The Meaning of Matthew 11:19 Explained

Matthew 11:19

KJV: The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners. But wisdom is justified of her children.

YLT: the Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, Lo, a man, a glutton, and a wine-drinker, a friend of tax-gatherers and sinners, and wisdom was justified of her children.'

Darby: The Son of man has come eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a man that is eating and wine-drinking, a friend of tax-gatherers, and of sinners: and wisdom has been justified by her children.

ASV: The Son of man came eating and drinking, and they say, Behold, a gluttonous man and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners! And wisdom is justified by her works.

What does Matthew 11:19 Mean?

Study Notes

Son of man (See Scofield " Matthew 8:20 ") .
sinners Sin.
Sin, Summary: The literal meanings of the Heb. and (Greek - ἀλεκτοροφωνία sin," "sinner," etc)., disclose the true nature of sin in its manifold manifestations. Sin is transgression, an overstepping of the law, the divine boundary between good and evil Psalms 51:1 ; Luke 15:29 , iniquity, an act inherently wrong, whether expressly forbidden or not; error, a departure from right; Psalms 51:9 ; Romans 3:23 , missing the mark, a failure to meet the divine standard; trespass, the intrusion of self-will into the sphere of divine authority Ephesians 2:1 , lawlessness, or spiritual anarchy 1 Timothy 1:9 , unbelief, or an insult to the divine veracity John 16:9 .
Sin originated with Satan Isaiah 14:12-14 , entered the world through Adam Romans 5:12 , was, and is, universal, Christ alone excepted; Romans 3:23 ; 1 Peter 2:22 , incurs the penalties of spiritual and physical death; Genesis 2:17 ; Genesis 3:19 ; Ezekiel 18:4 ; Ezekiel 18:20 ; Romans 6:23 and has no remedy but in the sacrificial death of Christ; Hebrews 9:26 ; Acts 4:12 availed of by faith Acts 13:38 ; Acts 13:39 . Sin may be summarized as threefold: An act, the violation of, or want of obedience to the revealed will of God; a state, absence of righteousness; a nature, enmity toward God.

Context Summary

Matthew 11:11-19 - The Last Of The Prophets
The least in a higher dispensation has great advantages over the greatest in a lower one. A child on a hill can see farther than a giant in the valley. Many have tried to right the world by violence, by the vehemence of their speech and acts. But it is not so that the Kingdom comes. Its weapon is not the sword, but the cross. Its advent is not as the thunder shower, but as the summer dew or the opening of the dawn.
Our Lord truly estimated the temper of His age. It was fickle, changeable, and hard to please; but beneath its evident superficiality there was a substratum of rock. They refused John because of his austerity, and they refused Jesus because of His human kindness and gentleness. Never trim your sails for the world's breath. The breeze springs up and soon dies away. Do God's will!
O sinful brother and sister, can we ever estimate enough the assurance that Jesus is the friend of our souls? He does not disown, withdraw, or reproach. He knows what our temptations are, and makes allowances, and loves us steadfastly forever. [source]

Chapter Summary: Matthew 11

1  John sends his disciples to Jesus
7  Jesus' testimony concerning John
16  The perverse judgment of the people concerning the Son
20  Jesus upbraids Korazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum;
25  and praising his Father's wisdom in revealing the Gospel to the simple,
28  he calls to him those who are weary and burdened

Greek Commentary for Matthew 11:19

Wisdom is justified by her works [εδικαιωτη απο των εργων αυτης]
A timeless aorist passive (Robertson, Grammar, p. 836f.). The word “justified” means “set right” Luke (Luke 7:35) has “by all her children” as some MSS. have here to make Matthew like Luke. These words are difficult, but understandable. God‘s wisdom has planned the different conduct of both John and Jesus. He does not wish all to be just alike in everything. “This generation” (Matthew 11:16) is childish, not childlike, and full of whimsical inconsistencies in their faultfinding. They exaggerate in each case. John did not have a demon and Jesus was not a glutton or a winebibber. “And, worse than either, for πιλος — philos is used in a sinister sense and implies that Jesus was the comrade of the worst characters, and like them in conduct. A malicious nickname at first, it is now a name of honour: the sinner‘s lover” (Bruce). Cf. Luke 15:2. The plan of God is justified by results. [source]

Reverse Greek Commentary Search for Matthew 11:19

Matthew 11:16 Children [παιδίοις]
Diminutive, little children. The Rev. Donald Fraser gives the picture simply and vividly: “He pictured a group of little children playing at make-believe marriages and funerals. First they acted a marriage procession; some of them piping as on instruments of music, while the rest were expected to leap and dance. In a perverse mood, however, these last did not respond, but stood still and looked discontented. So the little pipers changed their game and proposed a funeral. They began to imitate the loud wailing of eastern mourners. But again they were thwarted, for their companions refused to chime in with the mournful cry and to beat their breasts … .So the disappointed children complained: 'We piped unto you and ye did not dance; we wailed, and ye did not mourn. Nothing pleases you. If you don't want to dance, why don't yon mourn? … It is plain that yon are in bad humor, and determined not to be pleased'” (“Metaphors in the Gospels”). The issue is between the Jews (this generation ) and the children of wisdom, Matthew 11:19. [source]
Luke 3:12 Also publicans [και τελωναι]
We have had the word already in Matthew (Matthew 5:46; Matthew 9:10; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 18:17; Matthew 21:31.) and Mark (Mark 11:15.). It is sometimes coupled with harlots and other sinners, the outcasts of society. The word is made up from τελος — telos tax, and ωνεομαι — ōneomai to buy, and is an old one. The renter or collector of taxes was not popular anywhere, but least of all when a Jew collected taxes for the Romans and did it by terrible graft and extortions. [source]
Luke 7:33 John the Baptist is come [εληλυτεν]
Second perfect active indicative where Matthew 11:18 has ηλτεν — ēlthen second aorist active indicative. So as to Luke 7:34. Luke alone has “bread” and “wine.” Otherwise these verses like Matthew 11:18, Matthew 11:19. See note on Matthew 11:19 for discussion of details. There are actually critics today who say that Jesus was called the friend of sinners and even of harlots because he loved them and their ways and so deserved the slur cast upon him by his enemies. If men can say that today we need not wonder that the Pharisees and lawyers said it then to justify their own rejection of Jesus. [source]
Luke 7:35 Of all her children [απο παντων των τεκνων αυτης]
Here Matthew 11:19 has “by her works” Aleph has εργων — ergōn here. The use of “children” personifies wisdom as in Proverbs 8; 9. [source]
John 1:51 Son of man []
See on Luke 6:22. Notice the titles successively applied to our Lord in this chapter: the greater Successor of the Baptist, the Lamb of God, the Son of God, the Messiah, the King of Israel. These were all given by others. The title Son of man He applies to Himself. In John's Gospel, as in the Synoptists, this phrase is used only by Christ in speaking of Himself; and elsewhere only in Acts 7:56, where the name is applied to Him by Stephen. It occurs less frequently in John than in the Synoptists, being found in Matthew thirty times, in Mark thirteen, and in John twelve. -DIVIDER-
Jesus' use of the term here is explained in two ways. -DIVIDER-
I. That He borrows the title from the Old Testament to designate Himself either: (a ) as a prophet, as in Ezekiel 2:1-3; Ezekiel 3:1, etc.; or (b ) as the Messiah, as prefigured in Daniel 7:13. This prophecy of Daniel had obtained such wide currency that the Messiah was called Anani, or the man of the clouds. -DIVIDER-
(a.) This is untenable, because in Ezekiel, as everywhere in the Old Testament, the phrase Son of man, or Sons of men, is used to describe man under his human limitations, as weak, fallible, and incompetent by himself to be a divine agent. -DIVIDER-
(b.) The allusion to Daniel's prophecy is admitted; but Jesus does not mean to say, “I am the Messiah who is prefigured by Daniel.” A political meaning attached in popular conception to the term Messiah; and it is noticeable throughout John's Gospel that Jesus carefully avoids using that term before the people, but expresses the thing itself by circumlocution, in order to avoid the complication which the popular understanding would have introduced into his work. See John 8:24, John 8:25; John 10:24, John 10:25. -DIVIDER-
Moreover, the phrase Son of man was not generally applied to the Messiah. On the contrary, John 5:27and John 12:34show that it was set off against that term. Compare Matthew 16:13, Matthew 16:15. Son of God is the Messianic title, which, with one exception, appears in confessions (John 1:34, John 1:49; John 11:27; John 20:31). -DIVIDER-
In Daniel the reference is exclusively to the final stage of human affairs. The point is the final establishment of the divine kingdom. Moreover, Daniel does not say “the Son of man,” but “one like a Son of man.” Compare Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14, where also the article is omitted. -DIVIDER-
II. The second, and correct explanation is that the phrase Son of man is the expression of Christ's self-consciousness as being related to humanity as a whole: denoting His real participation in human nature, and designating Himself as the representative man. It thus corresponds with the passage in Daniel, where the earthly kingdoms are represented by beasts, but the divine kingdom by a Son of man. Hence, too, the word ἄνθρωπος is purposely used (see on a man, John 1:30, and compare John 8:40). -DIVIDER-
While the human element was thus emphasized in the phrase, the consciousness of Jesus, as thus expressed, did not exclude His divine nature and claims, but rather regarded these through the medium of His humanity. He showed Himself divine in being thus profoundly human. Hence two aspects of the phrase appear in John, as in the Synoptists. The one regards His earthly life and work, and involves His being despised; His accommodation to the conditions of human life; the partial veiling of His divine nature; the loving character of His mission; His liability to misinterpretation; and His outlook upon a consummation of agony. On the other hand, He is possessed of supreme authority; He is about His Father's work; He reveals glimpses of His divine nature through His humanity; His presence and mission entail serious responsibility upon those to whom He appeals; and He foresees a consummation of glory no less than of agony. See Matthew 8:20; Matthew 11:19; Matthew 12:8, Matthew 12:32; Matthew 13:37; Matthew 16:13; Matthew 20:18; Matthew 26:64; Mark 8:31, Mark 8:38; Mark 14:21; Luke 9:26, Luke 9:58; Luke 12:8; Luke 17:22; Luke 19:10; Luke 22:69. -DIVIDER-
The other aspect is related to the future. He has visions of another life of glory and dominion; though present in the flesh, His coming is still future, and will be followed by a judgment which is committed to Him, and by the final glory of His redeemed in His heavenly kingdom. See Matthew 10:23; Matthew 13:40sqq.; Matthew 16:27sqq.; Matthew 19:28; Matthew 24:27, Matthew 24:37, Matthew 24:44; Matthew 25:31sqq.; Mark 13:26; Luke 6:22; Luke 17:24, Luke 17:30; Luke 18:8; Luke 21:27. -DIVIDER-

Romans 3:20 Be justified [δικαιωθήσεται]
For the kindred adjective δίκαιος righteoussee on Romans 1:17. 1. Classical usage. The primitive meaning is to make right. This may take place absolutely or relatively. The person or thing may be made right in itself, or with reference to circumstances or to the minds of those who have to do with them. Applied to things or acts, as distinguished from persons, it signifies to make right in one's judgment. Thus Thucydides, ii. 6,7. “The Athenians judged it right to retaliate on the Lacedaemonians.” Herodotus, i., 89, Croesus says to Cyrus: “I think it right to shew thee whatever I may see to thy advantage.”-DIVIDER-
A different shade of meaning is to judge to be the case. So Thucydides, iv., 122: “The truth concerning the revolt was rather as the Athenians, judged the case to be.” Again, it occurs simply in the sense to judge. Thucydides, v., 26: “If anyone agree that the interval of the truce should be excluded, he will not judge correctly “In both these latter cases the etymological idea of right is merged, and the judicial element predominates. -DIVIDER-
In ecclesiastical usage, to judge to be right or to decide upon in ecclesiastical councils. -DIVIDER-
Applied to persons, the meaning is predominantly judicial, though Aristotle (“Nichomachaean Ethics,” v., 9) uses it in the sense of to treat one rightly. There is no reliable instance of the sense to make right intrinsically; but it means to make one right in some extrinsic or relative manner. Thus Aeschylus, “Agamemnon,” 390-393: Paris, subjected to the judgment of men, tested ( δικαιωθεὶς ) is compared to bad brass which turns black when subjected to friction. Thus tested or judged he stands in right relation to men's judgments. He is shown in the true baseness of his character. -DIVIDER-
Thus the verb acquires the meaning of condemn; adjudge to be bad. Thucydides, iii., 40: Cleon says to the Athenians, “If you do not deal with the Mitylenaeans as I advise, you will condemn yourselves.” From this readily arises the sense of punish; since the punishment of a guilty man is a setting him in right relation to the political or moral system which his conduct has infringed. Thus Herodotus, i., 100: “Deioces the Mede, if he heard of any act of oppression, sent for the guilty party and punished him according to his offense.” Compare Plato, “Laws,” ii., 934. Plato uses δικαιωτήρια to denote places of punishment or houses of correction (“Phaedrus,” 249). According to Cicero, δικαιόω was used by the Sicilians of capital punishment: “ Ἑδικαιώθησαν , that is, as the Sicilians say, they were visited with punishment and executed” (“Against Verres,” v., 57). -DIVIDER-
To sum up the classical usage, the word has two main references: 1, to persons; 2, to things or acts. In both the judicial element is dominant. The primary sense, to make right, takes on the conventional meanings to judge a thing to be right, to judge, to right a person, to treat rightly, to condemn, punish, put to death. -DIVIDER-
2. New Testament usage. This is not identical with the classical usage. In the New Testament the word is used of persons only. In Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:35, of a quality, Wisdom, but the quality is personified. It occurs thirty-nine times in the New Testament; twenty-seven in Paul; eight in the Synoptists and Acts; three in James; one in the Revelation. -DIVIDER-
A study of the Pauline passages shows that it is used by Paul according to the sense which attaches to the adjective δίκαιος , representing a state of the subject relatively to God. The verb therefore indicates the act or process by which a man is brought into a right state as related to God. In the A.V. confusion is likely to arise from the variations in translation, righteousness, just, justifier, justify. See Romans 3:24, Romans 3:26, Romans 3:28, Romans 3:30; Romans 4:2; Romans 5:1, Romans 5:9; Galatians 2:16; Galatians 3:8, Galatians 3:11, Galatians 3:24; Titus 3:7. -DIVIDER-
The word is not, however, to be construed as indicating a mere legal transaction or adjustment between God and man, though it preserves the idea of relativity, in that God is the absolute standard by which the new condition is estimated, whether we regard God's view of the justified man, or the man's moral condition when justified. The element of character must not only not be eliminated from it; it must be foremost in it. Justification is more than pardon. Pardon is an act which frees the offender from the penalty of the law, adjusts his outward relation to the law, but does not necessarily effect any change in him personally. It is necessary to justification, but not identical with it. Justification aims directly at character. It contemplates making the man himself right; that the new and right relation to God in which faith places him shall have its natural and legitimate issue in personal rightness. The phrase faith is counted for righteousness, does not mean that faith is a substitute for righteousness, but that faith is righteousness; righteousness in the germ indeed, but still bona fide righteousness. The act of faith inaugurates a righteous life and a righteous character. The man is not made inherently holy in himself, because his righteousness is derived from God; neither is he merely declared righteous by a legal fiction without reference to his personal character; but the justifying decree, the declaration of God which pronounces him righteous, is literally true to the fact in that he is in real, sympathetic relation with the eternal source and norm of holiness, and with the divine personal inspiration of character. Faith contains all the possibilities of personal holiness. It unites man to the holy God, and through this union he becomes a partaker of the divine nature, and escapes the corruption that is in the world through lust (2 Peter 1:4). The intent of justification is expressly declared by Paul to be conformity to Christ's image (Romans 8:29, Romans 8:30). Justification which does not actually remove the wrong condition in man which is at the root of his enmity to God, is no justification. In the absence of this, a legal declaration that the man is right is a fiction. The declaration of righteousness must have its real and substantial basis in the man's actual moral condition. -DIVIDER-
Hence justification is called justification of life (Romans 5:18); it is linked with the saving operation of the life of the risen Christ (Romans 4:25; Romans 5:10); those who are in Christ Jesus “walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1); they exhibit patience, approval, hope, love (Romans 5:4, Romans 5:5). Justification means the presentation of the self to God as a living sacrifice; non-conformity to the world; spiritual renewal; right self-estimate - all that range of right practice and feeling which is portrayed in the twelfth chapter of this Epistle. See, further, on Romans 4:5.Knowledge ( ἐπίγνωσις )Clear and exact knowledge. Always of a knowledge which powerfully influences the form of the religions life, and hence containing more of the element of personal sympathy than the simple γνῶσις knowledgewhich may be concerned with the intellect alone without affecting the character. See Romans 1:28; Romans 10:2; Ephesians 4:13. Also Philemon 1:9, where it is associated with the abounding of love; Colossians 3:10; Philemon 1:6, etc. Hence the knowledge of sin here is not mere perception, but an acquaintance with sin which works toward repentance, faith, and holy character. [source]

1 Timothy 3:16 Justified in the Spirit [ἐδικαιώθη ἐν πνεύματι]
The verb δικαιοῦν , so familiar in Paul's writings, is found in the Pastorals only here and Titus 3:7. Its application to Christ as the subject of justification does not appear in Paul. Its meaning here is vindicated, indorsed, as Matthew 11:19; Luke 10:29. Concerning the whole phrase it is to be said: (a) That the two clauses, manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, exhibit a contrast between two aspects of the life of Christ (b) That ἐν in must have the same meaning in both clauses (c) That meaning is not instrumental, by, nor purely modal, expressing the kind and manner of Christ's justification, but rather local with a shade of modality. It expresses in each case a peculiar condition which accompanied the justification; a sphere of life in which it was exhibited and which gave character to it. In the one condition or sphere (the flesh) he was hated, persecuted, and murdered. In the other (the Spirit) he was triumphantly vindicated. See further the additional note at the end of this chapter. [source]

What do the individual words in Matthew 11:19 mean?

Came the Son - of Man eating and drinking they say Behold a man a glutton a drunkard of tax collectors a friend of sinners But is justified - wisdom by the deeds of her
ἦλθεν Υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων λέγουσιν Ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος φάγος οἰνοπότης τελωνῶν φίλος ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ ἐδικαιώθη σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς

ἦλθεν  Came 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Active, 3rd Person Singular
Root: ἔρχομαι  
Sense: to come.
Υἱὸς  Son 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: υἱός  
Sense: a son.
τοῦ  - 
Parse: Article, Genitive Masculine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
ἀνθρώπου  of  Man 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Singular
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.
ἐσθίων  eating 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἐσθίω 
Sense: to eat.
πίνων  drinking 
Parse: Verb, Present Participle Active, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: πίνω  
Sense: to drink.
λέγουσιν  they  say 
Parse: Verb, Present Indicative Active, 3rd Person Plural
Root: λέγω 
Sense: to say, to speak.
Ἰδοὺ  Behold 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Imperative Active, 2nd Person Singular
Root: ἰδού  
Sense: behold, see, lo.
ἄνθρωπος  a  man 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: ἄνθρωπος  
Sense: a human being, whether male or female.
φάγος  a  glutton 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: φάγος  
Sense: a voracious man, a glutton.
οἰνοπότης  a  drunkard 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: οἰνοπότης  
Sense: a winebibber, given to wine, a wino.
τελωνῶν  of  tax  collectors 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: τελώνης  
Sense: a renter or farmer of taxes.
φίλος  a  friend 
Parse: Adjective, Nominative Masculine Singular
Root: φίλος  
Sense: friend, to be friendly to one, wish him well.
ἁμαρτωλῶν  of  sinners 
Parse: Adjective, Genitive Masculine Plural
Root: ἁμαρτωλός  
Sense: devoted to sin, a sinner.
ἐδικαιώθη  is  justified 
Parse: Verb, Aorist Indicative Passive, 3rd Person Singular
Root: δικαιόω  
Sense: to render righteous or such he ought to be.
Parse: Article, Nominative Feminine Singular
Sense: this, that, these, etc.
σοφία  wisdom 
Parse: Noun, Nominative Feminine Singular
Root: σοφία  
Sense: wisdom, broad and full of intelligence; used of the knowledge of very diverse matters.
ἔργων  deeds 
Parse: Noun, Genitive Neuter Plural
Root: ἔργον  
Sense: business, employment, that which any one is occupied.
αὐτῆς  of  her 
Parse: Personal / Possessive Pronoun, Genitive Feminine 3rd Person Singular
Root: αὐτός  
Sense: himself, herself, themselves, itself.