Luke 20:20
(20-26) And they watched him.--See Notes on Matthew 22:15-22 and Mark 12:13-17.

And sent forth spies.--The noun is, again, one of St. Luke's characteristic words not used by any other New Testament writer. It expresses rather the act of those who lie in ambush, than that of "spies" in the strict sense of the words. St. Luke is, on the one hand, less definite as to the parties to the conspiracy than the other Gospels, and on the other hand more explicit as to its aim. They wanted materials for an accusation before Pilate, as well as for one before the Sanhedrin. On the omission of the name of the Herodians, see Note on Luke 6:11.

Power and authority.--We have again the characteristic combination of the two substantives. (See Note on Luke 12:11.)

Verses 20-26 - The question of the tribute money. Verse 20. - And they watched him, and sent forth spies, which should feign themselves just men, that they might take held of his words, that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor. In their intense hatred, conscious that the populace were on the whole in sympathy with Jesus, the Sanhedrim, to carry out their design on his life, determined to avail themselves of the hated Roman military police. Their hope henceforward is to substantiate a charge of treason against him. This was, in those troublous times, when insurrection against the detested Gentile rule was ever being plotted, a comparatively easy matter. The incident of the tribute money, which immediately follows, was part of this new departure in the Sanhedrin policy respecting the murder they so longed to see carried out.

20:20-26 Those who are most crafty in their designs against Christ and his gospel, cannot hide them. He did not give a direct answer, but reproved them for offering to impose upon him; and they could not fasten upon any thing wherewith to stir up either the governor or the people against him. The wisdom which is from above, will direct all who teach the way of God truly, to avoid the snares laid for them by wicked men; and will teach our duty to God, to our rulers, and to all men, so clearly, that opposers will have no evil to say of us.And they watched him,.... What he said, and what he did, and where he went, that they might take an advantage against him, or know where he was, to send to him, as they should think fit, and take the best opportunity of so doing. The Syriac and Persic versions leave out this clause:

and sent forth spies which should feign themselves just men: of virtue and religion, conscientious men, that would do nothing but what was just and right, and were desirous of being exactly informed of the truth of things, that they might act right in every punctilio:

that might take hold of his words; improve them, and form a charge upon them, of sedition and treason:

that so they might deliver him unto the power and authority of the governor; the Roman governor, and by him be put to death. These men were some of them the disciples of the Pharisees, and others were Herodians; see Matthew 22:16.

Luke 20:19
Top of Page
Top of Page