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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 22

McGarvey's Commentaries on Selected BooksMcGarvey'S Commentaries

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Verses 1-14

(In the Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. 30.)
Subdivision D.
aMATT. XXII. 1-14.

a1 And Jesus answered and spake again in parables unto them, saying, 2 The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son, 3 and sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the marriage feast: and they would not come. 4 Again he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them that are bidden, Behold, I have made ready my dinner; my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage feast. 5 But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his merchandise; 6 and the rest laid hold on his servants, and treated them shamefully, and killed them. 7 But the king was wroth; and he sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8 Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they that were bidden were not worthy. 9 Go ye therefore unto the partings of the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage feast. 10 And those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was filled with guests. [This parable is very [595] much like the one given in Luke xiv. 16-24--see Matthew 22:14] who had not on a wedding-garment: 12 and he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding-garment? And he was speechless. [We are of the opinion that the king furnished upper garments to his guests. But the antiquity of this custom is disputed. See Meyer, Lange and Trench, etc. in loco. However, the fact is immaterial, for the man was speechless--without excuse--which shows that he could have had a garment from some source had he chosen to wear it.] 13 Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot [the phrase suggests the impossibility of escaping from divine judgment], and cast him out into the outer darkness [the outdoor darkness: wedding feasts were usually held at night]; there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few chosen. [Many guests are invited, but few are accepted; because some neglect and despise the invitation, and others cast dishonor upon the one who invites, by the self-willed and irreverent way in which they accept his invitation. In this parable the first parties invited represent the Jews; the city of murderers is Jerusalem; the persons called from the highways are the Gentiles; the entrance of the king is the coming of the Lord to final judgment; and [596] the man without the wedding-garment is anyone who will be found in the church without a suitable character. The character of Christ is our wedding-garment, and all the regenerated must wear it-- Ephesians 4:24, Colossians 3:10, Galatians 3:27, John 3:5, Revelation 19:8, Revelation 19:9.]

* NOTE.--I regard this parable as a remodeling of the parable given by Luke, the changes being made to suit the changed relation between Jesus and his auditors. In the parable in Luke, God is represented as one who invites us as a friend, and whose invitation is simply disregarded. Since the speaking of that parable, the situation had become more tense and the relations more strained, and hence the parable takes on a more severe form. The host is not to be disregarded, for he is a king, and the supper is not to be despised, for it is a marriage supper. The invitation, therefore, savors of commandment, and while some still continue to treat it with indifference, others feel the constraint of the invitation and reject it in a spirit of rebellion which manifests itself in violence toward the king’s servants. The king, in turn, is moved by this to retaliate, and visits upon the offenders an overwhelming judgment.--P. Y. P.

[FFG 595-597]

Verses 15-22

(Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. 30.)
Subdivision A.
aMATT. XXII. 15-22; bMARK XII. 13-17; cLUKE XX. 20-26.

a15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might ensnare him in his talk. c20 And they watched him, and sent forth {bsend unto him} atheir disciples, bcertain of the Pharisees and of {awith} bthe Herodians, that they might catch him in talk. [Perceiving that Jesus, when on his guard, was too wise for them, the Pharisees thought it best to speak their cunning through the mouths of their young disciples, whose youth and apparent desire to know the truth would, according to their calculation, take Jesus off his guard. Having no ancient statement giving us the tenets or principles of the Herodians, we are left to judge them solely by their name, which shows that they were partisans of Herod Antipas. Whether they were out-and-out supporters of the Roman government, or whether they clung to Herod as one whose intervening sovereignty saved them from the worse fate of being directly under a Roman procurator (as Judæa and Samaria then were), would not, as some suppose, affect their views as to the payment of tribute. If they accepted Herod merely for policy’s sake, policy would also compel them to favor the tribute, for Antipas, being appointed [597] by Rome, would have to favor the tribute, and could count none as his adherents who opposed it.] cspies, who feigned themselves to righteous [sincere seekers after truth], that they might take hold of his speech, so as to deliver him up to the rule and to the authority of the governor. [Pontius Pilate was the governor. We are not surprised at the destruction of Jerusalem when we see the religious teachers of the nation employing their young disciples in such a work as this. To play detective and entrap a rogue in his speech and thus become a man-hunter is debasing enough; but to seek thus to entrap a righteous man is simply diabolical.] b14 And when they were come, they say unto him, {csaying,} Teacher, we know that thou sayest and teachest rightly, bwe know that thou art true, and carest not for any one; for thou regardest not the person of men, cand acceptest not the person of any, but of a truth teachest the way of God: ain truth [The meaning of their preface is this: "We see that neither fear nor respect for the Pharisees or the rulers prevents you from speaking the plain, disagreeable truth; and we are persuaded that your courage and love of truth will lead you to speak the same way in political matters, and that you will not be deterred therefrom by any fear or reverence for Cæsar." Fearless loyalty to truth is indeed one of the noblest attributes of man. But instead of honoring this most admirable quality in Jesus, these hardened reprobates were endeavoring to employ it as an instrument for his destruction], 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? c22 Is it lawful for us to give tribute unto Cæsar, or not? b15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? [The Jews were required to pay annually a large sum of money to the Roman government as an acknowledgment of their subjection. About twenty years before this Judas of Galilee had stirred up the people to resist this tribute, and the mass of the Jews was bitterly opposed to it. To decide in favor of this tribute was therefore to alienate the affection and confidence of the throng in the temple who stood listening to him--an end most desirable to the Pharisees. If, [598] on the other hand, Jesus said that the tribute should not be paid, the Herodians were present to hear it, and would be witnesses sanctioned by Herod, and therefore such as Pilate would be compelled to respect. What but divine wisdom could escape from so cunningly devised a dilemma!] a18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, ccraftiness, bknowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, {aand said} Why make ye trial of me, ye hypocrites? [Thus, before answering, Jesus exposes the meanness and hypocrisy in their question, thereby emphasizing the important fact that he did not dodge, but answered it.] 19 Show me the tribute money. c24 Show me a denarius. bbring me a denarius, that I may see it. [Religious dues and tributes had been paid in shekels or old Jewish coin, but the tribute to Rome was paid in Roman coin of which the denarius was a sample.] aAnd they brought unto him a denarius. [See Romans 13:1, Romans 13:7.] c26 And they were not able to take hold of the saying before the people: a22 And when they heard it, they marvelled, bgreatly at him. cat his answer, and held their peace. aand left him, and went away. [They were amazed to find how far his wisdom transcended that of the teachers in whom they had such supreme confidence.]

[FFG 597-600]

Verses 23-33

(Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. 30.)
Subdivision B.
aMATT. XXII. 23-33; bMARK XII. 18-27; cLUKE XX. 27-39.

a23 On that day there came {bcome} unto him ccertain of the the Sadducees, they that {bwho} say there is no resurrection [As to the Sadducees, see Deuteronomy 25:5, Deuteronomy 25:6. The object of this law was to preserve families. But the custom was older than the law-- Genesis 38:6-11], cthat bIf a man’s brother die, chaving a wife, and he be childless, {band leave a wife behind him, and leave no child,} that his brother should take his {cthe} wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. aMoses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were ctherefore awith us seven brethren: and the first ctook a wife, amarried and deceased, band dying left no seed; {cand died childless;} aand, having no seed left his wife unto his brother: b21 And a26 In like manner the second also, btook her, and died, leaving no seed behind him; and the third likewise: ctook her; aunto the seventh. cand likewise the seven also left no children, {bleft no seed.} cand died. 32 Afterward [600] bLast of all a27 And after them all, bthe woman also died. a28 In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? {bof them?} for the seven aall had her. bto wife. [This was evidently a favorite Sadducean argument against the resurrection. On the assumption that the marital state is continued after the resurrection, it makes the doctrine of a resurrection appear ridiculous, because, seemingly, it involves difficulties which even brothers could hardly settle amicably, and which even God would have in a sense to settle arbitrarily.] c34 And {a29 But} Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do not err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. bIs it not for this cause that ye err, that ye know not the scriptures, nor the power of God? [The relevancy of these statements will be discussed in the treatment of Acts 23:8), but the basal principle of their infidelity was the denial of spirits. It was, as it were, the tree trunk from which their other errors sprang as branches. If there were such things as spirits, it was not worth while to deny that there was an order of them known as angels. If man had a spirit which could survive his body, it was reasonable to believe that God, having so fashioned him that a body is essential to his activity and happiness, would in some manner restore a body to him. Jesus therefore does not pursue the argument until he has proved a resurrection; but rests when he has proved that man has a spirit. Jesus proves that man has a spirit by a reference from the Pentateuch, that part of Scripture which the Sadducees accepted as derived from God through Moses. The reference shows that God was spoken of and spoke of himself as the God of those who were, humanly speaking, long since dead. But the Sadducees held that a dead man had ceased to exist, that he had vanished to nothingness. According to their view, therefore, God had styled himself the God of nothing, which is absurd. The Sadducees could not thus have erred had they known or understood the significance of this Scripture, and they could not have doubted the resurrection had they known the absolute power with which God deals with material such as that of which the body is formed. See verses 24 and 39 supra.] a33 And when the multitude heard it, they were astonished at his teaching. c39 And certain of the scribes answering said, Teacher, thou hast well said. [Some of the scribes of less bitter spirit could not refrain from expressing their admiration at the ease with which Jesus answered an argument which their own wisdom could not refute.] [602]

[FFG 600-602]

Verses 34-40

(Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. 30.)
Subdivision C.
aMATT. XXII. 34-40; bMARK XII. 28-34; cLUKE XX. 40.

a34 But the Pharisees, when they heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, gathered themselves together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, bone of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together, and knowing that he had answered them well, aasked him a question, trying him [he was evidently deputed by those who counseled to ask this question]: 36 Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law? bWhat commandment is the first of all? [According to the statement of Jewish writers, there had been an old and interminable dispute among the rabbis as to which was the greatest commandment. Some held that it was the law which commanded sacrifices; others, that which commanded the wearing of phylacteries; others contended for those about purification; others, for those about the great feasts. But as they reckoned the commandments of Moses as numbering over six hundred, there was plenty of room for argument. On this memorable day the answers of Jesus had hitherto been of such a nature as to put his questioners to silence. Therefore, in asking this question, they hoped to get an answer about which they could at least find room to wrangle, and thus discredit the wisdom of Jesus.] 29 Jesus answered, a37 And said unto him, bThe first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God, the Lord is one: 30 And aThou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. band with all thy strength. a38 This is the great and first commandment. [ Deuteronomy 6:4-9. This command is first because it is the foundation of the entire law of God. It is greatest, because, in a sense, it includes all the other laws. Polytheism, atheism, idolatry, and all sins against God are forbidden by it. All sins against man are likewise, in [603] a sense, prohibited by it; for sin against man is sin against God’s image, and against the objects of God’s love. Those who truly love God can not consistently sin against man ( 1 John 4:20). The curious may make metaphysical distinctions in the analysis of this required fourfold love, but the sum of it is that we are to love God with our whole being.] 39 And a {b31 The} second alike unto it bis this, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. [Love is the cure for sin, for we can not sin against those whom we truly love. Where we love, we desire to bless. But sin always carries with it a willingness to injure or to curse.] There is none other commandment greater than these. a40 On these two commandments the whole law hangeth, and the prophets. [The generic nature of the law of love is also noted by Paul ( Romans 13:8-10); but love without law is not sufficient. Love begets a desire to bless, but the law guides to the accomplishment of that desire. Perfect righteousness is the result of wisdom as well as affection. Love without law is power without direction, and law without love is machinery without a motor-- 1 Corinthians 13:1-3.] b32 And the scribe said unto him, Of a truth, Teacher, thou hast well said that he is one; and there is none other but he: 33 and to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbor as himself, is much more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices. [Here, as in the preceding subdivision, the answer of Jesus was so clearly right that it enforced admiration.] 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. [Prejudice is the great obstacle to entering the kingdom. In proportion as we overcome it we draw near to God.] And no man after that durst {c40 For they durst not any more} ask him any question. [They found it expedient to keep silence when their questions only exposed their own shallowness, and made more conspicuous the supreme wisdom of Jesus.] [604]

[FFG 603-604]

Verses 41-46

(Court of the Temple. Tuesday, April 4, A. D. 30.)
Subdivision D.
aMATT. XXII. 41-46; bMARK XII. 35-37; cLUKE XX. 41-44.

a41 Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, bas he taught in the temple, aJesus asked them a question [They had questioned him seeking to expose his lack of wisdom, but the question of Jesus was devoid of retaliation. It was asked to teach a most important lesson], b35 And Jesus answered and said, {a42 saying,} cunto them, aWhat think ye of the Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. [The answer was true, but it was not all the truth as the Scriptures themselves showed. And this additional truth was what the opposers of Jesus needed to learn.] 43 He saith unto them, bHow say {cthey} bthe scribes that the Christ is the son of David? {cDavid’s son?} aHow then doth David in the Spirit call him Lord, c42 For David himself saith {bsaid} in the Holy Spirit, cin the book of Psalms, {asaying,} bThe Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Till I make thine enemies the footstool of thy feet. {aTill I make thine enemies underneath thy feet?} 45 If b37 David himself therefore athen calleth him Lord, how band whence is he his son? [The quotation is from Psalms 110:1. The context here shows that the rabbis of that day accepted this Psalm as written by David and as Messianic in meaning. Since then the Jews have denied that the Psalm is Messianic, and that it was written by David; some saying that Abraham, and others that Hezekiah, wrote it. This Psalm speaks of the Messiah as the Lord of David, and other Scriptures call him David’s son. So also the Scriptures describe Christ as conquering yet suffering, as divine yet human, as dying yet living, as judged yet judging, etc. The Jewish rulers seem able to grasp only one side of the character of Christ as revealed either in his life or in the Scriptures, and hence they [605] stumbled.] a46 And no one was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions. bAnd the common people heard him gladly. [By all their questioning, the Jews had not been able to weaken public confidence in Christ.]

[FFG 605-606]

Bibliographical Information
McGarvey, J. W. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "J. W. McGarvey's Original Commentary on Acts". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/oca/matthew-22.html. Transylvania Printing and Publishing Co. Lexington, KY. 1872.
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