|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
12:1-12 Christ showed in parables, that he would lay aside the Jewish church. It is sad to think what base usage God's faithful ministers have met with in all ages, from those who have enjoyed the privileges of the church, but have not brought forth fruit answerable. God at length sent his Son, his Well-beloved; and it might be expected that he whom their Master loved, they also should respect and love; but instead of honouring him because he was the Son and Heir, they therefore hated him. But the exaltation of Christ was the Lord's doing; and it is his doing to exalt him in our hearts, and to set up his throne there; and if this be done, it cannot but be marvellous in our eyes. The Scriptures, and faithful preachers, and the coming of Christ in the flesh, call on us to render due praise to God in our lives. Let sinners beware of a proud, carnal spirit; if they revile or despise the preachers of Christ, they would have done so their Master, had they lived when he was upon earth.
Verses 2-5. - And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruits of the vineyard. St. Matthew (Matthew 21:34) says he sent "his servants." St. Mark mentions them in detail. These servants were the prophets, as Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others, whom the Jews persecuted and slew in different ways, as the reprovers of their vices. But the mercy of God was long-suffering, and still triumphed over their wickedness. In his account of this parable St. Mark is very minute. The first servant that was sent received no fruit, and was beaten. The second received much worse usage. According to the Authorized Version the words are, At him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled (κἀκεῖνον λιθοβολήσαντες ἐκεφαλαίωσαν καὶ ἀπέστειλαν ἠτιμωμένον). The word λιθοβολήσαντες is, however, not to be found in the best authorities; and the right reading of the next word is apparently ἐκεφαλίωσαν a very unusual word; but the context makes it plain that it expresses some injury done to the head. The other form of the word is usual enough; but it ordinarily signifies "a summing up," "a gathering up into a head." And handled shamefully ἠτιμωμένον); literally, dishonored. The third messenger they killed outright. The words run. And him they killed; and many others; beating some, and killing some. The construction here is incomplete, although the meaning is plain. The complete sentence would be, "And him they killed; and they did violence to many others, beating some and killing some."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And at the season he sent unto the husbandman a servant,.... The Evangelist Matthew says, "when the time of the fruit drew near", Matthew 21:34; and so the Persic version here reads. The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, "in its own time", or "season", which was the fourth year from the planting of it; and then it was holy to the Lord; and might not be eaten until the fifth year, Leviticus 19:23. According to the Jewish canons (l), a vineyard of the fourth year was marked with clods of earth, to show it was not to be eaten of; and the fruit of it was brought up to Jerusalem, from every place that was but a day's journey from thence, there to be eaten, or redeemed. Nor by the "servant" are intended the prophets of the Old Testament, who were sent to the Jews to call upon them to bring forth fruits of righteousness; for not a single person, but a set of men, are here designed; and the Evangelist Matthew expresses it in the plural number, "servants":
that he might receive from the husbandmen the fruit of the vineyard: by the hands of his servants; for in Matthew it is, "that they might receive", &c. such as righteousness and judgment, truth and holiness, so as to give an account of them, which might have been expected from a people under such advantages, Isaiah 5:7; See Gill on Matthew 21:34.
(l) Misn. Maaser Sheni, c. 5. sect. 1, 2.
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