Matthew 21:27
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Then he said, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

New Living Translation
So they finally replied, "We don't know." And Jesus responded, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I do these things.

English Standard Version
So they answered Jesus, “We do not know.” And he said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Berean Study Bible
So they said to Jesus, “We do not know.” “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things,” He replied.

Berean Literal Bible
And answering Jesus, they said "We do not know." And He said to them, "Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

New American Standard Bible
And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

King James Bible
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Christian Standard Bible
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Contemporary English Version
So they told Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus said, "Then I won't tell you who gave me the right to do what I do."

Good News Translation
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." And he said to them, "Neither will I tell you, then, by what right I do these things.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." And He said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

International Standard Version
So they told Jesus, "We don't know." He in turn told them, "Then I won't tell you by what authority I am doing these things."

NET Bible
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Then he said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.

New Heart English Bible
They answered Jesus, and said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
They answered and they were saying to him, “We do not know.” Yeshua said to them, “Neither am I telling you by which authority I do these things.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So they answered Jesus, "We don't know." Jesus told them, "Then I won't tell you why I have the right to do these things.

New American Standard 1977
And answering Jesus, they said, “We do not know.” He also said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And they answered Jesus and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

King James 2000 Bible
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

American King James Version
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said to them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

American Standard Version
And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And answering Jesus, they said: We know not. He also said to them: Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Darby Bible Translation
And answering Jesus they said, We do not know. He also said to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

English Revised Version
And they answered Jesus, and said, We know not. He also said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Webster's Bible Translation
And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said to them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Weymouth New Testament
So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." "Nor do I tell you," He replied, "by what authority I do these things."

World English Bible
They answered Jesus, and said, "We don't know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.

Young's Literal Translation
And answering Jesus they said, 'We have not known.' He said to them -- he also -- 'Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
Study Bible
Jesus' Authority Challenged
26But if we say, ‘From men,’ we are afraid of the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” 27So they said to Jesus, “We do not know.” “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things, He replied. 28“But what do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work today in the vineyard.’…
Cross References
Matthew 21:26
But if we say, 'From men,' we are afraid of the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet."

Matthew 21:28
"But what do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.'

Treasury of Scripture

And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said to them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

We cannot tell.

Matthew 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind …

Matthew 16:3 And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is …

Matthew 23:16 Woe to you, you blind guides, which say, Whoever shall swear by the …

Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and …

Isaiah 28:9 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand …

Isaiah 29:10-12 For the LORD has poured out on you the spirit of deep sleep, and …

Isaiah 42:19,20 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? …

Isaiah 56:10,11 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb …

Jeremiah 8:7-9 Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle …

Malachi 2:6-9 The law of truth was in his mouth, and iniquity was not found in …

Luke 20:7,8 And they answered, that they could not tell from where it was…

John 9:30,40,41 The man answered and said to them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, …

Romans 1:18-22,28 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness …

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Thessalonians 2:9,10 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power …







(27) We cannot tell.--The confession of impotence to which the priests and scribes were thus brought was, as has been said, a virtual abdication. Before such a tribunal the Prophet whom they called in question might well refuse to plead. There was, indeed, no need to answer. For those who were not wilfully blind and deaf, the words that He had spoken, the works which He had done, the sinless life which He had led, were proofs of an authority from God.

Verse 27. - We cannot tell; οὐκ οἴδαμεν: we know not; Vulgate, nescimus. The Authorized Version seems, at first sight, to be intended to give a false emphasis to "tell" in Christ's answer; but our translators often render the verb οἴδα in this way (see John 3:8; John 8:14; John 16:18; 2 Corinthians 12:2). The questioners could find no way out of the dilemma in which Christ's unerring wisdom had placed them. Their evasive answer was a confession of defeat, and that in the presence of the gaping crowd who stood around listening to the conversation. They had every opportunity of judging the character of John's mission and that of Christ; it was their duty to form an opinion and to pronounce a verdict on such claims; and yet they, the leaders and teachers of Israel, for fear of compromising themselves, evade the obligation, refuse to solve or even to entertain the question, and, like a modern agnostic, content themselves with a profession of ignorance. Many people, to avoid looking a disagreeable truth in the face, respond to all appeals with the stereotyped phrase, "We cannot tell." F.M. appositely quotes the comment of Donatus on Terent., 'Eunuch.,' 5:4, 31, "Perturbatur Parmeno; nec negare potuit, nec consentire volebat; sed quasi defensionis loco dixit, Nescio." And he said unto them; ἔφη αὐτοῖς καὶ αὐτός: he also said unto them. The Lord answers the thought which had dictated their words to him. Neither tell I you, etc. With such double-minded men, who could give no clear decision concerning the mission of such a one as John the Baptist, it would be mere waste of words to argue further. They would not accept his testimony, and recognizing their malice and perversity, he declined to instruct them further. "Christ shows," says Jerome, "that they knew and were unwilling to answer; and that he knew, but held his peace, because they refused to utter what they well knew." And they answered Jesus and said, we cannot tell,.... They saw the dilemma they were brought into; they chose rather therefore to speak against their own consciences, and tell a wilful lie, and incur the reproach of ignorance: who, at other times, took upon them to judge of a prophet, whether he was a true or a false one, and by what authority he acted, whether of God, or man: but now being reduced to this wretched condition, contrary to their office and character, declare they did not know, and could not tell from whence John had his commission, and who gave him his authority:

and he said unto them, neither tell I you by what authority I do these things: since, according to the proposal of Christ, and the agreement he entered into with them, they did not give him a direct answer to his question, he looked upon himself under no obligation to inform them, what was his authority, and from whence he had it; though by the question he put to them he tacitly suggests, that he had his authority not from man, but from God; and by this his answer signifies, that since John preached and baptized without their authority and approbation, so might he; nor was he dependent on them, or accountable to them. 27. And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell—Evidently their difficulty was, how to answer, so as neither to shake their determination to reject the claims of Christ nor damage their reputation with the people. For the truth itself they cared nothing whatever.

Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things—What composure and dignity of wisdom does our Lord here display, as He turns their question upon themselves, and, while revealing His knowledge of their hypocrisy, closes their mouths! Taking advantage of the surprise, silence, and awe produced by this reply, our Lord followed it up immediately by the two following parables.

Parable of the Two Sons (Mt 21:28-32).21:23-27 As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.
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