ICC New Testament Commentary
And it came to pass, that on one of those days, as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the gospel, the chief priests and the scribes came upon him with the elders,20:1-8. The Question of the Sanhedrin respecting the authority of Jesus. Matthew 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33. Having given a general description of the activity of Jesus and of His enemies during these last days, Lk. now gives some illustrations of both. it was fear of the people which kept His opponents from proceeding against Him: and therefore their first object was to discredit Him with His protectors. Then they could adopt more summary measures.
None of the Evangelists enables us to answer with certainty the question whether the hierarchy had at first any idea of employing the sicarii to assassinate Jesus. Matthew 26:4 might mean this. But more probably this and other notices of plots against the life of Jesus refer to the intention of getting Him out of the way by some legal process, either as a blasphemer or as a rebel against the Roman government. Of course, if a mob could be goaded into a fury and provoked to put Him to death (4:29; John 8:59, John 10:31), this would suit their purpose equally well. The intrinsic probability of the controversies reported by the Evangelist as taking place after the triumphal entry is admitted even by Strauss.
If the tentative chronology suggested above be accepted, this conversation about authority took place probably two days after the entry, and on Tuesday, April 4, Nisan 12. This day is sometimes called the “Day of Questions.” We have (1) the Sanhedrin asking about Authority, and (2) Christ’s counter-question about the Baptist; (3) the Pharisees and Herodians asking about the Tribute; (4) the Sadducees asking about the Woman with Seven Husbands; (5) the Scribe asking which is the First Commandment; (6) Christ’s question about Psa_110. It is possible this day the question was asked about the Woman taken in Adultery; but that is too precarious to be worth more than a passing mention, although Renan places it here without doubt, and makes it the proximate cause of the arrest and death of Jesus (V. de J. p. 346). If it were included, we might group the questions pressed upon Christ thus: (i.) a personal question; (ii.) a political question; (iii.) a doctrinal question; (iv.) an ethical question; (v.) a question of discipline. Of hardly any day in our Lord’s life have we so full a report. With Luk_20. and 21. comp. Mat_21:18-5; Mar_11:20-2; John 12:20-43. It includes at least four parables: the Two Sons (Matthew 21:28-32), the Wicked Husbandmen (Matthew 21:33-44; Mark 12:1-11; Luke 20:9-18), the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and eht Talentg (Matthew 25:14-30). The day may be considered the last working-day of Christ’s ministry, the last of His public teaching, the last of activity in the temple, the last of instruction to the e and of warning to their leaders. “It is a picture with genuine Oriental local colouring. … We see Jesus sitting surrounded by a multitude awed into silence. They are all devoutly meditating on the great Messianic question. From time to time an emissary from His opponents steps up to Him, with Eastern solemnity and ceremoniousness, to propose some well-considered question. Anxiously do the multitude listen for Jesus’ answer. Then again follows a meditative silence as before, until at last Jesus Himself delivers a connected discourse” (Hausrath, N. T. Times, ii. p. 250).
1. ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν. Lk. alone uses this expression (5:17, 8:22; comp. 5:12, 13:10). He is still indefinite in his chronology. Mt. is a little more clear. It is Mk. who enables us to distinguish three days; presumably Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. “The days” perhaps refers to the “daily teaching in the temple” (19:47); and this deputation from the Sanhedrin is the result of their “seeking to destroy Him.” We have a similar deputation to the Baptist John 1:19. See fourth note on Luke 9:22. For εὐγγελιζομένου, which defines the character of His teaching more clearly than διδάσκοντος, see on 2:10.
ἐπέστησαν. One of Lk.’s favourite words (see on 2:38): “there came upon Him.” So also σὺν τοῖς πρ. and πρὸς αὐτόν illustrate his fondness for these prepositions. Mt. and Mk. here have καὶ for σύν (see on 1:56), and neither of them has πρός after λέγειν.
The introduction of the oratio recta by λέγοντες or λέγων after εἰπεῖν is rare (Mark 12:26): but either is common after λαλεῖν (Acts 8:26, Acts 26:31, Acts 28:25, etc.).
2. ἐν ποίᾳ … ποιεῖς; So in all three. The two questions are not identical; nor is the second a mere explanation of the first. It anticipates the reply, “By the Messiah’s authority,” with another question, “Who made Thee Messiah?” They ask by what kind of authority, human or Divine, ecclesiastical or civil, assumed or conferred, He acts. They refer not merely to His teaching, but also to His cleansing the temple, as ποιεῖς shows. On the first occasion they had asked for a σημεῖον as a guarantee for the lawfulness of His ποιεῖν (John 2:18). They do not venture to do more than question Him, for they know that the feeling and conscience of the people are with Him for putting down their extortionate and profane traffic, for His teaching, and for His works of healing. This was the one point where He seemed to be vulnerable. “For there was no principle more firmly established by universal consent than that authoritative teaching required previous authorization,” because all such teaching was traditional (Edersh. L. & T. 2. p. 381). For ἐν ἐξουσσίᾳ see on 4:32.
3. εἶπεν πρὸς αὐτούς. Both Mt. and Mk. have αὐτοῖς.
Ἐρωτήσω ὑμᾶς κἀγὼ λόγον. The λόγον refers to their answer rather than His question, as is shown by ὅν ἐὰν εἴπητέ μοι (Matthew 21:24). “You ask Me to state My authority. I also will ask you for a statement”; not, “ask you a question” (RV.), nor, “ask you one thing” (AV.). As teachers they must speak first.
The ἕνα (A C D) is an insertion from Mt. and Mk, om. א B L R, Syr-Sin. Latin texts are divided.
4. Verbatim as Mt. and Mk., except that Mt. inserts πόθεν, and Mk. adds ἀποκρίθητέ μοι. “Baptism of repentance” was the special characteristic of John’s teaching (3:3). The question as to is origin is not a mere escape from their attack by placing them in a difficulty: the answer to it would lead to the answer to their question. John had testified to the Divine authority of Jesus, and his baptism was a preparation for the Messianic Kingdom. What had been their view of John’s position? That was a question to which the official guides of the nation were bound, and had long been bound, to furnish an answer. For the alternative ειξ οὐρανοῦ or ἐξ ἀνθρώπων comp. Acts 5:38, Acts 5:395. συνελογίσαντο. Here only in N.T., but classical. א C D have συνελογζοντο. Comp. ver. 14.
6. καταλιθάσει. Here only: but λιθάζειν is found John 10:31-33, John 10:11:8; Acts 5:26, Acts 14:19. In LXX λιθάζειν occurs twice (2 Samuel 16:6, 2 Samuel 16:13), but λιθοβλεῖν is the common verb. comp, 13:34; Acts 7:58. The κατα. expresses “stoning down, overwhelming with stones”: Comp. καταλιθοβολεῖν Exodus 17:4, and καταλιθοῦν in Josephus. Here Mt. and Mk. have the less definite expression, “fear the multitude.”
προφήτην εἶναι. Their intense joy at the reappearance of a Prophet after three centuries of silence (p. 80) would be the measure of their fury against a hierarchy which should declare that John had not been a Prophet at all. Comp. 7:29, 30. With ὁ λαὸς ἅπας comp. 19:48. Nowhere else does πεπεισμένος ἐστιν occur.
7. μἠ εἰδέναι πόθεν. This shameful and dishonest avowal is excelled a few days later by their answer to Pilate, “We have no king but Cæsar” (John 19:15). Timentes lapidationem, sed magis timentes veritatis confessionem (Bede), these professed “Teachers of Israel” (John 3:10), who so scorned the ignorant multitude (John 7:49), confessed that they had not yet decided whether one, who for years had been recognized by the nation as a Prophet, had any Divine commission. If they were not competent to judge of the Baptist, still less were they competent to judge of the Christ. Nösgen, Gesch. J. C. i. p. 514.
8. οὐδὲ ἐγώ. Verbatim as in Mt. and Mk. Their refusal to answer His question cancels their claim to an answer from Him. This they admit by ceasing to press it. See Gould on Mark 11:33.
9-19. The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen. Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12. Mt. here gives a trilogy of parables, placing this one between the Two Sons and the Marriage of the King’s Son. Godet thinks that the Two Sons cannot have been uttered where Mt. places it. But it fits the preceding discussion about the Baptist very well; and Mk., who records one parable only, says ἤρξατα αὐτοῖς ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖν, which agrees well with the fact that more than one parable was spoken. The idea of “work in the vineyard” is common to both parables. In this parable Christ lets His enemies know that He is aware of their murderous plans against Himself; an in it He warns both them and the people generally of the fatal results co themselves, if their pans are carried out.1 It is the special characteristic of this parable that it does not teach general and perinanent truths for the guidance of Christians, but refers to post, present, and future events. From the conduct of His traditional enemies, especially at that very time, He predicts His own end and theirs. The parable is capable of spiritual application as to God’s dealings with churches and individuals, but its primary reference is to the treatment which He is receiving from the Jewish hierarchy. The parable contains the answer to the question which they had raised. He is acting in the authority of His Father who sent Him to them. The imagery is taken from the O. T. and would be readily understood by the audience. The inairl source is the similar parable Isaiah 5:1-7; but comp. Jeremiah 2:21; Ezekiel 15:1-6, 19:10-14; Hosea 10:1; Deuteronomy 32:32, Deuteronomy 32:33, and the many other passages in which Israel is spoken of as a vineyard or a vine; Psalm 80:8 ff.; Joel 1:7, etc.
It has been said that be main difference between this parable and Is. v. or other O.T. figures is, that there the husbandmen or leaders and teachers of the people are not mentioned: it is the nation as a whole that fails in its duty to Jehovah. Here it is those who have charge of the nation that are condemned: the vineyard itself is not destroyed for its unfruitfulness, but is treansferred to more faithful stewards. And, in support of this view, it has been pointed out that in the first times of the Kingdom the nation went voluntarily into idolatry; it was not led into it by the priests and other teachers: but now it was mainly the official teachers who prevented the people from acceptin Jesus as the Messiah. This, however, does not fit vv. 15, 16, which show that the tenants are the Jewish nation, and not merely the leaders, and that the vineyard is not the nation, but its spiritual privileges. The nation was not to be transferred to other rulers, but its privileges were to be transferred to other nations.
9. Ἤρξατο δὲ πρὸς τὸν λαὸν λέγειν. There is a pause after the discomfiture of the deputation from the Sanhedrin; and then Jesus “begins” to address a different company. But while He speaks to the people He also speaks at the hierarchy, who are still present, though silenced. Mt. and Mk. regard the parable as addressed to the latter. Syr-Sin. has “to speak to them.” D, a d e omit πρὸς τὸν λαόν. Comp. 5:36.
Ἄνθρωπος. Lk. commonly adds τις: see small print note on 13:19. TR. follows A in adding τις here.
ἐφύτευσεν ἀμπελῶνα . The phrase is freq. in O.T. (Genesis 9:20; Deuteronomy 20:6, 28:30, 39; Psalm 106:37, etc.). Lk. omits the fence, the winepress, and the tower.
ἐξέδετο. In all three narratives in this place, but nowhere else in N. T. In LXX it is used of giving a daughter in marriage; Exodus 2:21; Ecclus. 7:25; 1 Mac. 10:58: but the sense of letting out for hire is classical; Plat. Leg. vii:806 D, γεωργίαι δὲ ἐκδεδομέναι δούλοις ἀπαρχὴν τῶν ἐκ τῆς ανποτελοῦσιν ἱκανήν. Among the Jews rent was sometimes paid in money, but generally in kind. If in kind, it was either a fixed amount of produce, whether the harvest was good or bad; or a certain proportion, e.g. a third or fourth, of each harvest. This latter system led to much disputing and dishonesty, and does so still wherever it is adopted. The tenants in the parable have a long lease and pay in kind; but it is not clear whether they pay a fixed or a proportionate amount.
The same form (ετο, not -οτο is found in the best MSS. in all three. Comp. διεδίδετο (Acts 4:35) and παρεδίδετο (1 Corinthians 11:23). Gregory, Proleg. p. 124.
Χρόνους ἱκανούς . This addition is peculiar to Lk. See on 7:12. We may understand several years.
10. καιρῷ . No doubt ὁ καιρὸς τῶν καρπῶν (Mt.) is meant. Syr-Sin. has “at one of the seasons.”
ἀπέστειλεν … δοῦλον . So also Mk., while Mt. has τους δούλους αὐτοῦ. In Lk. it is always a single slave who is sent, and the treatment becomes worse each time, culminating in the slaying of the heir, before whom no one is killed. In Mt. and Mk. there is no such dramatic climax, and several are killed before the son is sent: all which is more in accordance with facts in Jewish history. See 1 Kings 18:13, 22:1 Kings 18:24-27; 2 Kings 6:31, 2 Kings 6:21:16; 2 Chronicles 24:19-22, 36:15, 2 Chronicles 24:16; Nehemiah 9:26; Jeremiah 37:15, 44:4; Acts 7:52.
ἵνα ἀπὸ τοῦ καρποῦ. Keim says that this means the O. T. tenth; but it does not necessarily imply a proportionate amount at all. A fixed amount, independent of the yield, would be paid ἀπὸ τοῦ καρποῦ.
ἵνα … δώσουσιν . The fut. iudic. is found in class. Grk. after ὅπως, but not after ἵνα. In bibl. Grk, it is found most often in the last of a series: of verbs following ἵνα: but cases in which the verb depends immediately upon ἵνα occur: 1 Corinthians 9:18; 1 Peter 3:1, Revelation 6:4, Revelation 8:3, Revelation 9:20, Revelation 12:12, on 14:13, and other passages in which the reading is somewhat doubtful. See on 14:10. Burton., § 198, 199.
ἐξαπέστειλαν … κενόν . They probably told him, and perhas tried to persuade themselves that his master’s demand was unjust. Excepting Galatians 4:4, Galatians 4:6. the verb is peculiar in N.T. to Lk. (Acts 7:12, Acts 9:30, Acts 11:22, Acts 12:11, Acts 13:26, Acts 17:14, Acts 22:21); but it is freq. in LXX. For the phrase “send empty away” comp 1:53; Genesis 31:42; Deuteronomy 15:13; 1 Samuel 6:3; Job 22:9. For δείρατες see on 12:47.
11. προσέθετο πέμψαι . A Hebraism: see on 19:11. Whether this is a second messenger sent that same vintage, or the messenger sent at another vintage, is not stated. The important point is that chastisement does not follow upon the first outrage. The husbandmen have several opportunities; and these are brought by different persons. If one messenger’s manner of delivering his message was unpleasing, another’s would be the opposite. But this time they add insult (ἀτιμάσαντες) to violence. Comp. the use of ἀτιμάζειν in John 8:49; Acts 5:41; Romans 1:24, Romans 1:2:23; Jam 2:6. The verb is freq. in LXX.
12. τραυματίσαντες . Worse than δείραντές κ. ἀτιμάσαντες, as ἐξέβαλον is worse than ἀξαπέστειλαν. Comp. Hebrews 11:36-38; Acts 7:52.
13. Τί ποιήσω ; Peculiar to this account; as also is the qualifying ἴσως, which occurs nowhere else in N.T., and only once in LXX (1 Samuel 25:21), where English Versions have “surely.” Godet contends for such a meaning here: pourtant, en tout cas, certainement. But comp. ΚΛ. Ἴσως. ΑΘ. Οὐκ ἴσως, ἀλλʼ ὄντως ὦ δαομόνιε (Plat. Laws, xii:965).
We must remember that it is the ἄνθρωπος of ver. 9 who deliberates as to what he shall do, says ἴσως, and expects that his son will be well received. All this is the setting of the parable, and must not be pressed as referring to God. This man represents God, not by his perplexity, but by his long-suffering and mercy.
ἐντραπήσονται. In all three: for the meaning see on 18:2. This form of the fut. is late. In Polyb. and Plut. the verb sometimes has an acc., but in class. Grk. a gen., when it means “reverence” Comp. Exodus 10:3, Wisd. 2:10.
The ἰδότες of TR. with A R, Vulg. Goth. comes from ver. 14; om. א B C D C Q, a c d e ff2 i l q r, Bob. Arm. The Syriac Versions are divided. Syr-Sin. is defective here.
14. διελογίζοντο πρὸς ἀλλήλους. This touch also is peculiar to Lk. It perhaps looks back to 19:47, 48. Nothing is gained by taking πρὸς ἀλλήλους: with λέγοντες: comp. πρὸς ἑαυτούς, which is equally amphibolous, ver. 5.
A K and Latt. have διελογίσαντο, cogitaverunt and A C Q, Vulg. have πρὸς ἑαυτούς from Mark 12:7 for πρὸς ἀλλήλους (א B D L P, Bob. Arm.). For ὁ κληρονόμος see Wsctt. on Hebrews 1:2 and his detached note on Hebrews 6:12, p. 167.
15. ἐκβαλόντες ἀπέκτειναν . This perhaps was intended to represent their turning him out of his inheritance. It may be doubted whether it refers to Jesus “suffering without the gate.” Outside the vineyard would be outside Israel rather than outside Jerusalem. Moreover in Mk. the heir is killed before he is cast out of his inheritance. It is possible that they regard the vineyard as already made over to the heir, as was often the case in ancient law: see on 15:12. Comp. the case of Naboth: ἐξήγαγον αὐτὸν ἄξω τῆς καὶ ἐλιθοβόλησαν αὐτὸν λίθοις, καὶ ἀπέθανεν (1 Kings 20:13). No doubt ἔξω τ. ἀμπελῶνος goes with ἐκβαλόντες (4:29; Acts 7:58, which is closely parallel), not with ἀπέκτειναν.
τί οὖν ποιήσει αὐτοῖς ; Not, τί οὖν ἐποίησεν; Our Lord indicates that the parable is not a mere fiction: it is a key to a future which depends upon present action. Assuming that the heir is killed, what will happen? In Mt. some of the bystanders answer the question. They are so interested, and enter so fully into the spirit of the narrative, that, without seeing the application to themselves, they reply κακοὺς κακῶς. See on 19:25, and comp. David’s reply to Nathan’s parable (2 Samuel 12:5, 2 Samuel 12:6).
16. ἐλεύσεταιλ καὶ ἀπολέσει … καὶ δώσει . Three points: He will no longer send but come; will punish the wrong-doers; will transfer their privileges to others. The Jews were familiar with the idea of the Gentiles being gathered into the Messianic Kingdom (Isaiah 2:2; Isa_60. passim; Jeremiah 3:17). Yet this was restricted to those Gentiles who had taken no part in oppressing Israel, but had submitted to Israel; and later Judaism as a rule denied even this to the heathen (Charles, Enoch, 90:30). Here the Jews are to lose what the Gentiles gain. In vv. 16-19 Syr-Sin. is confused.
ἀκούσαντες δὲ εἶπαν Μὴ γένοιτο . We need not confine this to the people and conclude that “the Pharisees had too much wariness and self command to have allowed such an exclamation to escape from their lips.” The exclamation may not mean more than “That is incredible,” or “Away with the thought.” See Lft. on Galatians 2:17 and Sanday on Romans 3:4. This is the only instance of μὴ γένοιτο in N.T. outside the Pauline Epp., where it generally is used to scout a false inference which might be drawn. Burton., § 176, 177. Here it probably refers to the punishment rather than to the sin which brings it,—to ἀπολέσει καὶ δώσει rather than to ἀπέκτειναν.
The expression is rare in the Pauline Epp. except in Rom., where it occurs ten times: twice in Gal. and once in 1 Cor. In LXX it is rare, and never stands as an independent sentence: Genesis 44:7, Genesis 44:17; Joshua 22:29, Joshua 22:24:16; 1Ki_20  3.
17. ἐμβλψας αὐτοῖς. Lk. alone has this touch. Comp, 22:61 and Elisha’s fixed look on Hazael (2 Kings 8:11).
Τί οὖν ἐστίν. “If the destruction which I have just foretold is not to come (μὴ γένοιτο), how then do you explain this text?” The passage is once more (see on ver. 9) from the Hallel Psalms (118:22, 23), where see Perowne. The Rabbis recognized it as Messianic: see Schoettg. 1. p. 173. In all three Gospels the quotation is verbatim as in LXX. For τὸ γεγραμμένον see on 22:37, and for ἀπεδοκίμασαν see on 9:22. Perhaps λίθον is “a stone” rather than “the stone”: the builders may have rejected many stones, one of which became κεφαλὴ γωνίας. But, if the Jews used Λίος as a name for the Messiah, as seems to be probable, “the stone” is better. In Justin Martyr we have Λίθος as a name for Christ (Try. xxiv:xxxvi.): see on Romans 9:33.
For the attraction of λίθον to ὄν see on 3:19, and for ἐγενήθη εἰς see on 13:19.
κεφαλὴ γωνίας . Not the key-stone of the arch, but a cornerstone uniting two walls; but whether a foundation-stone at the base of the corner, or a completing stone at the top of it, is uncertain. Comp. Acts 4:11 and 1 Peter 2:7; also ἀκρογωνιαῖος in Ephesians 2:20 and Isaiah 28:16. Mt. and Mk. quote ver. 23 of Psa_118. as well as ver. 22, and Mt. adds the explanation that the Kingdom shall be transferred to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. Would Lk. have omitted this reference to the believing and loyal Gentiles if he had known it? We conclude that he was not familiar with Mt.’s account. See on 19:46.
18. πᾶς ὁ πεσὼν … αὐτόν . These words are not in Mk. and are of somewhat doubtful authority in Matthew 21:44, where they are omitted by D 33, or b d e ff12 Syr-Sin., Orig. But the characteristic πᾶς is in any case peculiar to Lk. The first half of the saying seems to be an adaptation of Isaiah 8:14, and the second half an adaptation of Daniel 2:34, Daniel 2:35, Daniel 2:44. Christ is a stumblingblock to some (2:34), and they suffer heavily for their shortsightedness. They not only lose the blessing which is offered, but what they reject works their overthrow.
συνθλασθήσεται . “Shall be shattered”; confringetur (Lat Vet, Beza), conquassabitur (Vlug.), wird zerschellen (Luth.). But in Matthew 21:44 Vulg. has confringetur. The verb occurs nowhere else in N.T., but the act, is found in LXX (Psalm 57:7; Micah 3:3), and several times as v.l.
ἐφʼ ὅν δʼ ἃν πέσῃ . Note the impressive change of construction. In the first case the man is the chief agent; in the second the stone. And the main thought now is simply λίθος: the metaphor of κεφαλή γωνίας is dropped. A chief corner-stone would not be likely either to trip up a person or to fall on him.
λικμήσει αὐτόν. The rendering “grind to powder,” which all English. Versions from Tyn. to AV. give (Rhem. “breake to pouder”), follows the comminuet of Vulg. (in Mt. conteret), but is without authority. Not only in classical authors (Hom. Xen. Plut. Lucian.), but also in LXX, it means “to winnow chaff from gain,” from λικμός, “a winnowing fan.” In Ruth 3:2, λικμᾷ τὸν ἅλωνα τῶν κριθῶν, and Ecclus. 5:9, μὴ λίκμα ἐν παντὶ ἀνέμῳ, the meaning is indisputable. Hence “to blow away like chaff, sweep out of sight or out of existence”: ἀναλήμψεται δὲ αὐτὸν καύσων καὶ ἀπελεύσεται, καὶ λικνήσει αὐτὸν ἐκ τοῦ τόπου αὐτοῦ (Job 27:21); καὶ πόρῥω αὐτὸν διώξεται ὦς χνοῦν ἀχύρου λικμώντων ἀπέναντι ἀνέμου (Isaiah 17:13); ὁ λικυμήσαν τὸν Ἰσραὴλ συννάξει αὐτόν (Jeremiah 31:10); καὶ λικμήσω ἐν πᾶσιν τοῦς ἔθνεσιν τὸν οἶκον τοῦ Ἰσραήλ, ὃν τρόπον λικμᾶται ἐν τῷ λικμῷ (Amos 9:9). Daniel 2:44 is important, as being the probable source of the saying: there, while in LXX we read πατάξει καὶ ἀφανίσει, Theodotion has λεπτυνεῖ καὶ λικμήσει, showing that λικμήσει = ἀφανίσει. Comp. Theod. ἐγένετο ὡσεὶ κονιορτὸς ἀποʼ ἅλωνος θερινῆς, καὶ ἐξῆρεν τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ πνεεύματος, καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς (Daniel 2:35). “Scatter him as chaff,” therefore, is the meaning. When a heavy mass falls, what is pulverized by the blow is scattered by the rush of air. The Commovet illum of Cod. Palat. (e) looks like an attempt to preserve the right idea. Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 225.
19. ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ . “In that very hour” Lk.’s usual expression: see on 10:7, 21. There is no equivalent to it here in Mt. or Mk.
ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτούς. So also in Mark 12:12, while Mt. has πρός αὐτῶν. Vulg. has ad ipos here and ad eos in Mk. But πρός may be either “with a view to, in reference to” (see on 12:41, 18:1, 9, 19:9), or “against” (AV. RV.): comp. Acts 23:30. Here, as in Hebrews 1:7, Hebrews 1:8, Wsctt. prefers the meaning “in reference to”: comp. Romans 10:21; Hebrews 11:18. The nom. to ἔγνωσαν is οἱ γραμματεῖς, not ὁ λάς, which would require ἔγνω, to be unambiguous. In Mt. the nom. to ἔγνωσαν must be the hierarchy. And γάρ gives the reason, not for ἐζνωσαν, but for ἐφοβήθησαν, as the order of the sentences shows: and this is still more clear in Mk. by the change of tense from ἐζήτουν (see Gould). The hierarchy recognize that the parable was directed against themselves; and this made them fear the people, who had heard e parable also. Syr-Sin. transfers this to v. 16.
In class. Grk. πρός τινα often means “in reply to,” and hence “against,” being less strong than κατά τινος, as adversus than in. Here Beza has adversus ipsos and Luther auf sie.
20-26. The Question about the Tribute. Matthew 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17. There is no evidence that a night intervened between the previous question and this one. The connexion between vv. 19 and 20 is close; and ver. 19 took place ἐν αὐτῇ τῆ ὥρᾳ with what precedes. The previous question about authority had emanated from the Sanhedrin as a whole. The different parties represented in it now act separately and devise independent attacks. This one comes from the Pharisees (Matthew 22:15), who send a group composed of Pharisees and Herodians (Matthew 21:16; Mark 12:13). Neither Lk. nor Jn. mentions the Herodians. Their alliance with Pharisees is remarkable, for the Pharisees detested the Herodian dynasty; and this is not the first instance of such an alliance (Mark 3:6). But opponents often combine to attack those who are obnoxious to both.
20. παρατηρήσαντες. See on 14:1. Both AV. and RV. follow Tyn. Cran. Cov, and Gen. in translating “watched him”; but neither indicates by italics that “him” is not in the Greek. Wic, and Rhem. have no pronoun, in accordance with Vulg. observantes miserunt. It is doubtful whether the pronoun ought to be supplied, for παρατηρεῖν without case may mean “to watch an opportunity.” See Field and Alford, ad loc. Mt. has his favourite πορευθέντες.
D and some Versions here have ἀποχωρήσαντες: so Goth. Aeth. cum recessissent (f i l), cum discessissent (a), recedentes (d), secesserunt et (e).
ἐνκαθέτους . “Suborned to lie in wait”; lit. “sent down into.” In N.T. here only, and in LXX Job 19:12, Job 31:9: but classical. Comp. Jos. B. J. vi:5, 2. The ὑποκρινομέους shows for what purpose they were suborned: they posed as scrupulous persons with a difficulty of conscience. In different ways all three accounts call attention to their hypocrisy. Meyer quotes, Qui tum, cum maxime fallunt, id agunt ut viri boni videantur (Cic. De Off. i:13, 41).
ἐπιλαβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου. “Take Him in His speech”; αὐτοῦ depending upon ἐπιλαβ. and λόγου being epexegetic (De W. Mey. Go.): rather than “take hold of His speech,” αὐτοῦ depending upon λόγου (Holtz. Hahn). Vulg. has eum in sermone. So also Tyn. Cov. Cran. Gen. Rhem. Luth. Comp. ἐπελάβετό μου τῆς στολῆς (Job 30:18) and ἐπιλαμβάνεται αὐτοῦ τῆς ἴτους (Xen. Anab. iv:7, 12). Mt. has ὅπως αὐτὸν οαγιδεύσωσιν ἐν λόγῳ, Mk. ἵνα αὐτὸν ἀγρεύσωσιν λόγῳ Jesus had baffled them with a dilemma (ver. 4), and they now prepare a dilemma for Him. Comp. the constr in 19:4.
ὥστε παραδοῦναι … τοῦ ἡγεμόνος. Peculiar to Lk. Quod per se non poterant, præsidis manibus efficere tentabant, ut veluti ipsi a morte ejus viderentur immunes (Beds). For ὥστε comp 4:29; Matthew 24:4.
τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῆ ἐξουσίᾳ τ. ἡγεμ . It is an improbable refinement to press the double article and separate τῇ ἀρχῇ from τοῦ ἡγεμόνος: “so as to deliver Him to the Government, and (in particular) to the authority of the governor” (Mey. Weiss); or, “so as to deliver Him to the rule (of the Sanhedrin) and to authority of the governor” (Nösg. Hahn). For the combination of ἀρχή with ἐξουσία comp. 12:11; 1 Corinthians 15:24; Ephesians 3:10, Colossians 1:16, Colossians 1:2:15; Titus 3:1. See Lft. on Colossians 1:16.
The generic term ἡγεμών may be used of the emperor (comp. ἠγεμονία 3:1) or any of his subordinates. In N.T. it is often used of the ἐπίροπος or procurator (Matthew 27:2, Matthew 27:11, Matthew 27:14, etc.; Acts 23:24, Acts 23:26, Acts 23:33, Acts 23:24:1, Acts 23:10, etc.) and less definitely of any governor (21:12; 1 Peter 2:14). Comp. Jos, Ant. xviii:3, 1; and ἡγεμονεύω 2:2, 3:1.
21. ὄρθως λέγεις καὶ διδάσκεις. The falseness of these fulsome compliments in their mouths (οἴδαμεν ὅτι) stamps this as one of the most dastardly of the attacks on Christ. They go on to emphasize their flattery by denying the opposite.
οὐ λαμβάνεις πρόσωπον. Affreux barbarisme pour des lecteurs grecs (Godet). The expression is a Hebraism, which originally meant “raise the face,” i.e. make the countenance rise by favourable address, rather than “accept the face.” Hence it came to mean “regard with favour,” but not necessarily with undue favour: Comp. Psalm 81:2; Malachi 1:8, Malachi 1:9. But the bad sense gradually prevailed; and both here and in Galatians 2:6 (see Lft.) partiality is implied, as in Leviticus 19:15 and Malachi 2:9. In LXX the common phrase is θαυμάζειν πρόσωπον: comp. Judges 1:16. The compounds προσωπολήμπτης, προσωπολημψία, etc., always imply favouritism.
Both Syr-Cur. and Syr-Sin. for “way of God” read “word of God.”
22. The φόρος (classical and in LXX) or capitation-tax must be distinguished from τέλη, which are indirect taxes. Mt. and Mk. here have κῆνσον, but in Mk. ἐπικεφάλαιον is a notable v. l.
For ἡμᾶς (א A B L) TR. has ἡμῖν (C D P Γ Δ A Π). Only here and 6:4 does ἔξεστιν c. acc. et infin. occur in N.T. Καίσαρι stands first with emphasis. Usually both dat, and acc. follow δοῦναι: 1:74, 77, 12:32, 17:18; Acts 5:31, Acts 5:7:5; Matthew 14:7, Matthew 20:4, etc.
23. κατανοήσας … πανουργίαν . Mt. has γνοὺς … πονηρίαν, Mk. εἰδὼς … ὑπόκρισιν. See on 12:27 for Lk.’s fondness for κατανοέω. In N.T., as in class. Grk., πανουργία always has a bad meaning (1 Corinthians 3:19; 2 Corinthians 4:2, 2 Corinthians 4:11:3; Ephesians 4:14). In LXX it may mean “versatility, skill” (Proverbs 1:4, Proverbs 8:5).
24. Δείξατέ μοι δηνάριον. Mk. has φέρετε, which implies that they had to fetch it. They would not have heathen money on their persons. Mt. has προσήνεγκαν αὐτῶ, which implies the same thing; and he calls it τὸ νόμισμα τοῦ κήνσου, because this poll-tax had to be paid in denarii.
Τί με πειράζετε (A C D P) is an insertion here from Mt. and Mk. א B L omit. See Wright, Synopsis, § 80, p. 73.
Καίσαρος . Probably that of Tiberius. There was no royal offigy on Jewish coins: and Roman copper coins, if for circulation in Palestine, had no image on them. It was a base piece of flattery on the part of Herod Philip that he placed on his coins the head of the emperor, and the denarius used on this occasion may have been one of his. It is possible but not probable that it was a foreign coin, such as circulated outside Palestine.1 “Judas of Galilee” (Acts 5:37; Jos. Ant, xviii:1. 6, 20:5, 2) or the Gaulonite (Ant. xviii:1, 1) had denounced the payment of tribute to Cæsar as treason against Jehovah, the only Lord that Israel could acknowledge (a.d. 6): and probably the Galileans who were listening to Jesus on this occasion were thoroughly in sympathy. But His adversaries had conceded the whole point when they admitted that the coinage was Cæsar’s: for even Judaism admitted that coinage implies the right of taxation, and is evidence of the government to which submission is due. Ubiunque numisma alicujus regis obtinet, illic incolæ regem istum pro domino agnoscunt (Maimon.). See Edersh. L. & T. 2. p. 385; Hist. of. J. N. p. 257. Grodus quotes Τίνα ἔχει χαρκτῆρα τοῦτο τετρασσάριον; Τραιανοῦ (Arrian. Epict. iv:5, 17).
25. Τοίνυν ἀπόδοτε . This is the right order (א B L, Boh. Goth. Arm.), contrary to the best usage; and hence the correction ἀπόδοτε τοίνυν (א C R D A P). D, Syr-Sin. and Lat. Vet. omit τοίνυν. For τοίνυν first in the sentence come Hebrews 13:13; Isaiah 3:10, Isaiah 5:13, and contrast 1 Corinthians 9:26; Wisd. 1:11, 8:9. The τοίνυν (Mt. οὖν) marks the sayings as a conclusion drawn from the previous admission: “Then render to, Cæsar,” etc.
τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι. This is the answer to the Pharisaic portion of His questioners, as τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεοῷ to the Herodian. The error lay in supposing that Cæsar and God were mutually exclusive alternatives. Duty to Cæsar was part of their duty to God, because for purposes of order and government Cæsar was God’s vicegerent. In Romans 12:1, Romans 12:2 S. Paul insists on the second of these principles, in 13:1-7 on the first. See detached note at the end of Rom_13. As Judæa was an imperial province, its taxes would go to the fiscus of the emperor, not to the ærarium of the senate.
τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ. No one duty is to be understood to the exclusion of others, whether offerings in the temple, or penitence, etc. All duties owed by man to God are included.2 For ἀποδίδωμι of paying what is due comp. vii:42, x:35, xii:59; and see Wsctt. on Hebrews 12:11. They had said φόρον δοῦναι, as if the tribute was a gift. By substituting ἀπόδοτε He indicates that it is a due.
26. οὐκ ἴσχυσαν … ἐναντίον τοῦ λαοῦ . Peculiar to Lk., who drawe special attention to this further victory of Jesus. All three record the wonder of His adversaries.
For the constr. of αὐτοῦ see on ver. 20. This use of ἐναντίον is common in LXX, but in N.T. is found only here, 24:19; Acts 7:10, Acts 8:32: comp. ἔναντι 1:8, Acts 8:21.
For θαυμάζειν ἐπί see on 2:33, and for σιγᾷν see on 18:39.
27-38. The Question of the Sadducees respecting a Woman with Seven Husbands. Matthew 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27. Mt. tells us expressly that this took place ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ. Lk. mentions the Sadducees several times in the Acts (4:1, 5:17, 23:6-8) but here only in his Gospel. Mk. also here only. This question was less dangerous than the previous one. It concerned a matter of exegesis and speculation, not of politics, and was doctrinal rather than practical. Like the first two questions, it aimed at destroying Christ’s influence with the multitude. While the first aimed at inspiring them with distrust, and the second at rousing their indignation against Him, this one is calculated to excite their ridicule. If Jesus failed to answer it, He and His supporters would be placed in a grotesque position. The Sadducees were not popular, for the doctrine of the resurrection is precious to the majority of mankind, and they would be glad of this opportunity of publicly exhibiting the popular doctrine as productive of ludicrous results. Josephus says that when Sadducees became magistrates, they conformed to the views of the Pharisees, for otherwise the people would not tolerate them (Ant. xviii:1, 4). D.C.G. art. “Sadducees.”
But the doctrine of the resurrection and of invisible powers (Acts 23:8, Jos. B. J. ii:8 14) was not the main point in dispute between Sadducees and Pharisees, but a deduction from the main point. The crucial question was whether the oral tradition was binding (Ant. xii:10, 6). The Pharisees contended that it was equal in authority to the written law, while the Sadducees maintained that everything not written was an open question and might be rejected. Apparently the Pharisees were willing to concede that the doctrine of the resurrection is not to be found in the written Law; and indeed outside the Book of Daniel it is not clearly taught in O.T. What is said in favour of it (Job 19:26; Psalm 16:9, Psalm 16:11; Isaiah 26:19) seems to be balanced by statements equally strong on the other side (Psalm 6:5, 88:10, 11, 115:17; Ecclesiastes 9:4-10; Isaiah 38:18, Isaiah 38:19). Hence it followed, on Sadducean principles, that the doctrine was without authority, and was simply a pious opinion. That the Sadducees rejected the O.T., with the exception of the Pentateuch, is a mistake of Tertullian, Origen, Hippolytus, Jerome, and others; and perhaps arises from confusion with the Samaritans. But no Jew regarded the other books as equal in authority to the Books of Moses; and hence Jesus, in answering the Sadducees, takes His argument from Exodus (Bleak, Int. to O. T. § 305, Eng. tr. 2. p. 310). The name Σαδδουκαῖος probably comes from Zadok, the best attested form of which in many passages of LXX is Σαδδούκ (2 Samuel 8:17; Nehemiah 3:29, Nehemiah 3:10:21, Nehemiah 3:11:11, Nehemiah 3:13:13; Ezekiel 40:46, Ezekiel 43:19, Ezekiel 44:15, Ezekiel 48:11): but which Zadok gave the name to the sect, remains doubtful (Schürer, Jewish People in the T. of J. C. II, 2. pp. 29-43; Hausrath, N. T. Times, 1. pp. 136-150; Pressensé, Le Siêcle Apostolique, pp. 87, 88, ed. 1888. For minor points of difference between Sadducees and Pharisees, see Kuenen, Religion of Israel, 3. pp. 234-238; Derenbourg, pp. 132-144):
27. τινες τῶν Σαδδουκαίων οἱ λέγοντες . The οἱ λεγ. may agree with τινες, or be an irregular description of τῶν Σαδδ. In the latter case comp. Mark 12:40; but the former is better. All Sadducees held that the resurrection was not an article of faith, but some may have believed that it was true. One might render οἱ λέγοντες “who were saying” at that moment.
λέγοντες is the reading of א B C D L" 133 etc., d e Syr-Sin. Syr-Cur. Aegypt. Goth. Aeth., which is not discredited because it is also in Mt. But Tisch. follows B R Γ Δ Λ Π etc. in reading ἀντιλγοντες.
Ἐάν τινος ἀδελφός. The quotation gives the substance rather than the wording of Deuteronomy 25:5; comp. Genesis 38:8. The levirate law is said still to prevail among the Kalmucks and other nations in the East. See Morison on Mark 12:19.
29. ἑπτὰ υὀ͂ν ἀδελφοί . The οὖν appears to indicate that what is about to be narrated was a consequence of this levirate law. But the υὀ͂ν may be a mere particle of transition. Mt. inserts παρʼ ἡμῖν, as if they professed to describe what had actually taken place. It is said to have been a well-known problem, the recognized answer to which was, that at the resurrection the woman would be the wife of the first brother. This answer Christ might have given; but, while it would have avoided the ridicule to which the Sadducees wished to expose Him, it would not have refuted their doctrine. D, Syr-Sin. c d ff2 l q ins. παρʼ ἡμῖν here.
ἄτεκνος. “Childless” as in ver. 28: comp. ver. 31. All three imply that there was neither son nor daughter. And this is laid down in the Talmud,—that the deceased brother must have no child at all, although Deuteronomy 25:5 says simply “have no son” (RV.). Some maintained that the levirate law, which to a large extent had gone out of use, did not apply to a wedded wife, but only to a betrothed woman. The Mishna recommends that the levirate law be not observed.
30. καὶ ὁ δεύτερος . This is the reading of א B D L 157, e. omitting ἔλαβεν after καὶ and τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ οὖτολς ἀπέθανεν ἄτεκνος after ὁ δεύτερος. These insertions are found in A R Γ Δ Λ Π, Syr-Sin. Syr-Cur. Vulg.
31. οὐ κατέλιπον τέκνα καὶ ἀπέθανον . The main point is placed first, although their death logically precedes.
33. τίνος αὐτῶν γίνεται γυνή ; The question is a plausible appeal to the rough common sense of the multitude, and is based upon the coarse materialistic views of the resurrection which then prevailed.
34. Jesus begins by removing this erroneous basis and shows that the question is futile. The words of οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ αἰῶνος … τυχεῖν are peculiar to Lk., who omits “Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God.” Comp. Ephesians 1:21.
35. οἱ δὲ καταξιωθέντες τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐκείνου. One might have expected simply of οἱ υἱοὶ Τ. αἰῶνος ἐκ. But the substitution of καταξιωθέντες corrects the assumption that all the sons of this world will enter the Kingdom which begins with the resurrection. Comp. Acts 5:41; 2 Thessalonians 1:5 Nowhere else does ὁ αἰὼν ἐκεῖνος occur in N.T. It means the age beyond the grave regarded as an age of bliss and glory. See on Romans 12:2. In itself it implies resurrection; but, inasmuch as this is the doctrine in dispute, the resurrection is specially mentioned. The word ἀνάστασις occurs Zephaniah 3:8; Lamentations 3:63; Daniel 11:20; title of Psa_65. But not until 2 Mac. 7:14, 12:43 is it used of resurrection after death.
τῆς ἐκ νεκρῶν. This must be distinguished from [ἡ] ἀνάστασις [τῶν] νεκρῶν. The latter is the more comprehensive term and implies that all the dead are raised (Matthew 22:31; Acts 17:32, Acts 17:23:6, Acts 17:24:21, Acts 17:26:23; Romans 1:4; 1 Corinthians 15:12, 1 Corinthians 15:13, 1 Corinthians 15:42; Hebrews 6:2). Whereas ἀνάστασις ἐκ νεκρῶν rather implies that some from among the dead are raised, while others as yet are not. Hence it is used of the resurrection of Christ and of the righteous, and is equivalent to the ἀνάστασις ζωῆς (Acts 4:2; 1 Peter 1:3: comp. Colossians 1:18). The ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν includes the ἀνάστασις κρίσεως as well as the ἀν ζωῆς (John 5:29).Comp. 14:14; 1 Thessalonians 4:16; Revelation 20:5, Revelation 20:6; and see Lft. on Php 3:11 and Mey. on Romans 1:4. With the construction comp. τούτου τυχεῖν οὐκ ἠειώθην αὐτός (Aesch. P.V. 239).
γαμίζονται. Identical in meaning with γαμίσκονται (ver. 34).
In both verses the simple verb is the right reading. In both places TR. inferior authorities in reading ἐκγαμ.
36. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν. The γάρ means that the abolition of death involves the abolition of marriage, the purpose of which is to preserve the human race from extinction.
For οὐδέ (A B D L P 106 157) Tisch. has οὔτε (א Q R G D D P). It looks like a correction.
ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσιν. The adj. occurs here only in bibl. Grk. and was probably coined by Lk. on the analogy of ἰσάστερος (4 Mac. 17:5), ἰσάδελφος, ἰσόθεος, κ.τ.λ. Mt. and Mk have ὡς ἄγγελοι. Grotius quotes from Hierocles τοὺς ἰσοδαίμονας καὶ ἰσαγγέλους καὶ τοῖς ἥρωσιν ὁμοίους. “They do not marry, because they cannot die; and they cannot die, because they are like angels; and they are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.” In correcting the error of the Sadducees about the resurrection Jesus incidentally corrects their scepticism respecting Angels (Acts 23:8). See Latham, A Service of Angels, pp. 52-60; Charles, Apoc. of Baruch, pp. 77:84.
The connexion of καὶ υἱοί Θεοῦ is uncertain. The repetition of εἰσιν is rather against the clause being taken with ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσιν. More probably it is co-ordinate with οὐδὲ ἀποθανεῖν δύνανται. It is worth noting both in Job 1:6, Job 2:1, and Genesis 6:2 LXX has not υἱοί but ἄγγελοι τοῦ Θεοῦ. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:52; Revelation 21:4 But in any case it is the immortality, of the Angels, not their sexlessness or immateriality, that is the point of the argument. For τῆς ἀν. υἱοὶ ὄντες see on 16:8.
37. Having shown that their question ought not to have been asked, being based upon a gross misconception of the conditions of the future state, Jesus proceeds to answer the objection which their question implied, viz. that the doctrine of the resurrection is inconsistent with the Mosais Law. On the contrary, Moses implies the doctrine. The levirate law is no argument against a resurrection; and the passage here quoted is a strong argument in favour of it. See Martensen, Chr. Dogm. § 290, 274.
καὶ Μωυσῆς. “Even Moses,” who was supposed to be against the doctrine (Mey. Weiss, Holtzm.). Less well, etiam Moses, non modo proPhetæ (Beng.). Jesus quotes Moses because they done so (ver. 28), not because the Sadducees accepted only the Pentateuch (Tert. Orig. Hieron.), which was not the case.
ἐμήνυσεν. Not, “hinted,” but “disclosed, intimated, revealed.” Both in class. and bibl. Grk. μήύω is specially used of making known what was secret (Acts 23:30; 1 Corinthians 10:28; John 11:57; soph. O.R. 102).
ἐπὶ τῆς βάτου. “In the Bush,” i.e. in the portion of Scripture known as “the Bush.” In Mk. we have ἐν τῇ βίβλῳ Μωυσέως ἐπὶ τοῦ βάτου, where AV. violently transposes ἐπὶ τ. β.,—“how in the bush God spake unto him.” Comp. 2 Samuel 1:18 and Romans 11:2 The O.T. was divided into sections, which were named after something prominent in the contents. Examples are quoted from the Talmud. The rhapsodists divided Homer into sections and named them on a similar principle. In the Koran the chapters are named in this way. But the possibility of the simple local meaning here must not be excluded.
The gender of βάτος varies. Here and Acts 7:35 it is fem. In Mk. and in LXX it is masc. (Exodus 3:2, Exodus 3:3, Exodus 3:4; Deuteronomy 33:16). So also in Polyb. and Theophr. Several Old Latin texts here read sicut dixit vidi in rubo (cf ff2 il q), which seems to imply a Greek text ὡς λέγει εἶδον ἐν τῇ β.
38. The Sadducees based their denial of the resurrection on the alleged silence of Scripture and on the incredibility of existence after the death of the body (Jos. B. J. ii. 8. 14). Christ demolishes their premises by showing that Scripture is not silent, but teaches the reality of existence after death.1 His argument has less force against those who admit existence after death, but hold that this existence of the soul apart from the body will continue for ever. This, however, was not the error which He was combating, and perhaps was not a common view. Yet even against this error the argument has force, as Bengel points out. Deus non est non entis deus: ipse est deus vivens; ergo ii qui deum habent, vivere debent, et qua parte vivere intermiserant, reviviscere in perpetuum. But perhaps this is more than is intended. What is obvious is this:—Dead things may have a Creator, a Possessor, a Ruler: only living beings can have a God. If Abraham or any of the patriarchs had ceased to exist when he died, God would have ceased to be his God. “I am the God of Abraham” implies that Abraham still lives. Comp. οἱ διὰ τὸν Θεὸν ἀποθανόντες ζῶσιν τῷ Θεῷ, ὤσπερ Ἀβραὰμ κ. Ἰσαὰκ κ. Ἰακώβ (4 Mac. 16:25).2 It is to reference to us that they seem to die: in reference to Him πάντες ζῶσιν. The πάντες need not be restricted to the three patriarchs: it includes all who are mentioned in vv. 35, 36. Mk. adds πολὺ πλανᾶσαθε, but the condemnation of this doctrinal error is less severe than of the Pharisaic hypocrisy.
39, 40. The Testimony of the Scribes. Some of the Pharisees could not refrain from expressing their admiration of the manner in which lesus had vanquished their opponents. That proof of the doctrine of the resurrection, which Sadducees had defied a Pharisees to find in the Pentateuch, Jesus had produced, and in the most convincing manner. The scribes were now persuaded that it was useless to ply Jesus with hard questions. Such attempts merely gave Him the opportunity of winning victories. But we learn from Mt. and Mk. that one of them came forward to try Him once more (πειράζων αὐτόν) with a question that was much debated, as to which commandment was chief. There is nothing to show, however, that there was any snare in the question: the scribe may have wished to try His sagacity on a point which was very interesting. That a similar inquiry has been narrated elsewhere (10:25), may be Lk.’s reason for omitting the incident here.
40. γάρ. The fact that this was not understood caused it to be altered in many texts into δέ. Godet maintains that it “has absolutely no sense,” and erroneously states that WH. have abandoned it. It is attested by א B L, 33, Aegyptt., and gives excellent sense. Some of His opponents praised Him, for they saw that He was always victorious, and that they must risk no more defeats.
41-44. Jesus in turn asks a Question about David and the Messiah. Matthew 22:41-46; Mark 12:35-37, where see Gould. It is yet another opportunity of instructing them, not of vanquishing and humiliating them, that is sought. The approbation recorded in ver. 39 (comp. Mark 12:32) gave signs that some of His opponents were open to conviction, and might even now recognize the Christ.
41. πρὸς αὐτούς. The scribes who had expressed admiration are perhaps chiefly meant. In any case, “unto them” and not “in reference to them” is the meaning.
Πῶς λέγουσιν. Mk. gives οἱ γραμματεῖς as the subject of λέγουσιν, which does not imply that the scribes had gone away. “With what right do teachers say?” This is the usual doctrine; but do people consider what it involves in reference to other statements?
42. αὐτὸς γάρ. is the reading of א B L R I 33, l, Aegyptt., and may be safely preferred to καὶ αὐτός (A D P, Syrr. Vulg. Goth.). Q has καὶ αὐτὸς γάρ.
ἐν βίβλῳ ψαλμῶν. See on 3:4. Mt. has πνεύματι and Mk. τῷ πν. τῷ ἁγίῳ for βίβλῳ ψαλμ͂ν. The quotation is verbatim the same in all three, excepting that Mt. and Mk. have ὑποκάτω for the ὑποπόδιον of LXX. and Lk. All three omit the ὁ before Κύριος. In the Hebrew we have different words for Lord: “Jehovah saith to Adonai.” Psa_110. was always believed to be Messianic, and to have been written by David. That it is Messianic is a matter of spiritual interpretation; and, as Jesus here gives this doctrine the sanction of His authority, no loyal Christian will consider that he is free to question it. The authorship of the Psalm is a question of Criticism; and nothing in the method of Christ’s teaching, or in the contents of Scripture generally, warrants us in believing that He here frees us from the duty of investigating a problem which is capable of being solved by our own industry and acuteness. We have no right to expect that Scripture will save us from the discipline of patient research by supplying us with infallible answers to questions of history, chronology, geology, and the like.
The last word has not yet been spoken as to the authorship of Psa_110.; but it is a mistake to maintain that Jesus has decided the question. There is nothing antecedently incredible in the hypothesis that in such matters, as in other details of human information, He condescended not to know more than His contemporaries, and that He therefore believed what He had been taught the school and in the synagogue (see footnote, p. 124). Nor ought we summarily to dismiss the suggestion that, although He knew that the Psalm was not written by David, He yet abstained from challenging beliefs respecting matters of fact, because the premature and violent correction of such beliefs would have been more harmful to His work than their undisturbed continuance would be. In this, as in many things, the correction of erroneous opinion might well be left to time. But this suggestion is less satisfactory than the other hypothesis. It should be noticed that, while Jesus affirms both the inspiration (Mt. Mk.) and the Messianic character (Mt. Mk. Lk.) of Ps. 110., yet the argumentative question with which He concludes need not be understood as asserting that David is the author of it, although it seems to imply this. It may mean no more than that the scribes have not fairly faced whale their own principles involve. Here is a problem, with which they ought to be quite familiar, and of which they ought to be able to give a solution. It is their position, and not His, that is open to criticism. The question, “Why callest thou Me good?” appears to serve a similar purpose. It seems to imply that Christ is not to be called good in the sense that God is called good (Mark 10:18). But it need mean no more than that the young man who addressed Jesus as “Good Master” ought to reflect as to the significance of such language before making use of it.1
44. καὶ πῶς αὐτοῦ υἱός ἐστιν; De Wette and Strauss both point out that this question must imply either (1) that the Messiah is not the Son of David, or (2) that the inspired Psalmist teaches that the Messiah is no mere political deliverer. Strauss, with Schenkel and Volkmar, prefers the former altenative.2 But it is incredible that, even if Jesus were a mere human teacher, He would thus gratuitously have contradicted the express utterances of Scripture (2 Samuel 7:8-29; Isaiah 9:5-7, 11:Isaiah 9:1-10; Jeremiah 23:5-8; Micah 5:2) and the popular belief which was built upon them; especially as this belief was a valuable help to His own work (18:38; Matthew 15:22, Matthew 12:23, Matthew 21:9). Whereas, those who believe in His Divinity need have no difficulty in admitting, that, on a point which was no part of His teaching, Jesus might go all His human life without even raising the question as to the truth of what was authoritatively taught about the authorship of this or that portion of Scripture.
45-47. The Condemnation of the Scribes. Like Mark 12:38-40, this seems to be a summary of the terrible indictment of the hierarchy given at length in Mat_23. Lk. perhaps did not know the longer report preserved by Mt. As he had already given an account of a similar discourse (11:39-52), there was the less need to give a full report here.
45. Ἀκούοντος δὲ παντὸς τοῦ λαοῦ. It is in the hearing of the multitude who had just been witnesses of the contest, in which the scribes had been so signally defeated, that Jesus utters His final condemnation of them. Comp. the similar condemnation 12:1, where as here we have προσέχετε ἀπό, and see notes there. Comp. also the somewhat parallel passage in Ezekiel 22:25: ἁρπάζοντες ἁπράγματα, ψυχὰς κατεσθίοντες ἐν δυναστείᾳ, καὶ τιμὰς λαμβάνοντες καὶ αἱ χῆραί σου ἐπληθύνθησαν ἐν μεσῳ σου.
46. περιπατεῖν ἐν στολαῖς. Mk. also has this Hellenized expression for πλατύνουσιν τὰ φυλακτήρια αὐτῶν (Matthew 23:5). The saying from ἀσπασμοὺς ἐν ταῖς ἀγοραῖς to τοῖς δείπνοις is in all three accounts. Comp. 16:7, and see Wetst. on Matthew 23:6, Matthew 23:7.
Salmon quotes AV. of this and of Mark 12:38 in illustration of the variety which independent translation is sure to produce. There, “love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the market places and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts, which for a pretence make long prayers.” Here, “desire, walk, robes, greetings, markets, highest, chief, show” for the words in italics, the Greek in all cases being the same.
τῶν θελόντων περινπατεῖν. This constr. of θέλω = “like, love” c. infin. occurs only here and Mark 12:38. It is perhaps an extension of the Hebraistic θέλω τινα or τι = “take delight in,” and in Mark 12:7 an acc. is coupled with the infin. Comp. Matthew 27:43, Matthew 27:9:13, Matthew 27:12:7; Hebrews 10:5, Hebrews 10:8. But Lk. seperates the acc. from θελόντων by inserting the more usual φιλούντων, Win. liv. 4 p. 587. What follows is common to all three accounts. See on 11:43 and 14:7.
47. οἳ κατεσθίουσιν τὰς οἰκίας τῶν χηρῶν. Comp. Mark 12:40; but this item in the condemnation is not found in the true text of Mat_23. Probably wealthy widows are chiefly meant. They devoured widows’ houses by accepting hospitality and rich presents from pious and weak women. Sexus muliebris ut ad superstitionem pronior ita magis patet ad eas fraudes (Grot.). They would find widows a specially easy prey, and their taking advantage of the defenceless aggravated their guilt C’étaient les Tartuffes de l’époque (Godet). Josephus says of the Pharisees οἷς ὑπῆκτο ἡ γυναικωνῖτις (Ant. xvii. 2. 4). Comp. the cases of Fulvia (18:3, 5) and of Helene (20:2, 5) as instances of devout and benevolent women. The wife of Pheroras, brother of Herod the Great, paid the fines of thousands of Pharisees who had been fined for refusing to swear loyalty to Cæsar (17:2, 4). The Talmud gives evidence of the plundering of widows. Inter plagas quæ a Pharisæis proveniunt hæc etiam est. Est qui consulant cum orphanis, ut alimenta viduæ eripiat (Sota Hieros. f. 20. I, , Schoettg. 1:199). Of a plundered widow R. Eleazar says, Plaga Pharisæorum tetigit illam.
λήμψονται περισσότερον κρίμα. The “more abundant” may be understood in two ways: (1) in proportion to the high estimation in which they were held in this world; or (2) in proportion to the hypocrisy which makes a trade of religion (Gould). Qui male agit, judicatur. Qui bono abutitur ad malum ornandum, magis judicatur (Beng.). For λήμψομαι κρίμα comp. Romans 13:2; Jam 3:1; and for περισσότερον see on 7:26.
V. de J. Vie de Jésus.
Edersh. Edersheim, Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah.
RV. Revised Version.
AV. Authorized Version.
A A. Cod. Alexandrinus, sæc. v. Once in the Patriarchal Library at Alexandria; sent by Cyril Lucar as a present to Charles 1. in 1628, and now in the British Museum. Complete.
C. Cod. Ephraemi Rescriptus, sæc. 5. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the following portions of the Gospel: 1:2-2:5, 2:42-3:21, 4:25-6:4, 6:37-7:16, or 17, 8:28-12:3, 19:42-20:27, 21:21-22:19, 23:25-24:7, 24:46-53.
These four MSS. are parts of what were once complete Bibles, and are designated by the same letter throughout the LXX and N.T.
D D. Cod. Bezae, sæc. vi. Given by Beza to the University Library at Cambridge 1581. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.
אԠא Cod. Sinaiticus, sæc. iv. Brought by Tischendorf from the Convent of St. Catherine on Mt. Sinai; now at St. Petersburg. Contains the whole Gospel complete.
B B. Cod. Vaticanus, sæc. 4. In the Vatican Library certainly since 15331 (Batiffol, La Vaticane de Paul 3, etc., p. 86).
L L. Cod. Regius Parisiensis, sæc. viii. National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.
R R. Cod. Nitriensis Rescriptus, sæc. 8. Brought from a convent in the Nitrian desert about 1847, and now in the British Museum. Contains 1:1-13, 1:69-2:4, 16-27, 4:38-5:5, 5:25-6:8, 18-36, 39, 6:49-7:22, 44, 46, 47, 8:5-15, 8:25-9:1, 12-43, 10:3-16, 11:5-27, 12:4-15, 40-52, 13:26-14:1, 14:12-15:1, 15:13-16:16, 17:21-18:10, 18:22-20:20, 20:33-47, 21:12-22:15, 42-56, 22:71-23:11, 38-51. By a second hand 15:19-21.
1 Keim speaks with sverity of the “destructive criticism” which “again miserably fails to see anything hut an invention of the dogmatic artist” in “this grand self-revelation of Jesus,” which is attested by all three Gospels (v. p.142).
TR. Textus Receptus.
Burton. Burton, N.T. Moods and Tenses.
K K. Cod. Cyprius, sæc. ix. In the National Library at Paris. Contains the whole Gospel.
Rhem. Rheims (or Douay).
De W. De Wette.
Δ̠Δ. Cod. Sangallensis, sæc. ix. In the monastery of St. Gall in Switzerland. Greek and Latin. Contains the whole Gospel.
1 Some “heretic” sent R. Juda an imperial denapius, and he was deciding not to accept it, when another Rabbi advised him to accept it and throw it into a well before the donor’s feet (Avoda Sara f. 6 quoted by Wetst. on Matthew 22:21). But see Schürer, J.P. in T. of. J.C. p. 77.
Lat. Vet. Vetus Latina.
2 It may be doubted whether the idea that man bears the image of God just as the coin bears the image of Cæsar is to be supplied: “Render then the coin to Cæsar, and give the whole man up to God” (Lathem, A Service of Angels, p. 50).
G G. Cod. Harleianus, sæc. ix. In the British Museum. Contains considerable portions.
1 Gamaliel is said to have silenced Sadducees by quoting such promises as Deuteronomy 1:8, Deuteronomy 11:9. God’s promises must be fulfilled, and these were not fulfilled to the patriarchs during their lifetime. Again, if God quickened buried seed, how much His own people (Edersh. Hist. of J.N. p. 316).
2 The Fourth Book or Maccabees, although written before the destruction of Jerusalem, was probably written not very long before Christian interpolations, or conscious imitations of Christian phraseology, are possible (Schürer, Jewish People in the T. of J. C. II. iii. p. 244).
WH. Westcott and Hort.
“If I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your sons cast them out?” (Luke 11:19) is possibly a similar case. It need not imply that Jewish exorcists had succeeded in casting out demons, but only that they were credited with no diabolical witchcraft in making the attempt. The question may mean no more than “Judge Me on the same principles as you judge your own exorcists.” See Wright ad loc. and 16:19.
On Psa_110. see Gore, Bampton Lectures, 1891, Lect. 7, sub fin. and note 55; Driver, Int. to Lit, of O.T. p. 362 and note; Perowne, Psalms, 2. p. 302, with the remarks of Thirlwall there quoted; Meyer on Matthew 22:43; Weiss on Matthew 22:43 with note; Bishop Mylne, Indian Ch. Quar. Rev. Oct. 1892, p. 486; Schwartzkopff, Konnte Jesus irren? 1896, pp. 21-36.
2 Latham is of the same opinion from a different point of view. He thinks that Jesus repudiated the title “Son of David” as implying that the Redeemer of the world was a Jewish Messiah, with a title based on legitimacy and genealogy (Pastor pastorum, p. 415).
And spake unto him, saying, Tell us, by what authority doest thou these things? or who is he that gave thee this authority?
And he answered and said unto them, I will also ask you one thing; and answer me:
The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?
And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then believed ye him not?
But and if we say, Of men; all the people will stone us: for they be persuaded that John was a prophet.
And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was.
And Jesus said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.
Then began he to speak to the people this parable; A certain man planted a vineyard, and let it forth to husbandmen, and went into a far country for a long time.
And at the season he sent a servant to the husbandmen, that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard: but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent another servant: and they beat him also, and entreated him shamefully, and sent him away empty.
And again he sent a third: and they wounded him also, and cast him out.
Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.
But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.
So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?
He shall come and destroy these husbandmen, and shall give the vineyard to others. And when they heard it, they said, God forbid.
And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?
Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
And the chief priests and the scribes the same hour sought to lay hands on him; and they feared the people: for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them.
And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor.
And they asked him, saying, Master, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, neither acceptest thou the person of any, but teachest the way of God truly:
Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar, or no?
But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
Shew me a penny. Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.
And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.
And they could not take hold of his words before the people: and they marvelled at his answer, and held their peace.
Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children.
And the second took her to wife, and he died childless.
And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died.
Last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife.
And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.
For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
Then certain of the scribes answering said, Master, thou hast well said.
And after that they durst not ask him any question at all.
And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son?
And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?
Then in the audience of all the people he said unto his disciples,
Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;
Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation.