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Matthew 21:41-44

Context
21:41 They said to him, “He will utterly destroy those evil men! Then he will lease the vineyard to other tenants who will give him his portion at the harvest.”

21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the scriptures:

The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. 1 

This is from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? 2 

21:43 For this reason I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a people 3  who will produce its fruit. 21:44 The one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces, and the one on whom it falls will be crushed.” 4 

1 tn Or “capstone,” “keystone.” Although these meanings are lexically possible, the imagery in Eph 2:20-22 and 1 Cor 3:11 indicates that the term κεφαλὴ γωνίας (kefalh gwnia") refers to a cornerstone, not a capstone.

sn The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. The use of Ps 118:22-23 and the “stone imagery” as a reference to Christ and his suffering and exaltation is common in the NT (see also Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17; Acts 4:11; 1 Pet 2:6-8; cf. also Eph 2:20). The irony in the use of Ps 118:22-23 here is that in the OT, Israel was the one rejected (or perhaps her king) by the Gentiles, but in the NT it is Jesus who is rejected by Israel.

2 sn A quotation from Ps 118:22-23.

3 tn Or “to a nation” (so KJV, NASB, NLT).

4 tc A few witnesses, especially of the Western text (D 33 it sys Or Eussyr), do not contain 21:44. However, the verse is found in א B C L W Z (Θ) 0102 Ë1,13 Ï lat syc,p,h co and should be included as authentic.

tn Grk “on whomever it falls, it will crush him.”

sn This proverb basically means that the stone crushes, without regard to whether it falls on someone or someone falls on it. On the stone as a messianic image, see Isa 28:16 and Dan 2:44-45.



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