The Gospel According to Matthew

Chapter 12

Christ reproves the blindness of the Pharisees concerning the breach of the sabbath, 1, 2, by scripture, 3-8, by reason, 9-12, and by a miracle, 13-21. He heals a possessed man who was blind and mute, 22, 23; disproves the absurd charge of casting out demons by Beelzebub, 25-30; shows that blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall never be forgiven, 31, 32. The tree is known by its fruit, 33-35. Account shall be made of idle words, 36, 37. He rebukes the unfaithful who seek after a sign, 38-45, and shows who is his brother, sister, and mother, 46-50.

1 At that time Jesus went through the grain-fields on the sabbath, and his disciples were hungry and began to pluck the heads of grain and to eat. 2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, "Behold, your disciples do that which it is not lawful to do on the sabbath." 3 But he said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he and those who were with him were hungry, 4 How he entered into the house of God and ate the show-bread, which it was not lawful for him to eat, neither for those who were with him, but only for the priests? 5 Or have you not read in the law, that on the sabbath the priests in the temple profane the sabbath and are blameless? 6 But I say to you, that in this place is one greater than the temple. 7 But if you had known what this means, 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice,' you would not have condemned the guiltless. 8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath."

9 And when he had departed from there, he went into their synagogue. 10 And behold, there was a man who had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath?" so that they might accuse him. 11 And he said to them, "What man is there among you who has a sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the sabbath, will not lay hold upon it and lift it out? 12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Therefore, it is lawful to do good on the sabbath days." 13 Then he says to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored to a sound state like the other. 14 Then the Pharisees went out and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from there. And great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all. 16 And he charged them that they should not make him known, 17 So that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying,

18 "Behold, my servant, whom I have chosen,/
my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased./
I will put my Spirit upon him,/
and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.

19 He shall not contend, nor cry,/
neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.

20 A bruised reed he shall not break/
and smoking flax he shall not quench/
until he sends forth judgment to victory.

21 And in his name the Gentiles shall trust."

22 Then someone was brought to him possessed with a demon, blind and mute, and he healed him so that the blind and mute both spoke and saw. 23 And all the people were amazed, and said, "Is this not the son of David?" 24 But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This man does not cast out demons, but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons."

25 And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them, "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. 26 And if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then shall his kingdom stand? 27 And if I, by Beelzebub, cast out demons, by whom do your children expel them? Therefore, they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God has come to you. 29 Or else, how can one enter into a strong man's house and seize his goods unless he first binds the strong man? Then he will plunder his house.

30 "He who is not with me, is against me, and he who does not gather with me, scatters abroad.

31 "Therefore, I say to you, for all manner of sin and blasphemy men shall be forgiven, but for the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit men shall not be forgiven. 32 And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.

33 "Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and its fruit corrupt, for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 O generation of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man, out of the good treasure of the heart, brings forth good things, and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you, that for every idle word that men speak, they shall give account on the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned."

38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, "Master, we wish to see a sign from you." 39 But he answered and said to them, "An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonah. 40 For as 'Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish,' so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 41 The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation and condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, one greater than Jonah is here. 42 The queen of the south shall rise up in the judgment with this generation and condemn it because she came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, one greater than Solomon is here.

43 "When the unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and he finds none. 44 Then he says, 'I will return into my house from where I came out.' And when he has come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. 45 Then he goes, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there. And the last state of that man is worse than the first. Thus it shall also be to this wicked generation."

46 While he was yet speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside desiring to speak with him. 47 Then someone said to him, "Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside desiring to speak with you." 48 But he answered and said to him who told him, "Who is my mother? And who are my brothers?" 49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, "Behold my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my brother, sister, and mother."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Matthew, Chapter 12[➚]


[v.1-8] - Gospel Link: Mark 2:23-28; Luke 6:1-5.

[v.3-4] - Reference, 1st Samuel 21:3-6.

[v.7] - Quoting Hosea 6:6.

[v.9-13] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-10.

[v.14] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:6; Luke 6:11.

[v.15-16] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:7-12.

[v.18] - Quoting Isaiah 42:1.

[v.19] - Quoting Isaiah 42:2.

[v.20] - Quoting Isaiah 42:3.

[v.21] - Quoting Isaiah 42:4 (LXX). From John Calvin's Commentary: "Instead of these words the prophet has, 'The isles shall wait for his law.' But though Matthew has changed the words, the meaning is the same, that the grace of Christ will be shared by the Gentiles."

[v.22-24] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:22; Luke 11:14-15.

[v.25-30] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:23-27; Luke 11:17-23.

[v.31-32] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:28-30; Luke 12:10.

[v.38] - Gospel Link: Luke 11:16.

[v.39-42] - Gospel Link: Luke 11:29-32.

[v.40] - Quoting Jonah 1:17 (LXX—Jonah 2:1).

[v.41] - Reference, Jonah 3:5-9.

[v.42] - Reference, 1st Kings 10:1.

[v.43-45] - Gospel Link: Luke 11:24-26.

[v.46-50] - Gospel Link: Mark 3:31-35; Luke 8:19-21.