New Testament

Matthew 23:34-39 – Commentary

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This Generation will Bear All the Righteous Blood

34 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, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36 Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

Lament over Jerusalem

37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 39 For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’” (ESV)


Although the subject headings, like the chapter and verse divisions in Bibles, are not part of the original text, they do provide a summary of what is being cover. In this case, the text overlaps two ESV section headings: Matthew 23:1-36 – “Seven Woes to the Scribes and Pharisees” and Matthew 23:37-39 – “Lament over Jerusalem.” The Concordia Commentary has sectioned off Matthew 23:34-36 and I am using its title: “This Generation will Bear All the Righteous Blood.”

Earlier in chapter 10 (13-33) Jesus taught the Twelve about the mission he was preparing them for. They would proclaim that (10:7), ‘The kingdom/reign of heaven is at hand.’ It would not be an easy mission (10:16): “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves and at times, they would be persecuted and have to flee (10:23). This would not only be the mission of the Twelve, but of generations to follow them.