Matthew 16:3
And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowering. O you hypocrites, you can discern the face of the sky; but can you not discern the signs of the times?
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16:1-4 The Pharisees and Sadducees were opposed to each other in principles and in conduct; yet they joined against Christ. But they desired a sign of their own choosing: they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and called for something else which would gratify the curiosity of the proud. It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God's ordaining, to seek for signs of our own devising.He answered ... - The meaning of this answer is, There are certain indications by which you judge about the weather.

In the evening you think you can predict the weather tomorrow. You have evidence in the redness of the sky by which you judge. So there are sufficient indications on which you should judge concerning me and these times. My miracles, and the state of affairs in Judea, are an indication by which you should judge.

Is red - Almost all nations have observed this as an indication of fair weather.

In the morning ...the sky is red and lowering - That is, there are threatening clouds in the sky, which are made red by the rays of the rising sun. This, in Judea, was a sign of a tempest. In other places, however, the signs of a storm may be different.

The face of the sky - The appearance of the sky.


Mt 16:1-12. A Sign from Heaven Sought and Refused—Caution against the Leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

For the exposition, see on [1315]Mr 8:11-21.

Ver. 2,3. You can, saith our Saviour, make observations upon the works of God in nature and common providence, and from such observations you can make conclusions; if you see the sky red in the evening, you can conclude from thence that the morrow will be fair, because you think that the redness of the sky at night speaks the clouds thin and the air pure; and on the other side, the redness of it in the morning speaks the clouds thick, so as the sun cannot disperse them; or because you observe that generally it so proveth, though nothing be more mutable than the air. But you cannot

discern the signs of the times: you are only dull at making observations upon the Scriptures, and the will of God revealed in them concerning me. You might observe that all the signs of the Messias are fulfilled in me: I was born of a virgin, as was prophesied by Isaiah, Isaiah 7:14; in Bethlehem Judah, as was prophesied by Micah, Micah 5:2; at a time when the sceptre was departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from his feet, as was prophesied by Jacob, Genesis 49:10: that John the Baptist is come in the power and spirit of Elias, to prepare my way before me, as was prophesied by Malachi, Malachi 4:5; that there is one come, who openeth the eyes of the blind, and unstops the ears of the deaf, and maketh the lame to leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing, according to the prophecy, Isaiah 35:5,6. All these are the signs of the time when the Messiah was to come; but these things you cannot discern, but, like a company of hypocrites, who pretend one thing and do another, you come and ask a sign, that you might believe in me, when you have so many, and yet will not believe. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today,.... When you rise in the morning, and take a survey of the heavens, it is a very usual thing with you to say, it is like to be windy or rainy weather today,

for the sky is red and lowring; which shows, that the clouds are so thick that the sun cannot pierce through them, and its face is not seen; so that it may be reasonably concluded they will issue in rain, or wind, or both.

O ye hypocrites. The Vulgate Latin, and Munster's Hebrew Gospel, leave out this appellation; but all other versions, as well as copies, have it: and it is an usual epithet, bestowed very justly by Christ, on these men; who pretended to be the guides of the people, took upon them to teach and instruct them in divine things, and set up themselves as men of great holiness, piety and knowledge; and yet, instead of searching the Scriptures, and comparing the characters of the times of the Messiah therein fixed, with the present ones, spent their time in making such low and useless observations, and which fall within the compass of everyone's knowledge and reach.

Ye can discern the face of the sky; very distinctly, and make some very probable guesses, if not certain conclusions, what will follow, good weather or bad:

but can ye not discern the signs of the times? or, as the Syriac reads it, "the time", the present time: if they had not been blind, they might easily have discerned, that the signs of the time of the Messiah's coming were upon them, and that Jesus was the Messiah; as the departure of the sceptre from Judah, the ending of Daniel's weeks, the various miracles wrought by Christ, the wickedness of the age in which they lived, the ministry of John the Baptist, and of Christ, the great flockings of the people, both to one and to the other, with divers other things which were easy to be observed by them: but they pretend this to be a very great secret.

"The secret of the day of death, they say (y), and the secret of the day when the king Messiah comes, who by his wisdom can find out?''

(y) Targum in Ecclesiastes 7.24.

And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the {b} face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(b) The outward show and countenance, as it were, of all things, is called in the Hebrew language, a face.

Matthew 16:3. χειμών, a storm to-day; sign the same, a ruddy sky in the morning.—στυγνάζων, late but expressive = triste coelum. No special meteorological skill indicated thereby, only the average power of observation based on experience, which is common to man kind. Lightfoot credits the Jews with special interest in such observations, and Christ was willing to give them full credit for skill in that sphere. His complaint was that they showed no such skill in the ethical sphere; they could not discern the signs of the times (τῶν καιρῶν: the reference being, of course, chiefly to their own time). Neither Pharisees nor Sadducees had any idea that the end of the Jewish state was so near. They said εὐδία when they should have said χειμών. They mistook the time of day; thought it was the eve of a good time corning when it was the morning of the judgment day. For a historical parallel, vide Carlyle’s French Revolution, book ii., chap. i., Astraea Redux.3. the face of the sky] Perhaps Jesus and his questioners were looking across the lake towards the cliffs of Gergesa, with the sky red from the reflected sunset. In Luke the signs are “a cloud rising in the west” and the blowing of the “south wind.”

the signs of the times] Which point in many ways to the fulfilment of prophecy, and to the presence of Christ among men.Matthew 16:3. Ὑποκριταὶ,[710] hypocrites) The hypocrisy was their greater skill in natural than in spiritual things; for they who have the former have much less excuse than dull men for being wanting in the latter, although they are often wanting in it. For an example of both united, see ch. Matthew 2:2.—πρόσωπον τοῦ οὐρανοῦ, the countenance of the sky) not face. A man’s countenance varies, his face is always the same. An instance of Prosopopœia,[711] as just before in the word ΣΤΥΓΝΆΖΩΝ, lowering.—τὰ σημεῖα τῶν καιρῶν, the signs of the times) i, e., those which are suitable to (congruentia) each time. Our Lord indicates, that not only are times to be distinguished by their signs, but also signs by the character of the times, and signs and the kinds of them from each other. For the mode of God’s dealing with man[712] is various—by various doctrines, persons, signs, times—all of which correspond among themselves: wherefore different signs suit different times. Those signs, less splendid indeed, but such as were altogether beneficial to man on earth (see ch. Matthew 9:6), were suitable to the Messiah then being on earth; see ch. Matthew 8:17, Luke 9:54. Wherefore it was incumbent upon them to obtain proofs, not from heaven, but from themselves: see Luke 12:57. For the same reason, after His ascension our Lord did not exhibit signs on earth, as He had previously done.[713]—Οὐ ΔΎΝΑΣΘΕ; are ye not able?) sc. to distinguish sign from sign:—said with astonishment. If you wished it, you could do so most fully: as it is, you are prevented from doing so by a voluntary blindness.

[710] The larger Ed. gave more weight to the reading of this word than the margin of the second Edition: however, the Ver. Germ. has not rejected it.—E. B.

[711] i.e. Personification. See explanation of technical terms in Appendix.—(I. B.)

[712] “Influxus Dei in homines,” the influx of the Deity into and among men.—ED.

[713] Nor will hereafter signs be wanting from heaven.—B. G. V.

Rec. Text has ὑποκριταὶ with b. But CDLΔ ac Vulg. omit it. It is plainly an interpolation through the harmonies from Luke 12:56. Lachm. reads καὶ before τὸ μὲν with C. But Tischend. omits it, with DLΔ ac Vulg.—ED.Verse 3. - It will be foul weather today more tersely in the Greek, Today a storm! Such prognostications are found among all peoples. Many examples are collected by Wetstein. Lowring (στυγνάζων); a word applied to the expression of the countenance ("his countenance fell," Mark 10:22), and therefore applicable, by prosopopceia, to the look of the sky. Fillion quotes Aulus Gellius, 13:29, "Non solum in hominum corporibus, sed etiam in rerum cujusquemodi aliarum facies dicitur. Nam montis et coeli et maris facies, si tompestive dicatur, probe dicitur." O ye hypocrites (ὑποκριταί). The word is omitted by some uncial manuscripts, the Vulgate, etc., and many modern editors. If it is genuine, we must consider that Christ thus calls them, because their pretence of being satisfied with sufficient proof of Christ's claims was a mere fiction, as they were obstinately determined never to acknowledge him. It would be casting pearls before swine to give further external proofs to people without sympathy and not open to conviction. The signs of the times (τῶν καιρῶν). Critical times, the age foretold for the appearance of the Messiah. These signs, which all who were candid and unbiassed might read, were such as the following: the sceptre had departed from Judah, and the lawgiver from between his feet; the fourth great empire was established; the prophetic weeks of Daniel were at their close; the Baptist had come in the spirit and power of Elias; all the world was expecting the advent of some great personage; the best and holiest Jews were looking for the Redeemer; Christ's own miracles and teaching proved his Divinity and the fulfilment of many obscure prophecies; these and such like signs were set for all to see and ponder, and the Lord, as he marked the obstinate unbelief of his countrymen, might well be grieved, and "sigh deeply in his spirit" (Mark 8:12). Lowering (στυγνάζων)

The verb means to have a gloomy look. Dr. Morison compares the Scotch gloaming or glooming. Cranmer, the sky is glooming red. The word is used only here and at Mark 10:22, of the young ruler, turning from Christ with his face overshadowed with gloom. A.V., he was sad. Rev., his countenance fell.

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