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Bible Commentaries

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Luke 20

A.M. 4037. A.D. 33.

In this chapter,

(1,) Christ vindicates his authority against the Jewish rulers, by a question concerning John the Baptist, Luke 20:1-8 .

(2,) By the parable of the vineyard, let out to unjust and rebellious husbandmen, he represents the great wickedness and approaching ruin of the Jewish nation, Luke 20:9-19 .

(3,) By the superscription on their tribute-money he proves it to be the duty of the Jews to pay tribute to Cesar, Luke 20:20-26 .

(4,) From God’s speech to Moses at the bush he proves the resurrection of the dead and a future state, against the cavils of the Sadducees, Luke 20:27-38 .

(5,) Puzzles the scribes with a question, how the Messiah could be at once David’s son and his Lord, Luke 20:39-44 .

(6,) Cautions his disciples to beware of the hypocritical, proud, and cruelly dishonest scribes, Luke 20:45-47 . All these passages we had before in Matthew and Mark, and therefore it will not be necessary to say much upon them here, unless on some particulars which did not occur there.

Verses 1-8

Luke 20:1-8. And on one of those days the chief priests, scribes, and elders That is, some of the first men of the nation; came By appointment of the senate, to Jesus; and spake, saying, Tell us by what authority, &c. See on Matthew 21:23-27, and Mark 11:27-33.

Verses 9-19

Luke 20:9-19. A certain man planted a vineyard, &c. See this paragraph explained on Matthew 21:33-46, and Mark 12:1-12. And went into a far country for a long time It was a long time from the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan to the birth of Christ. He shall destroy those husbandmen Probably he pointed to the scribes, chief priests, and elders; who allowed, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, Matthew 21:41, but could not bear that this should be applied to themselves. They might also mean, God forbid that we should be guilty of such a crime as your parable seems to charge us with, namely, rejecting and killing the heir. Our Saviour means, But yet ye will do it, as is prophesied of you. He looked on them To sharpen their attention.

Verses 20-26

Luke 20:20-26 . And they watched him For an elucidation of this paragraph, see on Matthew 22:16-22, and Mark 12:13-17; and sent spies, which should feign themselves just men Men scrupulously conscientious in every point: that they might take hold of his words If he answered as they hoped he would. Master, we know then sayest, &c. Speakest in private, and teachest in public; the way of God truly The true path of duty. They could not take hold of his words before the people As they did afterward before the sanhedrim, in the absence of the people, chap. Luke 22:67, &c.

Verses 27-40

Luke 20:27-40. Then came to him certain of the Sadducees These verses are explained at large, on Matthew 22:23-33, and Mark 12:18-26. The children of this world The inhabitants of earth; marry and are given in marriage As being all subject to the law of mortality, so that the species is in need of being continually repaired. But they which obtain that world The world which holy souls enter into at death; namely, paradise; and the resurrection from the dead It must be observed, our Lord, agreeably to the Jewish style of that period, calls that only the resurrection which is a resurrection to glory. They are the children of God In a more eminent sense when they rise again, having then received that public manifestation of their adoption, mentioned Romans 8:23; the redemption of their body. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses As well as the other prophets; showed, when he calleth, &c. That is, when he recites the words which God spoke of himself, I am the God of Abraham, &c. It cannot properly be said, that God is the God of any who are totally perished. He is not a God of the dead, &c. Or, as the clause may be properly rendered, There is not a God of the dead, but of the living That is, the term God implies such a relation as cannot possibly subsist between him and the dead; who, in the Sadducees’ sense, are extinguished spirits, who could neither worship him nor receive good from him. For all live unto him All who have him for their God, live to, and enjoy him. This sentence is not an argument for what went before; but the very proposition which was to be proved. And the consequence is apparently just. For, as all the faithful are the children of Abraham, and the divine promise, of being a God to him and his seed, is entailed upon them, it implies their continued existence and happiness in a future state, as much as Abraham’s. And as the body is an essential part of man, it implies both his resurrection and theirs; and so overthrows the entire scheme of the Sadducean doctrine. They durst not ask him any question The Sadducees durst not. One of the scribes did presently after.

Verses 41-47

Luke 20:41-47. How say they that Christ is David’s son, &c. For an elucidation of these verses, see on Matthew 22:41-46; Matthew 23:5-7; Matthew 23:14; and Mark 12:35-40. David therefore calleth him Lord: how is he then his son “This implies both the existence of David in a future state, and the authority of the Messiah over that invisible world into which that prince was removed by death. Else, how great a monarch soever the Messiah might have been, he could not have been properly called David’s Lord; any more than Julius Cesar could have been called the lord of Romulus, because he reigned in Rome seven hundred years after his death, and vastly extended the bounds of that empire which Romulus founded. Munster’s note on this text shows, in a very forcible manner, the wretched expedients of some modern Jews to evade the force of that interpretation of the one hundred and tenth Psalm, which refers it to the Messiah.” Doddridge.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Luke 20". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/luke-20.html. 1857.