34Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.
34 Verse 34. Think not that I am come to send peace, &c.] The
meaning of this difficult passage will be plain, when we consider
the import of the word peace, and the expectation of the Jews.
I have already had occasion to remark, (Mt 10:12,) that the word
shalom, rendered by the Greeks ειρηνη, was used among the
Hebrews to express all possible blessings, temporal and spiritual;
but especially the former. The expectation of the Jews was, that,
when the Messiah should come, all temporal prosperity should be
accumulated on the land of Judea; therefore τηνγην, in this
verse, should not be translated the earth, but this land. The
import of our Lord's teaching here is this, Do not imagine, as the
Jews in general vainly do, that I am come to send forth,
(βαλλειν,) by forcing out the Roman power, that temporal
prosperity which they long for; I am not come for this purpose,
but to send forth (βαλλειν) the Roman sword, to cut off a
disobedient and rebellious nation, the cup of whose iniquity is
already full, and whose crimes cry aloud for speedy vengeance.
See also Clarke on "Lu 12:49". From the time they rejected the
Messiah, they were a prey to the most cruel and destructive factions;
they employed their time in butchering one another, till the Roman
sword was unsheathed against them, and desolated the land.