Matthew 21:31
New International Version
"Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you.

New Living Translation
"Which of the two obeyed his father?" They replied, "The first." Then Jesus explained his meaning: "I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.

English Standard Version
Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.

Berean Study Bible
Which of the two did the will of his father?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.

Berean Literal Bible
Which of the two did the will of the father?" They say, "The first." Jesus says to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes go before you into the kingdom of God.

New American Standard Bible
"Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you.

King James Bible
Whether of them twain did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Christian Standard Bible
Which of the two did his father's will?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.

Contemporary English Version
Which one of the sons obeyed his father? "The older one," the chief priests and leaders answered. Then Jesus told them: You can be sure tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the kingdom of God before you ever will!

Good News Translation
Which one of the two did what his father wanted?" "The older one," they answered. So Jesus said to them, "I tell you: the tax collectors and the prostitutes are going into the Kingdom of God ahead of you.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
"Which of the two did his father's will?"" The first," they said. Jesus said to them, "I assure you: Tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you!

International Standard Version
Which of the two did the father's will?" They answered, "The first one." Jesus told them, "I tell all of you with certainty, tax collectors and prostitutes will get into God's kingdom ahead of you!

NET Bible
Which of the two did his father's will?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God!

New Heart English Bible
Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Truly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
“Which of these two did the will of his father?” They were saying to him, 'The first.' Yeshua said to them, “Amen, I say to you, that Tax Collectors and prostitutes precede you to the Kingdom of God.”

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"Which of the two sons did what the father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Jesus said to them, "I can guarantee this truth: Tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.

New American Standard 1977
“Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The latter.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Which of the two did the will of his father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go ahead of you into the kingdom of God.

King James 2000 Bible
Which of the two did the will of his father? They said unto him, The first. Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the tax collectors and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

American King James Version
Whether of them two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

American Standard Version
Which of the two did the will of his father? They say, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Which of the two did the father's will? They say to him: The first. Jesus saith to them: Amen I say to you, that the publicans and the harlots shall go into the kingdom of God before you.

Darby Bible Translation
Which of the two did the will of the father? They say [to him], The first. Jesus says to them, Verily I say unto you that the tax-gatherers and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

English Revised Version
Whether of the twain did the will of his father? They say, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Webster's Bible Translation
Which of the two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus saith to them, Verily I say to you, that the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

Weymouth New Testament
Which of the two did as his father desired?" "The first," they said. "I solemnly tell you,' replied Jesus, "that the tax-gatherers and the notorious sinners are entering the Kingdom of God in front of you.

World English Bible
Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said to him, "The first." Jesus said to them, "Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering into the Kingdom of God before you.

Young's Literal Translation
which of the two did the will of the father?' They say to him, 'The first.' Jesus saith to them, 'Verily I say to you, that the tax-gatherers and the harlots do go before you into the reign of God,
Study Bible
The Parable of the Two Sons
30Then the man went to the second son and told him the same thing. ‘I will, sir,’ he said. But he did not go. 31Which of the two did the will of his father?” “The first,” they answered. Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came to you in a righteous way and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.…
Cross References
Matthew 5:46
If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Do not even tax collectors do the same?

Matthew 21:30
Then the man went to the second son and told him the same thing. 'I will, sir,' he said. But he did not go.

Luke 7:29
All the people who heard this, even the tax collectors, acknowledged God's justice. For they had received the baptism of John.

Luke 7:37
When a sinful woman from that town learned that Jesus was dining there, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume.

John 3:3
Jesus replied, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

John 3:5
Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.

Treasury of Scripture

Whether of them two did the will of his father? They say to him, The first. Jesus said to them, Truly I say to you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.

did.

Matthew 7:21
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 12:50
For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Ezekiel 33:11
Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?

The first.

2 Samuel 12:5-7
And David's anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: …

Job 15:6
Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.

Luke 7:40-42
And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on…

Verily.

Matthew 5:18
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

Matthew 6:5
And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Matthew 18:3
And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

the publicans.

Matthew 9:9
And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Matthew 20:16
So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.

Luke 7:29,37-50
And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John…







Lexicon
Which
Τίς (Tis)
Interrogative / Indefinite Pronoun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 5101: Who, which, what, why. Probably emphatic of tis; an interrogative pronoun, who, which or what.

of
ἐκ (ek)
Preposition
Strong's Greek 1537: From out, out from among, from, suggesting from the interior outwards. A primary preposition denoting origin, from, out.

the
τῶν (tōn)
Article - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

two
δύο (dyo)
Adjective - Genitive Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 1417: Two. A primary numeral; 'two'.

did
ἐποίησεν (epoiēsen)
Verb - Aorist Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 4160: (a) I make, manufacture, construct, (b) I do, act, cause. Apparently a prolonged form of an obsolete primary; to make or do.

the
τὸ (to)
Article - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

will
θέλημα (thelēma)
Noun - Accusative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 2307: An act of will, will; plur: wishes, desires. From the prolonged form of ethelo; a determination, i.e. choice or inclination.

of [his]
τοῦ (tou)
Article - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

father?”
πατρός (patros)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3962: Father, (Heavenly) Father, ancestor, elder, senior. Apparently a primary word; a 'father'.

“The
(Ho)
Article - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

first,”
πρῶτος (prōtos)
Adjective - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 4413: First, before, principal, most important. Contracted superlative of pro; foremost.

they answered.
Λέγουσιν (Legousin)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 3004: (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

Jesus
Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2424: Of Hebrew origin; Jesus, the name of our Lord and two other Israelites.

said
Λέγει (Legei)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's Greek 3004: (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

to them,
αὐτοῖς (autois)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Dative Masculine 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 846: He, she, it, they, them, same. From the particle au; the reflexive pronoun self, used of the third person, and of the other persons.

“Truly
Ἀμὴν (Amēn)
Hebrew Word
Strong's Greek 281: Of Hebrew origin; properly, firm, i.e. trustworthy; adverbially, surely.

I tell
λέγω (legō)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 1st Person Singular
Strong's Greek 3004: (a) I say, speak; I mean, mention, tell, (b) I call, name, especially in the pass., (c) I tell, command.

you,
ὑμῖν (hymin)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Dative 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.

the
οἱ (hoi)
Article - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

tax collectors
τελῶναι (telōnai)
Noun - Nominative Masculine Plural
Strong's Greek 5057: A publican, collector of taxes. From telos and oneomai; a tax-farmer, i.e. Collector of public revenue.

and
καὶ (kai)
Conjunction
Strong's Greek 2532: And, even, also, namely.

prostitutes
πόρναι (pornai)
Noun - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 4204: A prostitute; met: an idolatrous community. Feminine of pornos; a strumpet; figuratively, an idolater.

are entering
προάγουσιν (proagousin)
Verb - Present Indicative Active - 3rd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4254: From pro and ago; to lead forward; intransitively, to precede (participle, previous).

the
τὴν (tēn)
Article - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

kingdom
βασιλείαν (basileian)
Noun - Accusative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 932: From basileus; properly, royalty, i.e. rule, or a realm.

of God
Θεοῦ (Theou)
Noun - Genitive Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2316: A deity, especially the supreme Divinity; figuratively, a magistrate; by Hebraism, very.

before you.
ὑμᾶς (hymas)
Personal / Possessive Pronoun - Accusative 2nd Person Plural
Strong's Greek 4771: You. The person pronoun of the second person singular; thou.
(31) They say unto him, The first.--The answer came apparently from the lips of the very persons who were self-condemned by it, and so implied something like an unconsciousness that they were described in the person of the second son. They who gave God thanks that they were not like other men, could not imagine for an instant that the "went not" represented their spiritual life in relation to God's kingdom.

The publicans and the harlots.--The words are purposely general, as describing the action of classes; but we cannot help associating them with the personal instances of the publican who became an Apostle (9:9), and of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:2-10), and of the woman that was a sinner (Luke 7:37-50).

Go into the kingdom of God before you.--Which literally means, lead the way into. What follows shows that our Lord is stating not so much a law of God's government as a simple fact. The choice of the word is significant as implying that there was still time for scribes and Pharisees to follow in the rear. The door was not yet closed against them, though those whom they despised had taken the place of honour and preceded them.

Verse 31. - Whether of them (the) twain! Christ forces from the unwilling hearers an answer which, at the moment, they do not see will condemn themselves. Unaccustomed to be criticized and put to the question, wrapped in a self-complacent righteousness, which was generally undisturbed, they missed the bearing of the parable on their own case, and answered without hesitation, as any unprejudiced person would have decided. The first; i.e. the son who first refused, but afterwards repented and went. Verily I say unto you. Jesus drives the moral home to the hearts of these hypocrites. The publicans and the harlots. He specifies these excommunicated sinners as examples of those represented by the first son. Go into the kingdom of God before you; προάγουσιν ὑμας: are preceding you. This was the fact which Jesus saw and declared, he does not cut off all hope that the Pharisees might follow, if they willed to do so; he only shows that they have lost the position which they ought to have occupied, and that those whom they despised and spurned have accepted the offered salvation, and shall have their reward. We must remark that the Lord has no censure for those who sometime were disobedient, but afterwards repented; his rebuke falls on the professors and self-righteous, who ought to have been leaders and guides, and were in truth impious and irreligious. 21:28-32 Parables which give reproof, speak plainly to the offenders, and judge them out of their own mouths. The parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard, is to show that those who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed by those who knew it, and owned it. The whole human race are like children whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled against him, only some are more plausible in their disobedience than others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.
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