|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:12-19 Christ's riding in triumph to Jerusalem is recorded by all the evangelists. Many excellent things, both in the word and providence of God, disciples do not understand at their first acquaintance with the things of God. The right understanding of spiritual nature of Christ's kingdom, prevents our misapplying the Scriptures which speak of it.
Verse 19. - The Pharisees therefore, at the sight of the popular enthusiasm, said to themselves; i.e. to their own inner circle. Hengstenberg thinks here is a hint of some medium of communication between John and the Pharisees, and imagines it to be found through Martha and Simon (her husband). Their language was, Perceive [ye] - or, ye perceive (either imperative or indicative) - that ye prevail nothing! The interrogative may also be a true translation. Do ye perceive that ye prevail nothing? On either hypothesis, it cannot be, as Chrysostom says, the language of the friends of Jesus among the Pharisees, but rather the cry of despair and rage. Behold, the (κόσμος) world has gone away after him. They are repenting that they had not followed out the coercive plans and murderous designs of Caiaphas, and had been content with half-measures.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Pharisees therefore said among themselves,.... Either when assembled in their own private houses, or in the sanhedrim; or as they stood together in the streets, seeing Jesus pass by in such pomp, and such a multitude with him:
perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? the Vulgate Latin and Arabic versions read, "we prevail nothing", so Nonnus; the sense is the same; suggesting, that all their wise schemes and crafty councils signified nothing; the commands they enjoined the people not to follow him, or to apprehend him, or to show them where he was, were disregarded; their threatenings to put out of the synagogue such as should confess him, were taken no notice of; their promises of reward were slighted; their examples were not followed; and all their artifice and cunning, backed with power and authority, did not succeed:
behold, the world is gone after him; the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions read, "the whole world", and so Nonnus; the Persic version, "all the people"; that is, a very great number of people; for they could not mean, that all the inhabitants of the world, or every individual of mankind were followers of him, and became his disciples, nor even all in their own land; they themselves, with multitudes more of the same complexion, were an exception to this: but they speak in the common dialect of that nation, of which take two or three instances;
"it happened to a certain high priest, that he went out of the sanctuary, , "and the whole world went after him"; and when they saw Shemaiah and Abtalion, they left him, and went after them (o).''
And again (p),
"R. Aba proclaimed, whoever seeks riches, and whoever seeks the way of life in the world to come, let him come and study in the law, and , "the whole world" will gather together to him.''
Once more (q),
"Jonathan said to David, 1 Samuel 23:17, "Thou shall be king over Israel, and I will be next to thee"; what is the meaning of this? perhaps Jonathan the son of Saul saw "the world" draw after David.''
This shows the sense of those phrases, "the world", and "the whole world", when used in the article of redemption by Jesus Christ; See Gill on 1 John 2:2.
(o) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 71. 2.((p) Zohar in Gen. fol. 60. 4. (q) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 85. 1.
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