Matthew 21

Bethphage; a small village.—Mount of Olives; a high but extended and cultivated eminence near Jerusalem.

The village over against you; Bethany, a village near Bethphage.

The temple. This was an edifice of great extent as well as magnificence, and one of its outer courts had gradually become a mart for buying and selling such articles as were used for sacrifices and other services of the place.

It is written; Isa. 56:7.

This curse upon the barren fig-tree was perhaps intended as emblematic of the doom of the Jewish nation, or of all those who are unfruitful in the service of God.

The baptism of John; that is, the public ministry of John.

Neither tell I you, &c. They were thus referred to the testimony of John, whose authority they did not dare openly to reject.

The publicans and harlots, who without making professions of sanctity repent and forsake their sins, go in before you, who are forward and zealous in your profession, but do not really obey the will of God. They were like the first son in the parable; the chief priests and elders like the second.

In the way of righteousness; practising and teaching the way of righteousness.

The husbandmen, in this parable, represent the Jewish people; the vineyard, with all the conveniences attached to it, denotes the privileges and blessings which they enjoyed. The servants sent were the prophets; the son, Jesus Christ, who thus seems to be distinguished, in a marked manner, from all the mere human messengers sent from heaven to man.

Did ye never read? (Ps. 118:22.) Christ is the stone, rejected by the Jews, but, in the councils of God, made the great foundation of the Christian temple.

The two clauses of this verse constitute a sort of parallelism; and we are not to look for a distinction in the meaning of them. Both clauses express the idea that whoever sets himself in opposition to the cause of Christ only insures his own utter and remediless destruction.

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