Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world
The apostle appeals to them concerning this matter, as a thing well known unto them, or might easily be known by them; for this was either a traditional notion among the Jews, many of whom were in this church, that good men should judge the world; as is said of the righteous in the apocryphal book:
``They shall judge the nations, and have dominion over the people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.'' (Wisdom 3:8)and so the Jews say F1, that
``the first day of the month is the beginning of judgment in the whole world, and Isaac sat on a throne, (amle Ndyml) , "to judge the world":''or this might be collected, as Dr. Lightfoot observes, out of ( Daniel 7:18 Daniel 7:27 ) , but the difficulty is, in what sense the apostle means the saints shall judge the world; not merely in a comparative sense, for so even will the Heathens, the men of Nineveh, and the queen of Sheba, judge and condemn the Jews; nor as assessors on the throne with Christ, for though they shall sit on the same throne with him as reigning, yet not as judging with him, all judgment is solely committed to him: nor merely as approving that judiciary sentence, that will be pronounced by him on the world; for even wicked men themselves, and devils, will be obliged to own the justice of it; but his meaning is, that in a little time the saints, Christian men, men under a profession of Christianity at least, should be governors in the world, and bear the office of civil magistracy in it; which came to pass in a few centuries after the writing of this, and has been more or less the case ever since; and will be more so in the latter day, when kings shall be nursing fathers, and queens nursing mothers to the church; and when the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High: upon which the apostle strongly argues,
and if the world shall be judged by you;
if such men as you shall bear sway in it, fill up all civil offices in it, even the highest; shall sit upon the benches of judges, and on the thrones of kings, and at last have the government of the whole world; since such honour the saints shall have, and be abundantly capable of it,
are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?
is it too high a post, and can you be thought to be unqualified for, and unfit to have such trivial things, of little or no moment and importance, things relating to the common affairs of life, brought before you, and be tried, and judged by you?
F1 Ibid. in Lev. fol. 13. 4.