Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,
Mt 22:1-14. Parable of the Marriage of the King's Son.
This is a different parable from that of the Great Supper, in Lu 14:15, &c., and is recorded by Matthew alone.
The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,
2. 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 (Mr 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 (Ps 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 Jehovah to His people Israel was familiar to Jewish ears; and in Ps 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 contradictions (see on Lu 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 Jehovah'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 harmonized with the introduction of the Bride.
And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come.
3. 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.
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.
4. 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 1Co 5:7, 8, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast"; also Joh 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them.
6. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully—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, bitter persecutors.
But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.
7. But when the king—the Great God, who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
heard thereof, 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 styled God's armies, just as the Assyrian is styled "the rod of His anger" (Isa 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" (Ps 48:2), and even up almost to this time (Mt 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" (Mt 23:38)! Compare Lu 19:43, 44.
Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy.
8. 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?
Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.
9. 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.
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.
10. 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 outlying heathen alike. Thus far the parable answers to that of "the Great Supper" (Lu 14:16, &c.). But the distinguishing feature of our parable is what follows:
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
11. 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 Zep 1:7, 8:—"Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for 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 Ge 45:22; 2Ki 5:22), even though nor 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 Ps 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" (Isa 61:10).
And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless—being self-condemned.
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.
13. Then said the king to the servants—the angelic ministers of divine vengeance (as in Mt 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—So Mt 8:12; 25:30. The expression is emphatic—"the darkness which is outside." To be "outside" at all—or, in the language of Re 22:15, to be "without" the heavenly city, 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—in that region and condition.
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See on Mt 13:42.
For many are called, but few are chosen.
14. For many are called, but few are chosen—So Mt 19:30. See on Mt 20:16.
Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
Mt 22:15-40. Entangling Questions about Tribute, the Resurrection, and the Great Commandment, with the Replies. ( = Mr 12:13-34; Lu 20:20-40).
For the exposition, see on Mr 12:13-34.
And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.
The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,
Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother:
Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh.
And last of all the woman died also.
Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her.
Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God.
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,
I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.
But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together.
Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,
Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
This is the first and great commandment.
And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,
Mt 22:41-46. Christ Baffles the Pharisees by a Question about David and Messiah. ( = Mr 12:35-37; Lu 20:41-44).
For the exposition, see on Mr 12:35-37.
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The Son of David.
He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?
If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?
And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.