Matthew 8:20

20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.

Matthew 8:20 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 8:20

And Jesus saith unto him
Knowing his heart, and the carnal and worldly views with which he acted;

the foxes have holes
in the earth, where they hide themselves from danger, take their rest, and secure their whelps;

and the birds of the air have nests,
where they sit, lay, and hatch their eggs, and bring up their young;

but the son of man has not where to lay his head,
when he is weary, and wants rest and sleep, as he did at this time. So that though he was Lord of all, as being the mighty God; yet as "the son of man", a phrase, expressive both of the truth and meanness of his human nature, the most despicable of creatures in the earth and air, were richer than he. This he said, to convince the Scribe of his mistake; who expected much worldly grandeur and wealth, by becoming his disciple. When Christ styles himself "the son of man", it is no contradiction to his being God; nor any objection to trust and confidence in him, as the Jew F26 suggests; for he is truly and properly God, as well as really man, having two natures, human and divine, united in his person; so that he is, as was prophesied of him, Emmanuel, God with us, in our nature, God manifested in the flesh: and since he is so, it cannot be unlawful to trust in him; which it would be indeed, was he a mere man. The Jews ought not to object to this name and title of the "Messiah, the son of man": since he is so called, as their own writers and commentators acknowledge, in F1 ( Psalms 80:17 ) and F2 ( Daniel 7:13 Daniel 7:14 ) . And whereas it is further urged against these words of Christ, that if he was God, why does he complain of want of place? Is not the whole world his, according to ( Psalms 24:1 ) ? It may be replied, that it is very true, that the whole world is his, nor could he be in want of anything, as God; but yet, as man, for our sakes he became "poor", that we "might be rich": nor should this be any difficulty with a Jew, when they themselves say, as some have thought, if he (the Messiah) should come, (hyb anbytyd atkwd yl) , "there's no place in which he can sit down" F3. Unless it be understood of Nebuchadnezzar, as the gloss explains it; let the learned inspect the place, and judge: the coming of the Messiah is immediately spoken of.


F26 R. Isaac Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 12. p. 403.
F1 Targum & Aben Ezra in loc, Abarbinel Mashmia Jeshua, fol. 81. 2.
F2 R. Jeshua in Aben Ezra in loc. & Saadiah Gaon & Jarchi in loc. Zohar in Gen. fol. 85. 4.
F3 T. Bab. Sanhedrim, fol. 96. 2.

Matthew 8:20 In-Context

18 Now when Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandments to depart unto the other side.
19 And there came a scribe, and said unto him, Teacher, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the heaven [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
21 And another of the disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
22 But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead.
The American Standard Version is in the public domain.