Matthew 21:23
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. "By what authority are you doing these things?" they asked. "And who gave you this authority?"

New Living Translation
When Jesus returned to the Temple and began teaching, the leading priests and elders came up to him. They demanded, "By what authority are you doing all these things? Who gave you the right?"

English Standard Version
And when he entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching, and said, “By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?”

New American Standard Bible
When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?"

King James Bible
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
When He entered the temple complex, the chief priests and the elders of the people came up to Him as He was teaching and said, "By what authority are You doing these things? Who gave You this authority?"

International Standard Version
Then Jesus went into the Temple. While he was teaching, the high priests and the elders of the people came to him and asked, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

NET Bible
Now after Jesus entered the temple courts, the chief priests and elders of the people came up to him as he was teaching and said, "By what authority are you doing these things, and who gave you this authority?"

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And when Yeshua came to The Temple, the Chief Priests and the Elders of the people approached him as he taught them, and they were saying to him, “By what authority do you do these things and who gave you this authority?”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Then Jesus went into the temple courtyard and began to teach. The chief priests and the leaders of the people came to him. They asked, "What gives you the right to do these things? Who told you that you could do this?"

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when he was come into the temple, the princes of the priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

King James 2000 Bible
And when he came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority do you these things? and who gave you this authority?

American King James Version
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority do you these things? and who gave you this authority?

American Standard Version
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Douay-Rheims Bible
And when he was come into the temple, there came to him, as he was teaching, the chief priests and ancients of the people, saying: By what authority dost thou these things? and who hath given thee this authority?

Darby Bible Translation
And when he came into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him [as he was] teaching, saying, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

English Revised Version
And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?

Webster's Bible Translation
And when he had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things; and who gave thee this authority?

Weymouth New Testament
He entered the Temple; and while He was teaching, the High Priests and the Elders of the people came to Him and asked Him, "By what authority are you doing these things? and who gave you this authority?"

World English Bible
When he had come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, "By what authority do you do these things? Who gave you this authority?"

Young's Literal Translation
And he having come to the temple, there came to him when teaching the chief priests and the elders of the people, saying, 'By what authority dost thou do these things? and who gave thee this authority?'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

21:23-27 As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 23-ch. 22:14. - Our Lord's authority questioned: he replies by uttering three parables. (Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-18.) Verses 23-27. - First attack, referring to his late actions: and Christ's answer. Verse 23. - When he was come into the temple. The conversation recorded here belongs to the Tuesday of the Holy Week, and took place in the courts of the temple, at this time filled with pilgrims from all parts of the world, who hung upon Christ's words, and beheld his doings with wonder and awe. This sight roused to fury the envy and anger of the authorities, and they sent forth sections of their cleverest men to undermine his authority in the eyes of the people, or to force from him statements on which they might found criminal accusation against him. The chief priests and the elders of the people. According to the other evangelists, there were also scribes, teachers of the Law, united with them in this deputation, which thus comprised all the elements of the Sanhedrin. This seems to have been the first time that the council took formal notice of Jesus' claims and actions, and demanded from him personally an account of himself. They had been quick enough in inquiring into the Baptist's credentials, when he suddenly appeared on the banks of Jordan (see John 1:19, etc.); but they had studiously, till quite lately, avoided any regular investigation of the pretensions of Jesus. In the thee of late proceedings, this could no longer be delayed. A crisis had arrived; their own peculiar province was publicly invaded, and their authority attacked; the opponent must be withstood by the action of the constituted court. As he was teaching. Jesus did not confine himself to beneficent acts; he used the opportunity of the gathering of crowds around him to preach unto them the gospel (Luke 20:1), to teach truths which came with double force from One who bad done such marvellous things. By what authority doest thou these things? They refer to the triumphal entry, the reception of the homage offered, the healing of the blind and lame, the teaching as with the authority of a rabbi, and especially to the cleansing of the temple. No one could presume to teach without a proper commission: where was his authorization? They were the guardians and rulers of the temple: what right had he to interfere with their management, and to use the sacred precincts for his own purposes? These and such like questions were in their mind when they addressed him thus. Wilfully ignoring the many proofs they had of Christ's Divine mission (which one of them, Nicodemus, had long before been constrained to own, John 3:2), they raised the question now as a novel and unanswered one. Who gave thee this authority? They resolve the general inquiry into the personal one - Who was it that conferred upon you this authority which you presume to exercise? Was it some earthly ruler, or was it God himself? Perhaps they mean to insinuate that Satan was the master whose power he wielded - an accusation already often made. They thought thus to place Christ in an embarrassing position, from which he could not emerge without affording the opportunity which they desired. The trap was cleverly set, and, as they deemed, unavoidable. If he was forced to confess that he spoke and acted without any proper authorization, he would be humiliated in the eyes of the people, and might be officially silenced by the strong hand. If he asserted himself to be the Messiah and the bearer of a Divine commission, they would at once bring against him a charge of blasphemy (Matthew 26:65).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And when he was come into the temple,.... The day following the cursing the fig tree: for the withering of it, and the notice the disciples took of it, and our Lord's discourse with them about it, were not in one and the same day, as is clear from the account the Evangelist Mark gives; but on the morning that Christ had conversed with his apostles by the way from Bethany to Jerusalem, concerning the strength of faith in prayer, and the success of it; when they were come into the city, and to the temple, whither he directly went, and entered upon his work of preaching to the people,

the chief priests and elders of the people came unto him. The "chief priests" were not the high priest, and his "sagan", or deputy, but the principal of the priesthood, who were chosen from the rest of their brethren, to sit in the sanhedrim; and "the elders of the people" were the laity that were chosen from among the people, to be members of the same grand council: in this sense the Jewish writers interpret the word "elders", in Deuteronomy 21:2 "thy elders, and thy judges"; that is,

"thy elders, who are thy judges: it is a tradition, R. Eliezer ben Jacob says, , "thine eiders; this is the great sanhedrim" (a).

The other Evangelists Mark and Luke add to these, Scribes, who also were a part of this great assembly; so that the principal members of it, if not the whole sanhedrim, came in a body together, if possible, by their presence and authority, to daunt Christ, discourage his ministry, bring it into contempt with the people, and stop his proceedings and success. And this they did

as he was teaching; the people, that is, preaching the Gospel to them, as Luke explains it: he was instructing them in the things relating to himself, and his kingdom, dispensing the mysteries of his grace, the doctrines of regeneration, justification, and salvation. Mark says, it was "as he was walking in the temple": and at the same time teaching the people, who flocked about him in like manner, as the Peripatetic philosophers taught their scholars walking: whence they had their name,

And said, by what authority dost thou these things? that is, drive out the buyers and sellers out of the temple, which greatly provoked them, their own gain and interest being concerned therein; and perform these miracles of restoring sight to the blind, and causing the lame to walk; which he had very lately wrought in the temple; and particularly preach these doctrines, the work in which he was then engaged:

and who gave thee this authority? They do not object to his doctrines, or dispute whether they were true or false; nor examine his miracles, whether they were of God, or of the devil: in these points they might fear he would be able to put them to silence and confusion, of which some of them had had an experience before; but they proceed in another way, in which they might hope for success, and attack him about his commission and authority under which he acted, whether he pretended to derive his authority from God, or from men: by this they designed to ensnare him and hoped they should gain their point, let him answer in what form he would. Should he say that God gave him the authority to do these things, they would charge him with enthusiasm and blasphemy, urging, that it was wickedness and presumption any man to pretend to be sent immediately from God; since the order of the priesthood, and of teaching was fixed, and none were to take upon them the office of a priest, or of a teacher of the people, but by their appointment; or none were called and sent, but through them, or by their means: and if he should say, that he had his authority from men, they would confront him, and absolutely deny that he had any from them, who only had the power of giving men an authority of preaching in the temple; wherefore he must be an usurper of this office, and a turbulent, seditious person, that sought to destroy all order, civil and ecclesiastical,

(a) T. Hieros Sota, fol. 23. 3. Jarchi in Deuteronomy 21.2.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

Mt 21:23-46. The Authority of Jesus Questioned and the Reply—The Parables of the Two Sons, and of the Wicked Husbandman. ( = Mr 11:27-12:12; Lu 20:1-19).

Now commences, as Alford remarks, that series of parables and discourses of our Lord with His enemies, in which He develops, more completely than ever before, His hostility to their hypocrisy and iniquity: and so they are stirred up to compass His death.

The Authority of Jesus Questioned, and the Reply (Mt 21:23-27).

23. By what authority doest thou these things!—referring particularly to the expulsion of the buyers and sellers from the temple,

and who gave thee this authority?

Matthew 21:23 Additional Commentaries
Context
Jesus' Authority Challenged
23When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?" 24Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.…
Cross References
Matthew 21:24
Jesus replied, "I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

Matthew 24:1
Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.

Matthew 26:55
In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.

Mark 11:27
They arrived again in Jerusalem, and while Jesus was walking in the temple courts, the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders came to him.

Luke 20:1
One day as Jesus was teaching the people in the temple courts and proclaiming the good news, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, together with the elders, came up to him.
Treasury of Scripture

And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority do you these things? and who gave you this authority?

when.

Mark 11:27,28 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, …

Luke 19:47,48 And he taught daily in the temple. But the chief priests and the …

Luke 20:1,2 And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the …

the chief priests.

1 Chronicles 24:1 Now these are the divisions of the sons of Aaron. The sons of Aaron; …

By what.

Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made you a prince and a judge over us? intend you …

Acts 4:7 And when they had set them in the middle, they asked, By what power, …

Acts 7:27 But he that did his neighbor wrong thrust him away, saying, Who made …

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