New English Translation
Sending Out the Twelve Apostles
10 Jesus[a] called his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits[b] so they could cast them out and heal every kind of disease and sickness.[c] 2 Now these are the names of the twelve apostles:[d] first, Simon[e] (called Peter), and Andrew his brother; James son of Zebedee and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew;[f] Thomas[g] and Matthew the tax collector;[h] James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;[i] 4 Simon the Zealot[j] and Judas Iscariot,[k] who betrayed him.[l]
5 Jesus sent out these twelve, instructing them as follows:[m] “Do not go on a road that leads to Gentile regions[n] and do not enter any Samaritan town.[o] 6 Go[p] instead to the lost sheep[q] of the house of Israel. 7 As you go, preach this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven is near!’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead,[r] cleanse lepers,[s] cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give. 9 Do not take gold, silver, or copper[t] in your belts, 10 no bag[u] for the journey, or an extra tunic,[v] or sandals or staff,[w] for the worker deserves his provisions. 11 Whenever[x] you enter a town or village,[y] find out who is worthy there[z] and stay with them[aa] until you leave. 12 As you enter the house, greet those within it.[ab] 13 And if the house is worthy, let your peace come on it, but if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.[ac] 14 And if anyone will not welcome you or listen to your message, shake the dust off[ad] your feet as you leave that house or that town. 15 I tell you the truth,[ae] it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom and Gomorrah[af] on the day of judgment than for that town!
Persecution of Disciples
16 “I[ag] am sending you out like sheep surrounded by wolves,[ah] so be wise as serpents[ai] and innocent as doves.[aj] 17 Beware[ak] of people, because they will hand you over to councils[al] and flog[am] you in their synagogues.[an] 18 And you will be brought before governors and kings[ao] because of me, as a witness to them and to the Gentiles. 19 Whenever[ap] they hand you over for trial,[aq] do not worry about how to speak or what to say,[ar] for what you should say will be given to you at that time.[as] 20 For it is not you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.
21 “Brother[at] will hand over brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rise against[au] parents and have them put to death. 22 And you will be hated by everyone because of my name. But the one who endures to the end will be saved! 23 Whenever[av] they persecute you in one town,[aw] flee to another! I tell you the truth,[ax] you will not finish going through all the towns[ay] of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “A disciple is not greater than his teacher, nor a slave[az] greater than his master. 25 It is enough for the disciple to become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house ‘Beelzebul,’ how much worse will they call[ba] the members of his household!
Fear God, Not Man
26 “Do[bb] not be afraid of them, for nothing is hidden[bc] that will not be revealed,[bd] and nothing is secret that will not be made known. 27 What I say to you in the dark, tell in the light, and what is whispered in your ear,[be] proclaim from the housetops.[bf] 28 Do[bg] not be afraid of those who kill the body[bh] but cannot kill the soul. Instead, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.[bi] 29 Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny?[bj] Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will.[bk] 30 Even all the hairs on your head are numbered. 31 So do not be afraid;[bl] you are more valuable than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever, then, acknowledges[bm] me before people, I will acknowledge[bn] before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever denies me before people, I will deny him also before my Father in heaven.
Not Peace, but a Sword
34 “Do not think that I have come to bring[bo] peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace but a sword![bp] 35 For I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law, 36 and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.[bq]
37 “Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy[br] of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. 38 And whoever does not take up his cross[bs] and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Whoever finds his life[bt] will lose it,[bu] and whoever loses his life because of me[bv] will find it.
40 “Whoever receives you receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me.[bw] 41 Whoever receives a prophet in the name of a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward. Whoever[bx] receives a righteous person in the name of a righteous person will receive a righteous person’s reward. 42 And whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones[by] in the name of a disciple, I tell you the truth,[bz] he will never lose his reward.”
11 When[ca] Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in their towns.[cb]
Jesus and John the Baptist
2 Now when John[cc] heard in prison about the deeds Christ[cd] had done, he sent his disciples to ask a question:[ce] 3 “Are you the one who is to come,[cf] or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered them,[cg] “Go tell John what you hear and see:[ch] 5 The blind see, the[ci] lame walk, lepers[cj] are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them[ck] 6 —and blessed is anyone[cl] who takes no offense at me!”
7 While they were going away, Jesus began to speak to the crowd about John: “What did you go out into the wilderness[cm] to see? A reed shaken by the wind?[cn] 8 What[co] did you go out to see? A man dressed in soft clothing?[cp] Look, those who wear soft clothing are in the palaces of kings![cq] 9 What did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more[cr] than a prophet! 10 This is the one about whom it is written:
11 “I tell you the truth,[cu] among those born of women, no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist. Yet the one who is least[cv] in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he is! 12 From[cw] the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence,[cx] and forceful people[cy] lay hold of it. 13 For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John appeared.[cz] 14 And if you are willing to accept it,[da] he is Elijah, who is to come. 15 The one who has ears had better listen![db]
16 “To[dc] what should I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces[dd] who call out to one another,[de]
17 ‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance;[df]
we wailed in mourning,[dg] yet you did not weep.’
18 For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon!’[dh] 19 The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Look at him,[di] a glutton and a drunk, a friend of tax collectors[dj] and sinners!’[dk] But wisdom is vindicated[dl] by her deeds.”[dm]
Woes on Unrepentant Cities
20 Then Jesus began to criticize openly the cities[dn] in which he had done many of his miracles, because they did not repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin![do] Woe to you, Bethsaida! If[dp] the miracles[dq] done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon,[dr] they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.[ds] 22 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon[dt] on the day of judgment than for you! 23 And you, Capernaum,[du] will you be exalted to heaven?[dv] No, you will be thrown down to Hades![dw] For if the miracles done among you had been done in Sodom,[dx] it would have continued to this day.[dy] 24 But I tell you, it will be more bearable for the region of Sodom[dz] on the day of judgment than for you!”
25 At that time Jesus said,[ea] “I praise[eb] you, Father, Lord[ec] of heaven and earth, because[ed] you have hidden these things from the wise[ee] and intelligent, and have revealed them to little children.[ef] 26 Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.[eg] 27 All things have been handed over to me by my Father.[eh] No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides[ei] to reveal him. 28 Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke[ej] on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”
- Matthew 10:1 tn Grk “And he.”
- Matthew 10:1 sn Unclean spirits refers to evil spirits.
- Matthew 10:1 tn Grk “every [kind of] disease and every [kind of] sickness.” Here “every” was not repeated in the translation for stylistic reasons. The present translation, like several other translations (e.g., NASB, NKJV, CEV, NLT), has opted for “every kind of disease and sickness” here (KJV “all manner of sickness and all manner of disease”), understanding the Greek term πᾶς to refer to “everything belonging, in kind, to the class designated by the noun” (BDAG 784 s.v. 5).sn The same statement about healing was made concerning Jesus’ ministry in Matt 9:35, which likewise repeated Matt 4:23. By the choice of wording the evangelist thus links the ministry of the disciples with the ministry of Jesus himself.
- Matthew 10:2 sn The term apostles is rare in the gospels, found only here, Mark 3:14, and six more times in Luke (6:13; 9:10; 11:49; 17:5; 22:14; 24:10).
- Matthew 10:2 sn In the various lists of the twelve, Simon (that is, Peter) is always mentioned first (see also Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:13-16; Acts 1:13) and the first four individuals listed are always the same, although not in the same order following Peter.
- Matthew 10:3 sn Bartholomew means “son of Tolmai” in Aramaic. It has frequently been suggested that this is another name for Nathanael mentioned in John 1:45, although this is not certain.
- Matthew 10:3 sn This is the “doubting Thomas” mentioned in John 20:24-29.
- Matthew 10:3 sn See the note on tax collectors in 5:46.
- Matthew 10:3 tc Witnesses differ on the identification of the last disciple mentioned in v. 3: He is called Λεββαῖος (Lebbaios, “Lebbaeus”) in D and Judas Zelotes in the Old Latin witnesses. The Byzantine text, along with a few others (C(*),2 L N W Γ Δ Θ ƒ1 33 565 579 700 1424 M), conflates earlier readings by calling him “Lebbaeus, who was called Thaddaeus,” while codex 13 conflates by way of transposition (“Thaddaeus, who was called Lebbaeus”). But excellent and early witnesses (א B ƒ13 892 lat co) call him merely Θαδδαῖος (Thaddaios, “Thaddaeus”), a reading which, because of this support, is most likely correct.
- Matthew 10:4 tn Grk “the Cananean,” but according to both BDAG 507 s.v. Καναναῖος and L&N 11.88, this term has no relation at all to the geographical terms for Cana or Canaan, but is derived from the Aramaic term for “enthusiast, zealot” (see Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13), possibly because of an earlier affiliation with the party of the Zealots (cf. TEV “Simon the Patriot”). He may not have been technically a member of the particular Jewish nationalistic party known as “Zealots” (since according to some scholars this party had not been organized at that time), but simply someone who was zealous for Jewish independence from Rome, in which case the term would refer to his temperament (cf. CEV “Simon, known as the Eager One”).
- Matthew 10:4 sn Just as Peter is always mentioned first in all the lists, Judas Iscariot is always mentioned last, presumably because he was considered unworthy. There is some debate about what the name Iscariot means. It probably alludes to a region in Judea and thus might make Judas the only non-Galilean in the group. Several explanations for the name Iscariot have been proposed, but it is probably transliterated Hebrew with the meaning “man of Kerioth” (there are at least two villages that had that name). For further discussion see D. L. Bock, Luke (BECNT), 1:546; also D. A. Carson, John, 304.
- Matthew 10:4 tn Grk “who even betrayed him.”
- Matthew 10:5 tn Grk “instructing them, saying.”
- Matthew 10:5 tn Grk “on the way/road of the Gentiles.” The objective genitive “of the Gentiles” indicates the direction (BDAG 554 s.v. ὁδός 1.a); the restriction is on the territory to be visited rather than contact with individual Gentiles or Samaritans (compare the mission of the seventy-two in Luke 10:4 where even standard greetings along the road are prohibited). sn Since Galilee was surrounded on all sides by Gentile territory except the south, where it bordered on Samaria, this restriction effectively limited the mission of the twelve to Galilee on this occasion.
- Matthew 10:5 tn Grk “town [or city] of the Samaritans.”sn This is the only mention of Samaritans or Samaria in the Gospel of Matthew.
- Matthew 10:6 tn Grk “But go.” The Greek μᾶλλον (mallon, “rather, instead”) conveys the adversative nuance here so that δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:6 sn The imagery of lost sheep probably alludes to Jer 50:6, where the Jewish people have been abandoned by their leaders (“shepherds”) and allowed to go astray.
- Matthew 10:8 tc The majority of Byzantine minuscules, along with a few other witnesses (C3 K L Γ Θ 579 700txt* 1424c sa mae), lack νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε (nekrous egeirete, “raise the dead”), most likely because of oversight due to a string of similar endings (-ετε in the second person imperatives, occurring five times in v. 8). The longer version of this verse is found in several diverse and ancient witnesses such as א B C* (D) N 0281vid ƒ1, 13 33 565 579mg lat bo; P W Δ 348 syh have a word-order variation, but nevertheless include νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε. Although some Byzantine-text proponents charge the Alexandrian witnesses with theologically-motivated alterations toward heterodoxy, it is interesting to find a variant such as this in which the charge could be reversed (do the Byzantine scribes have something against the miracle of resurrection?). In reality, such charges of wholesale theologically-motivated changes toward heterodoxy are immediately suspect due to lack of evidence of intentional changes (here the change is evidently due to accidental omission).
- Matthew 10:8 sn See the note on leper in Matt 8:2.
- Matthew 10:9 sn The gold, silver, and copper probably represent varying degrees of provision, with gold the most valuable and copper the least. Jesus’ point appears to be that not even minimal provision (copper) was to be taken along, forcing the disciple to be totally dependent on God.
- Matthew 10:10 tn Or “no traveler’s bag”; or possibly “no beggar’s bag” (L&N 6.145; BDAG 811 s.v. πήρα).
- Matthew 10:10 tn Grk “two tunics,” that is, wearing one and carrying one as a spare. See the note on the word “tunic” in Matt 5:40.
- Matthew 10:10 tn Mark 6:8 allows one staff. It is possible that Matthew’s “two” with regard to the tunics (NET “an extra tunic”) extends to cover the sandals and staff as well (although “staff” is singular), making this a summary (cf. Luke 9:3) meaning not taking an extra pair of sandals or an extra staff (like the tunics). It is also possible the expression is merely rhetorical for “traveling light” which has been rendered in two slightly different ways.sn The point of the prohibitions seems to be not so much urgency as total dependence on God. Lack of a staff, in particular, would leave the traveler extremely vulnerable to wild animals and robbers.
- Matthew 10:11 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:11 tn Grk “Into whatever town or village you enter.” This acts as a distributive, meaning every town or village they enter; this is expressed more naturally in English as “whenever you enter a town or village.”
- Matthew 10:11 tn Grk “in it” (referring to the city or village).
- Matthew 10:11 tn Grk “there.” This was translated as “with them” to avoid redundancy in English and to clarify where the disciples were to stay.sn Jesus telling his disciples to stay with them in one house contrasts with the practice of religious philosophers in the ancient world who went from house to house begging. Staying in one location would give the disciples a base of operations for mission in the area as long as they were there.
- Matthew 10:12 tn Grk “give it greetings.” The expression “give it greetings” is a metonymy; the “house” is put for those who live in it. The translation clarifies this because it sounds odd in contemporary English to speak of greeting a building.
- Matthew 10:13 sn The response to these messengers determines how God’s blessing is bestowed—if the messengers are not welcomed, their blessing will return to them. Jesus shows just how important their mission is by this remark.
- Matthew 10:14 sn To shake the dust off represented, on one level, shaking off the uncleanness from one’s feet; see Luke 10:11; Acts 13:51; 18:6. At another level, however, it is similar to a prophetic sign, representing the termination of all fellowship with those individuals or localities that have rejected the messengers along with their message of the coming kingdom of heaven. This in essence constitutes a sign of eschatological judgment, as confirmed in the following verse.
- Matthew 10:15 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 10:15 sn Sodom and Gomorrah were widely regarded as the most wicked of OT cities from the actions described in Gen 19:1-29; even in OT times their wickedness had become proverbial (Isa 1:9-10). The allusion to God’s judgment on these cities is not intended to indicate that they might be shown mercy on the day of judgment, but to warn that rejecting the messengers with their current message about the coming kingdom is even more serious than the worst sins of Sodom and Gomorrah and will result in even more severe punishment.
- Matthew 10:16 tn Grk “Behold I.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
- Matthew 10:16 sn This imagery of wolves is found in intertestamental Judaism (see Pss. Sol. 8:23, 30; also 1 Enoch 89:55). For more on the sheep imagery see H. Preisker and S. Schulz, TDNT 6:690. The imagery of sheep surrounded by wolves suggests violence, and prepares the hearers for the persecutions of disciples described in vv. 17-26.
- Matthew 10:16 sn The craftiness of serpents is proverbial and can be traced as far back as Gen 3:1. As for how it applies to Jesus’ disciples sent out with the message of the coming kingdom, interpreters have been far less certain, and there is a great diversity of opinion.
- Matthew 10:16 sn Doves were regarded in both Greek and Jewish culture of the first century as symbols of purity, integrity, and harmlessness (see H. Greeven, TDNT 6:65-67).
- Matthew 10:17 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:17 sn Councils in this context has a non-technical sense referring to local judicial bodies (courts) attached to the Jewish synagogue (cf. BDAG 967 s.v. συνέδριον 1.a). These courts would be responsible for meting out justice and discipline within the Jewish community.
- Matthew 10:17 tn Or “and have you flogged” (a causative sense). BDAG 620 s.v. μαστιγόω 1.a states, “of flogging as a punishment decreed by the synagogue (Dt 25:2f; s. the Mishna Tractate Sanhedrin-Makkoth, edited w. notes by SKrauss ’33) w. acc. of pers. Mt 10:17; 23:34.”
- Matthew 10:17 sn See the note on synagogues in 4:23.
- Matthew 10:18 sn These statements look at persecution both from a Jewish context as the mention of councils and synagogues suggests, and from a Gentile one as the reference to governors and kings suggests. Some fulfillment of Jewish persecution can be seen in Acts 4:3; 5:17-18, 40-41; 6:12; 7:1-60; 8:1-3, and of Gentile persecution in Acts 25:2-12, 24-27.
- Matthew 10:19 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:19 tn Or “hand you over into custody,” in particular “as a t.t. of police and courts ‘hand over into [the] custody [of]’” (BDAG 762 s.v. παραδίδωμι 1.b). In context some sort of trial is implied (cf. Luke 12:11).
- Matthew 10:19 tn Grk “how or what you might speak.”
- Matthew 10:19 tn Grk “in that hour.”
- Matthew 10:21 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.sn The mention of father and child in the following clause indicates that brother here refers to actual siblings, the members of one’s own family.
- Matthew 10:21 tn Or “will rebel against.”
- Matthew 10:23 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:23 tn The Greek word πόλις (polis) can mean either “town” or “city” depending on the context (BDAG 844 s.v. 1, “population center of varying size, city, town”).
- Matthew 10:23 tn Grk “For truly (ἀμήν, amēn) I say to you.” Here γάρ (gar, “for”) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:23 tn The Greek word πόλις (polis), can mean either “town” or “city” (see previous note in this verse). “Town” was employed here to emphasize the large number of places to visit (not just the largest cities) and thus the extensive nature of the disciples’ ministry.
- Matthew 10:24 tn See the note on the word “slave” in 8:9.
- Matthew 10:25 tn The words “will they call” are not in the Greek text but are implied, and have been supplied in the translation for clarity.
- Matthew 10:26 tn Grk “Therefore do not.” Here οὖν (oun) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:26 tn Or “concealed.”
- Matthew 10:26 tn The passive voice here and with the next verb is probably used for rhetorical effect. Although it is common to understand such usage, particularly in the gospels, as examples of the so-called “divine passive” where God is the unstated performer of the action, according to Wallace (ExSyn 438) this category is overused.sn The passive verbs revealed and made known suggest the revelation comes from God. The text is both a warning about bad things being revealed and an encouragement that good things will be made known.
- Matthew 10:27 tn Grk “what you hear in the ear,” an idiom meaning “say someth. into someone’s ear, i.e., secretly or in confidence, whisper” (BDAG 739 s.v. οὖς 1).
- Matthew 10:27 tn The expression “proclaim from the housetops” is an idiom for proclaiming something publicly (L&N 7.51; BDAG 266 s.v. δῶμα). Roofs of many first century Jewish houses in Judea and Galilee were flat and had access either from outside or from within the house. Something shouted from atop a house would be heard by everyone in the street below.
- Matthew 10:28 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:28 sn A similar exhortation is found in 4 Macc 13:14-15, reflecting the view of Judaism in the intertestamental period. The statement here assumes there is more to a person than a body. As J. Nolland states, “Fear of God is to displace fear of death-dealing persecutors. The stakes are higher with God” (Matthew [NIGTC], 436).
- Matthew 10:28 sn While destroy is sometimes taken to mean annihilation, it does not necessarily have to imply that here (“Of eternal death… Mt 10:28, ” BDAG 116 s.v. ἀπόλλυμι 1.a.α). There are some Jewish intertestamental texts that appear to reflect a belief in everlasting punishment for the wicked (Jdt 16:17; 1QS 2:8) as well as Rev 14:11 in the NT. See also the note on the word hell in 5:22.
- Matthew 10:29 sn The penny refers to an assarion, a small Roman copper coin. One of them was worth one-sixteenth of a denarius or less than a half hour’s average wage. Sparrows were the cheapest items sold in the market. The point of Jesus’ statement is that God knows about even the most financially insignificant things; see Isa 49:15.
- Matthew 10:29 tn Or “to the ground without the knowledge and consent of your Father.”sn This is a typical form of rabbinic argumentation, from the lesser to the greater: If God cares about the lesser thing (sparrows) how much more does he care about the greater thing (people).
- Matthew 10:31 sn This represents the third call by Jesus not to be afraid in the section (previously in vv. 26, 28). Since these two previous references were related to fear of persecution, it is probable that this one does as well. Once again the sparrows are mentioned and the argument is from lesser to greater (if God cares about individual hairs on the head and about sparrows, how much more does he care about people).
- Matthew 10:32 tn Or “confesses”; cf. BDAG 708 s.v. ὁμολογέω 4, “to acknowledge someth., ordinarily in public, acknowledge, claim, profess, praise.”
- Matthew 10:32 tn Grk “I will acknowledge [or, confess] him also.”sn This acknowledgment will take place at the judgment. On Jesus and judgment, see Luke 22:69; Acts 10:42-43; 17:31.
- Matthew 10:34 tn Grk “cast.” For βάλλω (ballō) in the sense of bringing about (or causing) a state or condition, see L&N 13.14; BDAG 163-64 s.v. 4.
- Matthew 10:34 sn For rhetorical reasons, Jesus’ statement is deliberately paradoxical (seeming to state the opposite of Matt 10:13 where the messengers are to bring peace). The conflict implied by the sword is not primarily eschatological in this context, however, but immediate, and concerns the division and discord even among family members that a person’s allegiance to Jesus would bring (vv. 35-39).
- Matthew 10:36 tn Matt 10:35-36 are an allusion to Mic 7:6.
- Matthew 10:37 tn Here “worthy” (ἄξιος, axios) means “does not deserve to belong to me” (BDAG 94 s.v. 2.a), i.e., “is not worthy to be my disciple” (cf. Luke 14:26) or perhaps “is not worthy to participate in the kingdom” (to be undeserving of Jesus is to be undeserving of the kingdom he brings).sn The statement demands uncompromising, radical loyalty to Jesus, a loyalty so powerful that it surpasses normal human relationships, even familial ones.
- Matthew 10:38 sn According to Plutarch, “Every criminal who is executed carries his own cross” (De sera numinus vindicta 9.554b). Jesus is speaking figuratively here in the context of rejection. If one’s allegiance to Jesus does not have absolute priority, then one will not follow him in the face of possible rejection and persecution.
- Matthew 10:39 tn Grk “his soul.” The Greek ψυχή (psuchē) has many different meanings depending on the context. The two primary meanings here are the earthly life (animate life, sometimes called “physical life”) and the inner life (the life that transcends the earthly life, sometimes called “the soul”). The fact that the Greek term can have both meanings creates in this verse both a paradox and a wordplay. The desire to preserve both aspects of ψυχή (psuchē) for oneself creates the tension here (cf. BDAG 1099 s.v. 1.a; 2.d,e). Translation of the Greek term ψυχή (psuchē) presents a particularly difficult problem in this verse. Most English versions since the KJV have translated the term “life.” This preserves the paradox of finding one’s “life” (in the sense of earthly life) while at the same time really losing it (in the sense of “soul” or transcendent inner life) and vice versa, but at the same time it obscures the wordplay that results from the same Greek word having multiple meanings. To translate as “soul,” however, gives the modern English reader the impression of the immortal soul at the expense of the earthly life. On the whole it is probably best to use the translation “life” and retain the paradox at the expense of the wordplay.
- Matthew 10:39 sn The Greek word translated life can refer to both earthly, physical life and inner, transcendent life (one’s “soul”). In the context, if a person is not willing to suffer the world’s rejection and persecution in order to follow Jesus but instead seeks to retain his physical life, then that person will lose both physical life and inner, transcendent life (at the judgment). On the other hand, the one who willingly gives up earthly, physical life to follow Jesus (“loses his life because of me”) will ultimately find one’s “soul” (note that the parallel in John’s Gospel speaks of “guarding one’s ‘soul’ for eternal life” (John 12:25).
- Matthew 10:39 tn Or “for my sake.” The traditional rendering “for my sake” can be understood in the sense of “for my benefit,” but the Greek term ἕνεκα (heneka) indicates the cause or reason for something (BDAG 334 s.v. 1).
- Matthew 10:40 sn The one who sent me refers to God. Reception of the messengers (and by implication, the message they bring) is equivalent to reception of both Jesus and God the Father himself.
- Matthew 10:41 tn Grk “And whoever.” Here καί (kai) has not been translated.
- Matthew 10:42 sn Mention of these little ones in the context seems slightly odd since Jesus is addressing disciples, and this seems to refer to disciples. Probably it is another reference to the itinerant messengers mentioned previously (v. 40). Even a minimal act of kindness shown to one of these (a cup of cold water) will not go unacknowledged and unrewarded.
- Matthew 10:42 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 11:1 tn Grk “And it happened when.” The introductory phrase καὶ ἐγένετο (kai egeneto, “it happened that”) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Matthew 11:1 sn The antecedent of “their” in their towns is not entirely clear. In Matt 4:23 “their synagogues” apparently refers to the people of Galilee, and in 9:35 to the synagogues of the towns Jesus is visiting. Here, however, the most likely antecedent is Jesus’ disciples mentioned at the beginning of this verse.
- Matthew 11:2 sn John refers to John the Baptist.
- Matthew 11:2 tc The Western codex D and a few other mss (0233 1424 syc) read “Jesus” here instead of “Christ.” This is not likely to be original because it is not found in the earliest and most important mss, nor in the rest of the ms tradition.tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.” sn See the note on Christ in 1:16.
- Matthew 11:2 tc Most witnesses, including several significant ones (C3 L Γ ƒ1 565 579 700 1424 M lat bo), read “two of his disciples” instead of “by his disciples” (see the tn below for the reading of the Greek). The difference in Greek, however, is only two letters: διὰ τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ vs. δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ (dia tōn mathētōn autou vs. duo tōn mathētōn autou). Although an accidental alteration could account for either of these readings, it is more likely that δύο is an assimilation to the parallel in Luke 7:18, perhaps motivated by the somewhat awkward Greek in Matthew’s wording (with “by his disciples” the direct object of “sending” [πέμψας] needs to be supplied). Further, διά is read by a good number of early and excellent witnesses (א B C* D P W Z Δ Θ 0233 ƒ13 33 sa), and thus should be considered autographic.tn Grk “sending by his disciples he said to him.” The words “a question” are not in the Greek text, but are implied.
- Matthew 11:3 sn In light of the confidence expressed by John in Matt 3:14 some have difficulty reconciling the doubts he expresses here about Jesus’ identity as the Messiah. From John’s perspective in prison, however, the enemies of God (including Herod Antipas) had not yet been judged with the coming apocalyptic judgment John had preached and had expected Jesus to fulfill. Lack of immediate apocalyptic fulfillment was a frequent cause of misunderstanding about Jesus’ messianic identity (cf. Luke 24:19-21).
- Matthew 11:4 tn Grk “And answering, Jesus said to them.” This construction is redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.
- Matthew 11:4 sn What you hear and see. The following activities all paraphrase various OT descriptions of the time of promised salvation: Isa 35:5-6; 26:19; 29:18-19; 61:1. Jesus is answering John’s question not by acknowledging a title (the Christ), but by pointing to the nature of his works, which verify his identity and indicate the fulfillment of the OT promises.
- Matthew 11:5 tn Grk “and the,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more. Two other conjunctions are omitted in this series.
- Matthew 11:5 sn See the note on leper in Matt 8:2.
- Matthew 11:5 sn The good news proclaimed is the message about the arrival of the kingdom (cf. Matt 10:7) which the messengers are to go about proclaiming.
- Matthew 11:6 tn Grk “whoever.”
- Matthew 11:7 tn Or “desert.”
- Matthew 11:7 tn It is debated whether this expression should be read figuratively (“to see someone who is easily blown over?”) or literally (“to see the wilderness vegetation blowing in the wind?…No, to see a prophet”). Either view is possible, but the following examples suggest the question should be read literally, meaning that an extraordinary event like the arrival of a prophet (rather than the common occurrence of plants blowing in the wind) drew them to the desert.
- Matthew 11:8 tn Grk “But what.” Here ἀλλά (alla, a strong contrastive in Greek) produces a somewhat awkward sense in English, and has not been translated. The same situation occurs at the beginning of v. 9.
- Matthew 11:8 sn The reference to soft clothing suggests that John was not rich or powerful, nor did he come from the wealthy or ruling classes. The crowds came out into the wilderness not to see the rich and famous, but to see a prophet.
- Matthew 11:8 tn Grk “houses.” Cf. BDAG 698 s.v. οἶκος 1.a.β, “of any large building οἶκος τοῦ βασιλέως the king’s palace.”
- Matthew 11:9 tn John the Baptist is “more” because he introduces the one (Jesus) who brings the new era. The term is neuter, but may be understood as masculine in this context (BDAG 806 s.v. περισσότερος b).sn How John the Baptist is more than a prophet is explained in the following verse: John is the forerunner of the Messiah, who goes before him and prepares his way.
- Matthew 11:10 tn Grk “before your face” (an idiom).
- Matthew 11:10 sn The quotation is primarily from Mal 3:1 with pronouns from Exod 23:20, and provides a more precise description of John the Baptist’s role. He is the forerunner who points the way to the arrival of God’s salvation. His job is to prepare and guide the people (just as the cloud did for Israel in the wilderness at the time of the Exodus).
- Matthew 11:11 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
- Matthew 11:11 sn After John comes a shift of eras. John stands at the end of the old era (those born of women), and is to some extent a pivotal or transitional figure. The new era which John heralds is so great that the lowest member of it (the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven) is greater than the greatest one of the previous era. (The parallel passage Luke 7:28 reads kingdom of God.)
- Matthew 11:12 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 11:12 tn Or perhaps “the kingdom of heaven is entered by force.” The verb βιάζεται can be understood as either passive voice or middle voice by form. An additional problem is whether the term is to be understood in a negative sense or a positive sense. It is frequently understood here as a passive in a negative sense, “is violently treated,” “is oppressed”, or “has suffered violence” (so here and NRSV); cf. BDAG 175 s.v. βιάζω 1. As an (intransitive) middle voice the negative meaning “has been coming violently” has been suggested (NRSV mg), although the way in which the violence occurs is not clear. Another possible intransitive middle meaning in this passage (this one positive) is “to use force” which here might mean “makes its way with (triumphant) force” (cf. BDAG 175 s.v. βιάζω 2). Still another possible positive meaning is “to seek fervently” (BDAG 175 s.v. βιάζω 3). Resolution of the problem is not easy, but the presence of the noun βιαστής in the following clause (meaning “violent person” or “impetuous person” (BDAG 176 s.v.) suggests a negative sense is more likely here, while contextual differences point to a somewhat different meaning for the term βιάζεται in Luke 16:16.
- Matthew 11:12 tn Or “violent people”; see the previous note on “has suffered violence” in this verse.
- Matthew 11:13 tn The word “appeared” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. In the interest of clarity other translations have supplied phrases like “up to the time of John” (NAB); “until the time of John” (TEV); “until John came” (NRSV); “until the time John came” (NCV).sn The statement seems to imply that the law and the prophets continued until John appeared, but John’s arrival on the scene marks a transition to the time of fulfillment about which the prophets prophesied. John is a transitional figure with connections to both the previous age and the coming age inaugurated by Jesus.
- Matthew 11:14 sn Why might one of Jesus’ hearers not be willing to accept this? Because John’s role as Elijah, forerunner of the Messiah, has been interrupted by his imprisonment, and will be even more disrupted by his execution. Although Jesus does not state it here, similar difficulties will arise in his own case since his role as Messiah will appear to be derailed by his arrest and execution on a Roman cross (Luke 24:19-21).
- Matthew 11:15 tn The translation “had better listen!” captures the force of the third person imperative more effectively than the traditional “let him hear,” which sounds more like a permissive than an imperative to the modern English reader. This was Jesus’ common expression to listen and heed carefully (cf. Matt 13:9, 43; Mark 4:9, 23; Luke 8:8; 14:35).
- Matthew 11:16 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
- Matthew 11:16 sn The marketplaces (Greek agora) were not only places of trade and commerce in the first century Greco-Roman world. They were places of discussion and dialogue (the “public square”), places of judgment (courts held session there), places for idle people and those seeking work, and places for children to play.
- Matthew 11:16 tn Grk “who call out to one another, saying.” The participle λέγουσιν (legousin) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
- Matthew 11:17 sn ‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance…’ The children of this generation were making the complaint (see vv. 18-19) that others were not playing the game according to the way they played the music. John and Jesus did not follow “their tune.” Jesus’ complaint was that this generation wanted things their way, not God’s.
- Matthew 11:17 tn Or “we sang a lament” (cf. BDAG 458 s.v. θρηνέω 2). In context, however, it appears the verb ἐθρηνήσαμεν (ethrēnēsamen) refers to the loud wailing and lamenting used to mourn the dead in public in 1st century Jewish culture (BDAG 458 s.v. 3, “to mourn for someone in ritual fashion”).
- Matthew 11:18 sn Some interpreters have understood neither eating nor drinking as referring to the avoidance of excess. More likely it represents a criticism of John the Baptist being too separatist and ascetic, and so he was accused of not being directed by God, but by a demon.
- Matthew 11:19 tn Grk “Behold a man.”
- Matthew 11:19 sn See the note on tax collectors in 5:46.
- Matthew 11:19 sn Neither were the detractors happy with Jesus (the Son of Man), even though he represented the opposite of John’s asceticism and associated freely with people like tax collectors and sinners in celebratory settings where the banquet imagery suggested the coming kingdom of God. Either way, God’s messengers were subject to complaint.
- Matthew 11:19 tn Or “shown to be right.”
- Matthew 11:19 tc Most witnesses (B2 C D L N Γ Δ Θ ƒ1 33 565 579 700 1424 M lat) have “children” (τέκνων, teknōn) here instead of “deeds” (ἔργων, ergōn), but since “children” is the reading of the parallel in Luke 7:35, scribes would be motivated to convert the less colorful “deeds” into more animate offspring of wisdom. Further, ἔργων enjoys support from א B* W (ƒ13) as well as early versional and patristic support.
- Matthew 11:20 tn The Greek word here is πόλις (polis) which can be translated “city” or “town.” “Cities” was chosen here to emphasize the size of the places mentioned by Jesus in the following verses, since these localities tended to be relatively larger and more important by the standards of the time.
- Matthew 11:21 sn Chorazin was a town of Galilee that was probably fairly small in contrast to Bethsaida and is otherwise unattested. Bethsaida was more significant; it was declared a polis (“city”) by the tetrarch Herod Philip, sometime after a.d. 30.
- Matthew 11:21 tn This introduces a second class (contrary to fact) condition in the Greek text.
- Matthew 11:21 tn Or “powerful deeds.”
- Matthew 11:21 sn Tyre and Sidon are two other notorious OT cities (Isa 23; Jer 25:22; 47:4). The remark is a severe rebuke, in effect: “Even the hardened sinners of the old era would have responded to the proclamation of the kingdom and repented, unlike you!”
- Matthew 11:21 sn To clothe oneself in sackcloth and ashes was a public sign of mourning or lament, in this case for past behavior and associated with repentance.
- Matthew 11:22 sn Jesus’ general point is that in the day of judgment the Gentile cities will come off better than the cities of Galilee. This is not to indicate toleration for the sins of the Gentile cities, but to show how badly the judgment will go for the Galilean ones. In the OT prophetic oracles were pronounced repeatedly against Tyre and Sidon: Isa 23:1-18; Ezek 26:1-28:26; Joel 4:4; Zech 9:2-4.
- Matthew 11:23 sn Capernaum was a town located on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It existed since Hasmonean times and was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region. The population in the first century is estimated to be around 1,500. Capernaum became the hub of operations for Jesus’ Galilean ministry (Matt 4:13; Mark 2:1). In modern times the site was discovered in 1838 by the American explorer E. Robinson, and major excavations began in 1905 by German archaeologists H. Kohl and C. Watzinger. Not until 1968, however, were remains from the time of Jesus visible; in that year V. Corbo and S. Loffreda began a series of annual archaeological campaigns that lasted until 1985. This work uncovered what is thought to be the house of Simon Peter as well as ruins of the first century synagogue beneath the later synagogue from the fourth or fifth century A.D. Today gently rolling hills and date palms frame the first century site, a favorite tourist destination of visitors to the Galilee.
- Matthew 11:23 tn The interrogative particle introducing this question expects a negative reply.
- Matthew 11:23 sn In the OT, Hades was known as Sheol. It is the place where the unrighteous will reside (Luke 10:15; 16:23; Rev 20:13-14).
- Matthew 11:23 sn See the note on Sodom and Gomorrah in Matt 10:15.
- Matthew 11:23 sn The implication is that such miracles would have brought about the repentance of the inhabitants of Sodom, and so it would not have been destroyed, but would have continued to this day.
- Matthew 11:24 sn The allusion to Sodom, the most wicked of OT cities (Gen 19:1-29), shows that to reject the current message brought by Jesus is even more serious (and will result in more severe punishment) than the worst sins of the old era. The phrase region of Sodom is in emphatic position in the Greek text and refers not only to the city itself but to the surrounding area.
- Matthew 11:25 tn Grk “At that time, answering, Jesus said.” This construction is somewhat redundant in English and has been simplified in the translation.
- Matthew 11:25 tn Or “thank.”
- Matthew 11:25 sn The title Lord is an important name for God, showing his sovereignty, but it is interesting that it comes next to a reference to the Father, a term indicative of God’s care. The two concepts are often related in the NT; see Eph 1:3-6.
- Matthew 11:25 tn Or “that.”
- Matthew 11:25 sn See 1 Cor 1:26-31, where Paul states that not many of the wise, powerful, or privileged had responded to the gospel.
- Matthew 11:25 tn Or “to the childlike,” or “the innocent” (BDAG 671 s.v. νήπιος 1.b.β).
- Matthew 11:26 tn Grk “for (to do) thus was well-pleasing before you,” BDAG 325 s.v. ἔμπροσθεν 1.b.δ states: “as a reverential way of expressing oneself, when one is speaking of an eminent pers., and esp. of God, not to connect the subject directly w. what happens, but to say that it took place ‘before someone.’”
- Matthew 11:27 sn This verse, frequently referred to as the “bolt from the Johannine blue,” has been noted for its conceptual similarity to statements in John’s Gospel (10:15; 17:2). The authority of the Son and the Father are totally intertwined. The statement here also occurs in Luke 10:22, and serves as a warning against drawing a simplistic dichotomy between Jesus’ teaching in the synoptic gospels and Jesus’ teaching in the Gospel of John.
- Matthew 11:27 tn Or “wishes”; or “intends”; or “plans” (cf. BDAG 182 s.v. βούλομαι 2.b). Here it is the Son who has sovereignty.
- Matthew 11:29 sn A yoke is a wooden bar or frame that joins two animals like oxen or horses so that they can pull a wagon, plow, etc. together. Here it is used figuratively of the restrictions that a teacher or rabbi would place on his followers.
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