Matthew 22

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 Lu 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  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.

A marriage feast ( γαμους ). The plural, as here (2,3,4,9), is very common in the papyri for the wedding festivities (the several acts of feasting) which lasted for days, seven in Jud 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 22:8 and the plural (see also Ge 29:22; Es 9:22; Macc. 10:58).

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 (Es 5:8; 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 (Joh 1:11). This is "The Hebrew Tragedy" (Conder).

My dinner ( το αριστον μου ). It is breakfast, not dinner. In Lu 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 Joh 21:12,15  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.

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.

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

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."

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

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.

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

The outer darkness ( το σκοτος το εξωτερον ). See Mt 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.

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.

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

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

Ensnare in his talk ( παγιδευσωσιν εν λογω ). From  παγις, a snare or trap. Here only in the N.T. In the LXX (1Ki 28:9; Ec 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.

Their disciples ( τους μαθητας αυτων ). Students, pupils, of the Pharisees as in Mr 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 (Ac 11:26). Mentioned also in Mr 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 (Jas 2:1,9) when  προσωπολημψια, προσωπολημπτειν are used, in imitation of the Hebrew idiom. This suave flattery to Jesus implied "that Jesus was a reckless simpleton" (Bruce).

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.

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.

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

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 De 25:5,6. 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 Ge 34:9; 1Sa 18:22. But in Ge 38:8 and De 25:5 it is used specifically of one marrying his brother's widow.

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

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 Ac 2:47. "Mustered their forces" (Moffatt).

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 Mt 5:19 in contrast with  ελαχιστος. The superlative  μεγιστος occurs in the N.T. only in 2Pe 1:4. Possibly this scribe wishes to know which commandment stood first (Mr 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.

The Christ ( του Χριστου ). The Messiah, of course, not Christ as a proper name of Jesus. Jesus here assumes that Ps 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.

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