Matthew 21:35
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
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(35) Beat one, and killed another.—The language paints the general treatment of the prophets, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zechariah the son of Jehoiada, being the most conspicuous instances. The language of our Lord in Matthew 23:30; Matthew 23:34, not less than that of Hebrews 11:37, implies that the prophets, as a class, had no light or easy task, and were called upon, one by one, to suffer persecution for the faithful exercise of their office.

21:33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.And beat one - The word translated here as "beat" properly means to flay or to take off the skin; hence to beat or to whip so that the skin in many places is taken off.

And killed another - Isaiah is said to have been put to death by sawing him asunder.

Many other of the prophets were also put to death. See Luke 13:34; Hebrews 11:37; 1 Samuel 22:18; 1 Kings 19:10.

And stoned another - This was among the Jews a common mode of punishment, Deuteronomy 13:10; Deuteronomy 17:7; Joshua 7:25. Especially was this the case in times of popular tumult, and of sudden indignation among the people, Acts 7:58; Acts 14:19; John 8:59; John 10:31. This does not I imply, of necessity, that those who were stoned "died," but they might be only severely wounded. Mark says, "At him they cast stones and wounded him in the head, and sent him away," etc.

There is a little variation in the circumstances as mentioned by Matthew, and by Mark and Luke, but the substance is the same. Mark and Luke are more particular, and state the order in which the servants were sent one after another. They all denote the dealing of the people of Israel toward the prophets. All these things had been done to them. See Hebrews 11:37; Jeremiah 44:4-6; 2 Chronicles 36:16; Nehemiah 9:26; 2 Chronicles 24:20-21.

35. And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one—see Jer 37:15; 38:6.

and killed another—see Jer 26:20-23.

and stoned another—see 2Ch 24:21. Compare with this whole verse Mt 23:37, where our Lord reiterates these charges in the most melting strain.

See Poole on "Matthew 21:36".

And the husbandmen took his servants,.... They seized and laid hold of them in a rude and violent manner: so far were they from treating these servants with respect, as they ought to have done; considering whose they were, from whom they came, and upon what account; and also so far from delivering to them the fruit due to their master, or excusing their inability to make a suitable return, as might be expected, they use them very roughly:

and beat one; either with the fist, as Jeremiah was struck by Pashur, the son of Immer, the priest, one of these husbandmen,

Jeremiah 20:1 and as Micaiah was smitten on the cheek by Zedekiah, the son of Chenaanah, the false prophet, 2 Chronicles 18:23 or with a scourge, and may refer to the punishment of beating with forty stripes, save one, by which the skin was flayed off; as the word here signifies; for some of these servants had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings,

Hebrews 11:36. And killed another; that is, with the sword. There were four kinds of death in the power of the sanhedrim, of which this is one, and what follows is another; and were these, stoning, burning, killing (i.e. beheading with the sword), and strangling: the manner of executing this punishment here expressed, was this:

"They cut off the person's head "with a sword", in the manner the government orders it. R. Judah says, this is indecent (i.e. to cut off his head standing, they do not do so), but they put his head upon a block, and cut it off with an axe; they reply to him, there is no death more abominable than this (x).

So the prophets, in the time of Elijah, were killed with the sword,

1 Kings 19:14 see also Daniel 11:33.

And stoned another; as they did Zechariah, 2 Chronicles 24:21 and doubtless many others; since Jerusalem had the character of killing the prophets, and stoning them that were sent unto her, Matthew 23:37 these seemed such that were stoned, but not killed; but as Mark says, were wounded in the head with the stones thrown at them, and shamefully handled, and sadly abused,

(x) Misn. Sanhedrin, c. 7. sect. 1, 3.

And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Matthew 21:35. λαβόντες οἱ γ., etc. The husbandmen treat the messengers in the most barbarous and truculent manner: beating, killing, stoning to death; highly improbable in the natural sphere, but another instance in which parables have to violate natural probability in order to describe truly men’s conduct in the spiritual sphere. On ἐδείραν Kypke re-remarks: the verb δέρειν for verberare is so rare in profane writers that some have thought that for ἔδειραν should be read ἔδῃραν, from δαίρω.

35. beat one, and killed another, and stoned another] See ch. Matthew 23:35.

Matthew 21:35. Ἔδειραν, they beat) The LXX. generally put ἐκδρέω, to skin off, only once δέρω, to skin, for the Hebrew פּשט in the sense of to flay. They never use the verb otherwise. The Old Vocabulary renders the Latin “excorio” (to skin) by the Greek, ἀποδέρω. But δαίρω signifies to beat in Arrian, B. iii., and Epictetus, ch. xix. and xxii. Whence Suidas and Favorinus draw a clear distinction between the two verbs, δέρω and δαίρω. Hesychius also renders δείραντες by ἐκδείραντες, and ἔδειραν by ἐξέδειραν, which he further explains by ἐξεδερμάτησαν, they flayed. Old glosses, however, render δέρω by τύπτω, to beat: and Aristophanes, in the Wasps (ed. Dindorf, 485), says, Ἤ δέδοκταί μοι δέρεσθαι καὶ δέρειν δἰ ἡμέρας, “I have indeed determined to be beaten, and to beat all the day long,”—where the Scholiast says, δέρεσθαι and δέρειν” are for τύπτεσθαι (to be beaten). In fact, the verbs, κεφαλαιόω (to capitate), τραχηλίζω (to jugulate), γαστρίζω (to stomachize), and thus also δέρω (to skin or hide), have a wide signification, implying the infliction of injury on the head, throat, stomach, or skin respectively, either by removing them altogether, or else by striking them. The desire to avoid ambiguity induced the later Greeks to write either δέρω or δαὶρω, and thence, in this passage, ἔδῃραν.[937]

[937] So the uncial Cod. U, etc.—ED.

Ἔδειρανἀπέκτεινανἐλιθοβόλησαν, beat—slew—stoned) An ascending climax, in which the third degree is an atrocious species of the second; cf. Mark 12:3-4, and Luke 20:10-12, where a greater number of intermediate degrees occurs.

Verse 35. - Took his servants. The exaction of rent in kind has always been a fruitful source of dispute, fraud, and discontent. In the Jewish Church God's messengers had been ill treated and put to death (see ch. 23:34-37). "Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted?" cried St. Stephen; "and they have slain them which showed before the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been the betrayers and murderers" (Acts 7:52). Beat... killed... stoned. A climax of iniquity and guilt. The statement is probably meant to be general; some, however, endeavour to individualize it, referring the "beating" to the treatment of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:1, 2), "killing" to Isaiah (Hebrews 11:37, "sawn asunder"), "stoning" to Zechariah son of Jehoiada (2 Chronicles 24:20, 21). Doubtless, the incidents in such persecutions were often repeated. Matthew 21:35
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