3 Some Pharisees approached him, and tested him, 4 saying, ＂Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause whatever?＂
4 5 He said in reply, ＂Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female'
7 6 They said to him, ＂Then why did Moses command that the man give the woman a bill of divorce and dismiss (her)?＂
9 I say to you, 7 whoever divorces his wife (unless the marriage is unlawful) and marries another commits adultery.＂
11 He answered, ＂Not all can accept [this] word, 8 but only those to whom that is granted.
12 Some are incapable of marriage because they were born so; some, because they were made so by others; some, because they have renounced marriage 9 for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Whoever can accept this ought to accept it.＂
17 He answered him, ＂Why do you ask me about the good? There is only One who is good. 13 If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.＂
18 14 He asked him, ＂Which ones?＂ And Jesus replied, ＂‘You shall not kill; you shall not commit adultery; you shall not steal; you shall not bear false witness;
20 15 The young man said to him, ＂All of these I have observed. What do I still lack?＂
21 Jesus said to him, ＂If you wish to be perfect, 16 go, sell what you have and give to (the) poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.＂
22 When the young man heard this statement, he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
23 17 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ＂Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.
25 18 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, ＂Who then can be saved?＂
28 19 Jesus said to them, ＂Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
30 20 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
1 [1-23:39] The narrative section of the fifth book of the gospel. The first part (Matthew 19:1-20:34) has for its setting the journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem; the second (Matthew 21:1-23:39) deals with Jesus' ministry in Jerusalem up to the final great discourse of the gospel (Matthew 24-25). Matthew follows the Marcan sequence of events, though adding material both special to this gospel and drawn from Q. The second part ends with the denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees (Matthew 23:1-36) followed by Jesus' lament over
2  In giving Jesus' teaching on divorce (Matthew 19:3-9), Matthew here follows his Marcan source (Mark 10:2-12) as he does Q in Matthew 5:31-32 (cf Luke 16:18). Matthew 19:10-12 are peculiar to Matthew.
3  When Jesus finished these words: see the note on Matthew 7:28-29. The district of Judea across the
4  Tested him: the verb is used of attempts of Jesus' opponents to embarrass him by challenging him to do something they think impossible (Matthew 16:1; Mark 8:11; Luke 11:16) or by having him say something that they can use against him (Matthew 22:18, 35; Mark 10:2; 12:15). For any cause whatever: this is peculiar to Matthew and has been interpreted by some as meaning that Jesus was being asked to take sides in the dispute between the schools of Hillel and Shammai on the reasons for divorce, the latter holding a stricter position than the former. It is unlikely, however, that to ask Jesus' opinion about the differing views of two Jewish schools, both highly respected, could be described as ＂testing＂ him, for the reason indicated above.
5 [4-6] Matthew recasts his Marcan source, omitting Jesus' question about Moses' command (Mark 10:3) and having him recall at once two Genesis texts that show the will and purpose of the Creator in making human beings male and female (Genesis 1:27), namely, that a man may be joined to his wife in marriage in the intimacy of one flesh (Genesis 2:24). What God has thus joined must not be separated by any human being. (The NAB translation of the Hebrew basar of Genesis 2:24 as ＂body＂ rather than ＂flesh＂ obscures the reference of Matthew to that text.)
7  Moses' concession to human sinfulness (the hardness of your hearts, Matthew 19:8) is repudiated by Jesus, and the original will of the Creator is reaffirmed against that concession. (Unless the marriage is unlawful): see the note on Matthew 5:31-32. There is some evidence suggesting that Jesus' absolute prohibition of divorce was paralleled in the
9  Incapable of marriage: literally, ＂eunuchs.＂ Three classes are mentioned, eunuchs from birth, eunuchs by castration, and those who have voluntarily renounced marriage (literally, ＂have made themselves eunuchs＂) for the sake of the kingdom, i.e., to devote themselves entirely to its service. Some scholars take the last class to be those who have been divorced by their spouses and have refused to enter another marriage. But it is more likely that it is rather those who have chosen never to marry, since that suits better the optional nature of the decision: whoever can . . . ought to accept it.
10 [13-15] This account is understood by some as intended to justify the practice of infant baptism. That interpretation is based principally on the command not to prevent the children from coming, since that word sometimes has a baptismal connotation in the New Testament; see Acts 8:36.
11 [16-30] Cf Mark 10:17-31. This story does not set up a ＂two-tier＂ morality, that of those who seek (only) eternal life (Matthew 19:16) and that of those who wish to be perfect (Matthew 16:21). It speaks rather of the obstacle that riches constitute for the following of Jesus and of the impossibility, humanly speaking, for one who has many possessions (Matthew 16:22) to enter the kingdom (Matthew 16:24). Actual renunciation of riches is not demanded of all; Matthew counts the rich Joseph of Arimathea as a disciple of Jesus (Matthew 27:57). But only the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3) can enter the kingdom and, as here, such poverty may entail the sacrifice of one's possessions. The Twelve, who have given up everything (Matthew 16:27) to follow Jesus, will have as their reward a share in Jesus' (the Son of Man's) judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 16:28), and all who have similarly sacrificed family or property for his sake will inherit eternal life (Matthew 16:29).
12  Gain eternal life: this is equivalent to ＂entering into life＂ (Matthew 19:17) and ＂being saved＂ (Matthew 16:25); the life is that of the new age after the final judgment (see Matthew 25:46). It probably is also equivalent here to ＂entering the kingdom of heaven＂ (Matthew 19:23) or ＂the kingdom of God＂ (Matthew 19:24), but see the notes on Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 18:1 for the wider reference of the kingdom in Matthew.
13  By Matthew's reformulation of the Marcan question and reply (Mark 10:17-18) Jesus' repudiation of the term ＂good＂ for himself has been softened. Yet the Marcan assertion that ＂no one is good but God alone＂ stands, with only unimportant verbal modification.
14 [18-19] The first five commandments cited are from the Decalogue (see Exodus 20:12-16; Deut 5:16-20). Matthew omits Mark's ＂you shall not defraud＂ (Matthew 10:19; see Deut 24:14) and adds Lev 19:18. This combination of commandments of the Decalogue with Lev 19:18 is partially the same as Paul's enumeration of the demands of Christian morality in Romans 13:9.
16  If you wish to be perfect: to be perfect is demanded of all Christians; see Matthew 5:48. In the case of this man, it involves selling his possessions and giving to the poor; only so can he follow Jesus.
17 [23-24] Riches are an obstacle to entering the kingdom that cannot be overcome by human power. The comparison with the impossibility of a camel's passing through the eye of a needle should not be mitigated by such suppositions as that the eye of a needle means a low or narrow gate. The
19  This saying, directed to the Twelve, is from Q; see Luke 22:29-30. The new age: the Greek word here translated ＂new age＂ occurs in the New Testament only here and in Titus 3:5. Literally, it means ＂rebirth＂ or ＂regeneration,＂ and is used in Titus of spiritual rebirth through baptism. Here it means the ＂rebirth＂ effected by the coming of the kingdom. Since that coming has various stages (see the notes on Matthew 3:2; 4:17), the new age could be taken as referring to the time after the resurrection when the Twelve will govern the true
20  Different interpretations have been given to this saying, which comes from Mark 10:31. In view of Matthew's associating it with the following parable (Matthew 20:1-15) and substantially repeating it (in reverse order) at the end of that parable (Matthew 20:16), it may be that his meaning is that all who respond to the call of Jesus, at whatever time (first or last), will be the same in respect to inheriting the benefits of the kingdom, which is the gift of God.