|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.
Verse 35. - Took his servants. The exaction of rent in kind has always been a fruitful source of dispute, fraud, and discontent. In the Jewish Church God's messengers had been ill treated and put to death (see ch. 23:34-37). "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" cried St. Stephen; "and they have slain them which showed before the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:52). Beat... killed... stoned. A climax of iniquity and guilt. The statement is probably meant to be general; some, however, endeavour to individualize it, referring the "beating" to the treatment of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:1, 2), "killing" to Isaiah (Hebrews 11:37, "sawn asunder"), "stoning" to Zechariah son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20, 21). Doubtless, the incidents in such persecutions were often repeated.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the husbandmen took his servants,.... They seized and laid hold of them in a rude and violent manner: so far were they from treating these servants with respect, as they ought to have done; considering whose they were, from whom they came, and upon what account; and also so far from delivering to them the fruit due to their master, or excusing their inability to make a suitable return, as might be expected, they use them very roughly:
and beat one; either with the fist, as Jeremiah was struck by Pashur, the son of Immer, the priest, one of these husbandmen,
Jeremiah 20:1 and as Micaiah was smitten on the cheek by Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah, the false prophet, 2 Chronicles 18:23 or with a scourge, and may refer to the punishment of beating with forty stripes, save one, by which the skin was flayed off; as the word here signifies; for some of these servants had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,
Hebrews 11:36. And killed another; that is, with the sword. There were four kinds of death in the power of the sanhedrim, of which this is one, and what follows is another; and were these, stoning, burning, killing (i.e. beheading with the sword), and strangling: the manner of executing this punishment here expressed, was this:
"They cut off the person's head "with a sword", in the manner the government orders it. R. Judah says, this is indecent (i.e. to cut off his head standing, they do not do so), but they put his head upon a block, and cut it off with an axe; they reply to him, there is no death more abominable than this (x).
So the prophets, in the time of Elijah, were killed with the sword,
1 Kings 19:14 see also Daniel 11:33.
And stoned another; as they did Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:21 and doubtless many others; since Jerusalem had the character of killing the prophets, and stoning them that were sent unto her, Matthew 23:37 these seemed such that were stoned, but not killed; but as Mark says, were wounded in the head with the stones thrown at them, and shamefully handled, and sadly abused,
(x) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 1, 3.
Matthew 21:35 Parallel Commentaries
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