Luke 20


The question concerning the authority of Christ, and the

baptism of John, 1-8.

The parable of the vine-yard let out to wicked husbandmen, 9-18.

The chief priests and scribes are offended, and lay snares for

him, 19, 20.

The question about tribute, 21-26.

The question about the resurrection of the dead, and our Lord's

answer, 27-40.

How Christ is the son of David, 41-44.

He warns his disciples against the hypocrisy of the scribes,

whose condemnation he points out, 45-47.


Verse 1. One of those days] Supposed to have been one of the

four last days of his life, mentioned Lu 19:47, probably

Tuesday before the passover.

Verse 2. By what authority, &c.]

See Clarke's notes on Mt 21:23-27.

Verse 9. A certain man planted a vineyard, &c.] See this parable

largely explained, Mt 21:33-46. See also Clarke on Mr 12:4-9.

Verse 10. That they should give him of the fruit] The Hindoo

corn-merchants, that have lent money to husbandmen, send persons

in harvest-time to collect their share of the produce of the


Verse 16. God forbid.] Or, Let it not be, μηγενοιτο. Our

phrase, God forbid, answers pretty well to the meaning of the

Greek, but it is no translation.

Verse 18. Grind him to powder.] See Clarke on Mt 21:44.

Verse 20. They watched him] παρατηρησαντες, Insidiously

watching. See Clarke on Lu 14:1.

Spies] εγκαθετους, from εν, in, and καθιημι, I let

down, to set in ambush. One who crouches in some secret place to

spy, listen, catch, or hurt. Hesychius explains the word by

ενεδρευοντες, those who lie in wait, or in ambush, to surprise

and slay. Josephus uses the word to signify a person bribed for a

particular purpose. See War, b. ii. c. ii. s. 5, and b. vi. c. v.

s. 2. No doubt the persons mentioned in the text were men of the

basest principles, and were hired by the malicious Pharisees to do

what they attempted in vain to perform.

Verse 22. Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Caesar] See

this insidious but important question considered at large on

Mt 22:16-22.

Verse 29. There were therefore seven brethren]

See Clarke on Mt 22:23-33.

Verse 34. The children of this world] Men and women in their

present state of mortality and probation; procreation being

necessary to restore the waste made by death, and to keep up the

population of the earth.

Verse 36. Equal unto the angels] Who neither marry nor die.

See the Jewish testimonies to the resurrection of the human body

quoted at length on 1Co 15:42.

Verse 38. All live unto him.] There is a remarkable passage in

Josephus's account of the Maccabees, chap. xvi., which proves

that the best informed Jews believed that the souls of righteous

men were in the presence of God in a state of happiness. "They who

lose their lives for the sake of God, LIVE unto GOD, as do

Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the rest of the patriarchs." And

one not less remarkable in Shemoth Rabba, fol. 159. "Rabbi Abbin

saith, The Lord said unto Moses, Find me out ten righteous persons

among the people, and I will not destroy thy people. Then said

Moses, Behold, here am I, Aaron, Eleazar, Ithamar, Phineas, Caleb,

and Joshua; but God said, Here are but seven, where are the other

three? When Moses knew not what to do, he said, O Eternal God, do

those live that are dead! Yes, saith God. Then said Moses, If

those that are dead do live, remember Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

So the resurrection of the dead, and the immortality and

immateriality of the soul, were not strange or unknown doctrines

among the Jews.

Verse 40. They durst not ask] Or, did not venture to ask any

other question, for fear of being again confounded, as they had

already been.

Verse 41. How say they] See the note on Mt 22:42-46.

Verse 43. Thy footstool.] Literally, the footstool of thy feet.

They shall not only be so far humbled that the feet may be set on

them; but they shall be actually subjected, and put completely

under that Christ whom they now despise, and are about to crucify.

Verse 46. Beware of the scribes] Take heed that ye be not

seduced by those who should show you the way of salvation. See on

Mt 23:4-14.

1. How it can be supposed that the ancient Jewish Church had no

distinct notion of the resurrection of the dead is to me truly

surprising. The justice of God, so peculiarly conspicuous under

the old covenant, might have led the people to infer that there

must be a resurrection of the dead, if even the passage to which

our Lord refers had not made a part of their law. As the body

makes a part of the man, justice requires that not only they who

are martyrs for the testimony of God, but also all those who have

devoted their lives to his service, and died in his yoke, should

have their bodies raised again. The justice of God is as much

concerned in the resurrection of the dead, as either his power or

mercy. To be freed from earthly incumbrances, earthly passions,

bodily infirmities, sickness; and death, to be brought into a

state of conscious existence, with a refined body and a sublime

soul, both immortal, and both ineffably happy-how glorious the

privilege! But of this, who shall be counted worthy in that day?

Only those who have washed their robes, and made them white in the

blood of the Lamb, and who, by patient continuing in well doing,

have sought for glory and honour and immortality.

2. A bad example, supported by the authority, reputation, and

majesty of religion, is a very subtle poison, from which it is

very difficult for men to preserve themselves. It is a great

misfortune for any people to be obliged to beware of those very

persons who ought to be their rule and pattern. This is a

reflection of pious Father Quesnel; and, while we admire its

depth, we may justly lament that the evil he refers to should be

so prevalent as to render the observation, and the caution on

which it is founded, so necessary. But let no man imagine that bad

and immoral ministers are to be found among one class of persons

only. They are to be found in the branches as well as in the

root: in the different sects and parties as well as in the mother

or national Churches, from which the others have separated. On

either hand there is little room for glorying.-Professors and

ministers may change, but the truth of the Lord abideth for


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