What does Matthew 23:34 mean?
ESV: Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town,
NIV: Therefore I am sending you prophets and sages and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
NASB: Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city,
CSB: This is why I am sending you prophets, sages, and scribes. Some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.
NLT: Therefore, I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers of religious law. But you will kill some by crucifixion, and you will flog others with whips in your synagogues, chasing them from city to city.
KJV: Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
NKJV: Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city,
Verse Commentary:
Jesus has declared the Pharisees and scribes of His day as equal in guilt to their forefathers. Those predecessors killed God's prophets of old (Acts 7:52). They have repeated the pattern of their fathers in rejecting John the Baptist's work and message and in rejecting and plotting to kill Jesus (Mathew 23:21–27; John 11:53; Mark 3:6; Luke 22:2). Far more important than their heritage, these men are proving their spiritual family is that of Satan (John 8:43–44).

After soundly condemning these hypocritical leaders (Matthew 23:13–28), Jesus speaks about the future. Sadly, this is exactly what happens to the apostles and evangelists of Christ during the years of the early church. What He describes here will begin immediately after His death, resurrection from the dead, and return to heaven (John 16:1–4). They are persecuted, jailed, and killed by the Jewish religious leaders working in conjunction with the Roman Empire. In doing this, Jesus establishes that they will be repeating exactly the pattern of their ancestors, who killed the prophets whom God sent to warn Israel of His coming judgment.

God's plan will include sending more messengers, summarized by Christ here as "prophets and wise men and scribes." This provides further opportunity for the world to hear the gospel (Matthew 23:19). Also, it provides further evidence against those who reject God's truth. The scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' era will persecute and murder many of these future messengers. They will even pursue them when they try to flee persecution (Acts 8:1–3).
Verse Context:
Matthew 23:13–36 contains seven layers of condemnation, from Jesus, towards the religious leaders of His era. Each of these is introduced with the word "woe," which is an exclamation like "oh!" or "alas!" Pronouncing God's judgment on these men, He repeatedly describes them as "blind" and "hypocrites." Convincing others of their views only adds victims to hell. They follow the letters of manmade law to the tiniest detail but miss the real meaning of Scripture: God's heart for justice, mercy, and faithfulness. Their outer appearance of righteousness hides inner lives full of greed, self-indulgence, hypocrisy, and lawlessness. Those in Jesus' generation will pay for many of the righteous people unjustly killed in the past.
Chapter Summary:
After thoroughly dismantling scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees in debate, Jesus even more thoroughly condemns these religious leaders for their religious hypocrisy. They do all their religious acts and works to be seen and approved of by other people. Jesus pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. He repeatedly calls them "blind" and "hypocrites." He concludes with a lament for Jerusalem and her children who rejected His protection. God's judgment is coming.
Chapter Context:
Matthew 23 concludes Matthew's multi-chapter account of all of Jesus' interactions in the temple during the last week before His arrest and crucifixion. After silencing the religious leaders with parables and brilliant responses (Matthew 21—22), He pronounces God's judgment on the scribes and Pharisees in a series of seven "woe to you" statements. Jesus mourns for the judgment that will come on Jerusalem for her rejection of God. This leads Jesus to leave the temple, sadly remarking on its impending destruction (Matthew 24:1–2). As the disciples ask about this, Jesus begins an extended teaching on the end times in chapter 24.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Matthew clearly shows the influence of its writer's background, and his effort to reach a specific audience. Matthew was one of Jesus' twelve disciples, a Jewish man, and a former tax collector. This profession would have required literacy, and Matthew may have transcribed some of Jesus' words as they were spoken. This book is filled with references to the Old Testament, demonstrating to Israel that Jesus is the Promised One. Matthew also includes many references to coins, likely due to his former profession. Matthew records extensive accounts of Jesus' teaching, more than the other three Gospels.
Accessed 5/25/2024 1:37:18 AM
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