Matthew 21:2
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.
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(2) Go into the village over against you.—This may have been either Bethany or, on the assumption that it was nearer Jerusalem, Bethphage itself.

An ass tied, and a colt with her.—St. Mark and St. Luke name the “colt” only. St. John speaks of a “young” or “small” ass, using the diminutive of the usual name (ἀνάριον). The colt was one on which “man had never sat” (Mark 11:2; Luke 19:30). The command clearly implies a deliberate fulfilment of the prophecy cited in Matthew 21:4-5. They were to claim the right to use the beasts as for the service of a King, not to hire or ask permission.

21:1-11 This coming of Christ was described by the prophet Zechariah, Zec 9:9. When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to work salvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Zion's King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, how wrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be in Zion's citizens! They brought the ass, but Jesus did not use it without the owner's consent. The trappings were such as came to hand. We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear to part with for the service of Christ. The chief priests and the elders afterwards joined with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but none of them joined the multitude that did him honour. Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But of how little value is the applause of the people! The changing multitude join the cry of the day, whether it be Hosanna, or Crucify him. Multitudes often seem to approve the gospel, but few become consistent disciples. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom.Go into the village over against you - That is, to Bethphage See the notes at Matthew 21:1.

Ye shall find an ass tied ... - In Judea there were few horses, and those were chiefly used in war. People seldom employed them in common life and in ordinary journeys. The ass, the mule, and the camel are still most used in Eastern countries. To ride on a horse was sometimes an emblem of war; on a mule and an ass, the emblem of peace. Kings and princes commonly rode on them in times of peace, and it is mentioned as a mark of rank and dignity to ride in that manner, Judges 10:4; Judges 12:14; 1 Samuel 25:20. So Solomon, when he was inaugurated as king, rode on a "mule," 1 Kings 1:33. Riding in this manner, then, denoted neither poverty nor degradation, but was the appropriate way in which a king should ride, and in which, therefore, the King of Zion should enter into his capital, the city of Jerusalem.

Mark and Luke say that he told them they should find "a colt tied." This they were directed to bring. They mention only the colt, because it was this on which he rode.


Mt 21:1-9. Christ's Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem on the First Day of the Week. ( = Mr 11:1-11; Lu 19:29-40; Joh 12:12-19).

For the exposition of this majestic scene—recorded, as will be seen, by all the Evangelists—see on [1333]Lu 19:29-40.

See Poole on "Matthew 21:3".

Saying unto them, go into the village over against you,.... Munster's Hebrew Gospel reads, "before you"; not Jerusalem, as some have thought, for that would never be called a village; though the Ethiopic version reads it, "the city"; but rather Bethany, which was near to Bethphage, and is mentioned with it; though the Jews say (u), the name of the village was Nob, and was near to Jerusalem, and own, that Christ had an ass from hence, on which he rode to Jerusalem, and applied to himself the prophecy in Zechariah 9:9. And it is very likely this was the village; for Nob was very near to Jerusalem; it was over against it, within sight of it, and from thence might be taken a view of the whole city, according to the Jews; who say (w), that Sennacherib stood in Nob, a city of the priests, over against the walls of Jerusalem, and saw the whole city, and it was little in his eyes; and he said; is not this the city of Jerusalem, &c.

and straightway, or, as in Mark, "as soon as ye be entered into it"; and in Luke, "at your entering", at the town's end, at one of the first houses in it, at the door thereof,

ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her. The other evangelists only make mention of the colt, or young ass; but, no doubt, both were spoken of by Christ, and both were found by the disciples, the ass, and the colt by her, and both were brought away by them; and on both of them, very probably, Christ rode; first on one, and then on the other, as the prophecy hereby fulfilled seems to require, and as the sequel of the account shows. The ancient allegorical sense of the ass and colt is not to be despised: that the ass may signify the Jews, who had been used to bear the burdensome rites and ceremonies of the law; and the colt, the wild and untamed Gentiles, and the coming of Christ, first to the one, and then to the other:

loose them, and bring them unto me, both ass and colt. So the Arabic version reads it, "loose both, and bring them, both to me".

(u) Toldos Jesu, p. 9. (w) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 95. 1. Targum, Jarchi, & Kimchi in Isa. x. 32.

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 f. Εἰς τὴν κώμην, κ.τ.λ.] Bethphage.

εὐθέως] essentially appropriate to the specific character of the instructions: immediately, after you have entered.

The mention of two animals made by Matthew, though seemingly at variance with Mark 11:2, Luke 19:30, John 12:14, represents the matter more correctly than the other evangelists, and is neither to be explained symbolically (of Judaism and heathenism, Justin Martyr), nor to be regarded as a reduplication on the part of Matthew (Ewald, Holtzmann), nor to be traced to a misapprehension of the words of the prophet (de Wette, Neander, Strauss, Hilgenfeld), who intends וְעַל עַיִר as an epexegetical parallel to עַל־חֲמֹר; for just in the same way are we to understand καὶ ἐπὶ πῶλον, Matthew 21:5, so that, according to Matthew as well, Jesus rides upon, the foal, though accompanied by the mother, a detail which the other evangelists fail to notice. Moreover, it is simply arbitrary to assign a mythical character to the prediction of Jesus on the strength of Genesis 49:11 (Strauss; on the other hand, Bleek).

ὅτι] recitative.

ἀποστέλλει] so far from refusing, He sends them away. The present represents as already taking place what will immediately and certainly be realized. Comp. Mark 4:29. In εὐθέως δέ, but at once, observe Jesus’ marvellous knowledge, not merely of the fact that the animals would undoubtedly be found awaiting them exactly as He said they would be, but of the further fact that the people of the place are so loyal to Him as perfectly to understand the meaning of the ὁ κύριος, κ.τ.λ., and to find in those words sufficient reason for at once complying with His request. Comp. Matthew 26:18. The idea of a magical virtue attaching to the use of the name Jesus (Strauss) is foreign to the text; while, on the other hand, we fail to satisfy the requirements of the three accounts of this incident by resolving it into a mere case of borrowing (Paulus) or requisition (Keim).

The simple account of John does not affect the credibility of the synoptic narrative (also in answer to Bleek). See note on John 12:14 f.

Matthew 21:2. εἰς τὴν κώμην: that is, naturally, the one named, though if we take εἰς before Βηθφαγὴ as = into, it might be Bethany, on the other side of the valley. Some think the two villages were practically one (Porter, Handbook for Syria and Palestine, p. 180).—ὄνον δ. καὶ πῶλον, a she-ass with her foal, the latter alone mentioned in parall.; both named here for a reason which will appear.—λύσαντες ἀγάγετε, loose and bring; without asking leave, as if they were their own.

2. an ass tied, and a colt with her] “A colt tied whereon never man sat” (Mark and Luke). St Matthew notes the close correspondence with the words of the prophecy; see Matthew 21:5.

Oriental travellers describe the high estimation in which the ass is held in the East. The variety of Hebrew names for these animals indicates the many uses to which they are put. “His lot varies as does the lot of those he serves. The rich man’s ass is a lordly beast. In size he is far ahead of anything of his kind we see here at home. His coat is as smooth and glossy as a horse’s.… His livery is shiny black, satiny white or sleek mouse colour. I never saw one of the dingy red of his Poitou brethren.” Zincke’s Egypt.

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.

Verse 2. - The village over against you. Bethphage, to which he points as he speaks. He gives their commission to the two disciples, mentioning even some minute details. Straightway. "As soon as ye be entered into it" (Mark). Ye shall find an ass (a she ass) tied, and a colt with her. St. Matthew alone mentions the ass, the mother of the foal. This doubtless he does with exact reference to the prophecy, which, writing for Jews, he afterwards cites (ver. 4). St. Jerome gives a mystical reason: the ass represents the Jewish people, which had long borne the yoke of the Law; the colt adumbrates the Gentiles, as yet unbroken," whereon never man sat." Christ called them both, Jew and Gentile, by his apostles. Loose them, and bring them unto me. He speaks with authority, as One able to make a requisition and command obedience. Matthew 21:2A colt with her

The Lord does not separate the colt from its dam.

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