Commentary on the Bible, by Adam Clarke, , at sacred-texts.com
The Pharisees question our Lord concerning divorce, Mar 10:1-12. Little children are brought to him, Mar 10:13-16. The person who inquired how he might inherit eternal life, Mar 10:17-22. How difficult it is for a rich man to be saved, Mar 10:23-27. What they shall receive who have left all for Christ and his Gospel, Mar 10:28-31. He foretells his death, Mar 10:32-34. James and John desire places of pre-eminence in Christ's kingdom, Mar 10:35-41. Christ shows them the necessity of humility, Mar 10:42-46. Blind Bartimeus healed, Mar 10:46-52.
He arose - Κακειθεν αναϚας may be translated, he departed thence. The verb ανιϚημι has this sense in some of the purest Greek writers. See Kypke. Many transactions took place between those mentioned in the preceding chapter, and these that follow, which are omitted by Matthew and Mark; but they are related both by Luke and John. See Lightfoot, and Bishop Newcome.
Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? - See this question about divorce largely explained on Mat 19:3-12 (note).
And if a woman shall put away her husband - From this it appears that in some cases, the wife assumed the very same right of divorcing her husband that the husband had of divorcing his wife; and yet this is not recorded any where in the Jewish laws, as far as I can find, that the women had such a right. Indeed, were the law which gives the permission all on one side, it would be unjust and oppressive; but where it is equally balanced, the right being the same on each side, it must serve as a mutual check, and prevent those evils it is intended to cure. Among the Jews there are several instances of the women having taken other men, even during the life of their own husbands. Nor do we find any law by which they were punished. Divorce never should be permitted but on this ground - "The parties are miserable together, and they are both perfectly willing to be separated." Then, if every thing else be proper, let them go different ways, that they may not ruin both themselves and their hapless offspring.
And they brought young children - See on Mat 19:13-15 (note).
And he took them up in his arms - One of the Itala reads in sinu suo - "in his bosom." Jesus Christ loves little children; and they are objects of his most peculiar care. Who can account for their continual preservation and support, while exposed to so many dangers, but on the ground of a peculiar and extraordinary providence?
And blessed them - Then, though little children, they were capable of receiving Christ's blessing. If Christ embraced them, why should not his Church embrace them? Why not dedicate them to God by baptism? - whether that be performed by sprinkling, washing, or immersion; for we need not dispute about the mode: on this point let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind. I confess it appears to me grossly heathenish and barbarous, to see parents who profess to believe in that Christ who loves children, and among them those whose creed does not prevent them from using infant baptism, depriving their children of an ordinance by which no soul can prove that they cannot be profited, and, through an unaccountable bigotry or carelessness, withholding from them the privilege of even a nominal dedication to God; and yet these very persons are ready enough to fly for a minister to baptize their child when they suppose it to be at the point of death! It would be no crime to pray that such persons should never have the privilege of hearing, My father! or, My mother! from the lips of their own child. See on Mat 3:6 (note), and on Mar 16:16 (note).
There came one running - See the case of this rich young man largely explained on Mat 19:16 (note), etc.
Then Jesus, beholding him - Looking earnestly, εμβλεψας, or affectionately upon him, loved him, because of his youth, his earnestness, and his sincerity.
One thing thou lackest - What was that? A heart disengaged from the world, and a complete renunciation of it and its concerns, that he might become a proper and successful laborer in the Lord's vineyard. See Mat 19:21. To say that it was something else he lacked, when Christ explains here his own meaning, is to be wise above what is written.
And he was sad at that saying - This young man had perhaps been a saint, and an eminent apostle, had he been poor! From this, and a multitude of other cases, we may learn that it is oftentimes a misfortune to be rich: but who is aware of this? - and who believes it?
And the Gospel's - Read, for the sake of the Gospel. I have with Griesbach adopted ἑνεκεν, for the sake, on the authority of BCDEGHKMS, V, sixty others, and almost all the versions.
In this time - Εν τῳ καιρῳ τουτῳ, In this very time. Though Jews and Gentiles have conspired together to destroy both me and you, my providence shall so work that nothing shall be lacking while any thing is necessary.
And fathers. This is added by K, upwards of sixty others, Ethiopic, Gothic, Slavonic, Saxon, Armenian, Coptic, and in one of my own MSS. of the Vulgate.
Some have been greatly embarrassed to find out the literal truth of these promises; and, some in flat opposition to the text, have said they are all to be understood spiritually. But thus far is plain, that those who have left all for the sake of Christ do find, among genuine Christians, spiritual relatives, which are as dear to them as fathers, mothers, etc.; yet they have the promise of receiving a hundredfold often literally fulfilled: for, wherever a Christian travels among Christians, the shelter of their houses, and the product of their lands, are at his service as far as they are requisite. Besides, these words were spoken primarily to the disciples, and pointed out their itinerant manner of life; and how, travelling about from house to house, preaching the Gospel of the grace of God, they should, among the followers of Christ, be provided with every thing necessary in all places, as if the whole were their own. I have often remarked that the genuine messengers of God, in the present day have, as noted above, this promise literally fulfilled.
With persecutions - For while you meet with nothing but kindness from true Christians, you shall be despised, and often afflicted, by those who are enemies to God and goodness; but, for your comfort, ye shall have in the world to come, αιωνι τῳ ερχομενῳ, the coming world, (that world which is on its way to meet you), eternal life.
And he took again the twelve - Or thus: For having again taken the twelve, etc. I translate και for, which signification it often bears; see Luk 1:22; Joh 12:35, and elsewhere. This gives the reason of the wonder and fear of the disciples, For he began to tell them on the way, what was to befall him. This sense of και, I find, is also noticed by Rosenmuller. See on Mat 20:17-19 (note).
And James and John - come unto him - The request here mentioned, Matthew says, Mat 20:20, was made by Salome their mother; the two places may be easily reconciled thus: - The mother introduced them, and made the request as if from herself; Jesus knowing whence it had come, immediately addressed himself to James and John, who were standing by; and the mother is no farther concerned in the business. See the note on Mat 20:20.
In thy glory - In the kingdom of thy glory - three MSS. Which kingdom they expected to be established on earth.
And be baptized - Or, be baptized. Instead of και and η or, is the reading of BCDL, five others, Coptic, Armenian, later Syriac in the margin, Vulgate, all the Itala, and Origen. See the note on Mat 20:22.
Is not mine to give - See on Mat 20:23 (note).
When the ten heard it - See Mat 20:24-28.
Blind Bartimeus - בר bar in Syriac signifies son. It appears that he was thus named because Timeus, Talmeus or Talmai, was the name of his father, and thus the son would be called Bar-talmeus, or Bartholomew. Some suppose υἱος Τιμαιου, the son of Timeus, to be an interpolation. Bartimeus the son of Timeus, ὁ τυφλος, The blind man. It was because he was the most remarkable that this evangelist mentions him by name, as a person probably well known in those parts.
And he, casting away his garment - He cast off his outward covering, a blanket, or loose piece of cloth, the usual upper garment of an Asiatic mendicant, which kept him from the inclemency of the weather, that he might have nothing to hinder him from getting speedily to Christ. If every penitent were as ready to throw aside his self-righteousness and sinful incumbrances, as this blind man was to throw aside his garment, we should have fewer delays in conversions than we now have; and all that have been convinced of sin would have been brought to the knowledge of the truth. The reader will at least pardon the introduction of the following anecdote, which may appear to some as illustrative of the doctrine grounded on this text.
A great revival of religion took place in some of the American States, about the year 1773, by the instrumentality of some itinerant preachers sent from England. Many, both whites and blacks, were brought to an acquaintance with God who bought them. Two of these, a white man and a negro, meeting together, began to speak concerning the goodness of God to their souls, (a custom which has ever been common among truly religious people). Among other things they were led to inquire how long each had known the salvation of God; and how long it was, after they were convinced of their sin and danger, before each got a satisfactory evidence of pardoning mercy. The white man said, "I was three months in deep distress of soul, before God spoke peace to my troubled, guilty conscience." "But it was only a fortnight," replied the negro, "from the time I first heard of Jesus, and felt that I was a sinner, till I received the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins." "But what was the reason," said the white man, "that you found salvation sooner than I did?" "This is the reason," replied the other; "you white men have much clothing upon you, and when Christ calls, you cannot run to him; but we poor negroes have only this, (pointing to the mat or cloth which was tied round his waist), and when we hear the call, we throw it off instantly, and run to him."
Thus the poor son of Ham illustrated the text without intending it, as well as any doctor in the universe. People who have been educated in the principles of the Christian religion imagine themselves on this account Christians; and, when convinced of sin, they find great difficulty to come as mere sinners to God, to be saved only through the merits of Christ. Others, such as the negro in question, have nothing to plead but this, We have never heard of thee, and could not believe in thee of whom we had not heard; but this excuse will not avail now, as the true light is come - therefore they cast off this covering, and come to Jesus. See this miraculous cure explained at large on Mat 20:29-34.
Lord, that I might, etc. - The Codex Bezae, and some copies of the Itala, have, Κυριε ῥαββει, O Lord, my teacher.
Followed Jesus in the way - Instead of τῳ Ιησου, Jesus, several eminent critics read αυτω, him. This is the reading of ABCDL, fourteen others, Coptic, Ethiopic, Armenian, later Syriac in the margin, two Persic, Vulgate, all the Itala, and Origen once. Jesus is the common reading; but this sacred name having occurred so immediately before, there could be no necessity for repeating it here, nor would the repetition have been elegant.
This very remarkable cure gives us another proof, not only of the sovereign power, but of the benevolence, of Christ: nor do we ever see that sovereign power used, but in the way of benevolence. How slow is God to punish! - how prone to spare! To his infinite benevolence, can it be any gratification to destroy any of the children of men? No! We must take great heed not to attribute to his sovereignty, acts which are inconsistent with his benevolence and mercy. I am afraid this is a prevailing error; and that it is not confined to any religious party exclusively.