Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
ILLUSTRATED BY THE
PARABLE OF THE
1-3. Galileans--possibly the followers of Judas of Galilee, who, some
twenty years before this, taught that Jews should not pay tribute to the
Romans, and of whom we learn, from
that he drew after him a multitude of followers, who on his being slain
were all dispersed. About this time that party would be at its height,
and if Pilate caused this detachment of them to be waylaid and put to
death as they were offering their sacrifices at one of the festivals,
that would be "mingling their blood with their sacrifices" [GROTIUS, WEBSTER and WILKINSON, but doubted by DE WETTE, MEYER, ALFORD, &c.]. News of this being brought to our Lord, to
draw out His views of such, and whether it was not a judgment of
Heaven, He simply points them to the practical view of the matter:
"These men are not signal examples of divine vengeance, as ye suppose;
but every impenitent sinner--ye yourselves, except ye
repent--shall be like monuments of the judgment of Heaven, and in a
more awful sense." The reference here to the impending destruction of
Jerusalem is far from exhausting our Lord's weighty words; they
manifestly point to a "perdition" of a more awful kind--future,
4, 5. tower in Siloam--probably one of the towers of the city wall,
near the pool of Siloam. Of its fall nothing is known.
6-9. fig tree--Israel, as the visible witness of God in the world,
but generally all within the pale of the visible Church of God; a
familiar figure (compare
vineyard--a spot selected for its fertility, separated from the
surrounding fields, and cultivated with special care, with a view solely
came and sought fruit--a heart turned to God; the fruits of
Mt 21:33, 34,
and Isa 5:2,
"He looked that it should bring forth fruit"; He has a
right to it, and will require it.
7. three years--a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting
probably just a sufficient period of culture for spiritual fruit.
The supposed allusion to the duration of our Lord's ministry is
cut it down--indignant language.
cumbereth--not only doing no good, but wasting ground.
8. he answering, &c.--Christ, as Intercessor, loath to see it cut
down so long as there was any hope (see
dig, &c.--loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure;
pointing to changes of method in the divine treatment of the impenitent,
in order to freshen spiritual culture.
9. if . . . fruit, well--Genuine repentance,
however late, avails to save
(Lu 23:42, 43).
after that, &c.--The final perdition of such as, after the utmost
limits of reasonable forbearance, are found fruitless, will be
pre-eminently and confessedly just
HEALED ON THE
11. spirit of infirmity--Compare
"whom Satan hath bound." From this it is probable, though not
certain, that her protracted infirmity was the effect of some milder
form of possession; yet she was "a daughter of Abraham," in the
same gracious sense, no doubt, as Zaccheus, after his conversion, was
"a son of Abraham"
12, 13. said . . . Woman . . . and laid--both at once.
14. with indignation--not so much at the sabbath violation as at the
glorification of Christ. (Compare
said to the people--"Not daring directly to find fault with the Lord,
he seeks circuitously to reach Him through the people, who were more
under his influence, and whom he feared less" [TRENCH].
15. the Lord--(See on
hypocrite!--How "the faithful and true Witness" tears off the masks
which men wear!
his ox, &c.--(See on
16. ought not, &c.--How gloriously the Lord vindicates the superior
claims of this woman, in consideration of the sadness and long duration
of her suffering, and of her dignity notwithstanding, as an heir of the
18-21. mustard seed . . . leaven--(See on
The parable of "the Leaven" sets forth, perhaps, rather the
inward growth of the kingdom, while "the Mustard Seed" seems to
point chiefly to the outward. It being a woman's work to knead,
it seems a refinement to say that "the woman" here represents the
Church, as the instrument of depositing the leaven. Nor does it
yield much satisfaction to understand the "three measures of meal" of
that threefold division of our nature into "spirit, soul, and body,"
(alluded to in
or of the threefold partition of the world among the three sons of Noah
as some do. It yields more real satisfaction to see in this brief
parable just the all-penetrating and assimilating quality
of the Gospel, by virtue of which it will yet mould all institutions
and tribes of men, and exhibit over the whole earth one "Kingdom of our
Lord and of His Christ." (See on
23. Lord, &c.--one of those curious questions by talking of which
some flatter themselves they are religious.
said unto them--the multitude; taking no notice of the man or his
question, save as furnishing the occasion of a solemn warning not to
trifle with so momentous a matter as "salvation."
24. Strive--The word signifies to "contend" as for the mastery, to
"struggle," expressive of the difficulty of being saved, as if one
would have to force his way in.
strait gate--another figure of the same. (See on
Mt 7:13, 14).
for many . . . will seek--"desire," that is, with a mere wish or
and shall not be able--because it must be made a
25. master of the house is risen up and hath shut to the door--awfully
sublime and vivid picture! At present he is represented as in a
sitting posture, as if calmly looking on to see who will "strive,"
while entrance is practicable, and who will merely "seek" to enter in.
But this is to have an end, by the great Master of the house Himself
rising and shutting the door, after which there will be no admittance.
Lord, Lord--emphatic reduplication, expressive of the
earnestness now felt, but too late. (See on
Mt 7:21, 22).
26, 27. See on the similar passage
(Mt 7:22, 23).
eaten and drunk, &c.--We have sat with Thee at the same table.
taught in our streets--Do we not remember listening in our own streets
to Thy teaching? Surely we are not to be denied admittance?
27. But he shall say, &c.--(See on
No nearness of external communion with Christ will avail at the
great day, in place of that holiness without which no man shall see the
Lord. Observe the style which Christ intimates that He will
then assume, that of absolute Disposer of men's eternal destinies, and
contrast it with His "despised and rejected" condition at that
28, 29. (See
Mt 8:11, 12).
Also see on
31. and depart hence--and "go forward," push on. He was on His
way out of Perea, east of Jordan, and in Herod's dominions, "journeying
Haunted by guilty fears, probably, Herod wanted to get rid of Him (see
and seems, from our Lord's answer, to have sent these Pharisees, under
pretense of a friendly hint, to persuade Him that the sooner He got
beyond Herod's jurisdiction the better it would be for His own safety.
Our Lord saw through both of them, and sends the cunning ruler a
message couched in dignified and befitting irony.
32. that fox--that crafty, cruel enemy of God's innocent servants.
Behold, I cast out devils and I do cures--that is, "Plot on and ply
thy wiles; I also have My plans; My works of mercy are nearing
completion, but some yet remain; I have work for to-day and to-morrow
too, and the third day; by that time I shall be where his jurisdiction
reaches not; the guilt of My blood shall not lie at his door; that dark
deed is reserved for others." He does not say, I preach the Gospel--that
would have made little impression upon Herod--in the light of the
merciful character of Christ's actions the malice of Herod's
snares is laid bare [BENGEL].
to-day, to-morrow, the third day--remarkable language expressive of
successive steps of His work yet remaining, the calm
deliberateness with which He meant to go through with them,
one after another, to the
last, unmoved by Herod's threat, yet the rapid march with which they
were now hastening to completion. (Compare
I shall be perfected--I finish my course, I attain completion.
33. it cannot be that a prophet, &c.--"It would never do that,"
&c.--awful severity of satire this upon "the bloody city!" "He seeks to
kill me, does he? Ah! I must be out of Herod's jurisdiction for that.
Go tell him I neither fly from him nor fear him, but Jerusalem is the
34, 35. O Jerusalem, &c.--(See on