|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:4-14 Christ came into this world for judgment to the Jewish church and nation, which were wretchedly corrupt and degenerate. Those have their minds wofully blinded, who do ill, and justify themselves in it; but God will not hold those guiltless who hold themselves so. How can we go to God to beg a blessing on unlawful methods of getting wealth, or to return thanks for success in them? There was a general decay of religion among them, and they regarded it not. The Good Shepherd would feed his flock, but his attention would chiefly be directed to the poor. As an emblem, the prophet seems to have taken two staves; Beauty, denoted the privileges of the Jewish nation, in their national covenant; the other he called Bands, denoting the harmony which hitherto united them as the flock of God. But they chose to cleave to false teachers. The carnal mind and the friendship of the world are enmity to God; and God hates all the workers of iniquity: it is easy to foresee what this will end in. The prophet demanded wages, or a reward, and received thirty pieces of silver. By Divine direction he cast it to the potter, as in disdain for the smallness of the sum. This shadowed forth the bargain of Judas to betray Christ, and the final method of applying it. Nothing ruins a people so certainly, as weakening the brotherhood among them. This follows the dissolving of the covenant between God and them: when sin abounds, love waxes cold, and civil contests follow. No wonder if those fall out among themselves, who have provoked God to fall out with them. Wilful contempt of Christ is the great cause of men's ruin. And if professors rightly valued Christ, they would not contend about little matters.
Verse 12. - I said. The prophet is speaking in the person of the great Shepherd. Unto them. Unto the whole flock. Give me my price; my wages. He asks his hire of the flock, because the flock represents men. Acting far differently from the wicked shepherds, he used no violence or threats. He gives them this last opportunity of showing their gratitude for all the care bestowed upon them, and their appreciation of his tenderness and love. The wages God looked for were repentance, faith, obedience, or, in another view, themselves, their life and soul. It was for their sake he required these, not for his own. If not, forbear. He speaks with indignation, as conscious of their ungrateful contempt. Pay me what is due, or pay me not. I leave it to you to decide. I put no constraint upon you. So God has given us free will; and we can receive or reject his offers, as we are minded. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. This paltry remuneration displayed the people's ingratitude and contempt. It was the compensation offered by the Law to a master for the loss of a slave that had been killed (Exodus 21:82). It was, perhaps, double the pries of a female slave (Hosea 3:2); and the very offer of such a sum was an insult, and, says Dr. Alexander, "suggested an intention to compass his death. They despised his goodness; they would have none of his service; they sought to cut him off; and they were ready to pay the penalty which the Law prescribed for the murder of one of so mean a condition." The word "weigh" was used in money transactions even after the use of coined money rendered weighing unnecessary.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And I said unto them, If ye think good,.... Not to the poor of the flock that waited on him, and knew the word of the Lord, and valued it; but to the other Jews that despised Christ and his Gospel:
give me my price; or, "give my price" (i); what I am valued at by you, to Judas the betrayer: or the price due unto him for feeding the flock, such as faith in him, love to him, reverence and worship of him. So the Targum paraphrases it, "do my will". Kimchi says the price is repentance, and good works:
and if not, forbear; unless all is done freely, willingly, and cheerfully; see Ezekiel 2:5 or, if worth nothing, give nothing:
So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver; the price a servant was valued at, Exodus 21:32 see the fulfilment of this prophecy in Matthew 26:15. The Jews own (k) that this prophecy belongs to the Messiah; but wrongly interpret it of thirty precepts given by him: in just retaliation and righteous judgment, thirty Jews were sold by the Romans for a penny, by way of contempt of them (l).
(i) "date mercedem meam", Vatablus, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius. (k) Bereshit Rabba, sect. 98. fol. 85. 3.((l) Egesippus de Urb. excidio Anacep. p. 680.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. I said—The prophet here represents the person of Jehovah-Messiah.
If ye think good—literally, "If it be good in your eyes." Glancing at their self-sufficient pride in not deigning to give Him that return which His great love in coming down to them from heaven merited, namely, their love and obedience. "My price"; my reward for pastoral care, both during the whole of Israel's history from the Exodus, and especially the three and a half years of Messiah's ministry. He speaks as their "servant," which He was to them in order to fulfil the Father's will (Php 2:7).
if not, forbear—They withheld that which He sought as His only reward, their love; yet He will not force them, but leave His cause with God (Isa 49:4, 5). Compare the type Jacob cheated of his wages by Laban, but leaving his cause in the hands of God (Ge 31:41, 42).
So … thirty pieces of silver—thirty shekels. They not only refused Him His due, but added insult to injury by giving for Him the price of a gored bond-servant (Ex 21:32; Mt 26:15). A freeman was rated at twice that sum.
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