Matthew 22:40

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Matthew 22:40 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 22:40

On these two commandments hang all the law and the
] Not that all that is contained in the five books of Moses, and in the books of the prophets, and other writings of the Old Testament, is comprehended in, and is reducible to these two precepts; for there are many things delivered by way of promise, written by way of history which cannot, by any means, be brought into these two general heads: but that everything respecting duty that is suggested in the law, or is more largely explained and pressed in any of the writings of the prophets, is summarily comprehended in these two sayings: hence love is the fulfilling of the law; see ( Romans 13:8 Romans 13:9 ) ( Galatians 5:14 ) . The substance of the law is love; and the writings of the prophets, as to the preceptive part of them, are an explanation of the law, and an enlargement upon it: hence the Jews have a saying F3, that "all the prophets stood on Mount Sinai", and received their prophecies there, because the sum of them, as to the duty part, was then delivered. Beza thinks, that here is an allusion to the "phylacteries", or frontlets, which hung upon their foreheads and hands, as a memorial of the law. And certain it is, that the first of these commands, and which is said to be the greatest, was written in these phylacteries. Some take the phrase, "on these hang all the law and the prophets", to be a mere Latinism, but it is really an Hebraism, and often to be met with in the Jewish writings: so Maimonides says F4,

``the knowledge of this matter is an affirmative precept, as it is said, "I am the Lord thy God"; and he that imagines there is another God besides this, transgresses a negative, as it is said, "thou shalt have no other Gods before me"; and he denies the fundamental point, for this is the great foundation, (wb ywlt lkhv) , "on which all hang":''

and so the word is used in many other places F5. The sense is plainly this, that all that are in the law and prophets are consistent with, and dependent on these things; and are, as the Persic version renders the word, "comprehended" in them, and cannot be separated from them.


F3 Jarchi in Isa. xlviii. 16. & in Mal. i. 1.
F4 Hilch. Yesode Hatorah, c. 1. sect. 6.
F5 Vid. Abkath Rokel. l. 1. p. 3.

Matthew 22:40 In-Context

38 This is the greatest and first commandment.
39 And a second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them this question:
42 "What do you think of the Messiah? Whose son is he?" They said to him, "The son of David."