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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Matthew 22

Verse 1

Again in parables (παλιν εν παραβολαις). Matthew has already given two on this occasion (The Two Sons, The Wicked Husbandmen). He alone gives this Parable of the Marriage Feast of the King's Son. It is somewhat similar to that of The Supper in Luke 14:16-42.14.23 given on another occasion. Hence some scholars consider this merely Matthew's version of the Lucan parable in the wrong place because of Matthew's habit of grouping the sayings of Jesus. But that is a gratuitous indictment of Matthew's report which definitely locates the parable here by παλιν. Some regard it as not spoken by Jesus at all, but an effort on the part of the writer to cover the sin and fate of the Jews, the calling of the Gentiles, and God's demand for righteousness. But here again it is like Jesus and suits the present occasion.

Verse 2

A marriage feast (γαμους). The plural, as here (Matthew 22:2; Matthew 22:3; Matthew 22:4; Matthew 22:9), is very common in the papyri for the wedding festivities (the several acts of feasting) which lasted for days, seven in Judges 14:17. The very phrase here, γαμους ποιειν, occurs in the Doric of Thera about B.C. 200. The singular γαμος is common in the papyri for the wedding contract, but Field (Notes, p. 16) sees no difference between the singular here in Matthew 22:8 and the plural (see also Genesis 29:22; Esther 9:22; Macc. 10:58).

Verse 3

To call them that were bidden (καλεσα τους κεκλημενους). "Perhaps an unconscious play on the words, lost in both A.V. and Rev.,

to call the called " (Vincent). It was a Jewish custom to invite a second time the already invited (Esther 5:8; Esther 6:14). The prophets of old had given God's invitation to the Jewish people. Now the Baptist and Jesus had given the second invitation that the feast was ready.

And they would not come (κα ουκ ηθελον ελθειν). This negative imperfect characterizes the stubborn refusal of the Jewish leaders to accept Jesus as God's Son (John 1:11). This is "The Hebrew Tragedy" (Conder).

Verse 4

My dinner (το αριστον μου). It is breakfast, not dinner. In Luke 14:12 both αριστον (breakfast) and δειπνον (dinner) are used. This noon or midday meal, like the French breakfast at noon, was sometimes called δειπνον μεσημβρινον (midday dinner or luncheon). The regular dinner (δειπνον) came in the evening. The confusion arose from applying αριστον to the early morning meal and then to the noon meal (some not eating an earlier meal). In John 21:12; John 21:15 αρισταω is used of the early morning meal, "Break your fast" (αριστησατε). When αριστον was applied to luncheon, like the Latin prandium, ακρατισμα was the term for the early breakfast.

My fatlings (τα σιτιστα). Verbal from σιτιζω, to feed with wheat or other grain, to fatten. Fed-up or fatted animals.

Verse 5

Made light of it (αμελησαντες). Literally, neglecting, not caring for. They may even have ridiculed the invitation, but the verb does not say so. However, to neglect an invitation to a wedding feast is a gross discourtesy.

One to his own farm (ος μεν εις τον ιδιον αγρον) or field,

another to his merchandise (ος δε επ την εμποριαν αυτου) only example in the N.T., from εμπορος, merchant, one who travels for traffic (εμπορευομα), a drummer.

Verse 7

Armies (στρατευματα). Bands of soldiers, not grand armies.

Verse 9

The partings of the highways (τας διεξοδους των οδων). Vulgate, exitus viarum. Διοδο are cross-streets, while διεξοδο (double compound) seem to be main streets leading out of the city where also side-streets may branch off, "by-ways."

Verse 10

The wedding (ο γαμος). But Westcott and Hort rightly read here ο νυμφων, marriage dining hall. The same word in Matthew 9:15 means the bridechamber.

Verse 12

Not having a wedding-garment (μη εχων ενδυμα γαμου). Μη is in the Koine the usual negative with participles unless special emphasis on the negative is desired as in ουκ ενδεδυμενον. There is a subtle distinction between μη and ου like our subjective and objective notions. Some hold that the wedding-garment here is a portion of a lost parable separate from that of the Wedding Feast, but there is no evidence for that idea. Wunsche does report a parable by a rabbi of a king who set no time for his feast and the guests arrived, some properly dressed waiting at the door; others in their working clothes did not wait, but went off to work and, when the summons suddenly came, they had no time to dress properly and were made to stand and watch while the others partook of the feast.

Verse 13

Was speechless (εψιμωθη). Was muzzled, dumb from confusion and embarrassment. It is used of the ox (1 Timothy 5:18).

The outer darkness (το σκοτος το εξωτερον). See Matthew 8:12. All the blacker from the standpoint of the brilliantly lighted banquet hall.

There shall be (εκε εστα). Out there in the outer darkness.

Verse 14

For many are called, but few chosen (πολλο γαρ εισιν κλητο ολιγο δε εκλεκτο). This crisp saying of Christ occurs in various connections. He evidently repeated many of his sayings many times as every teacher does. There is a distinction between the called (κλητο) and the chosen (εκλεκτο) called out from the called.

Verse 15

Went (πορευθεντες). So-called deponent passive and redundant use of the verb as in Matthew 9:13: "Go and learn."

Took counsel (συμβουλιον ελαβον). Like the Latin consilium capere as in Matthew 12:14.

Ensnare in his talk (παγιδευσωσιν εν λογω). From παγις, a snare or trap. Here only in the N.T. In the LXX (1 Kings 28:9; Ecclesiastes 9:12; Test. of Twelve Patriarchs, Joseph 7:1). Vivid picture of the effort to trip Jesus in his speech like a bird or wild beast.

Verse 16

Their disciples (τους μαθητας αυτων). Students, pupils, of the Pharisees as in Mark 2:18. There were two Pharisaic theological seminaries in Jerusalem (Hillel, Shammai).

The Herodians (των Hερωιδιανων). Not members of Herod's family or Herod's soldiers, but partisans or followers of Herod. The form in -ιανος is a Latin termination like that in Χριστιανος (Acts 11:26). Mentioned also in Mark 3:6 combining with the Pharisees against Jesus.

The person of men (προσωπον ανθρωπων). Literally, face of men. Paying regard to appearance is the sin of partiality condemned by James (James 2:1; James 2:9) when προσωπολημψια, προσωπολημπτειν are used, in imitation of the Hebrew idiom. This suave flattery to Jesus implied "that Jesus was a reckless simpleton" (Bruce).

Verse 19

Tribute money (το νομισμα του κηνσου). Κηνσος, Latin census, was a capitation tax or head-money, tributum capitis, for which silver denaria were struck, with the figure of Caesar and a superscription, e.g. "Tiberiou Kaisaros" (McNeile). Νομισμα is the Latin numisma and occurs here only in the N.T., is common in the old Greek, from νομιζω sanctioned by law or custom.

Verse 20

This image and superscription (η εικων αυτη κα η επιγραφη). Probably a Roman coin because of the image (picture) on it. The earlier Herods avoided this practice because of Jewish prejudice, but the Tetrarch Philip introduced it on Jewish coins and he was followed by Herod Agrippa I. This coin was pretty certainly stamped in Rome with the image and name of Tiberius Caesar on it.

Verse 21

Render (αποδοτε). "Give back" to Caesar what is already Caesar's.

Verse 24

Shall marry (επιγαμβρευσε). The Sadducees were "aiming at amusement rather than deadly mischief" (Bruce). It was probably an old conundrum that they had used to the discomfiture of the Pharisees. This passage is quoted from Deuteronomy 25:5; Deuteronomy 25:6. The word appears here only in the N.T. and elsewhere only in the LXX. It is used of any connected by marriage as in Genesis 34:9; 1 Samuel 18:22. But in Genesis 38:8 and Deuteronomy 25:5 it is used specifically of one marrying his brother's widow.

Verse 33

They were astonished (εξεπλησσοντο). Descriptive imperfect passive showing the continued amazement of the crowds. They were struck out (literally).

Verse 34

He had put the Sadducees to silence (εφιμωσεν τους Σαδδουκαιους). Muzzled the Sadducees. The Pharisees could not restrain their glee though they were joining with the Sadducees in trying to entrap Jesus.

Gathered themselves together (συνηχθησαν επ το αυτο). First aorist passive, were gathered together. Επ το αυτο explains more fully συν-. See also Acts 2:47. "Mustered their forces" (Moffatt).

Verse 36

The great commandment in the law (εντολη μεγαλη εν τω νομω). The positive adjective is sometimes as high in rank as the superlative. See μεγας in Matthew 5:19 in contrast with ελαχιστος. The superlative μεγιστος occurs in the N.T. only in 2 Peter 1:4. Possibly this scribe wishes to know which commandment stood first (Mark 12:28) with Jesus. "The scribes declared that there were 248 affirmative precepts, as many as the members of the human body; and 365 negative precepts, as many as the days in the year, the total being 613, the number of letters in the Decalogue" (Vincent). But Jesus cuts through such pettifogging hair-splitting to the heart of the problem.

Verse 42

The Christ (του Χριστου). The Messiah, of course, not Christ as a proper name of Jesus. Jesus here assumes that Matthew 22:110 refers to the Messiah. By his pungent question about the Messiah as David's son and Lord he really touches the problem of his Person (his Deity and his Humanity). Probably the Pharisees had never faced that problem before. They were unable to answer.

Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 22". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/matthew-22.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.