Matthew 22:43
He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) Doth David in spirit call him Lord?—The words assume (1) that David was the writer of Psalms 110; (2) that in writing it, he was guided by a Spirit higher than his own; (3) that the subject of it was no earthly king of the house of David, but the far off Christ. On this point there was an undisturbed consensus among the schools of Judaism, as represented by the Targums and the Talmud. It was a received tradition that the Christ should sit on the right hand of Jehovah and Abraham on His left. Its application to the Christ is emphatically recognised by St. Peter (Acts 2:34), and by St. Paul, though indirectly (Colossians 3:1). In the argument of the Epistle to the Hebrews, it occupies well-nigh the chief place of all (Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 5:6). The only hypothesis on which any other meaning can be assigned to it is, that it was written, not by David, but of him. Here it will be enough to accept our Lord’s interpretation, and to track the sequence of thought in His question. The words represent the LORD (Jehovah) as speaking to David’s Lord (Adonai), as the true king, the anointed of Jehovah. But if so, what was the meaning of that lofty title? Must not He who bore it be something more than the son of David by mere natural descent? If the scribes had never even asked themselves that question, were they not self-convicted of incompetency as religious teachers?

22:41-46 When Christ baffled his enemies, he asked what thoughts they had of the promised Messiah? How he could be the Son of David and yet his Lord? He quotes Ps 110:1. If the Christ was to be a mere man, who would not exist till many ages after David's death, how could his forefather call him Lord? The Pharisees could not answer it. Nor can any solve the difficulty except he allows the Messiah to be the Son of God, and David's Lord equally with the Father. He took upon him human nature, and so became God manifested in the flesh; in this sense he is the Son of man and the Son of David. It behoves us above all things seriously to inquire, What think we of Christ? Is he altogether glorious in our eyes, and precious to our hearts? May Christ be our joy, our confidence, our all. May we daily be made more like to him, and more devoted to his service.How then ... - How is this doctrine that he is "descended" from David consistent with what David says when he calls him "lord?" How can your opinion be reconciled with that? That declaration of David is recorded in Psalm 110:1. A "lord" or master is a superior. The word here does not necessarily imply divinity, but only superiority. David calls him his superior, his lord, his master, his lawgiver, and expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Messiah was to be merely a descendant of David, as other men descended from parents if he was to have a human nature only if he did not exist when David wrote - with what propriety could he, then, call him his lord?

In spirit - By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As a prophet, Acts 2:30; Acts 1:16; 2 Samuel 23:2.

Mt 22:41-46. Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David and Messiah. ( = Mr 12:35-37; Lu 20:41-44).

For the exposition, see on [1344]Mr 12:35-37.

See Poole on "Matthew 22:46".

He saith unto them,.... Not denying it to be a truth they affirmed; but rather granting and allowing it: he argues upon it, though he tacitly refuses their sense and meaning of the phrase, thus,

how then doth David in spirit call him Lord? that is, if he is a mere man, if he is only the son of David, according to the flesh, if he has no other, or higher descent than from him, how comes it to pass, that David, under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, by which he wrote his book of Psalms, see 2 Samuel 23:1 where the passage, after cited, stands, to call him Lord; which supposes him to be more than barely his son, and to be a greater person than himself, one superior in nature and dignity to him? for the phrase "in spirit", is not to be connected with the word Lord; as if the design of it was to show, that the Messiah was Lord, or God, in spirit, or with respect to his divine nature, but, with the word "call", expressing the influence of the Spirit of God, under which David wrote; otherwise the Pharisees would have had a direction how to have answered the question, which much puzzled them:

saying, as in Psalm 110:1.

He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 22:43 f. Πῶς ] how is it possible, that, etc.

In His question Jesus starts with what was a universal assumption in His day, viz. that David was the author of Psalms 110, which, however, is impossible, the fact being that it was only composed in the time of this monarch, and addressed to him (see Ewald on this psalm). The fact that Jesus shared the opinion referred to, and entertained no doubt as to the accuracy of the title of the psalm, is not to be questioned, though it should not be made use of, with Delitzsch and many others, for the purpose of proving the Davidic authorship of the composition; for a historico-critical question of this sort could only belong to the sphere of Christ’s ordinary national development, which, as a rule, would necessarily bear the impress of His time. With ἐν πνεύμ. before us, the idea of accommodation or of a play upon logic is not to be thought of, although Delitzsch himself maintains that something of the kind is possible. Among the unwarrantable and evasive interpretations of certain expositors is that of Paulus, who thinks that the object of the question of Jesus from beginning to end was the historico-critical one of persuading His opponents that the psalm was not composed by David, and that it contains no reference to the Messiah.[8]

ἐν πνεύματι] meaning, perhaps, that He did not do so on His own authority, but impulsu Spiritus Sancti (2 Peter 1:21); Luke 2:27; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15; Romans 9:2. David was regarded as a prophet, Acts 2:30; Acts 1:16.

αὐτόν] the Messiah; for the personage in the psalm is a prophetic type of the Messiah; as also the Rabbinical teachers recognised in him one of the foremost of the Messianic predictions (Wetstein, Schoettgen), and only at a later period would they hear of any other reference (Delitzsch on Hebrews 1:13, and on Psalms 110.).

ἕως ἂν θῶ, κ.τ.λ.] see on 1 Corinthians 15:25.

[8] For the correct view of this matter, see Diestel in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. 1863, p. 541 f.; see also the pointed elucidation, as well as refutation of the other interpretations, in Keim, III. p. 154 ff.; comp. Gess, I. p. 128 f. Then there is the explanation, frequently offered since Strauss suggested it, and which is to the effect that Jesus wished to cast discredit upon the currently received view regarding Messiah’s descent from David, and that He Himself was not descended from David,—a circumstance which is supposed to have undoubtedly stood in the way of His being recognised as the Messiah (Schenkel, Weisse, Colani, Holtzmann); all which is decidedly at variance with the whole of the New Testament, where the idea of a non-Davidic Messiah would be a contradictio in adjecto.

Matthew 22:43. πῶς οὖν, etc.: the question is meant to bring out another side of Messiah’s relation to David, based on an admittedly Messianic oracle (Psalm 110:1), and overlooked by the scribes. The object of the question is not, as some have supposed, to deny in toto the sonship, but to hint doubt as to the importance attached to it. Think out the idea of Lordship and see where it will lead you, said Jesus in effect. The scribes began at the wrong end: at the physical and material, and it landed them in secularity. If they had begun with Lordship it would have led them into the spiritual sphere, and made them ready to accept as Christ one greater than David in the spiritual order, though totally lacking the conventional grandeur of royal persons, only an unpretending Son of Man.

Matthew 22:43. Ἐν Πνεύματι, in Spirit) and therefore truly: see 1 Corinthians 12:3.—Κύριον Αὐτὸν καλεῖ, calleth Him Lord) a sign of subjection: see Php 2:11 : cf. 1 Peter 3:6. It was a higher honour to have Christ for his Son, than to be a king; and vet David does not say that Christ is his son, but rejoices that Christ is his Lord, and he Christ’s servant. But this joy has also been procured for us: see Luke 1:43; John 20:28; Php 3:3; Php 3:8. They who regard the Messiah only as the son of David, regard the lesser part of the conception of Him. A dominion to which David himself is subject, shows the heavenly majesty of the King, and the heavenly character of His kingdom.

Verse 43. - He saith. They had answered glibly enough, not knowing what was to come of their natural admission; now Christ puts a difficulty before them which might have led them to pause and reflect upon what that assertion might connote. How then? Πῶς οϋν; If Christ is David's Son, how is it then, in what sense can it be said, etc.? Doth David in spirit can him Lord. "In spirit" means speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit - an argument surely for the Divine authority of the Old Testament, when "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter 1:21). Christ proceeds to quote a passage from Psalm 110, acknowledged by the Jews to be Davidic and Messianic. Both these positions have been called in question in modern days, and sceptical critics have hence presumed to infer ignorance or deceit on the part of Christ; i.e. either that he did not know that the authorship was wrongly attributed to David, and that the psalm really referred to Maccabean times, or that, knowing these facts, he deliberately ignored them and endorsed a popular error in order to give colour to his argument. The statement of such a charge against our Lord is a sufficient refutation. Universal tradition, extending to this very time, which gave to the psalm a Messianic interpretation, is surely more worthy of credit than a theory elaborated in the present century, which in no respect regards the natural signification of the language, and can be made to support the novel idea only by forced and unreal accommodations. By speaking of David as having uttered the quoted words, Christ does not formally state that this king wrote the psalm; he merely gives the accepted view which classed it as Davidic. The authorship did not matter in his application; his argument was equally sound, whoever was the writer. Matthew 22:43
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