And whoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when you depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Read Chapter 10
George Leo Haydock
Shake off the dust from your feet. It was common enough with the Jews, or at least with the preachers and prophets, to use some extraordinary outward actions, to make what they said more taken notice of by the people, as here the shaking off the dust from their feet was to denote to the obstinate unbelievers, that the very dust which their feet had contracted, in coming to preach to them the gospel, should hereafter rise in judgment against them. (Witham) By this, the apostles were to testify that they took nothing away with them belonging to these reprobate cities. They likewise showed the long and painful journeys they had undertaken for their salvation. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxxiii.)
He orders them to do this, to show that they would have nothing in common with them, since they left them even their dust. Or it may be to shew, that the dust which they had gathered in their journey, would be a testimony against them in the day of judgment, because they had refused to receive them, as...
You be the first to show respect. Do not wait to be saluted by others. But this is not a mere salutation; it is also a blessing. For “if the house is worthy, let your peace come upon it.” But if they treat you with insolence, their first reproach will be to not receive the benefit of your peace, and the last will be that they will suffer the doom of Sodom. You are to seek out the houses of those who are worthy. If you shake the dust off your feet, you are showing either that you have not been received and heard or that you are attesting to them the long journey you have traveled for their sake. The Gospel of Matthew, Homily
That is, do not, says He, because you are teachers, therefore wait to be saluted by others, but be first in showing that respect. Then, implying that this is not a mere salutation, but a blessing, He says, If the house be worthy, it shall come upon it, but if it deal insolently, its first punishment will be, not to have the benefit of your peace; and the second, that it shall suffer the doom of Sodom. And what, it will be said, is their punishment to us? You will have the houses of such as are worthy.
But what means, Shake off the dust of your feet? It is either to signify their having received nothing of them, or to be a witness to them of the long journey, which they had travelled for their sake.
But mark, I pray you, how He does not even yet give the whole to them. For neither does He as yet bestow upon them foreknowledge, so as to learn who is worthy, and who is not so; but He bids them inquire, and await the trial. How then did He Himself abide with a publican? Because he wa...