VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
The disciples (touv maqhtav). The or his, referring to them as already chosen, though he nowhere relates their choosing. See Mark iii. 14; Luke vi. 13.
Apostles (apostolwn). Compare disciples, ver. 1. Apostles is the official term, used here for the first time. They were merely learners (disciples, maqhtai), until Christ gave them authority. From ajpostellw, to send away. An apostle is one sent forth. Compare John xiii. 16 and Rev., one that is sent. Cremer ("Biblico-Theological Lexicon") suggests that it was the rare occurrence of the word in profane Greek that made it all the more appropriate as the distinctive appellation of the twelve. Compare Luke vi. 13; Acts i. 2. Also, John xvii. 18, I have sent. The word is once used of Christ (Heb. iii. 1), and in a very general sense to denote any one sent (2 Cor. viii. 23; Philip. ii. 25).
The Canaanite (o Kananaiov). Rev., Cananaean. The word has nothing to do with Canaan. In Luke vi. 15; Acts i. 13, the same apostle is called Zelotes, Both terms indicate his connection with the Galilaean Zealot party, a sect which stood for the recovery of Jewish freedom and the maintenance of distinctive Jewish institutions. From the Hebrew kanna, zealous; compare the Chaldee kanan, by which this sect was denoted.
Judas Iscariot (o Iskariwthv). The article distinguishes him from others of the name of Judas (compare John xiv. 22). Iscariot is usually explained as a compound, meaning the man of Kerioth, with reference to his native town, which is given in Joshua (xv. 25) as one of the uttermost cities of Judah toward the coast of Edom southward.
In the four catalogues of the apostles (here; Mark iii. 16; Luke vi. 14; Acts i. 13) Simon Peter always stands first. Here expressly; "first Simon." Notice that Matthew names them in pairs, and compare Mark vi. 7, "sent them forth two and two." The arrangement of the different lists varies; but throughout, Peter is the leader of the first four, Philip of the second, and James, son of Alphaeus, of the third.
The lost sheep (ta probata ta apolwlota). The Greek order throws the emphasis on lost; the sheep, the lost ones. Bengel observes that Jesus says lost oftener than led astray. Compare xviii. 12, 14.
Brass (calkon). Properly copper. A descending climax. Copper would be as unnecessary as gold.
Staves (rabdouv). But the proper reading is staff, (rabdon).
The workman is worthy, etc. Ver. 11, There abide, etc. "The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles," a tract discovered in 1873 in the library of the monastery of the Most Holy Sepulchre at Constantinople, by Bryennios, Metropolitan of Nicomedia, is assigned to the date of 120 A.D., and by some scholars is placed as early as 100 A.D. It is addressed to Gentile Christians, and is designed to give them practical instruction in the Christian life, according to the teachings of the twelve apostles and of the Lord himself. In the eleventh chapter we read as follows: "And every apostle who cometh to you, let him be received as the Lord; but he shall not remain except for one day; if, however, there be need, then the next day; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. But when the apostle departeth, let him take nothing except bread enough till he lodge again, but is he ask money, he is a false prophet." And again (ch. 13): "Likewise a true teacher, he also is worthy like the workman, of his support. Every first-fruit, then, of the products of wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, thou shalt take and give to the prophets, for they are your high-priests.... If thou makest a baking of bread, take the first of it and give according to the commandment. In like manner, when thou openest a jar of wine or oil, take the first of it and give to the prophets; and of money and clothing, and every possession, take the first, as may seem right to thee, and give according to the commandment."
When ye come into (eisercomenoi). The Greek indicates more distinctly the simultaneousness of the entrance and the salutation: as ye are entering. Rev., as ye enter. So of the departure, as ye are going forth (ejxercomenoi, ver. 14).
Shake off (ektinaxate). "The very dust of a heathen country was unclean, and it defiled by contact. It was regarded like a grave, or like the putrescence of death. If a spot of heathen dust had touched an offering, it must at once be burnt. More than that, if by mischance any heathen dust had been brought into Palestine, it did not and could not mingle with that of 'the land,' but remained to the end what it had been - unclean, defiled and defiling everything to which it adhered." The apostles, therefore, were not only to leave the house or city which should refuse to receive the, "but it was to be considered and treated as if it were heathen, just as in the similar case mentioned in Matt. xviii. 17. All contact with such must be avoided, all trace of it shaken off" (Edersheim, "Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ"). The symbolic act indicated that the apostles and their Lord regarded them not only as unclean, but as entirely responsible for their uncleanness. See Acts xviii. 6.
I send you forth (egw apostellw). Cognate to the word ajpostolov (apostle). The I is emphatic: "It is I that send you forth."
Wise (fronimoi). So A.V. and Rev. Denoting prudence with regard to their own safety. Wyc., wary.
Harmless (akeraioi). Lit., unmixed, unadulterated. Used of wine without water, and of metal without alloy. Hence guileless. So Luther, without falsity. Compare Rom. xvi. 19; Philip. ii. 15. They were to imitate the serpent's wariness, but not his wiliness. "The presence of the wolves demands they ye be wary; the fact that ye are my apostles (compare "I send you") demands that ye be guileless" (Dr. Morison on Matthew).
Of men (twn anqrwpwn). Lit., "the men," already alluded to under the term wolves.
Take no thought (mh merimnhshte). Rev., Be not anxious. See on vi. 25.
In that hour (en ekeinh wra). Very precise. "In that selfsame hour." Bengel remarks: "Even though not before. Many feel most strongly their spiritual power when the hour comes to impart it to others."
Beelzebub (beelzeboul, Beelzebul). There is a coarse witticism in the application of the word to Christ. Jesus calls himself "the Master of the house," and the Jews apply to him the corresponding title of the Devil, Heb., Beelzebul, Master of dwelling. (The phrase reappears in German, where the Devil is sometimes called Herr vom Haus. See Goethe, "Faust," sc. xxi.). Dr. Edersheim's explanation, though ingenious, seems far-fetched. He says that szebuhl, in Rabbinic language, means, not any ordinary dwelling, but specifically the temple; so that Beelzebul would be Master of the Temple, an expression having reference to the claims of Jesus on his first purification of the temple. He then conceives a play between this word and Beelzibbul, meaning Lord of idolatrous sacrifice, and says: "The Lord of the temple was to them the chief of idolatrous worship; the representative of God, that of the worst of demons. Beelzebul was Beelzibbul. What, then, might his household expect at their hands?" ("Life and Times of Jesus").
Preach (khruxate). Better Rev., proclaim. See on Matt. iv. 17.
Sparrows (strouqia). The word is a diminutive, little sparrows, and carries with it a touch of tenderness. At the present day, in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa, long strings of little birds, sparrows and larks, are offered for sale, trussed on long wooden skewers. Edersheim things that Jesus may have had reference to the two sparrows which, according to the Rabbins, were used in the ceremonial of purification from leprosy (Lev. xiv. 49-54).
Shall not fall. A Rabbinic legend relates how a certain Rabbi had been for thirteen years hiding from his persecutors in a cave, where he was miraculously fed; when he observed that when the bird-catcher laid his snare, the bird escaped or was caught, according as a voice from heaven proclaimed "Mercy" or "Destruction." Arguing that if even a sparrow cannot be caught without heaven's bidding, how much more safe was the life of a son of man, he came forth.
Confess me (omologhsei en emoi). A peculiar but very significant expression. Lit., "Confess in me." The idea is that of confessing Christ out of a state of oneness with him. "Abide in me, and being in me, confess me." It implies indentification of the confessor with the confessed, and thus takes confession out of the category of mere formal or verbal acknowledgment. "Not every one that saith unto me 'Lord! Lord!' shall enter into the kingdom of heaven." The true confessor of Christ is one whose faith rests in him. Observe that this gives great force to the corresponding clause, in which Christ places himself in a similar relation with those whom he confesses. "I will confess in him." It shall be as if I spoke abiding in him. "I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me" (John xvii. 23).
To send (balein). Lit., to throw or cast. By this word the expectancy of the disciples is dramatically pictured, as if he represented them as eagerly looking up for peace as something to be flung down upon the earth from heaven. Dr. Morison gives the picture thus: "All are on tiptoe of expectation. What is it that is about to happen? Is it the reign of peace that is just about to be inaugurated and consummated? Is there henceforth to be only unity and amity? As they must and debate, lo! a sword is flung into the midst."
Set at variance (dicasai). Lit., part asunder. Wyc., to depart = part.
Daughter-in-law (numfhn). So. A.V. and Rev.; but the full force is lost in this rendering. The word means bride, and though sometimes used in classical Greek of any married woman, it carries a notion of comparative youth. Thus in Homer, "Odyssey," iv. 743, the aged nurse, Euryclea, addresses Penelope (certainly not a bride) as numfa filh (dear bride), of course as a term of affection or petting. Compare "Iliad," iii. 130, where Iris addressed Helen in the same way. The radical and bitter character of the division brought into households by the Gospel is shown by the fact of its affecting domestic relations in their very freshness. They newly-married wife shall be set at variance with her mother-in-law. Wycliffe's rendering is peculiar: And the son's wife against the wife's or husband's mother.
His cross (ton stauron autou). This was no Jewish proverb, crucifixion not being a Jewish punishment; so that Jesus uses the phrase anticipatively, in view of the death which he himself was to die. This was one of those sayings described in John xii. 16, which the disciples understood not at the first, but the meaning of which was revealed in the light of later events. The figure itself was borrowed from the practice which compelled criminals to bear their own cross to the place of execution. His cross: his own. All are not alike. There are different crosses for different disciples. The English proverb runs: "Every cross hath its inscription" - the name of him for whom it is shaped.
Findeth (eurwn). The word is really a past participle, found. Our Lord looked back in thought to each man's past, and forward to its appropriate consummation in the future. Similarly, he who lost (apolesav). Plato seems to have foreshadowed this wonderful thought. "O my friend! I want you to see that the noble and the good may possibly be something different from saving and being saved, and that he who is truly a man ought not to care about living a certain time: he knows, as women say, that we must all die, and therefore he is not fond of life; he leaves all that with God, and considers in what way he can best spend his appointed term" ("Gorgias," 512). Still more to the point, Euripides:
"Who knows if life be not death, and death life?"
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