VINCENT'S WORD STUDIES
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Robertson's Word Pictures in the NT - Greek NT
Considerest (katanoeiv). A stronger word, apprehendest from within, what is already there.
Mote (karfov). A.V. and Rev. The word mote, however, suggests dust; whereas the figure is that of a minute chip or splinter, of the same material with the beam. Wyc. renders festu, with the explanation, a little mote. In explaining the passage it is well to remember that the obstruction to sight is of the same material in both cases. The man with a great beam in his eye, who therefore can see nothing accurately, proposes to remove the little splinter from his brother's eye, a delicate operation, requiring clear sight. The figure of a splinter to represent something painful or annoying is a common oriental one. Tholuck ("Sermon on the Mount") quotes from the Arabic several passages in point, and one which is literally our Lord's saying: "How seest thou the splinter in thy brother's eye, and seest not the cross-beam in thine eye?"
Beam (dokon). A log, joist, rafter; indicating a great fault.
To cast out (ekbalein). The Lord's words assume that the object of scrutiny is not only nor mainly detection, but correction. Hence thou shalt see clearly, not the mote, but to cast out the mote.
Pearls before swine (margaritav emprosqen twn coirwn). Another picture of a rich man wantonly throwing handfuls of small pearls to swine. Swine in Palestine were at best but half-tamed, the hog being an unclean animal. The wild boar haunts the Jordan valley to this day. Small pearls, called by jewellers seed-pearls, would resemble the pease or maize on which the swine feed. They would rush upon them when scattered, and, discovering the cheat, would trample upon them and turn their tusks upon the man who scattered them.
Turn (strafentev). The Rev. properly omits again. The word graphically pictures the quick, sharp turn of the boar.
Rend (rhxwsin). Lit., break; and well chosen to express the peculiar character of the wound made by the boar's tusk, which is not a cut, but a long tear or rip.
Leadeth (apagousa). Lit., leadeth away, from death, or, perhaps, from the broad road. Note that the gate is not at the end, but at the beginning of the road.
24 sqq. I will liken him, etc. The picture is not of two men deliberately selecting foundations, but it contrasts one who carefully chooses and prepares his foundation with one who builds at hap-hazard. This is more strongly brought out by Luke (vi. 48): "Who digged and went deep, and laid a foundation upon the rock" (Rev.). Kitto ("Pictorial Bible") says: "At this very day the mode of building in Christ's own town of Nazareth suggest the source of this image. Dr. Robinson was entertained in the house of a Greek Arab. The house had just been built, and was not yet finished. In order to lay the foundations he had dug down to the solid rock, as is usual throughout the country here, to the depth of thirty feet, and then built up arches." The abrupt style of ver. 25 pictures the sudden coming of the storm which sweeps away the house on the sand:
"Descended the rain, and came the floods, and blew the winds."