And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
And they send unto him,.... That is, the chief priests, Scribes, and elders, who had been with Jesus in the temple, and were silenced by his reasonings, and provoked by his parables; and therefore left him, and went together to consult what methods they should take to get him into their hands, and be revenged on him; the result of which was, they send to him
certain of the Pharisees. The Syriac and Persic versions read "Scribes", who were the more skillful and learned part of that body of men, and scrupled paying tribute to Caesar, he being an Heathen prince, and they the Lord's free people:
and of the Herodians; who were, as the Syriac and Persic versions read, "of the household of Herod"; his servants and courtiers, and consequently in the interest of Caesar, under whom Herod held his government, and must be for paying tribute to him: these two parties of such different sentiments, they sent to him,
to catch him in his words; or "in word", or discourse; either with their word, the question they should put to him, or with his word, the answer he should return: and so the Ethiopic version supplies it, reading it, "with his own word"; they thought they should unavoidably catch him, one way or other; just as a prey is hunted, and taken in a net or snare, as the word used signifies: for if he declared against giving tribute to Caesar, the Herodians would have whereof to accuse him, and the Pharisees would be witnesses against him; and if he should be for it, the latter would expose him among the people, as an enemy to their civil liberties, and one that was for subjecting them to the Roman yoke, and consequently could not be the Messiah and deliverer they expected; See Gill on "Matthew 22:16".