Matthew 10:14
(14) Shake off the dust of your feet.--The act was a familiar symbol of the sense of indignation, as in the case of St. Paul (Acts 13:51) at Antioch in Pisidia. The Jewish maxim, that even the very dust of a heathen land brought defilement with it, added to its significance. It was a protest in act, declaring (as our Lord declares in words) that the city or house which did not receive the messengers of the Christ was below the level even of the Gentiles.

Verses 14, 15. - If rejected, bear your solemn witness to the fact, for to reject you brings awful consequences. Verse 14. - Parallel passages: Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5 (the twelve); 10:10, 11 (the seventy). And whosoever shall not receive you - on your formal request as heralds of the kingdom - nor hear your words (Matthew 7:24, note), when (as, Revised Version, ver. 12, note) ye depart (go forth, Revised Version) out cf. At the moment of going out (cf. ver. 12), ἐξερχόμενοι ἔξω (Matthew 21:17; Acts 16:13), in this case finally. That house or (thai, Revised Version) city. "The house," rightly further defined by "that" in English, comes in Matthew only; "that city" comes also in the parallel passage, Luke 9:5 (cf. the parallel passages, Mark 6:11; Luke 10:10), and therefore belongs to the source used by St. Matthew. Shake off the dust of ("ell;" ἐκ, Westcott and Herr, margin) your feet. Treating it as a heathen place, whose pollution must be shaken off. For the very dust from a heathen land was to be reckoned as polluting, since, as Rashi says on Talm. Bab., 'Sabb.,' 15b (cf. Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' in loc.), "It may be doubted, of all the dust of a heathen land, whether it were not from the sepulchre of the dead." (For the apostolic fulfilment of our Lord's injunction cf. Acts 13:51 and Acts 18:6; see also Nehemiah 5:13.)

10:5-15 The Gentiles must not have the gospel brought them, till the Jews have refused it. This restraint on the apostles was only in their first mission. Wherever they went they must proclaim, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. They preached, to establish the faith; the kingdom, to animate the hope; of heaven, to inspire the love of heavenly things, and the contempt of earthly; which is at hand, that men may prepare for it without delay. Christ gave power to work miracles for the confirming of their doctrine. This is not necessary now that the kingdom of God is come. It showed that the intent of the doctrine they preached, was to heal sick souls, and to raise those that were dead in sin. In proclaiming the gospel of free grace for the healing and saving of men's souls, we must above all avoid the appearance of the spirit of an hireling. They are directed what to do in strange towns and cities. The servant of Christ is the ambassador of peace to whatever place he is sent. His message is even to the vilest sinners, yet it behoves him to find out the best persons in every place. It becomes us to pray heartily for all, and to conduct ourselves courteously to all. They are directed how to act as to those that refused them. The whole counsel of God must be declared, and those who will not attend to the gracious message, must be shown that their state is dangerous. This should be seriously laid to heart by all that hear the gospel, lest their privileges only serve to increase their condemnation.And whosoever shall not receive you,.... Into their houses, and refuse to entertain them and provide for them in a friendly manner;

nor hear your words, slight their salutations, make no account of, but despise their good wishes for their welfare; and also treat with contempt the doctrines of the Gospel preached by them; and either would not attend on their ministry, or if they did, give no credit to what they should say, but deride and reject them.

When ye depart out of that house, or city; to another house, or to another city, being obliged to remove, through their contemptuous rejection of them:

shake off the dust of your feet. So Paul and Barnabas did at Antioch in Pisidia, when the Jews contradicted and blasphemed the Gospel preached by them, raised a persecution against them, and expelled them out of their coasts, Acts 13:51 which ceremony was ordered by Christ to be observed even to the cities of Judea, that should despise and reject the ministry of his apostles; and that either to show that they did not come to them with worldly views, with any design to amass riches and wealth to themselves, for they would not so much as carry away with them the dust on their feet, but it was purely with a view to their welfare, both spiritual and temporal; or to testify that they had been among them, and that that very dust they shook off their feet would rise up in judgment against them, and declare that the Gospel had been preached among them, and they had rejected it, which will be an aggravation of their condemnation; or rather to observe to them, that such was their wickedness, that even the dust of their country was infected thereby, and therefore they shook it off, as though it defiled them, as the dust of an Heathen country was thought by the Jews to do; so that by this action they signified that they would have nothing more to do with them, or say to them, and that they looked upon them as impure and unholy, as any Heathen city or country. There seems to be an allusion to some maxims and customs of the Jews, with respect to the dust of Heathen countries.

"On account of six doubts, they say (u), they burn the first offering, for a doubt of a field in which a grave might be, and for a doubt , "of the dust which comes from the land of the Gentiles", &c.''

On which Bartenora has this note;

"all dust which comes from the land of the Gentiles, is reckoned by us as the rottenness of a dead carcass; and of these two, "the land of the Gentiles", and a field in which is a grave, it is decreed that they "defile" by touching, and by carrying.''

Again (w),

"the dust of a field in which is a grave, and the dust without the land (of Israel) which comes along with an herb, are unclean.''

Upon which Maimonides makes this remark,

"that the dust of a field that has a grave in it, and the dust which is without the land of Israel, defile by touching and carrying; or if, when it hangs at the end of an herb, when they root it out of the dust of such a field, it is unclean.''

Hence they would not suffer herbs to be brought out of an Heathen country into the land of Israel, lest dust should be brought along with them.

"A Misnic doctor teaches (x), that they do not bring herbs from without the land (of Israel into it), but our Rabbins permit it; what difference is there between them? Says R. Jeremiah, they take care of their dust; that is the difference between them.''

On that clause, "they take care of their dust", the gloss is,


Matthew 10:13
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