Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 23:36 - 23:36

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Matthew Poole Commentary - Matthew 23:36 - 23:36

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

Ver. 34-36. Luke saith, Luk_11:49-51, Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: that the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation; from the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation. Luke saith, Therefore also said the wisdom of God. Matthew saith, Behold, I send. Christ is the wisdom of God; he here tells them he would send them prophets, wise men, scribes. Luke expounds it by prophets and apostles; men authorized by Christ to reveal unto men the will of God, and men that should be extraordinarily inspired to enable them thereunto.

Scribes, that is, persons instructed to the kingdom of God; a new sort of scribes, but much fitter for their work than the present scribes.

And some ye shall kill and crucify, &c.: our Lord in this only foretells what usage both himself and his apostles should meet with from them, which was fulfilled in what the Scripture telleth us of the scourging of Paul, the stoning of Stephen, the killing of James, &c., beside the crucifying of himself.

That upon you, that is, as he expounds it, Mat_23:36, upon this generation, may come all the righteous blood, that is, the blood of righteous men, shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, &c. Here arise two questions:

1. Who this Zacharias the son of Barachias was.

2. How it could stand with God’s justice to bring the guilt of the blood of former generations upon that generation.

As to the first, some have guessed the person spoken of to have been one Zacharias the son of Baruch, who was the last slain upon the taking of Jerusalem, as Josephus tells us: but our Saviour here speaks of a thing passed, not to be afterwards done. Others think it was Zacharias the father of John Baptist: but we have no proof that he died a violent death. Others think it was Zechariah, who was one of the small prophets: but there was no temple in his time. It is most probably concluded to be Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, whom the Jews stoned with stones at the commandment of Joash in the court of the house of the Lord, 2Ch_24:21. The father’s name indeed doth not agree; but, first, Jehoiada (as many of the Jews had) might have two names: some think it was this same Zechariah who is called the son of Jeberechiah, Isa_8:2. Our Saviour nameth Abel, who lived before the law, and Zacharias, who lived under the law, both slain for righteousness’ sake; that under them he might comprehend all the martyrs slain in those two periods. Others judge, that these two are named because we read of Abel’s blood crying, Gen_4:10, and Zechariah’s praying (when he died) that the Lord would require his blood. For the other question, it is but righteous with God to punish the sins of parents upon their children; and though such vengeance doth not ordinarily reach further than the third and fourth generation, yet where succeeding generations go on in the same sinful courses, it may reach further, and often does. Isa_65:6,7, I will (saith God) recompense into their bosom your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together. That was the case here. They filled up the measure of their fathers’ sins. Therefore Christ tells them, that vengeance should sleep no longer, but come upon that generation, which happened in the utter destruction of Jerusalem within less than forty years after. Our Lord concludes with a pathetical lamentation over Jerusalem, and a further confirmation of what he had said about their ruin.