I tell you that this man
The publican that so freely owned himself to be a sinner, and by his carriage acknowledged he was unworthy of any favour; and who was treated with so much contempt by the Pharisee:
went down to his house;
from the temple which was built on a mountain,
justified, [rather] than the other:
accounted as a righteous person in the sight of God; justified from all his sins, and accepted by him, when the other was abhorred and neglected. The Syriac and Persic versions, and so Beza's most ancient copy, read, "than the Pharisee", who had such an high opinion of himself, and despised others: not that the Pharisee was justified at all, when the publican really was; but the sense is, that if judgment had been to have been made, and sentence passed according to the then conduct and behaviour of both parties, the publican had greatly the advantage, in the sight of God; an humble demeanour being well pleasing and acceptable to him, when pride, and arrogance, boasting of, and trusting in a man's own righteousness, are abhorred by him;
for every one that exalteth himself, shall be abased, and he that
humbleth himself, shall be exalted.
This was a proverbial expression, often mentioned by Christ on different occasions, and frequently used by the Jews; (See Gill on Matthew 23:12) to which may be added the following passages;
``whoever is of a haughty spirit, at last shall be made low F25.''And again,
``whosoever humbleth himself, the holy blessed God will lift him up F26.''