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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Matthew 22

Verse 1

22:1 Mark reports the parable of the wicked husbandmen which we have just studied in the preceding chapter. He also tells us (chapter 12:12) that after the parable the chief priests and Pharisees left the hearing of Jesus, hence the present parable was spoken to the multitudes in general.

Verse 2

:2-3 This parable was to show the attitude of the Jews toward the kingdom of heaven as it contrasted with that of the Gentiles. The Lord chose a very familiar subject for the illustration, that of a marriage and the feast that was given to the guests. Call them that were bidden. Invitations were sent out some time before the date of the wedding, and as that time approached the invited guests were notified that the date of the wedding had arrived and for them to be present. The Jews were told in the Old Testament that the kingdom of heaven was going to be set up but no definite date was stated to them. They would not come. The Jews were not very responsive to the invitation offered to them to partake of the good things provided by Jesus.

Verse 4

22:4. Perhaps the invited guests did not take these servants seriously, or they thought there was no need to hurry as the time was not so near. So the king sent out more servants who told the guests that even the animals intended for the wedding feast were killed and prepared for the occasion and that they should come on. Many of these details have no direct bearing on the application but needed to be told to make the story complete. The point is that the Jews were pleaded with to accept the kingdom of Christ but they did not show the interest they should.

Verse 5

22:5 Some were more interested in their worldly possessions than in the things that pertained to their spiritual welfare.

Verse 6

22:6 Others were more active in their opposition to the work of the King and persecuted the servants. They went so far as to put to death the most prominent ones which included John the Baptist, the apostles and even the son (Jesus).

Verse 7

22:7 This verse was literally fulfilled by the wars between the Jews and the Romans. That conflict ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A. D. I shall quote from Myers Ancient History, page 499, which shows the fulfillment of this prediction: "The accession of Flavius Ves-pasian marks the beginning of a period, embracing three reigns, known as the Flavian Age (A. D. 69-96). yes-pasian's reign was signalized both by important military achievements and by stupendous public works undertaken at Rome. After one of the most harassing sieges recorded in history, Jerusalem was taken by Titus, son of Vespasian. The temple was destroyed, and more than a million Jews that were crowded in the city are believed to have perished. The miserable remnants of the nation were scattered everywhere over• the world. Josephus the historian accompanied the conqueror to Rome. In imitation of Nebuchadnezzar, Titus robbed the temple of its sacred utensils and bore them away as trophies. Upon the triumphal arch at Rome that bears his name may be seen at the present day the sculptured representation of the seven-branched golden candlestick, which was one memorial of the war."

Verse 8

22:8 They which were bidden means the Jews who were first called to the honors of the kingdom of heaven. Were not worthy or deserving on account of the way they treated the notice that it was time to come to the wedding feast.

Verse 9

22:9 When the Jews had been given the first opportunity of accepting the Gospel and they rejected it, the servants of Christ turned to the Gentiles. This is clearly taught in Act 3:26; Act 13:46; Act 28:27-28.

Verse 10

2:10 Highways means the world in general whereas the first invitation was restricted to the Jews. (chapter 10:5, 6.) Bad and good. Even in the world there is a difference between men both socially and morally. But no man is so bad but the Gospel can purify and redeem him, and no one is so good that he does not need its saving qualities in order to be worthy of attending the wedding feast.

Verse 11

2:11 The date setting of the parable has been changed and the time is at the end of the world when Jesus will come to claim his bride. (See Rev 19:7.) In the Bible an espousal or engagement for marriage is spoken of in the same sense as the actual marriage in many respects (Gen 19:14; Mat 1:20). The reason is that when two persons have pledged themselves to become husband and wife they are as bound morally as if they had entered into the relationship. In other words, an "engagement ring" would be as much of a bond morally as the "wedding ring," so that if while the first only has been offered and accepted, either party should be intimate or even familiar with a third, it would be considered as an act of unfaithfulness. That is why Paul wrote what he did about the "espousal" of the Corinthians to Christ, in the second epistle, chapter 11:1, 2. Hence the portions of the parable we have considered thus far pertain to the courtship and engagement only, but this verse transfers the story to the time of the actual marriage. Had not on a wedding garment. For the sake of unity in appearance all the guests were expected to have on a uniform especially appropriate for the occasion.

Verse 12

2:12 And he was speechless. It was customary for a man arranging a wedding to provide garments for the occasion so that all would be in orderly appearance. It would therefore not be on account of poverty or lack of opportunity to procure the garment that this man was not wearing one, hence he was speechless because he had no excuse. The garment to be worn by the guests at the marriage of the Lamb is "the righteousness of saints" (Rev 19:8). This robe has been provided by the Lord and offered to the espoused bride without money and without price (Isa 55:1; Rom 13:14), hence there will be no excuse for any professed Christian to appear at the day of judgment not properly adorned.

Verse 13

2:13 The figurative or illustrative part of the parable is now dropped and the direct application is made. Those who are found wanting at the day of judgment will be cast into the place of punishment spoken of in Mat 25:46.

Verse 14

2:14. See the comments at Matt 20:16 for the explanation of this.

Verse 15

2:15 Took counsel means the Pharisees consulted together to decide upon some plan to entangle Jesus in his talk. The word is from PAGIDEUO which occurs in no other place in the New Testament. Thayer defines it, "to ensnare, entrap," and he explains the definition to mean, "of the attempt to elicit [draw out] from one some remark which can be turned into an accusation against him."

Verse 16

2:16 Herodians is from the Greek word HERODIANOI. Thayer and Robinson define it the same, but the latter gives more information in his historical comments and I shall quote his definition and the comments as follows: "Herodians, partisans [those who take sides] of Herod Antipas, and therefore supporters of the Roman dominions in Palestine; which the Pharisees were not. It was consequently a political rather than a religious party; though it would seem to have embraced many Sadducees." This information explains why the Pharisees sent the Herodians to Jesus. They had no particular love for those people, but as they (the Herodians) were in sympathy with the political interests of the Romans of whom Caesar was king, they would try harder to get Jesus to say something that would get him into trouble with the government. They made their approach with a series of compliments that were pure flattery as verse 18 shows.

Verse 17

2:17 In their ignorance of the nature of the kingdom of heaven they thought that Jesus would be opposed to all other governments. Were that the case he naturally would oppose giving them financial support. Had he answered them to that effect it would have been ground for accusing him of disloyalty to the "powers that be."

Verse 18

2:18 Jesus called these men hypocrites because they pretended they wanted information, when they knew that was not the case as verse 15 plainly indicates.

Verse 19

2:19 Jesus met the situation in a manner that was doubtless unexpected. Instead of answering their question with a direct yes or no, he asked for a piece of the very kind of money that was being used in paying for the government's finances.

Verse 20

2:20 Image and superscription means the human likeness on a coin, and the words that are stamped on it in connection with the image. The coins of all nations are made with the likeness either of their rulers or other important persons in the government. The key to the difficulty which confronted these hypocrites is in the words of Christ after they handed him the coin, whose ...is this?

Verse 21

2:21 In their answer they committed themselves beyond recall, for they directly said the whole thing belonged to Caesar, the very article that he was asking people to give to him as tribute. No one would say it is not "lawful" to give to a man what belongs to him. They had said this money belonged to Caesar, hence it would be lawful to give it back to him. And by the same token it would be right to give to God what belongs to him, namely, their religious devotion.

Verse 22

2:22 Robinson defines the original for marveled, "to wonder, to be astonished, to be amazed." Hence we are not to get the Idea these hypocrites had any great respect for Jesus, but they were so defeated in their attempt to entrap him that they were capable only of silent astonishment. That is why they left him and went their way with nothing more to say.

Verse 23

2:23 See at Mat 16:12 for more complete details on the doctrine of the Sadducees. The same day was the day the Herodians failed in their attempt to entrap Jesus, and the Sad-ducees thought they would try it. It is a proper argument to confront a man with an actual inconsistency that comes from his teaching, for whenever a man is inconsistent he is bound to be wrong, but the Sadducees either- misunderstood or wilfully misrepresented the Lord's position concerning the resurrection. He did not teach that men would resume their earth life after they came from the grave. Neither did he teach that the resurrected righteous (and they are the only ones being considered here) could engage in such a manner of life even if they desired.

Verse 24

2:24 They correctly repeated the law of Moses on this subject which is recorded in Deu 25:5, which also was a ruling of Judah in Gen 38:8-9 in the Patriarchal Dispensation.

Verse 25

5-28 The Sadducees described a case (whether supposed or actual does not matter) in which they thought the position of Jesus would find great difficulty. It is evident that if a woman should meet seven men alive, each of whom had legally been her husband, she would be embarrassed to say the least as also would the men. But their supposed problem was based on the theory that human beings were to recognize each other after the resurrection in the same way they did when they lived on the earth. There are some Sadducees now with reference to this matter of future recognition. Such a theory is fathered by the wish which is based on a fleshly desire, and which has to deny the teaching of 1Co 15:42-54; Php 3:21; 1Jn 3:2. V

Verse 29

2:29. Err, not knowing the scriptures. At the time Jesus was speaking the New Testament had not been written, hence he had reference to the Old Testament. That book does not say much about the future state, yet had the Sadducees been as familiar with it as they pretended to be they would have understood that in the next world the marriage relation will not be continued because it will not be needed. The beginning paragraphs of Genesis reveal the command given to the first man and woman to multiply and replenish the earth. After the earth ceases to be there will be no need for the marriage relation. Nor the power of God. The Sadducees supposed they could disprove the truth of a resurrection by describing a situation that would make it impossible without causing great domestic trouble. They should have understood that nothing is "too hard for the Lord" (Gen 18:14).

Verse 30

2:30 Note It does not say the saved of earth will become angels, but they will be as angels, and that only as regards the marriage relation for they are without sex. It is true that whenever the Bible makes any reference to the gender of angels it is always the masculine. That is due to a rule of language that when reference is made to intelligent creatures by a pronoun, if the gender is not specifically known the masculine is always used.

Verse 31

2:31. Jesus was going to make a reference to the Scriptures (which he said they did not know) to prove that another life is taught in them. The Sadducees professed to believe that writing, so they should be impressed with what will be shown to them.

Verse 32

2:32 The passage referred to is in Exo 3:6. The argument Jesus made was based on two great truths. God is not the God of the dead as the Sadducees would admit; yet Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had been in their graves for centuries. The conclusion is, then, that although the bodies of these patriarchs were dead, something else about their beings was still living. And if their spirits can live outside of their fleshly bodies, there should be no difficulty in believing that they could be reunited with those bodies and thus be resurrected.

Verse 33

2:33 No wonder the multitudes were astonished at the doctrine (teaching) of Jesus, for it put the Sadducees to silence.

Verse 34

2:34 The Pharisees were gathered together for the purpose of consultation as in verse 15. Their object was to plot some way of entrapping Jesus in his talk.

Verse 35

2:35 Thayer defines the original for lawyer as follows: "One learned in the law, .in the New Testament an interpreter and teacher of the Mosaic law." Because of his profession this man could pretend to be interested in the law, and hence his approach to Jesus would have an outward appearance of being an honest one. However, the inspired writer says his purpose in asking the question was to tempt Jesus.

Verse 36

2:36 The question would seem to be prompted by a good motive since it pertained to the law. But it was unfair because the Lord never put any more of His authority behind one commandment than another. (See Jas 2:10-11.) Had Jesus specified one command as being greater than another, the lawyer would have accused him of showing discrimination between things that were equal as to their divine origin.

Verse 37

2:37 Jesus stated to him the commandment that requires wholehearted love for God, against which even this lawyer could not have any objection.

Verse 38

2:38 The Lord did not say that even this was the greatest, only that it was great. And it was great because it was the first one, which was proper since it pertained to God, and everyone would agree that God comes before all other beings.

Verse 39

2:39 If the lawyer thought he had caught something by the word great on which to make an ado, he was soon deprived of that motive because Jesus said the next one was like it. He then stated the commandment to love one's neighbor as one's self.

Verse 40

2:40 The first four commandments pertain especially to man's attitude toward God, and the other six have to do with man to man. (See Exo 20:1-17.) If a man loves God with all his heart he will observe the four commandments that pertain to Him; and if he loves his neighbor as himself, he will observe all of the six that pertain to that neighbor. That is why Jesus said that the whole law and prophets hang on these two. That word is from KREMANNUO which Thayer defines, "To be suspended, to hang," and he explains it as follows: "The meaning is, all the law and the Prophets (i. e.. the teaching of the Old Testament on morality) is summed up in these two precepts."

Verse 41

2:41 The Pharisees had been trying to entrap Jesus with questions they thought could not be truly answered. That is, could not without contradicting something in his teaching, but they failed as we have seen. Now the Lord turned and put a question to them that was fair, and yet which would be impossible to explain without exposing some of their opposition to him.

Verse 42

2:42 The Pharisees did not profess to dislike Jesus (they dared not because of public opinion, chapter 21:46), but pretended to regard him only as a good man and not divine. When they answered the question of Jesus by saying he was the son of David they only recognized his blood relation to the great ancestor, not that he was anyone higher than a human being.

Verse 43

2:43 If Christ was no more to David than an earthly descendant why did he call him Lord. This question was based on a statement in Psa 110:1 which the Pharisees would have to accept unless they denied the Scriptures which they would not do.

Verse 44

2:44 The first Lord is God and the second is Christ. The pronoun my in the first instance refers to David and the second to God. Using names instead of pronouns, the verse means that God invited Christ to sit on His right hand until He had made Christ's enemies his (Christ's) footstool. The point at issue is that in this statement David acknowledged Christ to be his Lord.

Verse 45

2:45 The argument of Jesus was, how could David recognize Christ as his Lord if he was only his son as the Pharisees claimed.

Verse 46

2:46 The verse says that no man could answer the question. The reason is that they either did not know or were unwilling to acknowledge the divine-human character of Christ's being. This put an end to the tempting questions of the multitude, for they were completely defeated in their hypocritical attacks on the great Teacher.
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Matthew 22". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/matthew-22.html. 1952.