Luke 20:23
But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
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(23) Their craftiness.—The Greek noun does not appear in the other Gospels, but is used four times by St. Paul, as in 2Corinthians 4:2; Ephesians 4:14.

20:20-26 Those who are most crafty in their designs against Christ and his gospel, cannot hide them. He did not give a direct answer, but reproved them for offering to impose upon him; and they could not fasten upon any thing wherewith to stir up either the governor or the people against him. The wisdom which is from above, will direct all who teach the way of God truly, to avoid the snares laid for them by wicked men; and will teach our duty to God, to our rulers, and to all men, so clearly, that opposers will have no evil to say of us.See this explained in the Matthew 22:15-33 notes, and Mark 12:13-27 notes. 22. tribute—(See on [1710]Mt 17:24). See Poole on "Luke 20:21"

But he perceived their craftiness,.... Knowing what was in them, and being a discerner of the thoughts and intents of their hearts, he clearly saw that their view was either, that they might have a charge against him to the Roman governor, should he declare against payment of tribute; or that they might expose him to the people of the Jews, should he assert the lawfulness of it:

and said unto them, why tempt ye me? with this ensnaring question.

But he perceived their {f} craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?

(f) Craftiness is a certain diligence and subtle knowledge to do evil, which is achieved by much use and great practise in matters.

Luke 20:23. πανουργίαν, craft, cunning, as in 2 Corinthians 4:2, which possibly the evangelist had in his eye. Each synoptist has his own word here (πονηρίαν Mt., ὑπόκρισιν Mk.) as if trying to describe the indescribable.

23. Why tempt ye mey &c.] Our Lord saw at once that it was a cunning test-question meant only to entrap Him. Not for a moment did these fawning spies deceive him though

“Neither man nor angel can discern

Hypocrisy, the only evil that walks

Invisible, except to God alone.”

These Pharisees were illustrating the truth that “no form of self-deceit is more hateful than that which veils spite and falsehood under the guise of frankness, and behind the profession of religion.”

Luke 20:23Perceived

See on considerest, Matthew 7:3.

Craftiness (πανουργίαν)

From πᾶν, every, and ἔργον, deed. Readiness for every and any deed. Hence unscrupulousness, and so, generally, knavery.

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