Matthew 21:16

ESV and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?”
NIV Do you hear what these children are saying?' they asked him. 'Yes,' replied Jesus, 'have you never read, ''From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise'?'
NASB and they said to Him, 'Do You hear what these children are saying?' And Jesus *said to them, 'Yes. Have you never read, ‘FROM THE MOUTHS OF INFANTS AND NURSING BABIES YOU HAVE PREPARED PRAISE FOR YOURSELF’?'
CSB and said to him, "Do you hear what these children are saying? "Jesus replied, "Yes, have you never read:You have prepared praisefrom the mouths of infants and nursing babies? "
NLT They asked Jesus, 'Do you hear what these children are saying?' 'Yes,' Jesus replied. 'Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’ '
KJV And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

What does Matthew 21:16 mean?

The chief priests and scribes, along with the Pharisees, will grow increasingly furious with Jesus during these last days leading up to the crucifixion. In Matthew's gospel, this is the first confrontation with them during this week but certainly not the last. Right now, the religious leaders are angry with Jesus because some children in the temple who saw Him heal blind and lame people are praising Him. Specifically, they are echoing the shouts of the triumphal entry from the previous day (Matthew 21:1–10), "Hosanna to the Son of David!"

The priests and scribes ask Jesus if He hears what the children are saying. They know, of course, that Jesus can hear the children as well as they can. The question is meant to tell Jesus He should stop the children from speaking blasphemy. After all, those words are for the Messiah and, perhaps, for God Himself. Jesus should know that and put an end to it.

Jesus, though, responds with a question back to them. He asks, in essence, if they have never read Psalm 8:2. As with their question to Him, Jesus understands they know the passage well. This was a common Jewish way of making a point. Jesus references a Greek translation of the verse, "Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise." The Hebrew version of the verse translates to "strength" in most English versions, rather than "praise."

Jesus' point is that God is the one who causes children to praise Himself. The fact that Jesus applies this verse to Himself could only infuriate the religious leaders even further. In essence, Jesus is acknowledging that not only is He the Messiah, He is also equivalent with God. He will not stop the children from the praise God has prepared them to give to Him.
What is the Gospel?
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