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Verses 15-17

Matthew 22:15-17. Then went the Pharisees Greatly incensed by the two last parables delivered by our Lord; and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk Gr. παγιδευσωσιν εν λογω , might entrap him in his discourse, so as to find something on which they might ground an accusation against him, and effect his destruction. And they sent out their disciples Persons who had imbibed their spirit of hostility against him, and entered fully into their designs; with the Herodians “Probably,” says Dr. Campbell, “partisans of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, who were for the continuance of the royal power in the descendants of Herod the Great, an object which, it appears, the greater part of the nation, especially the Pharisees, did not favour. They considered that family not indeed as idolaters, but as great conformists to the idolatrous customs of both Greeks and Romans, whose favour they spared no means to secure. The notion adopted by some, that the Herodians were those who believed Herod to be the Messiah, hardly deserves to be mentioned, as there is no evidence that such an opinion was maintained by any body.” On account of their zeal for Herod’s family, they were of course also zealous for the authority of the Romans, by whose means Herod was made and continued king. Their views and designs being therefore diametrically opposite to those of the Pharisees, there had long existed the most bitter enmity between the two sects. So that the conjunction of their counsels against Christ is a very memorable proof of the keenness of that malice which could thus cause them to forget so deep a quarrel with each other. In order to insnare Christ, they came to him, feigning themselves just men, (Luke 20:20,) men who had a great veneration for the divine law, and a dread of doing any thing inconsistent with it; and, under that mask, accosted Christ with an air of great respect, and flattering expressions of the highest esteem, saying, Master, we know that thou art true A person of the greatest uprightness and integrity; and teachest the way of God in truth Declarest his will with perfect impartiality and fidelity; neither carest thou for the censure or applause of any man; for thou regardest not the person of men Thou favourest no man for his riches or greatness, nor art influenced by complaisance or fear, or any private view whatever, to deviate from the strictest integrity and veracity. Tell us, therefore, Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar? In asking this question they imagined that it was not in Christ’s power to decide the point, without making himself obnoxious to one or other of the parties which had divided upon it. If he should say, it was lawful; they believed the people, in whose hearing the question was proposed, would be incensed against him, not only as a base pretender, who, on being attacked, publicly renounced the character of the Messiah, which he had assumed among his friends; (it being as they supposed, a principal office of the Messiah to deliver them from a foreign yoke;) but as a flatterer of princes also, and a betrayer of the liberties of his country. But if he should affirm that it was unlawful to pay, the Herodians resolved to inform the governor of it, who they hoped would punish him as a fomenter of sedition. Highly elated therefore with their project, they came and proposed their question.

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