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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 22

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary

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Verses 1-14

Matthew 22:1-14 . Parable(s) of the Messianic Banquet.— This section is difficult, Matthew 22:1-10 has many resemblances to, but is not identical with, Luke 14:16-24. The two passages should be carefully compared; Lk.’ s form, but Mt.’ s position, is perhaps the more original. Matthew 22:11-13 is found in Mt. only, and appears to belong to another parable, the beginning of which has been lost. The marriage feast of the king’ s son may be ultimately symbolic of the glad union of Christ and the Church (as in Revelation 19:7-9), though the bride does not here appear. The nation had received intimation of the event and been invited to the festivity by the prophets but had not responded ( Matthew 22:4). Now they hear from John the Baptist and Jesus that the day has come ( Matthew 22:5; cf. Proverbs 9:1-6), but they still hold aloof, and even carry their indifference into murderous hostility ( Matthew 22:6). We are reminded throughout of the preceding parable of the wicked husbandmen ( Matthew 21:33 ff.). The outraged king executes a thorough vengeance; Matthew 22:7 seems to reflect the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The story is improved if we excise Matthew 22:6 f., and there is something to be said for Harnack’ s suggestion that these verses are fragments of yet another parable, which Lk. ( Luke 19:12; Luke 19:14-15 a, Luke 19:27) seems also to have found and blended with his parable of the pounds. The point of the parable is that unworthy guests (like unworthy tenants, Matthew 21:43) are rejected in favour of others. “ Both bad and good” is perhaps a gloss inserted as a link with Matthew 22:11-13. The story ends, quite in the manner of Jesus, abruptly; we are left to imagine the rampant joy of the motley, happy crowd in the lighted room with its well-spread tables.

Matthew 22:9 . the partings of the highways: lit. the ends of the roads, i.e. where the streets lead out from the city into the country (Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 160).

Matthew 22:11-14 . The Wedding Garment.— One reason for separating these verses from Matthew 22:1-10 is that the hastily collected guests described in Matthew 22:10 could not suitably attire themselves. The lesson of the parable, which only needs an introduction similar to Matthew 22:2 to complete it, is like that of the tares and the net (ch. 13); the day of the Lord reveals the presence of good and bad among the invited (? the Church), and they must be separated. The wedding garment represents that which fits men to share in the joys of the Kingdom ( cf. Matthew 5:20), and the man without one stands for all who lack the essential equipment. If we may compare Revelation 19:8, this includes “ righteous acts,” or works, as well as faith. The servants who carry out the sentence remind us of the angels of the two parables just referred to. Wellhausen speaks of binding the feet of a guest expelled from court as an Arab custom. For the outer darkness, etc., cf. Matthew 8:12, Matthew 25:30, p. 659.

Matthew 22:14 . called: invited; chosen, or “ elect.” All Israel had been regarded as God’ s elect, but later Jewish literature tended to confine the term to the pious or righteous in contrast to the rest of the nation. Human responsibility is thus implied as well as Divine selection. So here many Jews had received the call through Jesus, but few had become “ elect” by accepting it. The saying has no clear reference to either of the two parables in Matthew 22:1-13; it is a word of the Master which Mt. wished to preserve. Perhaps the key to the whole passage is that Mt., starting with the parable of the wedding garment ( Matthew 22:2; Matthew 22:11-13) has blended with it a version of the parable of the feast (Luke 14) wrought up into an allegory.

Verses 15-22

Matthew 22:15-22 . The Question of Tribute ( Mark 12:13-17 *, Luke 20:20-26).— Note how Mt. ( Matthew 22:15) changes Mk.’ s indefinite subject into “ the Pharisees,” and so has to change Mk.’ s object “ the Pharisees” into “ their disciples.” Lk.’ s expansions are interesting. Jesus points out that to pay tribute to Rome was not merely lawful, it was a moral obligation in return for the beneficent experiences of a stable government, it was not a gift ( Matthew 22:17) but the rendering ( Matthew 22:21) of a debt, and did not compete or clash with men’ s obligations to God. Mt. rounds off the incident with words used by Mk. ( Mark 12:12) after the parable of the vineyard.

Verses 23-33

Matthew 22:23-33 . The Question of the Resurrection Life ( Mark 12:18-27 *, Luke 20:27-40).— Mt.’ s changes are mostly in the direction of simplicity. As regards the question of the Sadducees, while Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21 forbid marriage with a dead brother’ s wife, Deuteronomy 25:5-10 enjoins it in certain circumstances. The answer of Jesus ( Matthew 22:29 ff.) to their attempt to argue against resurrection by an imaginary complication of this kind is twofold. First, they were deficient in knowledge, or they would have recognised that their Scriptures at least implicitly taught the doctrine; secondly, they were deficient in faith— the Divine power could solve all such problems. Rabbinical writings show that there was considerable difference of opinion among the Jews of Christ’ s day as to the scope of the Resurrection; the belief itself had become general (except for Sadducees and Samaritans) since the second century B.C., and was largely due to Persian influence. With Jesus’ argument from Exodus 3:6 cf. the Rabbinic tract Sank. 90 b, where R. Jochanan deduces the perpetual life, and so the resurrection of Aaron, from Numbers 18:28 . The comparison of the risen life with angelic existence goes against the idea of reanimated bodies, and is in line with Paul’ s teaching (1 Corinthians 15, 2 Corinthians 5) of a spiritual body.

Verses 34-40

Matthew 22:34-40 . The Greatest Commandment ( Mark 12:28-34 *, Luke 10:25-28).— Mt. puts the questioner, whom he calls a Pharisee, in much less favourable light than Mk. He “ tempts” Jesus— to what is not clear (Lk.’ s ekpeirazô n, “ testing,” is better)— and he omits the pleasing outcome of Jesus’ answer recorded in Mark 12:32 f. Mt. is leading up to the attack on the Pharisees in ch. 23. The lawyer’ s question is really, “ What kind of commandment is great in the law?” He is seeking a principle of distinction, and Jesus gives him two by which to test particular precepts. In Matthew 22:37 Mt., like the original precept ( Deuteronomy 6:5), enumerates three powers with which God is to be loved (Mk. and Lk. have four), but not the right three—“ heart and mind” represent the same Heb. term, and so “ strength” is omitted.

Verses 41-46

Matthew 22:41-46 . Is Messiah David’ s Son? ( Mark 12:35-37 *, Luke 20:41-44).— Mt. brings the Pharisees into the incident, and makes the statement that Messiah is David’ s son their direct answer to a question by Jesus. Hence (though it is here Jesus who is the questioner), Matthew 22:46 (fear of further questions), which in Mk. comes after the Great Commandment and in Lk. after the Resurrection question. Cf. Acts 2:34 *.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/matthew-22.html. 1919.
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