When they had heard these words, they marveled, and left him, and went their way.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They marvelled.—We can picture to ourselves the surprise which the conspirators felt at thus finding themselves baffled where they thought success so certain. The Herodians could not charge the Teacher with forbidding to give tribute to Cæsar. The Pharisees found the duty of giving to God what belonged to Him pressed as strongly as they had ever pressed it. They had to change their tactics, and to fall back upon another plan of attack.
Though he had apparently decided in favor of the Herodians, yet his answer confounded both parties, and wholly prevented the use which they intended to make of it. It was so wise; it so clearly detected their wickedness and foiled their aim, that they were confounded, and retired covered with shame.
For the exposition, see on Mr 12:13-34.Mark 12:15-17. So hath Luke, Luke 20:23-26. Our Saviour, saith Luke, perceived their craftiness, how subtlety they went about to entrap him. He calls them to show him the tribute money. The Jews had two sorts of money, shekels and half shekels, which was money proper to them, and Roman coin, pence and sesterces. Their tribute was paid in this coin. Accordingly they bring unto him a penny, a Roman penny, as much in value as seven pence halfpenny in our coin; which it seems was the poll money, which the Romans exacted of every head. The coining of money was always looked upon as an act of sovereign power, hence the usurpation of it is made so criminal. Most princes use to have their effigies stamped upon their coin, and some inscription about it, with their names, and some words expressive of their dominion over such places where their coin is current; so as the admission of a prince’s coin as current amongst a people was a testimony of their owning and subjection to such a prince. Such an image and superscription this piece of money had; upon which our Saviour concludes,
Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. Although Caesar be a usurper, yet God hath given you into his hands, you have owned him by accepting his coin as current amongst you. His right and God’s right are two distinct things. Religion doth not exempt you from your civil duties, and obedience to princes, in things wherein they have a power to command. Princes have power to impose tributes upon their subjects, for the maintenance and upholding of the civil government. Let Caesar have his due, and let God have his right. You are a company of hypocrites, who by this question would make me believe you have a great zeal for God and his rights, and that you would not pay taxes that you might assert God’s right over you; this is your preference, but indeed your design is to try me, if you can persuade me, by any words of mine, to encourage you to any sedition, or acts of disloyalty to your civil governors. I see no reason for it; Caesar hath his right, and God hath his rights; you may give them both their rights, and so you ought to do. God’s kingdom is of another nature than the kingdoms of the world. His law forbiddeth no civil rights. Thus our Saviour answers their question so as he maketh them to condemn themselves, if, owning the civil magistrate’s power, they did not give him his rights, and so as neither Caesar nor yet the people had any just cause of exception against him for his words. This answer surprises them, they marvel and go their way, having played their game and got nothing.
they marvelled: were amazed and astonished, at his prudence and wisdom, in answering them, in such an unexpected and cautious manner:
they left him: being silenced, confounded, and disappointed:
and went their way: not being able to get any advantage against him, neither to bring him into contempt with the people, and alienate their affections from him; nor to charge him with sedition or treason to the Roman governor; and so had but a very indifferent account of their success, to report to them that sent them.When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 22:22. ἐθαύμασαν, wondered; the reply a genuine surprise, they had not thought it possible that He could slip out of their hands so completely and so easily.23–33. The Sadducees tempt Jesus. The Condition of the Future Life
Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-3823. the Sadducees] See note ch. Matthew 3:7. This is the only direct contact of the Sadducees with Jesus.Matthew 22:22. Ἐθαύμασαν, they marvelled) And showed their astonishment at His safe and true answer.Verse 22. - They marvelled. Well might they marvel. Their carefully laid plot, which had seemed so irresistible, was utterly frustrated. The view of the relations of Church and state set forth by Christ was novel and incomprehensible. Hitherto the two provinces had been considered identical. The emperor, as we see impressed on his coins, was Pontifex Maximus; the Jewish priesthood had a political character, and the civil power was its instrument. In Christ's theory the spheres were distinct and not to be confounded. The state compelled obedience to its enactments; the Church left the conscience free, and obedience was voluntary and enforced by no external powers. The new society stood aloof from all political interests, and was responsible alone to God, while it performed its duties. Left him. They had no answer to give. There was nothing in Christ's words that they could lay hold of; nothing treasonable, nothing unpatriotic. Baffled, though not convinced, the questioners sullenly withdrew; but they or their comrades afterwards had the effrontery to accuse Jesus of forbidding to pay tribute to Caesar (Luke 23:2).
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