Matthew 21

1 And when Jesus came nigh to Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the mount of Olives, then sent he his two disciples, [And when Jesus came nigh to Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, to the mount of Olives, then Jesus sent his two disciples,]
2 and said to them [saying to them], Go ye into the castle that is against you, and at once [and anon] ye shall find an ass tied, and a colt with her; untie ye, and bring to me.
3 And if any man say to you any thing, say ye, that the Lord hath need to them; and at once he shall let them go [and anon he shall leave them].
4 All this was done, that that thing should be fulfilled, that was said by the prophet, saying,
5 Say ye to the daughter of Sion, Lo! thy king cometh to thee, meek, sitting on an ass, and a foal of an ass under yoke [and a colt of a beast under yoke].
6 And the disciples went, and did as Jesus commanded them.
7 And they brought an ass, and the foal, and laid their clothes on them [+And they brought a she ass, and the colt, and put their clothes on them], and made him sit above.
8 And full much people spreaded their clothes in the way; others cutted branches of trees, and strewed in the way. [Forsooth full much company spreaded their clothes in the way; soothly others cut branches of trees, and strowed in the way.]
9 And the people that went before, and that followed, cried, and said [Forsooth the companies that went before, and that followed, cried, saying], Hosanna to the son of David; blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord; Hosanna in high things [Hosanna in the highest things].
10 And when he was entered into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, and said, Who is this? [And when he had entered into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, Who is this?]
11 But [Forsooth] the people said, This is Jesus, the prophet, of Nazareth of Galilee.
12 And Jesus entered into the temple of God, and cast out of the temple all that bought and sold [and cast out of the temple all men selling and buying]; and he turned upside-down the boards of changers, and the chairs of men that sold culvers.
13 And he said to them, It is written, Mine house shall be called an house of prayer [My house shall be called an house of prayer]; but ye have made it a den of thieves.
14 And blind and crooked came to him in the temple, and he healed them.
15 But the princes of priests and the scribes, seeing the marvelous things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David, they had indignation, [+Forsooth the princes of priests and scribes, seeing the wonderful things that he did, and children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David, they had disdain,]
16 and said to him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus said to them [Soothly Jesus saith to them], Yea; whether ye have never read, That of the mouth of young children, and of suckling children, thou hast made perfect praising?
17 And when he had left them, he went forth out of the city, into Bethany; and there he dwelt, and taught them of the kingdom of God.
18 But on the morrow, he, turning again into the city, hungered.
19 And he saw a fig tree beside the way, and came to it, and found nothing therein [and found nothing thereon] but leaves only. And he said to it, Never fruit come forth of thee [Never be fruit born of thee], into without end. And at once [And anon] the fig tree was dried up.
20 And the disciples saw, and wondered, saying, How at once it dried. [+And the disciples seeing, wondered, saying, How anon it dried/How it dried up anon.]
21 And Jesus answered, and said to them, Truly I say to you, if ye have faith, and doubt not, not only ye shall do of the fig tree, but also if ye say to this hill, Take [away thee], and cast thee into the sea, it shall be done so [it shall be done].
22 And all things whatever ye believing shall ask in prayer, ye shall take. [And all things whatever ye shall ask in prayer believing, ye shall take.]
23 And when he came into the temple, the princes of priests and elder men of the people came to him that taught, and said [And when he came into the temple, the princes of priests and the elder men of the people came nigh to him teaching, and said], In what power doest thou these things? and who gave thee this power?
24 Jesus answered, and said to them, And I shall ask you one word, the which if ye tell me [which if ye shall say to me], I shall say to you, in what power I do these things.
25 Of whence was the baptism of John; of heaven, or of men? And they thought within themselves, saying, If we [shall] say of heaven, he shall say to us, Why then believe ye not to him?
26 [Soothly] If we [shall] say of men, we dread the people, for all had John as a prophet.
27 And they answered to Jesus, and said, We know not. And he said to them, Neither I say to you, in what power I do these things.
28 But what seemeth to you? A man had two sons [Some man had two sons]; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work this day [to day] in my vineyard.
29 And he answered, and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went forth [but afterward he stirred by penance, or repenting, went].
30 But he came to the other, and said in like manner. And he answered, and said, Lord, I go; and he went not.
31 Who of the twain did the father's will? They say to him, The first. Jesus saith to them, Truly I say to you, for publicans and whores shall go before you into the kingdom of God.
32 For John came to you in the way of rightwiseness, and ye believed not to him; but publicans and whores believed to him. But ye saw, and had no repenting after, that ye believed to him [But ye seeing, had not penance afterward, that ye should believe to him].
33 Hear ye another parable. There was an husbandman, that planted a vineyard, and hedged it about, and delved a presser therein, and builded a tower [and built a tower], and hired it to earth-tillers, and went far in pilgrimage.
34 And when the time of fruits approached, he sent his servants to the earth-tillers, to take fruits of it. [+Forsooth when the time of fruits nighed, he sent his servants to the earth-tillers, that they should take the fruits of it.]
35 And the earth-tillers took his servants, and they beat one, they slew another, and stoned another. [And, his servants taken, the earth-tillers beat one, they killed another, forsooth they stoned another.]
36 Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and in like manner they did to them [and they did to them in like manner].
37 And at the last he sent his son to them, and said [saying], They shall dread my son.
38 But the earth-tillers, seeing the son, said within themselves, This is the heir; come ye, slay we him, and we shall have his heritage.
39 And they took him, and casted [cast] him out of the vineyard, and slew him.
40 Therefore when the lord of the vineyard shall come, what shall he do to those earth-tillers?
41 They say to him, He shall destroy evil the evil men, and he shall set to hire his vineyard to other earth-tillers, which shall yield to him fruit in their times. [+They said to him, He shall lose evil the evil men, and set to hire his vineyard to other earth-tillers, the which shall yield to him fruits in their times.]
42 Jesus saith to them, Read ye never in scriptures, The stone which the builders reproved, this is made into the head of the corner? Of the Lord this thing is done, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
43 Therefore I say to you, that the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and shall be given to a folk doing [the] fruits of it. [+Therefore I say to you, for the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and it shall be given to a folk doing the fruits thereof.]
44 And he that shall fall on this stone, shall be broken; but on whom it shall fall, it shall bruise him all to pieces [it shall pound him all to pieces].
45 And when the princes of priests and [the] Pharisees had heard his parables, they knew that he [had] said of them.
46 And they sought to hold him, but they dreaded the people [And they, seeking to hold him, dreaded the companies], for they had him as a prophet.

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Matthew 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Christ enters Jerusalem. (1-11) He drives out those who profaned the temple. (12-17) The barren fig-tree cursed. (18-22) Jesus' discourse in the temple. (23-27) The parable of the two sons. (28-32) The parable of the wicked husbandmen. (33-46)

Verses 1-11 This coming of Christ was described by the prophet Zechariah, ( Zechariah 9:9 ) . When Christ would appear in his glory, it is in his meekness, not in his majesty, in mercy to work salvation. As meekness and outward poverty were fully seen in Zion's King, and marked his triumphal entrance to Jerusalem, how wrong covetousness, ambition, and the pride of life must be in Zion's citizens! They brought the ass, but Jesus did not use it without the owner's consent. The trappings were such as came to hand. We must not think the clothes on our backs too dear to part with for the service of Christ. The chief priests and the elders afterwards joined with the multitude that abused him upon the cross; but none of them joined the multitude that did him honour. Those that take Christ for their King, must lay their all under his feet. Hosanna signifies, Save now, we beseech thee! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! But of how little value is the applause of the people! The changing multitude join the cry of the day, whether it be Hosanna, or Crucify him. Multitudes often seem to approve the gospel, but few become consistent disciples. When Jesus was come into Jerusalem all the city was moved; some perhaps were moved with joy, who waited for the Consolation of Israel; others, of the Pharisees, were moved with envy. So various are the motions in the minds of men upon the approach of Christ's kingdom.

Verses 12-17 Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at his entering upon his ministry, ( John 2:13-17 ) . His works testified of him more than the hosannas; and his healing in the temple was the fulfilling the promise, that the glory of the latter house should be greater than the glory of the former. If Christ came now into many parts of his visible church, how many secret evils he would discover and cleanse! And how many things daily practised under the cloak of religion, would he show to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!

Verses 18-22 This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the state of hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looks for the power of religion in those who profess it, and the savour of it from those that have the show of it. His just expectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed; he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only. A false profession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effect of Christ's curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost its leaves. This represents the state of the nation and people of the Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothing but leaves. And after they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their place and nation rooted up. The Lord was righteous in it. Let us greatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree.

Verses 23-27 As our Lord now openly appeared as the Messiah, the chief priests and scribes were much offended, especially because he exposed and removed the abuses they encouraged. Our Lord asked what they thought of John's ministry and baptism. Many are more afraid of the shame of lying than of the sin, and therefore scruple not to speak what they know to be false, as to their own thoughts, affections, and intentions, or their remembering and forgetting. Our Lord refused to answer their inquiry. It is best to shun needless disputes with wicked opposers.

Verses 28-32 Parables which give reproof, speak plainly to the offenders, and judge them out of their own mouths. The parable of the two sons sent to work in the vineyard, is to show that those who knew not John's baptism to be of God, were shamed by those who knew it, and owned it. The whole human race are like children whom the Lord has brought up, but they have rebelled against him, only some are more plausible in their disobedience than others. And it often happens, that the daring rebel is brought to repentance and becomes the Lord's servant, while the formalist grows hardened in pride and enmity.

Verses 33-46 This parable plainly sets forth the sin and ruin of the Jewish nation; and what is spoken to convict them, is spoken to caution all that enjoy the privileges of the outward church. As men treat God's people, they would treat Christ himself, if he were with them. How can we, if faithful to his cause, expect a favourable reception from a wicked world, or from ungodly professors of Christianity! And let us ask ourselves, whether we who have the vineyard and all its advantages, render fruits in due season, as a people, as a family, or as separate persons. Our Saviour, in his question, declares that the Lord of the vineyard will come, and when he comes he will surely destroy the wicked. The chief priests and the elders were the builders, and they would not admit his doctrine or laws; they threw him aside as a despised stone. But he who was rejected by the Jews, was embraced by the Gentiles. Christ knows who will bring forth gospel fruits in the use of gospel means. The unbelief of sinners will be their ruin. But God has many ways of restraining the remainders of wrath, as he has of making that which breaks out redound to his praise. May Christ become more and more precious to our souls, as the firm Foundation and Cornerstone of his church. May we be willing to follow him, though despised and hated for his sake.

Matthew 21 Commentaries

Copyright © 2001 by Terence P. Noble. For personal use only.