Matthew 21:4
All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
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(4) All this was done.—The Evangelist returns to the formula of Matthew 1:22. Literally, all this has come to pass. The words are his comment on the act. At the time (as we find from John 12:16) the disciples did not understand its significance as connected with the prophecy that follows. The purpose lay in the mind of their Master, not in theirs. It is significant of what St. John records that neither St. Mark nor St. Luke alludes to the prophecy.

Matthew 21:4-5. All this was done, &c. — Ινα πληρωθη το ρηθεν δια του προφητου, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that is, not only hereby the words of the prophet were fulfilled, but our Lord directed this to be done, that they might be fulfilled. As the prophets looked forward to him, and all bore witness to him; so he looked back upon them, that all things which were written of the Messiah might be punctually accomplished in him. Tell ye the daughter of Zion — That is, Jerusalem, so called from mount Zion, which was in the city, and on which was erected a fortress for its defence. This poetical manner of personifying the cities and countries, to which they addressed themselves, was familiar to the prophets. The first words of the passage are cited from Isaiah 62:11, the rest from Zechariah 9:9. The ancient Jewish doctors were wont to apply these prophecies to the Messiah. On an ass — The Prince of peace did not take a horse, a warlike animal: but he will ride on that by and by, Revelation 19:11. In the patriarchal ages, illustrious persons thought it no disgrace to make use of this animal: but it by no means appears that this opinion prevailed, or this custom continued, till the reign of Tiberius. Was it a mean attitude wherein our Lord then appeared? mean even to contempt? We grant it: we glory in it: it is for the comfort of our souls, for the honour of his humility, and for the utter confusion of all worldly pomp and grandeur. Upon an ass, and a colt, &c. — “From the other evangelists it would appear that our Lord rode only on the colt; from this passage we should be apt to think that both had been used. But it is not unusual with the sacred authors, when either the nature of the thing spoken of, or the attendant circumstances are sufficient for precluding mistakes, to employ the plural number for the singular.” — Campbell.

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.All this was done ... - The prophecy here quoted is found in Zechariah 9:9. It was always, by the Jews, applied to the Messiah.

Daughter of Zion - That is, "Jerusalem." "Zion" was one of the hills on which the city of Jerusalem was built. On this stood the city of David and some strong fortresses. The names "daughter and virgin" were given to it often, in accordance with the Oriental figurative manner of expression. See the notes at Isaiah 1:8. Compare Amos 5:2; Psalm 45:13; Psalm 137:8; Isaiah 47:1. It was given to them as an expression of their beauty or comeliness.

Meek - See the notes at Matthew 5:5. The expression here rather denotes "peaceful, not warlike;" not with pomp, and state, and the ensigns of ambition. He came in the manner in which kings were accustomed to ride, but with none of their pride and ambitious feeling.

Sitting upon an ass ... - He rode on the colt (Mark and Luke). This expression in Matthew is one which is common with all writers. See Genesis 19:29; Judges 12:7.


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 21:5".

All this was done,.... The disciples were sent to the neighbouring village for the ass and colt, and they brought them, and Christ rode upon them; not because of the distance of the place from Jerusalem, for he was just at it; or because he was weary, or it would be very fatiguing to him to walk thither on foot; for he had been used to travelling, and had gone through most parts of Galilee and Judea; but

that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: the Ethiopic version adds, Isaiah; for the former part of the following citation stands in Isaiah 62:11 as the latter does in Zechariah 9:9. It was usual with the Jews to cite Scripture in this manner, by taking a part from one writer, and another from anther, and joining them together: saying, the following words.

All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying,
Matthew 21:4 f. Ἵνα πληρωθῇ] not accidental, but in accordance with the divine purpose of fulfilling, etc. This quotation, which is a free rendering, partly of the original Hebrew and partly of the Septuagint, combines Isaiah 62:11 (εἴπατεΣιών) and Zechariah 9:9, where the riding of the ideal Messianic king upon an ass is simply a representation, not indeed of absolute humility (Hengstenberg, Christol. III. p. 360 f.), for such riding is a sign of πραΰτης, but of a peaceful disposition; comp. Ewald, Propheten, I. p. 256, ed. 2. He does not come upon a war-horse, not ἅρματα ἐλαύνων ὡς οἱ λοιποὶ βασιλεῖς, Chrysostom. The incident in which Jesus then realized the recognised fulfilment of the prophecy (Hengstenberg, Ewald, Keim) would suggest the strained interpretation of the figure, and quite properly, inasmuch as Christ’s riding into the city revealed the typical nature of the form in which the prophet embodied his prediction (Düsterdieck, de rei propheticae natura ethica, 1852, p. 78 f.). For the prophetic expression daughter of Zion (the locality of the town regarded as its mother), see Knobel’s note on Isaiah 1:8. Comp. Lamentations 1:6.

σοί] Dative of ethical reference, common likewise in classical Greek along with ἔρχεσθαι.

καὶ ἐπὶ πῶλον] See note on Matthew 21:2. καί is epexegetical.

υἱὸν ὑποζυγ.] בֶּן־אֲתֹנוֹת. For ὑποζύγιον, beast of burden, a term more frequently used in the Septuagint to designate the ass, comp. Herod, ix. 24, 39, 41; Xen. Anab. i. 3. 1; Lucian, Cynic, x.; Polyb. iii. 51. 4; 3 Esdr. Matthew 5:43; 2 Peter 2:16.

Matthew 21:4. ἵνα πληρωθῇ: is to be taken here as always in this Gospel, in its strictly final sense. Such is the view of the evangelist and the view he wishes his readers to take. But it does not follow from this that Christ’s whole action proceeded from a conscious intention to fulfil a prophecy. On the contrary, the less intention on His part the greater the apologetic value of the correspondence between prophecy and fact. Action with intention might show that He claimed to be, not that He was, the Messiah. On the other hand, His right to be regarded as the Messiah would have stood where it was though He had entered Jerusalem on foot. That right cannot stand or fall with any such purely external circumstance, which can at best possess only the value of a symbol of those spiritual qualities which constitute intrinsic fitness for Messiahship. But Jesus, while fully aware of its entirely subordinate importance, might quite conceivably be in the mood to give it the place of a symbol, all the more that the act was in harmony with His whole policy of avoiding display and discouraging vulgar Messianic ideas and hopes. There was no pretentiousness in riding into Jerusalem on the foal of an ass. It was rather the meek and lowly One entering in character, and in a character not welcome to the proud worldly-minded Jerusalemites. The symbolic act was of a piece with the use of the title “Son of Man,” shunning Messianic pretensions, yet making them in a deeper way.

4. that it might be fulfilled] See note ch. Matthew 1:22.

Verse 4. - All this was done; now (δὲ) all this hath come to pass. Many manuscripts omit "all," but it is probably genuine, as in other similar passages; e.g., Matthew 1:22; Matthew 26:56. This observation of the evangelist is intended to convey the truth that Christ was acting consciously on the lines of old prophecy, working out the will of God declared beforehand by divinely inspired seers. The disciples acted in blind obedience to Christ's command, not knowing that they were thus fulfilling prophecy, or having any such purpose in mind. The knowledge came afterwards (see John 12:16). That it might be fulfilled (ἵνα πληρωθῇ). The conjuction in this phrase is certainly used in its final, not in a consecutive or ecbatie sense; it denotes the purpose or design of the action of Christ, not the result. Not only the will of the Father, but the words of Scripture, had delineated the life of Christ, and in obeying that will he purposed to show that he fulfilled the prophecies which spake of him. Thus any who knew the Scriptures, and were open to conviction, might see that it was he alone to whom these ancient oracles pointed, and in him alone were their words accomplished. By (through, διά) the prophet. Zechariah 9:9, with a hint of Isaiah 62:11, a quotation being often woven from two or more passages (see on Matthew 27:9). Matthew 21:4
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