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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Matthew 22

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 22

Matthew 22:4. ἡτοίμασα] Following B C* D L א, 1, 22, 23, we should, with Lachm. and Tisch., read ἡτοίμακα because of the preponderance of manuscript authority.

Matthew 22:5. μὲν δέ] B L, min. Or.: ὃς μὲνὃς δέ. So Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. To be preferred on the strength of this external authority, particularly as C* א, which have μὲνὃς δέ, cannot be regarded as counter-evidence.

For εἰς τήν, Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. read ἐπὶ τήν, following B C D א, min. Or. Correctly; εἰς is a mechanical repetition of the one preceding.

Matthew 22:7. The Received text has ἀκούσας δὲ βας. Of the numerous readings, the simple δὲ βασιλεὑς is the one favoured by B L א, min. Copt. Sahid., while most of the other witnesses have καὶ ἀκ. βας. (so Fritzsche, Scholz, Tisch. 7). Lachm. reads δὲ βας. ἀκούσας, but only following min. It. Vulg. Arm. Ir. Chrys. Eus. In presence of such a multiplicity of readings, we ought to regard the simple δὲ βας. as the original one (so also Tisch. 8), to which, in conformity with Matthew’s style (comp. on the reading of the Received text, especially Matthew 2:3), ἀκούσας was added, being inserted sometimes in one place and sometimes in another. Many important witnesses insert ἐκεῖνος after βασιλ. (D and codd. of It. Lucif. place it before), a reading which is also adopted by Scholz and Tisch. 7 (therefore: κ. ἀκούσας βασιλεὺς ἐκεῖνος). It is not found in B L א, min. Copt. Sahid. codd. of It. Vulg. Ir. It, too, has been inserted mechanically as being in accordance with Matthew’s usual manner; it would scarcely have been omitted as being somewhat in the way because of the ἐκεῖνος which follows.

Matthew 22:10 γάμος] Tisch. 8 : νυμφών, following B* L א. A mistaken gloss, for νυμφών means the bride-chamber.

Matthew 22:13. ἄρατε αὐτὸν καὶ ἐκβάλετε] Lachm. Tisch. 8 : ἐκβάλετε αὐτόν, following B L א, min. vss. and Fathers. The word ἄρατε, not being needed to complete the picture, was struck out. The reading of the Received text ought to be maintained. The genuineness of the ἄρατε is likewise confirmed by the gloss ἄρατε αὐτὸν ποδῶν κ. κειρῶν, which came to be substituted for δήσαντες αὐτοῦ πόδ. κ. χεῖρας (so D, Cant. Verc. 22 :Colb. Corb. 2, Clar. Ir. Lucif.).

Matthew 22:16. λέγοντες] Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. 8 : λέγοντας, following B L א, 27, vss. (?). An improper emendation.

Matthew 22:23. οἱ λέγοντες] Lachm. and Tisch. 8 have deleted the article, following B D M S Z א, min. Or., no doubt; but incorrectly, for it is indispensable, and would be readily enough overlooked in consequence of the OI which immediately precedes it.

Matthew 22:25. For γαμήσας, with Lachm. and Tisch., following B L א, min. Or. read γήμας, a form which the copyists would be very apt to exchange for one of more frequent occurrence in the New Testament.

For καὶ γυνή, Matthew 22:27, read, with Tisch. 8, simply γυνή, in accordance with the preponderance of evidence.

Matthew 22:28. Instead of ἐν τῇ οὖν ἀναστ., we should, with Lachm. and Tisch., read ἐν τ. ἀναοτ. οὖν, following B D L א, min. The reading of the Received text was intended to be an emendation as regards the position of the οὖν.

Matthew 22:30. ἐκγαμίζονται] Lachm. Tisch. 8 : γαμίζονται, following B D L א, min. Clem. Or. (twice) Ath. Isid. The compound form, besides being obviously suggested by Luke, is intended to be more precise, so as to bring out the reference to women. Neither of the words belongs to the older Greek, hence the variations are not of a grammatical nature.

τοῦ θεοῦ] wanting in B D, 1, 209, vss. and Fathers. Deleted by Lachm. Left out, in accordance with Mark 12:25.

Matthew 22:32. οὐκ ἔστιν θεὸς θεός] The second θεός is deleted by Lachm., following B L δ, min. Copt. Sahid. Or. (?). It is likewise wanting in D א, min. Eus. Chrys., which authorities drop the article before the first θεός. Tisch. 8 follows them, simply reading οὐκ ἔστιν θεός. The sufficiently attested reading of the Received text is to be adhered to; it was simplified in accordance with Mark and Luke.

Matthew 22:35. καὶ λέγων] not found in B L א, 33, vss. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. The omission, though opposed to Matthew’s usual style (Matthew 12:10, Matthew 17:10, Matthew 22:23; Matthew 22:41, Matthew 27:11), is in accordance with Mark 12:28.

Matthew 22:37. ἰησοῦς] is to be deleted, with Lachm. and Tisch., following B L א, 33, Copt. Sahid. Inserted from Mark 12:29.

ἔφη] having decisive evidence in its favour, is to be preferred to εἶπεν of the Received text.

Matthew 22:38. For πρώτη κ. μεγάλη, read, with Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch.: μεγάλη κ. πρώτη, following B D (which latter, however, omits ) L (which, however, inserts the article also before πρώτη) Z א, min: vss; Hilar.; πρώτη would be placed first as being the chief predicate. Comp. δευτέρα below.

Matthew 22:40. καὶ οἱ προφῆται κρέμανται] B D L Z א, 33, Syr. Vulg. It. Tert. Hil.: κρέμαται καὶ οἱ προφ. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. The reading of the Received text is an exegetical correction.

Matthew 22:44. ὑποπόδιον] B D G L Z γ δ א, min. vss: Aug.: ὑποκάτω. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Lachm. and Tisch. The reading of the Received text is taken from the Sept. and Luke.


Verse 1

Matthew 22:1. καὶ ἀποκρ. ἰης. πάλιν εἶπεν, κ. τ. λ.] In the full consciousness of His mission and His own superiority, Jesus replied ( ἀποκρ., see note on Matthew 11:25) to their hostile ζητεῖν, which only fear of the people kept in check, by adding another parabolic address ( ἐν παραβ. plural of the category). Olshausen and Keim are not justified in doubting this connection on the ground that Matthew 21:45 f. is, as they suppose, the formal conclusion. The parable as given in Luke 14:16 ff. is not a Pauline modification of the one before us (Baur, Hilgenfeld), but is rather to be regarded as representing an imperfect version of it which had found its way into the document consulted by Luke. Others are of opinion that the parable in Luke 14:16 ff. is the more original of the two, and that here it is interwoven with another (Matthew 22:8 ff.), the introduction to which, however, has disappeared, and that, in the process, still a third feature (Matthew 22:6-7) has been added from the parable which precedes (Ewald, Schneckenburger, de Wette, Strauss, Weizsäcker, Keim, Scholten). But coming as it does after the remark of Matthew 21:45 f., a somewhat copious parable such as that before us, so far from being a mere heaping of passage upon passage, is intended to serve as a forcible concluding address directed against His obdurate enemies,—an address, too, which does not interrupt the connection, since it was delivered before those for whom it was intended had had time to withdraw (Matthew 22:15). As, in presence of such obduracy, thoughts of the divine love and of the divine wrath could not but crowd into the mind of Jesus; so, on the other hand, there could not fail to be something corresponding to this in their parabolic utterance.


Verse 2

Matthew 22:2 f. On γάμους ποιεῖν, to prepare a marriage feast, comp. Wetstein and Xen. de rep. Lac. i. 6; Tobit 8:19. Michaelis, Fischer, Kuinoel, Paulus are mistaken in supposing that what is meant is a feast on the occasion of his son’s accession to the throne.

The Messiah is the bridegroom (Matthew 25:1; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9), whose marriage represents the setting up of His kingdom. Comp. Matthew 9:15, John 3:29, and note on Ephesians 5:27.

καλέσαι] i.e. to tell those who had been previously invited that it was now time to come to the marriage. Comp. Matthew 22:4; Luke 14:17. For instances of such repeated invitations, see Wetstein.

ἀνθρ. βασιλ.] as in Matthew 18:23; ὁμοιώθη, as in Matthew 13:24.


Verse 4

Matthew 22:4. τὸ ἄριστον] not equivalent to δεῖπνον (see Luke 14:12; Bornemann, ad Xen. Cyr. ii. 3. 21), nor a meal generally, but in the sense of breakfast, prandium (towards mid-day, Joseph. Antt. v. 4. 2), with which the series of meals connected with marriage was to begin.

ἡτοίμακα (see critical remarks): paratum habeo.

καὶ πάντα] and everything generally.


Verse 5

Matthew 22:5 ff. ἀμελήσαντες] having paid no attention, said with reference merely to those who went away; for the others, Matthew 22:6, conducted themselves in a manner directly hostile. This in answer to Fritzsche, who holds that Matthew would have expressed himself more precisely: οἱ δὲ ἀμελ., οἱ μὲν ἀπῆλθονοἱ δὲ λοιποὶ, κ. τ. λ. Instead of so expressing himself, however, he leaves it to appear from the context that the first οἱ represents the majority of those invited, while the οἱ δὲ λοιποί constitute the remainder, so that the general form of expression ( οἱ δὲ ἀμελ., κ. τ. λ.) finds its limitation in οἱ δὲ λοιποί. This limitation might also have been expressed by οἱ δέ alone, in the sense of some, however (see Kühner, II. 2, p. 808).

εἰς τὸν ἴδιον ἀγρόν] to his own farm (Mark 5:14; Mark 6:36), so that he preferred his own selfish interests to being present at the marriage of the royal prince, as was also the case with him who went to his merchandise. For ἴδιος, comp. note on Ephesians 5:22.


Verse 8

Matthew 22:8. οὐκ ἦσαν ἄξιοι] Comp. Acts 13:46. “Praeteritum indignos eo magis praetermittit,” Bengel. To represent the expedition against the rebels, and the destruction of their city as actually taking place while the supper is being prepared,—a thing hardly conceivable in real life,—is to introduce an episode quite in accordance with the illustrative character of the parable, which after all is only a fictitious narrative. Comp., for example, the mustard seed which grows to a tree; the olive on which the wild branch is engrafted, Romans 11, etc.; see also note on Matthew 25:1 f.


Verse 9

Matthew 22:9. ἐπὶ τὰς διεξόδους τῶν ὁδῶν] to the crossings of the roads, where people were in the habit of congregating most. It is evident from Matthew 22:7, according to which the city is destroyed, that what is meant is not, as Kypke and Kuinoel suppose, the squares in the city from which streets branch off, but the places where the country roads cross each other. Comp. Babyl. Berac. xliii. 1. Gloss.: “Divitibus in more fuit, viatores pauperes ad convivia invitare.”


Verse 10

Matthew 22:10. ἐξελθόντες] from the palace of the king out into the highways.

συνήγαγον] through their invitation, which was accepted.

πονηρ. τε καὶ ἀγαθ.] not “locutio quasi proverbialis,” Bengel, but they proceeded on the principle of not inquiring whether the parties in question were at the time morally bad or good, provided they only accepted the invitation. The separation between the bad and the good was not to be made by them, but subsequently by the king himself, and that according to a higher standard. Accordingly, the separation takes place in Matthew 22:11 ff., where the man who has no wedding garment represents the πονηροί.

γάμος] not equivalent to νυμφών, but the wedding (i.e. the marriage feast, as in Matthew 22:8; comp. Hom. Od. iv. 3, Il. xviii. 491), was full of guests. The emphasis, however, is on ἐπλήσθη.


Verse 11

Matthew 22:11 f. ἔνδυμα γάμου] a dress suited for a marriage. Comp. χλανὶς γαμική, Aristoph. Av. 1693. It is true that, in interpreting this passage, expositors (Michaelis, Olshausen) lay stress on the Oriental custom of presenting handsome caftans to those who are admitted to the presence of royalty (Harmer, Beobacht. II. p. 117; Rosenmüller, Morgenl. V. p. 75 ff.); and they are all the more disposed to do so, that such a custom is calculated to make it appear with greater prominence that righteousness is a free gift, and that, consequently, man’s sin is so much the more heinous: but neither can it be proved (not from Genesis 45:22; Judges 14:12; 2 Kings 5:22; 2 Kings 10:22; Esther 6:8; Esther 8:15) that any such custom existed in ancient times, nor does the text make any allusion to it whatever, although it would have contributed not a little to bring out the idea of the parable. That those invited, however, should appear in festive attire was a matter of course, and demanded by the rules of ordinary etiquette (see Dougt. Anal. II. p. 23). The only thing intended to be represented here is the moral δικαιοσύνη, which, by faith in Christ, men are required to assume after being called to the Messianic kingdom through μετάνοια. Comp. Matthew 6:33, Matthew 5:20. So far, our Lord’s adversaries themselves could understand the figure of the wedding garment. But, of course, the true inward basis of the moral δικαιοσύνη was to be sought in that righteousness which, as a free gift, and in virtue of the death of Jesus, would be bestowed on those who believed (comp. the Fathers in Calovius). The knowledge of this truth, however, had to be reserved for a later stage in the development of Christian doctrine.

ἑταῖρε] Comp. on Matthew 20:13.

πῶς εἰσῆλθες, κ. τ. λ.] a question expressive of astonishment: how has it been possible for thee to come in hither (how couldst thou venture to do so), without, etc.?

μὴ ἔχων] although thou hadst not. Differently Matthew 22:11 : οὐκ ἐνδεδυμ. Comp. Buttmann, Neut. Gr. p. 301 [E. T. 351].


Verse 13

Matthew 22:13. δήσαντες, κ. τ. λ.] that is, to make it impossible for him to get loose in course of the ἐκβάλλεσθαι, as well as to secure against his escape subsequently from the σκότος ἐξώτερον.

αὐτοῦ πόδ.] his feet; comp. on Matthew 8:3.

For the διάκονοι of this passage (not δοῦλοι this time, for the servants waiting at the table are intended), see Matthew 13:41.

ἐκεῖ ἔσται, κ. τ. λ.] not the words of the king, but, as the future ἔσται indicates, a remark on the part of Jesus, having reference to the condition hinted at in the words τὸ σκότ. τ. ἐξώτ. See, further, on Matthew 8:12.


Verse 14

Matthew 22:14. γάρ] introduces the reason of the ἐκεῖ ἔσται, κ. τ. λ. For, so far from the mere calling availing to secure against eternal condemnation, many, on the contrary, are called to the Messiah’s kingdom, but comparatively few are chosen by God actually to participate in it. This saying has a somewhat different purport in Matthew 20:16; still in both passages the ἐκλογή is not, in the first instance, the judicial sentence, but the eternal decree of God; a decree, however, which has not selected the future subjects of the kingdom in any arbitrary fashion, but has destined for this honour those who, by appropriating and faithfully maintaining the requisite δικαιοσύνη (see on Matthew 22:11 f.), will be found to possess the corresponding disposition and character. Comp. Matthew 25:34. Similarly, too, in Matthew 24:22; Luke 18:7. It was, however, only a legitimate consequence of the contemplation of history from a religious point of view, if the Christian consciousness felt warranted in attributing even this amount of human freedom to the agency of God (Ephesians 1:4; Philippians 2:13), and had to be satisfied, while maintaining the human element no less than the divine, with leaving the problem of their unity unsolved (see on Romans 9:33, Remark).

Teaching of the parable: When the Messianic kingdom is about to be established, instead of those who have been invited to enter it, i.e. instead of the people of Israel, who will despise the (according to the plural) repeated invitations, nay, who will show their contempt to some extent by a violent behaviour (for which God will chastise them, and that before the setting up of the kingdom, Matthew 22:7), God will order the Gentiles to be called to His kingdom. When, however, it is being established, He will single out from among the Gentiles who have responded to the call such of them as turn out to be morally disqualified for admission, and condemn them to be punished in Gehenna.

The first invitation, and which is referred to in the τοὺς κεκλημένους of Matthew 22:3, is conveyed through Christ; the successive invitations which followed were given through the apostles, who, Matthew 22:9, likewise invite the Gentiles. Comp. Matthew 28:19; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:46.

Observe in connection with τότε, Matthew 22:8, that it is not intended thereby to exclude the calling of the Gentiles before the destruction of Jerusalem; but simultaneously with this event the work of conversion was to be directed in quite a special manner toward the Gentiles. The destruction of Jerusalem was to form the signal for the gathering in of the fulness of the Gentiles (Romans 11:25). Thus the τότε marks a grand epoch in the historical development of events, an epoch already visible to the far-seeing glance of Jesus, though at the same time we are bound to admit the discrepancy that exists between this passage and the very definite statement regarding the date of the second advent contained in Matthew 24:29. As is clear from the whole connection, we must not suppose (Weisse) that the man without the wedding garment is intended to represent Judas; but see on Matthew 22:12. What is meant is a Christian with the old man still clinging to him. Comp. on Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:12.

REMARK.

The part of the parable extending from Matthew 22:11 onwards was certainly not spoken, so far as its immediate reference is concerned, with a view to the Pharisees, but was essential to the completeness of the truths that were being set forth, inasmuch as, without that part, there would be no reference to the way in which the holiness of God would assert itself at the setting up of the Messianic kingdom. And the more this latter point is brought out, the more applicable did it become to the case of the Pharisees also, who would be able to infer from it what their fate was to be on that day when, even from among those who will be found to have accepted the invitation, God will single out such as appear without the garment of δικαιοσύνη, and consign them to the punishment of hell


Verse 15

Matthew 22:15 ff. Comp. Mark 12:13 ff.; Luke 20:20 ff.

οἱ φαρισαῖοι]. now no longer in their official capacity, as deputed by the Sanhedrim (Matthew 21:23; Matthew 21:45), but on their own responsibility, and as representing a party adopting a still bolder policy, and proceeding upon a new tack.

ὅπως] They took counsel (comp. λαβὼν αἵρεσιν, Dem. 947, 20), expressly with a view to. Not equivalent to πῶς, the reading in D, and originating in a mistaken gloss. Comp. Matthew 12:14. For συμβούλιον, consultation, comp. Matthew 27:1; Matthew 27:7, Matthew 28:12; Mark 3:6; Dio Cass. xxxviii. 43; classical writers commonly use συμβουλή, συμβουλία. Others (Keim included), without grammatical warrant, render according to the Latin idiom: consilium ceperunt. Euthymius Zigabenus correctly renders by: συσκέπτονται.

ἐν λόγῳ] in an utterance, i.e. in a statement which he might happen to make. This statement is conceived of as a trap or snare ( παγίς, see Jacobs ad Anthol. VII. p. 409, XI. p. 93), into which if He once fell they would hold Him fast, with a view to further proceedings against Him. Others explain: διʼ ἐρωτήσεως (Euthymius Zigabenus). But Jesus could not become involved in the snare unless He gave such an answer to their queries as they hoped to elicit. παγιδεύειν, illagueare, is not met with in classical writers, though it frequently occurs in the Septuagint.


Verse 16

Matthew 22:16. The Herodians are not Herod’s courtiers (Fritzsche, following Luther), but the political party among the Jews that sought to uphold the dynasty of the Herods, popular royalists, in opposition to the principle of a pure theocracy, though willing also to take part with the powerful Pharisees against the unpopular Roman sway, should circumstances render such a movement expedient. For other interpretations, some of them rather singular, see Wolf and Köcher in loc. The passage in Joseph. Antt. xiv. 15. 10, refers to different circumstances from the present. Comp. Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 97 ff.; Keim, III. p. 130 ff. To regard (as is done by Origen, Maldonatus, de Wette, Winer, Neander, Volkmar) those here referred to as supporters of the Roman sway generally (and not merely of the Herodian dynasty in particular), is certainly not in accordance with the name they bear. We may further observe that no little cunning was shown by the orthodox hierarchy in selecting some of the younger members of their order (who as such would be less liable to be suspected) to co-operate with a party no less hostile than themselves to the Messianic pretender, with a view to betray Jesus into an answer savouring of opposition to the payment of the tribute. This was the drift of the flattering preface to their question, and upon His answer they hoped to found an accusation before the Roman authorities. Comp. Luke 20:20. But though the plot miscarried, owing to the answer being in the affirmative, the Pharisees had at least succeeded in now getting the Herodians to assume a hostile attitude toward Jesus, while at the same time they would be able to turn the reply to good account in the way of rendering Him unpopular with the masses.

λέγοντες] that is, through their representatives. Comp. Matthew 11:2, Matthew 27:19.

διδάσκαλε, οἴδαμεν, κ. τ. λ.] Comp. with this cunning, though in itself so true an instance of captatio benevolentiae, the sincere one in John 3:2.

ἀληθὴς εἶ] true, avoiding every sort of ψεῦδος in your dealings, either simulando or dissimulando. In what follows, and which is still connected with ὅτι, this is made more precise, being put both positively and negatively.

τὴν ὁδὸν τοῦ θεοῦ] the way prescribed by God, i.e. the behaviour of men to each other which God requires. Comp. τὴν δικαιοσύνην τ. θεοῦ, Matthew 6:33; τὰ ἔργα τ. θεοῦ, John 6:28; and so Psalms 27:11; Wisdom of Solomon 5:7; Baruch 3:13.

ἐν ἀληθείᾳ] truthfully, as beseems the character of this way; see on John 17:19.

οὐ μέλει σοι περὶ οὐδενός] Thou carest for no man, in Thy teaching Thou actest without regard to the persons of men.

οὐ γὰρ βλέπεις, κ. τ. λ.] giving the reason for the statement contained in οἴδαμεν, κ. τ. λ.: for Thou lookest not to mere external appearances in men; to Thee it is always a matter of indifference in regard to a man’s person whether he be powerful, rich, learned, etc., or the reverse; therefore we are convinced, ὅτι ἀληθὴς εἶ καὶ τὴν ὁδὸν, κ. τ. λ. πρόσωπον ἀνθρ. denotes the outward manifestation in which men present themselves (comp. on Matthew 16:3). Comp. θαυμάζειν πρόσωπον, Jude 1:16. The emphasis, however, is on βλέπεις. We have not here a “natural paraphrase” of the Hebrew idiom λαμβάνειν πρόσωπον (Luke 20:21), which expresses another, though similar idea (in answer to de Wette; see on Galatians 2:6). In classical Greek, β. εἰς πρ. τινος is used in the sense of being barefaced. See Bremi ad Aeschin. p. 370.


Verse 17

Matthew 22:17. ἔξεστι] problem founded on theocratic one-sidedness, as though the Jews were still the independent people of God, according to their divine title to recognise no king but God Himself. Comp. Michaelis, Mos. R. III. p. 154. It was also on this ground that Judas the Gaulonite appears to have refused to pay the tribute. See Joseph. Antt. xviii. 1. 1. As to κῆνσος, not merely poll-tax, but land-tax as well, see on Matthew 17:25.

καίσαρι] without the article, being used as a proper name.

οὒ] “flagitant responsum rotundum,” Bengel.


Verse 18

Matthew 22:18. τὴν πονηρίαν] for they concealed malicious designs (the reverse of ἁπλότης) behind their seemingly candid, nay, flatteringly put question, in which their object was to try ( πειράζετε) whether He might not be betrayed into returning such an answer as might be used in further proceedings against Him. Apropos of ὑποκριταί, Bengel appropriately observes: “verum se eis ostendit, ut dixerant, Matthew 22:16;” but in the interrogative τί, why, is involved the idea of: what is your design in putting such a question?


Verse 19

Matthew 22:19. τὸ νόμισμα τ. κ.] “nummum aliquem ejus monetae, in qua tributum exigi solet,” Grotius. The tribute was paid in Roman, not in Jewish money. “Ubicunque numisma regis alicujus obtinet, illic incolae regem istum pro domino agnoscunt,” Maimonides in Gezelah v. 18.

προσήνεγκ. αὐτῷ δηνάρ.] they had such current coin upon them.


Verse 21

Matthew 22:21 f. “There He catches them in their own trap,” Luther. The pointing to the image and inscription furnishes the questioners with ocular demonstration of the actual existence and practical recognition of Caesar’s sway, and from these Jesus infers not merely the lawfulness, but the duty of paying to Caesar what belongs to Caesar (namely, the money, which shows, by the stamp it bears, the legitimacy of the existing rule); but He also recognises at the same time the necessity of attending to their theocratic duties, which are not to be regarded as in any way compromised by their political circumstances: and to God what is God’s (what you derive from Him in virtue of His dominion over you). By this is not meant simply the temple tribute, nor the repentance which God may have desired to awaken through punishing them with a foreign rule (Ebrard), nor merely the life of the soul (Tertullian, Erasmus, Neander); but everything, in short, of a material, religious, and ethical nature, which God, as sovereign of the theocratic people, is entitled to exact from them as His due. By the τὰ καίσαρος, on the other hand, we are not to understand merely the civil tax, but everything to which Caesar was entitled in virtue of his legitimate rule over the theocratic nation. So with this reply Jesus disposes of the ensnaring question, answering it immediately with decision and clearness, and with that admirable tact which is only met with where there is a moral insight into the whole domain of duty; in a quick and overpowering manner He disarmed His adversaries, and laid the foundation for the Christian doctrine which was more fully developed afterwards (Romans 13:1 ff.; 1 Timothy 2:1 f.; 1 Peter 2:13 f., 17), that it is the duty of the Christian not to rebel against the existing rulers, but to conjoin obedience to their authority with obedience to God. At the same time, there cannot be a doubt that, although, in accordance with the question, Jesus chooses to direct His reply to the first and not to the second of those two departments of duty (in answer to Klostermann’s note on Mark), the second is to be regarded as the unconditional and absolute standard, not only for the first of the duties here mentioned (comp. Acts 5:29), but for every other. Chrysostom observes that: what is rendered to Caesar must not be τὴν εὐσέβειαν παραβλάπτοντα, otherwise it is οὐκέτι καίσαρος, ἀλλὰ τοῦ διαβόλου φόρος καὶ τέλος. Thus the second part of the precept serves to dispose of any collision among our duties which accidental circumstances might bring about (Romans 13:5). According to de Wette, Jesus, in the first part of His reply, does not refer the matter inquired about to the domain of conscience at all, but treats it as belonging only to the sphere of politics (Luke 12:14), and then adds in the second part: “You can and ought to serve God, in the first place, with your moral and religious dispositions, and should not mix up with His service what belongs to the domain of civil authority.” But such a severance of the two is not in accordance with the context; for the answer would in that case be an answer to an alternative question based on the general thought: is it lawful to be subject to Caesar, or to God only? Whereas the reply of Jesus is: you ought to do both things, you ought to be subject to God and to Caesar as well; the one duty is inseparable from the other! Thus our Lord rises above the alternative, which was based on theocratic notions of a one-sided and degenerate character, to the higher unity of the true theocracy, which demands no revolutions of any kind, and also looks upon the right moral conception of the existing civil rule as necessarily part and parcel of itself (John 19:11), and consequently a simple yes or no in reply to the question under consideration is quite impossible.

ἀπόδοτε] the ordinary expression for paying what it is one’s duty to pay, as in Matthew 20:8, Matthew 21:41; Romans 13:7.

Matthew 22:22. ἐθαύμασαν] “conspicuo modo ob responsum tutum et verum,” Bengel. οὐκ ἐπίστευσαν δέ, Euthymius Zigabenus.


Verse 23

Matthew 22:23. Comp. Mark 12:18 ff.; Luke 20:27 ff.; Matthew condenses.

οὶ λέγοντες μὴ εἶναι ἀνάστ.] who assert, etc., serving to account for the question which follows. On the necessity of the article, inasmuch as the Sadducees do not say to Jesus that there is no resurrection, but because their regular confiteor is here quoted, comp. Kühner ad Xen. ii. 7. 13; Mark 12:18 : οἵτινες λέγουσι.


Verse 24

Matthew 22:24 ff. A free citation of the law respecting levirate marriage, Deuteronomy 25:5, and that without following the Septuagint, which in this instance does not render יִבֵּם by the characteristic ἐπυγαμβρ. If a married man died without male issue, his brother was required to marry the widow, and to register the first-born son of the marriage as the son of the deceased husband. See Saalschütz, M. R. p. 754 ff.; Ewald, Alterth. p. 276 ff.; Benary, de Hebraeor. leviratu, Berl. 1835. As to other Oriental nations, see Rosenmüller, Morgenl. V. p. 81; Bodenstedt, d. Völker des Kaukasus, p. 82; Benary, p. 31 ff.

ἐπιγαμβρεύειν, to marry as brother-in-law (levir. יבם). Comp. Genesis 38:8; Test. XII. patr. p. 599. Differently ἐπιγαμβρ. τινι in 1 Maccabees 10:54; 1 Samuel 18:22.

ἕως τῶν ἑπτά] until the seven, i.e. and in the same manner they continued to die until the whole seven were dead. Comp. Matthew 18:22; 1 Maccabees 2:38.

ὕστερον πάντων] later than all the husbands.


Verse 28

Matthew 22:28. Founding upon this alleged incident (which was undoubtedly a silly invention got up for the occasion, Chrysostom), as being one strictly in accordance with the law, the Sadducees now endeavour to make it appear that the doctrine of the resurrection—a doctrine which, for the purpose of being able to deny it, they choose to apprehend in a gross material sense—is irreconcilable with the law; while, by their fancied acuteness, they try to involve Jesus Himself in the dilemma of having to give an answer either disadvantageous to the law or favourable to their doctrine.

γυνή] Predicate.


Verse 29

Matthew 22:29. Jesus answers that, in founding upon Deuteronomy 25:5 the denial of the resurrection, which their question implies, they are mistaken, and that in a twofold respect: (1) they do not understand the Scriptures, i.e. they fail to see how that doctrine actually underlies many a scriptural utterance; and (2) they do not sufficiently realize the extent of the power of God, inasmuch as their conceptions of the resurrection are purely material, and because they cannot grasp the thought of a higher corporeality to be evolved from the material body by the divine power. And then comes an illustration of the latter point in Matthew 22:30, and of the former in Matthew 22:31.


Verse 30

Matthew 22:30. ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἀναστάσει] not: in the resurrection life, but, as in Matthew 22:28 : at the resurrection (in answer to Fritzsche), which will be signalized not by marrying or giving in marriage, but by ushering in a state of things in which men will be like the angels, therefore a higher form of existence, from which the earthly conditions of life are eliminated, in which human beings will be not indeed disembodied, but endowed with a glorified corporeality, 1 Corinthians 15:44. The cessation of human propagation, not the abolition of the distinction of sex (Tertullian, Origen, Hilary, Athanasius, Basil, Grotius, Volkmar), is essentially implied in the ἀφθαρσία of the spiritual body. Comp. Luke 20:36.

γαμοῦσιν] applies to the bridegroom; γαμίζονται (Apoll. de Synt. p. 277, 13), on the other hand, to daughters who are given in marriage by their parents.

ἀλλʼ ὡς ἄγγελοι, κ. τ. λ.] but they are as the angels of God in heaven. ἐν οὐρανῷ belongs not to εἰσί, but to ἄγγελοι τ. θεοῦ, because the partakers in the resurrection (and the Messianic kingdom) are not understood to be in heaven (Matthew 25:31 ff.; 1 Corinthians 15:52; 2 Peter 3:13; not inconsistent with 1 Thessalonians 4:17). It is obvious from our passage—in which the likeness to the angels has reference to the nature of the future body—that the angels are to be conceived of not as mere spirits, but as possessing a supramundane corporeality. This is necessarily presupposed in the language before us. Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:40; Philippians 2:10; Hahn, Theol. d. N. T. I. p. 267; Weiss, Bibl. Theol. p. 68; Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 556. The δόξα of the angels is essentially connected with their corporeality (in opposition to Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 66).

While a similar idea of the future body and the future mode of existence is met with in Rabbinical writers (see Wetstein), it is also conjoined, however, with the gross materialistic view: “Mulier illa, quae duobus nupsit in hoc mundo, priori restituitur in mundo futuro,” Sohar Gen. f. xxiv. 96.


Verse 31

Matthew 22:31 f. But with reference to the resurrection, set over against the foregoing ἐν γὰρ τῇ ἀναστ.; the sequence of the address is indicated by the prepositions. περὶ τῆς ἀναστ. should be taken along with οὐκ ἀνέγνωτε.

ὑμῖν] imparts the vivacity of individuality to the words of Jesus. The quotation is from Exodus 3:6. His opponents had cited a passage from the law; with a passage from the law Jesus confutes them, and thus combats them with their own weapons. It is wrong to refer to this in support of the view that the Sadducees accepted only the Pentateuch as authoritative scripture (Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, Luther, Paulus, Olshausen, Süskind in the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, p. 665). Yet these aristocrats regarded the law, and the mere letter of the law too, as possessing supreme authority.

οὐκ ἔστιν θεὸς, κ. τ. λ.] This is the major proposition of a syllogism, in terms of which we are warranted in recognising in the passage here quoted a scriptural testimony in favour of the resurrection. The Sadducees had failed to draw the inference thus shown to be deducible from the words; hence Matthew 22:29 : μὴ εἰδότες τὰς γραφάς, a fact which Jesus has now confirmed by the illustration before us. The point of the argument does not turn upon the present εἰμί (Chrysostom, and those who follow him), but is to this effect: seeing that God calls Himself the God of the patriarchs, and as He cannot sustain such a relation toward the dead, i.e. those who are absolutely dead, who have ceased to exist ( οὐκ ὄντων καὶ καθάπαξ ἀφανισθέντων, Chrysostom), but only toward the living, it follows that the deceased patriarchs must be living,—living, that is, in Sheol, and living as ἀναστῆναι μέλλοντες (Euthymius Zigabenus). Comp. Hebrews 11:16. The similar inference in Menasse f. Isr. de Resurr. i. 10. 6, appears to have been deduced from the passage before us. Comp. Schoettgen, p. 180.


Verse 33

Matthew 22:33. οἱ ὄχλοι] ἀπόνηροι καὶ ἀδέκαστοι, Euthymius Zigabenus. Comp. Matthew 7:28.


Verse 34

Matthew 22:34. The following conversation respecting the great commandment is given in Mark 12:28 ff. with such characteristic detail, that Matthew’s account cannot fail to have the appearance of being incomplete, and, considering the bias of the incident (see note on Matthew 22:35), to look as if it represented a corrupt tradition. In Luke 10:25 ff. there is a similar conversation, which, however, is not given as another version of that now before us, but as connected with a different incident that took place some time before.

οἱ δὲ φαρις.] Comp. Matthew 22:15. They had already been baffled, and had withdrawn into the background (Matthew 22:22); but the victory of Jesus over the Sadducees provoked them to make one more attempt, not to avenge the defeat of those Sadducees (Strauss), nor to display their own superiority over them (Ebrard, Lange),—neither view being hinted at in the text, or favoured by anything analogous elsewhere,—but, as was the object in every such challenge, to tempt Jesus, if that were at all possible, to give such an answer as might be used against Him, see Matthew 22:35.

ἀκούσαντες] whether while present (among the multitude), or when absent, through the medium, perhaps, of their spies, cannot be determined.

συνήχθησαν ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] for the purpose of concerting measures for a new attack. Consequently the νομικός of Matthew 22:35 had to be put forward, and, while the conversation between Jesus and him is going on, the parties who had deputed him gather round the speakers, Matthew 22:41. There is, accordingly, no reason to apprehend any discrepancy (Köstlin) between the present verse and Matthew 22:41.

ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτό] locally, not said with reference to their sentiments. See on Acts 1:15; Psalms 2:2.


Verse 35

Matthew 22:35. νομικός] the only instance in Matt.; it is met with in none of the other Gospels except that of Luke. It occurs, besides, in Titus 3:13. The word is used to signify one who is conversant with the law, ἐπιστήμων τῶν νόμων (Photius), Plut. Sull. 36; Strabo, xii. p. 539; Diog. L. vi. 54; Epictet. i. 13; Anthol. xi. 382. 19. It is impossible to show that there is any essential difference of meaning between this word and γραμματεύς (see note on Matthew 2:4); comp. on the contrary, Luke 11:52-53.

The term νομικός is more specific (jurisconsultus), and more strictly Greek; γραμματεύς, on the other hand, is more general (literatus), and more Hebrew in its character ( סֹפֵר). The latter is also of more frequent occurrence in the Apocr.; while the former is met with only in 4 Maccabees 5:3. In their character of teachers they are designated νομοδιδάσκαλοι, Luke 5:17; Acts 5:37; 1 Timothy 1:7.

πειράζων αὐτόν] different from Mark 12:28 ff., and indicating that the question was dictated by a malicious intention (Augustine, Grotius). The ensnaring character of the question was to be found in the circumstance that, if Jesus had specified any particular ποιότης of a great commandment (see on Matthew 22:36), His reply would have been made use of, in accordance with the casuistical hair-splitting of the schools, for the purpose of assailing or defaming Him on theological grounds. He specifies, however, those two commandments themselves, in which all the others are essentially included, thereby giving His answer indirectly, as though He had said: supreme love to God, and sincerest love of our neighbour, constitute the ποιότης about which thou inquirest. This love must form the principle, spirit, life of all that we do.


Verse 36

Matthew 22:36 f. What kind of a commandment (qualitative, comp. Matthew 19:18) is great in the law; what must be the nature of a commandment in order to constitute it great? The commandment, then, which Jesus singles out as the great one κατʼ ἐξοχήν, and which, as corresponding to the subsequent δευτέρα, He places at the head of the whole series ( μεγάλη κ. πρώτη, see the critical notes) in that of Deuteronomy 6:5, quoted somewhat freely after the Sept.

κύριον τὸν θεόν σου] אֵת יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, in which regular designation τὸν θεόν σου is in apposition, consequently not to be rendered: “utpote Dominum tuum,” Fritzsche.

Love to God must fill the whole heart, the entire inner sphere in which all the workings of the personal consciousness originate (Delitzsch, Psychol. p. 248 ff.; Krumm, de notionib. psych. Paul. § 12), the whole soul, the whole faculty of feeling and desire, and the whole understanding, all the powers of thought and will, and must determine their operation. We have thus an enumeration of the different elements that go to make up to τὸ δεῖν ἀγαπᾶν τὸν θεὸν ὁλοψύχως τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ διὰ πάντων τῶν τῆς ψυχῆς μερῶν καὶ δυνάμεων αὐτῷ προσέχειν (Theophylact), the complete harmonious self-dedication of the entire inner man to God, as to its highest good. Comp. Weiss, Bibl. Theol. p. 81, ed. 2.


Verse 39

Matthew 22:39. But a seeond is like unto it, of the same nature and character, possessing to an equal extent the ποιότης ( ὅτι αὕτη ἐκείνην προοδοποιεῖ, καὶ παρʼ αὐτῆς συγκροτεῖται πάλιν, Chrysostom), which is the necessary condition of greatness, and therefore no less radical and fundamental. Comp. 1 John 4:16; 1 John 4:20-21; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 25:45. Euthymius Zigabenus: ἀλληλοχοῦνται κ. φεράλληλοί εἰσιν αἱ δύο. We should not adopt the reading ὁμοία αὕτη, recommended by Griesbach, following many Uncials and min. (but in opposition to the vss.); nor again that of Fritzsche, ὁμοία αὐτῇ, αὕτη (conjecture). The former was presumed (comp. Mark 12:31) to be a necessary emendation, because from the commandment being immediately added, the demonstrative seemed requisite by way of introducing it. Moreover, according to the context, there would be no need for the dative in the case of ὅμοιος. The commandment is quoted from Leviticus 19:18, after the Sept.

ἀγαπήσεις] This, the inward, moral esteem, and the corresponding behaviour, may form the subject of a command, though the same cannot be said of φιλεῖν, which is love as a matter of feeling. Comp. on Matthew 5:44, and see in general Tittmann, Syn. p. 50 ff. The φιλία τοῦ κόσμου (James 4:4), on the other hand, may be forbidden; comp. Romans 8:7; the φιλεῖν of one’s own ψυχή (John 12:25), and the μὴ φιλεῖν τὸν κύριον (1 Corinthians 16:22), may be condemned, comp. also Matthew 10:37.

ὡς σεαυτ.] as thou shouldst love thyself, so as to cherish toward him no less than toward thyself that love which God would have thee to feel, and to act toward him (by promoting his welfare, etc., comp. Matthew 7:12) in such a manner that your conduct may be in accordance with this loving spirit. Love must do away with the distinction between I and Thou. Bengel: “Qui Deum amat, se ipsum amabit ordinate, citra philautiam,” Ephesians 5:28.


Verse 40

Matthew 22:40. Those two commandments contain the fundamental principle of the whole of the commandments in the Old Testament.

ταύταις] with emphasis: these are the two commandments on which, etc.

κρέμαται] depends thereon, so that those commandments constitute the basis and essential condition of the moral character of all the others, Romans 13:8 f.; Galatians 5:14. Comp. Plat. Legg. viii. p. 831 C: ἐξ ὧν κρεμαμένη πᾶσα ψυχὴ πολίτου. Pind. Ol. vi. 125; Xen. Symp. viii. 19; Genesis 44:30; Judith 8:24.

καὶ οἱ προφῆται] so far as the preceptive element in them is concerned. Comp. on Matthew 5:17. Thus Jesus includes more in His reply than was contemplated by the question (Matthew 22:36) of the νομικός.


Verse 41

Matthew 22:41. Comp. Mark 12:35 ff.; Luke 20:41 ff. Jesus, in His turn, now proceeds to put a question to the Pharisees (who in the meantime have gathered round Him, see on Matthew 22:34), for the purpose, according to Matthew’s view of the matter (Matthew 22:46), of convincing them of their own theological helplessness, and that in regard to the problem respecting the title “Son of David,” to which David himself bears testimony, and with the view of thereby escaping any further molestation on their part. According to de Wette, the object was: to awaken a higher idea of His (non-political) mission (Neander, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek, Schenkel, Keim). This view, however, is not favoured by the context, which represents Jesus as victor over His impudent and crafty foes, who are silenced and then subjected to the castigation described in ch. 23.


Verse 43

Matthew 22:43 f. πῶς ] how is it possible, that, etc.

In His question Jesus starts with what was a universal assumption in His day, viz. that David was the author of Psalms 110, which, however, is impossible, the fact being that it was only composed in the time of this monarch, and addressed to him (see Ewald on this psalm). The fact that Jesus shared the opinion referred to, and entertained no doubt as to the accuracy of the title of the psalm, is not to be questioned, though it should not be made use of, with Delitzsch and many others, for the purpose of proving the Davidic authorship of the composition; for a historico-critical question of this sort could only belong to the sphere of Christ’s ordinary national development, which, as a rule, would necessarily bear the impress of His time. With ἐν πνεύμ. before us, the idea of accommodation or of a play upon logic is not to be thought of, although Delitzsch himself maintains that something of the kind is possible. Among the unwarrantable and evasive interpretations of certain expositors is that of Paulus, who thinks that the object of the question of Jesus from beginning to end was the historico-critical one of persuading His opponents that the psalm was not composed by David, and that it contains no reference to the Messiah.(8)

ἐν πνεύματι] meaning, perhaps, that He did not do so on His own authority, but impulsu Spiritus Sancti (2 Peter 1:21); Luke 2:27; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Romans 8:15; Romans 9:2. David was regarded as a prophet, Acts 2:30; Acts 1:16.

αὐτόν] the Messiah; for the personage in the psalm is a prophetic type of the Messiah; as also the Rabbinical teachers recognised in him one of the foremost of the Messianic predictions (Wetstein, Schoettgen), and only at a later period would they hear of any other reference (Delitzsch on Hebrews 1:13, and on Psalms 110.).

ἕως ἂν θῶ, κ. τ. λ.] see on 1 Corinthians 15:25.


Verse 45

Matthew 22:45 f. εἰ οὖν δαυεὶδ, κ. τ. λ.] The emphasis rests on the correlative terms κύριον and υἱός: If, then, as appears from this language of the psalm, David, whose son He is, according to your express confession, still calls Him Lord, how is this to be reconciled with the fact that He is at the same time the psalmist’s son? Surely that styling of Him as Lord must seem incompatible with the fact of such sonship! The difficulty might have been solved in this way: according to His human descent He is David’s son; but, according to His divine origin as the Son of God, from whom He is sprung, and by whom He is sent (Matthew 9:27, Matthew 17:26; John 1:14; John 1:18; John 6:46; John 7:28 f.; Romans 1:3 f.),—in virtue of which relation He is superior to David and all that is merely human, and, by His elevation to the heavenly δόξα (Acts 2:34), destined to share in the divine administration of things in a manner in keeping with this superiority,

He is by David, speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, called his Lord. The Pharisees understood nothing of this twofold relation, and consequently could not discern the true majesty and destiny of the Messiah, so as to see in Him both David’s Son and Lord. Hence not one of them was found capable of answering the question as to the πῶςἐστι. Observe that the question does not imply a negative, as though Jesus had asked, μὴ υἱὸς αὐτοῦ ἐστι;

οὐκέτι] “Nova dehinc quasi scena se pandit,” Bengel.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 22:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-22.html. 1832.

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