Matthew 21
Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the mount of Olives, then sent Jesus two disciples,
Matthew 21:1. Καὶ ὅτε, κ.τ.λ., and when, etc.) From this point forward, the actions and contests of our Lord are described by the several Evangelists with great fulness and agreement.—εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, to Jerusalem) which they were about to enter.—τότε, κ.τ.λ., then, etc.) not before. It is clearly intimated, that the event[899] about to be described was full of mystery. Often had Jesus entered Jerusalem;[900] now, in this His last journey, and at the conclusion of it, He rides for the only time, solemnly taking possession of the Royal City (see ch. Matthew 5:5), not only for a few days, but on account of that kingdom (see Mark 11:33.) which He was just about to institute; see Luke 24:47; Luke 1:33, and the conclusion of Zechariah 9:10, with the whole context.

[899] In the original, “Vectura (a being carried or borne, a riding) mysterii plena innuitur.” See Matthew 21:2-9.—(I. B.)

[900] “The Saviour had come to Jerusalem—(1), in infancy (Luke 2:22, seqq.); (2), in childhood (Luke 2:42, seqq.); (3), in His temptation (chap. Matthew 4:5); (4), at the Passover (John 2:23.); (5), at the Day of Pentecost (John 5:1); (6), during the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7:10); and now, for the seventh time, to His Passion. After the entrance (Einritte) [described in the following verses], He went daily to and from Jerusalem, until, at the commencement of the Friday, [for the Jewish days began at six o’clock in the evening,] He was carried in bound, and taken forth in the morning to Golgotha.”—B. H. E.

Saying unto them, Go into the village over against you, and straightway ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her: loose them, and bring them unto me.
Matthew 21:2. Τὴν ἀπέναντι ὑμῶν, which is over against you.—εὐθέως, immediately) The word is repeated in the next verse. All things are easy to the Lord.—δεδεμένην, tied) already as it were prepared.—πῶλον, a colt) The colt had never carried any one before. Jesus had never been carried before by any animal, except perhaps at a very tender age. He took the mother from the village for a short way.

And if any man say ought unto you, ye shall say, The Lord hath need of them; and straightway he will send them.
Matthew 21:3. Ὁ Κύριος, the Lord) The owners of the ass were devoted to Jesus.[901]—εὐθέως δὲ, but immediately) i.e. You will not need many words.—[902]ἀποστέλλει, he sends)[903] The present tense is used because the event was sure and speedy, as they were already prepared to send it: cf. Mark 4:29, εὐθέως ἀποστέλλει τὸ δρέπανον, immediately he sendeth the sickle.—See ibid. Matthew 11:6, καὶ ἀφῆκαν αὐτούς, and they let them go.

[901] χρείαν ἔχει, hath need) How great were the needs of so great a Lord!—V. g.

[902] Such is the reading also of Griesbach and Scholz. E. M. reads ἀποστελεῖ (the future), rendered therefore in E. V. “he will send.” In his App. Crit. Bengel writes—

[903] Ἀποστελεῖ is the reading of BDbc Vulg. Orig. and Rec. Text, and so Lachm. and Tischend. Ἀποστέλλει is read by CLXZΔ d.—ED.

ἀποστέλλει) Comp. Er. ed. i. et seqq.; Stop. Aug. i. 2: Bodl. 1, 2, 7; Bu. Byz. Cov. i. Cypr. Gal.; Gehl, Go. Laud. 1, 2, 5; Lin. Lips. Mont. manu prima, M. 1, Mose. N. 1, Par. 1, 3, 4, 7, 8; Per. Roe. Steph. omn. vss. 1, 2, Wh. 1 nonnulli codd. upud Er. vel etiam Barb, decem, et Cam. item Chrys. Theophyl. Cant. latine, Syr. Accedunt Evangelistaria, Aug. 4 (in quo cum verbum hoc jam λ simplici scriptum fuisset, λ alterum est suppletum), Bodl. 4, 5, Land. 4, Wh. 3. Itaque ἀποστέλλει Matthæi, et ἀποστελεῖ Marci se mutuo confirmant, nam librarii videntur lectionem ἀποστελεῖ publica Matthæi recitatione ad Marcum traduxisse, et aliquando ἀποστελεῖ a Marco ad Matthæum retulisse. Vid. Gnom. (ἀποστελεῖ) Lat. et inde Er. vel etiam Parisini et Seldiaui aliquot, cum Bodl. 6, Cant, græce, Gon. Hunt. 2 Magd. et perpaucis aliis.”—(I. B.)

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass.
Matthew 21:5. Εἴπατε, κ.τ.λ., tell ye, etc.) This passage is one of those which show that many things in the prophets ought to be received by us, not only as they were meant by them, but as they were destined to be meant by the apostles. This part occurs in Isaiah 62:11; the rest in Zechariah, whom St Matthew quotes, beginning at the more important part; for the word “rejoice” is thus supplied. At the time of its fulfilment it is to be told: joy then arises spontaneously.[904] In Zechariah 9:9, the LXX. have Χαῖρε σφόδρα θύγατερ Σιὼν, κήρυσσε θύγατερ Ἱερουσαλήμ· ἰδοὺ, ὁ Βασιλεὺς[905] ἔρχεταί σοι, δίκαιος καὶ σώζων Αὐτὸς·[906] πρᾳῢς καὶ ἐμβεβηκὼς ἐπὶ ὑποζύγιον καὶ πῶλον νέον,—Rejoice greatly, daughter of Sion; shout,[907] daughter of Jerusalem: behold the King cometh unto thee; He is just and having salvation:[908] meek, and riding on an ass, even a young colt.—τῇ θυγατρὶ Σιὼν, to the daughter of Sion) put synecdochically for Jerusalem.—Βασιλεύς σου, thy King) and also Bridegroom.—σαὶ, to, or for thee) sc. for thy sake or advantage.—πρᾳῢς καὶ, κ.τ.λ., meek and, etc.[909]) The same thing is frequently expressed in the same passage by literal and metaphorical words. The horse is a warlike steed, which the King of Peace did not make use of; see Zechariah 9:10. He will make use of it hereafter; see Revelation 19:11.—ὄνον, an ass) not a she ass. In Hebrew, חמור.—υἱὸν ὑποζυγίου, the male foal of an ass[910]) who, though the offspring of one that had borne the yoke, had not himself yet borne it. Our Lord rode upon the foal, but employed also the mother as a companion to the foal.

[904] Beng. seems to mean, the introductory words in Zechariah 9:9, “Rejoice greatly,” etc., “Shout,” etc., are omitted here, on the occasion of the passage being quoted by St Matthew, because, at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy, all that was needed was the telling (and therefore “Tell ye” is substituted from Isaiah 62:11, “Say ye”): the joy was sure to arise of its own accord.—ED.

[905] The Codex Alexandrinus reads βασιλεύς σου.—(I. B.)

[906] The Oxford Edition of 1848 has a comma after σώζων, and omits the colon after Αὐτὸς.—(I. B.)

[907] The word denotes, in the orig., the voice of a herald or a preacher.—(I. B.)

[908] Lit. “Himself saving.”—(I. B.)

[909] It is this very virtue that renders both her King, and the tidings as to the approach of her King, so delightful to the daughter of Sion.—V. g.

[910] Literally, the son of one who bears the yoke; rendered accurately by the Vulgate, which Bengel has followed here, filium subjugalis. He has not been equally exact in his German Version.—(I. B.)

And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them,
Matthew 21:6. Καὶ ποιήσαντες, and when they had done.

And brought the ass, and the colt, and put on them their clothes, and they set him thereon.
Matthew 21:7. Ἐπεκάθισεν,[911] He sat upon) becomingly; His disciples attending on Him;[912] see Luke 19:35. The Persian kings were rather placed by others, than themselves got on horseback. See Brisson.—ἐπάνω αὐτῶν, on them) though, strictly speaking, on the foal; see Mark 11:2-3; John 12:14-15.

[911] BC Origen read, as Beng., ἐπεκάθισεν, He sat: abcd also have ‘sedebat:’ D has ἐκάθητο. Vulg. has imposuerunt; and so Rec. Text ἐπεκάθισαν, they set Him thereon. This last plainly comes through Harmonists from Luke 19:35, ἐπβίβασαν, they set Jesus thereon.—ED.

[912] That is, His disciples helped Him to mount, which harmonises the statements, that He sat upon the colt, in Matt., and that His disciples set Him on, in Luke.—ED.

And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way; others cut down branches from the trees, and strawed them in the way.
Matthew 21:8. Ὁ δὲ πλεῖστος ὄχλος, but the people, who were in great numbers.—ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ, in the way) [i.e in the midst of the way or road]; not only κατὰ τὴν ὁδόν, by the side of the way; for St Luke (Luke 19:36) uses the expression ὑπεστρώννυον, they spread them under, [i.e. so that He should ride over them].—κλάδους, branches) It was customary with the Jews and other ancient nations to manifest their public joy by cutting down branches from trees.

And the multitudes that went before, and that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna to the Son of David: Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in the highest.
Matthew 21:9.[913] Ὡσαννὰ, Hosanna) i.e. הושיעה נא, Save, I pray. The LXX. render Psalms 118(117):25—Ὦ ΚΎΡΙΕ ΣῶΣΟΝ ΔΉ· Ὦ ΚΎΡΙΕ ΕὐΌΔΩΣΟΝ ΔΉ)—O Lord, do save: O Lord, do give prosperity. The words, Ἰησοῦς, (Jesus) in Matthew 21:11, נושע (having salvation) in Zechariah 9:9, and ὡσαννὰ, in the present verse, are all cognate terms.—τῷ, κ.τ.λ., to the, etc.) We sing Hosanna, say they (as was foretold by the prophets), to the Son of David. Agreeable to the account given by the Evangelists of our Lord’s entry, is that which Isidore Clarius says that he heard from a certain Jew, viz., that these words, “Hosanna! Blessed is He that cometh,” etc., were customarily said by the priests, when victims were offered for sacrifice. And the formula, Hosanna, was so frequently uttered, that they even gave that name to the branches which were carried about on the Feast of Tabernacles.[914]—εὑλογημένος, κ.τ.λ., blessed, etc.) Thus the LXX. in Psalms 118(117):26, which psalm formed part of the Hallel, or Paschal hymn, which they would have to recite in a few days’ time.—ἐν ὀνόματι, in the name) These words should be construed with εὐλογημένος, (blessed), according to the Hebrew accents.[915]—ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις, in the highest) Succour [us], O Thou who art in the highest.

[913] οἱ προάγοντεςἀκολουθοῦντες, that went before—and that followed) Of whom the former had gone from the city to meet Him; the latter had gathered themselves together to Jesus, either at Jericho or elsewhere, as He was passing along.—V. g.

[914] Hartwell Horne says on this subject: “During the continuance of this feast, they carried in their hands branches of palm trees, olives, citrons, myrtles, and willows (Leviticus 23:40; Nehemiah 8:15; 2Ma 10:7); singing, Hosanna, save I beseech thee (Psalm 118:25); in which words they prayed for the coming of the Messiah. These branches also bore the name of Hosanna, as well as all the days of the Feast. In the same manner was Jesus Christ conducted into Jerusalem by the believing Jews, who, considering Him to be the promised Messiah, expressed their boundless joy at finding in Him the accomplishment of those petitions which they had so often offered to God for His coming, at the Feast of Tabernacles. (Matthew 21:8-9.) During its continuance, they walked in procession round the altar with the above-mentioned branches in their hands, amid the sound of trumpets, singing Hosanna; and on the last, or seventh day of the Feast, they compassed the altar seven times. This was called the Great Hosanna. To this last ceremony St John probably alludes in Revelation 7:9-10, where he describes the saints as standing before the Throne, “clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; and saying, Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”—(I. B.)

[915] i.e. Bengel would render it, “Blessed in the name of the Lord, etc.” In a note to his German Version, he says, “That is, Let him, who cometh here, he in the name of the LORD blessed” For some account of the Hebrew Accents, see p. 132, f.n. 5.—(I. B.)

But Engl. Ver., “Cometh in the name of the Lord:” joining ἐν ὀνόματι, with ἑρχόμενος.—ED.

And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?
Matthew 21:10. Λέγουσα, saying) sc. from amazement.—τίς, κ.τ.λ., who? etc.) The chief personage is not immediately seen in a large concourse; nor had the Jews been accustomed to see Jesus journeying except on foot.

And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.
Matthew 21:11. Ὁ τροφήτης, the Prophet) Jesus was first acknowledged as a Prophet, then as Priest and King.—ὁ ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ, of Nazareth) This was a customary appellation [for Him].

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,
Matthew 21:12. Ἐξέβαλε, cast out)[916] though He was meek, and had been just called so in Matthew 21:5. In the early part of His ministry, our Lord had purified the temple; see John 2:14. Those who profaned it had, however, returned; and now, when near the end of His course, He purifies it once more, though it was soon to be destroyed; see ch. Matthew 23:38.—πάντας, all) A great miracle. Even a large body of soldiers would not have ventured to attempt it.—τοὺς πωλοῦντας, κ.τ.λ., those who sold, etc.) They had wished to offer every accommodation for public worship, especially at the time of the Passover; but by degrees they appear to have pushed their licence further.—ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ,[917] in the temple) and indeed in its uttermost part, the court of the Gentiles; where the Gentiles [or nations] were wont to pray. See Mark 11:17.

[916] This casting out did not occur on that very day, a day so full of grace and joy; but when men refused to obey the intimation conveyed by His eyes and look (of which Mark, ch. Matthew 11:11, makes mention: [in the ‘eventide’ of the same day “Jesus entered the temple, and looked round about upon all things,” and not until the morrow He “began to cast out them that sold.”—ED.]), the Lord on the following day exhibited more severe specimens of His most just indignation. Comp. with this, Mark 11:15.—Harm., p. 447.

[917] The fuller reading, ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ τοῦ Θεοῦ, which the larger Ed. had pronounced to be an inferior reading, is regarded as almost equal in authority to that of the text by the margin of the Ed. 2 and the Germ. Vers.—E. B.

There is no primary authority for the fuller reading here. Εἰς τὸ ἱερόν, omitting Θεοῦ in the beginning of the sentence, is read by Lachm., with BLb Orig. Hilar. 713, Memph. and Theb. Versions. Dac Vulg. and Rec. Text add τοῦ Θεοῦ.—ED.

And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
Matthew 21:13. Ὁ οἶκός Μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται· ὑμεῖς δὲ αὐτὸν ἐποιήσατε σπήλαιον λῃστῶν, My house shall be called ([918] or the) house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.—The LXX., in Isaiah 56:7, have—ὁ γὰρ οἶκός Μου, οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται πᾶσι τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, My house shall be called ([919] or the) house of prayer for all nations; and in Jeremiah 7:11, μὴ σπηλαιον λῃστῶν ὁ οἶκός Μου; is My house become a den of thieves?προσευκῆς, of prayer) Prayer is the principal part of public worship; see 1 Kings 8; therefore prayer is put before the apostolic ministry of the Word in Acts 6:4. The synagogues also were places for teaching and houses of prayer as well. In the temple there was more prayer, in the synagogues more teaching.—σπήλαιο λῃστῶν, a den of thieves) A severe and proverbial expression, used of a place which admits all infamous characters and all profane things. He does not say, A market-place. in a den, thieves do not so much attack others, as house themselves.

[918] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

[919] Vercellensis of the old ‘Itala,’ or Latin Version before Jerome’s, probably made in Africa, in the second century: the Gospels.

And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.
Matthew 21:14. Ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, in the temple) The right use of the temple; which was found fault with by His adversaries, who tolerated the abuse of the temple. No one else ever performed miracles in the temple; this was peculiar to the Messiah.

And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David; they were sore displeased,
Matthew 21:15. Τὰ θαυμάσια, the wonderful things) see Matthew 21:12; Matthew 21:14.

And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Matthew 21:16. Ἀκούεις, κ.τ.λ., dost Thou hear? etc.) Every thing which is not commonplace and traditional, is too much for hypocrites.[920]—ΘΗΛΑΖΌΝΤΩΝ, sucklings) who might be as much as three years old.[921] See 2Ma 7:27.

[920] νηπίων) They who to the world seem still infants, may notwithstanding have their mouths opened to utterance by Divine power. We may suppose that the little children in this instance caught up the words of those of riper age (with which view, comp. Matthew 21:9): and yet that circumstance was not without being valued in the sight of God. Only let one not be wanting to his fellow in setting a good example: the Lord will take care of the rest, nay, indeed He will take care of all things.—V. g.

[921] The passage in Maccabees runs thus:—“O my son, have pity upon me that bare thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age.” The same practice still prevails in the East. In Persia, male children are often kept at the breast till three years of age, and are never taken from it till two years and two months. In India the period is precisely three years. In 2 Chronicles 31:16, no provision is assigned for the children of Priests and Levites until after three years of age, which gives additional weight to the supposition that they were not weaned till that time. Amongst the ancient Greeks, also, it appears that mothers suckled their children till a comparatively late period.—(I. B.)

And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.
Matthew 21:17. Αὐτοὺς, them) Whose perversity has just been mentioned.

Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
Matthew 21:18. Ἐπείνασε, He hungered) though He was the King of Glory, see Matthew 21:5. Wondrous humiliation!

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
Matthew 21:19. Συκῆν μίαν, a certain fig-tree) the only one in that place.—ἦλθεν, He came) sc. as the road led by it. The fig-tree appears to have stood in a place of public resort. Our Lord’s partaking of refreshment in public is illustrated also by John 4:6-7. [i.e. at Jacob’s Well. See Gnomon in loc.]—ἐπʼ αὐτὴν, near to it[922])—λέγει, κ.τ.λ., says, etc.) By that very act He meets the difficulty which some might have otherwise experienced from astonishment at the Lord’s being hungry, and coming to a tree without fruit.[923] He was wont to display at the same time the greatest proofs of both His manhood and His Godhead; see John 11:35; John 11:40.[924]—μηκέτι ἐκ σοῦ καρπὸς γένηται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever) The Old Testament contains many miracles of vengeance: the evangelical history, at its close, this almost alone; cf. Gnomon on ch. Matthew 8:32.—καρπὸς, fruit) And therefore it was not to receive any more sap in vain. Such was the punishment of the Jews; see Luke 13:6. This is an example of what malediction is.—ἐξηράνθη, was dried up) Its outward appearance was changed; its leaves shrivelled, or even fell off.

[922] εἰ μὴ φύλλα μόνον) It is better to exhibit and produce nothing at all, than merely leaves. Reflect, O man, what kind of a tree thou art.—V. g.

[923] Viz. That as God He should be hungry at all, or if hungry, that He should not create fruit.—ED.

[924] Such instances, for example, were:—The humble condition of His nativity, on the one hand; the testimony of the angels, on the other:

His circumcision, and yet His receiving the name Jesus (expressive of God-head and salvation):

His purification, and yet at the same time the Hymns of Simeon and Anna:

His dwelling at despised Nazareth, and yet His thereby fulfilling the prophecy:

His obedience to His parents, and yet the specimen of noble gravity exhibited in a boy twelve years old:

His baptism; and, on the other hand, the protest of John, the very becoming reply of Jesus, the Voice from heaven, the Spirit of GOD descending on Him:

The Hunger and Temptation; and, on the other hand, the ministry of angels:

His informing them of His approaching Passion, followed however by His

Transfiguration on the Mount:

His paying the tribute-money at Capernaum, and yet His declaration as to the Son’s being free, His miracle in the case of the fish and the coin:

His washing the feet, yet declaring Himself Master and Lord:

His being taken prisoner, yet declaring I am He!

His Cross, yet the royal inscription over it:

His death and burial, yet the miracles, accompanied with the testimony of the centurion.—Harm. Gosp., p. 455.

And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
Matthew 21:21. Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, κ.τ.λ., but Jesus answering, said, etc.) Our Lord frequently led the disciples from admiration of miracles to things more profitable for salvation; see Luke 10:20.—πίστιν, faith) The nature of Faith is declared by its opposite, which is Doubt.—τῷ ὄρει τούτῳ, to this mountain) sc. that mentioned in Matthew 21:1 [i.e., the Mount of Olives]. A proverbial expression.—τὴν θάλασσαν, the sea) which was far from Jerusalem. Though such things have not hitherto been fulfilled; they may nevertheless be fulfilled hereafter.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.
Matthew 21:22. Αἰτήσητε ἐν τῇ προσευχῇ, ye shall ask in prayer[925]) see Mark 11:24. Miracles are performed by the prayers of the faithful.—λήψεσθε, ye shall receive, etc.) sc. as a gift. Thus, in Mark 11:23-24, ἔσται αὐτῷ, κ.τ.λ., he shall have, etc.

[925] The relation of faith to prayer is the same as that of fire to flame.—V. g.

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?
Matthew 21:23. Προσῆλθον Αὐτῷ, κ.τ.λ., came unto Him, etc.) This was the solemn[926] question, which occasioned the final trial.—οἱ ἀρχιεπεῖς, the chief priests) who considered their right to be invaded.—λέγοντες, κ.τ.λ., saying, etc.) The morose scepticism of His adversaries now at length demands credentials for the Son and Heir’s caring for His vineyard; see Matthew 21:37-38. They thought that Jesus had no call to teach, since He was neither a Priest nor a Levite.—ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ; by what authority?) divine or human.—ταῦτα, these things) sc. teaching; cf. διδάσκοντι, as He was teaching, and Mark 11:27.[927]

[926] Solennis quæstio, “Their customary question.” Acts 4:7; Acts 7:27.—ED.

[927] τίς, who) viz. of the order of the chief priests, or other rulers?—V. g.

And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 21:24. Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς, but Jesus answered, etc.) A suitable mode of answering those who tempted Him.—ἐρωτήσω ὑμᾶς κἀγὼ, κ.τ.λ., I will also ask you, etc.) Thus also in ch. Matthew 22:41. Mosheim rightly observes, “Those expositors are mistaken, who imagine that Christ had no other object in this question than to silence His adversaries.”—Oration on Christ the only model for the imitation of Theologians, p. 17.—ἕνα, one) and that too connected with your own question; one, after you have asked Me so many things, both now and heretofore. John the Baptist, though without a human call, could be and was a prophet; therefore also Jesus. If they had acknowledged the baptism of His forerunner, they would have acknowledged the authority of Christ; but since they did not acknowledge John (see Matthew 21:32), they could not believe in Jesus. Nor did they deserve that any further communications should be thrown away by Him on their pride and unbelief. To him that hath is given; from him that hath not is taken away.

The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
Matthew 21:25. Τὸ βάπτισμα, the baptism) i.e. the whole mission: cf. further on in the verse, “οὐκ ἐπιστεύσατε;” “did ye not believe?”ἐξ οὐρανοῦ, from heaven) i.e. from God. An instance of Metonomy of a reverential character.—διελογίζοντο, they reasoned with themselves) That is an evil mind which, instead of looking at the truth in a divine matter, assumes that which suits its purpose.—αὐτῷ, him) sc. bearing witness in My favour.

But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
Matthew 21:26. Φοβούμεθα, we fear) They were unwilling to confess their fear.—τὸν ὄχλον, the multitude) The multitude was scarcely likely to proceed at once to the extremity which the chief priests dreaded, yet it burned with ardent zeal in favour of John. And the Jewish population was wont, under sudden impulses, to assail, with the utmost violence, those who uttered, or were supposed to utter, impious things.—προφήτην, a prophet) sent from heaven, which had not happened for a long while.

And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Matthew 21:27. Οὐκ οἴδαμεν, we do not know) A forced confession of most disgraceful ignorance.[928]—ΟὐΔῈ, Κ.Τ.Λ., neither, etc.) A repulse rare and just, by which itself Jesus proves His divine authority.[929]—ὙΜῖΝ, to you) you unbelievers, who do not ask for the sake of learning. He gave them a clue by which to ascertain that authority; see ch. Matthew 22:43. He had often told them before.

[928] In which, however, the proud at times prefer seeking a refuge, rather than yield themselves up to the truth. The Wicked is caught in (his own) snare.—V. g.

[929] It would not have been becoming that more should be given to one who hath not.—V. g.

But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.
Matthew 21:28.[930] Τέκνα δύο, two sons) A specimen of two classes.[931]—ΠΡΟΣΕΛΘῺΝ, having come to) sc. kindly.—τῷ πρώτῳ, the first) who went before the other; see Matthew 21:31 [“Go into the kingdom of God before you].

[930] τί δὲ ὑμῖν δοκεῖ, But what think ye?) After that the Jews had declined to commit themselves, by expressing an opinion concerning the baptism of John, the Saviour defends Himself along with John, thereby reproving the unbelief of the chief priests.—Harm., p. 460.

[931] In the dialogue which Athanasius is said to have had at Nicæa with Arius, the First Son is referred to the Jews, the Second, to the Gentiles.—See App. Crit., ed. ii., p. 131.—E. B.

In Matthew 21:31, Lachm. reads ὁ ὕστερος with B. Ὁ ἔσχατος is read by Dabd, MSS. Amiat. (the oldest existing), and Fuld. and Forojuliensis of the Vulg. However Jerome, though editing, as appears from his commentary, ‘novissimus,’ yet states that good copies have ‘primus’ (ὁ πρῶτος): c also, and some less ancient copies of the Vulg., agree with Rec. Text, ὁ πρῶτος. But Hil. 717 has ‘junior.’ The ὁ ὕστερος or ἔσχατος, as being the more difficult reading, would be more likely to be changed by a corrector into ὁ πρῶτος, than vice versa. Jerome vii. 168e explains the former reading, ‘novissimus,’ thus:—“The Jews understood the truth, but shrunk back, and would not say what they thought; just as, though knowing the baptism of John to be from heaven, they would not acknowledge in words that it was so.” They did not like, I think, to repeat again the same reply as before in Matthew 21:27, οὐκ οἴδαμεν, therefore they doggedly, in spite of convictions, replied, ὁ ὕστερος. However, the words, Λέγουσιν ὁ ὕστερος: λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰνσοῦς, seem to be an interpolation: for Origen, who seldom passes over difficult passages, takes no notice of these words; and besides, ὕστερος as an adjective, is found nowhere in the New Testament except in 1 Timothy 4:1.—ED.

He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.
And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go, sir: and went not.
Matthew 21:30. Τῷ ἑτέρῳ, the other) Who, in a different point of view, is called the eldest in Luke 15:25.—ὡσαύτως, in like manner) with undoubtedly the same spirit. Their calling was equal.—ἐγω, I) sc. ὑπάγω, go; cf. in Acts 9:10, the reply of Ananias, ἰδοὺ, ἐγὼ, Behold, I, sc. am here; and in S. V. of Jdg 13:11, that of the angel to Manoah, ἐγὼ, I, sc. am.—Κύριε, Lord) cf. ch. Matthew 7:22.

Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.
Matthew 21:31.[932] Εἰς, into, or as regards) the kingdom of heaven.

[932] ὁ πρῶτος, the first) Work without words is better than splendid words unaccompanied with work: and also it is better to adopt a praiseworthy course subsequently, rather than not at all. V. g.

For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.
Matthew 21:32. Ἐν ὁδῷ δικαιοσύνης, in the way of righteousness) “The way of righteousness” expresses more than “A righteous way.”—τελῶναι, publicans) who were unjust.—αἱ πόρναι, the harlots) who were unchaste.—It may be asked whether these, and consequently women in general, and also infants, were baptized by John: cf. Acts 16:15.—οὐ μετεμελήθητε, did not alter your way of thinking.[933]—ὕστερον, afterwards) when you had seen their example.

[933] Bengel’s words are, non mutastis sententiam. In his German Version he renders it. “habt euch hernach nicht anders bedacht,” “have not after that changed your mind.”

In his Harmony, however, he renders it, “thatet ihr dennoch nichi busse,” “notwithstanding did not repent.” E. V. has “repented not afterward.”—(I. B.)

Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
Matthew 21:33. Οἰκοδεσπότης, a householder) who had a large family [sc. of servants, labourers, etc.]—ἀμπελῶνα, a vineyard) i.e. the Jewish Church.—φραγμὸν, a hedge) i.e. the law.[934]—ληνὸν, a winepress) i.e. Jerusalem.—πύργον, a tower) i.e. the temple; see Matthew 21:23.[935]—ἀπεδήμησεν, went into a far country) The time of Divine silence is meant, when men act according to their own will and pleasure [pro arbitrio]: cf. ch. Matthew 25:14, and Mark 13:34.

[934] In the note in the Germ. Vers., Bengel interprets the Hedge, with a slight change of the figure, of the separation of the people of Israel from all the nations of the earth, including at the same time the idea of the divine protection afforded to the former against the latter: the Winepress, the order of the priesthood: the Tower, the Kingdom (Theocracy). We should not, however, on account of this difference between his former and his latter views in this instance, conclude that such details in Parables are mere empty flowers of ornament. The parts of an enigma, however abstruse, are not idle. Comp. what is said below in Gnomon on ch. Matthew 22:11.—E. B.

[935] ἐξέδοτο αὐτὸν, let it out) This is the ground on which rests the power of the Church. The vineyard was let out to husbandmen. They who preside in either political or ecclesiastical offices, can indeed act according to their own pleasure, and, like the holders of the vineyard, consult only their own private interests: they can maltreat the servants of the Lord: they can wantonly wrest aside the laws of the Church according to their caprice: and can in this way, though not now as then kill the Heir Himself, yet thrust Him out fur some time from His own proper place. But—the time of Visitation is coming at last.—V. g.

And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
Matthew 21:34. Ὅτε δὲ ἤγγισεν ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν, But when the season of the fruit drew near) Comp. John 4:35. Here also lurks the reason why the Messiah had not come sooner.—τοὺς δούλους, His servants) Servants here represent the extraordinary and greater ministers of God; labourers, the ordinary.[936]—τοὺς καρποὺς, the fruits) understand, of the householder, or rather, of the vineyard.

[936] Of whom the former are for the most part received badly by the latter, inasmuch as these take it ill that they should be disturbed in their quiet holding of the vineyard.—V. g.

And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Matthew 21:35. Ἔδειραν, they beat) The LXX. generally put ἐκδρέω, to skin off, only once δέρω, to skin, for the Hebrew פּשט in the sense of to flay. They never use the verb otherwise. The Old Vocabulary renders the Latin “excorio” (to skin) by the Greek, ἀποδέρω. But δαίρω signifies to beat in Arrian, B. iii., and Epictetus, ch. xix. and xxii. Whence Suidas and Favorinus draw a clear distinction between the two verbs, δέρω and δαίρω. Hesychius also renders δείραντες by ἐκδείραντες, and ἔδειραν by ἐξέδειραν, which he further explains by ἐξεδερμάτησαν, they flayed. Old glosses, however, render δέρω by τύπτω, to beat: and Aristophanes, in the Wasps (ed. Dindorf, 485), says, Ἤ δέδοκταί μοι δέρεσθαι καὶ δέρειν δἰ ἡμέρας, “I have indeed determined to be beaten, and to beat all the day long,”—where the Scholiast says, δέρεσθαι and δέρειν” are for τύπτεσθαι (to be beaten). In fact, the verbs, κεφαλαιόω (to capitate), τραχηλίζω (to jugulate), γαστρίζω (to stomachize), and thus also δέρω (to skin or hide), have a wide signification, implying the infliction of injury on the head, throat, stomach, or skin respectively, either by removing them altogether, or else by striking them. The desire to avoid ambiguity induced the later Greeks to write either δέρω or δαὶρω, and thence, in this passage, ἔδῃραν.[937]

[937] So the uncial Cod. U, etc.—ED.

Ἔδειρανἀπέκτεινανἐλιθοβόλησαν, beat—slew—stoned) An ascending climax, in which the third degree is an atrocious species of the second; cf. Mark 12:3-4, and Luke 20:10-12, where a greater number of intermediate degrees occurs.

Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
Matthew 21:36.[938] Πλείονας, more) sc. superior (potiores), like the Hebrew רבים (great or numerous): superior, certainly in number, and without doubt also in virtue, dignity, etc. The increase of calling[939] is no sign of a more faithful people.

[938] πάλιν ἀπέστειλεν ἄλλους) We may regard the servants first sent as meaning the Prophets of the middle period, which is called that of the Kings, the servants subsequently sent, as meaning those who flourished about the time of the Captivity in Babylon.—V. g.

[939] i.e. An increase in the number of those who are sent to call men to repentance.—(I. B.)

But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
Matthew 21:37. Ὕστερον, last of all) Cf. Hebrews 1:1.—ἐνραπήσοιται, they will reverence) i.e. they were in duty bound to do so.

But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
Matthew 21:38. Οὗτος ἐστιν ὁ Κληρονόμος, this is the Heir) They might have known Him to be the Heir, and yet they opposed His right.—δεῦτε, ἀποκτεινῶμεν Αὐτὸν, come, let us kill Him) Thus the LXX. in Genesis 37:20.—κατασχῶμεν, let us seize upon) They thought to have done so after Christ was slain: see ch. Matthew 27:63-64.

And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
Matthew 21:39. Ἐξέβαλονκαὶ ἀπέκτειναν, they cast Him out—and slew Him) St Mark reverses the order of these verbs. They rejected the Lord Jesus both before His death, by denying His right (Matthew 21:23), and even more so, by delivering Him up to a Gentile tribunal; and also after His death, by a hostile interference with His sepulture; see ch. Matthew 27:63-64, etc.[940]

[940] Matthew 21:40. ὅταν οὖν ἔλθῃ) This coming was accomplished in the destruction of Jerusalem.—V. g.

When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Matthew 21:41. Κακοὺς κακῶς ἀπολέσει αὐτούς, He will miserably destroy those wicked men[941]) An act of retaliation.[942] He will do so miserably with reference to the miserable and wicked husbandmen: cf. in Hebrews 10:29, χείρονοςτιμωρίσς SORER punishment.—ἐκδώσεται, will let out) In the Church gathered from the Gentiles, the ministers and overseers enjoy great liberty.[943] The same verb occurs in Matthew 21:33.—καιροῖς, seasons) sc. different seasons.—αὐτῶν, their, of them) referring to καρποὺς, the fruits, in Matthew 21:34.

[941] In the original the words are, “κακοὺς κακῶςmale malos,” which cannot be rendered in English so as to give the full force of the words: perhaps “ill (adverb) them ill (adjective)” is about the nearest approach that can be made—or, He will wretchedly destroy those wretches.—(I. B.)

[942] Talio—i.e. doing ill to ill doers.—(I. B.)

[943] Such as the Jewish Church did not enjoy, as being but local and elementary.—ED.

Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Matthew 21:42. Ἐν ταῖς γραφαῖς, in the Scriptures, Writings). There is one volume which deserves the name of “Writing”[944] (Scripture), and “Book.” The rest deserve to be valued only so far as they aid mankind in understanding and obeying this One Book, and are conformed to that Archetype.—λίθονἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, the stone—in our eyes) This is an exact quotation from [945] Psalm 118:22-23, as rendered by the LXX. This Psalm was particularly well known. See Gnomon on Matthew 21:9 (comp. ch. Matthew 26:30).—ἀπεδοκίμασαν, rejected) They did not consider Him as even a fit stone or worthy member of the Church at all.—παρὰ Κυρίου ἐγένετο, is the Lord’s doing) This is known to be the case, from the importance of the matter, and the disagreement of the builders.—αὕτη, this [Lat. hæc, Fr. cette]) The feminine for the neuter: a Hebraism. This, sc. thing. In Psalm 102:19[946] the LXX. render זאת (this, fem.) by ΑὝΤΗ, thus preserving the gender of the original: as also in the analogous phrases in Psalm 119:50,[947] 56; Jdg 15:7; Jdg 21:3, where ἘΓΕΝΉΘΗ ΑὝΤΗ (is THIS come to pass) occurs. Cf. 1 Kings 3:18.—καὶ ἔστι, and is) sc. היא, it (fem.), i.e. אבן, the stone, itself is wonderful.—θαυμαστὴ, wonderful[948]) sc. on account of the great glory which it has obtained. The Evangelist uses the feminine, because he was unwilling to depart from the LXX.—ἐν ὀφθαλμοῖς ἡμῶν, in our eyes) sc. of us believers [1 Peter 2:7].

[944] In Greek and Latin the same word signifies both Writings and Scriptures.—(I. B.)

[945] Numbered cxvii. in S. V.—(I. B.)

[946] These are the Hebrew numbers. In S. V. it is ci. 18; in E. V. cii. 18.—(I. B.)

[947] Numbered cxviii. in S. V.—(I. B.)

[948] Bengel in both instances uses the word mirabilis, which implies in this place admiration as well as wonder.—(I. B.)

Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Matthew 21:43. Αὐτῆς, thereof) sc. the kingdom.[949]

[949] Even though thou mayest be a good tree, yet thy fruit is not thine own, but that of the vineyard. Romans 11:17—V. g.

And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Matthew 21:44. Ὁ πεσὼν ἐπὶ, κ.τ.λ., whosoever shall fall on, etc.) He falleth on this Stone (sc. Christ in His humiliation) who stumbles (offendit) by not believing, whilst the Gospel is being preached; but this Stone (sc. Christ in His glory) falleth on him, who is crushed by His sudden coming to judgment. Both happen especially to the Jews, and also to the Gentiles. See 2 Thessalonians 1:8, and Daniel 2:34; Daniel 2:45.—λικμήσει, shall scatter, dissolve, dissipate, reduce to dust) The verb λικμᾶν signifies to scatter, as when chaff is given to the winds. See the LXX., who employ this verb in Job 27:21 for the Hebrew שער, to sweep away in a storm; in Daniel 2:44, for אסף, to destroy; and repeatedly elsewhere for זרה, to scatter or disperse.

And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
Matthew 21:45.[950] Λέγει, He is speaking) They perceived that Jesus had not yet concluded what He had to say. See ch. Matthew 22:1.

[950] περὶ αὐτῶν) as being the ‘husbandmen’ and the ‘builders.’—V. g.

But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared the multitude, because they took him for a prophet.
Gnomon of the New Testament by Johann Bengel

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