Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Matthew 23:37

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem -

  • It is evident that our blessed Lord seriously and earnestly wished the salvation of the Jews.
  • That he did every thing that could be done, consistently with his own perfections, and the liberty of his creatures, to effect this.
  • That his tears over the city, Luke 19:41, sufficiently evince his sincerity.
  • That these persons nevertheless perished. And
  • That the reason was, they would not be gathered together under his protection: therefore wrath, i.e. punishment, came upon them to the uttermost.
  • From this it is evident that there have been persons whom Christ wished to save, and bled to save, who notwithstanding perished, because they would not come unto him, John 5:40. The metaphor which our Lord uses here is a very beautiful one. When the hen sees a beast of prey coming, she makes a noise to assemble her chickens, that she may cover them with her wings from the danger. The Roman eagle is about to fall upon the Jewish state - nothing can prevent this but their conversion to God through Christ-Jesus cries throughout the land, publishing the Gospel of reconciliation - they would not assemble, and the Roman eagle came and destroyed them. The hen's affection to her brood is so very strong as to become proverbial. The following beautiful Greek epigram, taken from the Anthologia, affords a very fine illustration of this text.

    Χειμεριαις νιφαδεσσι παλυνομενα τιθας ορνις

    Τεκνοις ευναιας αμφεχεε πτερυγας

    Μεσφα μεν ουρανιον κρυος ωλεσεν η γαρ εμεινεν

    Αιθερος ουρανιων αντιπαλος νεφεων.

    Προκνη και Μεδεια, κατ 'αΐδος αιδεσθητε,

    Μητερες, ορνιθων εργα διδασκομεναι

    Anthol. lib. i. Titus. 87: edit. Bosch. p. 344

    Beneath her fostering wing the Hen defends

    Her darling offspring, while the snow descends;

    Throughout the winter's day unmoved defies

    The chilling fleeces and inclement skies;

    Till, vanquish'd by the cold and piercing blast,

    True to her charge, she perishes at last!

    O Fame! to hell this fowl's affection bear;

    Tell it to Progne and Medea there: -

    To mothers such as those the tale unfold,

    And let them blush to hear the story told! -

    T. G.

    This epigram contains a happy illustration, not only of our Lord's simile, but also of his own conduct. How long had these thankless and unholy people been the objects of his tenderest cares! For more than 2000 years, they engrossed the most peculiar regards of the most beneficent Providence; and during the three years of our Lord's public ministry, his preaching and miracles had but one object and aim, the instruction and salvation of this thoughtless and disobedient people. For their sakes, he who was rich became poor, that they through his poverty might be rich: - for their sakes, he made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross! He died, that They might not perish, but have everlasting life. Thus, to save their life, he freely abandoned his own.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    O Jerusalem … - See the notes at Luke 19:41-42.

    Would I have gathered - Would have protected and saved.

    Thy children - Thy people.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    Our Lord declares the miseries the inhabitants of Jerusalem were about to bring upon themselves, but he does not notice the sufferings he was to undergo. A hen gathering her chickens under her wings, is an apt emblem of the Saviour's tender love to those who trust in him, and his faithful care of them. He calls sinners to take refuge under his tender protection, keeps them safe, and nourishes them to eternal life. The present dispersion and unbelief of the Jews, and their future conversion to Christ, were here foretold. Jerusalem and her children had a large share of guilt, and their punishment has been signal. But ere long, deserved vengeance will fall on every church which is Christian in name only. In the mean time the Saviour stands ready to receive all who come to him. There is nothing between sinners and eternal happiness, but their proud and unbelieving unwillingness.
    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 167

    This chapter is based on John 3:1-17.

    Nicodemus held a high position of trust in the Jewish nation. He was highly educated, and possessed talents of no ordinary character, and he was an honored member of the national council. With others, he had been stirred by the teaching of Jesus. Though rich, learned, and honored, he had been strangely attracted by the humble Nazarene. The lessons that had fallen from the Saviour's lips had greatly impressed him, and he desired to learn more of these wonderful truths. DA 167.1

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    Ellen G. White
    The Desire of Ages, 575-8

    When the procession reached the brow of the hill, and was about to descend into the city, Jesus halted, and all the multitude with Him. Before them lay Jerusalem in its glory, now bathed in the light of the declining sun. The temple attracted all eyes. In stately grandeur it towered above all else, seeming to point toward heaven as if directing the people to the only true and living God. The temple had long been the pride and glory of the Jewish nation. The Romans also prided themselves in its magnificence. A king appointed by the Romans had united with the Jews to rebuild and embellish it, and the emperor of Rome had enriched it with his gifts. Its strength, richness, and magnificence had made it one of the wonders of the world. DA 575.1

    While the westering sun was tinting and gilding the heavens, its resplendent glory lighted up the pure white marble of the temple walls, and sparkled on its gold-capped pillars. From the crest of the hill where Jesus and His followers stood, it had the appearance of a massive structure of snow, set with golden pinnacles. At the entrance to the temple was a vine of gold and silver, with green leaves and massive clusters of grapes executed by the most skillful artists. This design represented Israel as a prosperous vine. The gold, silver, and living green were combined with rare taste and exquisite workmanship; as it twined gracefully about the white and glistening pillars, clinging with shining tendrils to their golden ornaments, it caught the splendor of the setting sun, shining as if with a glory borrowed from heaven. DA 575.2

    Jesus gazes upon the scene, and the vast multitude hush their shouts, spellbound by the sudden vision of beauty. All eyes turn upon the Saviour, expecting to see in His countenance the admiration they themselves feel. But instead of this they behold a cloud of sorrow. They are surprised and disappointed to see His eyes fill with tears, and His body rock to and fro like a tree before the tempest, while a wail of anguish bursts from His quivering lips, as if from the depths of a broken heart. What a sight was this for angels to behold! their loved Commander in an agony of tears! What a sight was this for the glad throng that with shouts of triumph and the waving of palm branches were escorting Him to the glorious city, where they fondly hoped He was about to reign! Jesus had wept at the grave of Lazarus, but it was in a godlike grief in sympathy with human woe. But this sudden sorrow was like a note of wailing in a grand triumphal chorus. In the midst of a scene of rejoicing, where all were paying Him homage, Israel's King was in tears; not silent tears of gladness, but tears and groans of insuppressible agony. The multitude were struck with a sudden gloom. Their acclamations were silenced. Many wept in sympathy with a grief they could not comprehend. DA 575.3

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    Ellen G. White
    Lift Him Up, 337.1

    O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Matthew 23:37. LHU 337.1

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    Ellen G. White
    Lift Him Up, 361.2

    It is Satan's settled purpose to cut off all communications between God and His people, that he may practice his deceptive wiles with no voice to warn them of their danger. If he can lead men to distrust the messenger, or to attach no sacredness to the message, he knows that they will feel under no obligation to heed the word of God to them. And when light is set aside as darkness, Satan has things his own way. LHU 361.2

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