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Verses 25-26

Matthew 12:25-26. And Jesus knew their thoughts “It often happens, that through ignorance or weakness men form wrong judgments of things;” a conduct which, though censurable, admits of some excuse: “but when wrong judgments proceed from evil dispositions, then, indeed, do they become highly culpable. Therefore, to show that the judgment which the Pharisees passed at this time upon our Lord’s miracles was of the latter kind, the evangelist observes, that Jesus knew their thoughts: he knew that the wickedness of their hearts, and not the weakness of their understandings, had led them to form the opinion they had uttered, if it was their real opinion; or rather, to affirm it contrary to the conviction of their minds, which was the reason that, at the conclusion of his defence, he reprimanded them in the sharpest manner.” And said, Every kingdom divided against itself &c. He proceeds to demonstrate the absurdity of their calumny, by an argument drawn from the common affairs of life:

As if he had said, “If evil spirits assist me in working miracles for the confirmation of my doctrine, they do what they can to promote the spiritual worship and ardent love of the true God, and, as effectually as possible, excite men to the practice of universal justice, benevolence, temperance, and self-government; all these virtues being powerfully recommended by my doctrine. But thus to make the evil spirits fight against themselves, is evidently to make them ruin their own interest; unless it can be thought that the strength and welfare of a society is advanced by jarring discord and destructive civil wars. Your judgment, therefore, of my conduct, is palpably malicious and absurd.” Macknight. The word Beelzebub signifies the lord or master of flies. This was the great idol of the Ekronites; and from his name we may infer that they considered him as having the command of the various insects wherewith, in those warm climates, they were infested, and which ofttimes gathered into such swarms as proved both a noisome and a deadly plague. The Greeks, likewise, had a god, whose title was μυιαργος , Muscarum venator, The destroyer of flies. But he was in no great reputation among them, their country not being subject to this sort of calamity. The Ekronites being near neighbours to the Jews, the great veneration which they had for this idol made him the object both of the horror and detestation of the devout worshippers of the true God. Accordingly, to express in what detestation they held him, they appropriated his name to the most hateful being in the universe, calling the devil, or the prince of the evil angels. Beelzebub; for the next verse shows, that Beelzebub and Satan are different names of the same person; and consequently that Satan was considered as the prince of those demons who were cast out by Christ, and who are elsewhere represented as his angels. The word in the Greek is Beelzebul, which signifies, the lord of a dunghill, and seems to be a contemptuous change of the former name, by which it was intimated, that the noblest of the heathen deities were more fit to dwell on a dunghill than to be worshipped in a magnificent temple.

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