10.5 Τούτους τοὺς δώδεκα ἀπέστειλεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς παραγγείλας αὐτοῖς λέγων, Εἰς ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν μὴ ἀπέλθητε καὶ εὶς πόλιν Σαμαριτῶν μὴ εἰσέλθητε· 10.6 πορεύεσθε δὲ μᾶλλον πρὸς τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἀπολωλότα οἴκου Ἰσραήλ. 10.7 πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν. 10.8 ἀσθενοῦντας θεραπεύετε, νεκροὺς ἐγείρετε, λεπροὺς καθαρίζετε, δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλετε· δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε. 10.9 Μὴ κτήσησθε χρυσὸν μηδὲ ἄργυρον μηδὲ χαλκὸν εἰς τὰς ζώνας ὑμῶν, 10.10 μὴ πήραν εἰς ὁδὸν μηδὲ δύο χιτῶνας μηδὲ ὑποδήματα μηδὲ ῥάβδον· ἄξιος γὰρ ὁ ἐργάτης τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ. 10.11 εἰς ἥν δ’ ἂν πόλιν ἢ κώμην εἰσέλθητε, ἐξετάσατε τίς ἐν αὐτῇ ἄξιός ἐστιν· κἀκεῖ μείνατε ἕως ἂν ἐξέλθητε. 10.12 εἰσερχόμενοι δὲ εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν ἀσπάσασθε αὐτήν· 10.13 καὶ ἐὰν μὲν ᾖ ἡ οἰκία ἀξία, ἐλθάτω ἡ εἰρήνην ὑμῶν ἐπ’ αὐτήν, ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ᾖ ἀξία, ἡ εἰρήνη ὑμῶν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐπιστραφήτω. 10.14 καὶ ὃς ἂν μὴ δέξηται ὑμᾶς μηδὲ ἀκούσῃ τοὺς λόγους ὑμῶν, ἐξερχόμενοι ἔξω τῆς οἰκίας ἢ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης ἐκτινάξατε τὸν κονιορτὸν τῶν ποδῶν ὑμῶν. 10.15 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀνεκτότερον ἔσται γῇ Σοδόμων καὶ Γομόρρων ἐν ἡμέρᾳ κρίσεως ἢ τῇ πόλει ἐκείνῃ.
10.5 Jesus sent off these twelve instructing them, “Don’t go by the road to the nations and don’t go to the city of the Samaritans. 10.6 Instead, go to the lost sheep of the household of Israel. 10.7 And as you go, proclaim ‘The kingdom of the heavens has come near.’ 10.8 Heal the sick, wake the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out evil spirits; You received freely, so give freely.
10.9 “Don’t fill your pockets with gold, silver or copper. 10.10 Don’t fill your bag for the trip with two shirts, shoes or a staff; The worker is worthy of his food. 10.11 Whichever city or town you enter, search out someone in it who is worthy; remain there until you depart. 10.12 But when you come into their home, greet it. 10.13 And if the home is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you. 10.14 And if they won’t receive you or hear your words, go outside that house or city and shake the dust off your feet. 10.15 Truly, I tell you, it will be better off for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city on the day of judgment.”
Having just identified the twelve primary disciples Jesus selected, verse 10:5 has him sending them off (an aorist) giving instructions (an aorist participle) for the mission. παραγγείλας gives the idea of commanding or ordering, as well as announcing or passing along a message. And as we will see, Jesus offers quite a large number of commands. However, when I think of someone “commanding” it is usually a simple directive, and often in the positive: “Do X”. What Jesus provides is a lengthy set of directions, many being prohibitions rather than positive commands, and “instructing” seems a better fit in that context. Not that he “taught” them, but that he gave directions on how this operation should proceed.
Verse 5 makes use of ἀπέρχομαι with εἰς, implying departure from one place and arrival at another. Verse 5 also gives us the expression ὁδὸν ἐθνῶν to grapple with. The “road to the nations/Gentiles” could be either towards the north (Tyre and Sidon.) or east (Decapolis) or south to the Samaritans. If I had to guess I would offer the Decapolis to the east, but the text is definitely not clear on this point. In any case, this hardly affects the translation or intent of Jesus’ command. They are to confine their teaching to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” With Carson I would take this to mean Israel/Jews at large, and not necessarily some sub-section of Israelites. However, IB7 suggests these “lost sheep” are limited to the “Amhaarez” – country people with little concern for the law and thus despised by the religiously trained Pharisees.
I don’t read this to be any statement put on Jesus’ lips in order to be critical of Gentile mission in the early Church. I would read it in light of Matthew’s later statements in 28:18-20, where we find the mission of the disciples radiating from Jew, to Samaritan, to the ends of the world. Jesus’ himself does directly interact with non-Jews, but always seems to see his primary focus to be Israel itself. Paul, too, seems to recognize a pattern to the Gospel, intended for the Jews first, and then the Gentiles. This seems to me to be Jesus wisely offering a temporary restriction to increase the likelihood of success in his young trainees.
I found it very helpful in dealing with this passage that I have finally reached the section on imperatives and commands/prohibitions in Greek – An Intensive Course. While I have certainly encountered them in Matthew already, I had not dealt with them much. Many of the commands found in 5-15 are not actually imperatives – but prohibitive subjunctives. This passage makes use of both second person and third person imperatives, in addition to said prohibitive subjunctives. Lots of opportunity to practice what I have just learned…
πορεύεσθε (verse 6) from πορεύω with πρός and an accusative of “person” should be read as “go/depart to that person”. While in Attic this verb is used in the active, in the New Testament it is only found in the middle/passive voice. The active meaning is to “make to go, let go”. So the middle voice, adding a reflexive quality, would suggest “make yourself to go, let yourself go” or more simply, “go”. μᾶλλον, also in verse 6, is the comparative of μάλα, “right” or “quite”; so “more right”, “better” seems to be the idea. I have translated this “instead”, but Jesus’ words actually imply something stronger than just an alternative. I take him to clearly say that this command/prohibition is the “better” thing – best for them or for the mission at large.
In regard to the phrase “freely received…freely give”, EBC8 is helpful:
Jesus expected the Twelve, to be supported by those to whom they were to minister (cf. vv.9-13; 1 Cor 9:14), but they needed to understand that what they had received – the good news of the kingdom, Jesus’ authority, and this commission – they had received “freely” (not in “large bounty” – though that was true – but gratis). Therefore, it would have been mercenary to charge others… The danger of profiteering is still among us (cf. Micah 3:11). (EBC8, p.245)
At verse 9, RHGB capitalizes the leading μή, yet does not begin a new paragraph. I’d be interested to know why this is. Since the casing is a later addition to our Greek manuscripts, as are the paragraph breaks, it would seem that these would be handled in tandem. But not so here!
As you can see, I have broken his instructions into two parts along this boundary. The first group detailed the intent of the trip, the activity for the disciples to engage in. The second group is instructions on how they will provide for their needs as they minister. Of course, his instruction continue at verse 16 – but these are the ones that seem most applicable to the disciples’ own mission experience. The remaining instructions (from verse 17 onward) seem more applicable to the mission of the disciples post-resurrection; but we are really getting ahead of ourselves!
EBC8, dealing with verses 9-10, adds:
What is clear is that the Twelve must travel unencumbered, relying on hospitality and God’s providence. The details ensure that the instructions were for that mission alone (cf. Luke 22:35-38) and confirm Matthew’s consciousness of the historicity of this part of the discourse.
That last is important in light of discussions that surround whether Matthew is combining the instructions to the 72 in this mission to the twelve, or if he is even possibly fabricating the mission of the 12 altogether. I see no reason to consider Matthew to be fabricating anything here. Both Mark 6 and Luke 22 should be looked at for comparison to this passage. The list of objects prohibited and the verbs used are not all the same – and there is some difficulty harmonizing them effectively. But I think the major difficulties are best resolved by recognizing that there were two missions, as the gospel testimonies suggest.
10:11 offers a somewhat unique construction: ἥν…πόλιν ἢ κώμην “whatever city or town” (2 Timothy 3.11 also has this slightly unusual use of the relative pronoun as an adjective). I’ve never seen a relative modifying a noun in the relative clause. Usually it simply refers back to the noun-phrase in the primary clause. In this case there is no primary clause, just a relative clause as the protasis of a conditional sentence (in this case with an imperative acting as the apodosis of a future more vivid conditional sentence). While the structure seems slightly odd, the meaning is clear.
ἐλθάτω (verse 10:13) is apparently ἐλθέτω in Textus Receptus. That would change the verb from aorist imperative to present imperative. One could quibble over viewing the “coming” of the disciples’ statement of peace being viewed with simple aspect or as something continual, repeated or habitual. But I don’t see any reason to do so. Apparently nearby ἔξω “outside” (verse 14) is also a textual variant, missing in Textus Receptus. ἔξω governs a genitive phrase “outside of…” so its presence governing τῆς οἰκίας ἢ τῆς πόλεως ἐκείνης makes more sense to me. Textus Receptus includes the same genitive expression, which seems detached from the flow without ἔξω.
I nearly overlooked the distinction between two words that are necessary to the entire passage – οἶκος and οἰκία. The former is used of the “house/family” of Israel – here translated “household” – while the latter is used to refer to a dwelling place, a “home/house”.
Greek – An Intensive Course, Hardy Hansen, Fordham Press 1998, ISBN 0823216632
Reader’s Hebrew and Greek Bible [RHGB], Zondervan 2008, ISBN 9780310325895
Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 [EBC8], Zondervan 1984, ISBN 9780310365006
The Interpreter’s Bible Volume 7 [IB7] Pierce and Smith 1951, LCCC 51-12276