Matthew 22:11
And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:
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(11) To see the guests.—The verb conveys the idea of inspecting. The king came to see whether all the guests had fulfilled the implied condition of coming in suitable apparel. The framework of the parable probably pre-supposes the Oriental custom of providing garments for the guests who were invited to a royal feast. Wardrobes filled with many thousand garments formed part of the wealth of every Eastern prince (Matthew 6:19; James 5:2), and it was part of his glory, as in the case of the assembly which Jehu held for the worshippers of Baal (2Kings 10:22), to bring them out for use on state occasions. On this assumption, the act of the man who was found “not having a wedding garment” was one of wilful insult. He came in the “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6) of his old life, instead of putting on the “white linen” meet for a kingly feast (Ecclesiastes 9:8; Revelation 3:4-5) which had been freely offered him. Even without this assumption, the parable pre-supposes that the man might easily have got the garment, and that it was, therefore, his own fault that he had it not. What, then, is the “wedding garment?” Answers have been returned to that question from very different dogmatic standpoints. Some have seen in it the outward ordinance of Baptism, some the imputed righteousness of Christ covering the nakedness of our own unrighteousness. These answers, it is believed, are at once too narrow and too technical. The analogy of Scriptural symbolism elsewhere (Revelation 3:4-5; Revelation 3:18; Revelation 19:8; 1Peter 5:5; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 109:18), leads us to see in the “garment” of a man the habits of good or evil by which his character is manifested to others. Here, therefore, the “wedding garment” is nothing less than the “holiness” without which “no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14), and that holiness, as in the framework of the parable and in the realities of the spiritual life, Christ is ever ready to impart to him that truly believes. It is obvious that no inference can be drawn from the fact that in the parable one guest only is without the wedding garment, any more than from there being only one “wicked and slothful servant” in the parables of the Talents and the Pounds.

Matthew 22:11. And when the king came in to see the guests — The members of the visible church; he saw there a man which had not on a wedding- garment — To explain this, it must be observed, it was usual in the eastern countries to present the guests at marriages, and other solemnities, with garments wherein they were to appear, and the number of them was esteemed an evidence of the wealth and magnificence of the giver. This king, therefore, having invited so many from the lanes, and hedges, and highways, who could never have provided themselves with proper raiment in which to make their appearance at this marriage-feast, according to the custom of the country, must be supposed to have ordered each, on his applying to the ruler of the feast, to be presented with a proper garment, that they might all be clothed in a manner becoming the magnificence of the solemnity. But this man either neglected to apply, or refused to accept and put on, the garment offered him, which was the circumstance that rendered his conduct inexcusable. “That persons making an entertainment sometimes furnished the habits in which the guests should appear, is evident from what Homer (Odyss., lib. 8. ver. 402) says of Ulysses, being thus furnished by the Phæacians.” See also Odyss., lib. 4. ver. 47-51, where Homer tells us, that Telemachus and Pisistratus, happening to arrive at Menelaus’s house in Lacedæmon, while he was solemnizing the nuptials of his son and daughter, the maids of the house washed the strangers, anointed them, dressed them, and set them down by their master at table. “It is manifest also, from the account which Diodorus gives of the great hospitality of Gellias the Sicilian, who readily received all strangers, and at once supplied five hundred horsemen with clothes, who, by a violent storm, were driven to take shelter with him; (Diod. Sic., lib. 13., p. 375, edit. Steph.) — Now it was usual, more especially at marriage-feasts, for persons to appear in a sumptuous dress, adorned, as some writers tell us, with florid embroidery, (see Dr. Hammond,) though many times white garments seem to have been used on such occasions: (compare Revelation 19:8-9.) We must therefore conclude, not only from the magnificence of the preparations, to which we must suppose the wardrobe of the prince corresponded, but likewise from the following circumstance of resentment against this guest, that a robe was offered but refused by him. And this is a circumstance, which, as Calvin observes, is admirably suited to the method of God’s dealing with us; who indeed requires holiness in order to our receiving the benefits of the gospel; but is graciously pleased to work it in us by his Holy Spirit; and therefore may justly resent and punish our neglect of so great a favour.” — Doddridge.

22:1-14 The provision made for perishing souls in the gospel, is represented by a royal feast made by a king, with eastern liberality, on the marriage of his son. Our merciful God has not only provided food, but a royal feast, for the perishing souls of his rebellious creatures. There is enough and to spare, of every thing that can add to our present comfort and everlasting happiness, in the salvation of his Son Jesus Christ. The guests first invited were the Jews. When the prophets of the Old Testament prevailed not, nor John the Baptist, nor Christ himself, who told them the kingdom of God was at hand, the apostles and ministers of the gospel were sent, after Christ's resurrection, to tell them it was come, and to persuade them to accept the offer. The reason why sinners come not to Christ and salvation by him, is, not because they cannot, but because they will not. Making light of Christ, and of the great salvation wrought out by him, is the damning sin of the world. They were careless. Multitudes perish for ever through mere carelessness, who show no direct aversion, but are careless as to their souls. Also the business and profit of worldly employments hinder many in closing with the Saviour. Both farmers and merchants must be diligent; but whatever we have of the world in our hands, our care must be to keep it out of our hearts, lest it come between us and Christ. The utter ruin coming upon the Jewish church and nation, is here represented. Persecution of Christ's faithful ministers fills up the measure of guilt of any people. The offer of Christ and salvation to the Gentiles was not expected; it was such a surprise as it would be to wayfaring men, to be invited to a royal wedding-feast. The design of the gospel is to gather souls to Christ; all the children of God scattered abroad, Joh 10:16; 11:52. The case of hypocrites is represented by the guest that had not on a wedding-garment. It concerns all to prepare for the scrutiny; and those, and those only, who put on the Lord Jesus, who have a Christian temper of mind, who live by faith in Christ, and to whom he is all in all, have the wedding-garment. The imputed righteousness of Christ, and the sanctification of the Spirit, are both alike necessary. No man has the wedding-garment by nature, or can form it for himself. The day is coming, when hypocrites will be called to account for all their presumptuous intruding into gospel ordinances, and usurpation of gospel privileges. Take him away. Those that walk unworthy of Christianity, forfeit all the happiness they presumptuously claimed. Our Saviour here passes out of the parable into that which it teaches. Hypocrites go by the light of the gospel itself down to utter darkness. Many are called to the wedding-feast, that is, to salvation, but few have the wedding-garment, the righteousness of Christ, the sanctification of the Spirit. Then let us examine ourselves whether we are in the faith, and seek to be approved by the King.A man which had not on a wedding garment - In ancient times, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of changes of raiment to their friends and favourites, to refuse to receive which was an expression of highest contempt, Genesis 45:22; 2 Kings 10:22; Esther 6:8; Esther 8:15. It was, of course, expected that such garments would be worn when they came into the presence of the benefactor. The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes, and it was the custom of the person who made the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This renders the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common and ordinary dress, as he was taken from the highway: and though he had not a garment of his own suitable for the occasion, yet one had been provided for him, if he had applied for it. His not doing it was expressive of the highest disrespect for the king. This beautifully represents the conduct of the hypocrite in the church. A garment of salvation might be his, performed by the hands of the Saviour, and dyed in his blood; but the hypocrite chooses the filthy rags of his own righteousness, and thus offers the highest contempt for that provided in the gospel. He is to blame, not for being invited - not for coming, if he would come, for he is freely invited but for offering the highest contempt to the King of Zion in presenting himself with all his filth and rags, and in refusing to be saved in the way provided in the gospel. 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).

See Poole on "Matthew 22:14".

And when the king came in to see the guests,.... Professors of religion, members of churches, whom God takes particular notice of; he is an omniscient being, and his eyes are upon all men and their actions, and especially on such as are called by his name: he takes notice how they behave in the exercise of grace, and discharge of duty, and distinguishes hypocrites from real believers; the latter of which he has a special affection for, makes rich and large provisions for them, and protects and defends them; he knows them that are his, and gives them marks of respect; and he spies out such as are not, and will in his own time discover them, to their utter confusion and ruin. There are certain times and seasons, when God may be said to come in to see his guests; as sometimes in a way of gracious visits to his dear children, when he bids them welcome to the entertainment of his house, and invites them to eat and drink abundantly: and sometimes in a way of providence, against formal professors and hypocrites; and at the last judgment, when he will separate the sheep from the goats, and discern between the righteous and the wicked:

he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment; by which is meant, not good works, or a holy life and conversation, nor any particular grace of the Spirit, as faith, or charity, or humility, or repentance, or any other, nor the whole work of sanctification, nor the Holy Ghost, but the righteousness of Christ: for though good works are the outward conversation garments of believers, and these greatly become them and adorn the doctrine of Christ, yet they are imperfect, and have their spots, and need washing in the blood of Christ, and cannot in themselves recommend them to God; and though the Holy Spirit and his graces, his work of holiness upon the heart, make the saints all glorious within, yet not these, but the garment of Christ's righteousness, is their clothing of wrought gold, and raiment of needlework, in which they are brought into the king's presence: this, like a garment, is without them, and put upon them; and which covers and protects them, and beautifies and adorns them; and which may be called a wedding garment, because it is that, in which the elect of God were betrothed to Christ; in which they are made ready and prepared for him, as a bride adorned for her husband: and in which they will be introduced into his presence, and be by him presented, first to himself, and then to his Father, without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. This man had not on this garment, this robe of righteousness; it was not imputed to him; he had no knowledge of it; or if he had any, it was only a speculative one; he had no true faith in it; he had never put on Christ, as the Lord his righteousness; he had got into a church state without it, though there is no entrance into the kingdom of heaven but by it.

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

(4) In the small number which come at the calling, there are some castaways who do not confirm their faith with newness of life.

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; Jdg 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].

Matthew 22:11-14. The man without a wedding garment.—Though this feature has no connection with the polemic against the Sanhedrists, it does not follow, as even Weiss (Matthäus-Evang.) admits, that it was not an authentic part of a parable spoken by Jesus. It would form a suitable pendant to any parable of grace, as showing that, while the door of the kingdom is open to all, personal holiness cannot be dispensed with.

11. which had not on a wedding garment] The festive robe which the master of the feast himself provided, so that there was no excuse. This man is the representative of a class—the bad (Matthew 22:10), who are not clothed in righteousness.

Matthew 22:11. Ἄνθρωπον, a man) Some remarkable one amongst the many bad who were called, and yet not chosen; who is individually a sample of all such, one whom you would especially suppose to be chosen, and from whose not being chosen, the small number of the chosen is perceived. The singular number is emphatic; for the passage would otherwise have equally admitted of the plural.—ἔνδυμα γάμου, a wedding garment)[958] sc. the righteousness of Christ; see Gnomon on ch. Matthew 6:33.

[958] Beng. states, in the note of the Germ. Vers. on this passage, that the persons themselves who were celebrating the marriage feast, distributed such garments to the guests.—E. B.

Verse 11. - The king came in to see the guests, who by this time had taken their appointed places at table. This second portion of the parable teaches that admission to the visible Church is not all that is required; there is also a scrutiny to be undergone and an award to be made. And that this investigation is keen and searching is denoted by the verb used, θεάσασθαι, which means not merely, to see casually, but to gaze upon with the intent of seeing the real nature and character of an object. The king makes his appearance in the banqueting hall, not to feast with the guests, but to welcome them, and to examine if they are properly ordered, served, and fitted for the high honour accorded to them. How close and personal is this inquiry is shown by the immediate detection of one unseemly guest among the multitude. The time when he thus comes is, in one view, the day of judgment; but such visitation and scrutiny are always recurring, as at solemn seasons, in days of trial, sacred services, holy communion, when he searches men's hearts, and sees if they are prepared for his presence. Which had not on a wedding garment; οὐκ ἐνδεδυμένον ἔνδυμα γάμου: not garbed in wedding garment, the genitive expressing the peculiar character or quality of the garment. Wordsworth compares similar phrases: Luke 16:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 9; James 1:25; 2 Peter 2:1, etc. It is said to have been an Oriental custom to present each guest invited to a royal feast with a festive robe to be worn on the occasion, as nowadays persons admitted to the royal presence are clothed with a caftan. Traces of the custom have been found in Genesis 45:22; Judges 14:12; 2 Kings 5:22; 2 Kings 10:22; but they are not very convincing. The Romans seem to have had such a custom, the robes being called "cenatoria." Thus Martial, 10:87, 11, writes -

"Pugnorum reus ebriaeque noctis,
Cenatoria mittat advocato."
But the fact remains that this guest had not presented himself in attire befitting the solemnity; in his everyday garb, and with no proper preparation, he had dared to come to this great festival. What is the spiritual meaning of the wedding garment is much disputed. It is evidently some virtue, or quality, or mark which conditions admission to the enjoyment of the kingdom of God. On the one hand, it is said that both bad and good guests wear it, and its possession does not alter the character of the wearer. Dress is something external and visible, therefore the garment cannot represent an inward grace or feeling, but some outward token by which Christians are distinguished, such as open reception of baptism and sacraments, and public profession of the faith. On the other hand, it is contended that the whole matter is spiritual, though veiled in material forms, and is concerned with man's moral and spiritual nature. Hence it by no means follows that the wedding garment is not intended to have a spiritual signification. Ancient commentators universally look upon it in this light. Some regard it as an emblem of faith in Christ; others, of faith and love combined. "Habete fidem cum dilectione," writes St. Augustine, 'Serm.,' 90, "ista est vestis nuptialis." But it must be observed that faith of some sort was shown by accepting the invitation; so this could not be represented by the special garb which was absent. Others, again, see in it good works, or humility, or the purity effected by the grace of the Holy Spirit. Some moderns take it of "imputed," others of imparted, righteousness, bringing their controversies into the King's presence. chamber. The English Church, taking the marriage feast as a figure of the Holy Communion, applies the wedding garment to that cleansing of the conscience which enables persons to come holy and clean to that heavenly feast (see the first Exhortation to Holy Communion). This is legitimate, but too restricted in its reference. The feast denotes the present and future kingdom of God; the entrance to this is a matter of free grace; the garment is moral fitness, the life and conduct dependent on the due use of God's grace. This is in the power of all who have received the call; they have to act up to the high calling, to be wholly, heartily, really what they profess to be. The scrutiny, whether made in this life or in the life to come, shows how grace has been used, if we have put on Christ, if we have kept our soul pure and white, unsullied by sin, or washed clean by penitential tears and the blood of Christ (see Revelation 19:8). The metaphor concerning this robe of righteousness is found in Isaiah 61:10, "He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with a garland, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels." Commentators compare (but with doubtful appositeness) Zephaniah 1:7, 8. Matthew 22:11To see (θεάσασθαι)

Rev., somewhat stiffly, behold; but the idea is correct, as the verb denotes careful seeing, looking intently, inspection. See on Matthew 11:7.

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