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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 22 - Verse 16

Verse 16. The Herodians. It is not certainly known who these were, it is probable that they took their name from Herod the Great. Perhaps they were first a political party, and were then distinguished for holding some of his peculiar opinions. Dr. Prideaux thinks that those opinions referred to two things: the first respecting subjection to a foreign power. The law of Moses was, that a stranger should not be set over the Jews as a king, De 17:15. Herod, who had received the kingdom of Judea by appointment of the Romans, held that the law of Moses referred only to a voluntary choice of a king, and did not refer to a necessary submission, where they had been overpowered by force. They supposed, therefore, that it was lawful in such cases to pay tribute to a foreign prince. This opinion was, however, extensively unpopular among the Jews; and particularly the Pharisees, who looked upon it as a violation of their law, and all the acts growing out of it as oppressive. Hence the difficulty of the question proposed by them. Whatever way he decided, they supposed he would be involved in difficulty. If he should say it was not lawful, the Herodians were ready to accuse him as being an enemy of Caesar; if he said it was lawful, the Pharisees were ready to accuse him to the people of holding an opinion extremely unpopular among them, and as being an enemy of their rights. The other opinion of Herod, which they seem to have followed, was, that when a people were subjugated by a foreign force, it was right to adopt the rites and customs of their religion. This was what was meant by the "leaven of Herod," Mr 8:15. The Herodians and Sadducees seem on most questions to have been united. Compare Mt 16:6; Mr 8:15.

We know that thou art true. A hypocritical compliment, not believed by them, but artfully said, as compliments often are, to conceal their true design.

Neither carest thou for any man. That is, thou art an independent teacher, delivering your sentiments without regard to the fear or favour of man. This was true, and probably they believed this. Whatever they might believe about him, they had no reason to doubt that he delivered his sentiments openly and freely.

For thou regardest not the person of men. Thou art not partial. Thou wilt decide according to truth, and not from any bias towards either party. To regard the person, or to respect the person, is in the Bible uniformly used to denote partiality; or being influenced in a decision, not by truth, but by previous attachment to a person, or one of the parties—by friendship, or bias, or prejudice, Le 19:15; Jude 1:16; De 16:19; 2 Sa 14:14; Ac 10:34; Jas 2:1,3,9; 1 Pe 1:17.

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