Matthew 21:15
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,
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(15) The chief priests.—These, as commonly in the Gospels, were the heads of the twenty-four courses of the priesthood, as well as Annas and Caiaphas, who were designated by the title in its higher sense, the one as actually high priest, the other as president of the Sanhedrin. (See Note on Luke 3:2.)

The children.—Literally, the boys, the noun being masculine. Taking the Jewish classification of ages, they would probably be from seven to fourteen years old, but in such a narrative as this the general phrase does not exclude younger children.

Matthew 21:15-17. When the chief priests, &c., saw the wonderful things he did — The undeniable and astonishing miracles which he performed, and the children crying in the temple, and continuing the song which the multitude had begun, Hosanna to the son of David, they were sore displeased — Inwardly vexed and filled with indignation. The works that Christ did recommended themselves to every man’s conscience: if they had any sense, they could not but own the miracle of them; and if any good-nature, they could not but be in love with the mercy of them; yet, because they were resolved to oppose him, even for these works they envied and hated him. And said, Hearest thou what these (the children) say? — Insinuating that it was his duty to stop their mouths, by refusing the praises which they offered without understanding what they said. Jesus saith, Yea; have ye never read — Are you unacquainted with the Scriptures? You, that want the people to regard you as the great teachers of God’s law? Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise — These words are quoted out of the eighth Psalm, and imply that, “though all men should be silent, God has no need of other heralds to proclaim his praise than infants, who hang at their mothers’ breasts; because, notwithstanding they be dumb, the admirable providence of God, conspicuous in their preservation, is equal to the loudest and sublimest eloquence. And, by applying these words to the case in hand, Jesus signified that the meanest of God’s works are so formed as to declare the greatness of his perfections; that as the Father does not refuse the praise which arises from the least of his creatures, so the Son did not disdain the praise which was offered him by children. In the present instance their praise was peculiarly acceptable, because it implied that his miracles were exceedingly illustrious, inasmuch as they led minds wherein there was nothing but the dawnings of reason, to acknowledge his mission. The Messiah’s praise, therefore, might, with remarkable propriety, be said, on this occasion, to have been perfected out of the mouths of babes and sucklings.” — Macknight. But see the note on Psalm 8:2; where the psalmist’s words, here referred to, are explained at large. And he left them — Namely, when the evening was come, both in prudence, lest they should have seized him before his hour was come, and in justice, because they had forfeited the favour of his presence: he left them as incorrigible. And went out of the city — Privately, with none to attend him but the twelve; to Bethany — Where the resurrection of Lazarus had procured him friends, among whom he was always in safety.

21:12-17 Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry, Joh 2:13-17. His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practised under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!When the chief priests ... - The chief men of the nation were envious of his popularity.

They could not prevent it; but, being determined to find fault, they took occasion to do so from the shouts of the children. People often are offended that "children" have anything to do with religion, and deem it very improper that "they" should rejoice that the Saviour has come. Our Lord Jesus viewed this subject differently. He saw that it was proper that they should rejoice. they are interested in the concerns of religion, and before evil principles get fast hold of their minds is a proper time for them to love and obey him. The Lord Jesus silenced those who made the objection by appealing to a text of their own Scriptures. This text is found in Psalm 8:2. The quotation is not made directly from the Hebrew. but from the Greek translation. This, however, should create no difficulty. The point of the quotation was to prove that "children" might offer praise to God. This is expressed in both the Hebrew and the Greek.

Mt 21:10-22. Stir about Him in the City—Second Cleansing of the Temple, and Miracles There—Glorious Vindication of the Children's Testimony—The Barren Fig Tree Cursed, with Lessons from It. ( = Mr 11:11-26; Lu 19:45-48).

For the exposition, see on [1334]Lu 19:45-48; and [1335]Mr 11:12-26.

See Poole on "Matthew 21:16".

And when the chief priests and Scribes,.... The inveterate enemies of Christ; who upon hearing the shouts of the people at Christ's entrance into the city, and passage through it to the temple; and understanding that it was Jesus of Nazareth that was come thither, they came also to awe the people, and pick up what they could against him: who, when they

saw the wonderful things that he did; as the overturning the tables of the money changers, and the seats of those that sold doves, without any opposition, when these traders were so many, and in great power, and he a single person, and unarmed; and that the blind received their sight, and the lame were cured,

and the children crying in the temple; who came from the various parts of the city, with their parents, to see the sight; who, when the multitude had done, they began the same ditty:

and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; proclaiming Jesus to be the Messiah, and ascribing praise and glory to him, and wishing him all happiness and prosperity: the form they had taken up from the people, and might be encouraged by their parents; and which they pronounced without fear of the high priests, and Scribes, being disposed, directed, and overruled hereunto by the providence of God. It was indeed no unusual thing for children to sing the "Hosanna" at the feast of tabernacles; for, according to the Jewish canons (k),

"a child that knew how to shake, was obliged to carry the "Lulab",''

or bundle of myrtle, and willow boughs, and palm tree branches, at the shaking of which "Hosanna" was said: but that they should cry "Hosanna" to Jesus, as David's son was very extraordinary, and what the high priests, and Scribes, took notice of with great resentment:

they were sore displeased; at the children, that so said, at their parents that suffered them, and especially at Christ, who did not forbid them. The Persic version renders it, "it displeased the priests"; the Arabic reads, "they murmured"; and the Ethiopic has it, "it was not pleasant to them".

(k) T. Bab. Succa, fol. 42. 1. Erachin, fol. 2. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Lulab, c. 7. sect. 19.

{2} 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,

(2) Those that should be masters of godliness are the ones that envy most the glory of Christ: but in vain.

Matthew 21:15. τὰ θαυμάσια: here only in N.T., the wonderful things, a comprehensive phrase apparently chosen to include all the notable things done by Jesus (Meyer), among which may be reckoned not only the cures, and the cleansing of the temple, but the enthusiasm which He had awakened in the crowd, to the priests and scribes perhaps the most offensive feature of the situation.—τοὺς παῖδας, etc.: the boys and girls of the city, true to the spirit of youth, caught up and echoed the cry of the pilgrim crowd and shouted in the temple precincts: “Hosanna, etc.”. ἠγανάκτησαν, they were piqued, like the ten (Matthew 20:24).

15, 16. The Children’s Praise. Peculiar to St Matthew

15. the chief priests] The heads of the twenty-four priestly courses, as well as the high-priest and those who had served that office. See note ch. Matthew 26:3.

children crying in the temple] Children were taught at an early age to join in the temple services. These caught the familiar feast-day strain from the Galilæan pilgrims, and unconscious of all that their words meant, saluted Jesus.

Matthew 21:15. Τὰ θαυμάσια, the wonderful things) see Matthew 21:12; Matthew 21:14.

Verse 15. - The chief priests. This term is generally applied to the high priest's deputies and the heads of the twenty-four courses, but it seems here to mean certain sacerdotal members of the Sanhedrin, to whom supreme authority was delegated by the Romans or Herodians (see Josephus, 'Ant.,' 20:10, 5). They formed a wealthy, aristocratical body, and were many of them Sadducees. They joined with the scribes in expressing their outraged feeling, whether simulated or real. The wonderful things (τὰ θαυμάσια); an expression found nowhere else in the New Testament. It refers to the cleansing of the temple and the cures lately performed there. Children crying in the temple. This fact is mentioned only by St. Matthew. Jesus loved children, and they loved and followed him, taking up the cry which they had heard the day before from the multitude, and in simple faith applying it again to Christ. While grown men are silent or blaspheming, little children boldly sing his praises. Were sore displeased. Their envious hearts could not bear to see Jesus honoured, elevated in men's eyes by his own beneficent actions, and now glorified by the spontaneous acclamations of these little ones. Matthew 21:15
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