28. And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning
together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked Him, "Which
is the first commandment of all?"
29. And Jesus answered him, "The first of all the commandments is,
Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30. And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this
is the first commandment.
31. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor
as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
32. And the scribe said unto Him, "Well, Master, thou hast said
the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but He:
33. And to love Him with all the heart, and with all the understanding,
and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour
as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
34. And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He said unto
him, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God." And no man after that
durst ask Him any question.
Gloss.: After that the Lord confuted the Pharisees, and the Sadducees,
who tempted Him, it is here shewn how He satisfied the Scribe who questioned
Wherefore it is said, "And one of the scribes came, and having heard
them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well,
asked Him, Which is the first commandment of [p. 247] all?"
Pseudo-Jerome: This question is only that which is a problem common
to all skilled in the law, namely, that the commandments are differently
set forth in Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. Wherefore He brought forward
not one but two commandments, by which, as by two paps rising on the breast
of the bride, our infancy is nourished.
And therefore there is added, "And Jesus answered him, The first of
all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; the Lord thy God is one God."
He mentions the first and greatest commandment of all; this is that to
which each of us must give the first place in his heart, as the only foundation
of piety, that is, the knowledge and confession of the Divine Unity, with
the practice of good works, which is perfected in the love of God and our
Wherefore there is added, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all
thy heart, and with all thy mind, and with all thy soul, and with all thy
strength: this is the first commandment."
Theophylact: See how He has enumerated all the powers of the soul; for
there is a living power in the soul, which He explains, when He says, "With
all thy soul," and to this belong anger and desire, all of which He will
have us give to Divine love.
There is also another power, which is called natural, to which belong
nutriment and growth, and this also is all to be given to God, for which
reason He says, "With all thy heart."
There is also another power, the rational, which He calls the mind,
and that too is to be given whole to God.
Gloss.: The words which are added, "And with all thy strength," may
be referred to the bodily powers.
It goes on: "And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy
neighbour as thyself."
Theophylact: He says that it is like, because these two commandments
are harmonious one with the other, and mutually contain the other. For
he who loves God, loves also His creature; but the chief of His creatures
is man, wherefore he who loves God ought to love all men. But he who loves
his neighbor, who so often offends him, ought much more to love Him, who
is ever giving him benefits. And therefore on account of the connection
between these commandments, He adds, "There is none other commandment greater
It goes on: "And the Scribe said unto Him, Well, Master, thou hast said
the truth: [p. 248] for there is one God, and there is none other but He:
and to love Him with all the heart, and with all the soul, and with all
the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour
as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices."
Bede: He shews when he says, "this is greater than all sacrifices,"
that a grave question was often debated between the scribes and Pharisees,
which was the first commandment, or the greatest of the Divine law; that
is, some praised offerings and sacrifices, others preferred acts of faith
and love, because many of the fathers before the law pleased God by that
faith only, which works by love. This scribe shews that he was of the latter
But it continues: "And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, He
said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."
Theophylact: By which He shews that he was not perfect, for He did not
say, Thou art within the kingdom of heaven, but, "Thou art not far from
the kingdom of God."
Bede: But the reason why he was not far from the kingdom of God was,
that he proved himself to be a favourer of that opinion, which is proper
to the New Testament and to Gospel perfection.
Augustine, de Con. Evan, ii, 73: Nor let it trouble us that Matthew
says, that he who addressed this question to the Lord tempted Him; for
it may be that though he came as a tempter, yet he was corrected by the
answer of the Lord. Or at all events, we must not look upon the temptation
as evil, and done with the intention of deceiving an enemy, but rather
as the caution of a man who wished to try a thing unknown to him.
Pseudo-Jerome: Or else, he is not far who comes with knowledge; for
ignorance is farther from the kingdom of God than knowledge; wherefore
He says above to the Sadducees, "Ye err, not knowing the Scriptures, or
the power of God."
It goes on: "And no man after that durst ask Him any questions."
Bede: For since they were confuted in argument, they ask Him no further
questions, but take Him without any disguise, and give Him up to the Roman
power. From which we understand that the venom of envy may be overcome,
but can hardly lie quiet.
35. And Jesus answered and said, while He taught [p. 249] in the
temple, "How say the Scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
36. For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, 'The Lord said to
my Lord - "Sit thou on My right hand, till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool."
37. David therefore himself calleth Him Lord; and whence is He then
his son?" And the common people heard Him gladly.
Theophylact: Because Christ was coming to His Passion, He corrects a
false opinion of the Jews, who said that Christ was the Son of David, not
Wherefore it is said, "And Jesus answered and said, while He taught
in the temple."
Pseudo-Jerome: That is, He openly speaks to them of Himself, that they
may be inexcusable.
For it goes on: "How say the Scribes that Christ is the Son of David?"
Theophylact: But Christ shews Himself to be the Lord, by the words of
For it goes on: "For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The Lord
said to my Lord, Sit thou on My right hand;" as if He had said, Ye cannot
say that David said this without the grace of the Holy Spirit, but he called
Him Lord in the Holy Spirit; and that He is Lord, he shews, by this that
is added, "Till I make Thine enemies Thy footstool;" for they themselves
were His enemies, whom God put under the footstool of Christ.
Bede: But the putting down of His enemies by the Father, does not shew
the weakness of the Son, but the unity of nature, by which One works in
the Other; for the Son also subjects the Father's enemies, because He glorifies
His Father upon earth.
Gloss.: Thus then Lord concludes from what has gone before the doubtful
questions. For from the foregoing words of David it is proved that Christ
is the Lord of David, but according to the saying of the Scribes, it is
proved that He is his Son. And this is what is added, "David himself then
calls Him Lord, how is He then his Son?"
Bede: The question of Jesus is useful for us even now against the Jews;
for they, acknowledging that Christ is to come, assert that He is a mere
man, a holy Person descended from David. Let us then ask them, as our [p.
250] Lord has taught us, if He be a mere man, and only the son of David,
how David in the Holy Spirit calls Him Lord. They are not however reproved
for calling Him David's son, but for not believing Him to be the Son of
It goes on: "And the common people heard Him gladly."
Gloss.: Namely, because they saw that He answered and put questions