|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
16:1-4 The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ. But they desired a sign of their own choosing: they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and called for something else which would gratify the curiosity of the proud. It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God's ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.
Verse 3. - It will be foul weather today more tersely in the Greek, Today a storm! Such prognostications are found among all peoples. Many examples are collected by Wetstein. Lowring (στυγνάζων); a word applied to the expression of the countenance ("his countenance fell," Mark 10:22), and therefore applicable, by prosopopceia, to the look of the sky. Fillion quotes Aulus Gellius, 13:29, "Non solum in hominum corporibus, sed etiam in rerum cujusquemodi aliarum facies dicitur. Nam montis et coeli et maris facies, si tompestive dicatur, probe dicitur." O ye hypocrites (ὑποκριταί). The word is omitted by some uncial manuscripts, the Vulgate, etc., and many modern editors. If it is genuine, we must consider that Christ thus calls them, because their pretence of being satisfied with sufficient proof of Christ's claims was a mere fiction, as they were obstinately determined never to acknowledge him. It would be casting pearls before swine to give further external proofs to people without sympathy and not open to conviction. The signs of the times (τῶν καιρῶν). Critical times, the age foretold for the appearance of the Messiah. These signs, which all who were candid and unbiassed might read, were such as the following: the sceptre had departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet; the fourth great empire was established; the prophetic weeks of Daniel were at their close; the Baptist had come in the spirit and power of Elias; all the world was expecting the advent of some great personage; the best and holiest Jews were looking for the Redeemer; Christ's own miracles and teaching proved his Divinity and the fulfilment of many obscure prophecies; these and such like signs were set for all to see and ponder, and the Lord, as he marked the obstinate unbelief of his countrymen, might well be grieved, and "sigh deeply in his spirit" (Mark 8:12).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And in the morning, it will be foul weather today,.... When you rise in the morning, and take a survey of the heavens, it is a very usual thing with you to say, it is like to be windy or rainy weather today,
for the sky is red and lowring; which shows, that the clouds are so thick that the sun cannot pierce through them, and its face is not seen; so that it may be reasonably concluded they will issue in rain, or wind, or both.
O ye hypocrites. The Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel, leave out this appellation; but all other versions, as well as copies, have it: and it is an usual epithet, bestowed very justly by Christ, on these men; who pretended to be the guides of the people, took upon them to teach and instruct them in divine things, and set up themselves as men of great holiness, piety and knowledge; and yet, instead of searching the Scriptures, and comparing the characters of the times of the Messiah therein fixed, with the present ones, spent their time in making such low and useless observations, and which fall within the compass of everyone's knowledge and reach.
Ye can discern the face of the sky; very distinctly, and make some very probable guesses, if not certain conclusions, what will follow, good weather or bad:
but can ye not discern the signs of the times? or, as the Syriac reads it, "the time", the present time: if they had not been blind, they might easily have discerned, that the signs of the time of the Messiah's coming were upon them, and that Jesus was the Messiah; as the departure of the sceptre from Judah, the ending of Daniel's weeks, the various miracles wrought by Christ, the wickedness of the age in which they lived, the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Christ, the great flockings of the people, both to one and to the other, with divers other things which were easy to be observed by them: but they pretend this to be a very great secret.
"The secret of the day of death, they say (y), and the secret of the day when the king Messiah comes, who by his wisdom can find out?''
(y) Targum in Ecclesiastes 7.24.
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