1And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
1 CHAPTER XXI.
NOTES ON CHAP. XXI.
Verse 1. Bethphage] A place on the west declivity of Mount
Olivet, from which it is thought the whole declivity and part of
the valley took their name. It is supposed to have derived its
name from the fig-trees which grew there; beeth, signifying a
region as well as a house, and phag, a green fig.
2 Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
2 Verse 2. Ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt] Asses and
mules were in common use in Palestine: horses were seldom to be
met with. Our blessed Lord takes every opportunity to convince
his disciples that nothing was hidden from him: he informs them of
the most minute occurrence; and manifested his power over the
heart in disposing the owner to permit the ass to be taken away.
3And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
3 Verse 3. The Lord (the proprietor of all things) hath need of
them] Jesus is continually humbling himself, to show us how
odious pride is in the sight of God: but in his humility he is
ever giving proofs of his almighty power, that the belief of his
divinity may be established.
4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
4 Verse 4. All this was done] The word all, in this clause, is
omitted by some MSS., versions, and fathers.
Which was spoken] The Spirit of God, which predicted those
things that concerned the Messiah, took care to have them
literally fulfilled: 1. To show the truth of prophecy in general;
and, 2. To designate Christ as the person intended by that
prophecy. See the note on Mt 2:23.
5Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
5 Verse 5. Tell ye the daughter of Sion] The quotation is taken
from Zec 9:9, but not in the precise words of the prophet.
This entry into Jerusalem has been termed the triumph of Christ.
It was indeed the triumph of humility over pride and worldly
grandeur; of poverty over affluence; and of meekness and
gentleness over rage and malice.
He is coming now meek, full of kindness and compassion to those
who were plotting his destruction! He comes to deliver up himself
into their hands; their king comes to be murdered by his subjects,
and to make his death a ransom price for their souls!
6And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
7And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
7 Verse 7. And put on them their clothes] Thus acknowledging him
to be their king, for this was a custom observed by the people
when they found that God had appointed a man to the kingdom. When
Jehu sat with the captains of the army, and Elisha the prophet
came, by the order of God, to anoint him king over Israel, as soon
as he came out of the inner chamber into which the prophet had
taken him to anoint him, and they knew what was done, every man
took his garment, and spread it under him on the top of the steps,
and blew the trumpets, saying, "Jehu is king." 2Ki 9:13.
And they set him thereon.] καιεπεκαθισενεπανωαυτων, and
he sat upon them; but instead of επανωαυτων, upon THEM, the
Codex Bezae, seven copies of the Itala, some copies of the
Vulgate, and some others, read επαυτον, upon him, i.e. the
colt. This is most likely to be the true reading; for we can
scarcely suppose that he rode upon both by turns,-this would appear
childish; or that he rode upon both at once, for this would be
absurd. Some say he sat on both; for "the ass that was tied up
was an emblem of the Jews bound under the yoke of the law; and the
colt that had not been tied represented the Gentiles who were
not under the law; and that Jesus Christ's sitting on both
represented his subjecting the Jews and the Gentiles to the sway
of his evangelical sceptre." He who can receive this saying, let
him receive it.
8 And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
8 Verse 8. Cut down branches from the trees] Carrying palm and
other branches was emblematical of victory and success.
See 1 Mac. xiii. 51; 2 Mac. x. 7; and Re 7:9.
The rabbins acknowledge that the prophecy in Zechariah refers to
the Messiah; so Rab. Tancum, and Yalcut Rubeni has a strange story
about the ass. "This ass is the colt of that ass which was
created in the twilight of the sixth day. This is the ass which
Abraham found when he went to sacrifice his son. This is the ass
on which Moses rode when he went to Egypt; and this is the ass on
which the Messiah shall ride." Some of the Jews seem to think
that the zebra is intended; for according to Bab. Sanhedr. fol.
98, when Shapoor, king of Persia, said to Rabbi Samuel: "You say
your Messiah will come upon an ass; I will send him a noble
horse." To which the rabbi replied, "You have not a horse with a
hundred spots (query, streaks) like his ass." See Lightfoot and
9 And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
9 Verse 9. Hosanna to the son of David] When persons applied to
the king for help, or for a redress of grievances, they used the
word hosanna, or rather from the Hebrew HOSHIAH NA!
Save now! or, Save, we beseech thee!-redress our grievances, and
give us help from oppression! Thus both the words and actions of
the people prove that they acknowledged Christ as their king, and
looked to him for deliverance. How easily might he have assumed
the sovereignty at this time, had he been so disposed! For
instances of the use of this form of speech, see 2Sa 14:4;
2Ki 6:26; Ps 118:25.
Son of David] A well-known epithet of the Messiah. He who
cometh in the name, &c. He who comes in the name and authority
of the Most High.
Hosanna in the highest] Either meaning, Let the heavenly hosts
join with us in magnifying this august Being!-or, Let the utmost
degrees of hosanna, of salvation, and deliverance, be
communicated to thy people! Probably there is an allusion here to
the custom of the Jews in the feast of tabernacles. During the
first seven days of that feast, they went once round the altar,
each day, with palm and other branches in their hands, singing
HOSANNA: but on the eighth day of that feast they walked seven
times round the altar, singing the hosanna; and this was termed
the hosanna rabba, the GREAT hosanna: i.e. Assist with the
greatest succour. Probably answering to the τοιςυψιστοις of the
evangelist, for on this day they beg the most speedy and powerful
help against their enemies, and likewise pray for a prosperous
and fruitful year. See STEHLIN'S Jewish Traditions, vol. ii.
10And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
10 Verse 10. All the city was moved] Or, the whole city was in
motion. εσεισθη, was in a tumult-they saw and heard plainly that
the multitude had proclaimed Christ king, and Messiah. Who is
this? Who is accounted worthy of this honour?
11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
11 Verse 11. This is Jesus THE PROPHET] οπροφητης THAT prophet
whom Moses spoke of, De 18:18.
I will raise them up a prophet-like unto thee, &c. Every
expression of the multitude plainly intimated that they fully
received our blessed Lord as the promised Messiah.-How strange is
it that these same people (if the creatures of the high priest be
not only intended) should, about five days after, change their
hosannas for, Away with him! crucify him! crucify him! How fickle
is the multitude! Even when they get right, there is but little
hope that they will continue so long.
12 ¶ And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
12 Verse 12. Jesus went into the temple of God, &c.] "Avarice,"
says one, "covered with the veil of religion, is one of those
things on which Christ looks with the greatest indignation in his
Church. Merchandize of holy things, simoniacal presentations,
fraudulent exchanges, a mercenary spirit in sacred functions;
ecclesiastical employments obtained by flattery, service, or
attendance, or by any thing which is instead of money; collations,
nominations, and elections made through any other motive than the
glory of God; these are all fatal and damnable profanations, of
which those in the temple were only a shadow." QUESNEL.
Money-changers] Persons who furnished the Jews and proselytes
who came from other countries, with the current coin of Judea, in
exchange for their own.
13And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
13 Verse 13. My house shall be called the house of prayer] This
is taken from Isa 56:7.
But ye have made it a den of thieves.] This is taken from
Our Lord alludes here to those dens and caves in Judea, in which
the public robbers either hid or kept themselves fortified.
They who are placed in the Church of Christ to serve souls, and
do it not, and they who enjoy the revenues of the Church, and
neglect the service of it, are thieves and robbers in more senses
Our Lord is represented here as purifying his temple; and this
we may judge he did in reference to his true temple, the Church,
to show that nothing that was worldly or unholy should have any
place among his followers, or in that heart in which he should
condescend to dwell. It is marvellous that these interested, vile
men did not raise a mob against him: but it is probable they were
overawed by the Divine power, or, seeing the multitudes on the
side of Christ, they were afraid to molest him. I knew a case
something similar to this, which did not succeed so well. A very
pious clergyman of my acquaintance, observing a woman keeping a
public standing to sell nuts, gingerbread, &c., at the very porch
of his Church, on the Lord's day, "desired her to remove thence,
and not defile the house of God, while she profaned the Sabbath of
the Lord." She paid no attention to him. He warned her the next
Sabbath, but still to no purpose. Going in one Lord's day to
preach, and finding her still in the very entrance, with her
stall, he overthrew the stall, and scattered the stuff into the
street. He was shortly after summoned to appear before the royal
court, which, to its eternal reproach, condemned the action, and
fined the man of God in a considerable sum of money!
14And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
14 Verse 14. The blind and the lame came] Having condemned the
profane use of the temple, he now shows the proper use of it. It
is a house of prayer, where God is to manifest his goodness and
power in giving sight to the spiritually blind, and feet to the
lame. The Church or chapel in which the blind and the
lame are not healed has no Christ in it, and is not worthy of
15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
15 Verse 15. The chief priests-were sore displeased] Or, were
incensed. Incensed at what! At the purification of the profaned
temple! This was a work they should have done themselves, but for
which they had neither grace nor influence; and their pride and
jealousy will not suffer them to permit others to do it. Strange
as it may appear, the priesthood itself, in all corrupt times, has
been ever the most forward to prevent a reform in the Church. Was
it because they were conscious that a reformer would find them no
better than money-changers in, and profaners of, the house of God,
and that they and their system must be overturned, if the true
worship of God were restored! Let him who is concerned answer
this to his conscience.
16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
16 Verse 16. Out of the mouth of babes] The eighth Psalm, out of
which these words are quoted, is applied to Jesus Christ in three
other places in the new covenant, 1Co 15:27; Eph 1:22;
Heb 2:6. Which proves it to be merely a prophetic psalm,
relating to the Messiah.
It was a common thing among the Jews for the children to be
employed in public acclamations; and thus they were accustomed to
hail their celebrated rabbins. This shouting of the children was
therefore no strange thing in the land: only they were
exasperated, because a person was celebrated against whom they had
a rooted hatred. As to the prophecy that foretold this, they
regarded it not. Some imagine that babes and sucklings in the
prophecy have a much more extensive meaning, and refer also to the
first preachers of the Gospel of Christ.
17 ¶ And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
17 Verse 17. And he left them (καταλιπων, finally leaving them)
and went-into Bethany; and he lodged there.] Bethany was a
village about two miles distant from Jerusalem, by Mount Olivet,
Joh 11:18; and it is remarkable that from this day till his
death, which happened about six days after, he spent not one night
in Jerusalem, but went every evening to Bethany, and returned to
the city each morning. See Lu 21:37; 22:39; Joh 8:1, 2. They
were about to murder the Lord of glory; and the true light, which
they had rejected, is now departing from them.
Lodged there.] Not merely to avoid the snares laid for him by
those bad men, but to take away all suspicion of his affecting the
regal power. To the end of this verse is added by the Saxon,
[Anglo-Saxon]. And taught them of the kingdom of God. This same
reading is found in some MSS., Missals, and one copy of the Itala.
It appears also in Wickliff, and my old folio English MS. Bible,
and taugt hem of the kyngdom of God; and in two MS. copies of the
Vulgate, in my possession: one, duodecimo, very fairly written, in
1300; the other a large folio, probably written in the 11th or
12th century, in which the words are, IBIQUE docebat eos de regno
Dei. AND THERE he taught them concerning the kingdom of God.
18Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
18 Verse 18. Now in the morning, as he returned into the city]
Which was his custom from the time he wholly left Jerusalem,
spending only the day time teaching in the temple; see Mt 21:17.
This was probably on Thursday, the 12th day of the month Nisan.
He hungered-Probably neither he, nor his disciples, had any
thing but what they got from public charity; and the hand of that
seems to have been cold at this time.
19And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
19 Verse 19. He saw a fig tree in the way] επιτηςοδου, By the
road side. As this fig tree was by the way side, it was no
private property; and on this account our Lord, or any other
traveller, had a right to take of its fruit. For a full
explanation of this difficult passage, relative to this emblematic
fig tree, see on Mr 11:13, &c.
Let no fruit grow on thee] Can a professor, who affords Christ
nothing but barren words and wishes, expect any thing but his
malediction? When the soul continues in unfruitfulness, the
influences of grace are removed, and then the tree speedily
withers from the very root.
20And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
20 Verse 20. How soon is the fig tree withered away!] We often
say to our neighbours, "How suddenly this man died! Who could
have expected it so soon?" But who takes warning by these
examples? What we say to-day of OTHERS, may be said to-morrow of
OURSELVES. Be ye also ready! Lord, increase our faith!
21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
21 Verse 21. If ye have faith, and doubt not] See on Mt 17:20.
Removing mountains, and rooting up of mountains, are phrases very
generally used to signify the removing or conquering great
difficulties-getting through perplexities. So, many of the
rabbins are termed rooters up of mountains, because they were
dexterous in removing difficulties, solving cases of conscience,
&c. In this sense our Lord's words are to be understood. He that
has faith will get through every difficulty and perplexity;
mountains shall become molehills or plains before him. The saying
is neither to be taken in its literal sense, nor is it
hyperbolical: it is a proverbial form of speech, which no Jew
could misunderstand, and with which no Christian ought to be
22And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
22 Verse 22. All things-ye shall ask in prayer, believing] In
order to get salvation, there must be, 1. a conviction of the want
of it: this begets, 2. prayer, or warm desires, in the heart: then
3. the person asks, i.e. makes use of words expressive of his
wants and wishes: 4. believes the word of promise, relative to the
fulfilment of his wants: and 5. receives, according to the
merciful promise of God, the salvation which his soul requires.
23 ¶ And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
23 Verse 23. By what authority doest thou these things?] The
things which the chief priests allude to, were his receiving the
acclamations of the people as the promised Messiah, his casting
the traders out of the temple, and his teaching the people
publicly in it.
Who gave thee this authority?] Not them: for, like many of
their successors, they were neither teachers nor cleansers; though
they had the name and the profits of the place.
24And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
24 Verse 24. I also will ask you one thing] Our Lord was
certainly under no obligation to answer their question: he had
already given them such proofs of his Divine mission as could not
possibly be exceeded, in the miracles which he wrought before
their eyes, and before all Judea; and, as they would not credit
him on this evidence, it would have been in vain to have expected
their acknowledgment of him on any profession he would make.
25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
25 Verse 25. The baptism of John] Had John a Divine commission or
not, for his baptism and preaching? Our Lord here takes the wise
in their own cunning. He knew the estimation John was in among
the people; and he plainly saw that, if they gave any answer at
all, they must convict themselves: and so they saw, when they came
to examine the question. See Mt 21:25, 26.
26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
27And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
27 Verse 27. We cannot tell.] Simplicity gives a wonderful
confidence and peace of mind; but double dealing causes a thousand
inquietudes and troubles. Let a man do his utmost to conceal in
his own heart the evidence he has of truth and innocence, to
countenance his not yielding to it; God, who sees the heart, will,
in the light of the last day, produce it as a witness against him,
and make it his judge.
We cannot tell, said they; which, in the words of truth, should
have been, We will not tell, for we will not have this man for the
Messiah: because, if we acknowledge John as his forerunner, we
must, of necessity, receive Jesus as the Christ.
They who are engaged against the truth are abandoned to the
spirit of falsity, and scruple not at a lie. Pharisaical pride,
according to its different interests, either pretends to know
every thing, or affects to know nothing. Among such, we may meet
with numerous instances of arrogance and affected humility. God
often hides from the wise and prudent what he reveals unto babes;
for, when they use their wisdom only to invent the most plausible
excuses for rejecting the truth when it comes to them, it is but
just that they should be punished with that ignorance to which, in
their own defence, they are obliged to have recourse.
28 ¶ But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
28 Verse 28. A certain man had two sons] Under the emblem of
these two sons, one of whom was a libertine, disobedient, and
insolent, but who afterwards thought on his ways, and returned to
his duty; and the second, a hypocrite, who promised all, and did
nothing; our Lord points out, on the one hand, the tax-gatherers
and sinners of all descriptions, who, convicted by the preaching
of John and that of Christ, turned away from their iniquities and
embraced the Gospel; and, on the other hand, the scribes,
Pharisees, and self-righteous people, who, pretending a zeal for
the law, would not receive the salvation of the Gospel.
29 He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
29 Verse 29. I will not] This is the general reply of every
sinner to the invitations of God; and, in it, the Most High is
treated without ceremony or respect. They only are safe who
persist not in the denial.
30 And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
30 Verse 30. I go, sir] This is all respect, complaisance, and
professed, obedience; but he went not: he promised well, but did
not perform. What a multitude of such are in the world,
professing to know God, but denying him in their works! Alas!
what will such professions avail, when God comes to take away the
31 Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
31 Verse 31. The publicans and the harlots] In all their former
conduct they had said NO. Now they yield to the voice of truth
when they hear it, and enter into the kingdom, embracing the
salvation brought to them in the Gospel. The others, who had been
always professing the most ready and willing obedience, and who
pretended to be waiting for the kingdom of God, did not receive it
when it came, but rather chose, while making the best professions,
to continue members of the synagogue of Satan.
32 For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
32 Verse 32. John came unto you in the way of righteousness]
Proclaiming the truth, and living agreeably to it. Or, John came
unto you, who are in the way of righteousness. This seems rather
to be the true meaning and construction of this passage. The Jews
are here distinguished from the Gentiles. The former were in the
way of righteousness, had the revelation of God, and the
ordinances of justice established among them; the latter were in
the way of unrighteousness, without the Divine revelation, and
iniquitous in all their conduct: John came to both, preaching the
doctrine of repentance, and proclaiming Jesus the Christ. To say
that it was John who came in the way of righteousness, and that to
him the words refer, is, in my opinion, saying nothing; for this
was necessarily implied: as he professed to come from God, he must
not only preach righteousness, but walk in it.
It is very difficult to get a worldly minded and self-righteous
man brought to Christ. Examples signify little to him. Urge the
example of an eminent saint, he is discouraged at it. Show him a
profligate sinner converted to God, him he is ashamed to own and
follow; and, as to the conduct of the generality of the followers
of Christ, it is not striking enough to impress him. John, and
Christ, and the apostles preach; but, to multitudes, all is in
33 ¶ Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
33 Verse 33. There was a certain householder] Let us endeavour to
find out a general and practical meaning for this parable. A
householder-the Supreme Being. The family-the Jewish nation.
The vineyard-the city of Jerusalem. The fence-the Divine
protection. The wine-press-the law and sacrificial rites.
The tower-the temple, in which the Divine presence was manifested.
The husbandmen-the priests and doctors of the law. Went from
home-entrusted the cultivation of the vineyard to the priests,
&c., with the utmost confidence; as a man would do who had the
most trusty servants, and was obliged to absent himself from home
for a certain time. Our Lord takes this parable from Isa 5:1,
&c.; but whether our blessed Redeemer quote from the law, the
prophets, or the rabbins, he reserves the liberty to himself to
beautify the whole, and render it more pertinent.
Some apply this parable also to Christianity, thus:-The master
or father-our blessed Lord. The family-professing Christians in
general. The vineyard-the true Church, or assembly of the
faithful. The hedge-the true faith, which keeps the sacred
assembly enclosed and defended from the errors of heathenism and
false Christianity. The wine-press-the atonement made by the
sacrifice of Christ, typified by the sacrifices under the law.
The tower-the promises of the Divine presence and protection.
The husbandmen-the apostles and all their successors in the
ministry. The going from home-the ascension to heaven. But this
parable cannot go on all fours in the Christian cause, as any one may
see. In the case of the husbandmen, especially it is applicable;
unless we suppose our Lord intended such as those inquisitorial
Bonners, who always persecuted the true ministers of Christ, and
consequently Christ himself in his members; and to these may be
added the whole train of St. Bartholomew EJECTORS, and all the
fire and faggot men of a certain Church, who think they do God
service by murdering his saints. But let the persecuted take
courage: Jesus Christ will come back shortly; and then he will
miserably destroy those wicked men: indeed, he has done so already
to several, and let out his vineyard to more faithful husbandmen.
Digged a wine-press] ωρυξεληνον. St. Mark has υποληνιον,
the pit under the press, into which the liquor ran, when squeezed
out of the fruit by the press.
34And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
34 Verse 34. He sent his servants] Prophets, which, from time to
time, he sent to the Jewish nation to call both priests and people
back to the purity of his holy religion.
Receive the fruits of it.] Alluding to the ancient custom of
paying the rent of a farm in kind; that is, by a part of the
produce of the farm. This custom anciently prevailed in most
nations; and still prevails in the highlands of Scotland, and in
some other places. The Boldon book, a survey made of the state of
the bishopric of Durham in 1183, shows how much of the rents was
paid in cows, sheep, pigs, fowls, eggs, &c., the remaining part
being made up chiefly by manual labour.
35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
35 Verse 35. Beat one] εδειραν, took his skin off, flayed him:
probably alluding to some who had been excessively scourged.
Killed another, &c.] Rid themselves of the true witnesses of
God by a variety of persecutions.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
36 Verse 36. Other servants] There is not a moment in which God
does not shower down his gifts upon men, and require the fruit of
them. Various instruments are used to bring sinners to God.
There are prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers: some with his
gift after this manner, and some after that. The true disciples
of Christ have been persecuted in all ages, and the greatest share
of the persecution has fallen upon the ministers of his religion;
for there have always been good and bad husbandmen, and the latter
have persecuted the former.
More than the first] Or, more honourable, so I think πλειονας
should be translated; for, as the fulness of the time approached,
each prophet more clearly and fully pointed out the coming of
Our translation, which says, more than the first, conveys no
meaning at all. πλειος is the meaning I have given it above, in
πλειοντηςτροφης, of MORE VALUE than food; and in Nu 22:15
πλειουςκαιεντιμοτερους, persons higher in dignity and office.
37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
37 Verse 37. Last of all he sent-his son] This requires no
comment. Our Lord plainly means himself.
They will reverence] εντραπησονται, they will reflect upon
their conduct and blush for shame because of it, when they see my
son. So the Syric and Persic.
38 But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
39And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
39 Verse 39. Cast him out of the vineyard] Utterly rejected the
counsel of God against themselves; and would neither acknowledge
the authority of Christ, nor submit to his teaching. What a
strange and unaccountable case is this!-a sinner, to enjoy a
little longer his false peace, and the gratification of his sinful
appetites, rejects Jesus, and persecutes that Gospel which
troubles his sinful repose.
40When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
41 Verse 41. He will miserably destroy those wicked men] So,
according to this evangelist, our Lord caused them to pass that
sentence of destruction upon themselves which was literally
executed about forty years after. But Luke relates it
differently: according to him, they said μηγενοιτο, God forbid!
The Codex Leicestrensis omits οιλεγουσιν, they say; so that the
following words appear to be spoken by our Lord. Michaelis
supposes that in the Hebrew original the word was waiomer,
he said; for which the Greek translator might have read
waiomeru, they said.
42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
42 Verse 42. The stone] R. Solom. Jarchi, on Micah 5., says, this
stone means the Messiah, : Abarbanel is of the same
opinion. This seems to have been originally spoken of David who
was at first rejected by the Jewish rulers, but was afterwards
chosen by the Lord to be the great ruler of his people Israel.
The quotation is taken from Ps 118:22.
As the Church is represented in Scripture under the name of the
temple and house of God, in allusion to the temple of Jerusalem,
which was a type of it, 1Co 3:16; Heb 3:6; 1Pe 2:5; so Jesus
Christ is represented as the foundation on which this edifice is
laid, 1Co 3:11; Eph 2:20, 21.
The builders] The chief priests and elders of the people, with
the doctors of the law.
Rejected] An expression borrowed from masons, who, finding a
stone, which being tried in a particular place, and appearing
improper for it, is thrown aside, and another taken; however, at
last, it may happen that the very stone which had been before
rejected, may be found the most suitable as the head stone of the
This passage, as applied by our Lord to himself, contains an
abridgment of the whole doctrine of the Gospel.
1. The Lord's peculiar work is astonishingly manifested in the
mission of Jesus Christ.
2. He, being rejected and crucified by the Jews, became an
atonement for the sin of the world.
3. He was raised again from the dead, a proof of his conquest
over death and sin, and a pledge of immortality to his
4. He was constituted the foundation on which the salvation of
mankind rests, and the corner stone which unites Jews and
Gentiles, beautifies, strengthens, and completes the whole
building, as the head stone, or uppermost stone in the corner does
the whole edifice.
5. He is hereby rendered the object of the joy and admiration of
all his followers and the glory of man. This was done by the
Lord, and is marvellous in our eyes.
43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
43 Verse 43. Therefore say I] Thus showing them, that to them
alone the parable belonged. The kingdom of God shall be taken
from you-the Gospel shall be taken from you, and given to the
Gentiles, who will receive it, and bring forth fruit to the glory
Bringing forth the fruits] As in Mt 21:34 an allusion is made
to paying the landlord in kind, so here the Gentiles are
represented as paying God thus. The returns which He expects for
his grace are the fruits of grace; nothing can ever be acceptable
in the sight of God that does not spring from himself.
44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
44 Verse 44. The 44th verse should certainly come before ver. 43,
otherwise the narration is not consecutive.
-Verse 42. The stone which the builders rejected, is become the
head of the corner, &c.
-Verse 44. Whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken, &c.
This is an allusion to the punishment of stoning among the Jews.
The place of stoning was twice as high as a man; while standing on
this, one of the witnesses struck the culprit on the loins, so
that he fell over this scaffold; if he died by the stroke and
fall, well; if not, the other witness threw a stone upon his
heart, and despatched him. That stone thrown on the culprit was,
in some cases, as much as two men could lift up. Tract Sanhed.
and Bab. Gemara, and Lightfoot. See also the note on Joh 8:7.
He, whether Jew or Gentile, who shall not believe in the Son of
God, shall suffer grievously in consequence; but on whomsoever the
stone (Jesus Christ) falls in the way of judgment, he shall be
ground to powder, λικμησειαυτον-it shall make him so small as to
render him capable of being dispersed as chaff by the wind. This
seems to allude, not only to the dreadful crushing of the Jewish
state by the Romans, but also to that general dispersion of the
Jews through all the nations of the world, which continues to the
present day. This whole verse is wanting in the Codex Bezae, one
other, five copies of the Itala, and Origen; but it is found in
the parallel place, Lu 20:18, and seems to have been quoted from
Isa 8:14, 15.
He shall be for a STONE of STUMBLING, and for a ROCK OF
OFFENCE to both the houses of Israel-and many among them
shall STUMBLE and FALL, and be BROKEN.
45And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
45 Verse 45. The chief priests-perceived that he spoke of them.]
The most wholesome advice passes for an affront with those who
have shut their hearts against the truth. When that which should
lead to repentance only kindles the flame of malice and revenge,
there is but little hope of the salvation of such persons.
46But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
46 Verse 46. They sought to lay hands on him, they feared the
multitude] Restraining and preventing grace is an excellent
blessing, particularly where it leads to repentance and salvation;
but he who abstains from certain evils, only through fear of
scandal or punishment, has already committed them in his heart,
and is guilty before God. The intrepidity of our Lord is worthy
of admiration and imitation; in the very face of his most
inveterate enemies, he bears a noble testimony to the truth,
reproves their iniquities, denounces the Divine judgments, and, in
the very teeth of destruction, braves danger and death! A true
minister of Christ fears nothing but God, when his glory is
concerned: a hireling fears every thing, except Him whom he ought
This last journey of our Lord to Jerusalem is a subject of great
importance; it is mentioned by all the four evangelists, and has
been a subject of criticism and cavil to some unsanctified minds.
He has been accused of "attempting, by this method, to feel how
far the populace were disposed to favour his pretensions in
establishing himself as a king in the land; or, at least, by his
conduct in this business, he gave much cause for popular
seditions." Every circumstance in the case refutes this calumny.
1. His whole conduct had proved that his kingdom was not of this
world, and that he sought not the honour that cometh from man.
2. He had in a very explicit manner foretold his own premature
death, and particularly at this time.
3. It is evident, from what he had said to his disciples, that he
went up to Jerusalem at this time for the express purpose of being
sacrificed, and not of erecting a secular kingdom.
4. What he did at this time was to fulfil a declaration of God
delivered by two prophets, upwards of 700 years before, relative
to his lowliness, poverty, and total deadness to all secular rule
and pomp. See Isa 62:11; Zec 9:9.
5. All the time he spent now in Jerusalem, which was about five
days, he spent in teaching, precisely in the same way he had done
for three years past; nor do we find that he uttered one maxim
dissimilar to what he formerly taught, or said a word calculated
to produce any sensation on the hearts of the populace, but that
of piety towards God; and in the parable of the man and his two
sons, the husbandmen and the vineyard, he spoke in such a way to
the rulers of the people as to show that he knew they were
plotting his destruction; and that, far from fleeing from the
face of danger, or strengthening his party against his enemies, he
was come to wait at the foot of the altar till his blood should be
poured out for the sin of the world!
6. Had he affected any thing of a secular kind, he had now the
fairest opportunity to accomplish his designs. The people had
already received him as Jesus the prophet; now they acknowledge
him as the Christ or MESSIAH, and sing the hosannah to him, as
immediately appointed by Heaven to be their deliverer.
7. Though, with the character of the Messiah, the Jews had
connected that of secular royalty, and they now, by spreading
their clothes in the way, strewing branches, &c., treat him as a
royal person, and one appointed to govern the kingdom; yet of this
he appears to take no notice, farther than to show that an
important prophecy was thus fulfilled: he went as usual into the
temple, taught the people pure and spiritual truths, withdrew at
night from the city, lodged in private at Mount Olivet; and thus
most studiously and unequivocally showed that his sole aim was to
call the people back to purity and holiness, and prepare them for
that kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,
which he was about, by his passion, death, resurrection,
ascension, and the mission of the Holy Spirit, to set up in the
8. Could a person who worked such miracles as he was in the daily
habit of working-miracles which proved he possessed unlimited
power and unerring wisdom, need subterfuges, or a colouring
for any design he wished to accomplish? He had only to put forth
that power essentially resident in himself, and all resistance to
his will must be annihilated. In short, every circumstance of the
case shows at once the calumny and absurdity of the charge. But,
instead of lessening, or tendering suspicious this or any other
part of our Lord's conduct, it shows the whole in a more luminous
and glorious point of view; and thus the wrath of man praises him.
9. That he was a king, that he was born of a woman and came into
the world for this very purpose, he took every occasion to
declare; but all these declarations showed that his kingdom was
spiritual: he would not even interfere with the duty of the civil
magistrate to induce an avaricious brother to do justice to the
rest of the family, Lu 12:13, when probably a few words from such
an authority would have been sufficient to have settled the
business; yet to prevent all suspicion, and to remove every cause
for offence, he absolutely refused to interfere, and took occasion
from the very circumstance to declaim against secular views,
covetousness, and worldly ambition! O how groundless does every
part of his conduct prove this charge of secular ambition to be!
Such was the spirit of the Master: such must be the spirit of
the disciple. He that will reign with Christ, must be humbled and
suffer with him. This is the royal road. The love of the world,
in its power and honours, is as inconsistent with the spirit of
the Gospel as the love of the grossest vice. If any man love the
world, the love of the Father is not in him. Reader, take
occasion from this refuted calumny, to imitate thy Lord in the
spirituality of his life, to pass through things temporal so as
not to lose those that are eternal, that thou mayest reign with
him in the glory of his kingdom. Amen.