Verse 53. "Began to urge him vehemently" - deinwv enecein, They began to be furious. They found themselves completely unmasked in the presence of a vast concourse of people. See chap. xii. 1, (for we can not suppose that all this conversation passed while Christ was at meat in the Pharisee's house, as Matthew, Matt. xxiii. 25, shows that these words were spoken on another occasion.) They therefore questioned him on a variety of points, and hoped, by the multitude and impertinence of their questions, to puzzle or irritate him, so as to induce him to speak rashly, (for this is the import of the word apostomatizein,) that they might find some subject of accusation against him. See Wetstein and Kypke.
A MINISTER of the Gospel of God should, above all men, be continent of his tongue; his enemies, in certain cases, will crowd question upon question, in order so to puzzle and confound him that he may speak unadvisedly with his lips, and thus prejudice the truth he was labouring to promote and defend. The following is a good prayer, which all who are called to defend or proclaim the truths of the Gospel may confidently offer to their God. "Let thy wisdom and light, O Lord, disperse their artifice and my darkness! Cast the bright beams of thy light upon those who have to defend themselves against subtle and deceitful men! Raise and animate their hearts, that they may not be wanting to the cause of truth. Guide their tongue, that they may not be deficient in prudence, nor expose thy truth by any indiscretions or unseasonable transports of zeal. Let meekness, gentleness, and longsuffering influence and direct their hearts; and may they ever feel the full weight of that truth: The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God!" The following advice of one of the ancients is good: sthqi edaiov wv akmwn tuptomenov, kalou gar aqlhtou deresqai kai nikan. "Stand thou firm as a beaten anvil: for it is the part of a good soldier to be flayed alive, and yet conquer."