Ver. 1. And it came to pass, that on one of those days,.... According to the account of the Evangelist Mark, it must be the second day, or two days after his public entrance into Jerusalem; for on the evening of the day he made his entry, he went out to Bethany with his disciples; the next morning, as he returned from thence, he cursed the barren fig tree; and when he came to the temple cast out the buyers and sellers; at evening he went out again, either to Bethany, or the Mount of Olives; and the next morning, as he and his disciples returned, the fig tree was observed to be dried up; and when they were come to Jerusalem, as he was walking in the temple, he was attacked by the sanhedrim, and had the following discourse with them:
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.
Ver. 2. And spoke unto him, saying, tell us by what authority doest thou these things?.... The Arabic and Ethiopic versions read, "this thing"; as if the sanhedrim only referred to his preaching the Gospel, which is mentioned in the preceding verse, and was what he was about when they came to him: but the Persic version reads, "all these things"; not only preaching, but working miracles; and particularly driving the buyers and sellers out of the temple, which especially affected them, they losing their rents thereby:
or who is he that gave thee this authority? God or man?
See Gill on "Mt 21:23".
Ver. 3. And he answered and said unto them,.... That is, Jesus replied to them, as the Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Persic versions express it:
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 "Mt 21:24".
Ver. 4. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men?] This was a new ordinance, and John must have his authority for administering it either from God, or from men; and Christ is desirous to know from which he derived it in their opinion; suggesting, that by the same authority John, his forerunner, came baptizing, he himself came preaching and working miracles;
See Gill on "Mt 21:25".
Ver. 5. And they reasoned with themselves,.... Or "they thought with themselves", as the Syriac version; or "within themselves", as the Vulgate Latin, though they did not express it; or "one with another", as the Arabic version; they took counsel together, and debated the matter among themselves, and reasoned after this manner:
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 "Mt 21:25".
Ver. 6. But and if we say of men,..... Which they had a good will to, against the dictates of their own consciences:
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 Mt 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.
Ver. 7 And they answered, that they could not tell whence it was. Whether from heaven, or of men; in this, no doubt, they told an untruth: but they chose rather to sacrifice their consciences than their interest, and pretend ignorance rather than profess the truth, when they saw they should be put to confusion, or be exposed to the resentments of the people.
Ver. 8. And Jesus said unto them,.... Since they would not give him a direct answer to his question:
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 "Mt 21:27".
Ver. 9. Then began he to speak to the people this parable,.... According to the other evangelists it seems to be spoken to the chief priests, Scribes, and elders; and certain it is, that they looked upon themselves as struck at in it; it might be spoken to both. Christ having silenced the sanhedrim, turned himself to the people, and delivered the parable of the vineyard to them, though his principal view was to the priests:
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, Mt 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; Gill on "Mt 21:33" and
See Gill on "Mr 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.
Ver. 10. And at the season,.... Or "when it the time of fruit", as the Ethiopic version renders it, agreeably to
See Gill on "Mt 21:34":
he sent a servant to the husbandmen; or servants, as in
Mt 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, 2Ch 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 "Mt 21:35" and
See Gill on "Mr 12:3".
Ver. 11. And again he sent another servant,.... Or set of prophets in after times, and yet before the Babylonish captivity:
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.
Ver. 12. And again he sent the third,.... Perhaps after the return of the Jews from captivity, and between that time and the coming of Christ, in which interval many good men were used in a very inhuman manner, Heb 11:37
and they wounded him also; by casting stones at him; see
and cast him out; of the vineyard.
Ver. 13. Then said the Lord of the vineyard,.... Who planted it, and let it out to husbandmen, and expected fruit from it, and sent his servants from time to time for it:
what shall I do? or what can be done more than has been done? Isa 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.
Ver. 14. But when the husbandmen saw him,.... In human nature, heard him preach, and observed the miracles done by him:
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.
Ver. 15. So they cast him out of the vineyard,.... Rejected him as the Messiah, even denied that he was of the Jewish nation; said he was a Samaritan, and delivered him to the Gentiles that were without, and were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; and at last had him without their city, and put him to death, as follows:
and killed him; the Prince of life, the Lord of glory, and heir of all things; see Ac 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.
Ver. 16. He shall come and destroy these husbandmen,.... Which had its accomplishment at the destruction of Jerusalem: according to the other evangelists, these words are the answer of the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, to the above questions put to them by Christ, after he had delivered the parable; but here they seem to be the words of Christ, who also said the same, and confirmed what they had observed, and could not but own, that it was just and right, and what might be expected, with what follows:
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 "Lu 5:29" and
See Gill on "Lu 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.
Ver. 17. And he beheld them,.... Looked very earnestly and wistly at them, speaking as it were by his looks, signifying, that verily so it would be, as he had said; that they would reject the Messiah, and put him to death, and bring utter ruin upon themselves, and deprive their posterity of many advantages and privileges:
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 Ps 118:22.
See Gill on "Mt 21:42".
Ver. 18. Whosoever shall fall on that stone, shall be broken,.... Not who shall fall upon Christ by faith, and build upon him as the foundation stone, for such shall be saved; but that stumble at him, and are offended with him, and fall by unbelief and hardness of heart; such do themselves much hurt and mischief and expose themselves to danger and ruin; they bid very fair for destruction:
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 "Mt 21:44".
Ver. 19. And the chief priests, and the Scribes, that same hour,.... As soon as he had delivered the above parable, together with that of the two sons:
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 Lu 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 Lu 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.
Ver. 20. And they watched him,.... What he said, and what he did, and where he went, that they might take an advantage against him, or know where he was, to send to him, as they should think fit, and take the best opportunity of so doing. The Syriac and Persic versions leave out this clause:
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 Mt 22:16.
Ver. 21. And they asked him, saying, master,.... Rabbi, or doctor; hoping, by this flattering title, and the flattering words used by them, to work him up to an openness and freedom of conversation with them:
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