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having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven ? for they all had her.
• There were with us seven brethren. It is probable that they stated a case as difficult as possible; and though no such case might have occurred, yet it was supposable, and in their view it presented a great difficulty.
29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
The scriptures,' here mean the books of the Old Testament. By appealing to them, he showed that the doctrine of the future state was there, and that the sadducees should have believed it as it was, and not have added the absurd doctrine to it that men must live there as they do here. The way in which the enemies of the truth attempt to make a doctrine of the bible ridiculous, is by adding to it, and then calling it absurd. He produced a passage from the books of Moses, ver. 32, because they had also appealed to his writings, ver. 24. Other places of the Old Testament asserted it more clearly, Dan. xii. 2. Isa, xxvi. 19; but he wished to meet them on their own ground. Nor the power of God. They probably denied, as many have done since, that God could gather the scattered dust of the dead, and remould it into a body, opposing reasca to revelation, and supposing that infinite power could not rer rganize a body that it had first organized, and raise a body from its own dust which it had at first raised from nothing.
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
• Neither marry,' &c. This was a full answer to the objections of the sadducees. ' But are as the angels of God.' That is, in the manner of their intercourse; and the mode of their existence. Luke adds, that they shall be equal to the angels. That is, they shall be elevated above the circumstances of mortality, and live in a manner, and in a kind of intercourse equal to the angels. He also adds, neither do they die any more, but are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection, or being accounted worthy to be raised up to life, and therefore sons of God raised up to him.
31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
* As touching,' &c. That is, in proof that the dead are raised. The passage which he quotes is recorded in Ex. iii. 6, 15. This was at the burning bush. (Mark and Luke.) Abrahain, Isaac, and Jacob, had been long dead when Moses spoke this: Abraham 329 years, Isaac 227, and Jacob 198. Yet God spake then as being still their God. They must, therefore, be still somewhere living; for God is not the God of the dead. Luke adds, all live unto him. That is, all who died in faith : all of whom he can be properly called their God, live unto his glory, are blessed by him, and live for his honour. This passage proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, had an existence then, or that their souls were alive. This the sadducees denied, Acts xxiii. 8. And this was the main point in dispute. If this was admitted then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised.
34 T But when the pharisees had heard that he had put the sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
Jesus converses with a pharisee respecting the law. See also Mark xii. 28–34. The pharisees would rejoice that the sadducees had been confounded, but they would not be the less desirous to involve Jesus in difficulty. They therefore endeavoured, probably, to find the most difficult question in dispute among themselves, and proposed it to him to perplex him.
35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
"A lawyer.' One learned or skilled in the law of Moses. Mark calls him one of the scribes. This means the same thing. He had heard Jesus reasoning with the sadducees, and perceived that he answered them well; and he thought Jesus to be better qualified to hold a debate with him. (Mark.) Tempting him.' Trying him. Proposing a question to try his knowledge of the law.
36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law ?
" Which is the great commandment ? That is, the greatest commandment. The Jews then divided the law into greater and smaller commandments. Which was of the greatest importance they had not determined. Some held that it was the law respecting sacrifice; others, that respecting circumcision; others, thai pertaining to washings and purifying, &c. “The law. The word ‘law' means, commonly, in the bible, as it does here, the law given by Moses.
37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mark says, that he introduced this by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God—“ Hear, O Israel! the Lord thy God is one Lord "-taken from Deut. vi. 4. This was said, probably, because all true obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. - Thou shalt love the Lord thy God,' &c. Thou shalt love him suprenely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardour possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command. "With all thy soul. Or, with all thy life. This means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service. With all thy mind.' To submit the intellect to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our minds. “With all thy strength. (Mark.) With all the faculties of soul and body. To labour and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts. · 38 This is the first and great commandment.
This commandment is found in Deut. vi. 5. It is the first and greatest of all; first, in importance; greatest in dignity, in excellence, in extent and duration. It is the fountain of all others. All beings are to be loved according to their excellence. As God is the most excellent and glorious of all beings, he is to be loved supremely.
39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
• The second is like unto it.' Lev. xix. 18. Resembles it in importance, dignity, purity, and usefulness. For its meaning, see note, Matt. xix. 19. See also Rom. xiii. 9. Mark adds, there is no greater commandment than these. They are the fountain of all.
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
That is, these comprehend the substance of what Moses in the law, and what the prophets have spoken. Love to God and man comprehends the whole of religion; and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Saviour, and the apostles.
Mark, xii. 32-31, adds that the scribe said, “Well Master, thou hast said the truth;' and that he assented to what Jesus had said, and admitted that to love God and man in this manner
was more than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices; that is, was of more value or importance. Jesus, in reply, told him that he was
not far from the kingdom of heaven; that is, by his reply he nad shown that he was almost disposed to receive the doctrines of the gospel.
41 [ While the pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
See Markxii. 35–37. Lukexx.41–44. Jesus proceeds in his turn to propose to them a question for their solution. This was done, io show them how ignorant they were of their prophecies, to humble them in view of their ignorance, to bring to their attention :he true doctrine respecting the Messiah.
42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is ne ? They say unto him, The son of David.
What think ye of Christ ?' What are your views respecting The Messiah, or the Christ, especially respecting his genealogy? He did not ask them their views respecting him in general, but only respecting his ancestry. The article should have been retained in the translation-the Christ, or the Messiah. “Whose son is he?' Whose descendant. Note, Matt. i. 1. 'The son of David.' The descendant of David, according to the promise.
43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord ? saying,
• How then,' &c. How is this doctrine, that he is descended from David, consistent with what David says, when he calls him Lord ? That is recorded in Psa.cx. 1. A lord or master is a superior. David calls him his superior, his lord, bis master, his lawgiver ; expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Mes. siah was to be merely a descendant of David, as other men descend from parents--if he did not exist when David wrote-with what propriety could he, then, call him his lord ? 'In spirit.' By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As a prophet. Acts ii. 30; i. 16. 2 Sam, xxiii. 2.
44 The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool ?
The Lord said,' &c. This is the language of David. 'Jehorah said to my lord—the Messiah-Sit thou,' &c. This was a prediction respecting the exaltation of Christ. To be raised to the right hand of a king was significant of favour, trust, and power. Note, Matt. xx. 21. This was done respecting Christ. Mark xvi. 19. Acts vii. 55. Rom. viji. 34. Eph. i. 20. Heb. i. 3; viii. 1; x. 12. "Thine enemies thy footstool.' He shall put all enemies under his feet-all nis spiritual foes-all that rise up against him, Psa. ii. 9, 12. Heb. x. 13. 1 Cor. xv. 25.
45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son ? *If David,' &c. If he was then David's lord—if he had an existence at that time-how could he be descended from him ? They could not answer him. Nor is there any way of answering the question but by the truth, that the Messiah was divine as well as human. That he had an existence at the time of David, and was his Lord and Master, his God and King-and that as man he was descended from him—thus being the root as well as the offspring of David, Rev. xxii. 16.
46 And no man was able to answer him a word ; neither durst any man, from that day forth, ask him any more questions.
"Neither durst any man,' &c. Mark xii. 34. Luke xx. 40. He had confounded all their sects: the Herodians, ver. 15—22; the sadducees, 23–33; and last, the pharisees, 34-40.
CHAPTER XXIII. | THEN spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, 2 Saying, The scribes and the pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
"Scribes and pharisees.' Note, Matt. iii. 7. "Moses' seat.' Moses was a legislator of the Jews. By him the law was given; and the office of explaining that law devolved on the scribes and pharisees. In the synagogues they sat while expounding the law, and rose when they read it. By sitt the seat of Moses, we are to understand, authority to teach the law.
3 All, therefore, whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works : for they say, and do not.
All, therefore, whatsoever,' &c. That is, all that they teach consistent with the law of Moses; all the commands of Moses which they read to you and properly explain. See Matt. xv. 1-6. "They say and do not. The interpretation they give to the law is in the main correct, but their lives do not correspond with their teaching. It is not the duty of men to imitate teachers, unless their lives are pure.
4 For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders ; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
• They bind heavy burdens,' &c. This phrase is derived from the custom of loading animals. The load or burden is bound up