And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
They sought to lay held on him,.... That is, the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, after they had heard the parables he spake to them, were greatly irritated, and provoked, and had a good will to have seized him, and carried him away, and have had him before their court, and condemn him:
but feared the people; lest they should rise up in his defence, and fall on them; for many of them liked; and were attached to his ministry; and others had received favours of one kind or another from him through his miracles:
for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and that they were the husbandmen designed, who had not brought the fruit of the vineyard to their lord, but had ill treated his servants, and would his son.
and they left him; in the temple, not daring to do any thing to him:
and went their way; to their council chamber, perhaps to consult what measures to take, and how to destroy him.