Marriage Of The King's Son
This is found in Matt. only, but the first part resembles a parable given by Luke as spoken some time earlier. (Luke 14:16-24) Some critics at once assume that only one parable was given. But any man who ever went to and fro as a preacher will know that to repeat an illustration to a new audience with some modification is perfectly natural (compare at beginning of Matthew 5). So later in this same day, Matthew 25:14 ff. will repeat Luke 19:11 ff. There are examples in the Talmud of a like repetition and reworking of an illustration by different Rabbis, and why not this be done by the same Rabbi? It has been held that a parable cannot have been spoken at this point, between the rise of the feelings described in Matthew 21:45 f. and the consultation of Matthew 22:15. But why not? It required only a few minutes. And Matthew 21:46 is a general statement, covering much that followed.â€”The supposed Rabbinical parallels to this parable (WÃ¼nsche, Edersheim) are in fact so little like it as not to be worth stating. To derive illustration from a feast would be a matter of course.
Matthew 22:1. Answered, not to anything that had been said, so far as we know, but responded to the feelings and wishes (Matthew 21:45 f.) which he knew were entertained. And spake again by parables. Only one is given; there may have been others, or this may have been regarded as comprising two (Matthew 22:2-10, Matthew 22:11-13), or the plural may be (Goebel) only that of category, meaning that he spoke parabolically. This parable is not expressly applied, like the two foregoing, because the application is now sufficiently obvious, especially since Matthew 21:43. Bruce: "The parable of the vine-dressers exposes Israel's neglect of covenanted duty; this, her contempt of God's grace. The two are mutually complementary, and present together a full view of Israel's sin." For the term parable, and the general principles of interpretation, see on "Matthew 13:3".
Matthew 22:2 f. The kingdom of heaven, see on "Matthew 3:2". Is like unto, see on "Matthew 13:24". Unto a certain king, Note the leading differences between the present parable and that of Luke 14:16 ff. There it was simply 'a certain man, here it is a king; there merely a 'great supper', here a marriage feast for the king's son. There he sent once to summon the invited, here twice. There they made excuse; here they make light of it, and some shamefully treat and kill the king's messengers, and the king destroys them and their city. Then in both parables other guests are invited wherever they can be picked up. It thus appears that this later parable brings out much more clearly the wickedness of the Jews in not simply rejecting God's general invitations of love, but dishonouring his Son, and killing his servants; and that difference exactly suits the change of circumstances. Very naturally the parable in Luke is oftenest used in our pulpits, as it does not so distinctively relate to the conduct of the Jews. But this also, especially with the addition of Luke 14:11-13, is full of solemn instruction for all times. Made a marriage feast, Some render this simply 'a feast,' because 'marriage,' is used by the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew for 'feast' in Esther 1:5, compare Matthew 9:22; and it may be added that Pesh. here translates back into the same word feast that is there employed in the Hebrew But as there is no other known example of such a use of gamos, it is better to understand it here in the literal and common sense, especially since 'for his son' means the Messiah, (compare Matthew 21:37) and the Messiah is elsewhere also represented as a bridegroom, (Matthew 25:1, Matthew 9:15; John 3:29; Revelation 21:2, Revelation 21:9; Ephesians 5:25-32) just as in the prophets Israel is often the spouse of Jehovah. The Greek word is here in the plural, (gamous), and so in Matthew 9:8 and Matthew 9:4, (and Luke 12:36) while it is singular in Matthew 9:8, Matthew 9:11 f. The plural of a word denoting a festival was often used to indicate its several parts or stages (Buttm. p. 28); compare our word nuptials. Wyclif here imitates the Greek plural, 'made weddings.' In modern English we could say, 'made a wedding,' but the singular is wanted for the Greek singular in Matthew 9:8, and so 'made s marriage feast' is our best translation. His servants, literally slaves (doulos), see on "Matthew 8:6"and compare Matthew 14:2, Matthew 18:23, Matthew 21:34. To call them that were bidden, literally,' to call the called.' The guests were invited in advance and then, being close together in a crowded Eastern city, and not generally supplied with convenient time-pieces, they were notified when the feast was ready. Compare Luke 14:17, Esther 5:8, Esther 6:14.
Matthew 22:4. Again he sent forth other servants. The king kindly renews the summons, and remonstrates, urging that he has prepared a grand entertainment, and they really ought to come. So in the foregoing parable (Matthew 21:36) the householder sent others and more in number. I have prepared, or, made ready, the same Greek root as 'ready' just below. My dinner, ariston, found also in Luke 11:33, while deipnon, 'supper,' is found in Matthew 23:6 and often elsewhere in New Testament, and both occur together in Luke 14:12. The seems to have been usually taken about the middle of the forenoon, sometimes earlier or later; the deipnon at the close of the day, often after dark. Josephus ("Ant.," 5, 4, 2) supposes that Eglon's guards (Judges 3:24) were negligent about midday, "both because of the heat and because their attention was turned to dinner (ariston)" (ariston). This would indicate that in Josephus' own time the ariston was sometimes taken as late as noon; on the other hand in Johm Luke 21:12, Luke 21:15 it is taken shortly after dawn. Vambery (in Morison) says of the Turks at the present time, "There are only two meals during the day, the smaller one between ten and eleven o'clock in the morning, and the second and larger one after sunset." Grimm, Plump., and others seem to be wrong in supposing that the Jews of our Lord's time took a separate and slight meal on rising, as the later Greeks did, and some among the later Romans. There is no evidence that the Jews had more than the two meals. (See Smith's "Dict.," Art. "Meals.") In the time of Elizabeth and King James, the principal meal in England was taken some time before noon, and called 'dinner,' and the slighter meal taken at the close of the day was called 'supper.' Accordingly in the early English versions aristonis rendered 'dinner,' and deipnon 'supper,' which conforms to the time of day, but quite misrepresents the real importance of the two meals. In modern city life the words breakfast and dinner, the former occurring at 9 to 12 o'clock, the latter at evening, would correspond quite closely toariston and deipnon in the New Testament, but it is too late to make a general change (see Rev. Ver. of John 21:12, John 21:15). The marriage feast mentioned in this parable is an ariston, curiously resembling the English "wedding-breakfast," while the feast of Luke 14:16 is a deipnon, as entertainments usually were. But here the feast is either protracted, or more likely delayed, until after night. (Matthew 22:13.) As new guests had to be summoned and must have time to assume festive apparel, it might well be night before the festival was actually in progress, and the king entered. Or the ariston, on may have been intended as a preliminary banquet, while the marriage would occur at night. (Matthew 25:6) In 1 Corinthians 11:20, "the Lord's deipnon" seems to give the idea of a banquet to which the Lord invites. My oxen and my fatlings, beeves and fatted calves, as in 2 Samuel 6:13, 1 Kings 1:9, where Adonijah made a royal feast. Come is the same strong and urgent word as in Matthew 11:28.
Matthew 22:5-7. They made light of it, a great insult to a king, whose invitation was the highest honour, and who was celebrating an occasion of peculiar interest. These showed contempt by going off to their every-day employments, and those that remained showed even murderous hatred, a spirit of rebellion against the king and his son. (Psalms 2:2, Psalms 2:12) One to his farm. His own farm, is the exact meaning of the Greek;(1) he was caring exclusively for his Own affairs. Another to his merchandise, his mercantile business. The remnant, rather, the rest, which is not only simpler but a more exact translation. Took, or, seized, a stronger term than in Matthew 21:35, Matthew 21:39. Entreated them spitefully. Shamefully (so Cranmer) is better than 'spitefully'; we might say simply 'insulted them.' But the king was Wroth, a strong word. When.... heard thereof, is a spurious addition to the text. Sent forth his armies. Our word 'armies' low always suggests a large number of soldiers, which is not true of the Greek word; Plump. Proposes 'troops.' Destroyed those murderers. They were also rebels. Goebel: "The hitherto peaceful image of an invitation to a marriage feast is now changed into the warlike image of a military raid with fire and sword against murderous rebels." And burned up their city, which may be thought of as among the suburbs of the capital where the wedding feast occurred. There is no necessity for supposing that this order was carried out before the king sent forth to invite other guests. (Matthew 22:8.) An autocratic sovereign had but to give the order, and could then turn his attention to other things.
Matthew 22:8-10. Into the highways.(1) Lit. the partings of the highways, colloq., 'the forks of the roads,' where the roads leading out from the city separated each into two or more roads. There the country people coming in from different directions could all be seen and invited. Matthew 22:10 has the simple term highways, which is enough without repeating the precise direction. It is surely over-refinement to say (Bishop Lightfoot on Revision), "In this change of expression we seem to see a reference to the imperfect work of the human agents as contrasted with the urgent and uncompromising terms of the command"; but certainly the two phrases ought to be kept distinct in the translation, which was not done by Tyndale and followers, and imperfectly done by Wyc. and Rheims. In Luke 14:21 ff. the messengers were sent first into the streets and lanes of the city, and afterwards into the roads outside; here only the latter are mentioned. Meyer oddly concludes that the capital was the city burned, and none but country people could now be invited; but 'their city' (Matthew 22:7), seems clearly to distinguish it from the city in which the king lived. As many as they found, both bad and good. They do not stop to discriminate as to social position or even moral character. This alludes to the fact that some very wicked persons would become Christians. The bad are mentioned first, so as to emphasize the king's grace. And the wedding, or, according to the more probable Greek text, the bridal-hall(2) was furnished, filled, the literal and exact meaning, with guests, with persons reclining, viz., at table. See on "Matthew 8:11".
The meaning of the parable up to this point is plain. The benefits and delights of the Messianic reign are represented under the image of a marriage feast in honour of God's Son. The Jewish people had long before been invited to enjoy the feast. God had sent his servants the prophets from time to time (we may include John the Baptist), to call them to the wedding. But many had been utterly indifferent, caring only for their worldly pursuits; and some had insulted and slain his messengers. These murderers God will most severely punish. Then his servants will go forth and bring in, no longer the chosen people originally indicated, but Gentiles, including some very wicked persons, and these will form the honoured guests. If the destroyed city of Matthew 8:7 be supposed to point specially to the destruction of Jerusalem, then we may understand that the new messengers of Matthew 8:8 are the apostles, sent forth to the Gentiles. They began before Jerusalem was destroyed, But not before its destruction had been foretold as inevitable and near at hand. (Matthew 23:38, Matthew 24:15 ff.) The very Greek phrase 'not worthy' of Matthew 8:8 is applied by Paul to the Jews in Acts 13:46, and rendered 'unworthy.' Thus neglect and outrage on the part of the Jewish nation will not prevent the Messiah from having a people, (John 6:37) nor mankind from enjoying the Messianic benefits, the feast of salvation. This parable, therefore, repeats the idea of the foregoing that the Jews will be severely punished for slighting and slaying God's messengers, but brings out more fully the thought that others will enjoy the benefits they have lost. (Compare Matthew 21:41 with, Matthew 21:7-10) Jesus here still looks sadly at the past and present, but also looks hopefully to the future.
Matthew 22:11-13 present a new feature of the parable, having nothing like it in Luke 14:16-24. Luke 14:10 makes the transition from the main parable to this further lesson, as is shown (Goebel) by the phrase 'those servants,' whereas 'the servants' would have been natural in a mere conclusion of the foregoing narrative. The king's directions were carried out, and the bridal hall filled with persons reclining at the banquet; but they were not all suffered to enjoy the feast. When the king came in to see the guests, rather behold, not simply 'to see,' But to look at them as a pleasing spectacle. (Matthew 6:1, Matthew 11:7) This is not the forenoon meal originally intended or begun with, for it is now night. (Matthew 22:13.) A man. He represents a principle (Bruce), and therefore a class; compare the one slothful servant in Matthew 25:24. Had not on a wedding garment, a dress suitable for attending a wedding. We do not know of any specific wedding dress, as distinguished from that appropriate to other festive occasions; But the guests must come properly arrayed. Oriental monarchs now frequently present some elegant article of apparel to a visitor; and hence it has been widely supposed by commentators that in this case the king had furnished suitable apparel, and this man had refused or neglected to put it on. But the evidence furnished for such a custom (e. g., by Trench) is not adequate; and if the supposition be here made, it must be grounded on the necessity of the case. There is, however, no intimation that the man was poor. This is not a charitable feast to the poor, (Luke 14:13) but a grand entertainment in honour of the king's son. A forenoon banquet was originally proposed and it is now night, so that there has been ample time for preparation. We may then suppose either that the man ought not to have come in at all if unable to dress himself properly, or that he might have sought help from the king under the peculiar circumstances if he had felt a proper anxiety to be attired worthily of the occasion. At any rate, his presence without proper dress was tacitly admitted by himself to be quite inexcusable, and was regarded by the king as a flagrant insult, deserving the severest punishment. No light is gained by supposing a reference to Zephaniah 1:6 f., where the imagery is quite differently used. Friend, see on "Matthew 20:13". And he was speechless. This shows that he felt himself to be entirely without excuse; he fully knew what was proper, and it was not beyond his reach. Our pulpit interpretation had better hold fast to this fact and not distract attention by discussing the question whether wedding garments were furnished. Said to the servants, the attendants (diakonois, see on "Matthew 8:6"), including others besides his slaves (Matthew 22:3, Matthew 22:6); Rheims 'waiters.' Bind him hand and foot, and cast him. The inserted words take him away and, are wanting in the best manuscripts and nearly all early versions, and though really useless the phrase is not objectionable, so that it is clearly an addition of the copyists. The binding would prevent his return to the bridal hall, and would leave him in the darkness. Into (the) outer darkness (see on "Matthew 8:12"), which would be oppressively dark by the contrast of the brilliantly lighted palace.
What now is the application? Those who repent and propose to be subjects of the Messianic reign must become righteous in character and life or they cannot enjoy its benefits. (Matthew 5:20, Hebrews 12:14) It is not enough for a man to place himself in outward relation to the kingdom; he must also develop the corresponding character and conduct. There have always been persons who desired the temporal and eternal advantages which Christianity offers, without caring to be and to do what it requires. Those who accept God's bounty in the gospel, the salvation that is not by works but according to his mercy, must "be careful to maintain good works"; (Titus 3:4-8) otherwise they insult God, and disgrace the feast of salvation, and will not be allowed to share itâ€”yea, will be severely punished. The lesson here taught is thus seen to be of the greatest importance. But to bring in the Pauline conception of imputed righteousness, and understand the parable to teach that we must "put on the wedding-garment of Christ's righteousness," is altogether out of place, and turns attention away from the real lesson.
To leave no doubt as to what is meant by 'the outer darkness,' our Lord adds, there shall be the weeping and gnashing of teeth (see on "Matthew 8:12"), the well known signs of wretchedness in Gehenna, the place of eternal punishment. (Matthew 13:42, Matthew 25:30, Matthew 25:46, compare on Matthew 5:22) This clause cannot be taken as spoken by the king, and is easily understood as an addition made by our Lord, like that which immediately follows.
Matthew 22:14. For many are called, but few are chosen. This is a general fact added as accounting for the particular fact described in the parable (notice 'for'). Many are called to share the Messianic benefits, but few are selected actually to attain them: a large portion of the called utterly refusing to accept, and some even of those who profess acceptance not developing the corresponding character and life. This selection of the actually saved may be looked at from two sides. From the divine side, we see that the Scriptures teach an eternal election of men to eternal life, simply out of God's good pleasure. From the human side, we see that those persons attain the blessings of salvation through Christ who accept the gospel invitation and obey the gospel commandments. It is doubtful whether our minds can combine both sides in a single view, but we must not for that reason deny either of them to be true. This sentence is unwarrantably borrowed by many documents (and the common text) as an addition to Matthew 20:16.
Homiletical And Practical
Matthew 22:5."They made light of it." (1) Many men acknowledge no obligation to honour the Son of God. (2) They take no pleasure in contemplating his character and showing him respect. (3) They are engrossed with their own worldly possessions and pursuits, and care for nothing that he offers. (4) They thus deprive themselves of the highest benefit, and offer him the grossest insult.
Matthew 22:7. Henry: "Christ will have a kingdom in the world, though many reject the grace and resist the power of that kingdom."
Matthew 22:8. God's forbearance and wrath. (1) He is not repelled by refusal, but kindly urges the invitation, Matthew 22:4. (2) He chastises those who insult him and outrage his messengers, Matthew 22:7. (3) He condescends to call many whom the world would have thought unfit for such an honour, Matthew 22:8-10. (4) He punishes those who pretend to accept his invitation, but dishonour him by utter inconsistency, Matthew 22:11-13.
Matthew 22:12. Chrys.: "Reverence the love of him who called you, and let no one continue to have filthy garments, but let each of you busy himself about the clothing of your soul "
Matthew 22:14. The called and the chosen. (1) The many are called in good faith, and it is their own fault if they do not have part in the feast. (2) There are various reasons why so large a number of the called fail. (a) Some turn away in contemptuous neglect, through worldly engrossment, Matthew 22:5. (b) Some hate him who calls and outrage even those who bring the call, Matthew 22:6. (c) Some profess to accept it, but take no pains to have the corresponding character and conduct, Matthew 22:11 f. (3) The few who are chosen give proof of it by accepting the call and behaving accordingly. (4) These enjoy the feast of salvation, gladly honour the Son of God, and humbly ascribe all to sovereign grace. Jerome: "He sums up all these Parables in a brief sentence, to the effect that in working the vineyard, and in building the house, and in the marriage feast, not the beginning but the end is the great matter."
Question And Answer In The Temple
This is found also in Mark 12:13-37, Luke 20:20-44.
It was customary for any one who desired it to ask questions of a Rabbi in public, even interrupting him at pleasure. The Talmud gives many examples, and sometimes the Rabbi replied with further interrogation. So with the Athenian philosophers, especially Socrates, who reduced questioning to a science. The leading priests and Scribes felt themselves pointedly assailed by Jesus in the three parables just given, especially in Matthew 21:28-32, Matthew 21:43-45. It was determined upon consultation to attack the Nazarene with hard questions before the multitude, hoping to extract from him some answer that would offend popular prejudice or provoke the Roman authorities, and at any rate hoping to show that he was not greatly superior to other Rabbis. Accordingly, three questions were successively proposed by representative persons, the first by Pharisees and Herodiana united, the second by Sadducees, the third by a Lawyer. To all these Jesus made prompt and wonderfully wise replies, and then finished by asking them a question of the deepest importance, which they were unable to answer. These four instances of question and answer hang closely together in the narrative, being all given in the same order by Matthew and Mark, and all except the third given also by Luke. They occurred in the temple court, probably on Tuesday, three days before the crucifixion.
I. Matthew 22:15-22. The Pharisees And Herodians Ask About Tribute To Cesar
Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26. Then does not necessarily (see on "Matthew 3:13"), but does naturally indicate that this was on the same occasion as the foregoing (compare on Matthew 14:1); Hark and Luke have simply 'and.' Went, from where Jesus was teaching, to some other part of the temple courts. The Pharisees, see on "Matthew 3:7". Entangle. This literally means, to catch in a snare or trap. Their disciples, see on "Matthew 5:1"; the leading Rabbis send some of their astute pupils, while they themselves stand aloof to watch the result, and so are not committed to any subsequent co-operation with the Herod party. With the Herodians. When Archelaus (see on "Matthew 2:20") was in AD. 6 deposed from the ethnarchate of Judea and Samaria, and those districts were placed under a Roman governor (see at end of Matthew 2), the Jews were much divided in sentiment. Secularists preferred the new arrangement, as giving security to business and property; and with these the Sadducees generally sympathized. Many Pharisees bitterly opposed it on the ground that Jehovah's people ought not to be subject to heathen rulers. Some persons insisted that another prince of the house of Herod ought to be appointed over Judea and Samaria, even as Herod Antipas was still permitted to rule over Galilee and Perea; and it was doubtless hoped that some prince of the family would one day regain all the dominions of Herod the Great, as was at length done for a few years by Herod Agrippa. (Acts 12:1) These persons gradually came to be known as Herodians, i. e., partisans of Herod, compare Pompeians, Cesarians, Christians, (Acts 11:26) the Latin terminationâ€”anus being used to denote a follower of a political leader. This political party probably had the sympathy of the less rigorous Pharisees, as offering the only available alternative to direct heathen rule; while the great body of the Pharisees hated them, since the Herod princes were, after all, only appointees and underlings of the Romans. (Compare Smith's "Dict.") As Roman governors continued to rule over Judea and Samaria, the Herod party would gradually diminish, and accordingly it is mentioned only here, (with Mark 12:13) and in, Mark 3:6; not at all in Josephus, the Talmud, or elsewhereâ€”whence it follows that the above or any other theory of their origin must be partly conjectural. When Herod Agrippa became king of all Palestine in AD. 41, the lingering supporters of his family in Judea must have greatly rejoiced, but all men by that time saw that no political position was longer possible except submission or hostility to the Romans, and so it is natural that we should hear no more of a Herod party. When the Pharisees united Herodians with themselves in the effort to ensnare Jesus, it was obviously through the cohesive power of a common jealousy towards one popularly regarded as the Messiah; for if recognized as such, they were sure he would overthrow the Herod family everywhere, and depose the present Jewish officials. On the earlier occasion in Galilee, nearly two years before this, according to most harmonists, (Mark 3:6) the Herodians could be relied on to excite Herod Antipas against Jesus; here, they represent Roman sympathies, since on the Romans all Herodian hopes now really depended. Luke (Luke 20:20, R.V.) does not mention Pharisees or Herodians, but says that the Scribes and the chief priests sent 'spies,' or in modern phrase detectives, 'which should feign themselves to be just'â€”which agrees with their attempt at flattery in Matt.â€”and wished to find an excuse for delivering him to 'the governor,' i. e., Pilateâ€”a design here represented by the Herodians. Master, or Teacher (didaskalos), see on "Matthew 8:19". We know, without emphasis on 'we.' They said it in a far different spirit from Nicodemus; (John 3:2) what they said was really true, but they meant it only as flattery. By this flattery they would embolden the teacher to speak out against the Roman rule, for they well knew in advance that only through the Romans could they compass his death. The way of God, the way in which God would have men walk; this would include the question whether the people of God ought to do so and so. Thou regardest not the person of men. This is one of several Greek phrases representing a peculiar Hebrew idiom, which probably signified originally (Morison) to lift up the face of a prostrate suppliant, and so to show him favour, and hence came to signify regard for a person in the good sense, or in the bad sense regarding the person rather than the justice of the cause; in Hebrew and Greek the term 'face' was derivatively used for person. The flatterers meant that Jesus would follow principle and truth without fear or favour. (Compare Galatians 2:6, Romans 2:11)
Matthew 22:17. Is it lawful, or permissible, allowable (see on "Matthew 14:3"); there is no direct reference to law, whether Jewish or Roman. Or not; they wish him to say yes or no, as when lawyers try to corner a witness. Tribute. The Latin word census is borrowed in the Greek of Matt. and Mark, while Luke has the general term 'tribute.' Census In Latin signifies a registration of persons and property (as we borrow it in English), and hence a tax on either. But here it signifies simply a poll-tax (compare on Matthew 17:25), Peshitta Syriac 'head-money.' Of course the principle was the same, whether the question concerned poll-tax or tribute in general; the former touched the poorest, and was, as it is among us, a matter of greater popular interest and complaint. Cesar is the general term for the Roman imperator or emperor, applied to Augustus in Luke 2:1, Tiberius in Luke 3:1; Claudius in Acts 17:7; Nero in Acts 25:8 ff.; Philippians 4:22. The family name of the great Julius thus became a title, and in modern times (Kaiser, Czar) is more honourable than even king. Paying the head-tax to Roman authorities was the most immediate and humiliating recognition of subjection to the heathen. Judas of Galilee (Joshua "Ant.," 18, 1, 1 and 6) headed a fierce insurrection against the first Roman governor (AD. 6) for making a census with a view to taxation, saying that God was "their only Ruler and Lord," and that the census "was leading them right straight into slavery." He perished, and Gamaliel tells us that his followers "were scattered abroad." (Acts 5:37 Rev. Ver.) But the sentiment represented by that movement still burned in many bosoms. Josephus says that Judas the Galilean was "the founder of a fourth philosophy," whose followers agreed in all other things with the Pharisees, but were fanatics for liberty, and that this led to the insurrection (in AD. 66) which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem. At that later period they were called Zealots, and it is supposed that Simon the Zealot (Matthew 10:4) had belonged to the party, and also perhaps Barabbas. (Matthew 27:17) We may therefore be sure that among the easily excited crowds who filled the temple courts when Jesus was asked this question, there were many who regarded paying the poll-tax as the very badge of slavery to the heathen, and as treason against Jehovah, the theocratic king of Israel.
Matthew 22:18-22. Jesus perceived their wickedness, or as we should say, their villainy. With smooth, flattering words they came, asking a question which they thought would prove a hopeless dilemma. He was desired to say either yes or no. If he said yes, the Pharisees would loudly proclaim, through all the temple courts and every day, that the Nazarene said it was proper to pay tribute to Caesar, which showed that all notion of his being the King Messiah must be ridiculous and that in fact he was neither patriotic nor pious. If he said no, the Herodians would go straight to Pilate. The Romans cared nothing for questions pertaining to the religion of a subject nation (compare Acts 25:18-20), and interfered very little with local affairs, provided always the people kept the peace and paid the taxes. So confident were the Jewish rulers that this plea would be effectual before Pilate that three days later with flagrant falsehood they told him, "We found this man forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that he himself is Christ, a king ". (Luke 23:2 Rev. Ver.) Why tempt ye me, testing him with hard questions, in hope of drawing him to say something injurious to himself. (Compare on Matthew 16:1 and Matthew 19:3) Ye hypocrites (see on "Matthew 6:2" and see on "Matthew 15:7"); they were pretending great admiration for him as a teacher, and pretending faithful allegiance to Cesar, (John 19:15) and pretending a lofty patriotism and piety. Jesus showed them by this term (Bengel) that he was indeed 'true,' and ready to speak out. Shew me the tribute money, the coin used in paying the poll-tax. It was natural that the Roman coin should be commonly used in Paying it, as there was no exact equivalent in other coins. Hebrew shekels, etc., from the days of the Maccabaean kings, and various Greek coins, (Matthew 17:24, Matthew 17:27 Rev. Ver. Margin) were also in use. The Herod family and the procurators were allowed to coin only copper money (Lutter.); any new silver coins were of necessity Roman. The emperors, down to Vespasian, as a concession to Jewish feeling, had coins made for that province without the head of the emperor (Keim), which would have been offensive as a "graven image."But Roman coins from other provinces would of course come into Judea, especially at the festivals, and one of, these happened (as we say) to be handed to Jesus. A penny, properly 'a denarius,' a Roman coin, equal to about seventeen cents of our money. (Compare on Matthew 18:28.) This was the price of a day's labour in the parable, (Matthew 20:2) and the daily wages of a Roman soldier (out of which he paid for his food), and seems also to have been the poll-tax at this time. Image and superscription, or 'inscription.' The former translation might suggest something written above the image, whereas the Greek word means only something Written (or graven) on the coin. (Morison.) Many such coins are still extant, bearing the head of some emperor, with words giving his name and the value of the coin. Lightfoot quotes from the Talmud that "if a king's coin is current in a country, the men of the country do thereby evidence that they acknowledge him for their Lord"; and there are various other testimonies to the same effect. Wunsche tries to show the existence of an expectation that the Messiah would declare the Roman coins uncurrent, which expectation would be an interesting illustration of this passage if its existence were better established.
Our Lord's reply is one of those great sayings of his which cut into the heart of things, (compare Matthew 15:11, Mark 2:27) clearing up difficulties that had long perplexed many honest and devout Jews, and occasioned vain wrangling without end. Under the theocracy, religious duties and civil duties were both duties to the same Divine Ruler, and men had little occasion to distinguish between them. There was, indeed, as Geikie reminds us, a somewhat similar confusion of religion and civil government among heathen peoples, as for example the Roman emperor was always chief priest. Now, however, that the Jewish civil government was administered by heathen rulers, the distinction between civil and religious duties was of great importance, but the people in general did not perceive that distinction. Jesus holds up the coin, which belongs to Cesar, which they use as furnished by him, and thus vividly shows that there are duties to the civil ruler which are distinct from duties to God, and do not necessarily conflict with them. In another sense, every duty to other men or to ourselves is at the same time a duty to God, but that is not here the point. Paul afterwards expressed the Saviour's teaching on the subject in definite precept, when writing to Christians at the capital of the empire; (Romans 13:1, Romans 13:5) compare, 1 Peter 2:13-17. This was another ease of our Lord's giving an object-lesson, like the child, (Matthew 18:2) the fig-tree, (Matthew 21:19) the feet-washing. Render as in, Matthew 16:27, Matthew 21:41, literally give back, translated 'pay' in Matthew 5:26, Matthew 18:25, Matthew 18:28, Matthew 20:8. The idea here seems to be, "You got this from Cesar, pay it back to him." Chrys.: "For this is not to give (Matthew 22:17,), but to give back. "The things which are Cesar's, not merely the tax, but all that citizens owe the civil government, one matter here suggesting all. The things that are God's, not simply the temple revenues, but all ceremonial and moral duties. The notion that, like the coin, our souls are stamped with the image of God, and must therefore be yielded to his service (Tert., Origen, and many), is a mere fancy. They marvelled. With all their hostility they could not help seeing that he had not only escaped from the dilemma, (compare Luke 20:26) but had wonderfully cleared up an important question. Yet when there was time to reflect, they could not fail to perceive that Jesus had distinctly declined the role of a political and revolutionary Messiah, and this would gradually alienate from him the popular heart. (Compare Weiss, "Life.")
II. Matthew 22:23-33. The Sadducees Ask As To The Resurrection
Mark 12:18-27, Luke 20:27-40. This is a second hard question from a new source. Luke 20:25-28. The same day seems clearly to show the close connection with what precedes; Mark and Luke again have simply 'and.' The Sadducees (see on "Matthew 3:7"). Omit 'the.' It was not 'the Sadducees' as a class, But some persons belonging to that party. Which say. The participle without the article here probably means indefinitely (Jelf, 451, Obs. 2) 'persons who say' (as Mark, and as Origen paraphrases Matt.), while with the article it would be 'those persons who say,'(1) as Luke. That there is no resurrection, not only doubting but denying. This particular negative tenet of theirs (Acts 23:8) is named to explain what follows. It must have been well known that Jesus taught the resurrection of the dead. (John 5:29, Luke 13:28) Master, teacher, as in Matthew 22:16. These priestly aristocrats probably felt contemptuous; but they were gentlemen, and must be civil; one seems to detect a tone of polished scoffing in their attack. Moses said, in Deuteronomy 25:5 f. The quotation is condensed But without important alteration. Mark and Luke have 'his brother shall take his wife,' etc., as in Septuagint. Matt., writing especially for Jewish readers, takes pains to translate more exactly the Hebrew, as Sept. does in Genesis 38:8. The Hebrew has a peculiar verb representing this peculiar law, yebamah, yibbemah, 'her husband's brother shall husband's brother her,' shall act the part or perform the duty of a husband's brother to her. (See margin of Rev. Ver. in Matt.) From the late Latin levir, 'brother-in-law,' this precept of Deuteronomy is commonly called the levirate law. A like usage exists now in Arabia, the Caucasus, and elsewhere (Smith's "Dict." Art. "Marriage "). It was an old custom, (Genesis 38:8) which Moses did not abolish, but regulated and restricted, as he did with divorce (see on "Matthew 5:32") and blood revenge. No actual case is recorded in Old Testament, but the custom is alluded to in Ruth 1:11-13, and a related practice in Ruth 4:1 ff. In our Lord's time the law was but little observed, as there was then less concern about, maintaining families and family estates. The right of the husband's brother to decline (Deuteronomy 25:7 ff.) is declared in the Mishna (Edersheim) to take precedence of the obligation to perform, and there was a growing disposition to limit the practice. The case described here by the Sadducees need not be supposed to have actually occurred. As in a parable, they tell the story for illustration. Seven is natural in such a story as a round number. One imagines they had often nonplussed the Pharisees with the question, in the resurrection whose wife shall she be? The Pharisees generally held that the resurrection life would be a mere reproduction of this life, with all its relations and conditions restored and made permanent. The Cabalistic book Sohar, written late, but with much early material, says, "The woman who has married two in this world is in the world to come restored to the former." Maimonides (twelfth century) taught that children would be produced in the world to come. Some Rabbis in the Talmud declare (Wet., Wun.) that in the world to come there would be no eating and drinking, no trading, no marriage and production of children. But it is evident that the other opinion generally prevailed.
Matthew 22:29 f. Ye do err. He speaks with kindness and decision. Not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. Bengel: "The resurrection of the dead rests on the power of God; and our faith in a resurrection rests on the Scriptures." These Sadducees were accustomed to deny that the Scriptures so taught, and doubtless also maintained, as skeptics in all subsequent times have done, that a resurrection of the body is impossible. But 'the power of God' can accomplish it, and that not by merely restoring the conditions of this life, but by exalting to a different and higher type of existence. For introduces the explanation of the difficulty. In the resurrection, in the state of things represented thereby, in the risen life. They neither marry, etc., viz., in the sense of earthly marriage, which under its physical aspects, is necessarily an exclusive relation, so that a woman cannot here be the wife of several men at the same time. There is nothing in this statement to forbid the persuasion, elsewhere countenanced in Scripture, that the relations of earthly life will be remembered in the future state, the persons recognized, and special affections cherished with delight; and we can imagine that exalted and spiritualized conjugal affections may then and there exist towards more persons than one. The idea is hard to accept now, only because we do not realize how great changes of feeling will accompany existence in the glorified body (1 Corinthians 15:44, Philippians 3:21) In heaven, the love of two that were successive husbands may be as little mutually exclusive as the love of two children or two sisters, and yet be intense, peculiar, and delightful. This is another of those sayings by which our Lord at one stroke cut into the heart of some difficulty, and laid it open. Compare on Matthew 22:21. But are as the angels in heaven,(1) viz., in being exalted above merely physical conditions and relations. Luke's expression, 'are equal unto the angels,' amounts to the same thing. There is nothing at all here to imply that the saints become angels (compare on Matthew 18:10). Our Lord at the same time teaches that the Sadducees are wrong in denying the existence of angels.
Matthew 22:31-33, Having explained how they err through not knowing 'the power of God,' he now shows their ignorance of the Scriptures on this subject. (Matthew 22:2,.) Have ye not read, compare on Matthew 21:42, Matthew 12:3. Spoken unto you by God. God spoke thus to Moses, (Exodus 3:6) and presently (Matthew 3:15) bade him speak likewise to the children of Israel. Matthew and Mark quote from Matthew 12:6, Luke from Matthew 12:15. Luke says, 'even Moses signified.' It was inferred from this by Tert., Origen, Chrys., Jerome, and has been often repeated, that the Sadducees recognized none of the sacred books as authoritative except the Pentateuch But there is no proof of more than that they valued the Pent. more highly than the other books, which was true in some degree of all the Jews. Luke's expression is sufficiently accounted for by the fact that apparent proofs of the resurrection were familiar in the prophets. Jesus means to say, not only have the prophets shown it, but even Moses. The God, Matthew 12:32, is in italics in Rev. Ver..; it is naturally understood to complete the sense. The Sadducees denied a resurrection of the body and any existence of spirits, (Acts 23:8) which position would exclude a separate immortality of the soul, and so there is no occasion to doubt the statement of Josephus ("War," 2, 8, 14) that "they do away with the continued existence of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades." Indeed the idea of separate immortality of the soul was little present to the mind of the Palestinian Jews, and the question lay simply between a resurrection of the body, and no future existence; so also in 1 Corinthians 15. If the passage of Exodus be taken in the superficial sense, an objector might fairly deny that it proves a resurrection of the dead. It might mean simply, "I am he who was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob during their life, and this is a pledge that I will be the God of their descendants." We cannot insist on the present tense 'am,' as many have followed Chrys. in doing; for the verb is not expressed at all in Mark nor in the Hebrew, and therefore certainly cannot be emphatic. But our Lord is the authority (Matthew 7:29) for understanding the passage in a profounder sense, even as he claimed to reveal God. (Matthew 11:27) God here speaks of his covenant with the patriarchs; and the Eternal One would not make and avow such a covenant save with those whose existence is permanent. Our Lord then does not so much argue from the passage in its obvious meaning, as authoritatively expound it in a deeper sense. To explain in this way the difficulty which the passage represents is not entirely satisfactory, but it is certainly more natural and reasonable, on the very lowest ground, than to suppose that Jesus failed to see the fallacy which would otherwise lurk in the argument. The Talmud (Wun.) tells of Rabbi Gamaliei (not Paul's teacher, but a later Rabbi) as convincing some Sadducee by arguing from 'them' in Deuteronomy 11:9, "in the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers to give them"; and of another Rabbi as proving the resurrection from Exodus 6:4, "to give them the land of Canaan," viz., (Matthew 22:3) to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. These do not involve the profound thought of the passage used by our Lord, and even these (Edersheim) may have been only poor imitations of his teaching. The multitudes... were astonished as in Matthew 22, Matthew 7:28, Matthew 13:54, at his doctrine, lit. teaching, see on "Matthew 7:28". Luke says that some of the Scribes (not of the Sadducees) answered, "Teacher, thou hast well said."
The story of the woman taken in adultery, (John 7:53 to John 8:11) which certainly does not belong where the common text gives it in John, is placed after Luke 21:38 by the lost uncial represented by the four cursives, 18, 69, 124, 846. This would put it on the day of these several attacks upon Jesus, which it strikingly resembles both in aim and in result. As the story is in all probability historically true (see Horsy on John), it may perhaps be supposed that the interview really occurred on this. day. Lange ("Life") and Ellicott would place it at the point we have now reached, Hitzig before the question of the Sadducees, Weiss before the question about tribute to Cesar; which latter view suits the phrase "early in the morning." (John 8:1 ff.)
III. Matthew 22:34-40. A Lawyer Asks Which Is The Great Commandment
Mark 12:28-34, Luke does not give this, probably because he had given a similar teaching in connection with the parable of the Good Samaritan, some months earlier. (Luke 10:25 ff.)
Matthew 22:34-36. The rivalry between the Pharisees and the Sadducees (see on "Matthew 8:7") here appears. The former, who had withdrawn (Matthew 22:22,), were doubtless pleased to find the Sadducees beaten in argument, their perhaps celebrated and to the Pharisees very perplexing question solved, and the doctrine of the resurrection more firmly established in the popular mind; but all the more was it important that they themselves should make a further attack upon the Nazarene, lest his followers should think him victorious over all. When the Pharisees had heard. This may refer to the leading Pharisees who had put forward the juniors. (Matthew 22:16) Put the Sadducees to silence. The passive of the same verb is rendered 'was speechless' in Matthew 22:12. It signifies literally to muzzle, (1 Corinthians 9:9) then to silence. (1 Peter 2:15) They were gathered together, either for consultation as to their next move (compare Matthew 22:15), or to give the weight of a large attendance to the new enquiry. One of them... a lawyer. Mark, 'one of the Scribes.' The Scribes, from being authorized copyists of law, and thus minutely acquainted with the text, had come to be recognized as authoritative expounders of its meaning, (see on "Matthew 2:4"). In this capacity they were called 'lawyers,' a term found also six times in Luke, and in Titus 3:13, and which may have been applied only to such Scribes as were particularly noted for their interpretations of the law. Some of them acted as formal 'teachers of the law' (law professors), Luke 5:17, Acts 5:34, 1 Timothy 1:7. As the law of Moses united civil and religious precepts, these lawyers must be described to the modern mind as half lawyer, half theologian, corresponding to the original and proper use of the title LL.D., a Doctor of Laws, i. e., of both civil law and canon law. They were looked up to as great authorities. But their citations and interpretations of Scripture-law were often belittled by petty quibbling, and were loaded with references to former decisions (compare on Matthew 7:29), both of these being vices not confined to the lawyers or theologians of any one age. Tempting him. (Compare on Matthew 22:18, Matthew 16:1). Putting him to the test, with the hope that he would say something unpopular, or perhaps that he might be drawn into a bitter and wrangling discussion. This the lawyer does as representative, and apparently by request, of the many Pharisees assembled. Mark shows, (Mark 12:28) that the lawyer himself had been favourably impressed by our Lord's answer to the Sadducees, and was a man inclined to true devoutness. The apparent conflict between this and Matthew's statement is removed by the supposition just made. To understand 'tempting' here in the good sense (Plump., Morison), is contrary to the nearly uniform and very frequent use of the word in the New Testament, and does not harmonize with the tone of Matthew's narrative. Which is the great commandment in the law? More literally this would be: What sort of commandment is great in the law? And such is the exact sense in Matthew 19:18, Matthew 21:23. The Jews were fond of classifying the commandments as great and small, or weighty and light. (Matthew 23:23) WÃ¼nsche thinks that the object of so doing was to decide rightly in case of conflict between several precepts and prohibitions, since the rabbis taught that there was the same reward for observing the light as the weighty. Some held (Talmud Jer.) that "the words of the Scribes surpass the words of the law; for the words of the law are weighty and light, but the words of the Scribes are all weighty." The special hope in asking this question may have been (Keim) that he would take position for or against the "oral law." Our Lord's reply (Matthew 22:38) shows that he recognized a difference in the importance of the commandments.
Matthew 22:37 f. Jesus said. 'Jesus' is wanting in some of the best documents, and was readily inserted by copyists (compare on Matthew 14:14). With all thy heart, etc., literally, 'in all,' the love dwelling in the heart. (Compare on Matthew 3:11). The Hebrew (Deuteronomy 6:4 f.) has heart, soul, might. We have repeatedly observed that in Hebrew usage the heart is regarded as the seat of thought and volition, as well as emotion. (See on "Matthew 6:19"). A kindred Greek use is found only in Homer and the tragic poets (Lid. and Scott); for late Greek prose some other expression might seem to be needed. Accordingly, in Sept. heart is here rendered by a word equivalent to 'mind'; though in 2 Kings 23:25 it translates literally 'heart, soul, might,' and 'heart, soul' in Deuteronomy 10:12, Deuteronomy 30:6. Matthew retains 'heart and substitutes 'mind' for the general term 'might,' which of course here denotes mental and not physical power; Mark and Luke give both 'mind' and 'might,' and presently Mark (Mark 12:33) has the Scribe stating it as heart, understanding, might. All these amount to the same thing, piling up different terms to show that all our faculties and affections must be occupied with love to Jehovah. The first and great commandment,(1) greatest in importance, and first in proper order of statement.
Matthew 22:39 f. After answering the immediate question, Jesus further states what is the second, This is quoted from Leviticus 19:18, same in Hebrew and Sept. Like unto it, viz., like in nature, as being a commandment to love, and perhaps like as being also very important. On these two commandments hang, etc. Literally, as in Rev. Ver., hangeth the whole law, the verb being singular in the correct Greek text. Like the peg on which garments hang, these great precepts upheld all the other precepts of the law, yes, and of the prophets. (Compare on Matthew 7:12) Every thing commanded in the Old Testament may be included under one or the other of these; (compare Romans 13:8 f.) and all the instructions and promises serve to help in fulfilling these great precepts. A Rabbi once said (Wun.),"Name a little saying on which all essential teachings hang. 'In all thy ways acknowledge him.'" (Proverbs 3:6) Plutarch says (Wet.): " 'Know thyself,' and 'Nothing in excess'; for on these hang all the others." We see from Luke 10:27 that at least some of the 'lawyers' were wont themselves to combine these two great commandments, as together telling what must be done in order to "inherit eternal life"; yet we may be sure they took a far less broad and spiritual view of them than Jesus took. The two are quoted from different books, but our Lord declares them similar, and places them in close relation. Some religionists incline to dwell on the first and neglect the other, some unbelievers eulogize the second and care nothing for the first. But there is no earnest and intelligent love to God without love to our neighbour; and the love of our neighbour derives its fundamental and necessary sanction from love to God. The second precept cannot stand alone, even in theory. Why should I subdue egoism and lift altruism to a level with it? Certain skeptical philosophers say that natural sympathy by frequent exercise hardens into altruism. But suppose this has not happened with me; why should I feel it my duty to sacrifice my interest or inclination for the benefit of others? The true and only sufficient answer is, that supreme duty to God includes and authenticates duty to man.â€”Mark tells us (Mark 12:32, Mark 12:34) that the Scribe fully recognized the propriety of the answer, and the superiority of these great ethical duties to all religious ceremony; and seeing that he answered sensibly, Jesus said, "Thou art not far from the kingdom of God."
IV. Matthew 22:41-46. Jesus Questions The Pharisees As To David's Son And Lord,
Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44. Having answered all the questions so as to command the admiration even of his enemies, our Lord finishes the conversation by turning on the Pharisees with a question which they cannot answer (Matthew 22:46; compare Matthew 21:27), and which ought to set them to thinking how defective are their conceptions of the Messiah. He knew that he would be condemned by the Sanhedrin for saying that he was "the Christ, the Son of God" (Matthew 26:63-66; compare John 5:18); and he defends himself in advance (Godet) by pointing out that the Messiah cannot be a mere man. He takes occasion for this while the Pharisees were gathered together. (Compare Matthew 22:34.) What think ye of (the) Christ? What is your opinion concerning the Messiah? Pulpit interpretation of the Com. Ver. has often treated 'What think ye of Christ?' entirely according to our present use of the term 'Christ'; but with the article it evidently means 'the Messiah.' (Compare on Matthew 2:4) This general question is then especially applied, if not restricted, to the added inquiry, Whose son is he? To this there could be but one answer, according to universal Jewish opinion and recognized Scripture teaching; (compare Matthew 9:27, Matthew 12:23, Matthew 15:22, Matthew 20:30, Matthew 21:9, Matthew 21:15, John 7:41 f.) in Mark and Luke our Lord refers to the fact that the Scribes so taught.
Matthew 22:43-45. Jesus here quotes the first verse of Psalms 110 as said by David in (the) spirit, and said concerning the Messiah. Certain critics maintain that Psalms 110 was not written by David, and does not relate to the Messiah. Now, if this be really so, let us all recognize the fact, and modify accordingly our conceptions as to the teachings of Jesus, and as to inspired teaching in general; for here would be the Saviour asserting two things which are both untrue, and making them the basis of his argument. This psalm is oftener quoted in the New Testament as Messianic than is any other portion of the Old Testament Besides the quotation here, which is recorded by Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it is quoted by Peter in Acts 2:33-35, by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:25, in Hebrews 1:13, Hebrews 10:12 f.; and is distinctly alluded to as Messianic in Ephesians 1:20, Hebrews 1:3, 1 Peter 3:22; while 1 Peter 3:4 is made the basis of a Messianic argument in Hebrews 5:6 to Hebrews 7:25. The psalm is expressly ascribed to David by Jesus himself in all three Gospels, and by Peter at the Pentecost, basing his argument on that fact; and 'David' certainly cannot be here understood, as some wish to understand it in several other passages, to mean merely the book of Psalms; for the argument both of the Saviour and of Peter refers to the man himself. The inscription, "A Psalm of David," at least shows that such was an early Jewish opinion. It was regarded as Messianic by Jewish expositors (compare Edersh., App. IX.) up to the tenth century (Toy); the medieval Jewish writers doubtless began to deny it in order to escape the Christian argument.
On what grounds then do some assert that the psalm was not written by David, and does not refer to the Messiah? The matter is of such interest as to justify a detailed statement.
(1) It is urged that the Psalm cannot have been written by David, because the writer speaks of David as 'my Lord.' Therefore some think it was written by a contemporary and addressed to David; so Ewald, Meyer. A divine oracle from Jehovah was given David, as in Hebrews 7:1, and the poet started from this. But David may in high prophetic vision be speaking immediately of the Messiah. There is no certain example of this elsewhere in the Old Testament, unless Moses' prediction of a prophet like himself (Deuteronomy 18:15) be thought an exception. It is always primarily David, or Solomon, or Cyrus, or Israel, etc., and then secondarily the Messiah. But our Lord says that Abraham saw his day and rejoiced; (John 8:56) and this being true, it is certainly possible that David may have done likewise. Jesus distinctly says that this is the case; that David does here address the Messiah as Lord. If prophecy involves supernatural knowledge of the future, this might be the meaning; if Jesus possessed supernatural insight into Scripture, this is the meaning. If the critic assumes, as many destructive critics really do, that neither prophet nor Saviour possessed any truly supernatural knowledge, then the argument may as well be dropped, or must be transferred to another department of inquiry. (2) Toy: "The psalm is an address to a king, whose capital was Jerusalem, announcing his coming victories over enemies, and his establishment in the dignity of priest. There is nothing on its face to indicate that it referred to any other person than the one addressed; or that this person was other than a contemporary of the poet; there is no such pointing to a corning man as in Isaiah 11, Micah 5, and other prophetic passages; it is a present monarch to whom the psalmist speaks." But if there is any real Messianic prophecy in the Old Testament, then it is natural that such a prophecy should draw imagery from a king at Jerusalem. There may be nothing on the face of the psalm which without assistance would have shown us that it is Messianic; but there is nothing to show that it is not, and the Founder of Christianity informs us that it is Messianic. As to the use of present tenses, many prophecies describe future events as present or even as past. In this second case also, the whole argument really turns upon the question whether there was a supernatural element in the teaching of Jesus. (3) It is objected that most of the psalm describes a conqueror and a temporal sovereign, and so it cannot be an immediate prediction of the New Testament Messiah. But the Messiah is necessarily described through images, and is in various other prophecies conceived of as a king and conqueror. We need not suppose that David or Abraham foresaw the Messiah's offices and experiences in all respects. (4) It is urged that the idea of a Messiah-priest is foreign to the Old Testament, which knows only a Messiah-king, (Reuss). But this is a Messiah-king, who is declared to be also priest; and Jehovah recognizes that there is no parallel in Israel by seeking one in Melchizedek. (5) Some say that to find in the actual history a priest-king, we must come down to Jonathan the Maccabee. Yes, farther still, to Alexander Jannaeus (B. C. 105 to 78); and even Alexander's is not a parallel case, for he was a priest becoming king, while the psalm has a king made also priest. Even without the supernatural, certainly ideas might arise in literature before the facts occur in life. Besides, David and Solomon sometimes offered sacrifice, assuming temporarily the functions of priest; and the psalm speaks of its king as a priest forever. So, the idea is not impossible or unintelligible for the men of David's time. And though supernatural prophecy usually drew its imagery from the actual, it certainly might make new and easy combinations of existing objects or ideas. (6) The language has been held to show a far later time than that of David. Some critics have laid stress on this argument and afterwards silently abandoned it. Hitzig insists that two words in the psalm clearly prove it to have been written after the captivity.(1) But Ewald says: "As also the language of the song does not oppose, it is to be regarded as certain that the king is David; for king and kingdom appear here at the highest point of nobleness and glory." Hitzig's proofs from language cannot be very strong, when Ewald brushes them so unceremoniously aside. In fact, they amount to practically nothing.
These are all the objections that are known, to have been adduced. Only the first and second have any considerable force, and certainly they are very far from being conclusive. Yet these are the grounds upon which some even of reverent critics take the position that Jesus has here based an important argument upon two downright errors. It is true that the knowledge of our Lord's human mind was limited (compare on Matthew 21:19); but that is a very different thing from saying that it was erroneous, and that he used error as a means of instructing and convincing others.
In (the) spirit. The Greek expression, if it stood alone, would be ambiguous, for it might mean, as all the early English versions here render, 'in spirit,' viz., in his own spirit (as in John 4:23). But the term Spirit soon became among the Christians equivalent to a proper name, and so might be understood as definite without an article, meaning the Holy Spirit (as in John 3:5). Now in the parallel passage of Mark, (Mark 12:36 R.V.) it is 'in the Holy Spirit.' We cannot always determine the exact meaning of language from a parallel passage. But here the connection is precisely the same, and so Mark's expression may be taken as defining that of Matt. Compare exactly the same Greek phrase in Revelation 1:10, Revelation 4:2, and nearly the same in Romans 9:1, 1 Corinthians 12:3. As to the idea here conveyed, compare Acts 4:25, Hebrews 3:7 (quoting a psalm), end Hebrews 10:15, Hebrews 9:8, where the Spirit teaches through a type, and 2 Peter 1:21. These passages strongly assert that the Holy Spirit speaks through David in Psalms 2 and Psalms 110; also that he speaks in Psalms 95 and Jeremiah 31:33; and that he speaks through the prophets in general. There is here no theory of inspiration; nothing taught as to the precise nature or modus operandi of that influence of the Spirit under which David spoke. But it evidently means a supernatural influence.
The Septuagint here exactly translates the Hebrew, and is closely followed in Luke, Acts, Hebrews. But instead of 'as the footstool of thy feet,' Matt. and Mark in the correct Greek text have simply 'underneath thy feet,' which was readily changed by copyists to agree with the Sept.(2) The Lord said unto my Lord, In the Hebrew, 'Jehovah (Yahweh) said unto my Lord.' The later Jews had a superstitious dread of pronouncing the proper name of the God of Israel, and when they came to it in reading would substitute, as the Jews do to this day, Adonai, the Lord. Accordingly the Sept. translators, who were Jews, rendered the proper name by Kurios, 'Lord.' When the Massoretic scholars, some centuries after Christ, undertook to write vowels under the consonants of the Hebrew words, they gave to the proper name, J h v h the vowels of the word Adonai which they were accustomed to substitute, with a slight modification of the first vowel which Hebrew usage warranted. This has led to the modern pronunciation Jehovah. But there can be no doubt that the word was originally pronounced with other vowels; and its sound was probably Jahveh, or to represent it more exactly in English letters, Yahweh. Our English versions of the Old Testament have always in like manner represented this proper name by 'the Lord,' and it has become common to print 'the Lord' in capitals in those cases to distinguish it from Adonai. There would be great advantage in substituting Jehovah, as preferred by American Revisers, see Appendix, as showing that a proper name is really meant; and the mere matter of correctly representing the Hebrew vowels would be of little practical importance. The New Testament writers, being accustomed to read and often to quote the Sept., have followed its practice; and it is sometimes not easy to determine whether means Jehovah, or simply Lord in the more general sense. Sit thou on my right hand. This was naturally the post of highest honour at the court, where one could be conveniently consulted by the monarch in judging his people, compare Matthew 19:28, Psalms 45:9. Make thine enemies, etc., better as Rev. Ver., put thine enemies underneath thy feet. This is an image founded on the practice described in Joshua 10:24; compare Psalms 47:3. The Messiah will share the divine reign and conquering power till all his enemies are completely subdued, and will then give back his delegated Messianic dominion (Matthew 28:18) to the Father. (1 Corinthians 15:28)
The question repeated and pressed in Matthew 22:45 was no catch-question, such as the Phar. and Sadd. had addressed to him. (Matthew 22:17, Matthew 22:28.) It tended to show that the Messiah could not be a mere temporal sovereign, nor in fact a mere man.
Matthew 22:46. No man was able to answer him a word. (Compare Luke 14:6) According to their conception of the Messiah the question was unanswerable. It was afterwards answered by one who was at that time a young Pharisee, though we know not whether then studying in Jerusalem or absent at Tarsus. This Pharisee lived to gain such revelation of Jesus the Messiah, and such understanding of the Messianic Scriptures, as to perceive that he was "made (born) of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection of the dead." (Romans 1:3 f., compare, Romans 9:5) The fact that no one durst from that day forth ask him any more questions is also stated by Mark and Luke as the result of this same series of questions and answers. Mark (Mark 12:34) makes the remark at the close of the lawyer's question to Jesus, the last question of his enemies; and Luke (Luke 20:40) at the close of the question by the Sadducees, the last that he records. All the select wisdom and ingenuity of the learned and ruling classes, in both the great parties, had brought their most puzzling questions to the young teacher from Nazareth, who had never studied in any of the schools, (John 7:15 ff.) and he not only gave in every case an answer of astonishing depth and clearness, which sent the wisest men away in wondering reflection, but at length retorted by a question which no one could answer, and which seemed plainly to indicate that their views of the Messiah were radically defective. Our Lord went right on discoursing, attacking the ruling classes with the most outspoken and unsparing severity (ch. 23), but they dared not any more interrupt or inquire. They were helpless in argument, and as usual with foiled and angry disputants who will not be convinced, they had no hope but in violence. At this point Mark says, (Mark 12:37) 'And the common people heard him gladly.' The people who thronged the temple court had no position to lose, and no pride of learning; they were more hospitable to new truth, and were not sorry to see arrogant rabbis and priestly aristocrats put to shame.
Homiletical And Practical
Matthew 22:15. Chrys.: "'Then.' When? When most of all they ought to have been moved to compunction, when they should have been amazed at his love to man, when they should have feared the things to come."â€”Matthew 22:16. Jesus praised by his enemies. (1) Acute flatterers may show what reputation a person really desires. (2) What these flattering foes said of Jesus we know from other sources to have been thoroughly correct; (a) he was true, (b) he taught the way of God in truth, (c) and without fear or favour. (3) There are other recorded instances of unwilling testimony to Jesus. (4) The day is coming when every tongue shall confess that he is Lord (Philippians 2:11)â€”Alexander: "Such adulation (as was here offered to Jesus) has blinded the eyes and warped the judgment of its thousands and its tens of thousands among human sages, and especially of those who glory in their insusceptibility of flattery."
Matthew 22:17. It is much to be desired that people shall often ask their religious teacher concerning questions of truth and duty. Even when questions are asked with evil motives, as a test or a snare, it is well to escape the snare by prudent answers (Matthew 22:46), and to silence the evil-disposed, (Titus 1:11) and better still to give answers that will clear up real difficulties (Matthew 22:21), and enlighten the well-disposed. (Matthew 22:22; Mark 12:7.) Human tempters may often be not merely overcome, but won to wiser judgments and kinder feelings.
Matthew 22:18. 'Jesus perceived their wickedness.' He knows to-day all that is in the hearts of those who are openly trying to injure his cause and dishonour his name, and of those who hypocritically pretend to be his friends. 'Hypocrites.' JEROME: "It is the highest excellence in one who replies to know the mind of the questioner."
Matthew 22:21. Civil and religious duties. (1) It is a religious duty to perform all real civil duties. (2) It is not a civil duty to perform religious duties. Laws as to Sabbath observance, etc., can be based only on public health and moral welfare, and the right of worshippers to be undisturbed. (3) Careful observance of the distinction between civil and religious duties is necessary to freedom of conscience, and greatly promotive of genuine piety. Here, as everywhere, liberty has its embarrassments and perils, but on the whole it is far best.â€”Civil duties may still be binding when the ruler is personally immoral and tyrannical; Cesar here was Tiberius, and when Paul and Peter urged obedience it was to Nero. Chrys.: "But thou when thou hearest, 'render unto Cesar the things which are Cesar's,' know that he is speaking only of those things which are no detriment to godliness; since if it be any such thing as this, such a thing is no longer Cesar's tribute, but the devil's."
Matthew 22:28 f. Sceptics often have favourite catch questions; but superficial and ridiculing inquiries are much better than silent neglect, and they should usually be met with a kind and thoughtful answer, and may sometimes be made the occasion of establishing positive truth. All scepticism as to Christian truth results in part from ignorance of the Bible, and of the divine attributes.
Matthew 22:29 ff. The resurrection of the dead. (1) It is taught in the Bible, (a) even in the Pentateuch, (b) in the Prophets, (c) in the New Testament (2 Timothy 1:10) (2) It puts great honour upon the human body. (Psalms 139:14, Philippians 3:21) (3) It gives vividness to our conceptions of eternal existence and felicity. (4) It will exalt above much of the narrowness and exclusiveness of earthly relations and affections. Chrys.: "Since then the resurrection is like this, come let us do all things that we may obtain the first honours there."
Matthew 22:36. All commandments of God are in one sense equally binding, and the spirit of obedience is tested by all; but some relate to matters intrinsically more important. Those commandments are greatest which are most spiritual, most opposed to selfishness, most comprehensive. Duty to God is in itself the highest duty, and comprehends all other duties.
Matthew 22:37. Love is the attraction of gravitation in the moral universe, binding moral creatures to each other, and all alike to God. Loving God and knowing God are mutually dependent. Pascal remarks that in other things we must know in order to love; in religion we must love in order to know. Sources from which we may gain knowledge of Godâ€”from natureâ€”from human nature-from 'the image of the invisible God' ("God was made flesh, that flesh might see that God is love ").â€”from revelation in generalâ€”from observation of his providence, and communion with his Spirit. Reasons for loving God. (1) Because he is God. (2) Because he is our God. Means of increasing our love to God-think of him muchâ€”speak of him with reverence-cultivate delight in his worshipâ€”see him in history, and in our own lifeâ€”obey his commandmentsâ€”strive to bring others to love him too.
Matthew 22:39. 'Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.' (1) Why should I love my neighbour as myself? (2) Who is the neighbour I must love as myself? (3) What is involved in loving my neighbour as myself?
Matthew 22:42-45. The Messiah. (1) To account the Messiah merely a man, is hopelessly inconsistent with Scripture. (2) The Jewish Messiah is also the world's Messiah. (3) The Messiah reigns now on the right hand of God. (4) Shall we live as the Messiah's enemies, to be trampled under foot, or as his loving subjects, to inherit the kingdom? (Matthew 25:34)
Matthew 22:46. Henry: "Many are silenced that are not saved, many convinced that are not converted."
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Broadus, John. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "John Broadus' Commentary on Matthew". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany