Matthew 10

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Matthew 10
Sinaiticus, Matthew 9,23-10,17.JPG
Gospel of Matthew 9:23–10:17 on Codex Sinaiticus, made about AD 330–360.
BookGospel of Matthew
Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Bible part1

Matthew 10 is the tenth chapter in the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament section of the Christian Bible. Matthew 10 comes after Jesus had called some of his disciples and before the meeting with the disciples of John the Baptist. This section is also known as the Mission Discourse or the Little Commission, in contrast to the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18–20). The Little Commission is directed specifically to the Jewish believers of the early church, while the Great Commission is to all nationalities. The Pulpit Commentary suggests that Jesus' message in this discourse "was hardly likely to have been remembered outside Jewish Christian circles".[1]

Matthew names the twelve apostles, or "twelve disciples", in verses 1 to 4 and the remainder of the chapter consists almost entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus. In this chapter, Jesus sends out the apostles to heal and preach throughout the region and gives them careful instruction. Many of the sayings found in Matthew 10 are also found in Luke 10 and the Gospel of Thomas, which is not found in the accepted canon of the New Testament.


Matthew 10:13–15 on Papyrus 110 (c. 4th century), recto side.
Matthew 10:25–27 on Papyrus 110 (c. 4th century), verso side.
Matthew 10:10–17 on Codex Petropolitanus Purpureus (6th century.
Codex Sinaiticus (c. AD 330–360), Matthew 10:17–11:15

The twelve[edit]

The text in verse 1 refers to "his twelve disciples" (Greek: τους δωδεκα μαθητας αυτου, tous dodeka mathetas autou). Verse 2 calls them "the twelve apostles":

Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip, and Bartholomew; Thomas, and Matthew the publican; James the son of Alphaeus, and Lebbaeus, whose surname was Thaddaeus; Simon the Canaanite, and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him. (King James Version)

Verse 5 refers to them simply as "the twelve".

Verse 10[edit]

New King James Version

nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food.[2]

Cross reference: Mark 6:8–9; Luke 9:3

  • Nor scrip for your journey (scrip = bag)

This the Jews call (lymrt), "tarmil": and which their commentators say,[3] is a large leathern bag, in which shepherds and travellers put their food, and other things, and carried with them, hanging it about their necks; so that the disciples were neither to carry money with them, nor any provisions for their journey:[4]

  • neither two coats; (coats = tunics)

one to travel in, and another to put on, when they came to their quarters: they were not allowed change of raiment; either because superfluous, or too magnificent to appear in, or too troublesome to carry:[4]

  • nor shoes, (shoes = sandals)

only sandals, as Mark says; for there was a difference between shoes and sandals, as appears from the case of the plucking off the shoe, when a man refused his brother's wife:[5] if the "shoe" was plucked off it was regarded; but if the "sandal", it was not minded: this was the old tradition, though custom went against it. Sandals were made of harder leather than shoes,[6] and sometimes of wood covered with leather, and stuck with nails, to make them more durable;[7] though sometimes of bulrushes, and bark of palm trees, and of cork,[8] which were light to walk with.

Says R. Bar bar Chanah,[9] I saw R. Eleazar of Nineveh go out on a fast day of the congregation, (Mev ldnob) , "with a sandal of cork".

Of what sort these were, the disciples were allowed to travel with, is not certain:[4]

  • nor yet with staves: (staves = staffs)

that is, with more than one staff, which was sufficient to assist them, and lean upon in journeying: for, according to Mark, one was allowed; as though they might take a travelling staff, yet not staves for defence, or to fight with; see ( Matthew 26:55 ). Now these several things were forbidden them, partly because they would be burdensome to them in travelling; and partly because they were not to be out any long time, but were quickly to return again; and chiefly to teach them to live and depend upon divine providence. Now, since they were to take neither money, nor provisions with them, and were also to preach the Gospel freely, they might reasonably ask how they should be provided for, and supported: when our Lord suggests, that they should not be anxiously concerned about that, he would take care that they had a suitable supply; and would so influence and dispose the minds of such, to whom they should minister, as that they should have all necessary provisions made for them, without any care or expense of theirs:[4]

  • for the workman is worthy of his meat;

which seems to be a proverbial expression, and by which Christ intimates, that they were workmen, or labourers in his vineyard, and they, discharging their duty aright, were entitled to food and raiment, and all the necessaries of life: this to have, was their due; and it was but a piece of justice to give it to them, and on which they might depend. So that this whole context is so far from militating against a minister's maintenance by the people, that it most strongly establishes it; for if the apostles were not to take any money or provisions with them, to support themselves with, it clearly follows, that it was the will of Christ, that they should live by the Gospel, upon those to whom they preached, as the following words show: and though they were not to make gain of the Gospel, or preach it for filthy lucre's sake; yet they might expect a comfortable subsistence, at the charge of the people, to whom they ministered, and which was their duty to provide for them.[4]

Verse 34[edit]

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send [or bring] peace, but a sword."[10]

This is a much-discussed passage, often explained in terms of the "apocalyptic-eschatological" context of the 1st century.[11]

R. T. France explains the verse, in context with the subsequent verse 35: "The sword Jesus brings is not here military conflict, but, as vv. 35–36 show, a sharp social division which even severs the closest family ties. … Jesus speaks here, as in the preceding and following verses, more of a division in men’s personal response to him."[12]

The text of Matthew's Gospel in the Book of Kells alters gladium, the Vulgate translation of makhairan "sword", to gaudium "joy", resulting in a reading of "I came not [only] to bring peace, but [also] joy".[13]

Parallels in the Gospel of Thomas[edit]

Matthew 10 contains many parallels found in the Gospel of Thomas.

  • Matthew 10:16 parallels saying 39 in the Gospel of Thomas.
  • Matthew 10:37 parallels sayings 55 and 101
  • Matthew 10:27b parallels saying 33a.
  • Matthew 10:34–36 parallels saying 16.
  • Matthew 10:26 parallels saying 5b.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 10, accessed 3 January 2017
  2. ^ Matthew 10:10
  3. ^ Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 2. sect. 8. & in Celim. c. 16. 4. & 24. 11. & Negaim. c. 11. sect. 11.
  4. ^ a b c d e John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible, – Matthew 10:10
  5. ^ T. Hieros. Yebamot, fol. 12. 3. T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 102. 1. & Menachot, fol. 32. 1.
  6. ^ Gloss. in T. Bab. Yebamot, fol. 101. 1. & Bartenora in Misn. Yebamot, c. 12. sect. 1.
  7. ^ Misn. Yebamot, c. 12. sect. 2. Maimon. Bartenora in Sabbat, c. 6. sect. 2. & Edayot, c. 2. sect. 8.
  8. ^ T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 78. 2. Gloss. in ib. Maimon. Hilch. Shebitat. Ashur, c. 3. sect. 7.
  9. ^ T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 78. 2. Juchasin, fol. 81. 1.
  10. ^ Matthew 10:34
    - Charles Mathewes. Understanding Religious Ethics. p. 186.
  11. ^ Cim, David. "The sword motif in Matthew 10:34". Theological Studies; Vol 56, No 1 (2000), 84-104. School of Theology, Australian Catholic University. doi:10.4102/hts.v56i1.1698.
  12. ^ France, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Vol 1: Matthew (1985). 2nd ed (2008), p. 192. ISBN 978-1844742677.
  13. ^ Nathan, George Jean Nathan; Henry Louis Mencken (1951). The American Mercury. p. 572. The compilers of the late seventh century manuscript, The Book of Kells, refused to adopt St. Jerome's phrase "I come not to bring peace but a sword" (" ... non pacem sed gladium"). To them the phrase made no sense and they altered it ...

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Matthew 9
Chapters of the New Testament
Gospel of Matthew
Succeeded by
Matthew 11