“Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.”
King James Version (KJV)
23:31 Wherefore ye testify against yourselves - By your smooth words as well as devilish actions: that ye are the genuine sons of them who killed the prophets of their own times, while they professed the utmost veneration for those of past ages. From the 3d to the 30th verse #Mt 23:3 |- 30 is exposed every thing that commonly passes in the world for religion, whereby the pretenders to it keep both themselves and others from entering into the kingdom of God; from attaining, or even seeking after those tempers, in which alone true Christianity consists. As, Punctuality in attending on public and private prayer, ver. 4 - 14. #Mt 23:4 |- 14 Zeal to make proselytes to our opinion or communion, though they have less of the spirit of religion than before, ver. 15. #Mt 23:15| A superstitious reverence for consecrated places or things, without any for Him to whom they are consecrated, ver. 16 - 22. #Mt 23:16 |- 22 A scrupulous exactness in little observances, though with the neglect of justice, mercy, and faith, ver. 23, 24. #Mt 23:23|,24 A nice cautiousness to cleanse the outward behaviour, but without any regard to inward purity, ver. 25, 26. #Mt 23:25|,26 A specious face of virtue and piety, covering the deepest hypocrisy and villany, ver. 27, 28. #Mt 23:27|,28 A professed veneration for all good men, except those among whom they live.
Mt 23:31 Wherefore ye be witnesses, etc. They demonstrated by their hostility to Christ, by their plots and false charges, and would soon show by their murder of the Lord, that they had just the same spirit as their fathers who slew Isaiah, persecuted Jeremiah, and shed the blood of Zacharias between the altar and the temple. They were therefore their spiritual children as well as their descendants. It adds to the vividness of this denunciation that from the temple area where they were standing the crest of Olivet rose distinctly at the distance of half a mile, and upon it were clearly visible the white sepulchers of the prophets which they had built, among them the tomb of Zacharias, who is named just below as slain between "the temple and the altar" (Mt 23:35).