Matthew 23
Pulpit Commentary
Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Verses 1-39. - Denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees, and lamentation over Jerusalem which followed their guidance to her own destruction. (Peculiar to St. Matthew.) Verse 1. - Then spake Jesus. Some small portion of this discourse, the close of our Lord's public teaching, is found in Mark 12:38-40 and Luke 20:45-47 (comp. also Luke 11, 13.). It is here addressed to the multitude, and to his disciples, and seems to have been designed to comfort the former under the difficulty of having accredited teachers who were proved to have misunderstood Scripture, and were incapable of interpreting it aright. He willed to show how far they were to follow these instructors, and where it was necessary to draw a line beyond which they were not to be obeyed. Some modern critics have suggested that this discourse was not spoken at this time, but that St. Matthew has here collected into one body certain sayings of our Lord uttered at different times and places. It is far more natural to suppose that St. Matthew's statement of the occasion of this discourse is historically true, and that Christ here repeated some parts of the censure he had already, in the course of his ministry, found it necessary to pronounce. The unity of this utterance in form and essence, its logical sequence and climactic character, prove that it was delivered at one time, and was intended to form the Lord's farewell address to the wayward people who would not come unto him that they might have life. The discourse may be divided into three parts.
Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
Verses 2-12. - The moral character of the scribes and Pharisees, and warning to Christ's disciples. Verse 2. - The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. In the seat of the great judge and lawgiver. This is stated as an undoubted fact (ἐκάθισαν), with no idea of blame attached. Literally, sat on the seat of Moses from time immemorial. These (meaning not individuals, but the collective body) are the authorized expounders and teachers of the Law; their position is assured; they are not to be displaced. The scribes were the party chiefly denoted; they were of the Pharisaical sect; hence the addition, "and the Pharisees," by which is intimated, not that these latter, qua Pharisees, had any teaching office, but that the former shared their religious opinions. The Sadducees seem to have had no popular influence, and were never recognized as leaders. The Levitical priests never appear in the Gospels as teachers or expositors of the Mosaic system; this function of theirs had devolved upon scribes and lawyers.
All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Verse 3. - All therefore. It is because of their official authority as appointed teachers and expositors of the Law that Christ gives the following injunction. That observe and do. Many manuscripts and versions invert the order of the verbs, reading, do and observe. The received text seems most logical. Observe; τηρεῖτε, present imperative, continue to observe as a rule of conduct. Do; ποιήσατε, aorist, do immediately, whenever the occasion arises. All that they taught or commanded out of the Law, or in due accordance therewith, was to be observed and obeyed. The statement is made in general terms, but was conditional and restricted by other considerations. It was only their official injunctions, derived immediately from Scripture, not their glosses, evasions, and interpretations, that were to be regarded with respect. The Lord had already taken occasion to warn against these errors (see Matthew 16:6, 11, 12, etc.). As inheritors of the authority of Moses, and speaking ex cathedra, they were so far worthy of respect. This principle laid down, Christ proceeds to denounce their evil practices. After their works. You must distinguish between their preaching and their practice; the latter is to be shunned with all care. The scribes are never accused of corrupting the sacred text, which, indeed, was scrupulously guarded, and kept pure and unaltered. It was their treatment of the doctrines thereof that was censured. Our Lord shows their evil example in two particulars - their principle was "words, not deeds" (ver. 4), and ostentation in religion (vers. 5-7). They say, and do not. They enunciated the Law, they enjoined obedience to it in the minutest particulars, and yet they themselves continually, in the most important points (ver. 23), infringed, neglected, evaded it. St. Paul, himself a strict Pharisee, denounces in stern language such inconsistent professors (Romans 2:21-23).
For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Verse 4. - Bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne; δυσβάστακτα: importabilia (Vulgate). The last epithet, which is very uncommon (Luke 11:46), is omitted by some manuscripts and versions, but it is probably genuine here. The burdens are the minute regulations and prescriptions, the vexatious restrictions, the innumerable traditional observances with which these teachers had garbled and defaced the written Law. We have noticed some of these glosses in the matter of the sabbath and ceremonial purification; and these are only specimens of a system which extended to every relation of life, and to all details of religious practice, binding one rule to another, enforcing useless and absurd minutiae, till the burden became insupportable. Alford considers that not human traditions and observances are signified by the "burdens," but the severity of the Law, the weighty duties inculcated therein, which they enforce on others, but do not observe. It may, however, well be doubted whether Christ would ever have termed the legitimate rites and ceremonies of the Law unbearable burdens, though their rigorous enforcement by men who regarded only the letter, while they had lost the spirit, would naturally deserve censure. (If the epithet is not genuine, of course this remark does not apply.) What Christ denounced was not the Law itself, however severe and grievous to human nature, or even immemorial tradition, but the false inferences and deductions therefrom, leading to injunctions insupportable and impracticable. Will not move them with one of their fingers; with their finger. This does not imply (and it would not be true) that the rabbis themselves were all hypocrites, and broke or evaded the Law with impunity. We know that they scrupulously attended to all outward observances. What is meant is that they take no trouble to lighten (κινῆσαι, "to move away"), to make these burdens easier by explanation or relaxation, or to proportion them to the strength of the disciple. They impose them with all their crushing weight and severity upon others, and uncompromisingly demand obedience to these unscriptural regulations, putting "a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (Acts 15:10; Galatians 5:1). Contrast with this the Christian's service: "My yoke is easy," says Christ, "and my burden is light" (ch. 11:33).
But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Verse 5. - For to be seen of men. The second bad principle in their religion was ostentation and vanity. Acts done professedly in the honour of God were animated by self-seeking and ambition. They never penetrated beyond externalism. See this spirit reproved in the sermon on the mount (Matthew 6:1, 2, etc.). "They loved the glory of men more than the glory of God" (John 12:43). Christ then gives proofs of this spirit of ostentation in religion and in private life. Phylacteries; φυλακτήρια: literally, preservatives; equivalent to "amulets;" the translation of the Hebrew word tephillin, "prayer fillets." These were either strips of parchment or small cubes covered with leather, on or in which were written four sections of the Law, viz. Exodus 13:1-10, 11-16; Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21. They were worn fastened either to the forehead, or inside the left arm, so as to be near the heart. Their use arose from a literal and superstitious interpretation of Exodus 13:9; Deuteronomy 6:8; Deuteronomy 11:18. Their dimensions were defined by rabbinical rules, but the extra pious formalists of the day set these at naught, and increased the breadth of the strips or of the bands by which they were fastened, in order to draw attention to their religiousness and their strict attention to the least observances of the Law. These phylacteries are still in use among the Jews. Thus in a 'Class Book for Jewish Youth' we read, "Every boy, three months before he attains the age of thirteen, commences to make use of the tephillin, which must be worn at least during the time of the morning prayers. The ordinance of the tephillin is one of the signs of the covenant existing between the Almighty and ourselves, that we may continually bear in mind the miracles God wrought for our forefathers." Enlarge the borders of their garments; τὰ κράσπεδα τῶν ἱματίων αὐτῶν, the fringes of their outer garments. The best manuscripts have merely their fringes. So the Vulgate, magnificant fimbrias. These fringes or tassels (zizith, zizijoth) were fastened to the corners of the garments, in accordance with Numbers 15:38-41, and were composed of white and blue threads. They were intended to remind the wearers of the commandments of the Lord, and were regarded as peculiarly sacred (see Matthew 9:20). Christ condemns the ostentatious enlargement of these fringes as a badge of extraordinary piety and obedience. We quote again from the Jewish 'Class. Book:' "Every male of the Jewish nation must wear a garment [not usually an undergarment] made with four corners, having fringes fixed at each corner. These fringes are called tsetsis, or, memorial fringes. In the synagogue, during the morning prayers, a scarf with fringes attached to it is worn, which is called tollece, 'scarf or veil.' These memorial fringes typically point out the six hundred and thirteen precepts contained in the volume of the sacred Law. They are also intended to remind us of the goodness of the Almighty in having delivered our forefathers from the slavery in Egypt."
And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Verse 6. - The uppermost rooms; τὴν πρωτοκλισίαν: primos recubitus; chief place (Luke 14:7). The custom of reclining on cushions set in horseshoe fashion at three sides of the table was now prevalent, the old custom of squatting round a low table, as at present practised in the East, having been long abandoned. The place of honour is said to have been at the upper end of the right side, the president being placed, not in the centre of that end of the table which faced the opening, but at the side. The most honoured guest would be at his right hand (but see on Matthew 26:23). There was often much manoeuvring to obtain this post, and many petty squabbles about precedence arose on every festal occasion (see Luke 14:1, 7, etc.). The chief seats in the synagogues. The usual arrangement of the synagogue is given by Dr. Edersheim ('Life and Times of Jesus,' 1. pp. 434, etc.). It was built of stone, with an entrance generally on the south, and so arranged that the worshippers might direct their prayers towards Jerusalem. In the centre was placed the lectern of the reader; the women's gallery was at the north end. "The inside plan is generally that of two double colonnades, which seem to have formed the body of the synagogue, the aisles east and west being probably used as passages. At the south end, facing north, is a movable ark, containing the sacred rolls of the Law and the prophets. Right before the ark, and facing the people, are the seats of honour, for the rulers of the synagogue and the honourable." These were the places for which the Pharisees contended, thinking more of gaining these, where they could sit enthroned in the sight of the congregation, than of the Divine worship which nominally they came to offer (comp. James 2:2, 3).
And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.
Verse 7. - Greetings in the markets. They loved to be denoted as superiors by respectful salutations in public places. To be called Rabbi, Rabbi; "My Master" (compare the French Monsieur, used not only vocatively, but absolutely); the term addressed by scholars to their teacher, and repeated for ostentation's sake, of course implying superiority in those thus called. Christ himself was thus addressed by those who desired to denote his authority and preeminence (Matthew 22:16, 24, 36; comp. John 1:38). These greetings and salutations were enjoined on scholars and inferiors, under pain of ecclesiastical censure and loss of salvation.
But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.
Verse 8. - Be not ye called Rabbi. After stating the customs of the Pharisees, Christ proceeds (vers. 8-12) to give his own disciples a lesson in humility. The pronoun is emphatic, "But ye, be not ye called." They are not to be eager for such distinctions, indicative of spiritual superiority. The prohibition must be understood in the spirit, and not in the letter (comp. 1 Corinthians 11:1; 1 Timothy 1:2). Our Lord does not forbid respect for teachers or different grades in his Church (see 1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11-13); that which he censures is the inordinate grasping at such personal distinctions, the greedy ambition which loves the empty title, and takes any means to obtain it. One is your Master, even Christ. The received text gives εῖς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ Καθηγητής ὁ Ξριστός. Many good manuscripts read Διδάσκαλος, Teacher (so Revised Version) instead of Καθηγητής, Leader, [and omit ὁ Ξριστός. Both these variations seem reasonable and warranted. "Leader" has probably been introduced from ver. 10, where it occurs naturally; it is out of place here, where, for the sake of concinnity, "Teacher" is required in both parts of the sentence. And it is unlikely that Jesus should here expressly mention himself. He is speaking now of their heavenly Father; to himself he refers in ver. 10. In support of the allusion to the Father, Bengel cites Matthew 16:17; John 6:45; Acts 10:28, etc. The Vulgate has, Unus est enim Magister vester; and yet Roman Catholic commentators interpret the clause of Christ, in spite of the purposed indefiniteness of the expression. Jesus points to the inspiration of the Father or the Holy Spirit as that which teaches his disciples. They were to follow no earthly rabbi, but the heavenly Teacher. All ye are brethren. And therefore, so far, equal. They were disciples of our Lord, and to them appertained equality and fraternity.
And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.
Verse 9. - Your father. This was the title given to eminent teachers and founders of schools, to whom the people were taught to look up rather than to God. It was also addressed to prophets (2 Kings 2:12; 2 Kings 6:21). In ver. 8 Christ said, "be not called;" here he uses the active, "call not," as if he would intimate that his followers must not give this honoured title to any doctor out of complaisance, or flattery, or affectation. Upon the earth. In contradistinction to heaven, where our true Father dwells. They were to follow no earthly school. They had natural lathers and spiritual fathers, but the authority of all comes from God; it is delegated, not essential; and good teachers would make men look to God, and not to themselves, as the source of power and truth.
Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.
Verse 10. - Neither be ye called masters; καθηγηταί: leaders, guides. This is just what the Pharisees claimed to be (see ver. 16 and Romans 2:19, 20). One is your master (Kaqhghth/, Leader), even [the] Christ. Hero Jesus announces himself, not only as their Teacher, but as the Messiah, their Ruler and Guide. He is censuring that sectarian spirit which began in the primitive Church, when one said," I am of Paul; another, I of Apollos," etc. (1 Corinthians 1:12), and has continued to this day in the division of the one body into innumerable sects and, parties, ranged under various leaders, and generally bearing their founder's name. "What then is Apollos? and what is Paul? Ministers through whom ye believed; and each as the Lord gave to him" (1 Corinthians 3:5). How mournful to think that Christ's great prayer for unity (John 17.) is still unfulfilled, frustrated or delayed by man's self-will!
But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.
Verse 11. - But he that is greatest...your servant; διάκονος: minister (see Matthew 20:26, 27). It was there said to the apostles alone; here it is spoken more publicly to emphasize the contrast between Christian humility and Pharisaical pride and vanity.
And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.
Verse 12. - Whosever shall exalt himself shall be abased (ταπεινωθήσεται, shall be humbled); and he that shall humble (ταπεινώσει) himself shall be exalted. It is not clear why the rendering of the verb is not uniform in this verse. The antithesis certainly requires it. The gnome, so often repeated (see references), seems to be, as it has been called, "an axiom in the kingdom of God." It is indeed a universal law in God's dealings with men. Olshausen quotes a saying! of Hillel to the same purport, "My humility is my exaltation, and my exaltation is my humility." The first clause was prophetic of the speedy overthrow of the haughty Pharisees; the second is grandly illustrated in the example of Christ, who humbled himself to the death of the cross, and is now highly exalted; who "for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:2). St. Peter draws the lesson, "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:5, 6).
But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.
Verses 13-32. - Eight woes pronounced on the Pharisees for their conduct and teaching. (Comp. Luke 11:42-52.) Verse 13. - Some authorities transpose vers. 13 and 14 - a variation attributable to the circumstance that the commencing clauses are the same. As Christ inaugurated his public teaching by pronouncing eight benedictions in the sermon on the mount, so here he closes his ministry by imprecating or prophesying eight woes on the perverse and unbelieving Pharisees. In Lange's commentary there is proposed a scheme of antithesis between the benedictions and the woes, but it is not very successful, being often forced and unnatural; and it is better to regard the contrast in a general view, and not to attempt to press it in particulars. Jesus here pours forth his righteous anger on those whose obstinate infidelity was about to bring ruin on the Jewish city and nation. Woe unto you! (Matthew 11:21). These terrible "woes" are not only evoked by indignation, and pronounced as a solemn judgment, they are also expressive of the profoundest pity, and are prophetic of the future. They have, indeed, a twofold reference - they refer first to temporal judgments and visitations, now ready to fall; and secondly to the retribution in the eternal world. That the meek and lowly Jesus should utter such awful denunciations shows how greatly he was moved how he left nothing untried to turn these hard hearts to introspection and repentance. Scribes and Pharisees (see on ver. 2), hypocrites (Matthew 6:2). Christ uses this word seven times in these denunciations. It is applied to the Pharisees as deceiving themselves and others, under the mask of godliness hiding polluted hearts, persuading themselves that formal externalism was real piety and devotion, and practically teaching this fatal delusion. Ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; ἔμπροσθεν τῶν ἀνθρώπων: before men; ante homines (Vulgate. This is the first woe - against perverse obstructiveness. They prevent men from accepting Christ, and so entering God's kingdom, by their false interpretation of Scripture, by not allowing that it testified of Christ, and by making the path impassable for the poor and ignorant. And this is done "in the face of men," when they are, as it were, thronging round and wishing to enter. "Ye have taken away the key of knowledge," he says, in another place (Luke 11:52). Neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. The kingdom of heaven is here metaphorically regarded as a banqueting hall, where are celebrated the espousals of Christ and his Church. The Pharisees watched the access thereto. They stood at the door to bar all entrance. If any showed signs of yielding to honest conviction, they sternly forbade them to proceed; they repelled them with violence, as by excommunication (John 9:22, 34), or by calumniating the Teacher (Matthew 9:34, etc.). There was many a time when 34, people were ready to acknowledge Christ and to follow him as Messiah. A word from their authorized leaders would have turned the scale in his favour; but that word was never spoken. The weight of authority was always placed on the opposite side, and naught but prejudice, animosity, and slander befell the cause of Jesus.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
Verse 14. - Second woe - against rapacity and hypocrisy. There is some doubt about the genuineness of this verse, and our Revisers have expunged it from their text, relegating it to the margin. It is omitted by א, B, D, L, Z, some copies of the Vulgate and some versions; on the other hand, it is found in E, F, G, H, K, M, and other later uncials, and in the received Vulgate and Syriac Versions. Critics reject it as a supposed interpolation from Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47. At any rate, whether spoken now or at another time, it is undoubtedly an utterance of Christ, and to be received with all reverence. Ye devour widows' houses. Women who have lost their natural protector become their prey. To these they attach themselves, winning them over by flattery and fraud, and persuading them to assist them with their substance to the ruin of their fortunes. God had always defended the cause of widows, and had urged his people to deal gently and mercifully with them (see Deuteronomy 10:18; Deuteronomy 27:19; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 1:17; Luke 18:3-7). This woe is followed in St. Luke by the episode of the widow's mite (Luke 20:47; Luke 21:1-4). And for a pretence make long prayer; or, and that, making long prayers for a pretence. They put on an appearance of extraordinary devotion, that they might more easily secure the favour of the widows; or else they exacted large sums of money, engaging to offer continual prayers for the donors (compare St. Paul's words in 2 Timothy 3:6). Thus these hypocrites made a gain of godliness at the expense of the most helpless members of the community. Greater (περισσότερον, more abundant) damnation. No condemnation in this world or the next can be more justly awarded than to him who adds hypocrisy to covetousness, and makes religion a cloke for cruel rapacity. The comparative may refer to "the lengthened hypocritical prayers which went before" (Lange).
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.
Verse 15. - Third woe - against evil proselytizing. Ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte. The word προσήλυτος is used in the Septuagint to signify "a stranger" or "sojourner" (Exodus 12:48, 49, etc.), and at this time was applied to a convert to Judaism (Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5), whether circumcised, "a proselyte of righteousness;" or uncircumcised, "a proselyte of the gate." To compass sea and land is a proverbial expression, denoting the employment of every means, the exercise of the utmost effort. One might have thought that, in its proud isolation and exclusiveness, Judaism would not have exposed itself to this reproach. But what says Josephus? In more than one passage of his histories he testifies to the zealous propagation of the Jewish religion, and in some cases the enforcement of circumcision on vanquished enemies (see 'Ant.,' 18:03. 5; 20:2. 4; 'Bell. Jud.,' 2:17. 10; 'Vita,' § 23). Tacitus ('Hist.,' 5:5) gives a most unfavourable account of the numerous converts which Hebrews made throughout the Roman provinces; and St. Augustine ('De Civit.,' 6:11) quotes Seneca saying, "Cum interim usque eo sceleratissimae gentis consuetudo convaluit, ut per omnes jam terras recepta sit, victi victoribus leges dederunt" (Edersheim). For similar testimony, we may refer to Horace, 'Sat.,' 1:4. 142, 143; and Juvenal, 'Sat.,' 6:541, etc. But it was not proselytizing in itself that the Lord censured. As possessing revelation and the only true religion in the world, the Jews might well have deemed it their business to enlighten the gross darkness of heathenism, and to endeavour to shed abroad the pure light which was confided to their care to tend and cherish. That they were not expressly commanded to do this, and that little blessing attended their efforts in this direction, was dependent upon the transitory and imperfect character of the old covenant, and the many evils which would be consequent upon association with alien peoples. In making converts, the Pharisees sought rather to secure outward conformity than inward piety, change of external religion than change of heart. There was no love of souls, no burning zeal for the honour of God, in their proselytism. They were prompted only by selfish and base motives - vain glory, party spirit, covetousness; and if they converted men to their own opinions, with their false tenets, gross externalism, and practical immorality, they had far better have left them in their irresponsible ignorance. When he is made; when he is become a proselyte. Twofold more the child of hell; a son of Gehenna; i.e. worthy of hell fire. So we have 2 Samuel 12:5, "a son of death;" John 17:12, "the son of perdition" (comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:3). The converts became doubly the children of hell because, seeing the iniquities of their teachers, they learned an evil lesson from them, "engrafted the vices of the Jews on the vices of the heathen," distrusted all goodness, discarded their old religion and disbelieved the new, making utter shipwreck of their moral life. "Ita natura comparati sumus," says an old commentator, "ut vitia potius quam virtutes imitemur, et in rebus malis a discipulis magistri facile superentur."
Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor!
Verse 16. - Fourth woe - against evasive distinctions in oaths. Ye blind guides. They were by profession leaders and guides, and yet by their literalism and externalism they lost the true significance of the Scriptures which they taught, and the ritual of which they were the exponents. The Lord repeats the epithet "blind "(vers. 17, 19, 24). Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing. Our Lord seems to refer more especially to oaths connected with vows, of which he had already spoken (Matthew 15:5, 6). The arbitrary distinction between oaths was indeed an instance of moral blindness. An oath by the temple was not binding; it might be broken or evaded with impunity. By the gold of the temple - i.e. by the sacred treasure and ornaments therein - he is a debtor (ὀφείλει); he is bound by his oath. The casuistry employed by the Jews in this matter was well known, and had become proverbial among the heathen. F.M. quotes Martial, 11:94 -

"Ecce negas, jurasque mihi per templa Tonantis,
Non credo: jura, verpe, per Anchialum.'"
Anchialum is equivalent to am chai aloh, "as God liveth," the Jew (verpus, "circumcised") being bound by no oath but one that contained some letters of the Divine name or some attribute of God.
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
Verse 17. - Ye fools. Jesus adds to "blind" the epithet "fools," which implies not only the irrationality and absurdity of their practice, but also its moral delinquency, the fool in sapiential language being the sinner. The temple that sanctifieth the gold. Our Lord shows the absurdity of this sophistical distinction. It was because the temple was the place of God's presence that what was therein was consecrated. The gold was nothing without the temple; the temple, the originally holy, is superior to the gold, the derivatively holy, and an oath that calls the temple to witness is surely obligatory.
And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
Verse 18. - By the altar. The great altar of burnt offerings, according to the Mosaic ritual, was consecrated and dedicated with most remarkable solemnities, as the centre of sacrificial worship (see Exodus 29:36, etc.; Exodus 30:28,29; Numbers 7:10, etc.). The gift that is upon it. The victim, which, as being offered by themselves, was counted more worthy than the altar of God which sanctified the gift. This is, indeed, an instance of sight blinded by self-righteousness. He is guilty; ὀφείλει: he is a debtor, as ver. 16. Others see here the principle that the validity of oaths was differentiated by the nearness to the Person of God of the things by which they were taken. This, too, opened up large opportunities of evasion.
Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
Verse 19. - Our Lord repeats the unanswerable argument of ver. 17. That sanctifieth the gift. Exodus 29:37. "It shall be an altar most holy; whatsoever toucheth the altar shall be holy" (comp. Ezekiel 41:22). The offering is one with the altar.
Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon.
Verse 20. - Sweareth by it, etc. One can see what an inveterate evil our Lord was denouncing, when he takes such pains to point out its absurdities, which seem to us self-evident. The oath by the altar involves the notion of the victim as well as the altar; one cannot be separated from the other; and, of course, implies him to whom the offering is made.
And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein.
Verse 21. - By him that dwelleth therein. In fact, it comes to this: to swear by temple or altar is to swear by God - an oath most solemn, which may not be evaded. "That dwelleth" is in some manuscripts the aorist participle, κατοικήσαντι, implying that God once for all took up his abode in the temple, and filled it with his ineffable presence (see 1 Kings 8:13; Psalm 132:14). From such passages we learn that God sanctifies things and places to be devoted to his service, and to be accounted by men holy and separated from all common uses. The Authorized Version translates the received text, κατοικοῦντι, which has good authority, the past participle being, perhaps, a correction by some scribe who thought that the day of Judaism was past when Christ spoke.
And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon.
Verse 22. - By heaven. The Talmndists affirm that an oath "by heaven" or "by earth" was not binding, on the ground, probably, that these were mere creatures. Christ again dissipates such sophistries. To swear by the creature is virtually to swear by the Creator. A brute, inanimate thing cannot be witness to an oath; he alone can be appealed to who owns all. Thus we "kiss the book," calling God to witness our words. Christ had already given a lesson to his followers on this subject in the sermon on the mount (ch. Matthew 5:34-37). He inculcates true reverence, that fear and awe of God's dignity and God's presence which constrains a man to avoid all profaneness and carelessness in regard to things that are concerned with God.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
Verses 23, 24. - Fifth woe - against scrupulosity in trifles and neglect of weighty duties (Luke 11:42). Ye pay tithe of (ἀποδεκατοῦτε, ye tithe) mint and anise and cummin. Practically, the law of tithe was enforced only in the case of the produce mentioned in Deuteronomy 14:23 - corn, wine, and oil - but the Pharisees, in their overstrained scrupulosity, applied the law of Leviticus 27:30 ("all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's") to the smallest pot herbs, even to their leaves and stalks. "Mint" (ἡδύοσμον). Of this well known plant several species grow in Palestine; it was one of the ingredients of the sauce of bitter herbs eaten at the Paschal feast (Exodus 12:8), and was hung up in the synagogue for its fragrance. "Anise" (ἄνηθον) is known to us as "dill," and is much used in medicine and for seasoning. "Cummin" (κύμινον) (Isaiah 28:25, 27), an umbelliferous plant, with seeds something like caraways, and used, like them, as a condiment and medicine. Have emitted the weightier matters of the Law. The Pharisees were very far from treating important duties with the same scrupulosity which they observed in little matters. Christ particularizes these weighty duties: Judgment, (and) mercy, and faith. Three are named, in contrast to the three petty observances mentioned above. Christ seems to refer to the words of Micah 6:8, "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (see also Hosea 12:6; Zechariah 7:9, 10). Worthless are all outward observances when the moral precepts are neglected. "Judgment" (τὴν κρίσιν) means acting equitably to one's neighbour, hurting nobody by word or deed; as in Jeremiah 5:1 a man is sought "that exerciseth justice.'" Such impartiality is specially enjoined in the Law (Deuteronomy 16:19, etc.). "Mercy," loving kindness in conduct, often taught in the Pentateuch, as in the case of the widow, the stranger, and the debtor, and very different from the feeling of those who "devour widows' houses." "Faith" may mean fidelity to promises: "He that sweareth unto his neighbour and disappointeth him not, though it were to his own hindrance" (Psalm 15:4); but it is more probably taken as that belief in God without which it is not possible to please him, and which should underlie and influence all moral action (Hebrews 11:6). These (ταῦτα)... the other (ἐκεῖνα). "These last" are judgment, mercy, and faith; these it was your duty to have done. "The other" refers to the tithing mentioned above. Christ does not censure this attention to minutiae. He would teach conformity to regulations made by competent authority, or conscientiously felt to be binding, even though not distinctly enjoined in Scripture (see vers. 2, 3); his blame is reserved for that expenditure of zeal on trifles which stood in the place of, or left no strength for, higher duties. It was a very elastic conscience which tithed a pot herb and neglected judgment. Strain at a gnat; διαλίζοντες τὸν κώνωπα. "At" is supposed to be a misprint for "out." Thus Revised Version, and early English versions, which strain out the gnat; Vulgate, excolantes culicem. Alford thinks the present reading was an intentional alteration, meaning "strain (out the wine) at (the occurrence of) a gnat" - which seems more ingenious than probable. If "at" be retained, it must be taken as expressive of the fastidiousness which had to make a strong effort to overcome its distaste at this little insect. The wine, before drinking, was carefully strained through linen (see Amos 6:6, "strained wine," Septuagint) to avoid the accidental violation of Leviticus 11:20, 23, etc.; Leviticus 17:10-14, by swallowing an unclean insect. The practice, which was in some sense a religious act, is found among the Buddhists in Hindostan and Ceylon, either to avoid pollution or to obviate the danger of taking life, which their code forbids. A (the) camel. The gnat and the camel, which were alike unclean, stand at the extremities of the scale of comparative size. Our Lord uses a proverbial expression to denote the inconsistency which would avoid the smallest ceremonial defilement, but would take no account of the gravest moral pollution.
Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess.
Verse 25. - The sixth woe - against merely external purification (Mark 7:4; Luke 11:39). Ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter. Thus the Lord typically denotes the Pharisees' external ceremonialism, their legal purity. They looked, so to speak, to the cleanliness of the outside of the cup that contained their drink, and the platter that held their food. Such cleansing would, of course, have no effect on the drink or meat itself. They are full of (γέμουσιν ἐξ, are full from) extortion and excess (ἀκρασίας). For this last word the manuscripts offer many variations, arising, probably, from its uucommoness. It seems, however, to be genuine. But we find it altered into "unrighteousness," "impurity," Vulgate, immunditia, "intemperance," "covetousness," "wickedness." The vessels are conceived as filled with contents acquired by violence and used without self-control.
Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also.
Verse 26. - Thou blind Pharisee. The address is in the singular number, to give vividness and personal effect, and the epithet accentuates the absurdity censured. Cleanse first that which is within. They must learn to reverse their practice. If you wanted to have your food pure, you would clean the inside of your vessel more carefully than the outside. The external purity should proceed from and be a token of the internal. So in the case of the moral agent, the ceremonial purity is a mockery and hypocrisy unless it be accompanied by holiness of the heart. That the outside of them may be (γένηται, may become) clean also. However fair to see, the man is not pure unless his soul is clean; he cannot be called pure while the higher part of his being is soiled and foul with sin. And inward saintliness cannot be hidden; it shines forth in the countenance; it is known by speech and action; it sheds sunshine wherever it gees. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life" (Proverbs 4:23).
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.
Verses 27, 28. - Seventh woe - against another form of the same hypocrisy (Luke 11:44). Whited (κεκονιαμένοις) sepulchres. Once a year, about the fifteenth of the month Adar, the Jews used to whitewash the tombs and the places where corpses were buried, partly out of respect for the dead, but chiefly in order to make them conspicuous, and thus to obviate the risk of persons incautiously contracting ceremonial defilement by touching or walking over them (Numbers 19:16). To such sepulchres our Lord compares these Pharisees, because their outwardly fair show concealed rottenness within (comp. Acts 23:3). Indeed, it might be said that their seeming exceptional purity was a warning of internal corruption, a sign post to point to hidden defilement. Obtrusive religiousness, emphatic scrupulosity, are marks of pride and self-righteousness, utterly alien from real devotion and holiness.
Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous,
Verses 29-32. - Eighth woe - against hypocritical honour paid to departed worthies (Luke 11:47). Verse 29. - Ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous; or, adorn the monuments of the just. In the last woe Christ had spoken of sepulchres; he speaks of them here again, giving an unexpected view of the seeming honours paid to departed saints. The sumptuous mausoleums and tombs found e.g. round Jerusalem, and bearing the names of celebrated men (such as Zechariah, Absalom, Jehoshaphat), sufficiently attest the practice of the Jews in this matter. But the Pharisees' motives in acting thus were not pure; they were not influenced by respect for the prophets or repentance for national sins, but by pride, hypocrisy, and self-sufficiency. The present was a great age for building; witness Herod's magnificent undertakings; and probably many gorgeous tombs in honour of ancient worthies were now erected or renovated.
And say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.
Verse 30. - And say. They boasted that they were better than their fathers; they disavowed their crimes, and endeavoured, by honouring the prophets' graves, to deliver themselves from the guilt of those who persecuted them. Fair show, with no reality! They professed to venerate the dead, but would not receive the living; they reverenced Abraham and Moses, but were about to murder the Christ to whom patriarch and prophet bore witness. Commentators quote the old adage, herein exemplified, "Sit licet divus, dummodo non vivus." The only practical way of delivering themselves from the guilt of their forefathers was by hearkening to those who now preached the gospel of salvation - the very last thing which they were purposed to do.
Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets.
Verse 31. - Ye be witnesses unto yourselves. By busying yourselves about adorning the tombs of the prophets slain by your ancestors, you show your descent and the spirit which animates you. Ye are the children; ye are sons. They were true sons of their fathers, inheriting their murderous instincts, following their steps. Like father, like son. They inherited and put in practice the same false principles which led their ancestors astray.
Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
Verse 32. - Fill ye up then; καὶ ὑμεῖς πληρώσατε: do ye also (as well as they) fill up. An imperative, expressive of Divine irony, containing virtually a prophecy. Complete your evil work, finish that which your fathers began (comp. John 13:27). The measure. There is a certain limit to iniquity; when this is reached, punishment falls. The metaphor is derived from a full cup, which a single drop more will make overflow. This added drop would be the death of Christ and the persecution of his followers. Then vengeance must follow (comp. Genesis 15:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:16).
Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?
Verses 33-39. - Declaration of the sentence on these Pharisees and their generation. Verse 33. - Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers; γεννήματα ἐχιδνῶν: offspring of vipers. Our Lord repeats the Baptist's denunciation (Matthew 3:7). They were of devilish nature, inherited from their very birth the disposition and character of Satan. So Christ said on another occasion, "Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father it is your will to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and stood not in the truth" (John 8:44). How can ye escape? Πῶς φύγητε; the deliberative conjunctive, How shall ye escape? Quo mode fugietis? (Vulgate). There is no emphasis on "can" in the Authorized Version. What hope is there now of your repentance? Can anything soften the hardness of your hearts? The Baptist had spoken more hopefully, "Who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" But now the day of grace is past; the sin against the Holy Ghost is committed; there remaineth only the fearful looking for of judgment. The damnation of hell; literally, the judgment of Gehenna; judicio Gehennae (Vulgate); i.e. the sentence that condemns to eternal death (Matthew 5:22). The phrase is common in the rabbinical writings (see Lightfoot). "Before sinning, we ought to fear lest it be the filling up; after sinning, we should trust in a truly Christian hope that it is not, and repent. This is the only means to escape the damnation of hell; but how rare is this grace after a pharisaical life!" (Quesnel). Hypocrisy is a bar to repentance.
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
Verse 34 - Wherefore; διὰ τοῦτο. Because ye are resolved on imitating your forefathers' iniquities, you will also reject the messengers that are sent to you, and shall suffer righteous condemnation. I send (ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω) unto you. The sending had already begun. In the parallel passage of St. Luke (Luke 11:49) we read, "Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send." Christ is the Wisdom of God, and by his own authority gives mission to his messengers. "As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you" (John 20:21), he says to his apostles; and to such he is referring in the words which follow. Prophets. The apostles were of like character, inspiration, and influence as the prophets under the old dispensation, and succeeded in their place as exponents of God's will and heralds of the covenant. Wise men. Men full of the Holy Ghost and heavenly wisdom. Scribes. Not in the then Jewish sense, but instructors in the new law of life, the law of Christ's religion (Matthew 13:52). All the means of teaching and edification employed aforetime were abundantly and more effectually supplied under the gospel. St. Luke has, "prophets and apostles." Kill; as Stephen (Acts 7:59), James (Acts 12:2). Crucify; as Peter (John 21:18, 19; 2 Peter 1:14); Simeon (Eusebius, 'Hist. Eccl.,' 3:32); and probably Andrew. Scourge (see Acts 5:40; Acts 22:19 26:11; 2 Corinthians 11:24, 25). Persecuted (see Acts 13:50; Acts 14:5, 6, 19, 20; Acts 26:11; and compare Christ's prediction, Matthew 10:17, 18). The passage in the Second (Fourth) Book of Esdras 1:32, which is strikingly parallel to our Lord's denunciation, may possibly be a Christian interpolation, "I sent unto you my servants the prophets, whom ye have taken and slain, and torn their bodies in pieces, whose blood I will require of your hands, saith the Lord."
That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.
Verse 35. - That upon you may come (ὅπως ἔλθῃ). This phrase does not express a simple consequence, neither can it mean "in such a way that" - explanations which have been given by some commentators to avoid a seeming difficulty in the final sense; but it is to be translated, as usually, in order that, ut veniat. God, foreseeing the issues of their evil heart, puts in their way occasions which will aid his vengeance and accelerate the time of their punishment. He lets them work out their own destruction by committing an unpardonable sin. He does not force them into this course of conduct; they can resist the opportunity if they will; but he knows they will not do so, and the visitation becomes judgment. To have a man's blood upon one's head is to be held guilty of the crime of murder, and to be liable to make the required atonement for it. So in their blind fury, taking the punishment on themselves, the Jews a little later cried, "His blood been us, and on our children!" (Matthew 27:25). Righteous blood. So in the Old Testament we often find such expressions as "innocent blood" (2 Kings 21:16; 2 Kings 24:4; Jeremiah 26:15); "blood of the just" (Lamentations 4:13); comp. Revelation 6:10 and Revelation 18:24, where it is written that in Babylon "was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all them that were slain upon the earth." Righteous Abel. The first of the murdered, the prototype of the death of Christ and of all good men who have died for truth, religion, and justice (Genesis 4:8; 1 John 3:12). The catalogue of such is long and terrible. Our Lord assigns a period to its dimensions, commencing with the first death mentioned in the Bible, and ending with the murder of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple (τοῦ ναοῦ, the sanctuary) and the altar. Our Lord is speaking of a past event well known to his hearers; but who this Zacharias was is much disputed. Origen mentions a tradition, otherwise entirely unsupported, that Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, was the son of Barachiah, and was murdered in the temple. But the story looks as if it was made to relieve the difficulty of identification; neither, as far as we know, was he a prophet. Zechariah, the minor prophet, was the son of Berechiah; but we read nothing of his being slain in the temple or elsewhere. It is true that Josephus ('Bell. Jud.,' 4:05. 4) tells how a "Zacharias, son of Baruch," an honourable man, was slain by the zealots in the temple. But this murder took place A.D. , and our Lord could not number it among past crimes, or speak of it as an event familiar to those who heard him. The only other prophet of this name in the Bible is one mentioned in 2 Chronicles 24:20-22, as stoned by the people at the command of Joash, in the court of the house of the Lord. "And when he died," it is added, "he said, The Lord look upon it, and require it." This makes his case correspond to that of Abel, the voice of whose blood cried unto God from the ground. He is also the last prophet whose death is recorded in the Old Testament, and the guilt of whose murder, the Jews say, was not purged till the temple was burned under Nebuchadnezzar. It seems to be a kind of proverbial saying which the Lord here uses, equivalent to "from the first murdered saint to the last," taking the arrangement of the Hebrew canon of Scripture, and regarding the Books of Chronicles as the conclusion of Jewish history. This (though it would exclude the murder of other prophets, e.g. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.) would all be plain enough and quite appropriate to the context were it not that the Zechariah thus referred to was the son of Jehoiada, not of Barachias. But there are two solutions of this difficulty suggested; and, allowing either of these, we may confidently assert that the above-named prophet is the personage intended.

(1) The words, "son of Barachias" may be an early interpolation, introduced by a copyist who was thinking of the minor prophet. They are omitted by the first correcter of the Sinaitic Manuscript, are not found in the parallel passage of St. Luke (Luke 11:51), and Jerome remarks that in the 'Gospel of the Nazarenes' was read "son of Joiada."

(2) There may have been family reasons, unknown to us, why Zechariah was thus designated (see the commentators on our Lord's genealogy in St. Luke 3, especially on ver. 23, "son of Hell," ver. 27, "son of Salathiel," and ver. 36, "son of Cainan"). Or Jehoiada may have had two names, as so many Jews had. Indeed, the two appellations are not altogether dissimilar in meaning, Jehoiada signifying "Jehovah knoweth," and Barachiah, "Jehovah blesseth." Or again, Barachiah may have been the father of Zechariah, and Jehoiada the more famous grandfather. It has been suggested (by Morison, in loc.) that one of the monuments recently erected in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem was dedicated to Zacharias. Such a one still bears his name. Hence Christ's allusion is very natural after his statement in ver. 29. The scene of the murder was the open space in the priests' court, between the holy place and the great altar of sacrifice. The sanctity of this spot made the crime abnormally atrocious.
Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
Verse 36. - An these things. All the crimes committed by their forefathers shall be visited upon this generation by the destruction of the Jewish city and polity, which took place within forty years from this time. The blood of the past was required from the Jews of the present time, because they and their evil ancestors were of one family, and were to be dealt with as a whole. In spite of the teaching of history and example, in spite of the warnings of Christ and his apostles, they were bent on repeating the acts of their forefathers, and that in an aggravated form and against increased light and knowledge. The punishment here announced is the temporal award. Christ here says nothing of the final judgment.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
Verse 37. - O Jerusalem, Jerusalem! Pathetic iteration! As he approached the city on another occasion Christ had used the same words (Luke 13:34, 35); he repeats them now as he takes his final farewell He speaks with Divine tenderness, yet with poignant sorrow, knowing that this last appeal will be in vain. It has been remarked that, whereas St. Matthew elsewhere names the capital city, the theocratic centre, Hierosolyma, which is the Greek equivalent, he here calls it Hierousalem, which is Hebrew, as though, while recording the words used by Jesus, he desired to reproduce the actual sound of the Saviour's affecting address. Killest...stonest. Such is thy wont, thy evil practice. So Christ says elsewhere, "It cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem" (Luke 13:33). "Stonest" was particularly appropriate after the reference to Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20). Sent unto thee. The received Greek is, sent unto it or her (πρὸς αὐτήν), though some manuscripts and the Vulgate give "thee." But the change of persons is not uncommon. Alford quotes Luke 1:45; Luke 13:34; Revelation 18:24. How often! Some would confine Christ's allusion to his own mission in Judaea, and the efforts made by him to win disciples; but it surely applies to all the doings and visitations of God towards Israel during the whole course of their history, which showed his gracious desire that all should be saved, if they only had willed with him. He hereby asserts himself as one with the God of the Old Testament. Christ's ministry in Jerusalem and Judaea is mentioned by St. John. Gathered... wings. A tender similitude, which is found in the Old Testament and in classic authors. It implies love, care, and protection. Thus the psalmist prays, "Hide me under the shadow of thy wings;" "In the shadow of thy wings will I take refuge, until these calamities be overpast" (Psalm 17:8; Psalm 57:1); comp. Deuteronomy 32:11; Isaiah 31:5, etc. So Euripides, 'Herc. Fur.,' 72 -

"The children whom I cherish 'neath my wings,
As a bird cowering o'er her youthful brood."
The metaphor is peculiarly appropriate at the time, when, as Lange puts it, the Roman eagles were hovering near, and there was no hope of safety but under the Lord's wings. And ye would not. Unmoved by warning and chastisement, impenetrable to long suffering love, ungrateful for mercies, the Jews repulsed all efforts for their amendment, and blindly pursued the course of ruin. It was always in their power to turn if they willed, but they wilfully resisted grace, and must suffer accordingly (comp. Isaiah 30:15).
Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
Verse 38. - Your house. The temple or Jerusalem, no longer God's habitation. This betokens not only Christ's solemn departure from the sacred precincts; but the withdrawal of God's Spirit from the Jewish Church and nation. Unto you. Henceforward ye shall have it all to yourselves; my Father and I forsake it; we give it up altogether to you. Desolate. The word is omitted by some few uncials, but retained by א, C, D, etc., most cursives, the Vulgate, etc. The protecting wing is withdrawn, the Divine presence removed, and the house is indeed deserted (ἔρημος); (comp. Psalm 59:25; Jeremiah 12:7).
For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.
Verse 39. - Ye shall not see me henceforth. Christ explains the denunciation just given. In a few days he will be separated from them by death and burial; and, though he appeared to certain chosen witnesses after his resurrection, he was seen no more by the people (Acts 10:41); their house was deserted. Some take the word "see" in the sense of know, recognize; but it seems rather weak to say, "Ye shall not know me till ye acknowledge me as Messiah," as the knowing and acknowledging are practically identical or simultaneous. Till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord! The words which had greeted his triumphal entry a few days before (Matthew 21:9). The clause, "till ye shall say," does not shut the door of hope forever; it looks forward to a happier prospect. The time intended is that when Israel shall repent of its rejection of the Messiah, and in bitter contrition look on him whom it pierced, owning and receiving Jesus with glad "Hosannahs!" Then shall they behold him coming in power and glory, and shall regain their old position as beloved of God (see Hosea 3:4, 5; Zechariah 12:10). Then "all Israel shall be saved" (Romans 11:26). Thus this terrible chapter, so dark and menacing, closes with a glow of hope and a promise, indefinite but certain, of final restoration.

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