Matthew 22:15
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) How they might entangle him.—Literally, ensnare. The phrase is identical in meaning with our colloquial “set a trap.” The plot implies that they did not dare to take measures openly against Him as long as popular feeling was at the same level.

Matthew 22:15-17. Then went the Pharisees — Greatly incensed by the two last parables delivered by our Lord; and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk — Gr. παγιδευσωσιν εν λογω, might entrap him in his discourse, so as to find something on which they might ground an accusation against him, and effect his destruction. And they sent out their disciples — Persons who had imbibed their spirit of hostility against him, and entered fully into their designs; with the Herodians — “Probably,” says Dr. Campbell, “partisans of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, who were for the continuance of the royal power in the descendants of Herod the Great, an object which, it appears, the greater part of the nation, especially the Pharisees, did not favour. They considered that family not indeed as idolaters, but as great conformists to the idolatrous customs of both Greeks and Romans, whose favour they spared no means to secure. The notion adopted by some, that the Herodians were those who believed Herod to be the Messiah, hardly deserves to be mentioned, as there is no evidence that such an opinion was maintained by any body.” On account of their zeal for Herod’s family, they were of course also zealous for the authority of the Romans, by whose means Herod was made and continued king. Their views and designs being therefore diametrically opposite to those of the Pharisees, there had long existed the most bitter enmity between the two sects. So that the conjunction of their counsels against Christ is a very memorable proof of the keenness of that malice which could thus cause them to forget so deep a quarrel with each other. In order to insnare Christ, they came to him, feigning themselves just men, (Luke 20:20,) men who had a great veneration for the divine law, and a dread of doing any thing inconsistent with it; and, under that mask, accosted Christ with an air of great respect, and flattering expressions of the highest esteem, saying, Master, we know that thou art true — A person of the greatest uprightness and integrity; and teachest the way of God in truth — Declarest his will with perfect impartiality and fidelity; neither carest thou for the censure or applause of any man; for thou regardest not the person of men — Thou favourest no man for his riches or greatness, nor art influenced by complaisance or fear, or any private view whatever, to deviate from the strictest integrity and veracity. Tell us, therefore, Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar? — In asking this question they imagined that it was not in Christ’s power to decide the point, without making himself obnoxious to one or other of the parties which had divided upon it. If he should say, it was lawful; they believed the people, in whose hearing the question was proposed, would be incensed against him, not only as a base pretender, who, on being attacked, publicly renounced the character of the Messiah, which he had assumed among his friends; (it being as they supposed, a principal office of the Messiah to deliver them from a foreign yoke;) but as a flatterer of princes also, and a betrayer of the liberties of his country. But if he should affirm that it was unlawful to pay, the Herodians resolved to inform the governor of it, who they hoped would punish him as a fomenter of sedition. Highly elated therefore with their project, they came and proposed their question.22:15-22 The Pharisees sent their disciples with the Herodians, a party among the Jews, who were for full subjection to the Roman emperor. Though opposed to each other, they joined against Christ. What they said of Christ was right; whether they knew it or not, blessed be God we know it. Jesus Christ was a faithful Teacher, and a bold reprover. Christ saw their wickedness. Whatever mask the hypocrite puts on, our Lord Jesus sees through it. Christ did not interpose as a judge in matters of this nature, for his kingdom is not of this world, but he enjoins peaceable subjection to the powers that be. His adversaries were reproved, and his disciples were taught that the Christian religion is no enemy to civil government. Christ is, and will be, the wonder, not only of his friends, but of his enemies. They admire his wisdom, but will not be guided by it; his power, but will not submit to it.The Pharisees and Herodians endeavor to entangle Jesus - This narrative is also found in Mark 12:12-17; Luke 20:20-26.

Matthew 22:15

Then went the Pharisees - See the notes at Matthew 3:7.

How they might entangle him - To entangle means to "ensnare," as birds are taken by a net. This is done secretly, by leading them within the compass of the net and then suddenly springing it over them. So to entangle is artfully to lay a plan for enticing; to beguile by proposing a question, and by leading, if possible, to an incautious answer. This was what the Pharisees and Herodians endeavored to do in regard to Jesus.

In his talk - The word "his" is supplied by the translators, perhaps improperly. It means "in conversations," or by "talking" with him; not alluding to anything that he had before said.

Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies. ( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).

For the exposition, see on [1343]Mr 12:13-34.

Mark saith, Mark 12:13, They send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. Luke saith, Luke 20:20, They watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take hold of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. His life was what they sought for. This they had no power allowed by the Romans to take away without the sentence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. That they might have something to accuse him of before him, which he might condemn him for, they first take counsel. They saw he did nothing worthy of death; they therefore issue their counsels in a resolution to send some persons to discourse with him, under the pretence of conscientious, good men, to propound some questions to him, his answer to which might give them some opportunity to accuse him of blasphemy or sedition. The men they pitch upon were some of them Pharisees, some Herodians. Then went the Pharisees,.... After they had heard the parables of the two sons being bid to go into the vineyard, of the vineyard let out to husbandmen, and of the marriage feast; for it is clear from hence, that these stayed and heard the last of these parables, in all which they saw themselves designed; and though they were irritated and provoked to the last degree, they were obliged to hide their resentments, nor durst they use any violence for fear of the people; wherefore they retired to some convenient place, to the council chamber, or to the palace of the high priest, or where the chief priests were gone, who seem to have departed some time before them:

and took counsel; among themselves, and of others, their superiors; not how they should behave more agreeably for the future, and escape due punishment and wrath to the uttermost, which the King of kings would justly inflict on them, very plainly signified in the above parables; but

how they might entangle him in his talk, or "take hold of his words", as in Luke; or "catch him in his words", as in Mark: they consulted to draw him into a conversation, on a dangerous and ensnaring subject; when they hoped a word might drop unwarily from him, which they might catch at, lay hold on, and improve to his disadvantage; either with the common people, or the government, and especially the latter; as is to be learned from Luke, who expressly says their end was,

that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor; the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, should he say any thing against Caesar, which they endeavoured to ensnare him into; by which means, they doubted not of setting the populace against him, and of screening themselves from their resentments; and of gaining their main point, the delivery of him up into the hands of the civil government, who, for treason and sedition, would put him to death.

{f} Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

(f) Snare him in his words or talk. The Greek word is derived from snares which hunters lay.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 22:15 ff. Comp. Mark 12:13 ff.; Luke 20:20 ff.

Οἱ Φαρισαῖοι]. now no longer in their official capacity, as deputed by the Sanhedrim (Matthew 21:23; Matthew 21:45), but on their own responsibility, and as representing a party adopting a still bolder policy, and proceeding upon a new tack.

ὅπως] They took counsel (comp. λαβὼν αἵρεσιν, Dem. 947, 20), expressly with a view to. Not equivalent to πῶς, the reading in D, and originating in a mistaken gloss. Comp. Matthew 12:14. For συμβούλιον, consultation, comp. Matthew 27:1; Matthew 27:7, Matthew 28:12; Mark 3:6; Dio Cass. xxxviii. 43; classical writers commonly use συμβουλή, συμβουλία. Others (Keim included), without grammatical warrant, render according to the Latin idiom: consilium ceperunt. Euthymius Zigabenus correctly renders by: συσκέπτονται.

ἐν λόγῳ] in an utterance, i.e. in a statement which he might happen to make. This statement is conceived of as a trap or snare (παγίς, see Jacobs ad Anthol. VII. p. 409, XI. p. 93), into which if He once fell they would hold Him fast, with a view to further proceedings against Him. Others explain: διʼ ἐρωτήσεως (Euthymius Zigabenus). But Jesus could not become involved in the snare unless He gave such an answer to their queries as they hoped to elicit. παγιδεύειν, illagueare, is not met with in classical writers, though it frequently occurs in the Septuagint.Matthew 22:15-22. The tribute question (Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26).—In this astute scheme the Sanhedrists, according to Mk., were the prime movers, using other parties as their agents. Here the Pharisees act on their own motion.15–22. The Temptation of the Herodians. The Tribute Money

Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-25.

15. how they might entangle him] Literally, ensnare, as a fowler ensnares birds. The Greek word is used here only in N.T.

All the previous attempts had been to discredit Jesus as a religious teacher; the present is an attempt to expose Him to the hostility of the Roman government. Will He follow Judas the Gaulonite, in disowning all human authority? or will He acquiesce in the Roman rule? In the one case He would incur the condemnation of Pilate, in the other the scorn of His Galilæan followers.Matthew 22:15. Τότε πορευθέντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι, κ.τ.λ., then went the Pharisees, etc.) On the malignant spirit of our Lord’s adversaries, see Mark 12:12-13; Luke 20:20.Verses 15-22. - Second attack: The question concerning the tribute to Caesar. (Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26.) Verse 15. - Then went the Pharisees. After they had heard the parables, and were for the time silenced, they departed from the public courts of the temple, and betook themselves to the hall of the Sanhedrin, that they might plot some stratagem against Jesus. How they might entangle (παγιδεύσωσιν) him in his talk. The verb (not elsewhere found in the New Testament) means "to lay a snare for" an object. The Pharisees did not dare to use open violence, but they now endeavoured by insidious questions to make him compromise himself either with the Romans, their political masters, or with the national and patriotic party. Entangle (παγιδεύσωσιν)

From παγίς, a trap or snare. Better, therefore, Rev., ensnare.

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