Truly I say to you, All these things shall come on this generation.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)All these things shall come upon this generation.—The words carry on the thought of the measure that is gradually being filled up. Men make the guilt of past ages their own, reproduce its atrocities, identify themselves with it; and so, what seems at first an arbitrary decree, visiting on the children the sins of the fathers, becomes in such cases a righteous judgment. If they repent, they cut off the terrible entail of sin and punishment; but if they harden themselves in their evil, they inherit the delayed punishment of their father’s sins as well as of their own.
Lamentation over Jerusalem, and Farewell to the Temple (Mt 23:37-39).Luke 11:49-51, Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. Luke saith, Therefore also said the wisdom of God. Matthew saith, Behold, I send. Christ is the wisdom of God; he here tells them he would send them prophets, wise men, scribes. Luke expounds it by prophets and apostles; men authorized by Christ to reveal unto men the will of God, and men that should be extraordinarily inspired to enable them thereunto.
Scribes, that is, persons instructed to the kingdom of God; a new sort of scribes, but much fitter for their work than the present scribes.
And some ye shall kill and crucify, &c.: our Lord in this only foretells what usage both himself and his apostles should meet with from them, which was fulfilled in what the Scripture telleth us of the scourging of Paul, the stoning of Stephen, the killing of James, &c., beside the crucifying of himself.
That upon you, that is, as he expounds it, Matthew 23:36, upon this generation, may come all the righteous blood, that is, the blood of righteous men, shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, &c. Here arise two questions:
1. Who this Zacharias the son of Barachias was.
2. How it could stand with God’s justice to bring the guilt of the blood of former generations upon that generation.
As to the first, some have guessed the person spoken of to have been one Zacharias the son of Baruch, who was the last slain upon the taking of Jerusalem, as Josephus tells us: but our Saviour here speaks of a thing passed, not to be afterwards done. Others think it was Zacharias the father of John Baptist: but we have no proof that he died a violent death. Others think it was Zechariah, who was one of the small prophets: but there was no temple in his time. It is most probably concluded to be Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, whom the Jews stoned with stones at the commandment of Joash in the court of the house of the Lord, 2 Chronicles 24:21. The father’s name indeed doth not agree; but, first, Jehoiada (as many of the Jews had) might have two names: some think it was this same Zechariah who is called the son of Jeberechiah, Isaiah 8:2. Our Saviour nameth Abel, who lived before the law, and Zacharias, who lived under the law, both slain for righteousness’ sake; that under them he might comprehend all the martyrs slain in those two periods. Others judge, that these two are named because we read of Abel’s blood crying, Genesis 4:10, and Zechariah’s praying (when he died) that the Lord would require his blood. For the other question, it is but righteous with God to punish the sins of parents upon their children; and though such vengeance doth not ordinarily reach further than the third and fourth generation, yet where succeeding generations go on in the same sinful courses, it may reach further, and often does. Isaiah 65:6,7, I will (saith God) recompense into their bosom your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together. That was the case here. They filled up the measure of their fathers’ sins. Therefore Christ tells them, that vengeance should sleep no longer, but come upon that generation, which happened in the utter destruction of Jerusalem within less than forty years after. Our Lord concludes with a pathetical lamentation over Jerusalem, and a further confirmation of what he had said about their ruin.
all these things shall come upon this generation; all the things which Christ had foretold should come to pass in the present age; as that the apostles and ministers of the word he should send to them, some of them they would kill and crucify, and others they would scourge in their synagogues, or persecute from place to place; and all the horrible murders and bloodshed in any age, committed by that people, would be placed to the account of the men of that generation; and the guilt of them imputed to them, and the punishment due unto them be inflicted on them. And which came to pass, and had its full accomplishment about forty years after this, in the utter destruction of Jerusalem, and the whole nation; so that many now living were personally involved in that temporal ruin, as well as escaped not the damnation of hell, Matthew 23:33.Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 23:36. Ἥξει] Put first for sake of emphasis: shall come, shall inevitably come upon, etc. Comp. Matthew 9:15, Matthew 27:49.
πάντα ταῦτα] according to the context: all this shedding of blood, i.e. the punishment for it.
ἐπὶ τ. γενεὰν ταύτ.] See on Matthew 11:16; upon this generation, which was destined to be overtaken by the destruction of Jerusalem and the judgments connected with the second coming (Matthew 23:38 f.), comp. on Matthew 24:34.Matthew 23:36. ἀμὴν: solemn introduction of a statement terrible to think of: sins of countless generations accumulating for ages, and punished in a final representative generation; true, however terrible.Matthew 23:36. Λέγω, I say) sc. again. Cf. Genesis 41:32.—ἥξει, shall come) i.e. as far as the beginnings of vengeance are concerned; for its consummation extends far further; see Matthew 23:39.—πάντα, κ.τ.λ., all, etc.) He who commits a sin becomes a partner in crime with all who have committed the same sin.—γενεὰν, generation) see Gnomon on ch. Matthew 24:34.Verse 36. - An these things. All the crimes committed by their forefathers shall be visited upon this generation by the destruction of the Jewish city and polity, which took place within forty years from this time. The blood of the past was required from the Jews of the present time, because they and their evil ancestors were of one family, and were to be dealt with as a whole. In spite of the teaching of history and example, in spite of the warnings of Christ and his apostles, they were bent on repeating the acts of their forefathers, and that in an aggravated form and against increased light and knowledge. The punishment here announced is the temporal award. Christ here says nothing of the final judgment.
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