the borders of Judea across the Jordan: This apparently refers to Perea, a region on the E side of the Jordan River, and especially the parts of Perea bordering on Judea. Jesus left Galilee and only returned there after his resurrection.
stick to: The Greek verb used here literally means “to glue; to join (bind) closely together; to cling to.” Here it is used figuratively to describe the bond that is to unite man and wife as if with glue.
one flesh: This expression is a literal rendering into Greek of the Hebrew term at Ge 2:24 and could also be rendered “one body” or “one person.” It describes the closest bond possible between two humans. It not only refers to sexual relations but extends to the whole relationship, making the two individuals faithful and inseparable companions. Such a union cannot be broken up without damage to the partners bound by it.
certificate of divorce: The Mosaic Law did not encourage divorce. A certificate was provided as a deterrent to a hasty breakup of marriages and as a protection for women. (De 24:1) A husband who wanted to obtain a certificate likely had to consult duly authorized men who might encourage the couple to reconcile.
certificate of dismissal: Or “certificate of divorce.” By requiring a man who was considering divorce to prepare a legal document and likely to consult the elders, the Law gave him time to reconsider such a serious decision. The intent of the Law was evidently to prevent rash divorces and to provide women with a measure of legal protection. (De 24:1) But in Jesus’ day, religious leaders had made divorce easy to obtain. The first-century historian Josephus, himself a divorced Pharisee, suggested that divorce was allowable “for any cause whatsoever (and many such causes happen among men).”
sexual immorality: The Greek word por·neiʹa is a general term for all sexual intercourse that is unlawful according to the Bible. It includes adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between unmarried individuals, homosexuality, and bestiality.
adultery: See Glossary.
eunuchs: In a literal sense, castrated men. In this verse, the term is used in both a literal and a figurative sense.
have made themselves eunuchs: Or “have chosen to live as eunuchs.” Here “eunuchs” does not refer to males who have physically castrated themselves or have been emasculated. Instead, these voluntarily remain in a state of singleness.
One there is who is good: Or “There is only one who is good,” that is, God. Jesus here recognized Jehovah as the ultimate standard of what is good. God has expressed and defined what is good by means of his Word, the Bible.
You must love your neighbor: The Mosaic Law directed the Israelites to love their neighbor. (Le 19:18) While the term “neighbor” simply meant one’s fellow man, some Jews narrowed the meaning to include only fellow Jews, especially those who kept the oral traditions; all other people were to be considered enemies.
neighbor: This Greek word for “neighbor” (lit., “the one near”) can include more than just those who live nearby. It can refer to anyone with whom a person interacts.
perfect: The Greek term used here can mean “complete,” “mature,” or it can mean “faultless” according to standards set by an authority. Only Jehovah is perfect in an absolute sense, so when the term is applied to humans, it describes relative perfection. In this context, “perfect” refers to the completeness of a Christian’s love for Jehovah God and for fellow humans, something that is possible, even though a person is sinful.
perfect: The Greek term used here can mean “complete” or “faultless” according to standards set by an authority. (See study note on Mt 5:48.) In this context, material possessions were preventing this man from being perfect, or complete, in his service to God.
Truly: Greek, a·menʹ, a transliteration of the Hebrew ʼa·menʹ, meaning “so be it,” or “surely.” Jesus frequently uses this expression to preface a statement, a promise, or a prophecy, thereby emphasizing its absolute truthfulness and reliability. Jesus’ use of “truly,” or amen, in this way is said to be unique in sacred literature. When repeated in succession (a·menʹ a·menʹ), as is the case throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus’ expression is translated “most truly.”
easier for a camel to get through a needle’s eye: Jesus is using hyperbole to illustrate a point. Just as a literal camel cannot go through the eye of an actual sewing needle, it is impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom if he continues to put his riches ahead of his relationship with Jehovah. Jesus did not mean that no wealthy person would inherit the Kingdom, for he went on to say: “With God all things are possible.”
re-creation: Or “regeneration; renewal.” The Greek word pa·lin·ge·ne·siʹa is composed of elements that mean “again; anew; once more” and “birth; origin.” The ancient Jewish writer Philo used the term with reference to the renewal of the world after the Flood; Jewish historian Josephus used it regarding the reestablishment of Israel after the exile. Here in Matthew’s account, it refers to the time when the rule of Christ and his corulers will bring to the earth a renewal of the perfect conditions enjoyed by the first humans before they sinned.
Son of man: Or “Son of a human.” This expression occurs about 80 times in the Gospels. Jesus used it to refer to himself, evidently emphasizing that he was truly human, born from a woman, and that he was a fitting human counterpart to Adam, having the power to redeem humankind from sin and death. (Ro 5:12, 14-15) The same expression also identified Jesus as the Messiah, or the Christ.
judging: This harmonizes with other verses that indicate that Christ’s corulers will share with him in judgment. (1Co 6:2; Re 20:4) The combination of ruling and judging is in harmony with Biblical usage, which at times uses the term “judge” with the more general meaning of “ruling over” or “governing.”
inherit: The basic meaning of the Greek verb is for an heir to receive something as a right, often because of relationship, such as a son receiving an inheritance from his father. (Ga 4:30) But here, as in most occurrences in the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term is used in the broader sense of receiving something as a reward from God.
This certificate of divorce, dated 71 or 72 C.E., was written in Aramaic. It was found on the north side of Wadi Murabbaat, a dry riverbed in the Judean Desert. It states that in the sixth year of the Jewish revolt, Joseph, son of Naqsan, divorced Miriam, daughter of Jonathan who was living in the city of Masada.
In Jesus’ day, the camel was the largest domesticated animal in the region. The Arabian camel (Camelus dromedarius), thought to be the one generally referred to in the Bible, has only one hump. The first mention of the camel in the Bible relates to Abraham’s temporary residence in Egypt, where he acquired a number of these beasts of burden.