New International Version
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.
New Living Translation
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones God's messengers! How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn't let me.
English Standard Version
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!
New American Standard Bible
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.
King James Bible
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem! She who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her. How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, yet you were not willing!
International Standard Version
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones to death those who have been sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were unwilling!
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those who are sent to you! How often I have longed to gather your children together as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you would have none of it!
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that murdered The Prophets and stoned those who were sent to it! How many times have I desired to gather your children, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing!
GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you kill the prophets and stone to death those sent to you! How often I wanted to gather your children together the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings! But you were not willing!
Jubilee Bible 2000
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that didst kill the prophets and stone those who are sent unto thee, how often I desired to gather thy children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
King James 2000 Bible
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent unto you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
American King James Version
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
American Standard Version
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered together thy children, as the hen doth gather her chickens under her wings, and thou wouldest not?
Darby Bible Translation
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those that are sent unto her, how often would I have gathered thy children as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
English Revised Version
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them that are sent unto her! how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Webster's Bible Translation
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them who are sent to thee, how often would I have gathered thy children, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Weymouth New Testament
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! thou who murderest the Prophets and stonest those who have been sent to thee! how often have I desired to gather thy children to me, just as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not come!
World English Bible
"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets, and stones those who are sent to her! How often I would have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not!
Young's Literal Translation
'Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that art killing the prophets, and stoning those sent unto thee, how often did I will to gather thy children together, as a hen doth gather her own chickens under the wings, and ye did not will.
Parallel CommentariesMatthew Henry's Concise Commentary
23:34-39 Our Lord declares the miseries the inhabitants of Jerusalem were about to bring upon themselves, but he does not notice the sufferings he was to undergo. A hen gathering her chickens under her wings, is an apt emblem of the Saviour's tender love to those who trust in him, and his faithful care of them. He calls sinners to take refuge under his tender protection, keeps them safe, and nourishes them to eternal life. The present dispersion and unbelief of the Jews, and their future conversion to Christ, were here foretold. Jerusalem and her children had a large share of guilt, and their punishment has been signal. But ere long, deserved vengeance will fall on every church which is Christian in name only. In the mean time the Saviour stands ready to receive all who come to him. There is nothing between sinners and eternal happiness, but their proud and unbelieving unwillingness.
Verse 37. - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Pathetic iteration! As he approached the city on another occasion Christ had used the same words (Luke 13:34, 35); he repeats them now as he takes his final farewell He speaks with Divine tenderness, yet with poignant sorrow, knowing that this last appeal will be in vain. It has been remarked that, whereas St. Matthew elsewhere names the capital city, the theocratic centre, Hierosolyma, which is the Greek equivalent, he here calls it Hierousalem, which is Hebrew, as though, while recording the words used by Jesus, he desired to reproduce the actual sound of the Saviour's affecting address. Killest...stonest. Such is thy wont, thy evil practice. So Christ says elsewhere, "It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:33). "Stonest" was particularly appropriate after the reference to Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20). Sent unto thee. The received Greek is, sent unto it or her (πρὸς αὐτήν), though some manuscripts and the Vulgate give "thee." But the change of persons is not uncommon. Alford quotes Luke 1:45; Luke 13:34; Revelation 18:24. How often! Some would confine Christ's allusion to his own mission in Judaea, and the efforts made by him to win disciples; but it surely applies to all the doings and visitations of God towards Israel during the whole course of their history, which showed his gracious desire that all should be saved, if they only had willed with him. He hereby asserts himself as one with the God of the Old Testament. Christ's ministry in Jerusalem and Judaea is mentioned by St. John. Gathered... wings. A tender similitude, which is found in the Old Testament and in classic authors. It implies love, care, and protection. Thus the psalmist prays, "Hide me under the shadow of thy wings;" "In the shadow of thy wings will I take refuge, until these calamities be overpast" (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1); comp. Deuteronomy 32:11; Isaiah 31:5, etc. So Euripides, 'Herc. Fur.,' 72 -
"The children whom I cherish 'neath my wings,
As a bird cowering o'er her youthful brood." The metaphor is peculiarly appropriate at the time, when, as Lange puts it, the Roman eagles were hovering near, and there was no hope of safety but under the Lord's wings. And ye would not. Unmoved by warning and chastisement, impenetrable to long suffering love, ungrateful for mercies, the Jews repulsed all efforts for their amendment, and blindly pursued the course of ruin. It was always in their power to turn if they willed, but they wilfully resisted grace, and must suffer accordingly (comp. Isaiah 30:15).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem,.... The metropolis of Judea, the seat of the kings of Judah, yea, the city of the great king; the place of divine worship, once the holy and faithful city, the joy of the whole earth; wherefore it was strange that the following things should be said of it. The word is repeated to show our Lord's affection and concern for that city, as well as to upbraid it with its name, dignity, and privileges; and designs not the building of the city, but the inhabitants of it; and these not all, but the rulers and governors of it, civil and ecclesiastical; especially the great sanhedrim, which were held in it, to whom best belong the descriptive characters of killing the prophets, and stoning them that were sent by God unto them; since it belonged to them to take cognizance of such who called themselves prophets, and to examine, and judge them, and, if false, to condemn them (h); hence that saying of Christ, Luke 13:33 which goes before the same words, as here, "it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem": and who are manifestly distinguished from their "children": it being usual to call such as were the heads of the people, either in a civil or ecclesiastic sense, "fathers", and their subjects and disciples, "children": besides, our Lord's discourse throughout the whole context is directed to the Scribes and Pharisees, the ecclesiastic guides of the people, and to whom the civil governors paid a special regard,
Thou that killest the prophets; that is, with the sword, with which the prophets in Elijah's time were slain by the children of Israel,
1 Kings 19:10 and which was one of the capital punishments inflicted by the Jewish sanhedrim (i); and also that which follows was another of them,
And stonest them which were sent unto thee; as particularly Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, before mentioned. The Jews themselves are obliged to own, that this character belongs to them: say (k) they,
"when the word of God shall come, who is his messenger, we will honour him. Says R. Saul, did not the prophets come,
"and we killed them", and shed their blood, and how shall we receive his word? or how shall we believe?
And a celebrated writer of their's, on those words (l), "but now murderers", has this note,
"they have killed Uriah, they have killed Zechariah.
How often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Christ here speaks as a man, and the minister of the circumcision, and expresses an human affection for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and an human wish, and will for their temporal good; which he very aptly signifies by the hen, which is a very affectionate creature to its young, and which it endeavours to screen from danger, by covering with its wings. So the "Shekinah" with the Jews is called, , "the holy bird" (m); and that phrase, , "to betake one's self, or to come to trust under the wings of the Shekinah", is often used (n) for to become a proselyte to the true religion, and worship of God, as Jethro, and Ruth the Moabitess did. An expression much like to this here is used by an apocryphal writer of 2:Esdras:
"I gathered you together, as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings: but now, what shall I do unto you? I will cast you out from my face.'' (2 Esdras 1:30).
It seems to be a simile much in use with that people. Our Lord is to be understood not of his divine will, as God, to gather the people of the Jews internally, by his Spirit and grace, to himself; for all those whom Christ would gather, in this sense, were gathered, notwithstanding all the opposition made by the rulers of the people; but of his human affection and will, as a man, and a minister, to gather them to him externally, by, and under the ministry of his word, to hear him preach; so as that they might be brought to a conviction of, and an assent unto him as the Messiah; which, though it might fall short of faith in him, would have been sufficient to have preserved them from temporal ruin, threatened to their city and temple, in the following verse. Instances of the human affection, and will of Christ, may be observed in Mark 10:21 which will of his, though not contrary to the divine will, but subordinate to it, yet not always the same with it, nor always fulfilled: whereas his divine will, or his will as God, is, always fulfilled: "who hath resisted his will?" this cannot be hindered, and made void; he does whatsoever he pleases: and further, that this will of Christ to gather the Jews to himself, is to be understood of his human, and not divine will, is manifest from hence, that this will was in him, and expressed by him at certain several times, by intervals; and therefore he says, "how often would I have gathered", &c. whereas the divine will is one continued, invariable, and unchangeable will, is always the same, and never begins or ceases to be, and to which such an expression is inapplicable; and therefore these words do not contradict the absolute and sovereign will of God, in the distinguishing acts of it, respecting the choice of some persons, and the leaving of others. And it is to be observed, that the persons whom Christ would have gathered, are not represented as being unwilling to be gathered; but their rulers were not willing that they should, and be made proselytes to him, and come under his wings. It is not said, "how often would I have gathered you, and you would not!" nor, "I would have gathered Jerusalem, and she would not"; nor, "I would have gathered thy children, and they would not"; but, "how often would I have gathered thy children, and ye would not!" Which observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage in favour of free will. Had Christ expressed his desire to have gathered the heads of the people to him, the members of the Jewish sanhedrim, the civil and ecclesiastical rulers of the Jews: or had he signified how much he wished, and earnestly sought after, and attempted to gather Jerusalem, the children, the inhabitants of it in common, and neither of them would not; it would have carried some appearance of the doctrine of free will, and have seemed to have countenanced it, and have imputed the non-gathering of them to their own will: though had it been said, "they would not", instead of, "ye would not", it would only have furnished out a most sad instance of the perverseness of the will of man, which often opposes his temporal, as well as his spiritual good; and would rather show it to be a slave to that which is evil, than free to that which is good; and would be a proof of this, not in a single person only, but in a body of men. The opposition and resistance to the will of Christ were not made by the people, but by their governors. The common people seemed inclined to attend his ministry, as appears from the vast crowds, which, at different times and places, followed him; but the chief priests, and rulers, did all they could to hinder the collection of them to him, and their belief in him as the Messiah; by traducing his character, miracles, and doctrines, and by menacing the people with curses, and excommunications, making a law, that whoever confessed him should be turned out of the synagogue. So that the plain meaning of the text is the same with that of Matthew 23:13 and consequently is no proof of men's resisting the operations of the Spirit and grace of God; but only shows what obstructions and discouragements were thrown in the way of attendance on the external ministry of the word. In order to set aside, and overthrow the doctrine of grace, in election, and particular redemption, and effectual calling, it should be proved that Christ, as God, would have gathered, not Jerusalem, and the inhabitants of it only, but all mankind, even such as are not eventually saved, and that in a spiritual, saving way and manner, to himself; of which there is not the least intimation in this text: and in order to establish the resistibility of the grace of God, by the perverse will of man, so as to become of no effect; it should be shown that Christ would have savingly converted persons, and they would not be converted; and that he bestowed the same grace upon them, he does bestow on others, who are converted: whereas the sum of this passage lies in these few words, that Christ, as man, out of a compassionate regard for the people of the Jews, to whom, he was sent as the minister of the circumcision, would have gathered them together under his ministry, and have instructed them in the knowledge of himself, as the Messiah; which if they had only notionally received, would have secured them, as chickens under the hen, from impending judgments, which afterwards fell upon them; but their governors, and not they, would not; that is, would not suffer them to receive him, and embrace him as the Messiah. So that from the whole it appears, that this passage of Scripture, so much talked of by the Arminians, and so often cited by them, has nothing to do with the controversy about the doctrines of election and reprobation, particular redemption, efficacious grace in conversion, and the power of man's free will. This observation alone is sufficient to destroy the argument founded on this passage, in favour of free will,
(h) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 1. sect. 5. (i) lb. c. 7. sect. 1.((k) R. Isaac Arama in Genesis 47.apud Galatin. Arcan. Cath. ver. l. 3. c. 5. (l) Jarchi in Isa. i. 21. (m) Zohar in Numb. fol. 106. 3. & Imre binah in ib. (n) Tzeror Hammor, fol. 77. 4. &. 115. 2. Vid. Targum in Ruth ii. 12. Zohar in Exod. fol. 28. 3. & 29. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, &c.—How ineffably grand and melting is this apostrophe! It is the very heart of God pouring itself forth through human flesh and speech. It is this incarnation of the innermost life and love of Deity, pleading with men, bleeding for them, and ascending only to open His arms to them and win them back by the power of this story of matchless love, that has conquered the world, that will yet "draw all men unto Him," and beautify and ennoble Humanity itself! "Jerusalem" here does not mean the mere city or its inhabitants; nor is it to be viewed merely as the metropolis of the nation, but as the center of their religious life—"the city of their solemnities, whither the tribes went up, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord"; and at this moment it was full of them. It is the whole family of God, then, which is here apostrophized by a name dear to every Jew, recalling to him all that was distinctive and precious in his religion. The intense feeling that sought vent in this utterance comes out first in the redoubling of the opening word—"Jerusalem, Jerusalem!" but, next, in the picture of it which He draws—"that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee!"—not content with spurning God's messages of mercy, that canst not suffer even the messengers to live! When He adds, "How often would I have gathered thee!" He refers surely to something beyond the six or seven times that He visited and taught in Jerusalem while on earth. No doubt it points to "the prophets," whom they "killed," to "them that were sent unto her," whom they "stoned." But whom would He have gathered so often? "Thee," truth-hating, mercy-spurning, prophet-killing Jerusalem—how often would I have gathered thee! Compare with this that affecting clause in the great ministerial commission, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem!" (Lu 24:47). What encouragement to the heartbroken at their own long-continued and obstinate rebellion! But we have not yet got at the whole heart of this outburst. I would have gathered thee, He says, "even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings." Was ever imagery so homely invested with such grace and such sublimity as this, at our Lord's touch? And yet how exquisite the figure itself—of protection, rest, warmth, and all manner of conscious well-being in those poor, defenseless, dependent little creatures, as they creep under and feel themselves overshadowed by the capacious and kindly wing of the mother bird! If, wandering beyond hearing of her peculiar call, they are overtaken by a storm or attacked by an enemy, what can they do but in the one case droop and die, and in the other submit to be torn in pieces? But if they can reach in time their place of safety, under the mother's wing, in vain will any enemy try to drag them thence. For rising into strength, kindling into fury, and forgetting herself entirely in her young, she will let the last drop of her blood be shed out and perish in defense of her precious charge, rather than yield them to an enemy's talons. How significant all this of what Jesus is and does for men! Under His great Mediatorial wing would He have "gathered" Israel. For the figure, see De 32:10-12; Ru 2:12; Ps 17:8; 36:7; 61:4; 63:7; 91:4; Isa 31:5; Mal 4:2. The ancient rabbins had a beautiful expression for proselytes from the heathen—that they had "come under the wings of the Shekinah." For this last word, see on Mt 23:38. But what was the result of all this tender and mighty love? The answer is, "And ye would not." O mysterious word! mysterious the resistance of such patient Love—mysterious the liberty of self-undoing! The awful dignity of the will, as here expressed, might make the ears to tingle.
Matthew 23:37 Additional Commentaries
Lament over Jerusalem
37"Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38"Behold, your house is being left to you desolate!…
May the LORD repay you for what you have done. May you be richly rewarded by the LORD, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge."
What more could have been done for my vineyard than I have done for it? When I looked for good grapes, why did it yield only bad?
From the day it was built until now, this city has so aroused my anger and wrath that I must remove it from my sight.
Instead, the king commanded Jerahmeel, a son of the king, Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest Baruch the scribe and Jeremiah the prophet. But the LORD had hidden them.
Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak about me falsely.
Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets.
Treasury of Scripture Knowledge
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you that kill the prophets, and stone them which are sent to you, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not!
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