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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 21)

21:1 {Unto Bethphage} (\eis Bethphagē\). An indeclinable Aramaic
name here only in O.T. or N.T. (Mr 11:1; Lu 19:29). It means
"house of unripe young figs." It apparently lay on the eastern
slope of Olivet or at the foot of the mountain, a little further
from Jerusalem than Bethany. Both Mark and Luke speak of Christ's
coming "unto Bethphage and Bethany" as if Bethphage was reached
first. It is apparently larger than Bethany. {Unto the Mount of
(\eis to oros tōn Elaiōn\). Matthew has thus three
instances of \eis\ with Jerusalem, Mount of Olives. Mark and Luke
use \pros\ with Mount of Olives, the Mount of Olive trees
(\elaiōn\ from \elaia\, olive tree), the mountain covered with
olive trees.

21:2 {Into the village that is over against you} (\eis tēn kōmēn
tēn katenanti h–mōn\)
. Another use of \eis\. If it means "into"
as translated, it could be Bethany right across the valley and
this is probably the idea. {And a colt with her} (\kai pōlon met'
. The young of any animal. Here to come with the mother
and the more readily so.

21:3 {The Lord} (\ho kurios\). It is not clear how the word would
be understood here by those who heard the message though it is
plain that Jesus applies it to himself. The word is from \kuros\,
power or authority. In the LXX it is common in a variety of uses
which appear in the N.T. as master of the slave (Mt 10:24), of
the harvest (9:38), of the vineyard (20:8), of the emperor
(Ac 13:27), of God (Mt 11:20; 11:25), and often of Jesus as
the Messiah (Ac 10:36). Note Mt 8:25. This is the only time
in Matthew where the words \ho kurios\ are applied to Jesus
except the doubtful passage in 28:6. A similar usage is shown
by Moulton and Milligan's _Vocabulary_ and Deissmann's _Light
from the Ancient East_. Particularly in Egypt it was applied to
"the Lord Serapis" and Ptolemy and Cleopatra are called "the
lords, the most great gods" (\hoi kurioi theoi megistoi\). Even
Herod the Great and Herod Agrippa I are addressed as "Lord King."
In the west the Roman emperors are not so termed till the time of
Domitian. But the Christians boldly claimed the word for Christ
as Jesus is here represented as using it with reference to
himself. It seems as if already the disciples were calling Jesus
"Lord" and that he accepted the appellative and used it as here.

21:4 {By the prophet} (\dia tou prophētou\). The first line is
from Isa 62:11, the rest from Zec 9:9. John (Joh 12:14f.)
makes it clear that Jesus did not quote the passage himself. In
Matthew it is not so plain, but probably it is his own comment
about the incident. It is not Christ's intention to fulfil the
prophecy, simply that his conduct did fulfil it.

21:5 {The daughter of Zion} (\tēi thugatri Siōn\). Jerusalem as
in Isa 22:4 (daughter of my people). So Babylon (Isa 47:1),
daughter of Tyre for Tyre (Ps 45:12). {Riding} (\epibebēkōs\).
Perfect active participle of \epibainō\, "having gone upon." {And
upon a colt the foal of an ass}
(\kai epi pōlon huion
. These words give trouble if \kai\ is here taken to
mean "and." Fritzsche argues that Jesus rode alternately upon
each animal, a possible, but needless interpretation. In the
Hebrew it means by common Hebrew parallelism "upon an ass, even
upon a colt." That is obviously the meaning here in Matthew. The
use of \hupozugiou\ (a beast of burden, under a yoke) for ass is
common in the LXX and in the papyri (Deissmann, _Bible Studies_
p. 161)

21:7 {And he sat thereon} (\kai epekathisen epanō autōn\), Mark
(Mr 11:7) and Luke (Lu 19:35) show that Jesus rode the colt.
Matthew does not contradict that, referring to the garments (\ta
put on the colt by "them" (\autōn\). not to the two
asses. The construction is somewhat loose, but intelligible. The
garments thrown on the animals were the outer garments
(\himatia\), Jesus "took his seat" (\epekathisen\, ingressive
aorist active)
upon the garments.

21:8 {The most part of the multitude} (\ho pleistos ochlos\). See
11:20 for this same idiom, article with superlative, a true
superlative (Robertson, _Grammar_, p. 670). {In the way} (\en tēi
. This the most of the crowd did. The disciples put their
garments on the asses. Note change of tenses (constative aorist
\estrōsan\, descriptive imperfects \ekopton kai estrōnnuon\
showing the growing enthusiasm of the crowd)
. When the colt had
passed over their garments, they would pick the garments up and
spread them again before.

21:9 {That went before him and that followed} (\hoi proagontes
auton kai hoi akolouthountes\)
. Note the two groups with two
articles and the present tense (linear action) and the imperfect
\ekrazon\ "were crying" as they went. {Hosanna to the Son of
(\Hosanna tōi huiōi Daueid\). They were now proclaiming
Jesus as the Messiah and he let them do it. "Hosanna" means
"Save, we pray thee." They repeat words from the _Hallel_ (Ps
and one recalls the song of the angelic host when Jesus
was born (Lu 2:14). "Hosanna in the highest" (heaven) as well
as here on earth.

21:10 {Was stirred} (\eseisthē\). Shaken as by an earthquake.
"Even Jerusalem frozen with religious formalism and socially
undemonstrative, was stirred with popular enthusiasm as by a
mighty wind or by an earthquake" (Bruce).

21:12 {Cast out} (\exebalen\). Drove out, assumed authority over
"the temple of God" (probably correct text with \tou theou\,
though only example of the phrase)
. John (Joh 2:14) has a
similar incident at the beginning of the ministry of Jesus. It is
not impossible that he should repeat it at the close after three
years with the same abuses in existence again. It is amazing how
short a time the work of reformers lasts. The traffic went on in
the court of the Gentiles and to a certain extent was necessary.
Here the tables of {the money-changers} (\tōn kollubistōn\, from
\kollubos\, a small coin)
were overturned. See on ¯17:24 for the
need of the change for the temple tax. The doves were the poor
man's offering.

21:13 {A den of robbers} (\spēlaion lēistōn\). By charging
exorbitant prices.

21:15 {The children} (\tous paidas\). Masculine and probably boys
who had caught the enthusiasm of the crowd.

21:16 {Hearest thou} (\akoueis\). In a rage at the desecration of
the temple by the shouts of the boys they try to shame Jesus, as
responsible for it.

{Thou hast perfected} (\katērtisō\). The quotation is from Ps
8:3 (LXX text). See 4:21 where the same verb is used for
mending nets. Here it is the timeless aorist middle indicative
with the perfective use of \kata-\. It was a stinging rebuke.

21:17 {To Bethany} (\eis Bēthanian\). House of depression or
misery, the Hebrew means. But the home of Martha and Mary and
Lazarus there was a house of solace and comfort to Jesus during
this week of destiny. He {lodged there} (\ēulisthē ekei\) whether
at the Bethany home or out in the open air. It was a time of
crisis for all.

21:18 {He hungered} (\epeinasen\). Ingressive aorist indicative,
became hungry, felt hungry (Moffatt). Possibly Jesus spent the
night out of doors and so had no breakfast.

21:19 {A fig tree} (\sukēn mian\). "A single fig tree" (Margin of
Rev. Version)
. But \heis\ was often used = \tis\ or like our
indefinite article. See Mt 8:10; 26:69. The Greek has strictly
no indefinite article as the Latin has no definite article. {Let
there be no fruit from thee henceforward for ever}
(\ou mēketi
sou karpos genētai eis ton aiōna\)
. Strictly speaking this is a
prediction, not a prohibition or wish as in Mr 11:14 (optative
. "On you no fruit shall ever grow again" (Weymouth).
The double negative \ou mē\ with the aorist subjunctive (or
future indicative)
is the strongest kind of negative prediction.
It sometimes amounts to a prohibition like \ou\ and the future
indicative (Robertson, _Grammar_, pp. 926f.). The early figs
start in spring before the leaves and develop after the leaves.
The main fig crop was early autumn (Mr 11:14). There should
have been figs on the tree with the crop of leaves. It was a
vivid object lesson. Matthew does not distinguish between the two
mornings as Mark does (Mr 11:13,20), but says "immediately"
(\parachrēma\) twice (21:19,20). This word is really \para to
chrēma\ like our "on the spot" (Thayer). It occurs in the papyri
in monetary transactions for immediate cash payment.

21:21 {Doubt not} (\mē diakrithēte\). First aorist passive
subjunctive, second-class condition. To be divided in mind, to
waver, to doubt, the opposite of "faith" (\pistin\), trust,
confidence. {What is done to the fig tree} (\to tēs sukēs\). The
Greek means "the matter of the fig tree," as if a slight matter
in comparison with {this mountain} (\tōi orei toutōi\). Removing
a mountain is a bigger task than blighting a fig tree. "The
cursing of the fig-tree has always been regarded as of symbolic
import, the tree being in Christ's mind an emblem of the Jewish
people, with a great show of religion and no fruit of real
godliness. This hypothesis is very credible" (Bruce). Plummer
follows Zahn in referring it to the Holy City. Certainly "this
mountain" is a parable and one already reported in Mt 17:20
(cf. sycamine tree in Lk 17:6). Cf. Zec 17:4.

21:22 {Believing} (\pisteuontes\). This is the point of the
parable of the mountain, "faith in the efficacy of prayer"

21:24 {One question} (\logon hena\). Literally "one word" or "a
word." The answer to Christ's word will give the answer to their
query. The only human ecclesiastical authority that Jesus had
came from John.

21:25 {The baptism of John} (\to baptisma to Iōanou\). This
represents his relation to Jesus who was baptized by him. At once
the ecclesiastical leaders find themselves in a dilemma created
by their challenge of Christ. {They reasoned with themselves}
(\dielogizonto\). Picturesque imperfect tense describing their
hopeless quandary.

21:29 {I will not} (\ou thelō\). So many old manuscripts, though
the Vatican manuscript (B) has the order of the two sons
reversed. Logically the "I, sir" (\egō, kurie\) suits better for
the second son (verse 30) with a reference to the blunt refusal
of the first. So also the manuscripts differ in verse 31
between the first (\ho prōtos\) and the last (\ho husteros\ or
. But the one who actually did the will of the father
is the one who {repented and went} (\metamelētheis apēlthen\).
This word really means "repent," to be sorry afterwards, and must
be sharply distinguished from the word \metanoeō\ used 34 times
in the N.T. as in Mt 3:2 and \metanoia\ used 24 times as in Mt
3:8. The verb \metamelomai\ occurs in the N.T. only five times
(Mt 21:29,32; 27:3; 2Co 7:8; Heb 7:21 from Ps 109:4). Paul
distinguishes sharply between mere sorrow and the act
"repentance" which he calls \metanoian\ (2Co 7:9). In the case
of Judas (Mt 27:3) it was mere remorse. Here the boy got sorry
for his stubborn refusal to obey his father and went and obeyed.
Godly sorrow leads to repentance (\metanoian\), but mere sorrow
is not repentance.

21:31 {Go before you} (\proagousin\). "In front of you"
(Weymouth). The publicans and harlots march ahead of the
ecclesiastics into the kingdom of heaven. It is a powerful
indictment of the complacency of the Jewish theological leaders.

21:32 {In the way of righteousness} (\en hodōi dikaiosunēs\). In
the path of righteousness. Compare the two ways in Mt 7:13,14
and "the way of God" (22:16).

21:33 {A hedge} (\phragmon\). Or fence as a protection against
wild beasts. {Digged a winepress} (\ōruxen lēnon\). Out of the
solid rock to hold the grapes and wine as they were crushed. Such
wine-vats are to be seen today in Palestine. {Built a tower}
(\ōikodomēsen purgon\). This for the vinedressers and watchmen
(2Ch 26:10). Utmost care was thus taken. Note "a booth in a
vineyard" (Isa 1:8). See also Isa 24:20; Job 27:18. Let it
out (\exedeto, exedoto\ the usual form). For hire, the terms not
being given. The lease allowed three forms, money-rent, a
proportion of the crop, or a definite amount of the produce
whether it was a good or bad year. Probably the last form is that
contemplated here.

21:34 {His servants} (\tous doulous autou\). These slaves are
distinguished from {the husbandmen} (\geōrgoi\, workers of the
or workers of the vineyard who had leased it from the
householder before he went away. The conduct of the husbandmen
towards the householder's slaves portrays the behaviour of the
Jewish people and the religious leaders in particular towards the
prophets and now towards Christ. The treatment of God's prophets
by the Jews pointedly illustrates this parable.

21:35 {They will reverence my son} (\entrapēsontai ton huion
. Second future passive from \entrepō\, to turn at, but used
transitively here as though active or middle. It is the picture
of turning with respect when one worthy of it appears.

21:38 {Take his inheritance} (\schōmen tēn klēronomian autou\).
Ingressive aorist active subjunctive (hortatory, volitive) of
\echō\. Let us get his inheritance.

21:41 {He will miserably destroy those miserable men} (\kakous
kakōs apolesei autous\)
. The paronomasia or assonance is very
clear. A common idiom in literary Greek. "He will put the
wretches to a wretched death" (Weymouth). {Which} (\hoitines\).
Who, which very ones of a different character.

21:42 {The stone which} (\lithon hon\). Inverse attraction of the
antecedent into the case of the relative. {The builders rejected}
(\apedokimasan hoi oikodomountes\). From Ps 118:22. A most
telling quotation. These experts in building God's temple had
rejected the corner-stone chosen by God for his own house. But
God has the last word and sets aside the building experts and
puts his Son as the Head of the corner. It was a withering

21:43 {Shall be taken away from you} (\arthēsetai aph' h–mōn\).
Future passive indicative of \airō\. It was the death-knell of
the Jewish nation with their hopes of political and religious
world leadership.

21:44 {Shall be broken to pieces} (\sunthlasthēsetai\). Some
ancient manuscripts do not have this verse. But it graphically
pictures the fate of the man who rejects Christ. The verb means
to shatter. We are familiar with an automobile that dashes
against a stone wall, a tree, or a train and the ruin that
follows. {Will scatter him as dust} (\likmēsei\). The verb was
used of winnowing out the chaff and then of grinding to powder.
This is the fate of him on whom this Rejected Stone falls.

21:45 {Perceived} (\egnōsan\). Ingressive second aorist active of
\ginōskō\. There was no mistaking the meaning of these parables.
The dullest could see the point.

21:46 {Took him} (\eichon\). Descriptive imperfect of \echō\, to
hold. This fear of the people was all that stayed the hands of
the rabbis on this occasion. Murderous rage was in their hearts
towards Jesus. People do not always grasp the application of
sermons to themselves.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 21)