are two palm-trees in the valley of Hinnom, between which a smoke ariseth … and this is the door of Gehenna” (from McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia, Electronic Database. Copyright © 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
132) The national punishment of all the innocent blood which had been shed in the land, shall speedily come upon you, from the blood of Abel the just, the first prophet and preacher of righteousness, Heb 11:4; 2 Peter 2:5, to the blood of Zachariah, the son of Barachiah. It is likely that our Lord refers to the murder of Zechariah, mentioned 2 Chron 24:20, who said to the people, Why do you transgress the commandments of God, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the Lord, he has forsaken you. And they conspired against him and stoned him-at the commandment of the king, in the court of the house of the Lord. And when he died, he said, The Lord look upon and require it: Matt 23:21-22.
But it is objected, that this Zechariah was called the son of Jehoiada, and our Lord calls this one the son of Barachiah. Let it be observed:
- That double names were frequent among the Jews; and sometimes the person was called by one, sometimes by the other.
- That Jerome says that, in the Gospel of the Nazarenes, it was Jehoiada, instead of Barachiah.
- That Jehoiada and Barachiah have the very same meaning, the praise or blessing of Yahweh.
- That as the Lord required the blood of Zechariah so fully that in a year all the princes of Judah and Jerusalem were destroyed by the Syrians, and Joash, who commanded the murder, slain by his own servants, 2 Chron 24:23-25, and their state grew worse and worse, till at last the temple was burned, and the people carried into captivity by Nebuchadnezzer: -so it should also be with the present race. The Lord would, after the crucifixion of Christ, visit upon them the murder of all those righteous men, that their state should grow worse and worse, till at last the temple should be destroyed, and they finally ruined by the Romans.
Some think that our Lord refers, in the spirit of prophecy, to the murder of Zacharias, son of Baruch, a rich Jew, who was judged, condemned, and massacred in the temple by Idumean zealots, because he was rich, a lover of liberty, and a hater of wickedness. They gave him a mock trial; and, when no evidence could be brought against him of his being guilty of the crime they laid to his charge, namely a design to betray the city to the Romans, and his judges had pronounced him innocent, two of the stoutest of the zealots fell upon him and slew him in the middle of the temple. See Josephus, WAR, b. 4 chap. 5 s. 5. See Crevier, vol. 6 p. 172, History of the Roman Emperors. (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
132) 1. Josephus says (War, b. 2 c. 13 ), that there were many who, pretending to divine inspiration, deceived the people, leading out numbers of them to the desert, pretending that God would there show them the signs of liberty, meaning redemption from the Roman power: and that an Egyptian false prophet led 30,000 men into the desert, who were almost all cut off by Felix. See Acts 21:38. It was a just judgment for God to deliver up that people into the hands of false Christs who had rejected the true one. Soon after our Lord’s crucifixion, Simon Magus appeared, and persuaded the people of Samaria that he was the great power of God, Acts 8:9-10; and boasted among the Jews that he was the son of God.
- Of the same stamp and character was also Dositheus, the Samaritan, who pretended that he was the Christ foretold by Moses.
- About twelve years after the death of our Lord, when Cuspius Fadus was procurator of Judea, arose an impostor of the name of Theudas, who said he was a prophet, and persuaded a great multitude to follow him with their best effects to the river Jordan, which he promised to divide for their passage; and saying these things, says Josephus, he deceived many: almost the very words of our Lord.
- A few years afterward, under the reign of Nero, while Felix was procurator of Judea, impostors of this stamp were so frequent that some were taken and killed almost every day. Jos. Ant. b. 20 c. 4 . and 7 . (from Adam Clarke’s Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003, 2005, 2006 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)
133) Some interpreters believe that parts of Daniel’s prophecy remain to be fulfilled; others believe that all of it was fulfilled in the first century.
The first-century Jewish historian *Josephus felt that Daniel was fulfilled when *Zealots slaughtered the priests in the temple in A.D. 66 A.D., committing a sacrilege for which God brought about the desolation of the temple (human bloodshed in the temple desecrated it; cf. comment on Matt 23:35). This sacrilege would have been the signal for Christians to flee Jerusalem (24:16); early Christian historians tell us that Christian prophets warned the Jewish Christians to flee Jerusalem at this time.
The temple was left “desolate” in 70, when the Romans destroyed it with fire and then erected their own standards on the site. As Jewish people knew (it is lamented in the *Dead Sea Scrolls), these standards bore the insignia of the Roman emperor, who was worshiped as divine in the Eastern Mediterranean; they would thus have sealed the site’s desecration. Jerusalem’s citizens had felt that even bringing these standards into Jerusalem temporarily (as Pilate had done roughly three and one-half years before Jesus uttered this warning) defiled the holy city. On several occasions the Jerusalemites had shown that they preferred death to their temple’s defilement. (from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener Copyright © 1993 by Craig S. Keener. Published by InterVarsity Press. All rights reserved.)
134) The word here in Greek is better translated as eagle. This does not change the meaning of the verse as eagles will eat carrion also.
135) The word here that is translated as nations or peoples may better be translated as tribes. The word translated as earth is better translated as land. This may be a reference to the tribes of Israel. Since Israel is often referred to in the old testament as the people of the land. It may also mean all people.
136) The term great glory very likely refers to the Old Testament term Shekinah Glory which refers to the glory of the presence of the Lord.
137) The word Trumpet probably refers to the Shofar, “ram’s horn,” or, loosely, “trumpet.” The ram’s horn is blown at the season of the Jewish High Holy Days, one hundred times on Rosh-HaShanah (New Year), also called the Feast of Trumpets; and once at the end of Yom-Kippur (Day of Atonement). Judaism also understands that the Day of Judgment will be announced by blasts on the shofar. Ten Tanakh verses mentioning the shofar are recited in the Rosh-HaShanah synagogue service. (from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)
138) The word translated here as generation may be better translated as people. If “this people” is the correct translation of Greek, Yeshua (Jesus) is guaranteeing that the Jews will persist as a people until his second coming. He is echoing the promise of Jeremiah 31:34-36(35-37):
“Thus says Adonai, who gives the sun for a light by day and the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by night, who stirs up the sea and its roaring waves—Adonai of Heaven’s Armies is his name: If those ordinances depart from before me, says Adonai, then the seed of Israel also will stop being a nation before me forever. Thus says Adonai: If heaven above can be measured and the foundations of the earth beneath searched out, then I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done.”
Thus after proclaiming the New Covenant at Jeremiah 31:30-33(31-34), God immediately states that the Jewish people will last at least as long as the sun and the moon. Both Yeshua (Jesus) and Jeremiah refute Replacement theology. (from Jewish New Testament Commentary Copyright © 1992 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved. Used by permission.)