Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Verse 16 (Matthew 22:16)

The Herodians - For an account of this sect, see the note on Matthew 16:1 . The preceding parable had covered the Pharisees with confusion: when it was ended they went out, not to humble themselves before God, and deprecate the judgments with which they were threatened; but to plot afresh the destruction of their teacher. The depth of their malice appears,

  1. In their mode of attack. They had often questioned our Lord on matters concerning religion; and his answers only served to increase his reputation, and their confusion. They now shift their ground, and question him concerning state affairs, and the question is such as must be answered; and yet the answer, to all human appearance, can be none other than what may be construed into a crime against the people, or against the Roman government.
  • Their profound malice appears farther in the choice of their companions in this business, viz. the Herodians. Herod was at this very time at Jerusalem, whither he had come to hold the passover. Jesus, being of Nazareth, which was in Herod's jurisdiction, was considered as his subject. Herod himself was extremely attached to the Roman emperor, and made a public profession of it: all these considerations engaged the Pharisees to unite the Herodians, who, as the Syriac intimates, were the domestics of Herod, in this infernal plot.
  • Their profound malice appears, farther, in the praises they gave our Lord. Teacher, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God. This was indeed the real character of our blessed Lord; and now they bear testimony to the truth, merely with the design to make it subserve their bloody purposes. Those whose hearts are influenced by the spirit of the wicked one never do good, but when they hope to accomplish evil by it. Men who praise you to your face are ever to be suspected. The Italians have a very expressive proverb on this subject: -
  • Che ti fa carezze piu che non suole, O t' ha ingannato, o ingannar ti vuole

    He who caresses thee more than he was wont to do, has either Deceived thee, or is About To Do It.

      I have never known the sentiment in this proverb to fail; and it was notoriously exemplified in the present instance. Flatterers, though they speak the truth, ever carry about with them a base or malicious soul.

    - Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible