Heinrich August Wilhelm Meyer.

Critical and exegetical hand-book to the Gospel of Matthew (Volume 1) online

. (page 45 of 48)
Online LibraryHeinrich August Wilhelm MeyerCritical and exegetical hand-book to the Gospel of Matthew (Volume 1) → online text (page 45 of 48)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

so far as the e/cX^o-/a, ver. 18 (which is to be transformed
into the /Sao-tXet'a T. ovp. at the second coming), is conceived
of as a house, the doors of which are opened and locked by
means of keys (generally, not exactly by two of them). In regard
to Peter, however, the figure undergoes some modification, in-
asmuch as it passes from that of the foundation of rock, not
certainly into the lower one of a gate-keeper, but (comp.
Luke xii. 4; 1 Cor. iv. 1, ix. 17; Tit. i. 7) into that of
an oifcovofios (rapias, Isa. xxii. 15 ff.), from the ordinary
relation of a disciple to the church to the place of authority
hereafter to be assigned him in virtue of that relation.
The authority in question is that of a house-steward, who is
empowered to determine who are to belong and who are not
to belong to the household over which his master has com-
missioned him to preside. 2 All this is expressed by means of

1 See Ahrens, d. Amt. Schlussel, 1864; Steitz in the Stud. u. Krit. 1866,
p. 436 ff. ; likewise the reviews of the first-mentioned work in the Erlang.
Zeitschr. 1865, 3, p. 137 ff. ; and that of Diisterdieck m the Stud. u. Krit.
1865, p. 743 ; Julius Muller, dogm. Abh. p. 496 ff.

2 There is no force in the objection that this would be to confound the keys
of the hotise-steward with those of the porter (Ahrens). The keys of the

CHAP. xvi. 19. 423

an old and sacred symbol, according to which the keys of the
house are promised to Peter, " that he may open and no man
shut, that he may shut and no man open" (Isaiah as ahove).
For the forms Xet<? and (as Tischendorf 8, on inadequate
testimony) /cXetSa?, see Kiihner, I. p. 357. ical o eavSijcr)*;
/c.T.X] a necessary adjunct of this power: and whatsoever
thou wilt have forbidden upon earth will be forbidden in
heaven (by God), so that it will, in consequence, prevent
admission into the Messianic kingdom; and whatsoever thou,
wilt have permitted upon earth (as not proving a hindrance
in the way of admission to the future kingdom) will be per-
mitted in heaven. It will depend on thy decision which
God will ratify what things, as being forbidden, are to
disqualify for the kingdom of the Messiah, and what things,
as being allowed, are to be regarded as giving a claim to
admission. Seeiv and \veiv are to be traced to the use, so
current among the Jews, of "IDS and "Win, in the sense of to
forbid and to allow. Lightfoot, p. 378 ff . ; Schoettgen, II.
p. 894 f., and Wetstein on this passage; Lengerke's note on
Dan. vi. 8; Rosenmiiller, Morgenl. V. 67; Steitz, p. 438 f.
Following Lightfoot, Vitringa, Schoettgen, and others, Fritzsche,
Ahrens, Steitz, Weizsacker, Keim, Gess (I. p. 68), Gottschick
in the Stud. u. Krit. 1873, also adopt this interpretation of
those figurative expressions. In the face of this common

house are entrusted to the steward for the purpose of opening and locking it ;
this is all that the figure implies. Whether he opens and locks in his own
person, or has it done through the medium of a porter, is of no consequence
whatever, and makes no difference as far as the thing intended to be symbolized
is concerned. The power of the keys belongs, in any case, to the tl*nii*t t and
not to the fvpupos. The view of Ahrens, that the keys are to be regarded as
those of the rooms, and of the place in which the family provisions are stored,
the <ra.ft.iiov, the contents of which it is supposed to be the duty of the steward
to distribute (so also Dollinger, Christenth. u. Kirche, p. 31), is in opposition
to the fact that the thing which is to be opened and locked must be understood
to be that which is expressed by the genitive immediately after *Xu'j (accord-
ingly, in this instance, the kingdom, not the T^H), comp. note on Luke
xi. 52, likewise Isaiah as above. Moreover, according to the explanation of
Ahrens, those, on whose behalf the Tupi'sts uses his keys, would have to be
regarded as already within the kingdom and participating in its blessings, so
that there would be no further room for the idea of exclusion, which is not in
keeping with the contrast which follows.


usage, it would be arbitrary and absurd to think of any other
explanation. The same may be said not only of the reference
to the supreme administrative power in general (Aruoldi and
the older Catholics), or to the treasures of grace in the church,
which Peter is supposed to be able to withhold or bestow as
he may deem proper (Schegg), but likewise of the view which
represents the words as intended to indicate the power of
admitting into and excluding from the church (Thaddaeus a
S. Adamo, Commentat. 1789, Rosenmiiller, Lange), and in
support of which an appeal is made, notwithstanding the o,
to the ancient practice of tying or untying doors ; as well as
of that other view which has been so currently adopted, after
Chrysostom, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Luther,
Beza, Calvin, Maldonatus, to the effect that what Jesus means
is the remission and non - remission of sins. 1 So Grotius,
Olshausen, de Wette, Bleek, Neander, Glockler, Baumgarten-
Crusius, Dollinger, Julius Miiller, Diisterdieck. But to quote
in connection with this the different and much later saying
of Jesus, after His resurrection, John xx. 23, is quite un-
warranted ; the idea of sin is a pure importation, and
although \vi,v a^apr. may properly enough be understood as
meaning : to forgive sins (Isa. xl. 2 ; 3 Esdr. ix. 13; Sir.
xxviii. 8 ; and see Kypke on xviii. 18), yet the use of Beeiv
apapr., in the sense of retaining them, is altogether without
example. Exception has been taken to the idea involved in
our interpretation ; but considering that high degree of faith
to which Peter, as their representative, 'here shows them to
have attained, the apostles must be supposed to possess " the
moral power of legislation " (objected to by de Wette) as
well, if they are to determine the right of admission to the

1 In which case the result of apostolic preaching generally, i.e. its efficacy
in judging men by the spiritual power of the word (Julius Miiller, comp.
Neander and Diisterdieck), ceases to have any significance other than that of a
vague abstraction, by no means in keeping with the specific expression of the
text, and leaving no room for assigning to Peter any special prerogative. This
also in answer to Weiss, bibl Theol. p. 99, 2d ed., who holds that, originally,
the words were intended to indicate merely that general commission which
was given to the apostles to publish among men the call to the kingdom of

CHAP. XVI. 20, 21. 425

Messiah's kingdom; see Steitz also, p. 458. This legislative
authority, conferred upon Peter, can only wear an offensive
aspect when it is conceived of as possessing an arbitrary
character, and as being in no way determined by the ethical
influences of the Holy Spirit, and when it is regarded as
being of an absolute nature, as independent of any connec-
tion with the rest of the apostles (but see note on xviii. 18).
Comp. Wieseler, Chronol. d. Ap. p. 587 f. Ahrens, likewise,
correctly interprets the words in the sense of to forbid and to
allow, but supposes the words themselves to be derived from
the practice of fastening with a knot vessels containing any-
thing of a valuable nature (Horn. Od. viii. 447). Artificial
and far-fetched, but resulting from the reference of the keys
to the rafieiov. co-rat SeSe/x,.] Observe how that is spoken
of as already done, which is to take place and be realized
immediately on the back of the b eav Sija-ys. Comp. Butt-
niann, neut. Gr. p. 267 [E. T. 311]; Kiihner, II. 1, p. 35.
To such a degree will the two things really harmonize with
one another.

Yer. 20. Jteo-TetXaro] He appointed, strictly enjoined.
Comp. Plat. Eep. p. 535 B ; Aristot. Polit. ii. 5 ; Judith xi. 12;
2 Mace. xiv. 28 ; Mark v. 43 ; Acts xv. 24 ; Heb. xii. 20.
on auro? ear iv 6 X.] that He Himself is the Messiah. This
auro9 points back to ver. 14, according to which some one else
was looked for as the Messiah, while Jesus was only regarded
as His forerunner. The reason of this prohibition is not that
He wanted to anticipate any offence that might afterwards
arise in consequence of His sufferings (Chrysostom, Euth.
Zigabenus), for Jesus quite foresaw His resurrection and
Sofa, and the effect which these would have upon His fol-
lowers (John xii. 32) ; but (see note on viii. 4) its explanation
is to be found in His uniform desire to avoid awakening and
fostering sanguine Messianic hopes among the people.

Ver. 21. 'ATTO rore rjpf aro] Comp. iv. 17 ; a note of time
marking an important epoch. " Antea non ostenderat," Bengel.
To announce His future sufferings 1 to His disciples, and that

1 Whoever supposes that it was only somewhere about this time that the
thought of His impending sufferings and death first began to dawn upon Jesua


immediately after their decided confession, ver. 1 6, was highly
opportune, both as regards their capability and their need
their capability to stand so trying an intimation, and their need
of beginning to relinquish their false hopes, and of attaining
to a true and exalted conception of what constitutes the work
of the Messiah. Mark viii. 31 likewise introduces the
beginning of the announcement of the future sufferings some-
what prominently after Peter's confession, whereas Luke
ix. 21 f. omits it altogether. Set] Necessity in accordance
with a divine purpose, xxvi. 54 ; Lukexxiv. 26 ; John iii. 14.
a.7re\0elv el<j 'lepocr.] because connected with KOI TroXXa
iradelv K.T.\, does not forbid the idea of previous visits to
Jerusalem mentioned by John (in answer to Hilgenfeld,
Evang. p. 89); comp. xxiii. 37. airo] at the hands of;
comp. note on xi. 19. rwv frpea-fi. K. />%. K. jpafjLfjiJ]
This circumstantial way of designating the Sanhedrim (comp.
note on ii. 4) has here something of a solemn character.
cnroKravOJ] further detail (though with ver. 24 already in
view) reserved for xx. 19. What Jesus contemplates is
not being stoned to death by the people (Hausrath), but
judicial murder through the decision of a court of justice.
real rfj rpirp 17/4. eyepd^vat] With so clear and distinct a
prediction of the resurrection, it is impossible to reconcile the
fact that, utterly disheartened by the death of their Lord, the
disciples should have had no expectation whatever that He
would come to life again, that they consequently embalmed
the body, and that even on the Sunday morning the women
wanted to anoint it ; that they should have placed a heavy
stone at the mouth of the grave, and afterwards are utterly at
a loss to account for the empty sepulchre, and treat the state-
ment that He has risen and appeared again as simply incred-

(Hase, Weixsacker, Keim, Wittichen), can do so only by ignoring previous state-
ments on the part of the Lord, which already point with sufficient clearness to
His painful end (see especially ix. 15, x. 38, xii. 40) statements the testimony
of which is to be set aside only by explaining away and rejecting them by the
artifice of mixing up together dates of different times, and the like, and thus
depriving them of validity, a course which is decidedly opposed to the Gospel
of John (comp. i. 29, ii. 19, iii. 14, vL 51 ff.) so long as its authenticity is

CHAP. XVI. 21. 427

ible, some of them even doubting His identity when they do
see Him ; and further, that the risen Jesus appeals, indeed, to
an Old Testament prediction (Luke xxiv. 25), but not to His
own ; just as John, in like manner, accounts for Peter and
himself not believing in the resurrection till they had actually
seen the empty grave, merely from their having hitherto
failed to understand the scripture (John xx. 9). All this is
not to be disposed of by simply saying that the disciples had
not understood the prediction of Jesus (Mark ix. 22); for
had it been so plainly and directly uttered, they could not
have failed to understand it, especially as, in the course of
His own ministry, cases had occurred of the dead being re-
stored to life, and as the Messianic hopes of the disciples
must have disposed them to give a ready reception to tidings
of a resurrection. Then, again, the fulfilment would neces-
sarily have had the effect of awakening both their memory
and their understanding, and that all the more that precisely
then light was being shed upon the mysterious saying regard-
ing the temple of the body (John ii. 2 1 f.). We must there-
fore suppose that Jesus had made certain dark, indefinite
allusions to His resurrection, which as yet had not been
apprehended in their true meaning, and that it was only ex
eventu that they assumed, in the course of tradition, the clear
and definite form of a prediction such as is now before us.
It is only such faint, obscure hints that are as yet to be met
with in John ii. 19, x. 1*7 f., and see observation on Matt,
xii. 40. Comp. besides, Hasert, iib. d. Vorlwrsag. Jesu von s.
Tode u. s. Auferst. 1839, Neander, de Wette, Ammon. Other
expositors (Paulus, Hase, Scholten, Schenkel, Volkmar), arbi-
trarily ignoring those traces of a dim prophetic hint of the
resurrection, have contended that, originally, nothing more
was meant than a symbolical allusion, an allusion, that is, to
the new impetus that would be given to the cause of Jesus, while
some of them have denied that any announcement of the death
ever took place at all (Strauss ; see, on the other hand, Ebrard).
But the arguments of Siiskind (in Flatt's Magaz. VII. p.
181 ff.), Heydenreich (in Huffel's Zeitschr. II. p. 7 ff.), Kuinoel,
Ebrard, and others in favour of the perfect authenticity of the


definite and literal predictions of the resurrection, are not con-
clusive, and, to some extent, move in a circle.

Ver. 22. HpocrXa/3o/w,.] after he. had taken Him to himself,
comp. xvii. 1, i.e. had taken Him aside to speak to Him pri-
vately. The very common interpretation: he took Him ly
the hand, imports what does not belong to the passage.
jjp^ard] for Jesus did not allow him to proceed farther with
his remonstrances, which had commenced with the words
immediately following; see ver. 23. i\e&>9 <roi] sc. eirj 6
$eo?, a wish that God might graciously avert what he had
just stated, a rendering of the Hebrew n ???, 2 Sam. xx. 20,
xxiii. 17 ; 1 Chron. xi. 19, LXX. 1 Mace. ii. 21, and see
Wetstein. Comp. our : God forbid ! co-rat] purely future ;
expressive of full confidence. 'O jj,ev aTreKaXv^drj, 6 Herpes
6p9o)$ aiftoXoyrja-ev o Se OVK a7reKa\v(j)d'i] > ecr<f>d\r), Theophylact.
Peter was startled ; nothing, in fact, could have formed a more
decided contrast to the Messianic conception on which his
confession seemed to have been based, than the idea of a
Messiah suffering and dying like a malefactor.

Ver. 23. Srpa(j>el<i] He turned away, by way of indicating
His horror. vTraye OTT/O-&) /-tot;] See note on iv. 10.
a-arava] Satan ! A term of reproach, springing out of the
intense displeasure with which He now saw Peter 1 striving,
like Satan, against that purpose of God of which he was so
profoundly conscious. Not "moral vexation" (Keim), but
moral displeasure. Comp. John vi. 70. Seeing that Peter's
feelings have changed, it was proper that the testimony of
Jesus regarding him should undergo a corresponding change
(Augustine), although without prejudice to the high position
just promised to him by Jesus -, for this distinction neither
excludes the idea of there being still a strong carnal element
in Peter's character, nor does it imply that he was beyond the
need of correction; consequently, the evasive interpretation
of Catholic expositors who, in this instance, take crarava as
an appellative (adversarius ; so Maldonatus, Jansen, Arnoldi),
is utterly groundless. <r/cdv8. fiov et] e/^TroBiov pov vvv
dvTitcelfjiei'os TO> efjL<a 0e\^fj,aTi, Euth. Zigabenus.
tliou hast in thy mind; indicating the direction of

CHAP. XVI. 24-26. 429

his aims, the bent of the practical reason. Corap. note on
Horn. viii. 5. r<fc rov deov] matters of divine interest;
because God is to be understood as having ordained the suffer-
ings of Jesus for the purpose of carrying out the plan of
redemption. rh ra>v avOpwirtov] who are concerned about
having as their Messiah a mere earthly hero and prince.

Ver. 24 f. Comp. Mark viii. 34 ft; Luke ix. 23 ff. As
7 must suffer, so also must all my followers I oTrt'creo pov
e\6elv\ as in iv. 19. eavrov] i.e. His own natural self; TO
eavrov de\r)fj,a TO (f>i\r)Sovov, TO </HXoa>oi>, Euth. Zigabenus.
To that which this fleX^/ia desires, He says : No I dpdra) r.
O-T.] let him not shrink from the pain of a violent death such
as He Himself will be called upon to endure. Comp. note on
x. 38. nal aoX. pot] that is, after he has taken up his
cross. What goes before indicates the precise kind of follow-
ing which Jesus requires. John xxi. 19. According to the
context, it is not a question of moral following generally (KOI
Trdcrav rrjv a\\v)v dperrjv eTriSeucvvadco, Theophylact, conip.
Euth. Zigabenus, Chrysostom). But, by way of illustrating
the idea of self-denial, Theophylact appropriately refers to the
example of Paul, Gal. ii. 20. Ver. 25. See note on x. 30.

Ver. 26. Ver. 25, compared with ver. 24, involved the
thought that the earthly life must be sacrificed for sake of
gaining the eternal. The reason of this thought is now
brought forward. &>0e\etTat] represents as already present
the man's condition at the day of judgment, not an Attic
future (Bleek). rrjv Be tyvft. avrov fypiwdfj] but will
have lost his soul, that is to say, by his having rendered him-
self unfit for eternal life, by having, therefore, lost his soul
as far as the Messianic &>? is concerned, and become liable to
eternal death, fyfuwdy is the opposite of KepB^cry. It must
not on this ground, and because of the avrd\\a^fia which
follows, be explained as meaning, to sustain damage in his
soul (Luther), but : animae detrimentum pati (Vulgate), comp.
Herod, vii. 39 : ToO ei/o? rrjv ^v^v fyiudxreat, thou wilt lose
thine only one through death. rj] It avails a man nothing
if he, and so on, it might be that (at the judgment) he would
have something to give to God with which to purchase back


his lost soul (avrd\\a^fjia, Eur. Or. 1157, frequently met
with in the LXX. and Apocrypha). There exists no such
means of exchange (commutationem, Vulgate), nothing which,
in the sight of God and according to His holy standard, would
be of such value as to serve as an avraXXayna for the soul.
" Non sufficit mundus," Bengel. Comp. Eitschl in the Jahrb.
/. D. Th. 1863, p. 234 ff.

Ver. 27. Pdp] justifies and confirms what Jesus has just
stated with respect to the loss of the ^rv^. I say that not
without reason ; for assuredly the time of the second coming
and of a righteous retribution is drawing near (/teXXa being
put first for sake of emphasis). ev rfj Bo^rj rov -Trarp.
auT.] in the same glory as belongs to God. For in this state of
glory (John xvii. 5) the ascended Christ occupies the place of
crvvOpovos of God. rrjv Trpa^iv] the conduct, the sum of
one's doings, including, in particular, that self-denying adher-
ence to their faith and their confession on which, above all,
so much depended, in the case of the apostles, in the midst
of those persecutions which they were called upon to endure.

Ver. 28. Having affirmed the certainty of the second
corning and the divine retribution, He now proceeds to do the
same with regard to their nearness. el<ri rive? /c.r.X.] which
refers to those present generally, and not merely to the dis-
ciples, presupposes that the majority of them will have died
previous to the event in question. yevaiovTai OavaTov]
The experiencing of death regarded as a tasting of it (of its
pains). See note on John viii. 52, and Wetstein. eo>9 tf.r.A,.]
not as though they were to die afterwards, but what is meant
is, that they will still be living when it takes place. Comp.
xxiv. 34; Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 629 f. ev rfj
/3ao-i\ia avrov] not for et9 rrjv K.T.\ (Beza, Eaphel, and
others), but as a king in all His regal authority (Plat. Eep. p.
499 B: TWV vvv ev Swacn-eiais rj {3a<ri\eiai<; ovrwv). Luke
xxiii. 42. There is no substantial difference between the
present prediction of Jesus as to His impending advent in
glorious majesty (comp. x. 23, xxiv. 34), and that in Mark
ix. 1 ; Luke ix. 27. The @a<ri\eia cannot be supposed to
come without the /3a<nAeu9. This, at the same time, in

CHAP. XVI. 28. 4f,l

answer to Ebrard (comp. Baumeister in Klaiber's Studicn,ll. 1,
p. 19), who interprets this passage, not of the second coming
to judgment, but, laying stress on the eV (against which the eV
777 Sol??, ver. 27, should have duly warned), understands it as
referring to the founding of the church, and particularly to
what took place at Pentecost, and that notwithstanding the
context and the words elal rives, etc., which, if this view were
adopted, would be entirely out of place (Glass, Calovius). It
is likewise to explain it away in a manner no less arbitrary, to
understand the passage in the sense of a figurative coming in
the destruction of Jerusalem and the diffusion of Christianity
(Jac. Cappellus, Wetstein, Kuinoel, Schott, Glockler, Bleek),
or of the triumphant historical development of the gospel
(Erasmus, Klostermann, Schenkel), or of the powerful influ-
ences of the spirit of the glorified Messiah as extending over
the world (Paulus). Others, such as Beda, Vatablus, Mal-
donatus, Jansen, Clarius, Corn, a Lapide, following Chrysos-
tom, Euth. Zigabenus, Theophylact, have so strangely perverted
Christ's prediction as even to make it refer to the incident of
the transfiguration immediately following. On the impend-
ing advent in general, see the observations at the close of
ch. xxiv.



VER. 3. Sxpdriaav] Lachm. and Tisch. : Zxpdy, after B D K, Curss.
and Codd. of the It. The plural is a grammatical correction ;
the sing, can scarcely be taken from Mark ix. 4. Ver. 4.
voiqffupev] Lachm. and Tisch. : noir^ta, after B C X, Ver. Corb.
1, Germ. 1. Correctly ; the plural is from Mark and Luke.
The arrangement *HX/cf piav (Lachm. Tisch.) is supported by
decisive testimony. Ver. 5. <po*Teivfi~\ Only on the authority of
a few Curss. and Ephr. Griesb. and Fritzsche have pwro&, which
Olshausen also prefers. An interpretation for the purpose of
defining the wonderful nature of the cloud. The order KXOVITI
aurov (inverted in Elz.) is, with Lachm. and Tisch. 8, after
B D K, 1, 33, to be preferred. The reading of the Received
text is according to the LXX. Ver. 7. Lachm. and Tisch. 8 :
xai irpotri'kSiv 6 *I. xal a-^dfttvos eivruv ifaev, after B (in the first
half of the sentence also D) K, Verss. Seeing how much
the reading fluctuates in the various authorities, the Eeceived
text, from having the balance of testimony in its favour, is not
to be abandoned. Ver. 9. I x] Elz. : &KO. Approved by Scholz,
against decisive testimony. From Mark ix. 9, for the sake of
conformity with the ordinary usage. ai/acrrjj] Lachm. and
Tisch : lytpdy, after B D, Sahid. The reading of the Eeceived
text is from Mark ix. 9. Ver. 11. On important testimony,
'iriffotg and auroTg are, with Lachm. and Tisch., to be deleted.
Common interpolations. wpurov] is omitted after ep%. in B D X,
Curss. Verss. Aug. Hil. ; L inserts it after aToxar. Suspected
by Griesb., deleted by Fritzsche, Lachm., Tisch. Eepetition
from ver. 10, in accordance with Mark ix. 12. Ver. 14. avruv]
which Lachm. and Tisch. have deleted, is omitted in B Z K, 1,
124, 245, Sahid.; it might easily have been overlooked from
coming, as it does, immediately after Jx^o'i/TflN. auro'i/] Elz. :
avry, against decisive testimony. Ver. 15. vdff^si] Lachm. :
s%si, after B L Z N, Or. Either an involuntary alteration occa-
sioned by the current use of the expression xaxug s%siv (iv. 24, viii.
16, ix. 12, xiv. 35), or intentional, on account of the apparent
pleonasm. Ver. 17. The order psO' vpuv seo^ai (Lachm.

CHAP. xvii. i. 433

Tiscli.) is supported by the preponderating testimony of
B C D Z K, Curss. Or., and ought to be adopted. Comp. Mark
and Luke. Ver. 20. amariav] Lachm. Tisch. 8: oXr/ovitiTiav,
after B K, Curss. Syr cur Sahid. Copt. Arm. Aetli. Or. Chrys. An
ancient emendation to soften the expression, anoriav, after ver.
17 especially, may have offended pious sensibilities. The
reading /Lsrdpa ev&sv (Lachm. Tisch.) is neither satisfactory nor

Online LibraryHeinrich August Wilhelm MeyerCritical and exegetical hand-book to the Gospel of Matthew (Volume 1) → online text (page 45 of 48)