PARABLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST AND ENCOUNTERS WITH OPPONENTS.
Matthew 22:1. , the plural does not imply more than one parable, but merely indicates the style of address = parabolically.
Matthew 22:1-14. The royal wedding.—This parable is peculiar to Mt., and while in some respects very suitable to the situation, may not unreasonably be suspected to owe its place here to the evangelist’s habit of grouping kindred matter. The second part of the parable referring to the man without a wedding robe has no connection with the present situation, or with the Pharisees who are supposed to be addressed. Another question has been much discussed, viz., whether this parable was spoken by Jesus at all on any occasion, the idea of many critics being that it is a parable of Christ’s reconstructed by the evangelist or some other person, so as to make it cover the sin and fate of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, and the Divine demand tor righteousness in all recipients of His grace. The resemblance between this parable and that of the Supper, in Luke 14:16-24, is obvious. Assuming that Jesus uttered a parable of this type, the question arises: which of the two forms given by Mt. and Lk. comes nearer to the original? The general verdict is in favour of Luke’s. As to the question of the authenticity of Mt.’s parable, the mere fact that the two parables have a common theme and many features similar is no proof that both could not proceed from Jesus. Why should not the later parable be the same theme handled by the same Artist with variations so as to make it serve a different while connected purpose, the earlier being a parable of Grace, the later a parable of Judgment upon grace despised or abused? If the didactic aim of the two parables was as just indicated, the method of variation was preferable to the use of two parables totally unconnected. “What is common gives emphasis to what is peculiar, and bids us mark what it is that is judged” (The Parabolic Teaching of Christ, p. 463). The main objections to the authenticity of the parable are its allegorical character, and its too distinct anticipation of history. The former objection rests on the assumption that Jesus uttered no parables of the allegorical type. On this, vide remarks on the parable of the Sower, chap. 13.
Matthew 22:2. , a wedding feast; plural, because the festivities asted for days, seven in Judges 14:17. The suggestion that the feast is connected with the handing over of the kingdom to the son (“quem pater successorem declarare volebat,” Kuinoel) is not to be despised. The marriage and recognition of the son as heir to the throne might be combined, which would give to the occasion a political significance, and make appearance at the marriage a test of loyalty. Eastern monarchs had often many sons by different wives, and heirship to the throne did not go by primogeniture, but by the pleasure of the sovereign, determined in many cases by affection for a favourite wife, as in the case of Solomon (Koetsveld, de Gelijk.)
Matthew 22:3. , to invite the already invited. This second invitation seems to accord with Eastern custom (Esther 6:14). The first invitation was given to the people of Israel by the prophets in the Messianic pictures of a good time coming. This aspect of the prophetic ministry was welcomed. Israel never responded to the prophetic demand for righteousness, as shown in the parable of the vine-dressers, but they were pleased to hear of God’s gracious visitation in the latter days, to be invited to a feast in the indefinite future time. How they would act when the feast was due remained to be seen.— , the servants, are John the Baptist and Jesus Himself, whose joint message to their generation was: the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, feast time at length arrived.— . Israel in all her generations had been willing in a general way, quite intending to come; and the generation of John and Jesus were also willing in a general way, if it had only been the right son who was going to be married. How could they be expected to accept the obscure Nazarene for Bridegroom and Heir?
Matthew 22:4. refers to the apostles whose ministry gave to the same generation a second chance.— : the second set of messengers are instructed what to say; they are expected not merely to invite to but to commend the feast, to provoke desire.— , to arrest attention.— , the midday meal, as distinct from , which came later in the day (videLuke 14:12, where both are named = early dinner and supper). With the the festivities begin.— , perfect, I have in readiness.— , , bulls, or oxen, and fed beasts: speak to a feast on a vast scale.— , slain, and therefore must be eaten without delay. The word is often used in connection with the slaying of sacrificial victims, and the idea of sacrifice may be in view here (Koetsveld).— , etc.: all things ready, come to the feast. This message put into the mouths of the second set of servants happily describes the ministry of the apostles compared with that of our Lord, as more urgent or aggressive, and proclaiming a more developed gospel. “They talked as it were of oxen and fed beasts and the other accompaniments of a feast, with an eloquence less dignified, but more fitted to impress the million with a sense of the riches of Divine grace” (The Parabolic Teaching of Christ).
Matthew 22:5-7. . The Vulgate resolves the participle and translates: “neglexerunt et abierunt,” so also the A.V and R.V; justly, for the participle points out the state of mind which gave rise to the conduct specified. They treated the pressing invitations and glowing descriptions of the servants with indifference.— , : this one to his own ( for = proprius for suus) field, that one to his trading ( here only in N. T. Cf. Lk. at this point).
 Authorised Version.
 Revised Version.
Matthew 22:6. , the rest, as if were only a part, the greater part, of the invited, while the expression by itself naturally covers the whole. Weiss finds in a trace of patching: the parable originally referred to the people of Israel as a whole, but Mt. introduced a reference to the Sanhedrists and here has them specially in view as the . Koetsveld remarks on the improbability of the story at this point: men at a distance—rulers of provinces—could not be invited in the morning with the expectation of their being present at the palace by mid-day. So far this makes for the hypothesis of remodelling by a second hand. But even in Christ’s acknowledged parables improbabilities are sometimes introduced to meet the requirements of the case; e.g., in Lk.’s version of the parable all refuse.— ’ . : acts of open rebellion inevitably leading to war. This feature, according to Weiss, lies outside the picture. Not so, if the marriage feast was to be the occasion for recognising the son as heir. Then refusal to come meant withholding homage, rebellion in the bud, and acts of violence were but the next step.
Matthew 22:7. : the plural appears surprising, but the meaning seems to be, not separate armies sent one after another, but forces.— , : the allegory here evidently refers to the destruction of Jerusalem; no argument against authenticity, if Matthew 24:2 be a word of Jesus. Note that the destruction of Jerusalem is represented as taking place before the calling of those without = the Gentiles. This is not according to the historic fact. This makes for authenticity, as a later allegorist would have been likely to observe the historical order (vide Schanz).
Matthew 22:8-10. : after the second set of servants, as many as survived, had returned and reported their ill-success.— , he says to them.— , ready, and more.
Matthew 22:9. is variously interpreted: at the crossing-places of the country roads (Fritzsche, De Wette, Meyer, Goebel); or at the places in the city whence the great roads leading into the country start (Kypke, Loesner, Kuinoel, Trench, Weiss). “According as we emphasisc one or other prep. in the compound word, either: the places whence the roads run out, or Oriental roads passing into the city through gates” (Holtz, H. C.). The second view is the more likely were it only because, the time pressing, the place where new guests are to be found must be near at hand. In the open spaces of the city, strangers from the country as well as the lower population of the town could be met with; the foreign element = Gentiles, mainly in view.
Matthew 22:10. : not in the mood to make distinctions. connects . and . together as one company = all they found, of all sorts, bad or good, the market-place swept clean.— , was filled; satisfactory after the trouble in getting guests at all.— , the marriage dining-hall; in Matthew 9:15 the brideshamber.
Matthew 22:11. : we are not to suppose that the king came in to look out for offenders, but rather to show his countenance to his guests and make them welcome.— , etc.: while he was going round among the guests smiling welcome and speaking here and there a gracious word, his eye lighted on a man without a wedding robe. Only one? More might have been expected in such a company, but one suffices to illustrate the principle.— .: we have here an example of occasional departure from the rule that participles in the N. T. take as the negative in all relations.
Matthew 22:11-14. The man without a wedding garment.—Though this feature has no connection with the polemic against the Sanhedrists, it does not follow, as even Weiss (Matthäus-Evang.) admits, that it was not an authentic part of a parable spoken by Jesus. It would form a suitable pendant to any parable of grace, as showing that, while the door of the kingdom is open to all, personal holiness cannot be dispensed with.
Matthew 22:12. , as in Matthew 20:13.— : the question might mean, By what way did you come in? the logic of the question being, had you entered by the door you would have received a wedding robe like the rest, therefore you must have come over a wall or through a window, or somehow slipped in unobserved (Koetsveld). This assumes that the guests were supplied with robes by the king’s servants, which in the circumstances is intrinsically probable. All had to come in a hurry as they were, and some would have no suitable raiment, even had there been time to put it on. What the custom was is not very clear. The parable leaves this point in the background, and simply indicates that a suitable robe was necessary, however obtained. The king’s question probably means, how dared you come hither without, etc.?— : this time, not , as in Matthew 22:11, implying blame. Euthymius includes the question as to how the man got in among the matters not to be inquired into, (freedom) .— , he was dumb, not so much from a sense of guilt as from confusion in presence of the great king finding fault, and from fear of punishment.
Matthew 22:13. , the servants waiting on the guests, cf.Luke 22:27, John 2:5.— , : disproportionate fuss, we are apt to think, about the rude act of an unmannerly clown. Enough surely simply to turn him out, instead of binding him hand and foot as a criminal preparatory to some fearful doom. But matters of etiquette are seriously viewed at courts, especially in the East, and the king’s temper is already ruffled by previous insults, which make him jealous for his honour. And the anger of the king serves the didactic aim of the parable, which is to enforce the lesson: sin not because grace abounds. After all the doom of the offender is simply to be turned out of the festive chamber into the darkness of night outside.— , etc.: stock-phrase descriptive of the misery of one cast out into the darkness, possibly no part of the parable. On this expression Furrer remarks: “How weird and frightful, for the wanderer who has lost his way, the night, when clouds cover the heavens, and through the deep darkness the howling and teeth grinding of hungry wolves strike the ear of the lonely one! Truly no figure could more impressively describe the anguish of the God-forsaken” (Wanderungen, p. 181).
Matthew 22:14. : if, as might suggest, the concluding aphorism referred exclusively to the fate of the unrobed guest, we should be obliged to conclude that the story did not supply a good illustration of its truth, only one out of many guests called being rejected. But the gnome really expresses the didactic drift of the whole parable. From first to last many were called, but comparatively few took part in the feast, either from lack of will to be there or from coming thither irreverently.
Matthew 22:15. , then, with reference to Matthew 21:46, when the Sanhedrists were at a loss how to get Jesus into their power.— may refer either to process: consulting together; or to result: formed a plan.— , either how (quomodo, Beza, wie, 11. C.), which, however, would more naturally take the future indicative (Fritzsche), or, better, in order that.— , they might ensnare, an Alexandrine word, not in classics, here and in Sept (videEcclesiastes 9:12).— , by a word, either the question they were to ask ( , Euthy.), or the answer they hoped He would give (Meyer). For the idea, cf.Isaiah 29:21.
Matthew 22:15-22. The tribute question (Mark 12:13-17, Luke 20:20-26).—In this astute scheme the Sanhedrists, according to Mk., were the prime movers, using other parties as their agents. Here the Pharisees act on their own motion.
Matthew 22:16. , as in Mark 12:13; there intelligible, here one wonders why the sent of Mk. should be senders of others instead of acting themselves. The explanation may be that the leading plotters felt themselves to be discredited with Jesus by their notorious attitude, and, therefore, used others more likely to succeed. More than fault-finding is now intended—even to draw Jesus into a compromising utterance.— ., disciples, apparently meant to be emphasised; i.e., scholars, not masters; young men, presumably not incapable of appreciating Jesus, in whose case a friendly feeling towards Him was not incredible, as in the case of older members of the party.— . , with Herodians, named here only in Mat., associated with Sadducees in Mark 8:15; why so called is a matter of conjecture, and the guesses are many: soldiers of Herod (Jerome); courtiers of Herod (Fritzsche, following Syr. ver.); Jews belonging to the northern tetrarchies governed by members of the Herod family (Lutteroth); favourers of the Roman dominion (Orig., De W., etc.); sympathisers with the desire for a national kingdom so far gratified or stimulated by the rule of the Herod family. The last the most probable, and adopted by many: Wetstein, Meyer, Weiss, Keil, Schanz, etc. The best clue to the spirit of the party is their association with the Pharisees here. It presumably means sympathy with the Pharisees in the matter at issue; i.e., nationalism versus willing submission to a foreign yoke; only not religious or theocratic, as in case of Pharisees, but secular, as suited men of Sadducaic proclivities. The object aimed at implies such sympathy. To succeed the snare must be hidden. Had the two parties been on opposite sides Jesus would have been put on His guard. The name of this party probably originated in a kind of hero worship for Herod the Great. Vide on Matthew 16:1.— , etc., the snare set with much astuteness, and well baited with flattery, the bait coming first.— , teacher, an appropriate address from scholars in search of knowledge, or desiring the solution of a knotty question.— , we know, everybody knows. Even Pharisees understood so far the character of Jesus, as here appears; for their disciples say what they have been instructed to say. Therefore their infamous theory of a league with Beelzebub (Matthew 12:24) was a sin against light; i.e., against the Holy Ghost. Pharisaic scholars might even feel a sentimental, half-sincere admiration for the character described, nature not yet dead in them as in their teachers. The points in the character specified are—(1) sincerity— ; (2) fidelity, as a religious teacher— . . . ; (3) fearlessness— , etc.; (4) no respecter of persons— , etc. = will speak the truth to all and about all impartially. The compliment, besides being treacherous, was insulting, implying that Jesus was a reckless simpleton who would give Himself away, and a vain man who could be flattered. But, in reality, they sinned in ignorance. Such men could not understand the character of Jesus thoroughly: e.g., His humility, His wisdom, and His superiority to partisan points of view.
Matthew 22:17. , etc.: the snare, a question as to the lawfulness in a religious point of view ( —fas est, Grotius) of paying tribute to Caesar. The question implies a possible antagonism between such payment and duty to God as theocratic Head of the nation. VideDeuteronomy 17:15.— : yes or no? they expect or desire a negative answer, and they demand a plain one—responsum rotundum, Bengel; for an obvious reason indicated by Lk. (Luke 20:20). They demanded more than they were ready to give, whatever their secret leanings; no fear of them playing a heroic part.
Matthew 22:18. , , wickedness, hypocrites; the former the evangelist’s word, the latter Christ’s, both thoroughly deserved. It was a wicked plot against His life veiled under apparently sincere compliments of young inquirers, and men of the world who posed as admirers of straightforwardness.
Matthew 22:18-22. Christ’s reply and its effect.
Matthew 22:19. (Latin numisma, here only in N. T.) , the current coin of the tribute, i.e., in which the tribute was paid, a roundabout name for a denarius (Mark).— , a Roman coin, silver, in which metal tribute was paid (Pliny, N. H., 33, 3, 15; Marquardt, Röm. Alt., 3, 2, 147).
Matthew 22:20. : the coin produced bore an image; perhaps not necessarily, though Roman, as the Roman rulers were very considerate of Jewish prejudices in this as in other matters (Holtzmann, H. C.), but at passover time there would be plenty of coins bearing Caesar’s image and inscription to be had even in the pockets of would-be zealots.
Matthew 22:21. , the ordinary word for paying dues (Meyer), yet there is point in Chrysostom’s remark: , · , (H. lxx.). The image and inscription showed that giving (Matthew 22:17) tribute to Caesar was only giving back to him his own. This was an unanswerable argumentum ad hominem as addressed to men who had no scruple about using Caesar’s coin for ordinary purposes, but of course it did not settle the question. The previous question might be raised, Had Caesar a right to coin money for Palestine, i.e., to rule over it? The coin showed that he was ruler de facto, but not necessarily de jure, unless on the doctrine that might is right. The really important point in Christ’s answer is, not what is said but what is implied, viz., that national independence is not an ultimate good, nor the patriotism that fights for it an ultimate virtue. This doctrine Jesus held in common with the prophets. He virtually asserted it by distinguishing between the things of Caesar and the things of God. To have treated these as one, the latter category absorbing the former, would have been to say: The kingdom of God means the kingdom restored to Israel. By treating them as distinct Jesus said in effect: The kingdom of God is not of this world, it is possible to be a true citizen of the kingdom and yet quietly submit to the civil rule of a foreign potentate. This is the permanent didactic significance of the shrewd reply, safe and true (tutum et verum, Bengel), by which Jesus outwitted His crafty foes.
Matthew 22:22. , wondered; the reply a genuine surprise, they had not thought it possible that He could slip out of their hands so completely and so easily.
Matthew 22:23. , approached, but with different intent, aiming at amusement rather than deadly mischief. Jesus was of no party, and the butt of all the parties.— , with , introduces the creed of the Sadducees; without it, what they said to Jesus. They came and said: We do not believe in the resurrection, and we will prove to you its absurdity. This is probably Mt.’s meaning. He would not think it necessary to explain the tenets of the Sadducees to Jewish readers.
Matthew 22:23-33. The Sadducaic puzzle (Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-38).
Matthew 22:24. , what is put into the mouth of all is a free combination of Deuteronomy 25:5-6, with Genesis 38:8. In the latter text the Sept has for the Heb. = to perform the part of a levir (Latin for brother-in-law) by marrying a deceased brother’s widow having no children. An ancient custom not confined to Israel, but practised by Arabians and other peoples (vide Ewald, Alterthümer, p. 278; Benzinger, H. A, p. 345).
Matthew 22:25. : this phrase “with us,” in Matthew only, seems to turn an imaginary case into a fact (Holtz., H. C.). A fact it could hardly be. As Chrys. humorously remarks, after the second the brothers would shun the woman as a thing of evil omen ( , H. lxx.).
Matthew 22:26. till the seven, i.e., till the number was exhausted by death. “Usque eo dum illi septem extincti essent” (Fritzsche).
Matthew 22:28. , introducing the puzzling question based on the case stated.— either subject = whose will the woman be? or better, the article being wanting, predicate = whose wife will she be? Cf. Luke, where is used twice.— . ., all had her, and therefore (such is the implied thought) all had equal rights. Very clever puzzle, but not insuperably difficult even for Talmudists cherishing materialistic ideas of the resurrection life, who gave the first husband the prior claim (Schöttgen).
Matthew 22:29. , ye err, passionless unprovocative statement, as if speaking indulgently to ignorant men.— , etc.: doubly ignorant; of the Scriptures and of God’s power, the latter form of ignorance being dealt with first.
Matthew 22:29-33. Christ’s answer.—One at first wonders that He deigned to answer such triflers; but He was willing meekly to instruct even the perverse, and He never forgot that there might be receptive earnest people within hearing. The Sadducees drew from Him one of His great words.
Matthew 22:30. . might be rendered, with Fritzsche, in the resurrection life or state, though in strictness the phrase should be taken as in Matthew 22:28.— , as angels, so far as marriage is concerned, not necessarily implying sexlessness as the Fathers supposed.— refers to the resurrected dead (Weiss), not to angels (Meyer) = they live an angelic life in heaven; by the transforming power of God.
Matthew 22:31. hus far of the mode, now of the fact of resurrection.— , have ye not read? Many times, but not with Christ’s eyes. We find what we bring.— , that said to you; to Moses first, but a word in season for the Sadducaic state of mind.
Matthew 22:32. , etc., quoted from Exodus 3:6. The stress does not lie on , to which there is nothing corresponding in the Hebrew, bat on the relation implied in the title: God of Abraham. Note in this connection the repetition of the Divine name before each of the patriarchal names, and here the article before each time (not so in Sept). The idea is that the Eternal could not stand in such intimate connection with the merely temporal. The argument holds a fortiori in reference to Christ’s name for God, Father, which compels belief in human immortality, and in the immortality of all, for God is Father of all men, whereas the text quoted might avail in proof only of the immortality of the great ones, the heroes of the race.— , with the article is subject, and the idea: God does not belong to the dead; without, it would be predicate = He is not a God of the dead. On second vide critical notes.
Matthew 22:34. , hearing; not without pleasure, if also with annoyance, at the uniform success of Jesus.— : silenced, muzzled, from , a muzzle (Matthew 22:12, used in literal sense in Deuteronomy 25:4).
Matthew 22:34-40. The great commandment (Mark 12:28-34).—In a still more marked degree than in the case of the man in quest of eternal life, Mk.’s account presents the subject of this incident in a more favourable light than that of Mt. The difference must be allowed to stand. Mk.’s version is welcome as showing a good side even in the scribe or Pharisee world.
Matthew 22:35. one of the men who met together to consult, after witnessing the discomfiture of the scribes, acting in concert with them, and hoping to do better.— : here only in Mt., several times in Lk. for the scribe class = a man well up in the law.
Matthew 22:36. : what sort of a commandment? it is a question not about an individual commandment, but about the qualities that determine greatness in the legal region. This was a question of the schools. The distinction between little and great was recognised (vide chap. Matthew 5:19), and the grounds of the distinction debated (vide Schöttgen, ad loc., who goes into the matter at length). Jesus had already made a contribution to the discussion by setting the ethical above the ritual (Matthew 15:1-20, cf.Matthew 19:18-22).
Matthew 22:37. , etc. Jesus replies by citing Deuteronomy 6:5, which inculcates supreme, devoted love to God, and pronouncing this the great ( ) and greatest, first ( ) commandment. The clauses referring to heart, soul, and mind are to be taken cumulatively, as meaning love to the uttermost degree; with “all that is within” us ( , Psalms 103:1). This commandment is cited not merely as an individual precept, but as indicating the spirit that gives value to all obedience.
Matthew 22:39. : a second commandment is added from Leviticus 19:18, enjoining loving a neighbour as ourselves. According to T. R., this second is declared like to the first ( ). The laconic reading of  ( . ) amounts to the same thing = the second is also a great, first commandment, being, though formally subordinate to the first, really the first in another form: love to God and love to man one. Euthy. Zig. suggests that Jesus added the second commandment in tacit rebuke of their lack of love to Himself.
 Codex Vaticanus (sæc. iv.), published in photographic facsimile in 1889 under the care of the Abbate Cozza-Luzi.
Matthew 22:40. . . Jesus winds up by declaring that on these two hangs, is suspended, the whole law, also the prophets = the moral drift of the whole O. T. is love; no law or performance of law of any value save as love is the soul of it. So Jesus soars away far above the petty disputes of the schools about the relative worth of isolated precepts; teaching the organic unity of duty.
Matthew 22:41-46. Counter question of Jesus (Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44).—Not meant merely to puzzle or silence foes, or even to hint a mysterious doctrine as to the Speaker’s person, but to make Pharisees and scribes, and Sanhedrists generally, revise their whole ideas of the Messiah and the Messianic kingdom, which had led them to reject Him.
Matthew 22:42. ; what think you? first generally of the Christ ( . .); second more particularly as to His descent ( ).— , David’s, the answer expected. Messiah must be David’s son: that was the great idea of the scribes, carrying along with it hopes of royal dignity and a restored kingdom.
Matthew 22:43. , etc.: the question is meant to bring out another side of Messiah’s relation to David, based on an admittedly Messianic oracle (Psalms 110:1), and overlooked by the scribes. The object of the question is not, as some have supposed, to deny in toto the sonship, but to hint doubt as to the importance attached to it. Think out the idea of Lordship and see where it will lead you, said Jesus in effect. The scribes began at the wrong end: at the physical and material, and it landed them in secularity. If they had begun with Lordship it would have led them into the spiritual sphere, and made them ready to accept as Christ one greater than David in the spiritual order, though totally lacking the conventional grandeur of royal persons, only an unpretending Son of Man.
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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Matthew 22". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Easter