All Commentaries on Matthew 23:32 Go To Matthew 23
Cornelius a Lapide
Fill ye up then; Arab. ye fill up, &c. That Isaiah , by killing Me and the Apostles, as your fathers killed the Prophets. These words of Christ are not a command, but a prediction. It is as though He said, "I do not command, but I permit and foretell that you, 0 ye Scribes, by killing Me, will fill up the measure of your fathers, who slew the Prophets; and when this measure has been filled up, God will, at one and the same time, avenge both your own and your fathers" crimes, by the extreme destruction which He will bring upon Jerusalem by Titus and Vespasian."
From this and the35th and36th verses Theologians teach that God has decreed to kingdoms and states and individuals a certain measure of sins, before He fully and perfectly punishes them. But by and by, when they have been completed, then He punishes all at the same time most fully. Thus Christ looked for the killing of Himself and His Apostles before Jerusalem was overthrown. Song of Solomon , also, God said to Abraham ( Genesis 15:16), "The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full." Auctor Imperfecti says, God does not immediately punish a nation or a city when they sin, but waits for many generations, and sometimes threatens, and sometimes chastises in part, that the longer He waits the more just may be His judgment. But when God does determine to destroy that city or nation, He seems to avenge upon them the sins of all the preceding generations; as though that generation alone suffered what all the previous ones deserved. Thus God commanded Saul to blot out the posterity of Amalek on account of the wickedness of their parents, and their perpetual hostility to Israel ( 1 Samuel 15:16). The reason Isaiah , because children and descendants are counted as one with their parents; hence the merits or demerits of the parents are imputed to the children, when, indeed, children imitate the wickedness and manners of their parents. Then, indeed, when the measure of sins predetermined by God is filled up, they suffer for their own and their fathers" sins.
Observe, however, that children are not punished more grievously than their own sins deserve, but because they imitate their parents" sins, and fill up the measure of iniquity. Hence it comes to pass that the anger of God burns against them when it would not have so fiercely burned unless they had filled up that measure. And in this sense and for this reason children are said to have visited upon them the sins of their parents, because God, in punishing, looks to the offences of both, according to Deuteronomy 5:9, "A jealous God, rendering the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me."