Matthew 10:17

ESV Beware of men, for they will deliver you over to courts and flog you in their synagogues,
NIV Be on your guard; you will be handed over to the local councils and be flogged in the synagogues.
NASB But be on guard against people, for they will hand you over to the courts and flog you in their synagogues;
CSB Beware of them, because they will hand you over to local courts and flog you in their synagogues.
NLT But beware! For you will be handed over to the courts and will be flogged with whips in the synagogues.
KJV But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues;

What does Matthew 10:17 mean?

Before sending His core twelve disciples out as His representatives to preach the gospel of His kingdom, Jesus has given them very specific instructions (Matthew 10:5–15). Now, He is telling them to expect danger and hardship along the way. In order to properly meet that challenge, He calls on His followers to be careful, and informed, and also gentle and peaceful (Matthew 10:16).

The warning given here, at first, would have seemed routine to an audience of Jewish men. They were used to alerts about Gentiles, especially the Romans. However, Jesus now indicates that substantial persecution will come from the Jewish religious leaders. He is describing a time after His death, resurrection, and return to heaven during which His apostles will be persecuted as Christians by Jewish rulers.

Jesus tells them to beware of men who will deliver them over to courts to flog them in their synagogues. The Jewish people had the authority, even under Roman rule, to carry out limited punishments within the context of their religious practice. These punishments for heresy and other serious sins could be quite harsh. Against Christians, eventually, these attacks would become severe to the point of death (John 16:2–4).

The apostle Paul both administered floggings against Jewish Christians (Acts 22:19) and received floggings after he became a Christian and started preaching about Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:24–25). Jesus is warning these men, His disciples, what it will cost them to preach His message to the people of Israel.
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