Matthew 20:21
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"What is it you want?" he asked. She said, "Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

New Living Translation
"What is your request?" he asked. She replied, "In your Kingdom, please let my two sons sit in places of honor next to you, one on your right and the other on your left."

English Standard Version
And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of mine are to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom.”

Berean Study Bible
"What do you want?" He asked. She answered, "Declare that in Your kingdom one of these two sons of mine will sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left."

Berean Literal Bible
And He said to her, "What do you desire?" She says to Him, "Say that these two sons of mine might sit, one on Your right hand and one on Your left hand, in Your kingdom."

New American Standard Bible
And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left."

King James Bible
And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"What do you want?" He asked her." Promise," she said to Him, "that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and the other on Your left, in Your kingdom."

International Standard Version
He asked her, "What do you want?" She told him, "Promise that in your kingdom these two sons of mine will sit on your right and on your left."

NET Bible
He said to her, "What do you want?" She replied, "Permit these two sons of mine to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left, in your kingdom."

New Heart English Bible
He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these, my two sons, may sit, one on your right hand, and one on your left hand, in your Kingdom."

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
But he said to her, “What do you desire?” And she said to him, “Say that these my two sons will sit, one at your right and one at your left, in your Kingdom.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"What do you want?" he asked her. She said to him, "Promise that one of my sons will sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom."

New American Standard 1977
And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right and one on Your left.”

Jubilee Bible 2000
And he said unto her, What dost thou desire? She said unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit the one on thy right hand and the other on the left in thy kingdom.

King James 2000 Bible
And he said unto her, What will you? She said unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.

American King James Version
And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.

American Standard Version
And he said unto her, What wouldest thou? She saith unto him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy kingdom.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who said to her: What wilt thou? She saith to him: Say that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left, in thy kingdom.

Darby Bible Translation
And he said to her, What wilt thou? She says to him, Speak [the word] that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand and one on thy left in thy kingdom.

English Revised Version
And he said unto her, What wouldest thou? She saith unto him, Command that these my two sons may sit, one on thy right hand, and one on thy left hand, in thy kingdom.

Webster's Bible Translation
And he said to her, What wilt thou: She saith to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left in thy kingdom.

Weymouth New Testament
"What is it you desire?" He asked. "Command," she replied, "that these my two sons may sit one at your right hand and one at your left in your Kingdom."

World English Bible
He said to her, "What do you want?" She said to him, "Command that these, my two sons, may sit, one on your right hand, and one on your left hand, in your Kingdom."

Young's Literal Translation
and he said to her, 'What wilt thou?' She saith to him, 'Say, that they may sit -- these my two sons -- one on thy right hand, and one on the left, in thy reign.'
Study Bible
A Mother's Request
20Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and knelt down to make a request of Him. 21“What do you want?” He asked. She answered, “Declare that in Your kingdom” one of these two sons of mine will sit at Your right hand, and the other at Your left. 22“You do not know what you are asking,” Jesus replied. “Are you able to drink the cup I am going to drink?” “We are able,” the brothers answered.…
Cross References
Matthew 19:28
Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, in the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Matthew 20:22
"You do not know what you are asking," Jesus replied. "Are you able to drink the cup I am going to drink?" "We are able," the brothers answered.
Treasury of Scripture

And he said to her, What will you? She said to him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on your right hand, and the other on the left, in your kingdom.

What.

Matthew 20:32 And Jesus stood still, and called them, and said, What will you that …

1 Kings 3:5 In Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night: and God …

Esther 5:3 Then said the king to her, What will you, queen Esther? and what …

Mark 6:22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, and danced, and …

Mark 10:36,51 And he said to them, What would you that I should do for you…

Luke 18:41 Saying, What will you that I shall do to you? And he said, Lord, …

John 15:7 If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, you shall ask what …

Grant.

Matthew 18:1 At the same time came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Who is the …

Matthew 19:28 And Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That you which have followed me…

Jeremiah 45:5 And seek you great things for yourself? seek them not: for, behold, …

Mark 10:37 They said to him, Grant to us that we may sit, one on your right …

Luke 22:24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted …

Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly love; in honor …

Philemon 1:2,3 And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and …

the one.

1 Kings 2:19 Bathsheba therefore went to king Solomon, to speak to him for Adonijah. …

Psalm 45:9 Kings' daughters were among your honorable women: on your right hand …

Psalm 110:1 The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you at my right hand, until I make …

Mark 16:19 So then after the Lord had spoken to them, he was received up into …

Romans 8:34 Who is he that comdemns? It is Christ that died, yes rather, that …

Colossians 3:1 If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, …

in thy.

Luke 17:20,21 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God …

Luke 19:11 And as they heard these things, he added and spoke a parable, because …

Acts 1:6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, …

(21) The one on thy right hand.--The favour which had already been bestowed might, in some degree, seem to warrant the petition. John was known emphatically as "the disciple whom Jesus loved" (John 13:23; John 19:26; John 20:2), and if we may infer a general practice from that of the Last Supper (John 13:23), he sat near Him at their customary meals. James was one of the chosen three who had been witnesses of the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1). Both had been marked out for special honour by the new name of the Sons of Thunder (Mark 3:17). The mother might well think that she was but asking for her sons a continuance of what they had hitherto enjoyed. The sternness of our Lord's words to Peter (Matthew 16:23) might almost justify the thought that his position had been forfeited.

Verse 21. - What wilt thou. Jesus will make no unconditional promise; he compels her to formulate her petition. Grant; εἰπέ: command. These my two sons. She points to them, as they stood or knelt behind her. May sit... in thy kingdom. The right and left hand would be the places occupied by those next to the sovereign in dignity and consideration. There is here no thought of St. Peter's pre-eminence (comp. 1 Kings 2:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Psalm 45:9; Psalm 110:1). The petition was urged at this moment, because it was felt that a great crisis was at hand. This visit to Jerusalem must have momentous results; here Jesus was about to set up his throne; now was the moment to secure the highest places in his court. He had announced his death; he had also announced his glory; they balanced one declaration against the other, and seized on that which was most consonant to their national prejudices and their own ambitious views. Probably they interpreted the unintelligible resurrection to mean the establishment of the kingdom of Messiah (Luke 19:11). If this was imminent, no time was to be lost in making their claims known. So thought the "sons of thunder," and acted with energy and haste. And he said unto her, what wilt thou?.... Mark says, "he said unto them"; her two sons, James and John, "what would you that I should do for you?" Both is true; what is this singular favour? what business of moment and importance is it, you would have me do for you, you are so eager and pressing for, and so solicitous of? This he said, not as being ignorant of the matter; he knew the corruption of their hearts, the vanity of their minds, their carnal, worldly, and ambitious views; but to lead them on to say all they had to say upon this head; in which may be observed the goodness, humanity, and patience of Christ, in not upbraiding them with their pride and insolence, in bearing with their rashness and folly, and in giving them room to believe, that he should answer their request in every thing that was right and reasonable to be done,

She saith unto him, grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on the right hand, and the other the left in thy kingdom: or, as in Mark, "in thy glory" that is, in thy glorious kingdom; meaning a temporal one, which would outdo all the kingdoms of the world, in external glory, pomp, and splendour, as they imagined: to sit one on the right hand and the other on the left hand of Christ, when he should be seated, literally, on the throne of his father David, signifies to be nearest to his person; to be next to him in power and authority; to have the highest posts of honour, and places of trust and profit; to be his prime ministers; and, in a word, to have the greatest share next to him of worldly honour, riches, and power. To sit at the right hand, was, with the Jews, reckoned a great mark of honour and affection; see 1 Kings 2:19 and so with other nations: with the Egyptians especially, it was accounted a great honour to be placed on the right hand, but the greatest to be in the middle: which was equally observed among the Romans, and the same with the Africans and Numidians; though Xenophon relates, that Cyrus, with a singular prudence, that he might receive his guests the more honourably, used to place them at the left hand, accounting that part, as nearest the heart, to be the more worthy. (g) These two, the best and most honourable places, this woman was for engrossing for her two sons, who joined with her in the request; for Mark says, that "they said unto him, grant unto us that we may sit, &c." and Christ's answer here, which follows, implies as much.

(g) Alex. ab. Alex. Genial. Dier. l. 2. c. 19. 20:20-28 The sons of Zebedee abused what Christ said to comfort the disciples. Some cannot have comforts but they turn them to a wrong purpose. Pride is a sin that most easily besets us; it is sinful ambition to outdo others in pomp and grandeur. To put down the vanity and ambition of their request, Christ leads them to the thoughts of their sufferings. It is a bitter cup that is to be drunk of; a cup of trembling, but not the cup of the wicked. It is but a cup, it is but a draught, bitter perhaps, but soon emptied; it is a cup in the hand of a Father, Joh 18:11. Baptism is an ordinance by which we are joined to the Lord in covenant and communion; and so is suffering for Christ, Eze 20:37; Isa 48:10. Baptism is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace; and so is suffering for Christ, for unto us it is given, Php 1:29. But they knew not what Christ's cup was, nor what his baptism. Those are commonly most confident, who are least acquainted with the cross. Nothing makes more mischief among brethren, than desire of greatness. And we never find Christ's disciples quarrelling, but something of this was at the bottom of it. That man who labours most diligently, and suffers most patiently, seeking to do good to his brethren, and to promote the salvation of souls, most resembles Christ, and will be most honoured by him to all eternity. Our Lord speaks of his death in the terms applied to the sacrifices of old. It is a sacrifice for the sins of men, and is that true and substantial sacrifice, which those of the law faintly and imperfectly represented. It was a ransom for many, enough for all, working upon many; and, if for many, then the poor trembling soul may say, Why not for me?
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