Matthew Chapter 21  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Matthew 21
Mat 21:1

“came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives.” Bethphage is on the east side of the Mount of Olives.

Mat 21:2(top)
Mat 21:3

“and he will immediately send them back here.” See commentary on Mark 11:3.

Mat 21:4(top)
Mat 21:5

“Daughter Zion.” The phrase “daughter of Zion” is idiomatic for Zion itself, i.e., Jerusalem, and occurs many times in the Old Testament (see commentary on Isa. 1:8). Translating the Greek literally as “daughter of Zion” is confusing, because a “daughter of Zion” is a female descendant of Zion, whereas the idiomatic phrase refers to Zion as the daughter. Thus, the translation “Daughter Zion” more accurately communicates the meaning of the text. A number of modern versions use “Daughter Zion” (or “daughter Zion) (cp. CEB; CSB; NAB; NIV2011). When the 1984 NIV was updated in 2011, the translators changed the wording from “daughter of Zion” to “Daughter Zion.”

“Look!” The Greek word is idou (#2400 ἰδού), and it is used to get our attention. See commentary on Matthew 1:20.

Mat 21:6(top)
Mat 21:7

“the donkey and her colt.” Much has been written about this, and some scholars have tried to make this into one animal, but the text clearly indicates two; a donkey and a colt. Piecing together the Gospel records indicates that Jesus sat on the colt, and it was so young that no one had ever ridden on it before (Mark 11:2). In the case of an animal that had never been ridden, it is wise to make sure that the animal will be as calm as possible, and that explains the second animal, the donkey. It seems the disciples, who lived in a culture in which it was common to ride donkeys, understood to bring the mother along with the colt, and Jesus sat on the colt, as Mark indicates.

“he sat on them.” Jesus sat on the garments, not on the two animals.

Mat 21:8(top)
Mat 21:9

“Hosanna.” The people who were shouting praises to Jesus as he entered Jerusalem were for the most part not the same group as the group that shouted, “Crucify him” only a few days later. See commentary on Luke 23:21.

“Son of David.” A messianic title. At this point, these people assumed and asserted that Jesus was the Messiah and the true king of Israel (John 12:13) and the Messiah, the “Son of David,” (see commentary on Matthew 1:1). They apparently changed their minds very quickly when he was arrested and beaten.

“the Lord.” For more information on “the Lord” see commentary on Matthew 3:3.

Mat 21:10(top)
Mat 21:11(top)
Mat 21:12

“And Jesus went into the temple.” The Greek manuscript evidence is divided between manuscripts that read “the temple of God,” and those that just read “the temple,” but the earlier manuscripts are shorter. Also, it seems that it would be much more likely that a scribe would add “of God” than delete the phrase if it were original. Thus it is most likely that the phrase “of God” was added by copyists. Also, the Hebrew gospel of Matthew reads, “the house of Yahweh,” using a scribal notation for the name Yahweh, and saying “house,” which was the standard Old Testament word for the temple.

“and overturned the tables of the money changers.” The Gospel of Mark reveals that the overturning of the tables was the day after Jesus’ triumphal entry (cp. Mark 11:7-12). The Gospel of Matthew collapses the time in this account.

“doves.” See commentary on Mark 11:15.

Mat 21:13(top)
Mat 21:14(top)
Mat 21:15

“angry.” The Greek word is aganakteō (#23 ἀγανακτέω), and it refers to being angry or displeased at a situation that is perceived to be unjust.

Mat 21:16

“Out of the mouth of little children and nursing children you have brought forth praise.” In our modern world, “nursing children” are normally too young to praise God, but in the biblical world it was common for a mother to nurse a baby until three years old or even older, and so nursing children could praise God. For the meaning “brought forth,” see Louw-Nida, and also the EDNT.

Mat 21:17(top)
Mat 21:18(top)
Mat 21:19

“a lone fig tree by the path.” This is an important addition because it tells us that the fig tree was not owned by anyone, but was public property. Jesus did not destroy private property.

“And immediately the fig tree withered.” The fig tree was a symbol of Israel, and the fact that Jesus cursed it was a foreshadowing of Israel’s eventual destruction (see commentary on Mark 11:20).

Mat 21:20(top)
Mat 21:21

“trust.” To properly understand “trust” in this verse, see the commentary on 1 Corinthians 12:9, “trust.”

“this mountain.” Jesus was on the Mount of Olives, where both Bethany and Bethphage were.

“lifted up.” The Greek is airō (#142 αἴρω; pronounced 'eye-ro), and it is passive voice, imperative mood. Although it would be very literal to say, “Be taken up,” the imperative mood combined with the context, moving a mountain at your command, gives the sense that the mountain is being snatched up out of its place and thrown into the ocean.

“doubt.” See commentary on Mark 11:23.

Mat 21:22(top)
Mat 21:23(top)
Mat 21:24(top)
Mat 21:25

“discussed it among themselves.” The Jewish rulers were lying to Jesus, and he knew it (cp. Matt. 21:32). John 2:25 says that Jesus knew what was in people. The Jews believed that John’s baptism was from man and had no divine authority whatsoever, but they would not say so publicly. This kind of thing goes on all the time in religion, business, and politics. People lie to get an advantage. That is why we have to be “wise as serpents” and walk by revelation if we are going to do well in the world.

Jesus did not want to answer the question that the Jews asked about where he got his authority. He knew they would only use the information against him. He also knew that if he asked them the right question, in this case about John, he could stop their attack, which is exactly what happened. We have to follow Jesus’ example and realize that many people will use what we say against us, so we have to rely on God to know what is really going on in the hearts of people and what we should or should not say.

Mat 21:26(top)
Mat 21:27

“Then I will not tell you.” Jesus was not fooled by the Jews saying they did not know. They knew exactly what they believed, but those hypocrites and cowards were afraid to say it. Jesus had said if they would tell him about John’s baptism, he would tell them about the source of his authority. Since they would not tell him, he kept his word and would not tell them.

Mat 21:28(top)
Mat 21:29

“changed his mind.” The Greek is metamelomai (#3338 μεταμέλομαι); but it is sometimes spelled with two “L”s and it has two distinct meanings in the NT: 1) to change one’s mind; and to regret; be ashamed over; feel remorse for, or 2) to reproach oneself for what one has done. It occurs six times in the NT: Matthew 21:29, 32; 27:3; 2 Corinthians 7:8 (twice); and Hebrews 7:21.

Mat 21:30(top)
Mat 21:31

“and the prostitutes.” The prostitute Rahab (Josh. 2:1) is a wonderful example of a prostitute who had faith in God and eventually married into Israel.

Mat 21:32(top)
Mat 21:33

“Listen to another parable.” This parable of the Greedy Farmers is in Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9:19. This parable is a clear reference to the parable of the vineyard in Isaiah 5:1-7, except in Isaiah the vineyard is itself Israel, and is wicked, while in Jesus’ parable the vineyard is God’s and it is the people who are hired to tend it who are evil. Jesus was using thinly veiled language to speak of the leaders of the Jews, who had been entrusted by God to take care of His vineyard, i.e., His people, but were evil. The Jews got his point (Matt. 21:45), and wanted to arrest him but were afraid of the people. This parable appears here in Matthew 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12, and Luke 20:9-19.

“and put a wall around it.” Farmers would surround their plots and vineyards with a short stone wall. Stones were abundant in Israel whereas wood and fence material was scarce and expensive to work into a proper fence. So culturally the man would have built a low stone wall around his vineyard (cp. Prov. 24:30-31).

Mat 21:34(top)
Mat 21:35(top)
Mat 21:36(top)
Mat 21:37(top)
Mat 21:38(top)
Mat 21:39(top)
Mat 21:40(top)
Mat 21:41(top)
Mat 21:42

the cornerstone.” The quotation comes from Psalm 118:22. The Greek text literally reads, “the head of the corner,” not “the cornerstone.” However, the stone that is “the head of the corner” can be the cornerstone. However, the phrase “the head of the corner,” can refer to two different stones, the cornerstone and the capstone, and there is some discussion about what is meant. “The phrase ‘head of the corner’ can indicate one of the large stones near the foundations of a building which by their sheer size bind together two or more rows of stones,” or it can “refer to the final stone which completes an arch or is laid at the top corner of a building.”a

There is some scholarly discussion about which stone is meant, and it is even possible that Christ is thinking of both stones, because when he says, “the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, but on whomever it falls it will grind to powder” (Matt. 21:44; cp. Luke 20:18), he seems to be referring to both stones. A person would fall on or stumble over the “cornerstone,” but the stone that could fall on someone and grind them to powder would be the capstone. Both the cornerstone and the capstone are important to the building and thus the analogy is that Christ, who was rejected, has become of supreme value. Translators can only pick one of the two words for their translation, and like most English versions, the REV has chosen “cornerstone” to be in the text.b

Psalm 118:22 is very important in identifying Jesus Christ as the Messiah, and it is quoted or referred to six times in the New Testament (Matt. 21:42; Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet. 2:4 and 2:7).

“the Lord.” The Shem Tov Hebrew manuscript has “Yahweh,” the personal name of God, and a rabbinic abbreviation for it appears in the Hebrew manuscript of Matthew as well as in the verses of the Old Testament that Matthew quoted. There is evidence that Matthew wrote his Gospel in Hebrew and used the name Yahweh (see commentary on Matthew 3:3).

J. B. Taylor, “Cornerstone,” New Bible Dictionary, 228.
Taylor, New Bible Dictionary, 228.
Mat 21:43(top)
Mat 21:44(top)
Mat 21:45(top)
Mat 21:46(top)

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