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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Matthew 7

 

 

Verse 1

Matthew 7:1. ΄ὴ κρίνετε, Judge not) i.e. without knowledge, charity, or necessity. Yet a dog is to be accounted a dog, and a swine a swine; see Matthew 7:6.


Verse 2

Matthew 7:2. ἐν μέτρῳ, with what measure) The principle of the lex talionis.(301)


Verse 3

Matthew 7:3. ἐν τῷ ὀφθαλμῷ, in the eye) In that part of the body which is the most noble, the most delicate, and the most conspicuous.— ἐν τῷ σῷ, in thine own) See Romans 2:21; Romans 2:23.


Verse 4

Matthew 7:4. πῶς, how?) i.e. How is it fitting for you to do so?


Verse 5

Matthew 7:5. διαβλέψεις, thou shalt see beyond) now that the beam has been taken out of the way, and no longer interposes itself between you and your brother’s eye, and that your own is relieved of the incumbrance. He who, having first corrected himself, seeks to correct another, is not a perverse judge.(302)


Verse 6

Matthew 7:6. ΄ὴ δῶτε, give not) Here we meet with the other extreme; for the two extremes are, to judge those who ought not to be judged, and to give holy things to the dogs. Too much severity and too much laxity.(303)κυσὶ, χοίρων, dogs, swine) Dogs feed on their own filth, swine on that of others. See Gnomon on 2 Peter 2:22; Philippians 3:2. The holy and dogs are put in opposition to each other in Exodus 22:30;(304) a dog is not a wild beast, but yet it is an unclean animal.— ὑμῶν, your) An implied antitheton.(305) That which is holy is the property of GOD pearls are the secret treasures of the faithful, intrusted to them by GOD.— ῥήξωσιν, rend) This also appears to refer to the swine.(306)ὑμᾶς, you) From whom they expected something else, husks, etc.


Verse 7

Matthew 7:7. αἰτεῖτε, ask) Ask for gifts to meet your needs.— ζητεῖτε, seek) sc. the hidden things which you have lost, and return from your error.— κρούετε, knock) sc. ye who are without, that ye may be admitted within. See 2 Corinthians 6:17, fin. Ask, seek, knock, without intermission.(307)


Verse 8

Matthew 7:8. πᾶς, every one) that asketh, even from man, much more from God.


Verse 9

Matthew 7:9. , An interrogative particle, corresponding to the Latin an.(308)ἐξ ὑμῶν, of you) Parables are especially popular, when they are addressed ad hominem.— ἄνθρωπος, a man) One, that is, who is not clearly devoid of humanity.(309)ἄρτον, bread) A stone, which is useless for food, resembles outwardly a loaf or roll. A snake, which is noxious, resembles a fish. A child can more easily do without fish than bread, and yet he obtains even a fish by asking for it. Fishes were given then to children, as apples are now.— μὴ λίθον a stone?) Lat. num lapidem, [such must be the force of μὴ(310) in this place]; for the parent, when asked, will not refuse to give either bread or a stone.


Verse 11

Matthew 7:11. ὑμεῖς, you) Christ rightly excepts Himself, and no one else.(311)—The ὑμεὶς; here refers to ἐξ ὑμῶν, of you, in Matthew 7:9.— πονηροὶ, evil) An illustrious testimony to the doctrine of original sin. Cf. the evil one,(312), Matthew 6:13. The Panegyric of Gregory(313) Thaumaturgus (p. 20, 146), has a similar confession of the evilness of human nature, with an emphasis rare in that age. Man is addressed as evil in the Scriptures. See ch. Matthew 10:17, and John 2:25.(314) It is wonderful therefore that Holy Scripture should have ever been received by the human race. Bread and fish are good things; man is evil, prompt to commit injury.(315)οἴδατε, ye know) Distinguishing bread from a stone, etc. It is wonderful that this understanding (intelligentiam) has remained in us. We are so evil. Cf. Job 39:17(316) with the preceding verses.— ἀγαθὰ, good things) both harmless and profitable things.(317)τοῖς τέκνοις ὑμῶν, to your children) especially when they ask you.— ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς, which is in the heavens) In whom there is no evil.— τοῖς αἰτοῦσιν, to them that ask) sc. His children; for where true prayer begins, there is Divine sonship.

In the original the expressions used are, Malus, malitiam, male audit.—As the first of these = the Evil One, I have rendered the others so as to correspond with it.—(I. B)


Verse 12

Matthew 7:12. οὖν, therefore) The sum of all that has been said from the beginning of the chapter. He concludes [this portion of the discourse], and at the same time returns to ch. Matthew 5:17. The conclusion corresponds with the commencement. And we ought to imitate the Divine goodness, mentioned in Matthew 7:11.— θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν, ye would that they should do) “Ye would:” this is pointedly said (notanter): for men often do otherwise [than what ye would that they should do]. We are not to follow their example. Sc. by benefiting, not injuring.— οἱ ἄνθρωποι, men) The indefinite appellation of men, frequently employed by the Saviour, already alludes to the future propagation of His teaching throughout the whole human race.— οὓτω, thus) The same things in the same way: or thus, as I have told you up to this point.— οὗτος, this) The law and the prophets enjoin many other things, as for example the love of God: but yet the law and the prophets also tend to this as their especial scope, viz. whatsoever ye would, etc., and he who performs this, performs all the rest more easily: see ch. Matthew 19:19.


Verse 13

Matthew 7:13. εἰσέλθετε, enter ye in) Make it the object of your constant and earnest endeavours (Id agite) really to enter.(318) This presupposes that they are attempting to walk on the narrow way. Observe the antithetical relation between εἰσέλθετε,” “enter ye in” [in the first], and οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι”—“they which go in” [in the last clause of this verse].— στενῆς, strait) sc. of righteousness.— πύλη, the gate) This is put before the way; the gate therefore in this verse signifies that, by which a man begins in any manner to seek for the salvation of his soul; as in the next verse the gate is that, by which true Christianity is received.— ἀπάγουσα, which leadeth away) from this short life. So also in the next verse.— πολλοὶ, many) See 2 Esdras 9:15; 2 Esdras 9:17.— οἱ εἰσερχόμενοι, they which go in) There is no need that they should find it, for they spontaneously fall into destruction. Cf. v. 14.— δἰ αὐτῆς through it) sc. the gate.


Verse 14

Matthew 7:14. ὅτι στενὴ, κ. τ. λ., because straight, etc.) Many read τί στενὴ, κ. τ. λ.,(319) HOW straight, etc., as in the S. V. of 2 Samuel 6:20. where מה (320) is rendered by τί—sc. τί δεδόξασται σήμερον βασιλεὺς ἰσραὴλ—HOW glorious was the king of Israel to-day! But there the expression is ironical.—The true reading is undoubtedly,(321) ὅτι πλατεῖαὅτι στενή, κ. τ. λ.,—BECAUSE broad—BECAUSE straight. Thus in 1 Kings 21:15, כי (322) (rendered ὅτι by the LXX.) occurs twice.— ὅτι οὐκ ἔστι ναβουθὰι ζῶν, ὅτι τέθνηκε: For, Naboth is not alive, but dead.(323) The last כי has the force of but; and is thus rendered by the LXX. in Daniel 9:18, and 2 Chronicles 20:15. See also Hebrews 8:10-11.(324)αὐτὴν, it) sc. the gate. Cf. the commencement and conclusion of Matthew 7:13.


Verse 15

Matthew 7:15. προσέχετε, beware of) There are many dangers: therefore we are frequently warned.—See ch. Matthew 6:1, Matthew 16:6, Matthew 24:4; Luke 12:1; Luke 12:15, etc.— δὲ, but) Whilst you are endeavouring yourselves to enter, beware of those who close the gate against you. See ch. Matthew 23:13.— ψευδοπροφητῶν, false prophets) whose teaching is different from that of true prophets. See ch. Matthew 5:17. [comp. Matthew 7:12. He who works iniquity, however he may prophesy in the name of Christ (Matthew 7:22), is nevertheless a false prophet. In our day, they who delight in casting against others the taunt of being Pharisees and false prophets, are themselves that which they lay to the charge of others.—V. g.]— ἐνδύμασι προβάτων, in sheep’s clothing) i.e. in such clothing as they would wear if they were sheep.


Verse 15-16

Matthew 7:15-16. οἵτινες ἔρχονταιἐπιγνώσεσθε αὐτούς, who come—ye shall know them) a very similar passage occurs in Luke 20:45-47.(325)


Verse 16

Matthew 7:16. ἀπὸ(326) τῶν καρπῶν αὐτῶν, κ. τ. λ., from their fruits, etc.) This declaration is solemnly repeated at Matthew 7:20.— καρπῶν, fruits) The fruit is that, which a man like a tree puts forth, from the good or evil disposition which pervades the whole of his inward being. Learning, compiled from every quarter, and combined with language, does not constitute fruit; which consists of all that which the teacher puts forth from his heart, in his language and conduct, as something flowing from his inner being, like milk, which the mother gives from her own breast: see ch. Matthew 12:33-35. This is the true force of ποιεῖ, produces, in Matthew 7:17-19 : cf. Matthew 7:21; Matthew 7:23-24; Matthew 7:26. It is not his speech alone which constitutes the true or the false prophet, but his whole method of leading(327) himself, and others with him, by the one or the other road or gate to life or death (see ch. Matthew 15:14; Matthew 15:13); whence it arises that doing and saying are closely connected in ch. Matthew 5:10. The fruits indeed are the tokens (Gnorismata) or evidence of the truth or falsehood of the prophet, and therefore also of the doctrine set forth by the prophet. The doctrine, therefore, is not the fruit by which the prophet is known; but it is the form of the true or false prophet which constitutes him the one or the other, and is itself known from its fruit. The goodness of the tree itself is truth and inward light, etc; the goodness of the fruit is holiness of life. If the fruit consisted in doctrine, no orthodox teacher could be damned or be the cause of another’s destruction.—See Schomer,(328) Theol. Moral. p. 252.— ἀπὸ ἀκανθῶν, of thorns) although their berries resemble grapes, as the heads of thistles do figs. In Luke 6:44 the same comparison is differently turned, for ἄκανθα, the thorn, and βάτος, the bramble, are very closely allied. The grape therefore ( σταφυλὴ) is denied to each of them. Certain thorns ( ἄκανθαι) also have large shoots:(329) figs therefore can be denied to them as well as to thistles.

Bab Hil. 1245 read ἀπό: but c Lucif. ‘ex,’ Vulg. ‘a.’—ED.


Verse 19

Matthew 7:19. δένδρον, a tree) The allegory is continued.


Verse 21

Matthew 7:21. οὐ πᾶς, κ. τ. λ., not every one, etc.) for all in some manner say, and shall say so; see Matthew 7:22, and cf. Luke 9:57; Luke 9:59; Luke 9:61.— λέγων, that saith) Put in opposition to ποιῶν, that doeth: cf. 1 Corinthians 9:27; 1 Corinthians 13:1-2.— ΄οι, unto Me) The meaning is, “unto Me and My Father;” and again, “My Father’s Will and Mine.”— κύριε, Lord) Jesus acknowledged that this Divine appellation was due to Him. Many, even men of high rank, called Him LORD: He called no one so, not even Pilate.— ποιῶν, κ. τ. λ., he that doeth, etc.) There is an antithesis between this and οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι (that work), in Matthew 7:23.— τὸ θέλημα, κ. τ. λ., the will, etc.) sc. that which I preach, the righteous will, which is declared in the Law: cf. v. 19.— τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς,(330) which is in heaven(331)) No one, therefore, who is contrary to God will enter heaven.— ἀλλʼ ποιῶν τὸ θέλη΄α τοῦ πατρός ΄ου τοῦ ἐν οὐρανοῖς,(332) οὓτος εἰσελεύσεται εἰς τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν,(333) but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in Heaven,(334) he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven(335)) These last words,(336) “ipse intrabit in regnum cœlorum,”(337)he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven,” are found in that most ancient authority, the Latin Vulgate,(338) and from it in both Hebrew editions(339) of St Matthew, in the Anglo-Saxon Version,(340) in Jerome, and in Lupus,(341) Ep. 84, and, perhaps from another version, in Cypria(342). The copyists of later times, slipping from οὐρανοῖς to οὐρανῶν, have omitted the clause. In antithetical passages of this character, the sacred writers frequently employ the figure entitled Plenus Sermo.(343)

[330-335] The word is in the plural number.—(I. B.)

Vulg. abc Cypr. Hil. add “ipse intrabit in regnum cœlorum:” they moreover must read αὐτὸς ipse, not as Beng. has it, hic, οὗτος. BZ and most of the oldest authorities omit the clause.—ED.


Verse 22

Matthew 7:22. πολλοὶ, many) even of those, perhaps, whom posterity has canonized and commanded to be accounted blessed and saints; many, certainly, of those who have had rare gifts, and have shown at times a good will (see Mark 9:39), who apprehend the power and the wisdom, but not the mercy of God.— ἐροῦσι, shall say) flattering themselves in their own persuasion. Many souls will retain the error, with which they deceive themselves, even up to that day:(344) [A miserable expectation, previously, is theirs: an awful judgment, subsequently!—V. g.] see ch. Matthew 25:11. Hence may be illustrated the doctrine of the state after death. In the Judgment all things will at length be made known: see Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 3:13.— ἐν ἐκεινῇ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ, on that day) that great day, in comparison with which all previous days are nothing.—THY) The emphasis and accent fall upon this word in each of the three clauses: THY, sc. that of the Lord.— προεφητεύσαμεν, we have prophesied) We have openly proclaimed the mysteries of Thy kingdom. Add also: We have written commentaries and exegetical observations on books and passages of the Old and New Testament, we have preached fine sermons, etc.— δαιμόνια, devils) It is not said διαβόλους, because διαβολος; is only used in the singular number.(345)


Verse 23

Matthew 7:23. τότε, κ. τ. λ., then, etc.) although they had not thought so before.— ὁμολογήσω, I will profess) sc. openly. Great was the authority evinced by this saying: see Matthew 7:29.— οὐδέποτε, κ. τ. λ., never, etc.) although you cite My Name.— οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι, κ. τ. λ., that work, etc.) Not even then will their iniquity have been changed.(346)ἀνομίαν, iniquity) how much soever they may boast of the Law.(347) Unbelief exclusively damns (Infidelitas proprie damnat); and yet in the Judgment the Law is rather cited; see ch. Matthew 25:35; Matthew 25:42; Romans 2:12, because the reprobate, even then, when they see Christ visibly manifest, will not comprehend the true nature of faith.


Verse 24

Matthew 7:24. ὁμοιώσω, I will liken) In Matthew 7:26 it is, he shall he likened. God refers salutary things(348) to Himself; He removes evil things(349) from Himself; cf. ch. Matthew 25:34; Matthew 25:41.— φρονίμῳ, prudent) True prudence spontaneously accompanies true righteousness; cf. ch. Matthew 25:2.


Verse 25

Matthew 7:25. καὶκαὶκαὶκ. τ. λ., and—and—and—etc.) In the last days of a man and of the world, temptations throng together to the attack (concurrunt), sc., rains on the roof, rivers at the base, winds at the sides [of our spiritual edifice].(350) βροχὴ, the rain) The presence of the article denotes that the rain will not be deficient.— προσέπεσον, fell upon) i.e. to try its power of endurance. In Matthew 7:27, we have προσέκοψαν, beat upon, as though at random and without object.


Verse 26

Matthew 7:26. ἀκούων, he that heareth) He who neither hears nor does, clearly does not build at all.— ἐπὶ τὴν ἄμμον, on the sand) which frequently looks like the rock, but is not of the same consistence.


Verse 27

Matthew 7:27. καὶ ἦν πτῶσις αὐτῆς μεγάλη, and great was the fall of it) It was great indeed, for it was entire. We see, from the present example, that it is not necessary for all sermons to end in a consolatory strain.


Verse 28

Matthew 7:28. συνετέλεσεν, concluded) The Lord did nothing abruptly: see ch. Matthew 11:1, Matthew 19:1, Matthew 26:1.— ἐξεπλήσσοντο, were astonished) The attractions of true teaching are genuine; those of profane, futile. You may wonder, perhaps, why our Lord did not in this discourse speak more clearly concerning His own Person. But (1) He explained His teaching so excellently, that from thence His auditors might judge of the excellence of the Prophet who thus taught; (2) His person had been already(351) sufficiently declared; (3) in the discourse itself, He sufficiently intimates who He is, namely, “He that cometh,”(352) i.e., the Son of God, the Judge of all; see ch. Matthew 5:11; Matthew 5:17; Matthew 5:22, Matthew 7:21-27.


Verse 29

Matthew 7:29. ὡς ἑξουσίαν ἔχων, as one having authority) They could not withdraw themselves away.(353) It is the mark of truth to constrain minds, and that of their own free will. See examples of our Lord’s authority ( ἐξουσία) in the Gnomon on ch. Matthew 5:3; Matthew 5:18-20, Matthew 7:22-23, and also Matthew 8:19, and John 7:19.— γραμματεῖς,(354) scribes) to whom the people were accustomed, and who had no authority,

Lachm. adds the words with C corrected by the first and second later hand, ac Vulg. Hil. 640, Euseb. ἀποδ. 27b:b also, adding αὐτῶν. However the weighty authority of B is against the additional words.—ED.

 


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 7:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/matthew-7.html. 1897.

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