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Matthew 16:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— And the Pharisees and Sadducees came, and trying him asked him to show them a sign from heaven.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— The Pharisees also and the Sadducees came, and, tempting, desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— And the Pharisees and Sadducees, coming to [him], asked him, tempting [him], to shew them a sign out of heaven.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— And, the Pharisees and Sadducees coming near, putting him to the test, requested him, a sign out of the heaven, to shew unto them.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— And the Pharisees and Sadducees having come, tempting, did question him, to shew to them a sign from the heaven,
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— And there came to him the Pharisees and Sadducees tempting: and they asked him to shew them a sign from heaven.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— The Pharises also, with the Sadduces, came, and tempting, desired him that hee would shew them a signe from heauen.
John Etheridge Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1849)
— And there came Pharishee and Zadukoyee, tempting him, and demanding that he would show them a sign from heaven.
James Murdock Peshitta-Aramaic NT (1852)
— And Pharisees and Sadducees came near, tempting him, and asking him to show them a sign from heaven.

Strong's Numbers & Red-LettersGreek New TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
(2532) Complement
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
The x3588
(3588) Complement

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted, in English idiom).
Pharisees 5330
{5330} Prime
Of Hebrew origin (compare [H6567]); a separatist, that is, exclusively religious; a Pharisaean, that is, Jewish sectary.
also 2532
{2532} Prime
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
with the Sadducees 4523
{4523} Prime
Probably from G4524; a Sadducaean (that is, Tsadokian), or follower of a certain heretical Israelite.
came, 4334
{4334} Prime
From G4314 and G2064 (including its alternate); to approach, that is, (literally) come near, visit, or (figuratively) worship, assent to.
<5631> Grammar
Tense - Second Aorist (See G5780)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 889
and y2532
[2532] Standard
Apparently a primary particle, having a copulative and sometimes also a cumulative force; and, also, even, so, then, too, etc.; often used in connection (or composition) with other particles or small words.
tempting 3985
{3985} Prime
From G3984; to test (objectively), that is, endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline.
<5723> Grammar
Tense - Present (See G5774)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Participle (See G5796)
Count - 2549
desired y1905
[1905] Standard
From G1909 and G2065; to ask for, that is, inquire, seek.
<5656> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Indicative (See G5791)
Count - 2319
(1906) Complement
From G1905; an inquiry.
him 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
that he would shew 1925
{1925} Prime
From G1909 and G1166; to exhibit (physically or mentally).
<5658> Grammar
Tense - Aorist (See G5777)
Voice - Active (See G5784)
Mood - Infinitive (See G5795)
Count - 516
them 846
{0846} Prime
From the particle αὖ [[au]] (perhaps akin to the base of G0109 through the idea of a baffling wind; backward); the reflexive pronoun self, used (alone or in the compound of G1438) of the third person, and (with the proper personal pronoun) of the other persons.
a sign 4592
{4592} Prime
Neuter of a presumed derivative of the base of G4591; an indication, especially ceremonially or supernaturally.
from 1537
{1537} Prime
A primary preposition denoting origin (the point whence motion or action proceeds), from, out (of place, time or cause; literally or figuratively; direct or remote).
heaven. 3772
{3772} Prime
Perhaps from the same as G3735 (through the idea of elevation); the sky; by extension heaven (as the abode of God); by implication happiness, power, eternity; specifically the Gospel (Christianity).
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Matthew 16:1-12

_ _ Matthew 16:1-12. A sign from Heaven sought and refused — Caution against the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

_ _ For the exposition, see on Mark 8:11-21.

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Matthew 16:1-4

_ _ We have here Christ's discourse with the Pharisees and Sadducees, men at variance among themselves, as appears Acts 23:7, Acts 23:8, and yet unanimous in their opposition to Christ; because his doctrine did equally overthrow the errors and heresies of the Sadducees, who denied the existence of spirits and a future state; and the pride, tyranny, and hypocrisy of the Pharisees, who were the great imposters of the traditions of the elders. Christ and Christianity meet with opposition on all hands. Observe,

_ _ I. Their demand, and the design of it.

_ _ 1. The demand was of a sign from heaven; this they desired him to show them; pretending they were very willing to be satisfied and convinced, when really they were far from being so, but sought excuses from an obstinate infidelity. That which they pretended to desire was,

_ _ (1.) Some other sign than what they had yet had. They had great plenty of signs; every miracle Christ wrought was a sign, for no man could do what he did unless God were with him. But this will not serve, they must have a sign of their own choosing; they despised those signs which relieved the necessity of the sick and sorrowful, and insisted upon some sign which gratify the curiosity of the proud. It is fit that the proofs of divine revelation should be chosen by the wisdom of God, not by the follies and fancies of men. The evidence that is given is sufficient to satisfy an unprejudiced understanding, but was not intended to please a vain humour. Ant it is an instance of the deceitfulness of the heart, to think that we should be wrought upon by the means and advantages which we have not, while we slight those which we have. If we hear not Moses and the prophets, neither would we be wrought upon though one rose from the dead.

_ _ (2.) It must be a sign from heaven. They would have such miracles to prove his commission, as were wrought at the giving of the law upon mount Sinai: thunder, and lightening, and the voice of words, were the sign from heaven they required. Whereas the sensible signs and terrible ones were not agreeable to the spiritual and comfortable dispensation of the gospel. Now the word comes more nigh us (Romans 10:8), and therefore the miracles do so, and do not oblige us to keep such a distance as these did, Hebrews 12:18.

_ _ 2. The design was to tempt him; not to be taught by him, but to ensnare him. If he should show them a sign from heaven, they would attribute it to a confederacy with the prince of the power of the air; if he should not, as they supposed he would not, they would have that to say for themselves, why they did not believe on him. They now tempted Christ as Israel did, 1 Corinthians 10:9. And observe their perverseness; then, when they had signs from heaven, they tempted Christ, saying, Can he furnish a table in the wilderness? Now that he had furnished a table in the wilderness, they tempted him, saying, Can he give us a sign from heaven?

_ _ II. Christ's reply to this demand; lest they should be wise in their own conceit, he answered these fools according to their folly, Proverbs 26:5. In his answer,

_ _ 1. He condemns their overlooking of the signs they had, Matthew 16:2, Matthew 16:3. They were seeking for the signs of the kingdom of God, when it was already among them. The Lord was in this place, and they knew it not. Thus their unbelieving ancestors, when miracles were their daily bread, asked, Is the Lord among us, or is he not?

_ _ To expose this, he observes to them,

_ _ (1.) Their skilfulness and sagacity in other things, particularly in natural prognostications of the weather; “You know that a red sky over-night is a presage of fair weather, and a red sky in the morning of foul weather.” There are common rules drawn from observation and experience, by which it is easy to foretel very probably what weather it will be. When second causes have begun to work, we may easily guess at their issue, so uniform is nature in its motions, and so consistent with itself. We know not the balancing of the clouds (Job 37:16), but we may spell something from the faces of them. This gives no countenance at all to the wild and ridiculous predictions of the astrologers, the star-gazers, and the monthly prognosticators (Isaiah 47:13) concerning the weather long before, with which weak and foolish people are imposed upon; we are sure, in general, that seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, shall not cease. But as to the particulars, till, by the weather-glasses, or otherwise, we perceive the immediate signs and harbingers of the change of weather, it is not for us to know, no, not that concerning the times and seasons. Let it suffice, that it shall be what weather pleases God; and that which pleases God, should not displease us.

_ _ (2.) Their sottishness and stupidity in the concerns of their souls; Can ye not discern the signs of the times?

_ _ [1.] “Do you not see that the Messiah is come?” The sceptre was departed from Judah, Daniel's weeks were just expiring, and yet they regarded not. The miracles Christ wrought, and the gathering of the people to him, were plain indications that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, that this was the day of their visitation. Note, First, There are signs of the times, by which wise and upright men are enabled to make moral prognostications, and so far to understand the motions and methods of Providence, as from thence to take their measures, and to know what Israel ought to do, as the men of Issachar, as the physician from some certain symptoms finds a crisis formed. Secondly, There are many who are skilful enough in other things, and yet cannot or will not discern the day of their opportunities, are not aware of the wind when it is fair for them, and so let slip the gale. See Jeremiah 8:7; Isaiah 1:3. Thirdly, It is great hypocrisy, when we slight the signs of God's ordaining, to seek for signs of our own prescribing.

_ _ [2.] “Do not you foresee your own ruin coming for rejecting him? You will not entertain the gospel of peace, and can you not evidently discern that hereby you pull an inevitable destruction upon your own heads?” Note, It is the undoing of multitudes, that they are not aware what will be the end of their refusing Christ.

_ _ 2. He refuses to give them any other sign (Matthew 16:4), as he had done before in the same words, Matthew 12:39. Those that persist in the same iniquities, must expect to meet with the same reproofs. Here, as there, (1.) He calls them an adulterous generation; because, while they professed themselves of the true church and spouse of God, they treacherously departed from him, and brake their covenants with him. The Pharisees were a generation pure in their own eyes, having the way of the adulterous woman, that thinks she has done no wickedness, Proverbs 30:20. (2.) He refuses to gratify their desire. Christ will not be prescribed to; we ask, and have not, because we ask amiss. (3.) He refers them to the sign of the prophet Jonas, which should yet be given them; his resurrection from the dead, and his preaching by his apostles to the Gentiles; these were reserved for the last and highest evidences of his divine mission. Note, Though the fancies of proud men shall not be humoured, yet the faith of the humble shall be supported, and the unbelief of them that perish left for ever inexcusable, and every mouth shall be stopped.

_ _ This discourse broke off abruptly; he left them and departed. Christ will not tarry long with those that tempt him, but justly withdraws from those that are disposed to quarrel with him. He left them as irreclaimable; Let them alone. He left them to themselves, left them in the hand of their own counsels; so he gave them up to their own hearts' lust.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Matthew 16:1

A sign from heaven — Such they imagined Satan could not counterfeit. Mark 8:11; Matthew 12:38.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Matthew 16:1

The (1) Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and (a) tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven.

(1) The wicked who otherwise disagree with one another, agree well together against Christ, but do what they can, Christ is victorious, and triumphs over them.

(a) To see whether he could do that which they desired, but their purpose was useless for they thought to find something in him by it, in which case they might have just occasion to reprehend him: or else distrust and curiosity moved them to do so, for by such means also is God said to be tempted, that is to say, provoked to anger, as though men would strive with him.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Matthew 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed [the righteousness] of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 9:11 And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?
Matthew 12:14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.
Matthew 15:1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in [his] talk.
Matthew 22:34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
Matthew 23:2 Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat:
Matthew 27:62 Now the next day, that followed the day of the preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees came together unto Pilate,


Matthew 16:6 Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.
Matthew 16:11 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees?
Matthew 3:7-8 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? ... Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
Matthew 22:23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
Mark 12:18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
Luke 20:27 Then came to [him] certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him,
Acts 4:1 And as they spake unto the people, the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them,
Acts 5:17 Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation,
Acts 23:6-8 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men [and] brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. ... For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.


Matthew 19:3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
Matthew 22:18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, [ye] hypocrites?
Matthew 22:35 Then one of them, [which was] a lawyer, asked [him a question], tempting him, and saying,
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to him, and asked him, Is it lawful for a man to put away [his] wife? tempting him.
Mark 12:15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see [it].
Luke 10:25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?
Luke 11:16 And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven.
Luke 11:53-54 And as he said these things unto them, the scribes and the Pharisees began to urge [him] vehemently, and to provoke him to speak of many things: ... Laying wait for him, and seeking to catch something out of his mouth, that they might accuse him.
Luke 20:23 But he perceived their craftiness, and said unto them, Why tempt ye me?
John 8:6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not].

a sign:

Matthew 12:38-39 Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. ... But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
Mark 8:11-13 And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. ... And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.
Luke 11:16 And others, tempting [him], sought of him a sign from heaven.
Luke 11:29-30 And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. ... For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.
Luke 12:54-56 And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. ... [Ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?
John 6:30-31 They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? ... Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
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Mt 3:7; 5:20; 9:11; 12:14, 38; 15:1; 16:6, 11; 19:3; 22:15, 18, 23, 34, 35; 23:2; 27:62. Mk 8:11; 10:2; 12:15, 18. Lk 10:25; 11:16, 29, 53; 12:54; 20:23, 27. Jn 6:30; 8:6. Ac 4:1; 5:17; 23:6. 1Co 1:22.

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