Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, December 7th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Matthew 22

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Search for…
Enter query below:
Additional Authors

Verses 1-14


Matthew 21:23 to Matthew 22:46

The symbolical transaction of the fig-tree begins to unfold itself in spiritual judgments upon the Jews in al. their authorities. The second day of the stay of the Messiah in the temple is come, the Tuesday of Passion-week; or the third, if we include the day of the entry. It was the great day of contest after the day of peace: a day on which Jesus endured victoriously the hostile attacks of the authorities in the temple, in which He silences and puts to confusion their several bands, one after another; and then, after His great judicial discourse ( Matthew 23:0), in view of their obduracy and in prospect of their violence, voluntarily leaves the temple. The first assault was made by the high priests and elders: it is disguised under the forms of official authority. Jesus confronts them, and discloses their true position by three parables, Matthew 21:23 to Matthew 22:14.—The second attack was an attack of cunning, led on by Pharisees and Herodians: they ironically assume that He has Messianic authority, in order that they may politically entangle Him ( Matthew 21:15-22). Then follow the Sadducees with their attack. They seek, by their alternative, to involve Him in Sadducean or antinomian assertions ( Matthew 21:23-33). Hereupon, the Pharisees make their last desperate assault, with a tempting and fundamentally threatening question of the law; and are reduced to pronounce their own discomfiture by His counter-question touching the divine dignity of the Messiah, according to Psalms 110:0—(Then follows the judicial discourse of Matthew 23:0; and finally the departure from the temple.)

A. The Attack of the High Priests and Elders, and the Victory of the lord.

Matthew 21:23-27

(Mark 11:27 to Mark 12:12; Luke 20:1-19; Luke 22:1-14.—The Gospel for the 20th Sunday after Trinity.)

23And when he was come into the temple, the chief [high] priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority? 24And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing [one word, λόγον ἕνα], which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things. 25The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with [among]38 themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why [then, οῦν] did ye not then believe him? 26But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people [multitude, ὄχλον]; for all hold John as a prophet. 27And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell [We do not know, οὐκ οἴδαμεν]. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.

Transition to the Offensive.—First Parable: The Parable of the Two Sons (the hypocritical unbelief)

Matthew 21:28-32

28But what think ye? A certain man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my [the]39 vineyard. 29He answered and said, I will not; but afterward he repented, and went. 30And he came to the second [other],40 and said likewise. And he answered and said, I go [I will, ἐγώ],41 sir; and went not. 31Whether of them twain [Which of the two, Τίς ἐκ τῶν δν́ο] did the will of his father [the father’s will, τὸ θέληυα τοῦ πατρός]? They say unto him, The first.42 Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you. 32For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not; but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen it, repented not43 afterward, that ye might believe him.

Second Parable: The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (the murder of Christ, and the judgment)

Matthew 21:33-46

33Hear another parable: There was a certain44 householder, which [who] planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about [put a hedge around it, φραγμὸν αὐτῷ πρριέθηκε], and digged [dug] a winepress in it, and built a [watch ] tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far [another] country:45 34And when the time of the fruit [the fruit-season]46 drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it [to receive his fruits].47 35And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another [and one they beat, and another they killed, and another they stoned].48 36Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. 37But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my Song of Solomon 3:0; Song of Solomon 3:08But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on [have]49 his inheritance. 39And they caught [took, λανόντες] him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.50

40When the lord therefore [When therefore the lord, ὅταν οῦ̓ν] of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen? 41They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked [miserable] men [or: he will wretchedly destroy those wretches],51 and will let out his [the] vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall [who will] render him the fruits in their seasons. 42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the Scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing [from the Lord, παρὰ κυρίου], and it is marvellous [wonderful ] in our eyes (Psalms 118:22)? 43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. 44And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall [will] be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.52

45And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them. 46But when they sought to lay hands on him, they feared53 the multitude [multitudes, τοὺς ὄχλους], because they took him for a prophet [held him as a prophet, ὡς προφήτην αὐτὸν εῖ̓χον].54

Third Parable: The Marriage of the King’s Son (the judgment of the rejection of Israel and the new theocracy of the kingdom of heaven).

Matthew 22:1-14

1And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by [in, ἐν] parables, and said, 2The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which [who] made a marriage for 3his son, And [he] sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. 4Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which [that] are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner [τὸ ἄριστον, early meal, midday-meal]: my oxen and my [the] fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. 5But they made light of it, and went their ways [went away, ἀπῆλθον], one to his farm, another to his merchandise: 6And the remnant [But the rest, οἱ δὲ λοιποί] took [laid hold of, κρατήσαντες] his servants, and entreated them spitefully [ill-treated, ὕβρισαν], and slew them. 7But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which [that] were bidden were not worthy. 9Go ye therefore into the highways [thoroughfares, διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν],55 and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10So those servants went out into the highways [ὁδούς], and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good. and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which [who] had not on a wedding garment: 12And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless [put to silence, ἐφιμώθη]. 13Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and56 cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14For many are called, but few are chosen.


Matthew 21:23. As He was teaching.—At first the members of the Sanhedrin, with the high priest himself at their head, confronted the Lord with an official and formal inquiry. Their action was passionately prepared; for, no sooner had Jesus repaired again to the temple, than they were on the spot. Their inquiry was hostile in its design; His opponents would oppress Him at once by their authority; and therefore they interrupted Him even in the midst of His teaching. But the form of their inquiry was official, and according to theocratical rule: the Jewish rulers had the right to demand of a man who exercised prophetic functions the warranty of His prophetical character. But, as Jesus had already abundantly authenticated Himself by various miracles, their seemingly justifiable act was only a shameless avowal of unbelief. It was no other than the highest rebellion in the disguise of strict legality.

The high priests and the elders.—That is, the Sanhedrin in its official authority. Hence Luke and Mark add the scribes also; for these belonged in a wider sense to the presbytery. The high priests: the plural is explained by the then existing relations of the high-priesthood. The high priest was supposed legally to enjoy his function during life (see Winer, art. Hohepriester); and before the exile we read of only one deposition (1 Kings 2:27). But since the time of the Syrian domination the office had often changed hands under foreign influence; it was often a football of religious and political parties, and sometimes even of the mob. This change was especially frequent under the Roman government. Thus Annas (Ananus) became high priest seven years after the birth of Christ (Æra Dion.); seven years ater Ishmael, at the command of the Roman procurator (Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 2, 2); afterward Eleazar, son of Annas; a year later, one Simon; and after another year, Joseph Caiaphas, a son-in-law of Annas. Thus Caiaphas was now the official high priest; but, in consistency with Jewish feelings, we may assume that Annas was honored in connection with him as the properly legitimate high priest. This estimation might be further disguised by the fact of his being at the same time the סָנָן, or vicar of the high priest (Lightfoot); or, if he was the נָכִוֹיא, president of the Sanhedrin (Wieseler). Compare, however, Winer, sub Synedrium. That, in fact, high respect was paid to him, is proved by the circumstance that Jesus was taken to him first for a private examination (John 18:13). And thus he here appears to have come forward with the rest, in his relation of colleague to the official high priest. Moreover, the heads of the twenty-four classes of the priests might be included under this name. Probably the whole was the result of a very formal and solemn ordinance of the Council, at whoso head stood the high priests.

By what authority?—(Comp. Acts 4:7.) The two questions are not strictly the same. The first demanded His own authority, or what was the prophetic title which He assumed; the second demanded the authority from which He derived His own, and which authenticated Him. It therefore seems to have intimated that their authorization was denied to Him. Doubtless their aim was to extort from Him thus early that same declaration which they afterward ( Matthew 26:0) construed into a criminal charge.

Doest Thou these things? ταῦτα.—Grotius, Bengel, and others refer the ταῦτα to His teaching: Meyer, on the contrary, to the cleansing the temple and the healing, Matthew 21:14. Better, de Wette: The whole of the work of Jesus in the temple up to this time. As they would not acknowledge the acts of Jesus, the definite word ταῦτα is chosen with design.

Matthew 21:24-25. I also will ask you.—The counter-question is once more a testimony to the heavenly supremacy of Christ’s wisdom as a teacher. They had presented this inquiry under the pretext of theocratical rule; and, in the true spirit of this theocratical rule, He put to them His counter-question: The baptism of John, was it from heaven? that is, Did John act as a true prophet under divine authority? The antithesis, or of men, signifies his having come by his own arbitrary boldness, undertaking an enthusiastic work, supported by the party spirit of like-minded confederates. As the opposite of divine authority of the true prophet, the words still more definitely describe the character of the false prophet. Now if the Sanhedrin declared for the latter part of the alternative, they would not only come into collision with the faith of the people, but they would condemn themselves as having proved false to the theocracy, as the administrators of its laws. If, on the other hand, they acknowledged the divine mission of John, they must also acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah; for John had declared himself to be the forerunner of the Messiah, and he had moreover directed the people to Jesus as the Messiah. Indeed, the silent secret is here hinted at, that he had directed themselves—the Sanhedrin—to Jesus as the Messiah (see Matthew 4:0).

Matthew 21:25. They deliberated among themselves.—Their pondering must issue in a formal answer; and, as they must give a common answer, a common consultation and deliberate calculation was previously necessary: hence ἐνἑαυτοῖς, among themselves; which also appears in the διαλογίξεσθαι. (See Matthew 16:7.)—Why then did ye not believe him?—that is, his testimony concerning the Messiah.

Matthew 21:26. We fear the multitude.—We have the crowds (τὸνὄχλον) to dread. Meyer assumes here an aposiopesis, which (Luke 20:6) interprets: All the people will stone us. But the expression φοβούμεθα intimates the same in a more indefinite way. The ὄχλος is scornful: the mob, as in John 7:49.

[The intelligence of this official consultation, which is related almost verbatim by the Synoptists, may have been originally derived from Nicodemus, who belonged to the Sanhedrin.—P. S.]

Matthew 21:27. We do not know.—This reminds us of the hierarchical decision, “mandatum de supersedendo,” which is so frequent in papal history; e.g., in the conflict between Reuchlin and the Dominicans (see Ranle: Deutsche Geschichte im Zeitalter der Reformation vol. i. p. 281). They were caught in a rough alternative, and could extricate themselves only by a step of desperation. The Sanhedrin were under the necessity, in the temple and in the hearing of all the people, to utter a confession of ignorance, and. that of hypocritical ignorance. If they were not already enemies of Jesus to the death, this would make them so. This declaration made them, in the eyes of Jesus, cease to be a truly legitimate and divinely authorized Sanhedrin; after this, they were to Him only as usurpers. Hence His reply, Neither tell I you. [The οὐδὲ ἐγὼ λέγω is an answer not to their words: οὐκ οῐδαμεν, but to their inward thoughts: οὐ θέλομεν λέγειν.]

Matthew 21:28. But what think ye?—Now there is a transition to the offensive. First Parable.—Jesus had already by His counter-question obliged His enemies to by bare their ignorance, or their unbelief. He now constrains them, in the first parable, to declare heir own great; and, in the second, to declare their own punishment; and, as they had now decided to put Him to death, He describes to them, in the third parable, the consequences of their great violation of the covenant and ingratitude—the destruction of their ancient priesthood, and the triumphant establishment of His new kingdom of heaven among the Gentiles. The first parable is found only in Matthew.57

Matthew 21:30. I will, sir, ’Εγώ.—Not merely, yes, but an elliptical expression of devoted willingness, like the Hebrew הִכֵּנִי (Grotius). De Wette: It always refers to the previous verb: thus, ὑπάγω or ἐργάσομαι must be supplied. But the emphasis of the answer with I is to be regarded as intimating a contrast to the refusing son.

Matthew 21:31. The publicans and the harlots.—Thus, those who were excommunicated from the Jewish Church: the last word specializes the usual expression, sinners. They are represented by the first son. Their earlier relation to the requirements of the law and the prophets was a virtual no, which often in the expression of unbelief had become an actual and literal no. But, since the coming of the Baptist, they had repented. The contrast to them is the Sanhedrin in the second son. By their doctrine and hypocritical piety they had exhibited themselves as the obedient ones, yet with a boastful I will, sir, and with a contemptuous look upon the disobedient son. But they were the disobedient in relation to the Baptist and the Christ; they would not be influenced even by the example of the publicans’ repentance.

Go before you, προσάγουσιν.—Here intransitive: not of a “future,” but of a present entering into the kingdom of God. But the following of the others is not intimated; rather the reverse. [According to Trench, on the contrary, the words imply that the door of hope was not yet shut upon the Pharisees by an irreversible doom, and that they might still follow, if they would. So also Alford and Nast. Comp. John 12:35; and Christ’s prayer on the cross, Luke 23:34.—P. S.]

Matthew 21:32. In the way of righteousness, ἐν ὁ δῷδι καιοσύνης.—Meyer: “As a thoroughly righteous and upright man. It is not the preaching of righteousness which is meant.” De Wette: “For he preached righteousness.” That ὅδος often means doctrine, as a standard of practical righteousness, is a settled point (comp. Matthew 22:16; Acts 13:10, etc.). But here we must understand the way of righteousness in reference to the words of Christ in John 14:6 : I am the way. John came (ἔρχεοθαι of teachers arising, Matthew 11:18) as the forerunner of the Messiah, pointing to Him, the way of righteousness. The δικαιοσύνη here is analogous to the σοφία, Matthew 11:19.

Repented not.—Μεταμελέομαι here expresses the coming to a change of mind and purpose, and not merely “to meditate something better;” yet repent is rather too strong a translation, and corresponds to δικαισσὐνη. Comp. Mat 27:3; 2 Corinthians 7:8.

Matthew 21:33. Hear another parable.—[As if to say: “I have not done with you yet; I have still another word of warning and rebuke.” Trench.] This second parable does not merely predict “ the future punishment” of the enemies of the Messiah; it more definitely specifies the nature of their guilt, in its last and near approaching consummation, the murder of Christ.

Planted a vineyard.—The theocracy under the similitude of a vineyard: see Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 3:14; Song of Solomon 2:15. Israel the vine: Jeremiah 2:21. Christ the vine: John 15:1. [A vineyard was regarded as the most valuable plantation, which yielded the largest harvest, but required also the most constant labor and care. Cato says: Nulla possessio pretiosior, nulla majorem operam requirit.—P. S.]

A wine-press, ληνὁς.—Properly the trough which was buried in the ground; the wine-press proper stood above, and the juice flowed through a grated opening into it. But the press and the trough were also together called ληνός.

[The digging, of course, can only refer properly to the receptacle for the juice in the rock or ground to keep it cool (Mark has for it ὑπολήνιον=lacus vinarius); but ληνός=torcular, sometimes means the whole structure for treading the grapes and receiving the expressed juice. Dr. Hackett (Illustrations of Scripture, p. 157, 8th ed.), as quoted by Dr. Conant in loc., gives the following description of it: “A hollow place, usually a rock, is scooped out, considerably deeper at one end than the other. The grapes are put into this trough, and two or more persons, with naked feet and legs, get into it, where they jump up and down, crushing the fruit.… The juice flows into the lower part of the excavation.… The place for treading out the grapes is sometimes dug in the ground, lined probably with a coating of stone or brick. The expression in Matthew 21:38 may allude to such an excavation.”—P. S.]

Tower.—Watch-tower; generally built in vineyards [not so much for recreation as for the watchmen who guarded the fruits against thieves].

Let it out to husbandmen, ἐξέδοτο.—De Wette: For a part of the fruits, Meyer: For money, as the lord himself received the fruits, Matthew 21:34; Matthew 21:41. But in Luke 20:10 we have ἀπὸ ταῦ καρποῦ τοῦ�, and hence de Wette must be right. If the ἐκδιδόναι had been used of money (it must be distinguished, even then, from the μισθοῦν of the laborers, Matthew 20:1; Matthew 20:7), the lord would have required of these husbandmen, not the fruits, but the rent. Meyer himself favors this explanation, when he makes τοὺς καρποὺς αὐτοῦ refer, not to the fruits of the vineyard, but to the fruits belonging to the lord.

Matthew 21:35. Stoned another.—Meyer: According to Matthew 23:37; John 8:5; Acts 7:58, etc., “this is related to killing as its climax, as species atrox (Bengel) of killing.” But in the parallel of Mark, where λιθοβολήσαντεσ is sufficiently authenticated, we must understand it, that the servant was saluted from afar with stones. The climax is there, but of another kind: they did not let the third messenger come near them, but drove him away with stones. It must be remembered, that stoning is used here as part of the parable, not in the sense of the Jewish law.

[ Matthew 21:37. But last of all he sent unto them his son, etc.—It has been frequently observed by ancient and modern commentators, that the only and well-beloved Son of God is here distinctly marked out as far above the prophets in dignity and rank, the sending of whom is the last and crowning effort of divine mercy, and the rejection of whom fills up the measure of human sin and guilt. Compare here the more expressive language of Mark 12:6 : “Having yet therefore one son, his well-beloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, they will reverence my son.” The expression of the hope, that the husbandmen will reverence the son, implies, of course, no ignorance, but the sincere will of God, that all should be saved; and the fact of man’s freedom and responsibility which is perfectly consistent with Divine foreknowledge and foreordination, although we may not be able in this world to see the connection and to explain the mystery.—P. S.]

Matthew 21:38. Let us have his inheritance, καὶ σχῶ μεντὴν κληρονομίαν.—The reading κατάσχωμεν (seize), and the parallel in Mark 12:7, contain the true explanation. That of Meyer, “And let us hold fast, not be driven out” (as if they did not mention the result, but their further design, what they would do after the killing of the son), gives no good sense. Till then, they regarded themselves as hired laborers; after killing the heir, they usurp the possession.

Matthew 21:39. They cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him.—Mark’s inversion of the order exhibits the act in a more passionate and dramatic manner; but it loses a typical feature. For, the sequence in Matthew (and Luke) bears with it an undoubted allusion to the excommunication which preceded death. Chrysostom, Olshausen, and others refer the casting out to the crucifixion outside of Jerusalem; and they are so far right, as this was the consequence of the sentence and curse which rested on Jesus, Hebrews 13:12.

Matthew 21:33-39. The Meaning of the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen.—The vineyard is the theocratical kingdom of God, especially58 in its Old Testament form. The hedge is the divine order of restriction and mark of membership: in the Old Testament, circumcision; in the New Testament, the power of the keys, and baptism with confession (Chrysostom and others: the law59). The wine-press is the altar in the widest sense (Chrysostom and others: the altar; in the New Testament also, the Lord’s Supper60). The tower is the theocratical protection; or also the New Testament office of watchman ideally viewed (Chrysostom: the temple). We must hold fast the fundamental traits of the Mosaic law; yet so as to include the New Testament fulfilment, for the vineyard passes over in the New Covenant to other laborers. The departure of the proprietor. Bengel: tempus divinœ taciturni tatis, ubi homines agunt pro arbitrio. But against this speaks the fact, that the time of the prophets is described, and their mission is combined in one with the mission of Christ. It is rather the period of the natural human development of the kingdom of God from the date of its divine institution. The laborers, or husbandmen, are the official leaders of the theocracy, especially the priests, elders, and scribes. The servants are the prophets sent by God. For their maltreatment, see the flight of Elijah, the histories of Jeremiah and Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:20), the tradition concerning Isaiah. The son is the Messiah. The attempt of the laborers to gain the inheritance for themselves, is the ambition of the Jewish rulers. The coming of the lord is the judgment of retribution.

Matthew 21:40. When therefore the lord of the vineyard cometh.—His enemies are constrained to explain the parable for themselves. But, inasmuch as their solution was a necessary consequence of their whole position, Mark and Luke represent Jesus as Himself drawing the conclusion. But they also put first the question, “What will the lord of the vineyard do?” Each representation is in harmony with the connection of each Gospel; but that of Matthew seems the original one. Meyer supposes that the Sanhedrin daringly gave their decision, although they felt that the parable referred to them; and in favor of this is the μἡ γένοιτο, Luke 20:16. On this assumption, their apparent sincerity was only hypocrisy; and they thereby declared that the parable did not apply to them.

Matthew 21:41. He will miserably destroy those miserable men.—Meyer, well: As miserable ones will He miserably destroy them. See his examples of the same phraseology. It signifies the theocratical judgments upon Israel, appearing in the destruction of Jerusalem; which Meyer, with his wonted misunderstanding of the advent, denies. The Parousia of Christ is consummated in His last coming, but is not one with it. It begins in principle with the resurrection (John 16:16); continues as a power through the New Testament period (John 14:3; John 14:19); and is consummated in the stricter sense in the final advent (1 Corinthians 15:23; Matthew 25:31; 2 Thessalonians 2:0 etc.).

To other husbandmen.—The passing over of the kingdom of God to the Gentiles. The significance of this feature of the parable was not, probably, clearly seen by the Council. Remarkable is the praise which they finally lavish upon the new laborers. The meaning is, that the Lord will always know how to seek and to find faithful laborers in His work.

Matthew 21:42. And Jesus said unto them.—A parabolical word follows from the Old Testament, which gives its edge to the preceding parable; showing the Sanhedrin from the ancient Scriptures that most assuredly the parable suited them. The passage which the Lord brings to their remembrance is that of Psalms 118:22 [the same Psalm of triumph from which the people had taken their Hosannas], quoted from the Septuagint. According to Ewald, this Psalm was sung at the first Feast of Tabernacles after the return from captivity. This much is certain, that it primarily pointed, in its historical sense, to the pious, mystical kernel of the people, as exalted above all the attempts of the heathen to destroy them. According to Zechariah 3:8-9; Zechariah 4:7, Zerubbabel was probably the person; but Zerubbabel was a type of the Messiah; therefore the passage was a typical prophecy of Christ, as the Rabbins always acknowledged. But as the stone is described as one rejected by the builders, this could hardly be said of the Gentiles, and must refer to the Jewish builders themselves, the priests and rulers, who first despised the stone and then rejected it. We have then here something that passes beyond historical type, and which makes the parable a striking prophecy of the conduct of the Sanhedrin toward Christ. And if the cornerstone, the stone which bears up the theocratical edifice, is distinguished from that building, it cannot signify all Israel, but the theocratical offspring of David, who is the definite type of the Messiah. Since the cornerstone, or head of the corner (κεφαλὴ γωνίς) binds together the two walls, Ammonius and Cyril found in this image the union of Jews and Gentiles in Christ.61 But the idea here prominent is this, that the despised and rejected stone becomes the corner-stone of the theocracy. [Compare for a similar application of this Psalm in Acts 4:11; 1 Peter 2:1.]

Matthew 21:43. Therefore I say unto you.—De Wette: “Therefore, because ye have rejected the comer-stone.” Better: Because the word concerning the corner-stone shows that the parable spoken expressly suits you, the word also concerning the vineyard being given to others suits you also; the kingdom will be taken from you, etc. For this also speaks the expression: “given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

To a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.—The New Testament people of God, with emphasis upon the new and heterogeneous element, the Gentiles. Meyer: The Ἰσραὴλ κατὰ πνεῦμα.

Matthew 21:44. Whosoever shall fall upon this stone, etc.—The privative and negative punishment of the wicked laborers is followed by their positive punishment. Thus we have here an explanation of the words: “He will miserably destroy these miserable men,” connected with the figure of the stone, which now approves its rocky nature, that fitted it to be the corner-stone. Thus Christ also demonstrates that He is the Judge. The positive and punitive judgment has again its two sides. The stone falls on none who have not first fallen on it: that is, only the unbelievers, who have rejected Christ, will be by Him condemned and rejected. But it is a double form of punishment which is expressed by this antithesis. He who falls upon Christ, the corner-stone, or who runs against and falls over it, making Him a spiritual offence and stumbling-block, σκάνδαλυν (Isaiah 8:14; comp. 1 Peter 2:8), will be bruised. This is death through dismemberment of the body: spiritual death, reprobation, and demolition of Israel, or of the individual unbeliever. This is the judgment which falls upon the active enemy of the passive Christ, as subject. But he will also be the passive object of the punishment of the glorified and governing Christ. But on whomsoever it shall tall.—He against whom Christ comes in judgment—according to the figure of the stone, Daniel 2:34-35—will He grind to powder, λικμήσει; Vulgate:62 conterat; Luther: zermalmen, to crush, to pulverize. Meyer maintains that the Greek verb can only mean, shall winnow him, throw him off as chaff. But this does not suit the effect of a falling stone. The expression is chosen with reference to the mysterious stone in Daniel, which grinds to powder the image of the monarchies; that is, to Christ, who unfolds His life in the kingdom of God, and grinds the kingdoms of the world to powder. This is the actual and most proper result of His historical judgment: perfect dissolution of organization, dissipation of its elements even to apparent annihilation. The threatening here refers primarily to the Jewish hierarchy and the destruction of Jerusalem; but the unbelieving individual will also be ground to powder at last, the glory of his life will be dissipated, he will be reduced to his elements, and driven to the verge of annihilation.

Matthew 21:46. They sought to lay hands on Him.—They had already fixed the decree to kill Him. But their exasperation at the condemning import of the parables might have urged them at once to carry out their resolution, had not their dread of the people prevented them.

Matthew 22:1. And Jesus answered.The third parable: the Marriage of the King’s Song of Song of Solomon 1:0 The judgment upon Jerusalem and the Jews, and the new theocracy of the kingdom of heaven.—The Lord’s further words are introduced as an answer, because they refer to the schemes of His enemies to seize Him.

In parables.—Plural of the category.

Matthew 22:2. Made a marriage for his son.—This parable is related, in its fundamental idea that the kingdom of heaven is a festive meal, to that of Luke 14:16-24. But there is an essential difference between them. The festive supper of a host is here expanded into a wedding supper which a king made for his son. In Luke the whole parable is so ordered as to depict the infinite goodness and grace of the Lord: hence the scornful guests are at once passed by, and the parable turns to those newly invited out of the streets and lanes. But in Matthew the judgment is the standpoint from which the whole is viewed. Hence not only is the judgment upon the first neglecters of the invitation depicted, but further judgment is extended to the guests who actually came. The practical scope of these parables has been altogether overlooked by those who have maintained that the former was the original parable, and that evangelical tradition pieced together in this one many separate fragments. (De Wette, Strauss, Schnecken-burger, and others.)2 Evangelical parables are not works of art in this sense. Their fundamental ideas may be viewed from different points of view, and differently developed accordingly. So here, when the Lord shows what judgments will fall upon the various kinds of contempt poured on the marriage supper of the kingdom of God. The Jews had long been wont to think of the festival of the consummated kingdom of heaven under the figure of a feast. The paschal meal, doubtless, gave them the type of it; while all the heathen festivals and sacrificial feasts rested upon the same common foundation. Comp. Exodus 24:11; Psalms 23:5; Isaiah 25:6. This feast of the kingdom of heaven is an image of the blessedness and fellowship of the life of faith, and assumes a threefold form: 1. It is a feast in the future world, Luke 16:22; Luke 2:0. it is the future feast at the visible advent of the Messiah, Luke 14:15; Matthew 25:1; Matthew 3:0. it is the present, spiritual feast which begins at once with the life of faith, Psalms 23:0; the parables, Luke 14:17, and in this section. The Jewish rabbinical mythology exhibited the feast at the end of the world, at the advent of the Messiah, with all sensuous characteristics, and in colossal figures. The change of the simple feast into a marriage supper rested upon the Old Testament representation of the covenant between Jehovah and Israel by the figure of the marriage state: Isaiah 54:5; Ezekiel 16:4; Matthew 23:0; Hosea 2:19-20; compare the Canticles. In the New Testament development of this figure, we must, of course, regard the Messiah as the Bridegroom, for whom the Father prepared the marriage with the Church: Ephesians 5:25; Revelation 21:0 Calovius and many others have interpreted the wedding as the union of the divine and human natures in Christ.3 And indeed, this union forms the ideal foundation and real root of the actual union and communion between Christ and His Church, which was typically foreshadowed by the union of Jehovah with Israel. Believers are here represented as guests; but this does not militate against the reference to Christ’s relations with His Church, because the ideal Church in its totality must be regarded as the bride, and the individual Christians as guests. But certainly the bond of connection between Christ and His Church has its root in His assumption of His humanity by the assumption of His human nature. The expression γἀμοι then is not to be generalized, and translated feast. “Michaelis, Fischer, Kuinoel, Paulus, and others have thought that only a feast in celebration of the receiving of the kingdom is meant. But the Messiah is the Bridegroom ( Matthew 25:1), whose betrothal is the establishment of His kingdom (comp. on Ephesians 5:27).” Meyer.4

Matthew 22:3. To call them that were bidden.—An Oriental custom. The first invitation was an invitation to the feast generally; the second, to the beginning of the feast itself.

Matthew 22:4. Behold.… my dinner, τὸἄριστόν.—The introductory meal, which opened the series of wedding feasts; an early meal toward midday, not the same as the δεῖπνον.5

Matthew 22:5-6. But they made light of it … but the rest.—How is this difficult clause to be construed? As the words stand, a division into two parts is suggested, the first part being again subdivided into two:—1. But they made light of it, and went away: a. some to their fields; b. some to their merchandize. 2. But the rest, etc.—So Meyer, after de Wette: ἀμελήσαντες refers only to those who went away; for the remainder, Matthew 22:6, acted in direct hostility (κρατήσαντες). But the contempt which is expressed by ἀμελήσαντες is the general term for the enmity which embraced them all in one guilt; and, accordingly, they are all together condemned afterward as φονεῖς. Fritzsche therefore is right in assuming an inexactness in the phrase, which should have been: οἱ δὲ�. and οἱ μὲν�; as the Vulgate has it: Illi autem neglexerunt, el abierunt, etc. Yet the οἱ found wanting before ἀπῆλθον is contained in the following ὁ μὲν, ὁ δέ. Thus, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ κρατήσαντες 1. ἀπῆλθον δ μὲν, ὁ δὲ; 2. οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ κρατήσαντεσ. The ἀμέλεια is the hostile unbelief which is common to all. This expresses itself in two ways: a. In the indifferent worldliness: they think nothing of their king, and devote themselves to their own private affairs, b. In fanatical spirituality, which makes the positive persecution of the servants (prophets) an official business. This is a striking picture of the miserable contrast of false worldliness and spirituality in the hierarchical communion.6 Fundamentally, however, the contrast is only a reciprocal influence; and both dwell together in only one city of murderers, which was doomed to burning.

Matthew 22:9. Out into the highways.—Not the places where the streets of the city meet (Kypke, Kuinoel, and others); for the city is assumed to be burned, Matthew 22:7; but the outlets of country roads (Fritzsche, Meyer).7 At this point our parable goes beyond that of Luke 14:16. There, the streets and lanes of the city are mentioned, where the maimed and the poor gathered together (the halt, the lame, the blind: publicans and sinners within the theocracy). Here, the commission is to go far beyond the doomed city, out into the high roads of the world: all, both bad and good, the heathen simply, are invited; both those who were looking for light, and the common people of heathenism generally.

Matthew 22:10. Both had and good.—Bengel: locutio quasi adverbialis. Meyer: They acted as if they would make no difference, whether the persons were morally good or bad, provided only they accepted the invitation; the distinction between them must be made by the king at a later period, and not by them. But in this interpretation, first, the distinction between the wicked and the good in the heathen world (Acts 10:0; Romans 2:0) is improperly done away with; and, secondly, it is not proper to confound the difference between the good and the bad among the invited, with the difference between the guests who had, and those who had not, the wedding-garment. The plan of salvation shines clearly through the whole; and that does not look at the previous life, but at faith or unbelief toward the gospel. The words: they gathered together, imply that they accepted the invitation with joy.

The wedding was furnished with guests.—With the filling of the wedding-chamber the wedding feast was consummated. The contemners of the feast could not do away with or invalidate it: it came to its full consummation.

Matthew 22:11. To see the guests.—At the thought of a calling of the Gentiles to the Messianic salvation the Pharisaic legality revolted with horror, as opening the gate to antinomianism and anarchy. Christ meets this aversion of the hierarchy with the doctrine that righteousness and judgment would pervade, though in higher and nobler forms, even the new economy of grace. And the idea of judgment is predominant throughout the whole parable. The higher forms of the spiritual law: 1. The guests are examined by the king; 2. the sign of worthiness is the wedding-garment; 3. the punishment is a personal and rigorous exclusion.

Not having a wedding-garment, ἔνδυμαγάμου.—Here, not merely “a garment suitable for a wedding feast” (de Wette), but specifically a wedding-garment. 1. Michaelis, Olshausen, and others interpret: The guests of kings were in the East presented with festal garments, or caftans, according to Harmar (Observations on the East, ii. 17) and others. This custom is assumed in the parable; and the figure is appropriate, the more so as saving righteousness, faith, and the Holy Spirit are likewise the gifts of God. But Fritzsche, Meyer, and de Wette object to this view. De Wette remarks “that such a custom cannot be sufficiently proved (Meyer: Not even by Genesis 45:22; Jdg 14:12; 2 Kings 5:22; 2 Kings 10:22; Esther 6:8; Esther 8:15); and that there could be no reason why an invited guest should despise the festive garment.” 2. They therefore suggest another explanation: “That the guests were bound to come with festal clothing, was an obvious and customary propriety that needed no enforcement. Moral δικαιοσύνη was thereby symbolized, which men, after the call to the kingdom of the Messiah, should obtain for themselves through the μετάνοια.” So Meyer; without, however, giving any more precise explanation of this moral δικαιοσύνη.8 De Wette: “The view here obtains, that the spirit which is appropriate to the kingdom of God depends upon man himself.” But where could guests get these garments in the urgency of the feast, especially as they were men of all kinds (according to Luke’s parable, probably many of them beggars)? The passages quoted by Meyer show at least that the custom of furnishing the guests with festive garments on such occasions was very ancient in the East.9 Andthe man might have excused himself by his poverty, If it were not assumed that every one might have received his wedding garment. However, we must not lay any more stress upon the idea that the garment was presented, than upon the notion that every one must provide it for himself. There is no feature in the parable which specially points to the one or the other of these assumptions. The stress lies upon this, that every one must be found at the wedding in a wedding garment, and that he must therefore have previously taken pains in the matter. The question, how that trouble was to be taken, and how the garment was to be obtained, is designedly avoided, because another point of view is here the more important. If the guest had not taken any pains about the wedding-garment, he showed positive disrespect to the inviting lord, and a contempt for his feast, or Antinomianism. The free gift of righteousness as such cannot here be meant; as that consists in the invitation to the supper and the participation of the feast. Nor is faith as such intended; for that takes place at the acceptance of the invitation itself. Therefore, the wedding garment is the exhibition of character, or appearance, corresponding to the invitation and the feast: that is, discipline of spirit, an earnest Christian life.10The first historical figure in which this guest comes before us in the apostolical history, is that of the Antinomians, who are depicted in the Second Epistle of Peter and the Epistle of Jude, and the Nicolaitanes of the Apocalypse. If it is still thought necessary to supply the deficient point (which, however, tends to weaken the main impression), we may say that the wedding garment was at once freely given and obtained by personal effort. It was given as free grace; yet it was to be obtained in the ante chamber by earnest effort and prayer. The chief point is, that it was obtained by diligent anxiety, springing from a right appreciatior of the dignity of the feast.

Matthew 22:13. Bind him hand and foot.—An appropriate punishment of lawlessness. It had not for its object merely to keep him fast in his place of punishment, but also to carry him there securely; for, at he was a desperately bold intruder, he could not otherwise be driven out and carried away. The binding is the hard political restraint which follow on lawlessness. It is the business, not of the guest of the church, but of the servants of the King.—Outer darkness—Comp. Matthew 8:12. It may be worthy of notice, that the Antinomians are cast out into the same place of punishment with the traditionalists and legalists. This points to an internal connection between the two extremes.

There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.See above. There is no sufficient reason for separating these words from the parable, as Meyer does, and making them explanatory words of Christ.

Matthew 22:14. For many are called.—If we take these words as simply the Lord’s explanation, they refer not only to the punishment of the one guest, who had not on the wedding-garment, but to those also who had been earlier invited; and thus the antithesis of the many and few is better established and illustrated. Comp. Matthew 20:16. Called and chosen signify here not merely a difference, but an antithesis. Both in the old and in the new economy there is a rigorous separation made between the worthy and unworthy, and on that this antithesis is founded. We must not, therefore, understand the word here in its common doctrinal meaning; it is no more than the historical call or invitation, and the called are simply the individual members of the theocracy, and of the Christian Church. And so, further, the idea of election here is not the usual dogmatic conception of an eternal decree, but that final election in the judgment which, however, points back to the first election. De Wette goes no further, in his exposition, than the definite sentence of the Judge upon the worthiness and unworthiness of men. Meyer interprets it of the eternal decree by which God appointed those to enter into the kingdom of the Messiah who would appropriate His righteousness, Matthew 25:34 (essentially the Arminian view). Perhaps it is better to go no further here also than the historical illustration. Many are called; few, as actual guests, have escaped as elect ones the two crises of judgment. Probably the expression rests upon some proverbial saying, such as, Many guests, few elect ones. The Scripture doctrine of election is the basis of the saying; but it is an election which is here viewed in all its developments and processes down to the judgment day.

Matthew 22:1-14. The Meaning of the Parable of the Marriage of the King’s Son. It speaks everywhere for itself. God is the King, and the wedding of His Son is the feast of the Messiah’s kingdom. The invited, who have a second invitation, are the Jews. The second invitation came through John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. The city burnt is Jerusalem. The second sending of the servants is the mission of the Apostles. The highways are the heathen world. Good and bad are the whole body of heathen, receiving a common and unlimited proclamation of the gospel. The other traits—the general acceptance, etc.—have been already sufficiently explained. Lampe understood by the wedding garment Christ Himself: we regard it as the moral excellence of the Christian character. Judas has been discerned in the man without the garment (ἑταῖρε, Matthew 26:50); but the connection shows that this man is the collective Antinomianism of the New Testament economy.


1. See the foregoing Exegetical Notes.

2. His enemies would oppress and destroy the Lord through the might of their theocratic hierarchical authority. But He constrained them, by the Might of His wisdom, to pronounce before the people in the temple the sentence of their own deposition and degradation. By the question concerning the origin of John’s baptism He accomplished three things: 1. He constrained them to make manifest how much they differed from the belief of the people in the prophetic mission of the Baptist. 2. He brought home to their minds their own guilt, in having rejected the Baptist’s express authentication of His claims as the Messiah. 3. He rendered it necessary that they should pronounce their own sentence upon themselves as utterly incompetent to discharge the duties of their office. Thus the defensive was turned already into the offensive. But the special attack upon them, to which He now passes on, unfolds their guilt and its punishment in perfect gradation; and here again they are obliged to pronounce sentence upon themselves. Despisers of John, the prophet of repentance, worse than the publicans and harlots ! this is the first sentence. That of the second is—Unfaithful stewards of the Lord’s vineyard, murderers of the Messiah, condemned, deprived of their office, degraded, and forced to make way for strangers better than themselves!—this is the second sentence. Being with the whole people insane despisers of God and His salvation, and in all their acts rebels against Him, their city is to be burned, while they themselves are to be destroyed and to give place to the Gentiles!—this is the third sentence, which the Lord Himself utters in an allegorical prophecy. In all these mark the gradation of their guilt. In the first parable they are, by their “I will, sir,” condemned, as well as by the repentance of the publicans and harlots. In the second parable they are condemned by the favorable terms on which the vineyard is let to them, by the long forbearance of the Proprietor, by the bold generosity with which He at last committed to them His Son. In the third parable, by the dignified invitation of their King to the wedding of His Son, as if they were friends, while at the same time they are subjects, and might be commanded; by the repetition of the call, and the anxious, almost supplicating, manner in which the preparations are spoken of, and the probable embarrassment caused by their absence; but, most of all, by the emptiness of their excuses, and the stupid malignity of their vengeance upon the messengers who invited them.

3. The appendix in the second parable perfects Its application to the Council; but at the same time unfolds the two sides of the judgment which falls upon the builders who rejected the corner stone. The corner stone of Psalms 118:0., which the builders rejection, thus securing their own rejection, is made here, on the one hand, a figure of Isaiah’s suffering Messiah (the stone of stumbling in Israel’s way, Isaiah 8:14-15), by the contemptuous rejection of whom the enemies of the Messiah pronounced their own spiritual condemnation; and, on the other hand it is made a figure of Daniel’s glorified Messiah (the rock which descended from the highest mountain of the earth into the valley), who in the judgments of history annihilated His enemies. But the second part of the third parable is a justification of the hint, that the kingdom of God pastes over to the Gentiles. Hence it is shown that law, justice, and judgment are to rule in the new economy, although in another and a higher form.

4. The marriage of the Son.—The call to the kingdom of God is a call to the highest honor, the highest joy, and the highest festivity. The inviting king is God; the bridegroom is Christ; the bride (not here appearing) the Church. The fact that the invited who accept the invitation belong to the body, which is the bride, comes not into view in the parable. Believers individually are the guests; believers collectively are the bride. The guests are the subjects of the king: He might constrain them as servants to do the work of servants, but He invites them as guests and friends to partake of His honors and joys, and invites them even with urgency. The motives of honor, love, duty, here all cooperate in their influence. And this makes the conduct of the first invited all the more unnatural and damnable.
5. “It does seem strange that the invited guests ill treat and kill the messengers, who invite them to make their appearance; but what if this senseless conduct in the parable were designed to point to the equal folly of those who are now acting in the same senseless way with regard to God’s messages !”—Weisse (2. p. 113).
6. At the end of this section, the theocratical authority of Christ has taken the place of the old and forfeited authority. The Sanhedrin had now only the form of authority remaining with it. Essentially it was displaced by Christ.


I. The Whole Section.—The spiritual and real reckoning between Christ and the Sanhedrin points to the future open and historical reckoning.—The full development of the fall of Israel. 1. Their sin: (a) Disobedience under the guise of piety; (b) persecution of the prophets; (c) the murder of Christ; (d) contempt of God, and self exclusion from the gospel feast, 2. Their judgment: (a) Put to shame by publicans and harlots and Gentiles; (b) degradation from their dignity and historical vocation; (c) loss of their land; (d) burning of their city; (e) and total downfall of all their glory.—Mark the fate of every hierarchical dominion which, like that of the Jews, withstands the Lord.

2. The Question of the Sanhedrin; Christ counter question, Matthew 21:23-32.—Christ is the spiritual avenger of the Baptist’s blood in the temple.—The Lord in his House obliged to defend His rights; outraged by servants, and treated by them as a usurper.—Christ the conqueror of all hierarchical spirits in the temple of God. The supreme authority of the Lord robs all other authority here of its power.—The silencing of the Council: their silence was a sign of their desperation and of their hardening.—Connection of false prudence and fear: 1. false prudence begets fear; 2. fear begets false prudence —Before the Lord in His holy temple must all the world keep silence.

3. The Parable of the Two Unequal Sons.—The open, and the false character.—The penitent sinner held up by the Lord to put to shame the hypocrite.—The Lord’s sermon of repentance in the temple.

4. The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, Matthew 21:33-41.—The fearful wickedness of God’s laborers, who would turn His vineyard into a private possession 1. The sources of this conduct: Misunderstanding of the Lord’s external absence, of His longsuffering and tenderness; selfishness, worldliness, ambition, evil company. 2. The form of its manifestation: Denial of the fruits; contempt of the messengers; renunciation of the Lord; conspiracy against the Heir. 3. The issue of this conduct: Displacement from their vocation; loss of the vineyard; and terrible ruin.—The ruinous delusion of the servants of Christ who turn an office of service into an office of rule.—The ordinary offices in the Church are lost, when they fail to recognize the Lord’s extraordinary messengers.—The murder of Christ in the vineyard of His Father; John 3:16 : So God loved the world, etc.—The history of the hardening of Israel an eternal warning to the Church.—They knew the Son and they knew Him not (Luke 23:34; Acts 3:17); their blindness was a self inflicted obscuration of their minds.—In Christ’s end the guilt of the whole world is summed up.—How He made His enemies pronounce their own doom.

5. Christ The Stone Rejected by the Builders, Which became the Head of the Corner, Matthew 21:42-46.—As the Old Testament foretold the degeneracy of His officers, so did also the New.—Christ the rock: 1. The stone which the builders rejected, and who was made the corner stone (Psalms 118:0.); 2. the stone in the way, a stumbling block and a stone to rest upon (Isaiah 8:0.); 3. the rock which, hewn out, rolled down from the everlasting hills (Daniel 2:0.).—How unbelief turns the warning of ruin into a new and ruinous snare.—How the fear of the people’s faith restrained the enemies of the Lord in their assaults.—The embarrassment and impotence of the Jewish Council: 1. Pressed within by the spiritual words of the Lord; 2. pressed without by the people’s temper.—The malignity of unbelief reaches its climax in the feeling of its own impotence.

6. The Marriage of the King’s Son. The old Scripture lesson for the twentieth Sunday after Trinity. Matthew 22:1-14.—The kingdom of heaven a wedding feast, which God has prepared for His Son—All preaching of the gospel is an invitation to this wedding.—Two kinds of guilt in dealing with the invitation: 1. Contempt of the invitation: dishonoring (a) the King, (b) the King’s Son, (c) the inviting messengers. 2. Contempt of the feast itself: (a) dishonoring the blessedness of the feast in gross carnality and service of the world; (b) dishonoring the holiness and consecration of the feast, in preferring the beggarly fellowships of the world.—The guilt of remaining away, and the guilt of appearing ill (without the wedding garment).—The difference and the common glory of the Old and New Covenants. 1. The difference: the Old Testament is the invitation to the feast; the New Testament is the feast itself. 2. The common glory: grace runs through the whole of the Old Covenant as well as the New; and the spirit of judgment and justice runs through the New Covenant as well as the Old the guests are examined.—The best thing in our earth life is, that in it we are invited to the feast of the salvation of God.—The true and proper loss of life in life is the despising the invitation to God’s great least.—How God in His mercy condescends to represent Himself as an embarrassed host, who fears for the dishonoring of His feast, and prays us to come.—All God’s martyrs are persecuted messengers of invitation.—How it can come to pass that unbelief should rise in rebellion against the invitation to the free gift of blessedness.—Indifference which undervalues salvation in the midst of earthly cares, and fanaticism which persecutes the heralds of the gospel, are fundamentally one and the same self seeking worldliness, though assuming different forms.—All God’s judgments are the counterparts or antitheses of slighted feasts and invitations.—The Lord’s armies, which He sends out for retribution (Romans, etc.); or, heaven and earth must contend for the honor of the Lord and His Son.—All the endless confusion of the course of this world must subserve the one clear end of God.—The passing over of the kingdom of heaven from the first invited to the new guests.—The ingratitude of those who would not come cannot invalidate the feast: the wedding is fully furnished and crowded nevertheless.—In the Church of the gospel the law is born again.—Friend, how earnest thou in hither ? or, lawlessness (Antinomianism) in the Church, and its judgment.—Holy discipline of the Church of Christ, the rule of Christ in the midst of it.—The eternal consecration of the eternal feast of Christ.—Outer darkness; or, the punishment of the servants of men’s precepts, and the scorners of the law, the same.—Many are called, etc., or the difference between the external and the internal Church: (a) called, elect; (b) many, few; (c) remaining without, new and different guests.

Selections from other Homiletical Commentaries

1. The Question and the Counter Question—Starke:—From Zeisius: The anti christian spirit arrogates to itself all power in the Church, and will lord it over all things (2 Thessalonians 2:4).—Spiritual councils, synods, and consistories, not only may err, but have erred, and err to this day; so that we must not obey them further than they conform to the word of God.—Most necessary it is to use prudence in dealing with the enemies of the truth.—Sometimes the cunning of the enemy can be met and unmasked by a little counter question.

Gerlach:—The mysterious answer which Jesus had given them the first time (John 2:0.) had remained dark to their minds.—Christ’s counter question was by no means a mere evidence of His prudence, or an evasive reply; but He opens up to His enemies the way to acknowledge His Messiahship, for if they believed in John, they must receive his testimony concerning Jesus as the Messiah.

2. The Two Sons.—Starke:—Two sorts of men: manifest sinners, and hypocrites.—Quesnel: What would have been to man, in a state of innocence, pleasure, is now hard work on account of sin.—Cramer: To sin is human, but to continue in sin is devilish.—We must never give up all hope of the vilest sinner.—Behold, Jesus receiveth the vilest sinners, publicans and harlots!—Hedinger: Hypocrites promise much and keep little.—Obstinate persons are hard to convert.—Good examples of penitents should draw sinners to follow them.

Heubner:—The first application is to the persons named in Matthew 22:31; the second, to the Jews and Gentiles. But the parable is for all men generally.—Those that are converted late often become more acceptable to God than those who are relapsing from early zeal.—The summoning “Go work” is for every man.—True improvement comes from action, not from wishing and promising.

3. The Wicked Husbandmen.—Starke:—From Quesnel: Ministers of the divine word must regard their flocks as a vineyard of the Lord.—The rulers of the Church are often its greatest persecutors, and most responsible for its corruptions.—The Son of God is heir of all things: whosoever rejects Him here has no part in the heavenly inheritance.—Those who cast Jesus out of their hearts, cast Him also out of the vineyard which He purchased with His blood.—Zeisius: The wicked are very often made unconsciously to bear witness against themselves.—The time of retribution will come.

Gerlach:—The number of the prophets increased in the later ages of the Israelitish people; so also, the longer the Church lives, the further the individual advances, the more abundant are the tokens of God’s grace.—He sent his son (Matthew 21:37, comp. Hebrews 1:2). Important passage, showing how Christ essentially distinguished Himself from all the former messengers of God, by His own peculiar relation to His heavenly Father.—The husbandmen know the son: thus Christ declares that His enemies knew who He was, or at least that they were guilty of their own ignorance. He tells them also why they watched for His life: because they feared He would lake from them their usurped authority.—Human nature, in rebellion against Christ, has a right instinct, that if it could overcome Him, it would overcome all opposition.

Heubner:—The high priests acted as the agents or representatives of the evil spirit, the prince of this world. If Jesus could be destroyed, all would be won for Satan.—The Church of Christ often the stage of most frightful cruelty.—God’s judgments become more and more severe.—The Jewish people a monument of divine mercy and justice.

4. The Corner Stone.—Starke:—From Canstein: The corner stone of the Church is Christ: 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20; 1 Peter 2:6-8.—The Saviour falls on no one as a judgment, who has not already by unbelief stumbled at Him.—So blind are the ungodly, that they fear men, while they have no fear of God.

Heubner:—The Old Testament bad foretold the rejection of the Son of God; the New Testament foretells to us the apostasy from Christianity,11 for the warning and confirmation of believers.—Jesus honored the Scripture, and every where saw in it the counsel of God indicated. Ought not this to inspire the Christian with reverence for the Old Testament—What wise one of this world, what human reason, would have conceived, under the cross, that this man, hanging suspended between two malefactors, and despised by all, would one day receive the worship of the whole world ?—This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes.—Vain are all attempts and devices to suppress the truth, or thwart the counsel of God.—It is madness to rush against the rock: it is for us only to rest and build on.—The doom of the despisers of God’s grace.

5. The Wedding Feast, Matthew 22:1-14.—Starke:—The blind world often regards the good messengers, who invite them to a heavenly feast, as their enemies.—God is great, not only in His love, but also in His anger.—Cramer: Joyful word: All things are ready ! Alarming word: Thou art not ready!—Osiander: Let all take care that they do not slight the gospel, that God may not take away His word (“and give it to others”).—Quesnel: It the work of salvation there is no respect of persons.—Cramer: In heaven there are only good, in hell only wicked; but in the militant Church there are tares and wheat together (Gregor. M. Homil. 38).—He was speechless: Job 9:3; Psalms 130:3.—Zeisius: The small number of the elect should make no Christian despond, or weaken his hope of salvation; but only cause him to rub all sleep out of his eyes.—Not external communion with the Church, but divine election through faith, saves us.

Gerlach: The wedding feast of the Son of God with mankind, when Ho assumed our flesh.—The highways, the places where men most congregate.

Heubner:—My dinner. God has made all provision for our salvation, and that in the most abundant manner.—The climax: 1. Seize, hold fast and imprison, those to whom all houses and hearts should be opened; 2. Scorn, despise in word and act, those to whom men are bound to show the greatest respect and love; 3. Kill, those for whom the longest life should be desired.—Christianity is offered to us without merit.—The wisdom of God knows even how to derive good from evil.—The Jews’ contempt for the gospel sent it over to the Gentiles.—All without distinction are invited.—Different receptions of the invitation to the kingdom of heaven.—The goodness and earnestness of the call of mercy.

Hofacker:—The righteous judgment of God upon those who obey not the gospel.—Reinhard:—The predominant spirit of every age furnishes its own pretexts for repelling the appeals of the gospel—J. J. Rambach:—The vain hope of false Christians.

[Comp. also Matthew Henry, on the parable of the Marriage Feast, on which he is quite full and rich for practical purposes.—P. S.]


[1][So It is called in the headings of the English Bible, to distinguish it from the parable of the Great Supper in Luke 14:16-24. Sometimes it is called less appropriately the parable of the Wedding Garment, which after all is only an episode in it.—P. S.]

[2][Even Theophylact, Calvin, and Maldonatus maintain the Identity of the two parables; while Olshausen, Stier, Nast. Alford. Trench, and Owen agree with Lange in keeping their distinct Comp. the apt remarks of Trench on the difference and against Strauss, p. 208 sqq.—P. S.]

[3][The Edinb. trsl. here again reverses the sense of the original by adding: “but we have no Scripture warranty for this, and then omitting the following sentence altogether. A translator has no right to change the views of his author, unless he state that he has done so.—P. S.]

[4][Falsely credited to Lisco in the Edinb. trsl. with the omission of all the names representing this view.—P. S.]

[5][The Edinb. trsl., which usually retains the language of the Authorized Version, even whore Dr. Lange’s version and comments require an alteration, falsely gives the text in this case: My supper is Ready, and thereby contradicts both the English Version and Dr. Lange’s comment. The term: ἅοιστον, from ῆ̓ρι, early, means properly an early meal, but generally a late breakfast, lunch, prandium, taken about midday, comp. Joseph. Antiq. v. 4, 2 (while the early breakfast, taken at sunrise, was called ἀκράτισμα), and is uniformly rendered dinner In the E. V. (Matthew 22:4; Luke 11:38; Luke 14:12): δεῖπνον was the principal meal taken early In the evening, after the work and heat of the day, as now in large cities, and is always rendered supper (Mark 6:21; Luke 14:12; Luke 14:16-17; Luke 14:24; John 12:2; John 13:2; John 13:4; John 21:20; 2 Corinthians 11:20. “the Lord’s supper;” Revelation 19:9, “the marriage supper of the Lamb”), except In three passages, where it Is rendered feast (Matthew 23:6; Mark 12:39; Luke 20:46). The corresponding verbs are translated: to dine and to sup. Some have proposed to translate ἄριστον, breakfast, and δεῖπνον, dinner. But it would sound very strange to the English ear accustomed to the admirable idiom of his good Anglo-Saxon Bible to hear of “the Lord’s dinner,” and “the marriage dinner of the Lamb.” In such cases the common sense and traditional reverence of English Christendom would tolerate no alteration. In our passage the ἅριστον is the beginning of the marriage feasts, which culminate in the marriage supper of the lamb, Revelation 19:9.—P. S]

[6][In German: in dem hierarchischen, Gemeinwesen, which the Edinb. edition has rendered: ecclesiastical nature!]

[7][Alford and Trench refer διέξοδοι to the city, i.e., not the city of the murderers (Jerusalem), but the city in which the marriage was supposed to be celebrated. Trench, p. Matt 220: “We must not permit our English highways to suggest places in the country as distinguished from the town; the image throughout is of a city, in which the rich and great and noble, those naturally pointed out as a king’s guests, refuse his banquet whereupon the poor of the same city are brought in to share it.”—P. S.]

[8][In the fourth edition of his Commentary, Meyer adds: “This δικαιοσύνη was tube obtained gratuitously by faith for the sake of the death of Christ: but the knowledge of this doctrine was reserved to the later development of the Christian faith.” Similarly Alford: “The garment is to imputed and inherent [?] righteousness of the Lord Jesus, put on symbolically in Baptism (Galatians 3:27), and really by a true and living faith (Galatians 3:26),—without which none can appear before God in His kingdom of glory;—Hebrews 12:14; Philippians 3:7-8; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10; Romans 13:14 :—which truth could not he put forward here, but at its subsequent manifestation threw its great light over this and other such simllitudes and expressions.”—P. S.]

[9][Compare a so what Trench address from modern travellers and modern customs in the East, which are likely to date from very ancient times, p. 225. Horace tells of Lucullus (Epist. 1:6, 40) that he had not less than five thousand mantles in his wardrobe. Chardin says of the king of Persia that he Rave away an infinite number of dresses (Voyage en perse, vol. 3. p. 230). Owen, like Lange, urges the obvious impossibility that the guests, especially the poor ones, could provide themselves with costly garments In so short a time, unless they wore ready in the king’s palace. “It must be remembered.” he says, “that these guests were Invited and brought In from the very highways. along which they were passing for pleasure or business, and It is very unreasonable to suppose that they were, or could be, provided, at so short a time, with appropriate dresses. Many of them wore doubtless too poor to meet the expense of such a garment, had lime been given them to procure one. On the other hand, we have abundant evidence, that kings were provided with extensive wardrobes, from which each invited guest was furnished with a suitable garment.”—P. S.]

[10][The Fathers, the Roman Catholic and some Protestant commentators, understand the wedding garment to mean charity or holiness; most of the older Protestant commentators, faith; John Gerhard, Olshausen, Trench, Brown, and others, combine the two in the conception of Christ, or righteousness, both in its root of faith and its flower of charity, or “faith as the Investing power, charity as the invested robe,” in putting on Christ (Galatians 3:27). Comp. Isaiah 61:10 : “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garment of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself if with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Trench explains It of “righteousness In its largest sense, the whole adornment of the new and spiritual man, Including the faith without which it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6), and the holiness without which no man shall see Him (Hebrews 12:14), or like this guest, only see Him to perish at His presence: it is at once the faith which Is the root of all graces, the mother of all virtues, and likewise those graces and those virtues themselves.” A singular curiosity In modern exegetical the interpretation of Wordsworth, who soberly refers the wedding garment to baptism “as the germ of all the means of spiritual grace,” and applies the rebuking ἑταῖρε, friend, especially to the Quakers or Friends, because they reject the visible signs and means of spiritual grace, provided for and prescribed to all by the Great King! The white baptismal garment. In the ancient church must serve as an illustration in the absence of proof.—P. S.]

[11][In German: den Abfall vom Christenthum, from Christianity, nut of chritstendom, as the Edinb. trsl. has it, which would require la German: den Abfall deb Christenheit.—P. S.]

[38] Matthew 21:25.—Παῤ ἑαυτοῖς. Lachmann and Tischendorf [not in the ed. of 1859] read: ἐν ἐαυτοῖς, after B., L., Z., etc. The latter reading is preferable, since the sanhedrists had to consult among themselves before giving a general answer.

[39] Matthew 21:28.—Μου is omitted in many MSS. [So also in Cod. Sinait. and in the critical editions of Lachmann Tischen-dorf, Tregelles, and Alford.—P. S.]

[40] Matthew 21:30.—[Τῷ ἑτέρῳ is the correct reading, sustained by the best authorities, including Cod. Sinait., instead of the Recepta: δευτέρῳ, which after πρώτῳ appears as a gloss. Dr. Lange, however, retains δευτερῳ with Lachmann (who follows the Vatican Cod.), and makes no mention of the other reading.—P. S.]

[41] Matthew 21:30.—[̓Εγὼ, κύριε, is, of course, elliptical, to which ὑπάγω, or πορεύομαι, or ἀπέρχομαι must be supplied. The various readings: ναὶ, κύριε, ὑπάγω, κύριε, and others, are to be traced to the desire of amending an apparently incomplete phrase.—P. S.]

[42] Matthew 21:31.—Lect. rec.: ὁπρῶτος. [So also Tischendorf and Alford.] Lachmann [and Tregelles] after B., D.: ὁ ὔστερος; still others: novissimus, This reading is connected with the reversion of the answers it Matthew 21:29-30, but the sense remains the same. Comp. for different views Meyer. [Comp. also the note of Conant in favor of ὕστερος, i.e., the later, the tardier one, he who was behind the other in his compliance; which is descriptive, while πρῶτος merely identifies. The reversion of the order in some authorities may be easily accounted for by the error of a transcriber who thought that the parable must refer to the successive calling of Jews and Gentiles (as Origen, Chrysostom, and Jerome do), while it applies to two classes in the same nation.—P. S.]

[43] Matthew 21:32.—Cod. B., al., Lachmann, [and Alford]: οὐδέ [for οὑ which Is retained by Tischendorf in the edition of 1889—P. S.]

[44] Matthew 21:33.—[Lit: “There was a man, a householder,” ἄνθρωπος ῆ̓ νοἰκο δεσπότης, Lange: Es war sin Mensch, ein Gutsherr. All the critical editions omit τις (certain) after ἄνθρωπος.—P. S.]

[45] Matthew 21:33.—[̓Απεδήμησεν means: he went abroad (Lange: er zog über Land), without reference to distance, as is implied in the far of the E. V.—P. S.]

[46] Matthew 21:34.—[̔Ο καιρὸς των καρπῶν, as distinct from χρόνος.—P. S.]

[47] Matthew 21:37—[Ααβεῖν τοὺς κορποὺς αὺτοῦ: αὐτοῦ, like the previous one after δούλους, referring to the householder as the subject of the sentence, and not to the vineyard, as in the E. V. See Meyer and Conant in loc.—P. S.]

[48] Matthew 21:37.—[So Luther, Lange, and Conant, according to the emphatic form of the original: ὅν μὲν ἔδειραν, κ.τ.λ.—P. S.]

[49] Matthew 21:38.—[The critical authorities, including Cod. Sinait., and editions read: σχῶμεν for κατάσχωμεν, which eems to be a gloss.—P. S.]

[50] Matthew 21:39.—Cod. D., al., in reverse order: they slew him and cast him out of the vineyard. A correction in keeping with a passionate proceeding. The order of the Recepta is better. The expulsion from the vineyard before the murder signifies the priestly excommunication and rejection which preceded the crucifixion.

[51] Matthew 21:41.—[Κακοὺς κακῶς (=pessimos pessime) ἀπολέσει, a classic phrase of the purest Greek (petita ea purissimo sermone Grœco, as Grotius observes). The paronomasia brings out the agreement of the deed and the punishment In German: er wird die Elenden elendiglich umbringen (Meyer); schlimm wird er die Schlimmen umbringen (Lange); ubel wird er die Ueblen (better: Uebelthäter) vernichten (Ewald). In English we have no equivalent phrase. The rendering of the Authorized Version is as good as any I have seen. Dr. Conant retains it. Dr. Geo. Campbell (The Four Gospels, etc.) renders: he will put those wretches to a wretched death, which I have slightly altered in the text. The Rheims Version has: the naughty men he will bring to naught, after the Vulgate: Malos male perdet.—P. S.]

[52] Matthew 21:44.—Omitted by Tischendorf without sufficient authority. [Meyer defends the words, and accounts for the omission by an overnight of a transcriber who passed from αὐτῆς και, at the close of Matthew 21:43, at once to αυτὸν και, at the close of Matthew 21:44. Lachmann retains the verse, but in brackets.—P. S.]

[53]Ver, 46.—[Better: And they sought … but they feared, και ζητοῦντες … ἐφοβήθησαν, as in Matthew 14:5, where the E. V. renders: And when he would hare put him to death, he feared the multitude.]

[54] Matthew 21:46.—[As in Matthew 21:26, or: they counted him as a prophet, as the E. V. renders the same phrase in Matthew 14:5.—P. S.]

[55]Ch. 22 Matthew 21:9.—[Διέξοδος, transitus and exitus (Durchgang and Ausgang, Passow), a way through and out, a crossing, fork of the roads, where many resort or pass; here a common outlet of the ways (των ὁδῶν) that lead into it, a thoroughfare. Lange translates it: Scheidewege, and ὁδούς, Strasen.—P. S.]

[56] Matthew 21:13.—[The words: ἄρα τε αὐτὸν καί, take him away and, are omitted by Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, and Lange in his Version (who, however, translates καί), but retained by Tischendorf in the edition of 1859. See Tischendorf and Alford, Crit. apparatus.—P. S.]

[57][Trench (50:100 p. 185) remarks on these three parables that notwithstanding their severe and threatening aspect, they are not words of defiance, but of earnest tenderest love, spoken with the intention of turning them, if possible, from their purpose, of saving them from the fearful outrage against His person which they were about to commit, and. of winning them also for the kingdom of God. The parable of the Two Sons is rather retrospective, while the two that follow, are prophetic also.—P. S.]

[58][Not: that is, as the Edinb. transistor (Rev. Mr. Pops) has it, evidently mistaking the German namentlich for nämlich, and thereby confining the vineyard to the Jewish church, when Lange expressly means to apply it to the Christian church also, as the connection clearly shows. Such errors are very frequent In this translation, especially in. the few preceding and all the subsequent chapters.—P. S.]

[59][So also Trench who refers the hedge to the law which Paul calls “the middle wall of partition” between the Jew and the Gentile (Ephesians 2:14), and which was a hedge both of separation from, and defence against, Gentile abominations and hostile foreign influence. He refers It at the same time to the geographical isolation of Palestine.—P. S.]

[60][Irenæus, Hilary, Ambrose, and others, take the winepress to be a symbol of the prophetic Institution.—P. S.]

[61][So also Origen. Jerome, Augustine, Chrysostom, Theophylact. and among modern commentators, Alford, Trench, and Wordsworth. See Ephesians 2:20-22.—P. S.]

[62][The original substitutes the Greek Septuagint (which ought to be connected with the preceding λικμᾷν) for the Latin Vulgate,—an obvious oversight (doubtless of the printer, who may have omitted Vulgate), which the Edinb. translator, as usual, faithfully and thoughtlessly copies.—P. S.]

Verses 15-22

B. The Attach of the Herodians or the Politicians, and the Victory of the Lord. Matthew 22:15-22

(Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26. The Gospel for the 23d Sunday after Trinity.)

15Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle [ensnare, en trap] him in his talk [with a word, ἐν λόγῳ].12 16And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians,13 saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teaches the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man [one, οὐ—οὐδενός]: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Cesar, or not? 18But Jesus perceived [knowing, γνούς] their wick- edness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19Shew me the tribute money [to νόμισμα τοῦ κήνσου], And they brought unto him a penny denary].14 20And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription [the inscription, ἡ ἐπιγραφή]? 21They say unto him, Cesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render15 therefore unto Cesar the things which are Cesar’s [the things of Cæsar to Caesar, τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι]; and unto God the things that are God’s [the things of God to God, τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ]. 22When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.


Matthew 22:15. Then went the Pharisees.—The Pharisees formed the main element in the deputation of the Sanhedrin, which aimed to annihilate the Lord by a stroke of authority. But their blow He had made to recoil upon themselves. They stood as persons who were stripped of their spiritual authority; while He, by the same words which stripped them, demonstrated His own Messianic power, and remained in the temple as its actual Lord. His authority with the people, which it was sought to impair, was thus strengthened anew. His enemies enter into the fact of their position; yet not with repentance and obedience, but with a hypocritical acknowledgment, that they might again ensnare Him by cunning. This they could compass only by bringing Him into suspicion of the crime, of which they were themselves conscious, of exciting machinations against the Roman government. They wanted a political Messiah: that He would not become. They now sought to involve Him in the appearance of being a political Messiah, in order that they might band Him over to the Roman authorities as an insurrectionary. They would suggest to Him, or impose upon Him, the sedition of their own hearts, that thus they might ruin Him. Thus they went further and further into the most Abandoned course of lying, urged by the exasperation which His last great warning parables had provoked to the uttermost. How great this exasperation was, appears from the fact that it was the Pharisees of the Sanhedrin, the bitterest enemies of Rome, who made this attack, and connected themselves, for the accomplishment of their purpose, with the Herodian political party. And the greatness of their obduracy and blindness appears in this, that after all they actually brought Him to the cross under the charge of being a political Messiah, although He rebuked and repelled every solicitation to utter a seditious word. They hoped to succeed in their temptation, because they were blinded by the spirit of absolutism which regards every departure from its laws and demands as rebellion and revolution.

And took counsel.—It is a counsel of cunning. Their purpose is now to confront Him as private persons, who have much respect for His person; and for this purpose they have a perilous question ready. Hence the new assault upon our Lord assumes the form of a series of distinct party attacks. The Pharisees take the lead with theirs; and theirs was, indeed, the most cunningly devised. The Sadducees then follow, in an attack more direct and outspoken, though equally disguised as to its ultimate purpose. And then come, lastly, the scribes of the Pharisees’ party, and try their strength on His.

Matthew 22:16. Their disciples with the Herodians.—It was part of the cunning of this new attack, that the Pharisees—the most dignified members of the Sanhedrin—who had just officially encountered Jesus, did not now appear before Him in the new character of hypocritical submission. He should by no means know their design. Hence they sent their disciples, young and unknown persons, who were students of the science of expounding Scripture. But for these they had been able to provide an accompaniment of political partisans, Herodians, probably also of the younger sort. They were the high-born academical youth of Jerusalem: an appropriate organ to use in a temptation to theocratical revolution around the temple of Zion. Meyer :“The Herodians were that party of the Jews who were devoted to the royal house of Herod—a party political, not hierarchical, yet not purely Roman; popular royalists, in opposition to the pure principle of the theocracy, but also to the unpopular Roman dominion (against Cæsar), Biding with the powerful Pharisees from policy and according to circumstances. For other and in part very singular interpretations, see Wolf and Köcher in loc.16 The passage in Joseph. Antiq. xiv. 15, 10, refers to other circumstances, comp. Ewald, p. 196. To regard them as adherents of the Roman government generally (and not specifically a faction devoted to the Herodian family), is forbidden by the special name which they bore. It was deep cunning in the hierarchy to unite themselves with this royalist faction; for thus they hoped to embolden Jesus to utter a word which might be interpreted against the census-tribute. Their flattering introduction had this design; and their further plan was to urge a political complaint against Him before the Roman authorities. Comp. Luke 20:20. But, should an affirmative answer upset this scheme, they would at least succeed in placing the Herodians in antagonism to Him.” Rather, they would in this case make Him hateful to the people, in consequence of His unconditional testimony in favor of subjection to the Roman dominion. The Herodians were, after all, anti-theocratic in their sentiments, and could only wear the mask of a patriotic royalism, which might serve as a temptation to the Lord. A third contingency, that Jesus might decline giving any answer, His opponents seem scarcely to have at all contemplated. It may have occurred to their minds, however, that they might possibly use Him yet as a tool in a gigantic rebellion.

Master, we know.—A cunning hint,17 that they were ready to pay Him honor as the Messiah. In a sincere spirit Nicodemus said the same thing, John 3:2.

That Thou art true: truthful.—With all their deceit, they actually thought this. The most abandoned falsehood is constrained to acknowledge His pure sincerity.

Thou teachest the way of God in truth.—Hypocritical recognition, (1) of His doctrine, and (2) of His manner of teaching or His orthodoxy. The way of God, in the Jewish scholastic sense; emphatically, the practical instruction which came from God Himself and represents His will; the revelation of God as the standard for human conduct. See Bretschneider, sub ὁδός.

Neither carest Thou for any one.—A cunning temptation to lift Himself, in His proud consciousness, above all respect or care for the Roman authorities. They had indeed found that their power had no effect to intimidate Him in the way of truth. But they might have known that His independence was always connected with the purest submission to the powers that are. Their involuntary acknowledgment shines through their false speech.

Regardest not the person of man.—ΙΙ ρόσωπον is the outward appearance: the representative of an authority. Ο βλέπιες πρόσωπονis essentially the same as Luke’s οὐ λαυβάνεις πρόσωπον, Matthew 22:21, but stronger.

Matthew 22:17. Is it lawful ?—To the Jew. De Wette “According to theocratical principles, which regard ed Jehovah as the only King in Israel.” The theocratical prerogative, however, had not interfered with the representation of Jehovah by human kings in Israel; and the Israelites had paid tribute always to them. In fact, they had in past times paid tribute even to foreign potentates—the Babylonians, Persians, etc. How then, in the face of such precedents, could the question be urged as it was urged on the present occasion ? The explanation is to be found in the fact, that the Jewish fanaticism had increased from generation to generation, and that it was now rapidly approaching the point of culmination which it reached at last in the Jewish war. And the hope of the Messiah was also increasing in strength. Thus, while the payment of tribute to a human king might generally be lawful, it was otherwise with a heathen king, especially Caesar, who threatened to take the place of the Messiah as His dark rival in the rule of the world: this might appear apostasy from the theocracy and the hope of Messiah’s kingdom. In this spirit Judas the Gaulonite (Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 1; Acts 5:37) had refused the census of the Romans; regarding it as the decisive sign of servitude. And certainly the Jews might have been justified in refusing all political homage to the Caesar, if the history of the theocracy had not established a distinction between the religious and the political element, and introduced and accustomed them to such a difference between the Church and the State. But fanaticism ignored this distinction as a temporary abuse, and supposed that with the advent of the Messiah it would disappear; meanwhile it was a disorder that must be cunningly submitted to as a necessity. Christ opposes to their temptation the perfect and clear distinction as it was appointed by God. The question: “Is it lawful?” of itself obscures the supposition of duty; and the question: “Must we, as servants of the theocracy, refuse the tribute ?” meant, in other words: Must we resist the dominion of the Romans, and rise up in rebellion ?

Or not ?—The not lawful they would fain have put in His mouth.

Matthew 22:18. Hypocrites.—Bengel: “Jesus verum se eis ostendit ut dixerant, Matthew 22:16.”

Matthew 22:19. The tribute money.—The coin in which the tribute is paid. Ubicunque numisma regis alicujus obtinet, illic incolæ regem istum pro domino agnoscunt. Maimon. in Gezelah, v. 18.

Matthew 22:20-21. Whose is this image?—The Lord’s answer gains infinitely in emphasis when we connect it with the action in which He clothes it Bearing this coin in their hands, they were obliged to appear before Him as the subjects of Cæsar, and themselves read the decision of their own question in the. word “Cæsar.” But the truth of the answer consists in this, that every one has subjected himself to the actual obligations of a State who has entered into its rights, as symbolized by its currency. Or, he who acknowledges the ruler’s right of coining, acknowledges also his right to tribute; he who takes the coin from Cæsar, must give it back to him again. Thus Jesus makes the payment of tribute a duty of virtual obligation. The coin is already Cæsar’s. But the word is τὰΚαίσαρος, the things of Cæsar, and it includes therefore all the obligations to the State. But this obedience must ever be conditioned by obedience to God, to whom all must pay the trib.ute of τὰτοῦ Θεοῦ, the things of God. And here we must not think merely of any particular tribute—the temple tribute (the usual interpretation), or repentance (Ebrard)—but of all religious obligations. Erasmus: Give to God that which has the image and inscription of God, the soul (quod Dei habet inscriptionem et imaginem, i.e,, animum).

Matthew 22:21. And unto God the things that are God’s.—The word was not only a precept, but also a correction; since they denied to the father Himself, in the person of Jesus, the honor due to Him. And so also the word: “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s,” might have spared them the Jewish war, the destruction of Jerusalem, and the downfall of their nation.

[The answer of our Saviour in Matthew 22:21 is perhaps the wisest answer ever given to any question, certainly the wisest which could possibly be made in this case, and we need not wonder that the enemies who elicited it, “marvelled and left Him.” It establishes the rights, regulates the duties, and distinguishes the jurisdiction of the spiritual and temporal powers and their subjects. It contains the fundamental principle and guide for the settlement of the vexed question of Church and State, which has created so much trouble and persecution in the history of Christianity. If men would always strictly adhere to this rule, there never would be a hostile collision between the two powers, which are both of divine origin and authority, the one for the temporal, the other for the eternal welfare of man, and which ought to be kept distinct and independent in their respective spheres without mixture and confusion, and yet without antagonism, but in friendly relation in View of their common origin in God, and their common end and completion in the βασιλεία τῆς δόξης,, where God shall be all in all.—P. S.]


1. The temptation of Christ to revolution, through the students and aristocracy of Jerusalem, as the instruments of His enemies.
2. The Messiah Himself divides here the theocracy, which was both Church and State, into Church and State as two distinct parts: He consigns the kingdom of this world to Caesar, while He limits and conditions it by the kingdom of God.
3. Render unto Cæsar that which is Cæsar’s.—Here the duty of obedience is deduced from the fact of the existing dominion. Cæsar had the coin, therefore it should be given to him; Cæsar had the power, therefore he should be obeyed. De Wette distinguishes in a futile way between the principles of conscience, of right, and of power and prudence. Prudence is also matter of conscience. To revolt against authority, is contrary to conscience. Political obligations have entered in, as matter of fact, wherever people have settled themselves in the enjoyment of political rights. Hence the passages, Romans 13:1; 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Peter 2:13; 1 Peter 2:17, belong here. On the distinction between legitimate and unrighteous dominion, this text says nothing. But it does say that he who has accepted the protection of an actual government, has entered into its political constitution, and acknowledged thereby its rights. The legitimist feeling of devotion to an oppressed power must maintain its propriety by banishment and suffering with it. It can co-exist with the new bond of subjection only as a wish, a sentiment, a longing for deliverance. Enjoying the protection of the exist power, it must submit to the obligations which thence arise. But the antithesis, “Unto God that which is God’s,” is self characterized as the higher or absolute principle, which is the condition of the former. Comp Acts 4:19 [which contains the right of disobedience to the temporal power, where it clearly contradicts the laws of God.—P. S.].

4. Money represents the palpable earthly side of government and civil relations. He who, in the impress of the coin, is acknowledged as the ruler over the money of the land, is thereby marked out as the ruler of the land. In a certain sense, therefore, the money circulation is a permanent symbol of political subjection and mark of allegiance.18 But, over against the external and visible dominion of Cæsar over tho civil life, there is the immediate dominion of God over the internal and unseen life. These two dominions are not indeed coordinate; the latter is supreme over the former; but it has a pre-eminence which admits of a certain appearance of division between the power of Cæsar and the power of God. But the impress of God is upon the spirit; therefore the life of the soul must be given to God. By the requirement: “Give unto God the things that are God’s,” Christ certainly, as Gerlach remarks, pointed out to them the way in which they might become really free again; yet not in any such sense as would encourage them to hope for a return of the old theocracy. Obedience to God will make Christendom free from the violence of secular power, and ready for admission into the perfect kingdom of God.

5. The right distinction between that which is God’s and that which is Cæsar’s, must lead to the true unity of life; while the confusion of these two must lead to division, lie, and hypocrisy. The Jewish hierarchy, in their superstition, made some scruple whether they should pay Cæsar his tribute; and then they threw their own Messiah to him, whose golden fidelity displayed most gloriously the image of God.
6. Langii opus Bibl.: We may easily imagine how ashamed these conceited young men must have felt when they departed: wicked as they were they could not but feel that they and their teachers must have nothing but confusion to expect from their encounters with Christ.

7. The peculiar case where the magistrate confounds political and spiritual subjugation, and exerts tyranny over conscience, as Antiochus Epiphanes did and many others, is here not taken into account, inasmuch as the Roman government at the time of Christ tolerated and respected the rights of conscience, and for some time even protected the Christians (though not Christ Himself) against the fanaticism of the Jews.


The temptation of our Lord to pronounce a watchword of rebellion: 1. The cunning attempt of the enemies; 2. the instruments; 3. the issue.—The political temptations of Christians: 1. To refuse tribute (insurrection and rebellion); 2. to sacrifice the conscience (servility).19—Christ supreme victor over all the cunning and all the violence of His enemies.—The counsel of the ungodly, Psalms 2:0.; their snares, Proverbs 29:5.—Canning, the ancient fellow of violence, especially in the government of the hierarchy.—Christ’s victory over cunning is the victory of God’s kingdom over cunning.—The contest of the Lord with the cunning of His foes tended to the glorification of His Wisdom 1. They take counsel: He is thoroughly prepared. 2. They would entangle Him: He seeks to deliver them out of their own snare. 3. They praise Him in order to His destruction: He rebukes them, in order to arouse and save them. 4. They would fain involve Him in their own wicked designs: He punishes them in His righteousness. 5. They wish to judge Him as guilty: He dismisses them as Judge.—The covenant of the hierarchs and Herodians in order to overwhelm Christ.—The various decisions of Christ touching money.—The salutary distinction of Christ between Church and State.—The decision of Christ upon the rights of Cæsar: 1. They are rights which are derived from God; 2. they are co-ordinate to the spiritual rights of the church; 3. they are subordinate to the rights of God.—The weight of the clause, “And to God that which is God’s.”—Only he who rightly distinguishes between religious and civil duties will know how to connect them aright.—The hypocritical blending of religion and policy: 1. By withholding the dues to the civil government, under pretext of saving the rights of God; 2. by sacrificing the most sacred rights of God and His church to the secular power.—The enemies of the Lord gather strength from every new humiliation to harden themselves afresh.—The three kinds of assault which His enemies make upon the cause of Christ: 1. With violence; 2. with cunning; 3. with cunning and violence combined.

Starke:—Canstein: Wicked hearts are only more wicked and malicious by faithful warning.—The two kinds of serpents, the crooked and Um straight (Isaiah 27:1; first cunning, then might).—Zeisius: When Christ is to be opposed, Herod and Pilate soon become one.—Hypocrites and Bars have honey on their lips, and gall in their hearts, Psalms 55:21.—Quesnel: The praise of ungodly men is full of snares.—Zeisius: No attack and no cunning of any avail against the Lord.—He who has God’s word and truth on his side is sure to carry off the victory.—Osiander: He who would put to shame God’s servants will himself be put to shame.—The cunning which would entrap wisdom is itself caught.

Lisco:—Christ shows here that it is not His purpose to effect any change in earthly political relations (that is, in a political and earthly way).

Heubner:—The Truth, Christ, stands hero in the presence of falsehood.—It is the vocation of the pious to have to move among those who continually pervert their words.—The Christian’s bearing toward the various political parties in the world.—What they did in cunning and malice, we should do in earnest sincerity: ask Christ’s advice in all cases of doubt and conflict of duties.—The Christian living under a wicked government must submit in all things that do not molest his conscience.—The voice of the gospel on the duties of subjects.—The Christian should recommend his religion by his civil and political honesty.—Christ’s dignity in the answer to these questions concerning the duties of subjects and rulers.

Reinhard:—The right of subjects to judge the rule and commands of their governors.—T. W. Wolf:—How little the Lord is served by false praise.—Rambach:—The most pious Christian is the best citizen.


[12] Matthew 22:15—[̔́Ο πως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν (from παγίς, a snare, a trap) ἐνλόγῳ, Lange: um ihn (mit List) zu fangen in einem Aunspruch; Ewald: durch sin Wort. The word here refers to the artful question in Matthew 22:17, to which, they thought, He must either answer yes or no, and In either ease fatally compromise Himself. Meyer: ἐνλόγῳ, in ciner Rede, d. h., in cinem Auespruche, welchen er ihun wûrde. Dieser ist als Fatte oder Schlings (παγις) gedacht” In Cod. Sinait. the words: ἐν λόγῳ, are omitted.—P. S.]

[13] Matthew 22:16.—[Dr. Lange inserts after Herodians In small type: “Politicians, adherents of the Roman party of the Herodian house,”—P. S.]

[14] Matthew 22:19.—[Δηνάριον. See the Critical Notes on Matthew 18:28 and Matthew 20:2.—P. S.]

[15] Matthew 22:21.—[̓Α πόδοτε, reddite, render as a due, not: δότε, date, as a gift. Comp. Romans 8:7 : ἀπόδοτε οῦ̔ν πᾶσι τὰς ὀφειλάς, Render unto all their dues. Tertullian (De idol. 15): "Reddite imaginem Cœsari quae in nummo est, el imaginem Dei Deo quœ in homine est.”—P. S.]

[16][The Edinb trsl. reads here: “For some remarkable hint, see Woif,”—mistaking probably the sehr sonderbare deutungen of the original or wunderbare Andeutungen. Mistakes of this kind, whether of carelessness or ignorance of the German language, and ail sorts of arbitrary omissions and changes, occur on every page, yes almost in very sentence of this and several preceding chapters, and make the revision a more tedious and disagreeable task than a new translation.—P. S.]

[17][A cunning and malignant captatio benevolentiœ, as Meyer calls it.—P. S.]

[18][Comp. Quesnel. in loc.: “The image of princes stamped on their coin denotes that temporal things belong all to their grovernance; and the image of God imprinted on the null of man teaches that whatever use he makes either of himself or of the creatures, ought to be referred to God. . . . Princes [Rulers] being more the images of God than other men, ought aim to render to God whatever they receive from men, by directing it all to His glory.”—P. S.]

[19][The preceding sentences in the Homiletical and the concluding paragraphs of the Doctrinal sections, nearly half a column, are omitted entire in the Edinb. trsl., and the Homiletical Hints which follow are either omitted or arbitrarily abridged.—P. S.]

Verses 23-33

C. The Attack of the Sadducees, and the Victory of the Lord. Matthew 22:23-33

(Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-40.)

23The same day came to him the20 Sadducees, which [who] say that there is no resur- rection, and asked him, 24Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25Now there were with us seven brethren [brothers]: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue,21 left his wife unto his brother: 26Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh [unto the seven, ἕως τῶν ἑπτά. 27And last of all the woman died also. 28Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err [Ye err, go astray, πλανᾶσθε], not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God22 in heaven. 31But as touching [concerning] the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which wasspoken unto you by God, saying, 32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (Exodus 3:6)? God is not the God23 of the dead, hut of the living 33And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at this doctrine


Matthew 22:23. Sadducees.—See Exeg. Notes on Matthew 3:7, p. 71, and Winer’s article upon them.

Who say (teach).—The οἱ before λέγοντες must not be given up, though wanting in B., D., and other codices. See de Wette,

There is no resurrection.—It may be asked, how far and in what sense we are to regard the question of the Sadducees as a temptation; for, doubtless, their question also, like that of the Pharisees, was framed with a view to entangle our Lord in some matter of accusation; and therefore we may assume that their malice was the counterpart of the malice of the Pharisees. It was the last consequence of Pharisaism—which no Pharisee, however, would openly express)—that no tribute was to be given to Caesar, but that his government was to be overturned. Now, this was the position to which they wished Jesus to commit Himself. And so also the Sadducees—though they did not come forward with an outspoken denial of the resurrection—hoped that they would make the Lord appear nothing but a Sadducee, and thereby effectually rob Him of all His influence and authority with the people. Should they not thus get the better of Him before the multitude, it was probable that Jesus would give some interpretation of the passage and of the doctrine which would bring Him into collision with Moses and the law. But they scarcely expected such a solution as Jesus gave; it never entered their thoughts that He would make so clear and definite a distinction between this life and the next. They hoped that they should constrain Him publicly to tow their secret doctrine, even as the Pharisees had hoped that they might make Him declare Himself a consummate Pharisee.

Matthew 22:24. Master, Moses said.Deuteronomy 25:5. They freely quoted the Mosaic law concerning the Levirate marriage. It was ordained, for the preservation of families, that if a man died without male issue, his brother should marry the widow, and that the first born son should be held in the registers to be the son of the dead brother. (Michaelis: Mosaischen Recht, 2. p. 98.) On this passage they construct a startling example, which in all probability was purely fictitious and boldly and unscrupulously carried out: their argument taking it for granted that, if there were ever a resurrection, the marriage must needs be renewed in another world. Thus, their design was to show, out of the law itself, that the doctrine of a resurrection was something untenable, and a gross absurdity.

Matthew 22:26. Unto the seven.—That is, unto the seventh.

Matthew 22:29. Not knowing the Scriptures, etc.—There is here a twofold source of knowledge: Holy Scripture, and spiritual experience; or, as the theologian would say, a formal and a material principle. Out of the ignorance of the one source24 or the other spring the Sadducee and the Rationalist tendencies to error. It is very observable that our Lord does not confront them with the rebuke, that they did not hold tradition sacred. Pharisaism which stuck to the traditions was no cure for Sadducism. The latter could never be set free from its negations, without learning more profoundly to study and apply its own positive principles, Scripture and the spiritual life. In what sense, then, was it that they did not understand Scripture ? In so far as they failed to discern in it its own living substance, its peculiar meaning in reference to the doctrine of immortality. But they understood not the power of God, inasmuch as they put no trust in the power of God over death, in His power to raise the dead; and therefore had no ability to conceive of or anticipate the glorification of the present body into a higher state, into a life in which present sexual relations should no longer subsist.

Matthew 22:30. In the resurrection.—Fritzsche: In the resurrection life. Meyer, on the other hand: In the rising. It does not, however, point merely to the moment of the commencement of the new life; but to the state in which that issues, as in ἐν τῇ παλιγγενεσία, Matthew 19:28.—Nor given in marriage.—This has reference to the custom of the Jews, that the female members of the family were given in marriage by their father. The resurrection is a higher state of things, in which death is extinguished in the glorification of life, and all things pertaining to marriage and the sexes done away (Luke 20:36; 1 Corinthians 15:44).

As the angels in heaven.—That is, the angels who are in heaven. Meyer: The risen are not yet in heaven. But compare 2Co 5:1; 1 Thessalonians 4:17. With the first resurrection begins the transition of earthly nature into the heavenly; and with the general resurrection earth and heaven will have become one in a glorified heavenly domain. “We find among the Rabbins similar notions of the future relations of the body and of the sexes (see Wetstein); but also such a low sensual view as this: mulier illa, quæ duobus nupsit in hoc mundo, priori restituitur in mundo futuro. Sohar.” Meyer.

Matthew 22:31. But concerning the resurrection of the dead.—Jesus demonstrates the resurrection by the passage, Exodus 3:6. They drew their argument from the Thorah, from the books of Moses; and He finds His proof in the same.25 De Wette: “From this the erroneous conclusion was deduced, even by the Fathers. (Tertull de Præsc, cap. 45; Hieron, ad loc), and by later divines, that the Sadducees accepted only the five books of Moses as canonical (an error which Olshausen seems to retain). Comp, Winer, art Sadducüer.” So also Meyer; but both of them have rather too confidently adopted Winer’s views.26 The remark of Josephus (Contra Apion. i. 8), that the whole of the twenty two books were esteemed divine by the Jews without exception, has no particular weight; for he is speaking only of the Jews generally, and in mass; and it is well known that the Sadducees did not dare to make a public dogma of their rejection of the post-Mosaic Scriptures, and of the doctrine of the resurrection. It is plain that the assertion of Josephus cannot be strictly applied to all parties, in view of the relation of the Essenes to the law of sacrifices, and other matters in the Old Testament. (See the Pseudo Clementines.) The passage, quoted by Winer, from Josephus (Antiq. xiii. 10, 6), declares that the Sadducees taught: δεῖν ἡγεῖσθαι νόμιμα ψὰ γεγραμμένα, that the holy writings must be honored. But these Scriptures were previously defined to be the law of Moses (so Josephus himself says, Matthew 18:1; Matthew 18:4). At the same time they rejected the tradition of the fathers. Thus they definitely acknowledged only the Mosaic Scriptures, and definitely rejected only tradition. Their position, meanwhile, toward the remainder of the Scripture, was officially an ambiguous one. That bad antithesis between Mosaic and non Mosaic Scriptures, which Josephus adduces, was attributed to them also by the Talmud: Negarunt legem ore traditam, nee fidem habuerunt nisi ei, quod in lege (the Thorah) Scriptum erat. They certainly did not express any positive rejection of the non Mosaic Scriptures, because they durst not; but their bad antithesis plainly enough disclosed that they did not acknowledge them, but would be disposed to class them with the traditions, which they did reject. The ancient testimonies, among which that of Origen is prominent, will maintain their force, therefore, in spite of Winer’s view.27

Matthew 22:32. I am [not: I was] the God of Abraham.—This argumentation has been treated by Hase, Strauss, and others, as a specimen of rabbinical dialectics or exegesis. (Comp. contra Ebrard, Kritik, etc., p. 606.) But a kind of dialectics which dealt in a merely deceptive demonstration we cannot ascribe to the Lord. The nerve of the argumentation lies in this, that God appears in the passage quoted as a personal God, who bears a personal covenant-relation to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The thought here expressed is this: God it the living, the God of the living (major premiss); He then calls Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (minor); consequently, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not simply dead, but they must continue to live as those to whom God is a God. The idea of personality is the root of all arguments for the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. “The similar argument in Menasseh, f. Isr. de Resurr. i. 10, 6, appears to have been derived from this passage. Comp. Schöttgen, p. 180.” Meyer.

[It is certain that this argument of our Saviour could not have been discovered by any amount of Rabbinical learning and acumen; and yet being once presented to our mind, it strikes us, not as an arbitrary imposition (like most of the Rabbinical, and many of the patristic allegorical interpretations), but as a real exposition of the true meaning of the passage quoted; throwing a flood of light over it, and filling us with wonder at the hidden depths and comforts of the Scriptures. But strictly taken, the argument of Christ avails only for those who stand in personal covenant relations with the God of Abraham, and are thus partakers of the Divine life which can never be destroyed, and implies an admonition to the Sadducees to enter into this relation. The immortality and resurrection of the wicked, which is as terrible a doctrine as the resurrection of the just is comfortable, is not denied here, but must be based on other passages of the Scripture.—P. S.]


1. The Temptation.See above. The Sadducees hoped that either the Lord would publicly sanction their petty and frivolous denial of the doctrine of the resurrection, or contradict the law of Moses. To this we may add the following consideration:—If the Sadducees already knew of the prophecy of Jesus, that He would rise from the dead (and probably Judas had revealed this to them, see chap, Matthew 27:63), then their temptation would have a special significance: it would be a hint that His hope of the resurrection was delusive enthusiasm, that He might well pause, and, before the determination of the highest authorities should take effect in His death, retreat from His pretensions and His whole work. Caiaphas and many of the Sanhedrin were Sadducees. Probably, therefore, there was here a concealed threatening of death, and a temptation to renounce and retract.

2. “They professed to be those who knew,—the illuminated in Israel. But their knowledge was delusion; and a delusion which rested on a twofold ignorance.”

3. The Lord speaks, according to Luke, of an attaining unto the resurrection. This is the more precise representation of the resurrection of the glorified, which, however, presupposes the basis of the general resurrection, of which Matthew speaks.

4. He incidentally showed the Sadducees, who opposed the doctrine of angels (Acts 23:8), how little He thought of their rejection of it; for He designedly referred to the angels in heaven as persons, whose personal existence in heaven we may confidently assume.

5. The Sadducees had changed the positive law of God into an abstract law of ethics; turn being in a double sense like the Stoics; in their one-sided morality, and in their denial of the personal fundamental elements and relations of life.28 The consequence of their system was heathen pantheism. Thus, the question here was not merely the evidence for the resurrection, and that as taken from the law of Moses; a demonstration was to be given which should exhibit the very roots of the doctrine of the resurrection, that is, the doctrine of a personal God, and of His personal bond with human persons, as the foundation of their eternal personal life. And in this case also Christ proved Himself the supreme Teacher, by the quotation which He adduced in proof. The astonished people felt the power of His argument.

6. The doctrine of Paul, 1 Corinthians 15:0 (comp. Matthew 6:13), is in obvious harmony with this resurrection-doctrine of the Lord, which exhibits the second life as a state of imperishableness, sublimely elevated above death, and birth, and procreation, and thus above all the state of becoming.

7. We must be on our guard against the common unhistorical parallel drawn between the Sadducees and systems of Epicurean, selfish, sensual, and immoral tendency. They are to be regarded, however, as worldly-minded secularists in a more refined sense, who had fallen into a heathen view and estimation of this world.

[8. The Bible, viewing man in his completeness and integrity as a being consisting of body, soul and spirit, teaches the doctrine of immortality of the soul in inseparable connection with the resurrection of the body, and not in the abstract, unreal and shadowy form of naturalistic and rationalistic theology which would maintain the first and deny the second. Nast: “That the Scriptures attach more importance to the resurrection of the body, than to the mere self-conscious existence of the soul in its disembodied state, arises from the fact that the disembodied state of the soul is considered in the Scriptures as something imperfect, abnormal, so much so that even the souls of the just look forward with intense desire to their reunion with their bodies (Romans 8:11; Romans 8:23). Without the body man has not his whole full life.”—P. S.]

[9. Lavater, Stier and Alford justly regard the Lord’s answer, Matthew 22:32 (comp. πάντες γὰρ αὐτῷ ζῶσιν in Luke 20:38), as implying a conclusive argument against the doctrine of psychopanychia, or of the sleep of the soul in the intermediate state between death and the resurrection. The first theological treatise of Calvin was directed against this error, then entertained by the Anabaptists.—P. S.]


The Sadducees and Pharisees—the unbelievers and the legalists—leagued against Christ in the temple.—The Sadducees’ attack, a perfect type of the style of infidelity: 1. Supposing themselves free, they further tradition; 2. seemingly unprejudiced, they are inwardly bitter; 3. prating about the spirit, they are entangled in sensual notions; 4. pretending to be inquirers, they are only fabling misleaders, doubly ignorant; 5. proud and confident, with nothing but stupidity in art and weapons.—Ignorance the main source of unbelief: 1. Want of scriptural knowledge, or of honest perseverance in seeking it; 2. want of spiritual experience, or at least of sincerity in purpose.—Ignorance in spiritual things the guilt of life.—Christ the great witness of the resurrection.—The roots of that doctrine in the Old Testament.—The bond of believers with the living God a pledge of their resurrection.—The beautiful idea of the future life: 1. Elevated above temporal transitoriness; 2. like the angels of God; 3. a life in heaven.—God not the God of the dead, but of tin living.—The life of believers as secure as the life of God, according to the testimony of Christ.—God the eternal pledge of the resurrection.—Our bond with God abolishes death as well as sin.—The absolute and indissoluble connection between the doctrine of immortality and the doctrine of the resurrection: 1. The former requires the latter; 2. the latter presupposes the former.—Have ye not read what is written? Or: There is a reproving and correcting word for every form of unbelief in the Scripture.—Christ the conqueror of unbelief.—Christ the glorifier of this world and the next: 1. He illustrates to us this world by the next, and the next world by this; 2. He brings to perfection this world and the next.—In the controversy between faith and unbelief, the people usually side with faith.

Starke:—When Christ is to be persecuted in His people, those combine together who are not agreed in anything else.—Canstein: Satan never ceases to lay snares for Christ and His Church.—Hedinger: The mockers are many who deny the resurrection.—Zeisius: The ground of all errors and contentions among converted people is their ignorance of Holy Scripture: not so much of its letter, as of the living and blessed apprehension of the mind of the Spirit,—Canstein: God’s word is not merely what is written there in express letters, but also all that may be deduced therefrom by sound reasoning.—Quesnel: God knows how to bring good out of evil, light out of darkness, and the glory of truth out of false doctrine and maliciousness.

Heubner:—Quoting from Lavater: “The Sadducees and Pharisees are the two great parties in misleading the human race; they change their position in succeeding ages, one of them ordinarily being pre-eminent. These spirits are always to be contended against, even now: sometimes superstition united with hypocrisy; now unbelief united with the semblance of wisdom and illumination. Against both Christ protests continually; and against both the Church teacher must protest. The former appeal to authority, antiquity, tradition, the sanctity of the letter; the latter, to reason, doubt, freedom.”—The same (Lavater as quoted by Heubner): “The angel who appeared in the burning bush in the name of God, is a pledge of that which ye deny: he was a symbol that God can preserve what nature seems to destroy.”—Christ shows how we must read the Scripture, and use the key for the true knowledge of God.


[20] Matthew 22:28.—[The article is wanting In Greek and should be omitted in the trsl.—P. S.]

[21] Matthew 22:25.—[Literally: and the first, hating married, died (or: married and died), and having no teed, left his wife to his brother, γαμήσας ἐτελεύτησε καὶ μὴ ἕχων σπέρμα, ἀφῆκε, κ.τ.λ.—P. S.]

[22] Matthew 22:17.—Τοῦ Θεοῦ is omitted in B., D., etc., according to Meyer on account of Mark 12:36 [ὡς ἅγγελοι ἐν αοῖς ὐρανοῖς].

[23] Matthew 22:32.—The second Θεός [before νεκρῶν is stricken out by Lachmann on the authority of B., L., and other ancient MSS. But here, too. Meyer defends it, and explains the omission from the desire of copyists to conform to Mark and Lake. [Omitted in Cod. Sinait]

[24][The Edinb. trsl. omits the igorance of (aus dem Eichtwissen der eineti Quelie, etc.), and thus makes the errors of Sadducism and Rationalism actually spring from the Holy Scriptures and spiritual experience!—P. S.]

[25][The passage occurs in connection with the appearance of Jehovah to Moses in the burning bush, which wits itself striking symbol of the power of God to preserve what in the course of nature must perish. Alford: “Our Lord does not cite the strong testimonies of the Prophets, as Isaiah 26:19; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Daniel 12:2 but says, as in Luke (Luke 20:37), ‘even Motes has shewn,’ etc., leaving those other witnesses to be supplied. The books of Moses were the great and ultimate appeal for all doctrine: and thus the assertion of the Resurrection comes from the very source whence their difficulty had been constructed.” Thus the burden of the law, ‘I am the Lord thy God,’ contains the seed of immortality and the promise of the resurrection. The law Is the bard shell which contains and protects the precious kernel of the gospel.—P. S.]

[26][So has Alford in loc.: “The Sadducees acknowledged the prophets also, and rejected tradition only (see this abundantly proved by Winer, Realworterbuch, saddueder).”— P. S.]

[27][In German: Anffassung, which the Edinb. trsl. falsely jenders incorrect statements; thus doing injustice to the late Dr. Winer, who is one of the most conscientious, accurate, and reliable writers in all quotations and statements of facts- P. S.]

[28][It seems to me that the Pharisees rather correspond to the Stoics, the Sadducees to the Sceptics and Epicureans, the Essenes to the Platonists; the first representing the error of orthodoxism and legalism, the second that of rationalism and worldly indifferentism, the third that of mysticism. No doubt many of the Greek and Roman Sceptics and Epicureans, as well as the Sadducees, maintained a respectable show of outward morality and decency.—P. S.]

Verses 34-46

D. The Attack of the Pharisees, and the Victory of the Lord. Matthew 22:34-46

(Mark 12:28-37; Luke 20:41-44.—The Gospel for the 18th Sunday after Trinity.)

34But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together [collected in the same place, συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό]. 35Then one of them, which [who] was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,29 36Master, which is the great commandment [what kind of commandment is great] in the 37law? 30 Jesus31 said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind (Deuteronomy 6:5). 38This is the first and great [the great and first]32 commandment. 39And the second [But a second, δευτέρα δέ] is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself (Leviticus 19:18). 40On these two commandments hang all the law [hangs the whole law, ὅλος ὁ νόμος κρέμαται and [also] the prophets.33 41, While the Pharisees were gathered [collected] together, Jesus asked them, 42Saying, What think ye of [concerning the, περὶ τοῦ] Christ? whose son is he [of whom is he the son? τίνος υἱός ἑστι]? They say unto him, The son34 of David. 43He saith unto 44them, How then doth David in spirit [by the Spirit]35 call him Lord, saying, The Lord [in Hebrew: Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Adonai], Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool [till I put thine enemies under thy feet]?36 (Psalms 10:5.) 45, If David then call37 him Lord, how is he his son? 46And no man [no one] was able to answer him a word, neither [nor] durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.


Matthew 22:34-40. The Question of the Great Commandment, General Remarks.—Mark gives it in an enlarged form; the narrative of Luke 10:28-37 has a kindred element. De Wette: “Probably the three accounts are different forms of the evangelical tradition, derived from the same historical materials; although there are traces in Luke of some dependence on Matthew.” Strauss: “Three free variations of the same primitive Christian tradition.” Meyer: “The difference of time and place in Luke’s account shows that the accounts of Matthew and Mark only may be considered As variations of the same tradition.” We may add, that the occasion and the whole transaction are different in Luke. There, Jesus puts the question: here, the scribe. The account of Mark refers to the same fact, but under a different point of view. Matthew has in his eye the tempting assault which the sect of the Pharisees made upon Christ by one of their agents, without regard to the person of this agent. Mark, on the contrary, has taken pains to describe this latter in full, showing that his spirit was better than that of his party. There is nothing improbable in this; and in Matthew’s account also, the rich young man separates himself from the mass of Christ’s enemies, as having a nobler disposition than they. Those overpowering influences which Christ exerted upon some individuals in the ranks of the enemy, detaching them from the midst of their party, are among His greatest triumphs, and are anticipations of the power which converted Saul on the way to Damascus.

Matthew 22:34. But when the Pharisees bad heard.—What was the motive of the new assault? Strauss: “In order to avenge the Sadducees”—against all probability. The Pharisees were rather rejoiced that Jews had reduced their enemies to silence; and this Matthew intimates in his ἐφἰμωσεν. (Luther: That He had stopped the mouths of the Sadducees.) Ebrard: “In order to make evident their superiority to the Sadducees;” which, although Meyer objects, seem very obvious. But they must have had, besides that, another and independent design. Meyer: “They would extort from Jesus an answer to a question of their own which would compromise Him.” But what answer? De Wette: “We cannot see the embarrassing nature of their question. The Rabbins distinguished between great and small, weighty and light, commandments (Wetstein on Matthew 5:19; Matthew 23:28); such a distinction is the basis of all casuistry in morals. Probably, it was very customary at that time; and even if Jesus had declared Himself very freely on the question, it would not have involved Him in any danger.” Meyer: “The temptation of the question lay in the Rabbins’ distinctions of weighty and light commandments. If Jesus had mentioned any particular ποιότης of a great commandment, His answer would have been measured by the standard of particular distinctions in schools of casuistry; and somehow He would have been compromised.” Olshausen understands the πειράζων of an honest desire to search out the views of Jesus.38—Thus exegesis leaves us in the dark here.

But the tempting element of the question is explained by the answer and the counter-question of Jesus. The Pharisees doubtless took it for granted that Jesus would answer them: “Thou shalt love God above all,” or: “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me;” certainly He would mention the sanctity of monotheism. But their monotheism was altogether deistical in its bias, and had in it no christological principle. They argued from the unity of God, like Mohammed afterward (compare also the history of Ebionitism and Socinianism), that God could have no son. But they knew that Christ made Himself the Son of God; for this they had charged Him somewhat before (John 10:0) with blasphemy, asserting that He thereby made Himself equal with God. They intended, therefore, to found upon His expected answer, “to love God above all,” a charge of blasphemy, in making Himself equal to that supreme God by pretending to be His Son. But Jesus disturbed this tempting design by adding to the statement of the great and first commandment, “to love God supremely,” the declaration that the second was equal to it, “to love our neighbor as ourselves.” This elevated the human nature into a higher relation to the Divinity; and He said in effect: “As the second commandment is subordinate to the first, and yet like unto it, so the Son of Man is subordinate to the Father, and yet like unto Him.” The Pharisees felt at once the t His addition of the love to man had traversed their whole design. But that the argument referred to was really prepared by them, is plain from the question which the Redeemer based upon theirs; that is, the question how David could call the Messiah, his Son (therefore man), his Lord (therefore God, or God’s Son). The correctness of our exposition is shown also by the following consideration. The two charges under which the council placed Jesus before Pilate’s judgment-seat were these: 1. That He had made Himself the Son of God; 2. that He had made Himself king of the Jews in a political sense. This accusation was derived by them, in their embarrassment and affected daring, from that preliminary single but ambiguous charge, that He had made Himself the king of the Jews, that is, the Messiah (see the process in John 18:19). The same ambiguous word: “king of the Jews,” they first construed into a religious crime, and then, since that availed nothing, they construed it into a political crime. On this day of temptations, they strove to extract from Him a confession of both these charges. The temptation of making Him a political Messiah had come to nought. They then thought that at least they would involve Him in another, and more perilous condemnation, that of blasphemously impugning monotheism, or undermining the fundamental idea of the Jewish religion: this charge, though not quite so serviceable before Pilate, would serve them better before the people. We are warranted in this supposition by the questioning before Caiaphas, Matthew 26:63, and the condemnation to death winch ensued upon the answer of Jesus.

They were collected on the same spot.—We may ascribe to a wide diversity of motives the excitement which caused the Pharisees to flock to the spot in masses: delight at the humiliation of the Sadducees; the desire to do bettor than they had done; despair that all means had failed to extort from Jesus any ground of accusation; among some of them, a nobler complacency in the victory won for the doctrine of the resurrection; probably, also, the wish to induce Him to give up His extravagant pretensions to be the Messiah and the Son of God, and, as an orthodox teacher of the people (in an Ebionite sense), would make Himself useful to them against the Sadducees. Ἐπὶτὸαὐτό, as in Acts 1:15, referring to place, not sentiment.

Matthew 22:35. A lawyer, νομι κό ς.—A word often used by Luke; by Matthew only here. Paulus understands it, one who acknowledged only the Pentateuch and Scripture, rejecting tradition; that is, a Sadducee (or Scripturist, Karaite;—though these last did not yet exist, they were germinally present in the Sadducees). But this, as de Wette objects, is contradicted by the ἐξ αὐτῶν, which necessarily must be referred to the Pharisees. Meyer: “He was a Mosaic jurist: νομοδιδάσκαλος designates the same as teacher; γραμματεύς. is only an enlargement of the idea of νομικός—one versed in Scripture, a Biblical scholar, whose calling was the study and exposition of Holy Writ. Comp. Gfrörer in the Tühinger Zeitschrift for 1838, 1:146.”

Matthew 22:36. Which is the great commandment?—Meyer lays stress39 upon the ποία, and explains: How must a commandment be, or what character must it have, in order to be called great? But the answer of Jesus does not suit this. Yet certainly the ποία indicates the quality of the commandment. The great, μεγάλη, says more than the greatest. The greatest might be brought into comparison with the less great; but the great must, strictly viewed as a principle, include them all.

Matthew 22:37. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.—The passage, Deuteronomy 6:5, freely after the Septuagint. Fritzsche: “God as thy Lord.” But it would be better to invert it—the Lord as thy God: in the original, Jehovah thy God. And this introduces a new significance in relation to Christ. Jehovah, God of the Revelation, the God of the incarnation, was to be Israel’s God, and not the God of a deistical perversion.

With all thy heart.—The ἐνὅλῃτῇ follows the original Hebrew בְּכָל, and not the Septuagint ἐξ. The heart is the entire inner nature of man; the soul is then rather the vitality of the heart animating the body; the mind, its spiritual and intellectus part (inlellectus, mens). Meyer, following Beck (Biblische Seelenlehre, p. 109), makes καρδια the whole energy of the reason and the intellect; ψυχή, the whole energy of sentiment and passion; and διάνοια, the whole energy of thought and will in its manifestation.40

Matthew 22:39. But a second is like unto it, ὁμιία.—This refers to the preceding declaration of Jesus, “The great and the first” (according to the true reading). Hence the article may be omitted. The commandment of the love of God is regarded in two lights: 1. As the great, which embraces in their unity all commandments, including that of love to our neighbor; 2. as the first, inasmuch as it is a special commandment, which precedes the commandment of love to man.—Is like unto it.—Compare 1 John 4:20-21 : Romans 13:9. Even the love of God itself is to manifest and actualize itself by love to man,—more generally by love to all men, more particularly by brotherly love.41 The commandment is according to the Septuagint of Leviticus 19:18. Meyer: “ἀγαπήσεις signifies a tender regard, and conduct in harmony with it; this, therefore, may be commanded, but not φιλεῖν, which is the love of affection or sentiment. Compare Tittmann’s Synonyms.” By this answer, Jesus not only penetrated and convicted the wicked design of the Pharisees, but also reproved the error which lurked in their question. He acknowledged a distinction between the great commandment and the rest, so far as the former is the principle, and all others derived from it. But in another sense, He acknowledged no distinction: the derived commandment of love to man is equal to the first in its absolute value, and as representing the first.

[As thyself.—“W. Burkitt: Every man may, yea, ought to love himself, not his sinful self, but his natural self, and especially his spiritual self, the new nature in him. This it ought to be his particular care to increase and strengthen. Indeed there is no express command in Scripture for a man to love himself, because the light of nature directs, and the law of nature binds and moves every man so to do. God has put a principle of self love and of self-preservation into all His creatures, but especially in man. Man ought to love his neighbor, 1. not as le docs love himself, but as he ought to love himself; 2. no; in the same degree, but after the same manner, i. e., freely and readily, sincerely and unfeignedly, tenderly and compassionately, constantly and perseveringly.”—There are cases, however, where man ought to love his neighbor more than himself, and sacrifice his life for his fellows, his country, and the church, in imitation of the example of Christ and the martyrs.—P. S.]

Matthew 22:40. Hangs, κρέμαται (according to the true reading).—The figure is taken from the door on its hinges, or from the nail on the wall; and aptly indicates dependence upon one common principle, and development from it; and hence it follows that the two great commandments have a higher unity in the one great commandment, that we love Jehovah, the incarnate God of revelation, as our God.—And also the prophets.—By the position of ἱπροφῆται after κρέμαται the prophets are made especially prominent. And the sense is this: Even the prophets who predicted the Messiah, the Son of God, do not contradict the great commandment of monotheism; they rather proceed from that law,—that is, from the word of the God of revelation flow the prophetical words concerning His revelation.

Matthew 22:41-46. The counter-question of Jesus. Its object.—Paulus; “Jesus aimed to lead His opponents to the point, that the Psalm was not of David, and not Messianic.” (!) De Wette: “He thereby intimated that He was not a political Messiah.” Weisse: “He wished to give a bint that He did not spring from David.” (?) Meyer: “He thus convicted them of their own ignorance and helplessness concerning the nature of the Messiah.” But, connecting the Lord’s question with the tempting question that preceded it, it appears plain that Jesus would prove by a Messianic utterance of the Psalm, that the Messiah might be at once the Son of David, i.e., a Son of Man, and at the same time the Lord of David, i.e., the Son of God.42

Matthew 22:41. While the Pharisees.—A significant circumstance. The whole body of Pharisaism is convicted and confuted by an Old Testament word, showing the consistency of the doctrine concerning the Son of God with Scripture.

Matthew 22:43. How then doth David by the Spirit call Him Lord?—Here πῶς is not: “With what propriety, how is it possible?” but: “In what sense?” or: “What can he mean by it?”—Doth call:—in the sense of formal designation, solemn title.

Matthew 22:44. The Lord said unto my Lord.—Quotation from Psalms 110:0. There are different views on its authorship and Messianic bearing. De Wette: “The poet (who is not David) calls the king, of whom the Psalm speaks, his Lord. The difficulty is thus taken away by the historical exposition. Jesus assumes the authorship of David, and its Messianic interpretation, simply as being prevalent in His time. But it is not necessary to suppose that Jesus agreed with the common notion. If stress is laid upon the words Δαβὶδἐ πνεύμα·ι, it must be remembered that we cannot rely upon the genuineness of these words sufficiently to build anything upon them. See Luke 20:42.” But here it is not Luke, but Matthew who speaks. Meyer agrees with de Wette, but while the latter assumes an accommodation of Jesus to the popular opinion, the former supposes that Jesus shared in the prevailing view as to the historical origin of the Psalm. But in our opinion, the correctness of the application of the word in the Psalm does not depend upon the question, whether David himself composed it or not. That Psalm is manifestly a poetical reproduction of the historical promise of Jehovah, which David received from the lips of the prophet Nathan, according to 2 Samuel 12:0, and of the last words of David referring to it, 2 Samuel 23:3 sqq. David is introduced as speaking on that basis of what Jehovah had promised the Messiah his offspring.43 That the Psalm is Messianic, and in the stricter sense prophetically Messianic, is evident from the tenor of its whole connection. Similarly, in the prophet Daniel we must first distinguish the historical basis and the composition, and then again identify them; since both are combined in the ἐν πνεύμστι of Scripture. Compare Matthew 24:15.

By the SpiritLuke 2:27; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15. Not indeed impulsu Spiritus; but in the element of the Spirit, of the Spirit of God, which is the principle of unity in the Scripture.

Him.—The Son of David as the Messiah. The Rabbins saw in this Psalm one of the most clear and decisive Messianic prophecies. It was not till a later period that they retracted this interpretation. See Hengstenberg, Christologie, on this Psalm [vol. 1 p. 140 sqq.].

Matthew 22:45. How is He then his Son?—The answer is Romans 1:3-4; Acts 2:25. It was not the ignorance, but the unbelief, of the Pharisees which declined the answer.

Matthew 22:46. And no one could answer Him a word.—Decisive mandatum de supersedendo.—Nor durst any one from that day question Him any more.—The great point of severance between the rabbinical, deistic Judaism, and Christian and believing Judaism. Bengel: Nova dehinc quasi Scena Me pandit.


See the preceding remarks. They will, we think, have shown that the question about the great commandment, and the Lord’s counter-question concerning David’s Son, the Greater than David, have a much higher significance than exegesis has hitherto discerned in them. It is the spiritual process of severance between the deistical apostasy of Judaism, and the true Messianic faith of Judaism—that is, Christianity itself. The silence of the Pharisees, after Christ’s question, marks the crisis of their hardening. Hence the decisive and final rebuke of Jesus, and the departure from the temple: symbol of their desolation and judgment.


The last assault of His enemies upon the Lord in the temple.—The last question of the Pharisees, and the last counter-question of the Lord.—The inquiry about the great commandment meant as a temptation of Christ: 1. He will either lay aside His own majesty in presence of the majesty of God; or, 2. asserting His own majesty, He will dishonor the majesty of , God.—How the Pharisees misunderstood the great commandment, to love God with all the heart: 1. In opposition to the love of man: 2. in opposition to the dignity of Christ.—The one great commandment in its all-comprehensive significance: 1. It unfolds itself into the gospel, as a prophecy of salvation in the doctrine that the Lord, the incarnate Jehovah, was to be loved as God (the supreme Personality must reveal Himself); 2. it unfolds itself into the law of the Spirit, in the two commandments, the ten, and all other subordinate ones.—To love God with all our life: 1. With all our heart; 2. with all our soul; 3. with all our mind.—The commandment of the love to God a strong testimony for His sacred and mysterious personality,—a witness also of His own glorious love.—Since God is love, love to Him must at once be kindled by the contemplation of Him.—How can the first commandment be the greatest, and yet the second be like unto it? 1. The first is the greatest, because it is the ground of the second, and embraces it; 2. the second is equal to it, because it is the copy of the first, and love to God is to be demonstrated by love to man.—The measure of the love of God: nothing is sufficient, neither our life nor all things.44 The measure of love to man: our love to ourselves.—In love to our neighbor we are to prove our love to God.—The two commandments are inseparable: 1. We cannot love God without loving our neighbor (against superstition); we cannot love our neighbor without the love of God (against unbelief).—Self-love has two conditions and guarantees: the love of God, and the love of man.—How far is self-love not commanded, and how far commanded? 1. It is not directly commanded, because it is a natural impulse of life; 2. it is indirectly commanded in the whole law and gospel; since this natural impulse is diseased, and has become selfishness,45—But a second is like unto it; or, how one word of our Lord cuts through the wicked motive and the wicked error of the Pharisees.—How far are the commandments different, and how far alike?—The empire of love is an empire of personal life.—Love is the fulfilling of the law, Romans 13:10—The counter-question of the Lord; or, the proof of the divinity of Christ from the Old Testament.—As the commandment of love to man is related to the commandment of love to God, so Christ is related to the Father: subordinate, yet equal.—The severance between Christianity and apostate Judaism in the temple.—They asked no more questions: no Jew dares ask a Christian any question, or commence an attack upon him; the missionary impulse, to work among the Gentiles, also gradually died away among the Jews since the time of Christ.

Starke:—Zeisius: However the wicked hate one another, they unite against Christ, His kingdom and members.—If you would ask, cultivate a sincere heart.—Hypocrites inquire about the greatest commandment, but they do not keep the least.—Osiander: As no man is able thus perfectly to love God, no man can be justified by the law.—The question concerning Christ the most important and the most necessary.—A correct knowledge of Christ necessary to salvation,—It is not enough to acknowledge Christ as the Son of Man.—Christ is God and Man in one undivided person.

Heubner:—The Rabbins were fond of discussing the relative greatness of commandments. The Jews counted 613 precepts: 365 prohibitions, and 248 commands.—It is dangerous to make a distinction between great and little commandments.—The nature of the love to God which Christianity requires.—Aristotle: There is no love to God (connection between this word and the heathen denial of the supreme Personality).—Consult the representations of Fenelon and the earlier mystics concerning the stages of the lore to God.—Piety toward God should be kind to man; and the love of men should be religious.—All commandments centre in love.—The whole ethical doctrine of Christianity very simple.—What think ye of Christ? always the question which finds out the genuine Christian.—Christ the Lord.—The dominion of Christ a dominion of love.—Faith and love closely connected in Christianity. Bachmann:—What think ye of Christ f 1. Manifold answers; 2. how important the right one!—Lisco: The supreme command, and the supreme article of faith.

[Quesnel:—On the great and first commandment, Matthew 22:38 : Love is the great and first commandment: 1. In antiquity, being as old as the world and engraven in our nature; 2. in dignity, as directly respecting God; 3. in excellence, being the commandment of the new covenant; 4. in justice, as preferring God above all things, and rendering to Him His due; 5. in sufficiency, in making of itself man holy in this life, and blessed in that which is to come; 6. in fruitfulness, in being the root of all other commandments; 7. in virtue and efficacy; 8. in extent; 9. in necessity; 10. in duration, as continuing for ever in heaven.—The same, on Matthew 22:46 :—Truth at length triumphs, but the defender of it will notwithstanding be oppressed by men. Hence we should not judge the truth by the sufferings of its defenders. The more triumphant it is, the more they must expect to suffer, that they may be made more conformable to Christ and capable of greater reward.—P. S.]


[29] Matthew 22:35.—The words: καὶ λέγεν (and saying), are omitted by Lachmann and Tischendorf [also by Tregelles, but not by Alford] on the authority of B., L., etc Meyer: An insertion from Mark 12:28, and contrary to the uniform style of Matthew ( Matthew 12:10; Matthew 17:10, etc.).

[30] Matthew 22:36.—[Πεία ἐντο λὴυγάλη ἐννόμῳ; literally: What kind of commandment, or: What commandment is great in the low? Meyer: Was für ein Gebot ist gross im Gesetze? (Wie muse ein Gebot beschaffen sein. um ein grosses Gebot su seint?). ΙΙ οία is qualitative, qualis, what kind (comp. Matthew 19:12), and the article before ἐντολή is omitted. But the Authorized Version agrees better with the answer, and Dr. Lange likewise translates: Welches ist das grosse Gebot im Gesetz? The Lat. Vulg.: Quid est mandatum magnum, in lege? See Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[31] Matthew 22:37.—B., L., al., Lachmann, Tischendorf: ὁ δὲ ἔφη.

[32] Matthew 22:38.—L., Z.: ἡ υεγάλη καὶ πρώτη [for πρώτη καὶ ηεφάλη]. Cod. D. likewise, yet without ἡ. So Cod. Z. with a second ἡ before πρώτη. The sense of the text is in favor of this reading. The transposition arose from the idea that πρώτη was the principal predicate. [Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, and Alford unanimously adopt ἡ μεγάλη καὶ πρώτη, which is now sustained also by Cod. Sinalt.—P. S.]

[33] Matthew 22:40.—[The true reading of the best ancient authorities, including Cod. Sinait, recommended by Griesbach, and adopted by Lachmann, Tischendorf, and Alford, is: ἐν ταύταις ταῖς δςσιν ἐντολαῖς ὅλος ὁ νόμος κρέμαται καιοἱ προφῆται, instead of the text, rec.:…ὅλος ὁ νόμος καὶ οί προφῆται κρέμανται. Dr. Lange follows the former in his German Version: In. diesen zweien Geboten hängt das gante Gesetz und auch die Propheten. It is also preferable on internal reasons. The lawyer had asked what commandment was great in the law; the Saviour answers to this question by naming the great law of love on which hangs the whole law, and the prophets besides.—P. S.]

[34] Matthew 22:42.—[The Interpolation: The son, must be omitted, if the question is translated: Of whom is he the son?—P. S]

[35] Matthew 22:43.—[̓Εν πνεύματι is here not opposed to Εν πνεύματι, but refers to the Holy Spirit as the inspirer of the Scriptures. See Exeg. Notes.—P. S.]

[36] Matthew 22:44.—The Recepta reads: ὑποπόδιον (footstool), from the Septnagint. But most MSS. and the critical editions: ὐποκάτω (τῶν ποδῶν σον), under. [So also Cod. Sinait As to the sense, Bengel remarks: The warlike kingdom will come to an end; but the peaceful kingdom will have no end, comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25.—P. S.]

[37] Matthew 22:45.—[Codd. D., K.„M., al., insert ἐνπνεύματι, by the Spirit, before καλεῖ, and Lange puts it in the text, but in small type. But Lachmann, Tischendorf, Alford reject it as insufficiently supported, and superfluous.—P. S.]

[38][So also Alford in loc., referring to the more detailed account in Mark 12:28-44. Bui Nast regards Lange’s interpretation as the only Intelligible one. It is certainly very Ingenious.—P. S.]

[39][Not: Less stress, as the Edirib. trsl. has It, In direct opposition to the original: Meyer betont ποία und er kldrt, etc. Comp. my critical note above.—P. S.]

[40][Olshausen: “The Lord by culling the commandment to love God supremely the first and great commandment, does evidently not de sign to represent it as one out of many, though greater in decree than others. On the contrary, the love of God is the commandment, and the whole law, with all its injunctions and prohibitions, is only a development of this one commandment: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God.’ By this love we have to understand the unqualified surrender of our whole being to God. Of such a love man Js capable, though not by his own strength, but by Divine grace, because he finds in God alone all his wants fully and everlastingly satisfied.”—P. S]

[41][The original reads: Christusliebe (Edinb. trsl.: lore of Christ; or, better: to Christ); but this is probably a printing error for Christensliebe; for we love Christ not as our neighbor, but as the God-Man.—P. S.]

[42][Quesnel: “Jesus here asks a question in His turn, not to tempt, but to instruct His disciples; to confound the obstinate; to point out the source of all their captious questions, namely, their ignorance of the prophecies which foretold the Messiah; to furnish His church with weapon against the Jews in all ages; and, by His last public instruction, to establish the truth of His divinity. Incarnation, power, and kingdom, as the foundation of all religion.—P. S.]

[43][This sentence, so necessary to give Lange’s view, is enthely omitted in the Edinb. trsl. For other expositions on the Messianic character of the Psalm, see especially Hengstenberg (Christology of the O. T., and his Com. on the Psalms), also Stier and Nast in loc. Alford and Wordsworth do not touch the difficulty at all.—P. S.]

[44][Burkitt in loc.: “The measure of loving God, is to love Him without measure.”—P. S.]

[45][Comp. the practical remarks of Burkitt inserted in the Exeg. Note on Matthew 22:39, p. 404.—P. S.]

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/matthew-22.html. 1857-84.
adsFree icon
Ads FreeProfile