Matthew 21:29

I will not (ou qelw). So many old manuscripts, though the Vatican manuscript (B) has the order of the two sons reversed. Logically the "I, sir" (egw, kurie) suits better for the second son (verse Zechariah 30 ) with a reference to the blunt refusal of the first. So also the manuscripts differ in verse Zechariah 31 between the first (o prwto) and the last (o ustero or escato). But the one who actually did the will of the father is the one who repented and went (metamelhqei aphlqen). This word really means "repent," to be sorry afterwards, and must be sharply distinguished from the word metanoew used 34 times in the N.T. as in Matthew 3:2 and metanoia used 24 times as in Matthew 3:8 . The verb metamelomai occurs in the N.T. only five times ( Matthew 21:29 Matthew 21:32 ; Matthew 27:3 ; 2 Corinthians 7:8 ; Hebrews 7:21 from Psalms 109:4 ). Paul distinguishes sharply between mere sorrow and the act "repentance" which he calls metanoian ( 2 Corinthians 7:9 ). In the case of Judas ( Matthew 27:3 ) it was mere remorse. Here the boy got sorry for his stubborn refusal to obey his father and went and obeyed. Godly sorrow leads to repentance (metanoian), but mere sorrow is not repentance.

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