Matthew 17:10
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
The disciples asked him, "Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?"

New Living Translation
Then his disciples asked him, "Why do the teachers of religious law insist that Elijah must return before the Messiah comes?"

English Standard Version
And the disciples asked him, “Then why do the scribes say that first Elijah must come?”

Berean Study Bible
The disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Berean Literal Bible
And the disciples asked Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes say that it behooves Elijah to come first?"

New American Standard Bible
And His disciples asked Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

King James Bible
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So the disciples questioned Him, "Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

International Standard Version
So the disciples asked him, "Why, then, do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

NET Bible
The disciples asked him, "Why then do the experts in the law say that Elijah must come first?"

New Heart English Bible
The disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And his disciples asked him and they were saying to him, “Why do the Scribes therefore say that Elijah must come first?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So the disciples asked him, "Why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

New American Standard 1977
And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?”

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then his disciples asked him, saying, Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?

King James 2000 Bible
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?

American King James Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

American Standard Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And his disciples asked him, saying: Why then do the scribes say that Elias must come first?

Darby Bible Translation
And [his] disciples demanded of him saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first have come?

English Revised Version
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elijah must first come?

Webster's Bible Translation
And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes, that Elijah must first come?

Weymouth New Testament
"Why then," asked the disciples, "do the Scribes say that Elijah must first come?"

World English Bible
His disciples asked him, saying, "Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?"

Young's Literal Translation
And his disciples questioned him, saying, 'Why then do the scribes say that Elijah it behoveth to come first?'
Study Bible
The Transfiguration
9As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Do not tell anyone about this vision until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.” 10The disciples asked Him, “Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?” 11Jesus replied, “Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things.…
Cross References
Malachi 4:5
"Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD.

Matthew 11:14
And if you are willing to accept it, he is the Elijah who was to come.

Matthew 16:14
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

Matthew 17:11
Jesus replied, "Elijah does indeed come, and he will restore all things.
Treasury of Scripture

And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come?

Why.

Matthew 17:3,4 And, behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him…

Matthew 11:14 And if you will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.

Matthew 27:47-49 Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man …

Malachi 4:5,6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the …

Mark 9:11 And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come?

John 1:21,25 And they asked him, What then? Are you Elias? And he said, I am not. …

(10) His disciples asked him.--The context clearly implies that the question came not from the disciples at large, but from the three who had seen the vision, and were brooding over the appearance, and yet more, perhaps, the disappearance, of Elijah, as connected with the tradition of the scribes. If Elijah was to come and prepare the way, why had he thus come from the unseen world for a moment only?

Verse 10. - Why then (ou+n) say the scribes that Elias must first come? The illative particle "then" shows that the apostles' question arose from something immediately preceding. The connection seems to be this: Elias had just appeared and then had vanished again; how could this visitation be reconciled with the scribes' interpretation of Malachi's prophecy? If Elias was to come before the advent of Messiah, and Jesus is the Messiah, how is it that he has only now shown himself? If he has a work to do on earth, how could he do that when his sojourn was limited to a few minutes' duration, and to the view of so few witnesses? Malachi had spoken of the Messenger who was to precede and prepare the way for Messiah; he had said, "Before the great day of the Lord, I will send you Elijah the prophet" (Malachi 3:1; Malachi 4:5); and the learned among the Jews interpreted these two passages of his appearance in person to herald the approach of Messiah. Hence the perplexity of the apostles, they, like the scribes, not distinguishing the two advents of Christ, and the double allusion in the prophet's announcement - the "Messenger" in Matthew 3:1 being a different personage from "Elias" in Matthew 4:5, though of the same power and spirit. Christ explains the difficulty in the two next verses. And his disciples asked him, saying,.... That is, these three, Peter, James, and John, before they came to the rest; whilst they were going down the mountain, or from it, to the place where the others were; for the rest knew nothing of the appearance of Elias, and so cannot be thought to join in a question concerning him.

Why then say the Scribes, that Elias must first come? That is, come before the Messiah comes; for certain it is, that this was the sense of the Scribes, as it was of the ancient Jews, and is still the opinion of the modern ones. They say (h),

"that in the second year of Ahaziah, Elias was hid; nor will he appear, till the Messiah comes; then he will appear, and will be hid a second time; and then will not appear, till Gog and Magog come.''

And they expressly affirm (i), that

"before the coming of the son of David, , "Elias will come to bring the good news" of it.''

And this, they say (k), will be one day before the coming of the Messiah. And Maimonides (l) observes,

"that there are of their wise men that say, , "that before the coming of the Messiah, Elias shall come".''

So Trypho the Jew, the same with R. Tarphon, so often mentioned in Talmudic writings, disputing with Justin Martyr, tells him (m), that the Messiah,

"shall not know himself, nor have any power, "till Elias comes", and anoints him, and makes him known to all.''

And hence the Targumist (n) often speaks of Messiah and Elias as together, and of things done by them; and in their prayers, petitions are put for them, as to come together (o): this is founded upon a mistaken sense of Malachi 4:5 and which is the general sense of their commentators (p). Now the Scribes made use of this popular sense, to disprove Jesus being the Messiah: they argued, that if he was the Messiah, Elias would be come; but whereas he was not come, therefore he could not be the Messiah. The disciples having just now seen Elias, are put in mind of this tenet of the Scribes, and of their use of it; and inquire of Christ, not so much about the truth of it, and the reason of their imbibing it, as why they were suffered to make use of it, to his disadvantage; and especially why they, the disciples, should be forbid publishing what they had seen; whereas, were they allowed to divulge this vision, and bear their testimony to this truth, that Elias had appeared, and they had seen him, it might be a means of stopping the mouths of these Scribes; and of convicting men of the truth of the Messiahship of Jesus, upon their own principles, and of confirming them that believed it: or else the sense is, whereas they had seen Elias, and he was gone again, without making any public appearance in the nation, their question is, how came the Scribes to say, that he should come first? and if there was any truth in this, how came it to pass, that he did not come sooner, even before Christ came in the flesh; and inasmuch as he did now appear, why he did not appear more publicly, as the person that was to come, at least, before the setting up of the kingdom and glory of the Messiah; which they might hope were at hand, and that Elias was come to usher it in: but that he did not appear publicly, and they were not allowed to speak of it, they wanted to know Christ's sense of these things; and took this opportunity as they came from the mountain, to converse with him about it.

(h) Seder Olam Rabba, p. 45, 46. (i) Gloss. in T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 43. 2.((k) R. Abraham ben David in Misn. Ediot, c. 8. sect. 7. (l) Hilch. Melacim, c. 12. sect. 2.((m) Dialog. cum Tryph. p. 226. (n) In Exodus 40.10. Deuteronomy 30.4. & Lam. iv. 22. (o) Seder Tephillot, fol. 56. 2. & 128. 2.((p) Aben Ezra, Kimchi, & Abarbinel in loc. 17:1-13 Now the disciples beheld somewhat of Christ's glory, as of the only begotten of the Father. It was intended to support their faith, when they would have to witness his crucifixion; and would give them an idea of the glory prepared for them, when changed by his power and made like him. The apostles were overcome by the glorious sight. Peter thought that it was most desirable to continue there, and to go no more down to meet the sufferings of which he was so unwilling to hear. In this he knew not what he said. We are wrong, if we look for a heaven here upon earth. Whatever tabernacles we propose to make for ourselves in this world, we must always remember to ask Christ's leave. That sacrifice was not yet offered, without which the souls of sinful men could not have been saved; and important services were to be done by Peter and his brethren. While Peter spoke, a bright cloud overshadowed them, an emblem of the Divine presence and glory. Ever since man sinned, and heard God's voice in the garden, unusual appearances of God have been terrible to man. They fell prostrate to the earth, till Jesus encouraged them; when looking round, they beheld only their Lord as they commonly saw him. We must pass through varied experiences in our way to glory; and when we return to the world after an ordinance, it must be our care to take Christ with us, and then it may be our comfort that he is with us.
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