Matthew 8:21

And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.

And another of his disciples said unto him,.... That is, one of his disciples; for this does not suppose, that the other, the Scribe before mentioned, was one. It is possible, he might be one of the twelve. The Persic version makes him one of the disciples, whom they call "Hawarion", apostles; and, according to ancient tradition, it was {d} Philip. And certain it is, that he was one, who was called to preach the Gospel; so that he was not a common ordinary disciple; nor could he be one of the seventy disciples, since it was after this, that they were called and sent forth; as appears from Luke's account, Luke 9:60. But who he particularly was, cannot be certainly known, nor is it of any great importance to know it: his address to Christ is made with great respect and reverence, and in a very modest and humble manner,

Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father: for it seems, according to Luke, that Christ had bid him "follow" him: he had given him a call to be his disciple, and to go and preach the Gospel, which he did not refuse; but desires leave "first" to attend his father's funeral, who was now dead; as his requests, and Christ's answer, both suppose: though some conjecture, that he was only very aged, or was dangerously ill; and therefore it could not be thought he would live long: hence he was desirous of doing this last good office, before he entered on his public work; but these are conjectures, without any foundation: it is plain, his father was dead, and what he requested was, to go home, which perhaps might not be a great way off, and perform the funeral rites, and then return. This may seem very reasonable, since burying the dead was reckoned by the Jews, not only an act of kindness and respect to the deceased, but an act of piety and religion; and in which, men are followers of God, and imitate him, who himself buried the body of Moses {e}. And though this man was called to preach the Gospel, yet he might think he would be easily excused for the present, on this account; since, according to the Jewish canons, such whose dead lay before them, who were as yet unburied, were excused reading the Shema, they were free from performing the duty of prayer, and were not obliged to wear their phylacteries {f}.

{d} Clement. Alex. Strom. l. 3. p. 436.
{e} T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 30. 2. & Sota, fol. 14. 1.
{f} Misn. Beracot, c. 3. sect. 1.