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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Matthew 22



Verse 1

Again in parables (παλιν εν παραβολαιςpalin en parabolais). 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 14:16-23 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 παλινpalin 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 (γαμουςgamous). 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 ποιεινgamous poiein occurs in the Doric of Thera about b.c. 200. The singular γαμοςgamos 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; 1 Maccabees 10:58).

Verse 3

To call them that were bidden (καλεσαι τους κεκλημενουςkalesai tous keklēmenous). “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 (και ουκ ητελον ελτεινkai ouk ēthelon elthein). 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 μουto ariston mou). It is breakfast, not dinner. In Luke 14:12 both αριστονariston (breakfast) and δειπνονdeipnon (dinner) are used. This noon or midday meal, like the French breakfast at noon, was sometimes called δειπνον μεσημβρινονdeipnon mesēmbrinon (midday dinner or luncheon). The regular dinner (δειπνονdeipnon) came in the evening. The confusion arose from applying αριστονariston to the early morning meal and then to the noon meal (some not eating an earlier meal). In John 21:12, John 21:15 αρισταωaristaō is used of the early morning meal, “Break your fast” (αριστησατεaristēsate). When αριστονariston was applied to luncheon, like the Latin prandium, ακρατισμαakratisma was the term for the early breakfast.

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

Verse 5

Made light of it (αμελησαντεςamelēsantes). 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 αγρονhos men eis ton idion agron) or field, another to his merchandise (ος δε επι την εμποριαν αυτουhos de epi tēn emporian autou) only example in the N.T., from εμποροςemporos merchant, one who travels for traffic (εμπορευομαιemporeuomai), a drummer.

Verse 7

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

Verse 9

The partings of the highways (τας διεχοδους των οδωνtas diexodous tōn hodōn). Vulgate, exitus viarum. ΔιοδοιDiodoi are cross-streets, while διεχοδοιdiexodoi (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 γαμοςho gamos). But Westcott and Hort rightly read here ο νυμπωνho numphōn marriage dining hall. The same word in Matthew 9:15 means the bridechamber.

Verse 12

Not having a wedding-garment (μη εχων ενδυμα γαμουmē echōn enduma gamou). ΜηMē is in the Koiné the usual negative with participles unless special emphasis on the negative is desired as in ουκ ενδεδυμενονouk endedumenon There is a subtle distinction between μηmē and ουou 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 (επσιμωτηepsimōthē). Was muzzled, dumb from confusion and embarrassment. It is used of the ox (1 Timothy 5:18).

The outer darkness (το σκοτος το εχωτερονto skotos to exōteron). See note on Matthew 8:12. All the blacker from the standpoint of the brilliantly lighted banquet hall.

There shall be (εκει εσταιekei estai). Out there in the outer darkness.

Verse 14

For many are called, but few chosen (πολλοι γαρ εισιν κλητοι ολιγοι δε εκλεκτοιpolloi gar eisin klētoi oligoi de eklektoi). 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 (κλητοιklētoi) and the chosen (εκλεκτοιeklektoi) called out from the called.

Verse 15

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

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

Ensnare in his talk (παγιδευσωσιν εν λογωιpagideusōsin en logōi). From παγιςpagis a snare or trap. Here only in the N.T. In the lxx (1 Samuel 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 ματητας αυτωνtous mathētas autōn). Students, pupils, of the Pharisees as in Mark 2:18. There were two Pharisaic theological seminaries in Jerusalem (Hillel, Shammai).

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

The person of men (προσωπον αντρωπωνprosōpon anthrōpōn). Literally, face of men. Paying regard to appearance is the sin of partiality condemned by James (James 2:1, James 2:9) when προσωπολημπσια προσωπολημπτεινprosōpolēmpsia prosōpolēmptein 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 κηνσουto nomisma tou kēnsou). ΚηνσοςKēnsos 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). ΝομισμαNomisma is the Latin numisma and occurs here only in the N.T., is common in the old Greek, from νομιζωnomizō sanctioned by law or custom.

Verse 20

This image and superscription (η εικων αυτη και η επιγραπηhē eikōn hautē kai hē epigraphē). 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 (αποδοτεapodote). “Give back” to Caesar what is already Caesar‘s.

Verse 24

Shall marry (επιγαμβρευσειepigambreusei). 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 (εχεπλησσοντοexeplēssonto). Descriptive imperfect passive showing the continued amazement of the crowds. They were struck out (literally).

Verse 34

He had put the Sadducees to silence (επιμωσεν τους Σαδδουκαιουςephimōsen tous Saddoukaious). 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 (συνηχτησαν επι το αυτοsunēchthēsan epi to auto). First aorist passive, were gathered together. Επι το αυτοEpi to auto explains more fully συνsuṅ See also Acts 2:47. “Mustered their forces” (Moffatt).

Verse 36

The great commandment in the law (εντολη μεγαλη εν τωι νομωιentolē megalē en tōi nomōi). The positive adjective is sometimes as high in rank as the superlative. See μεγαςmegas in Matthew 5:19 in contrast with ελαχιστοςelachistos The superlative μεγιστοςmegistos 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 Χριστουtou Christou). The Messiah, of course, not Christ as a proper name of Jesus. Jesus here assumes that Psalm 110:1-7 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)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Matthew 22:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, October 30th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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