Matthew 12:20

A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he sends forth justice unto victory.
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
The bruised reed. The prophet here shows the mildness of our Saviour, who, though he could have broken them like a reed, and as a bruised reed, yet would not do it; and though he could have easily extinguished their rage and anger, yet he bore with it for a while, with singular clemency, till he should send forth judgment unto victory, i.e. till justice shall have appeared triumphant, till Christ shall have fulfilled all things, and raised his most illustrious trophy: till the Gentiles shall have placed their confidence in his most adorable name, and the Jews have no plea, notwithstanding their unparalleled obduracy, to make in reply. (St. Chrysostom, hom. xli). Judgment unto victory. St. Jerome and St. Hilary expound these words in conformity with their interpretation of the two foregoing verses, as follows: "The Lord will cherish and support the infirm and weak in this time of penance and probation, inviting them to greater strength, and light, and perfect charity, till the power of...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
But even amid this desire to keep silent about himself, the purpose of Jesus’ words was fulfilled through Isaiah. About his prophecy I now give you the following important reminder: Jesus was loved by God and was pleasing in his Father’s will. The Spirit of God was upon him. Judgment was made known to the Gentiles by him. The reed that was crushed was not broken, and the smoking wick was not extinguished. This means that the frail, shaken bodies of the Gentiles were not worn out but rather preserved to salvation. The meager flame only smoking now on the wick was not extinguished. The spirit of Israel was not removed from the rest of the ancient story of grace. The capability of restoring all the light exists in the time of repentance. But that was appointed within the statutes of a fixed time, “till he brings justice to victory.” When the power of death was removed, he would bring judgment at the return of his splendor to the Gentiles who would believe in his name through faith. ...


AD 420
The one who does not stretch out a hand to a sinner and does not carry a brother’s load breaks the crushed reed. And the one who despises the small spark of faith in children extinguishes the smoking wick. Christ did neither of these. He came for this purpose: to save those who were perishing. .

John Chrysostom

AD 407
And intimating both His might, and their weakness, he says, A bruised reed shall He not break. For indeed it was easy to break them all to pieces like a reed, and not a reed merely, but one already bruised. And smoking flax shall He not quench. Here he sets forth both their anger that is kindled, and His might that is able to put down their anger, and to quench it with all ease; whereby His great mildness is signified. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
And showing both his strength and their weakness, Jesus said, “He will not break a crushed reed.” For in fact it was easy enough for God to break them all to pieces like a reed, and not just any reed but one already crushed. “And he will not quench a smoldering wick.” By this he points to their anger that had been kindled and his might that is able to put down their anger and to quench it easily. By this is signified his great mildness. What then? Shall these things always be? And will Christ endure perpetually those who form such frantic plots against him? Far from it. When he has performed his saving action, then he shall also execute its corresponding purposes. Isaiah declared this by saying both that “he shall bring forth justice to victory” and “in his name shall the Gentiles trust.” Paul similarly instructed us to “take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.” But what is meant by “he shall bring forth justi...

Theodore the Stratelates

AD 319
He did not eagerly contend with the folly of the rulers, nor did he scream and provoke them to anger against himself. Rather, with gentleness Jesus withdrew slowly so that he might not, in confuting them, cause them to be destroyed while they were still weak in soul like “a bruised reed” or like “smoking flax,” that is, very close to being snuffed out. He bore with them patiently, so as not to reduce them to utter oblivion on account of their weakness, until he had fulfilled the purpose of his dispensation, that is, to bring judgment to a full end. By this dispensation all the nations would come to believe. ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
He could have crushed the Jews, he says, like a broken reed, and could have quenched their anger like a smoldering wick, but Jesus did not wish to do so until He had fulfilled His dispensation and defeated them in every way. For this is the meaning of what follows.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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