For all the people were very attentive to hear him; there were great crowds always about him, that hung upon him, as the word rendered "attentive" signifies; they heard him with great eagerness and diligence, and were ready to catch every word that dropped from his lips; and were exceedingly taken with him, having never heard any man speak like him: wherefore having so many followers, and being so high in the opinion and affection of the people, the sanhedrim were at a loss what method to make use of to gain their point; and they feared the people, should they seize him publicly, lest they should rise and rescue him, and cause a tumult and disturbance.
as he taught the people in the temple, and preached the Gospel; for he taught them by preaching that, and which he did most clearly, faithfully, and publicly, being abundantly anointed and qualified for it, and sent to do it.
The chief priests, and the Scribes, came upon him, with the elders. The whole sanhedrim being purposely convened together, came upon him in a body; and it may be suddenly, and at an unawares, and came open mouthed against him, and attacked him with great warmth and vehemency.
or who is he that gave thee this authority? God or man? See Gill on Matthew 21:23.
I will also ask you one thing, and answer me; when he also promised, that if they would give him an answer to his question, he would satisfy them in the point they interrogated him about: and as this was a prudent decline to avoid the snare they laid for him, so it was not an impertinent reply to them; since it led on to a proper answer to their question, as appears by the case proposed; See Gill on Matthew 21:24.
saying, if we shall say from heaven; which was what, in their own consciences, they believed to be true,
he will say, why then believed ye him not? in what he said concerning the Messiah; which if they had, as they should, there would have been no reason for such a question they had put; See Gill on Matthew 21:25.
all the people will stone us; meaning the common people, that were then in the temple about Christ, hearing him preach; who would be so enraged at such an answer, that without any regard to their character and office, they would rise and stone them. The Ethiopic version adds, "whom we fear"; see Matthew 21:26 for it seems that they had not so behaved as to have the good will and esteem of the people, at least they did not pin their faith on their sleeve:
for they be persuaded that John was a prophet; they were fully assured of it; and the sentiments and authority of the chief priests could have no weight and influence upon them to weaken their faith in this point; the evidence was so strong, and their faith so firm and sure.
neither tell I you by what authority I do these things; nor was there any need of it; they might easily perceive by what he had said, from whence he professed to have received his authority, from God, and not men; See Gill on Matthew 21:27.
a certain man planted a vineyard; the people of the Jews are designed by the vineyard, and the "certain man", or "householder", as Matthew calls him, Matthew 21:28 is the Lord of hosts; and the planting of it is to be understood of his bringing and settling the people Israel in the land of Canaan. Luke omits certain things which the other evangelists relate, as setting an hedge about it, digging a winepress, and building a tower in it; and the Persic version here adds, "and planted trees, and set a wall about it"; all which express the care that was taken to cultivate and protect it; and signify the various blessings and privileges the Jew's enjoyed under the former dispensation; see Gill on Matthew 21:33 and See Gill on Mark 12:1.
and let it forth to husbandmen; put the people of the Jews under the care not only of civil magistrates, but of ecclesiastical governors, who were to dress this vine, or instruct these people in matters of religion, that they might be fruitful in good works:
and went into a far country for a long time; for a long time it was, from the times of Moses and Joshua, when the first settlement, both of the civil and ecclesiastical state of the Jews, was made, to the time of Christ; it was fourteen or fifteen hundred years; see the notes, as above.
he sent a servant to the husbandmen; or servants, as in Matthew 21:34; the prophets of the Lord, his messengers, whom he sent to them, to exhort them to bring forth the fruits of righteousness, as follows:
that they should give him of the fruit of the vineyard; that is, that they, bringing forth good fruit in their lives and conversations, whereby it might appear that they were trees of righteousness, and the planting of the Lord; he, or they observing them, might give an account of them to the Lord, to the glory of his name:
but the husbandmen beat him, and sent him away empty; the Jews not only mocked these messengers of the Lord, and despised their words, but misused them, 2 Chronicles 36:15 they beat them with their fists, smote them on the cheek, and scourged them with scourges; so that they had no account to give of their fruitfulness in good works, but the contrary; See Gill on Matthew 21:35 and See Gill on Mark 12:3.
and they beat him also; as they had done the other; they continued in their malpractices, yea increased in them:
and entreated him shamefully; putting him to open shame, using him in a very ignominious and shameful manner, which it was a shame to relate, and which was shameful for them to do:
and sent him away empty; as they had done the other.
and they wounded him also; by casting stones at him; see Mark 12:4
and cast him out; of the vineyard.
what shall I do? or what can be done more than has been done? Isaiah 5:4 who else can be sent that is likely to do any good with such an ungrateful and unfruitful people?
I will send my beloved Son; the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who lay in his bosom, was the darling of his soul, and the delight of his heart; him he determined to send, and him he did send to the lost sheep of the house of Israel:
it may be they will reverence him, when they see him: it might be thought after the manner of men, that considering the greatness of his person, as the Son of God, the nature of his office, as the Redeemer and Saviour of men, the doctrines which he preached, the miracles which he wrought, and the holiness and harmlessness of his conversation, and the great good he did both to the bodies and souls of men, that he would have been had in great esteem and veneration with the men, to whom he was sent, and among whom he conversed: but, alas! when they saw him, they saw no beauty, comeliness, and excellency in him, and nothing on account of which he should be desired by them.
they reasoned among themselves; as the Scribes and Pharisees, and elders of the people often did:
saying, this is the heir; the heir of God, being his Son; and so the Ethiopic version; "this Son is his heir", or the heir of the vineyard; being, by appointment, heir of all things, and by his descent from David heir to the kingdom of Israel;
come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours. The Arabic and Persic versions render it, "and his inheritance shall be ours": the nation, city, temple, and all the emoluments and benefits thereof. The word "come" is left out in the Alexandrian copy, and in the Gothic and Vulgate Latin versions.
and killed him; the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, and heir of all things; see Acts 2:23
what therefore shall the Lord of the vineyard do unto them? the husbandmen, the chief priests, elders, Scribes, and Pharisees; at whose solicitations the life of his Son, and heir, was taken away; by which he must be greatly provoked and incensed.
and shall give the vineyard to others; the land of Judea to the Romans in particular, and the church state, with the Gospel and ordinances of it, to the Gentiles in general, sometimes called "others"; See Gill on Luke 5:29 and See Gill on Luke 18:11.
and when they heard it, they said, God forbid; though they were their own words, yet repeated and confirmed by Christ, and perceiving that they were the persons intended, deprecate the fulfilment of them; at least so far as they understood they related to the killing of the Messiah, and to the destruction of their nation, city, and temple.
and said, what is this then that is written; that is, what else is the meaning of such a Scripture? is not the sense of that perfectly agreeable to what has been said, that the Messiah shall be rejected by the principal men among the Jews in church and state, and yet he shall be exalted, who will then take vengeance on them?
the stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? The passage is in Psalm 118:22. See Gill on Matthew 21:42.
but on whomsoever it shall fall; as it did with its full weight upon the Jews at their destruction, and as it will upon all Christless sinners at the last day:
it will grind him to powder; the ruin of such will be unavoidable, and there will be no recovery; See Gill on Matthew 21:44.
sought to lay hands on him; they had a good will to it, being exceedingly gravelled with the question he put to them concerning John's baptism, which confounded them, and put them to silence; and with the parables he delivered, in which they were so manifestly pointed at:
and they feared the people; lest they should rise and stone them, as in Luke 20:6 or rescue him out of their hands;
for they perceived that he had spoken this parable against them: and that they were the husbandmen that had used the servants of God so ill, and would put to death the son of God, the Messiah; and who would at length be destroyed themselves, and the kingdom of God be taken from them, though they seem to detest and deprecate it, saying in Luke 20:16 God forbid; that we should kill the heir, or that we should be destroyed, and the vineyard given to others: these things grievously nettled them, and exasperated them against him; but they knew not how to help themselves at present.
and sent forth spies which should feign themselves just men: of virtue and religion, conscientious men, that would do nothing but what was just and right, and were desirous of being exactly informed of the truth of things, that they might act right in every punctilio:
that might take hold of his words; improve them, and form a charge upon them, of sedition and treason:
that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor; the Roman governor, and by him be put to death. These men were some of them the disciples of the Pharisees, and others were Herodians; see Matthew 22:16.
we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly; rightly dividest the word of God, and deliverest out sound doctrine according to it: and this he certainly did, though they spoke these words hypocritically, not believing what they themselves said; at least, they did not care that others should believe this of him:
neither acceptest thou the person of any. The Persic version very wrongly renders it, "and lookest not upon the countenance, and heart of any one whomsoever"; for though Christ did not look upon the countenances of men, and judge according to the outward appearance, nor regard men on account of outward circumstances, as riches, honours, learning, &c. yet he looked upon the heart, and knew what was in it, and respected sincerity and uprightness wherever he found it, and which were wanting in these men:
but teachest the way of God truly; the way of worshipping God, and of enjoying him, both in this world, and in that to come; See Gill on Matthew 22:16.
and said unto them, why tempt ye me? with this ensnaring question.
whose image and superscription hath it? for the penny had an head upon it, with something written, as the name of the emperor, whose image it was, his titles, the date of the coin, or some motto on it:
they answered and said, Caesar's; very likely Tiberius Caesar's, who was at that time emperor of Rome; See Gill on Matthew 22:20 and See Gill on Matthew 22:21.
and unto God the things which be God's; which relate to his worship, honour, interest, and kingdom; See Gill on Matthew 22:21.
and they marvelled at his answer; which was so formed, as to give them no handle against him either way:
and held their peace; they were silenced, and had nothing to say to him, nor against him, but left him, and went their way.
which deny that there is any resurrection; that is, of the dead; that there ever was any instance of it, or ever will be: this was the distinguishing tenet of that sect; see Acts 23:8
and they asked him, the following question, after they had put a case to him.
if any man's brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother; the meaning of which is, that if a man died without issue, and left a wife behind him, his next brother, if unmarried, was to marry his wife, and the first child born of her, was to be reckoned the deceased's, and to inherit his estate; See Gill on Matthew 22:24.
and the first took a wife, and died without children; son or daughter, and so had none to keep up his name, and to possess his inheritance.
and he died childless: as his eldest brother before him.
and in like manner the seven also; the other four, one after another, when all seven married her:
and they left no children, and died; or they died, leaving no children behind them.
whose wife of them is she? the first, or the last, or any of the intermediate ones?
for seven had her to wife; and she had no child by either of them; so that their claim seems to be alike; this they thought unanswerable, and sufficient to set aside the notion of a resurrection.
the children of this world marry, and are given in marriage that is, such who live in this world, in the present mortal and imperfect state, being mortal men, and die, and leave their estates and possessions: these marry, and have wives given them in marriage; and it is very right, and fit, that so it should be, in order to keep up a succession of men, and that they may have heirs to enjoy their substance when they are gone.
and the resurrection from the dead; that is, the first resurrection, the resurrection unto life, which only the dead in Christ will enjoy; otherwise all will be raised: but some to the resurrection of damnation:
these neither marry, nor are given in marriage; there will be no need of any such practice, for the reasons that follow.
for they are equal unto the angels; in spirituality, purity and immortality; See Gill on Matthew 22:30.
and are the children of God: as they are now by adopting grace; but, as yet, it does not appear as it will then, what they are and will be:
being the children of the resurrection; as Christ was declared to be the son of God by his resurrection, so will they appear to be the children of God by their resurrection to eternal life; for though others will rise, yet not to everlasting life, and thus appearing to be children of God, they will also be heirs of God, and enjoy the inheritance, which they will always live to possess in their persons; and therefore the case being different with them from the children of the world, they will not marry, nor be given in marriage, as they are.
even Moses showed at the bush: when the Lord appeared to him out of it, and he saw it burning with fire, and not consumed; when the Lord called to him out of it by the following name, as he has recorded it in Exodus 3:6. Hence it is said,
when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; for though the Lord called himself so, yet Moses likewise calls him by these names, when he gives an account of this affair, and when he went from him to the children Israel; See Gill on Matthew 22:32.
for all live unto him. The Persic version, reads, "all these live unto him"; namely, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; for though they are dead to men, they are not to God; their souls live with him, and their bodies will be raised by him: he reckons of them, as if they were now alive, for he quickens the dead, and calls things that are not, as though they were; and this is the case of all the saints that are dead, as well as of those patriarchs. The Ethiopic reads, "all live with him"; as the souls of all departed saints do; the Arabic version reads, all live in him; so all do now, Acts 17:28.
master, thou hast well said; thou hast spoken in a beautiful manner, reasoned finely upon this head, and set this matter in a fair and clear light; See Gill on Mark 12:28
how say they? The Syriac version reads, "how say the Scribes?" as in Mark 12:35 and the Persic version, how say the wise men, the doctors in Israel,
that Christ is David's son? that which nothing was more common among the Jews.
the Lord said to my Lord, sit thou on my right hand; which words were delivered by David, as inspired by the Spirit of God; and contain a speech of God the Father to his son Jesus Christ, upon his ascension to heaven, after his sufferings, death, and resurrection from the dead; when he was bid to sit down in human nature, at the right hand of God, in token of having done his work on earth to full satisfaction; and in the relation of which David calls Christ his Lord; and is the reason of their being mentioned.
how is he then his son? how can these things be reconciled? in what sense can he be both his Lord and son? See Gill on Matthew 22:45.
he said unto his disciples; yea, he spake to the multitude, as well as to the disciples, as appears from Matthew 23:1.
which desire to walk in long robes: the rule for the length of a scholar's garment was this (a);
"his flesh must not appear under his garments, as the light linen garments, and the like, they make in Egypt; nor must his garments be drawn upon the ground, as the garments of proud men, but must reach to his heel, and his glove must reach the top of his fingers.''
According to this rule, the garments of the doctors were to be so long as to cover the whole body, even down to their heels, but were not to be any longer; and by this it appears their garments were very long; but they did not always go by this rule; some had their garments so long as to have a train after them; See Gill on Matthew 23:5.
and love greetings in the markets; or in courts of judicature; they loved to be saluted with the titles of Rabbi, Master, and the like:
and the highest seats in the synagogues; which were next to the place where the book of the law was read and expounded, and where they might be seen by the people:
and the chief rooms at feasts; the uppermost; See Gill on Matthew 23:6 and See Gill on Matthew 23:7.
(a) Maimon Hilch. Dayot, c. 5. sect. 9. Vid. T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 57. 2. & Gloss. in ib.