Matthew 21:1-11

Matthew 21:1-11
Lent A19, Palm/Passion Sunday


When they had come near JerusalemA and had reached Bethphage,B at the Mount of Olives, JesusC sentD two disciples,E 

Notes on verse 1

A “Jerusalem” = hierosoluma. From Hebrew yerushalaim (probably foundation of peace); {from yarah (to throw, shoot, be stunned; to flow as water so figuratively to instruct or teach) + shalem (to make amends, to be complete or sound)}. This is Jerusalem, dwelling of peace.
B “Bethphage” = bethpage. 3x in NT. From Aramaic beth phagy (Bethphage, house of unripe figs). This is Bethphage, house of unripe or early figs.
C “Jesus” = iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be) + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone)}. This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
D “sent” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
E “disciples” = mathetes. From matheteuo (to make a disciple of); from mathnao (to learn key facts, gain knowledge from experience; generally implies reflection as part of the learning process); from math– (thinking things through). This is a disciple, learner, or student. It is where we get “mathematics” from.

saying to them, “GoF into the villageG ahead of you, and immediately you will findH a donkey tied,I and a colt with her; untieJ them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, just say this, ‘The LordK needs them.’ And he will send them immediately.” 

Notes on verses 2-3

F “go” = poreuomai. From poros (ford, passageway). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
G “village” = kome. This is a village as contrasted with a city that has a wall.
H “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.
I “tied” = deo. To tie, bind, compel, put in chains. This is to bind in a literal or figurative sense. Can also mean declaring something unlawful.
J “untie” = luo. This is to loose, release, or untie. Figuratively, it can mean to break, destroy, or annul. This is  releasing what had been withheld
K “Lord” = kurios. From kuros (authority, supremacy). This is a respectful address meaning master or sir. It refers to one who has control or power greater than one’s own. So, it was also applied to God and Jesus as Master or Lord.

This took place to fulfillL what had been spoken through the prophet,M saying,

“Tell the daughter of Zion,N
Look,O your king is coming to you,
    humble,P and mounted on a donkey,
        and on a colt, the foalQ of a donkey.”R

Notes on verses 4-5

L “fulfill” = pleroo. From pleres (to be full, complete, abounding in, occupied with). This is to fill, make full or complete. Properly, this is filling something up to the maximum extent that it can be filled – an appropriate amount for its individual capacity. So, this is used figuratively for furnish, influence, satisfy, finish, preach, perfect, and fulfill.
M “prophet” = prophetes. From pro (before, in front of, earlier than) + phemi (to declare, say, use contrasts in speaking to shed light on one point of view). Phemi is from phao (to shine) or phaino (to bring light, cause to appear, shine, become visible or clear). This is a prophet or poet. One who speaks with inspiration from God
N “Zion” = sion. 7x in NT. From Hebrew tsiyyon (Zion – a mountain in Jerusalem as well as another name for Jerusalem itself or the people); related to tsyiyyun (signpost, monument); from tsavah (to charge someone, to command, order); from the same as tsiyyah (dryness drought); from a root meaning parched as desert, dry land. This is Zion – the mountain in Jerusalem, the city, or its people. Also used figuratively to refer to the church.
O “look” = idou. From eido (to be away, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
P “humble” = praus. 4x in NT – same as “blessed are the meek” from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:5). Related to praios (meek, gentle, kind); related to praotes (mildness kindness, meekness; being temperate – gentle, but strong; implies humility). This is gentle, meek, which implies humility.
Q “foal” = huios. Son biologically or through adoption. This is literal or figurative – can also mean descendant, child, foal.
R “donkey” = hupozugion. 2x in NT. From hupo (by, under, about, one who is subordinate) + zugos (yoke, balance, scales; used metaphorically for a great burden or for that which unites people to perform work in concert; also can connote servitude or obligation); {from zeunumi (to join, particularly joined with a yoke)}. Literally, this is an animal subject to a yoke or best of burden. So, this can refer to a donkey, mule, or other such animal.

6 The disciples went and did as Jesus had directed them; they brought the donkey and the colt, and put their cloaksS on them, and he sat on them. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road,T and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 

Notes on verses 6-8

S “cloaks” = himation. From heima (garment) OR from ennumi (to put on). This is the outer garment, cloak, robe, or mantle. It is worn loosely over a tunic.
T “road” = hodos. This is road or path. By implication, it refers to a journey or progress made.

9 The crowds that went ahead of him and that followedU were shouting,V

“HosannaW to the Son of David!X
    Blessed isY the one who comes in the nameZ of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Notes on verse 9

U “followed” = akoloutheo. From a (with, fellowship, union) + keleutos (road, way). This is to accompany or follow someone, especially the way a disciple does.
V “shouting” = krazo. This is to cry out, scream, shriek. It is onomatopoeia for the sound of a raven’s call. Figuratively, this means crying out urgently without intelligible words to express something that is deeply felt.
W “hosanna” = hosanna. Related to “Jesus” in v1. 6x in NT. From Hebrew yasha (see note C above) + na (particle used for requests or for urging; can be we pray, now, I ask you, oh). This is Hosanna – save, we pray. It started as a call for help, but later became a cry of happiness (anticipating the help coming). It can be save now, please save, or oh, save.
X “David” = dauid. From Hebrew David (David); from the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”
Y “blessed is” = eulogeo. From eu (good, well, well done, rightly) + logos (word, statement, speech, analogy; a word that carries an idea or expresses a thought, a saying; a person with a message or reasoning laid out in words; by implication, a topic, line of reasoning, or a motive; can be used for a divine utterance or as Word – Christ); {from lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. Properly, this is speaking well of – speaking so that the other is benefited. It can mean praise, bless, thank, or call for a blessing. This is where “eulogy” comes from.
Z “name” = onoma. May be from ginosko (know, recognize, learn from firsthand experience). This is a name, authority, cause, character, fame, reputation. The name was thought to include something of the essence of the person so it was not thought to be separate from the person.

10 When he entered Jerusalem, the whole cityAA was in turmoil,BB asking, “Who is this?” 

11 The crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus from NazarethCC in Galilee.”DD

Notes on verses 10-11

AA “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.
BB “was in turmoil” = seio. 5x in NT. This is shake, move, or quake. Properly, it is shaking back and forth. Figuratively, ti can mean to agitate or to cause people to have tremors of fear or worry.
CC “Nazareth” = Nazareth. 12x in NT. Perhaps from netser (branch) OR from natsar (to watch, guard, protect). This is Nazareth, meaning perhaps branch or protected. It is a city in Galilee. See
DD “Galilee” = galilaia. From Hebrew galil (cylinder, circuit, district); from galal (to roll in a literal or figurative sense, roll away, roll down, wallow, remove, trust). This is Galilee, meaning perhaps region or cylinder.

Image Credit: “Entry of Christ into Jerusalem” by Wilhelm Morgner, 1912.

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