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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Matthew 22

 

 

Verse 1

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,

This is a different parable from that of the Great Supper, in Luke 14:15, etc., and is recorded by Matthew alone.

And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,


Verse 2

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son. 'In this parable,' as Trench admirably remarks, 'we see how the Lord is revealing Himself in ever clearer light as the central Person of the kingdom, giving here a far plainer hint than in the last parable of the nobility of His descent. There He was indeed the Son, the only and beloved one (Mark 12:6), of the Householder; but here His race is royal, and He appears as Himself at once the King and the King's Son. (Psalms 72:1.) The last was a parable of the Old Testament history; and Christ is rather the last and greatest of the line of its prophets and teachers than the Founder of a new kingdom. In that, God appears demanding something from men; in this, a parable of grace, God appears more as giving something to them. Thus, as often, the two complete each other; this taking up the matter where the other left it.' The "marriage" of Yahweh to His people Israel was familiar to Jewish ears; and in Psalms 45:1-17 this marriage is seen consummated in the Person of Messiah 'THE KING,' Himself addressed as 'GOD' and yet as anointed by 'HIS GOD' with the oil of gladness above His fellows.'

These apparent contradictories (see the notes at Luke 20:41-44) are resolved in this parable; and Jesus, in claiming to be this King's Son, serves Himself Heir to all that the prophets and sweet singers of Israel held forth as to Yahweh's ineffably near and endearing union to His people. But observe carefully, that THE BRIDE does not come into view in this parable; its design being to teach certain truths under the figure of guests at a wedding feast, and the want of a wedding garment, which would not have hamonized with the introduction of the Bride.


Verse 3

And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.

And sent forth his servants (representing all preachers of the Gospel), to call them that were bidden - here meaning the Jews, who were "bidden," from the first choice of them onwards through every summons addressed to them by the prophets to hold themselves in readiness for the appearing of their King.

To the wedding - or the marriage festivities, when the preparations were all concluded.

And they would not come - as the issue of the whole ministry of the Baptist, our Lord Himself, and His apostles thereafter, too sadly showed.


Verse 4

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. This points to those Gospel calls after Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, and effusion of the Spirit, to which the parable could not directly allude, but when only it could be said, with strict propriety, "that all things were ready." Compare 1 Corinthians 5:7-8, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast:" also John 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."


Verse 5

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:

But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:


Verse 6

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.

And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully , [ hubrisan (Greek #5195)] - 'insulted them.'

And slew them. These are two different classes of unbelievers; the one simply indifferent; the other absolutely hostile-the one, contemptuous scorners; the other, persecutors.


Verse 7

But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.

But when the king (the Great God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ), heard thereof.

[Tregelles, with not sufficient warrant, as we think, omits the word akousas (Greek #191). Tischendorf retains it.] He was wroth - at the affront put both on His Son, and on Himself who had deigned to invite them.

And he sent forth his armies. The Romans are here called God's armies, just as the Assyrian is called "the rod of His anger" (Isaiah 10:5), as being the executors of His judicial vengeance.

And destroyed those murderers - and in what vast numbers did they do it!

And burned up their city. Ah! Jerusalem, once "the city of the Great King" (Psalms 48:2), and even up almost to this time (Matthew 5:35); but now it is "their city" - just as our Lord, a day or two after this, said of the temple, where God had so long dwelt, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate" (Matthew 23:38)! Compare Luke 19:43-44.


Verse 8

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.

Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy - for how should those be deemed worthy to sit down at His table who had affronted Him by their treatment of His gracious invitation?


Verse 9

Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

Go ye therefore into the highways - the great outlets and thoroughfares, whether of town or country, where human beings are to be found,

And as many as ye shall find bid to the marriage - that is, just as they are.


Verse 10

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.

So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good - that is, without making any distinction between open sinners and the morally correct. The Gospel call fetched in Jews, Samaritans, and out- lying pagan alike. Thus far the parable answers to that of 'the Great Supper:' Luke 14:16, etc. But the distinguishing feature of our parable is what follows:


Verse 11

And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:

And when the king came in to see the guests. Solemn expression this, of that omniscient inspection of every professed disciple of the Lord Jesus from age to age, in virtue of which his true character will hereafter be judicially proclaimed!

He saw there a man. This shows that it is the judgment of individuals which is intended in this latter part of the parable: the first part represents rather national judgment.

Which had not on a wedding garment. The language here is drawn from the following remarkable passage in Zephaniah 1:7-8 : "Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; because the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel." The custom in the East of presenting festival garments (See Genesis 45:22; 2 Kings 5:22), even though not clearly proved, is certainly presupposed here. It undoubtedly means something which they bring not of their own-for how could they have any such dress who were gathered in from the highways indiscriminately?-but which they receive as their appropriate dress. And what can that be but what is meant by "putting on the Lord Jesus" as "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS"? (See Psalms 45:13-14.) Nor could such language be strange to those in whose ears had so long resounded those words of prophetic joy: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10).


Verse 12

And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.

And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless - being self-condemned.


Verse 13

Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Then said the king to the servants - the angelic ministers of divine vengeance (as in Matthew 13:41).

Bind him hand and foot (putting it out of his power to resist), and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588) skotos (Greek #4655) to (Greek #3588) exooteron (Greek #1857)]. So Matthew 8:12; Matthew 25:30. The expression is emphatic-`The darkness which is outside.' To be 'outside' at all-or, in the language of Revelation 22:15, to be 'without' the heavenly city [ exoo (Greek #1854)], excluded from its joyous nuptials and gladsome festivities-is sad enough of itself, without anything else. But to find themselves not only excluded from the brightness and glory and joy and felicity of the kingdom above, but thrust into a region of "darkness," with all its horrors, this is the dismal retribution here announced, that awaits the unworthy at the great day.

[There], [ ekei (G1563) - in that region and condition], shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See the note at Matthew 13:42,


Verse 14

For many are called, but few are chosen.

For many are called, but few are chosen. So Matthew 19:30. See the note at Matthew 20:16.

Remarks:

(1) What claim to supreme Divinity brighter and more precious than our Lord here advances can be conceived? Observe the succession of ideas, as unfolded in the Old Testament, and how Jesus places Himself in the center of them. First, all the gracious relations which Yahweh is represented as sustaining to His people culminate in the intimate and endearing one of a marriage-union (Jeremiah 3:14; Hosea 2:16; etc). But next, when the nuptial-song of this high union is sung, in Psalms 45:1-17, we find it to celebrate a union, not directly and immediately between Yahweh and the Church, but between Messiah and the Church; yet a Messiah who, while anointed of God with the oil of gladness above His fellows, is addressed in the Psalm as Himself God: so that it is just Yahweh in the Person of Messiah "the King" who in that nuptial-song is celebrated as taking the Church to be His Bride. But this is not all; because in other predictions this Divine Messiah is expressly called the Son of God (Psalms 2:7; Psalms 2:12; compare Proverbs 30:4; Daniel 3:25). Such being the representations of the Old Testament, what does Jesus here but serve Himself to Heir to them, holding Himself forth as Himself the King's of Old Testament prophecy, as the Anointed King in whose Person Yahweh was to marry His people to Himself, and whose nuptials are celebrated in the lofty Messianic Psalm to which we have adverted?

(2) As in the parable of the Great Supper (Luke 14:1-35), so here, it is not those who have all along basked in the sunshine of religious privileges who are the readiest to embrace the Gospel call, but the very opposite classes. And is it not so still?

(3) The terrible destruction which fell upon Jerusalem, and the breaking up and dispersion and wretchedness of the nation which ensued, and continues to this hour-what a warning are they of that vengeance of God which awaits the despisers of His Son!

(4) Though sinners are invited to Christ as they are, and salvation is "without money and without price," we are "accepted," only "in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6); if there be "no condemnation," it is "to them that are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). These are they that have "put on the Lord Jesus" (Romans 13:14; Galatians 3:27). This is to have the wedding garment.

(5) Though we may deceive not only others but ourselves, there is an Eye which comes in expressly to see the guests; the one thing He looks for is that wedding garment; and among myriads of persons, all professing to be His, He can discern even one who is not.

(6) No moral or religious excellences will compensate for the absence of this wedding garment. If we have not put on the Lord Jesus, if we are not "in Christ Jesus," our doom is sealed; and what a doom-to be cast indignantly and without the power of resistance into outer darkness, where there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth! Oh! Do men really believe that this doom awaits those who, however exemplary in other respects, venture to present themselves before God out of Christ?


Verses 15-40

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

For the exposition, see the notes at Mark 12:13-34.


Verses 41-46

While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,

For the exposition, see the notes at Mark 12:35-37.

For this long and terrible discourse we are indebted, with the exception of a few verses in Mark and Luke, to Matthew alone. But as it is only an extended repetition of denunciations uttered not long before at the table of a Pharisee, and recorded by Luke (Luke 11:37-54), we may take both together in the exposition.

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Matthew 22:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/matthew-22.html. 1871-8.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
the Third Week of Advent
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