Matthew 8:21

21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

Matthew 8:21 in Other Translations

21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
21 Another of the disciples said to him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father."
21 Another of his disciples said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.”
21 Another follower said, "Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father's funeral to take care of."
21 "Lord," another of His disciples said, "first let me go bury my father."

Matthew 8:21 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 8:21

And another of his disciples said unto him
That is, one of his disciples; for this does not suppose, that the other, the Scribe before mentioned, was one. It is possible, he might be one of the twelve. The Persic version makes him one of the disciples, whom they call "Hawarion", apostles; and, according to ancient tradition, it was F4 Philip. And certain it is, that he was one, who was called to preach the Gospel; so that he was not a common ordinary disciple; nor could he be one of the seventy disciples, since it was after this, that they were called and sent forth; as appears from Luke's account, ( Luke 9:60 Luke 10:1 ) . But who he particularly was, cannot be certainly known, nor is it of any great importance to know it: his address to Christ is made with great respect and reverence, and in a very modest and humble manner,

Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father:
for it seems, according to Luke, that Christ had bid him "follow" him: he had given him a call to be his disciple, and to go and preach the Gospel, which he did not refuse; but desires leave "first" to attend his father's funeral, who was now dead; as his requests, and Christ's answer, both suppose: though some conjecture, that he was only very aged, or was dangerously ill; and therefore it could not be thought he would live long: hence he was desirous of doing this last good office, before he entered on his public work; but these are conjectures, without any foundation: it is plain, his father was dead, and what he requested was, to go home, which perhaps might not be a great way off, and perform the funeral rites, and then return. This may seem very reasonable, since burying the dead was reckoned by the Jews, not only an act of kindness and respect to the deceased, but an act of piety and religion; and in which, men are followers of God, and imitate him, who himself buried the body of Moses F5. And though this man was called to preach the Gospel, yet he might think he would be easily excused for the present, on this account; since, according to the Jewish canons, such whose dead lay before them, who were as yet unburied, were excused reading the Shema, they were free from performing the duty of prayer, and were not obliged to wear their phylacteries F6.


F4 Clement. Alex. Strom. l. 3. p. 436.
F5 T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 30. 2. & Sota, fol. 14. 1.
F6 Misn. Beracot, c. 3. sect. 1.

Matthew 8:21 In-Context

19 Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
21 Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him.
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