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4This took place to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet, saying,
2. Go into the village. As he was at Bethany, he did not ask for an ass to relieve the fatigue of traveling; for he could easily have performed the rest of the journey on foot. 714714 “Car il y avoit si pen de la iusques en Ierusalem, qu’il y fust aisee-merit alle a pied;” — “for it was so short a distance from that place to Jerusalem, that he would easily have gone thither on foot.” But as kings are wont to ascend their chariots, from which they may be easily seen, so the Lord intended to turn the eyes of the people on himself, and to place some mark of approbation on the applauses of his followers, lest any might think that he unwillingly received the honor of a king. 715715 “Afin qu’on ne pensast point qu’il prinst cela a desplaisir, et qu’on lui attribuast l’honneur de Roy contre son vouloir;” — “that it might not be thought that he took offense at this, and that the honor of King was given to him in opposition to his will.”
From what place he ordered the ass to be brought is uncertain, except, what may naturally be inferred, that it was some village adjoining to the city; for the allegorical exposition of it, which some give, as applying to Jerusalem, is ridiculous. Not a whit more admissible is the allegory which certain persons have contrived about the ass and the colt “The she-ass,” they tell us, “is a figure of the Jewish nation, which had been long subdued, and accustomed to the yoke of the Law. The Gentiles, again, are represented by the colt, on which no man ever sat. Christ sat first on the ass for this reason, that it was proper for him to begin with the Jews; and afterwards he passed over to the colt, because he was appointed to govern the Gentiles also in the second place.” And indeed Matthew appears to say that he rode on both of them; but as instances of Synecdoche occur frequently in Scripture, we need not wonder if he mentions two instead of one. From the other Evangelists it appears manifestly that the colt only was used by Christ; and all doubt is removed by Zechariah, (9:9,)who twice repeats the same thing, according to the ordinary custom of the Hebrew language. 716716 “Car voyla ses mots, Estant monte sur an asne, et sur un asnon poullain d’asnesse;” — “for his words are these, Sitting on an ass, and on an ass-colt, the foal of an ass.”
And immediately you will find That the disciples may feel no hesitation about immediate compliance, our Lord anticipates and replies to their questions. First, he explains that he does not send them away at random, and this he does by saying that, at the very entrance into the village, they will find an ass-colt with its mother; and, secondly, that nobody will hinder them from leading him away, if they only reply that He hath need of him In this way he proved his Divinity; for both to know absent matters, and to bend the hearts of men to compliance, 717717 “Et de faire flechir les coeurs des hommes, pour accorder ce qu’il luy plaist;” — “and to bend the hearts of men to grant what he pleases.” belonged to God alone. It was, no doubt, possible that the owner of the ass, entertaining no unfavorable opinion of Christ, would cheerfully grant it; but to foresee if he would be at home, if it would then be convenient for him, or if he would place confidence in unknown persons, was not in the power of a mortal man. Again, as Christ strengthens the disciples, that they may be more ready to obey, so we see how they, on the other hand, yield submission. The result shows that the whole of this affair was directed by God.