Matthew 22:12
And he said to him, Friend, how came you in here not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless.
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(12) Friend.—(See Note on Matthew 20:13.) The question implies that the act was strange, unlooked-for, inexcusable.

He was speechless.—The verb is the same as the “put to silence” of Matthew 22:34, and points literally to the silence of one who has been gagged.

Matthew 22:12-13. Friend, how camest thou in hither — How camest thou to presume to enter into my church, by taking upon thee a profession of my religion, and to sit down among the guests, or associate thyself with my disciples; not having on a wedding-garment? — Not having put off the old man and put on the new, not being made a new creature, not having put on the Lord Jesus Christ in holy graces and moral virtues. “It is needless to dispute,” says Calvin, “about the wedding-garment, whether it be faith, or a pious, holy life. For neither can faith be separated from good works, nor can good works proceed except from faith. Christ’s meaning is only that we are called in order that we may be renewed in our minds after his image. And therefore, that we may remain always in his house, the old man, with his filthiness, must be put off, and a new life designed, that our attire may be such as is suitable to so honourable an invitation.” And he was speechless — Gr. εφιμωθη, he was struck speechless. “This is the true import of the original word, which is rendered very improperly in our translation, he was speechless; as from hence the English reader is led to conceive that the man was dumb, and so could not speak; whereas he was made dumb only by self-condemnation and conviction, even as Christ made dumb — εφιμωσε, — or put to silence, the Sadducees, Matthew 22:34; and as Peter would have us to make speechless, or put to silence, (φιμουν,) the ignorance of foolish men.” See Gerhard’s Continuation. Then said the king to his servants, Bind him hand and foot, &c. — Thus, 1st, Christ commands the ministers of his gospel, to whom the exercise of discipline in his church is committed, to exclude from the society of the faithful all who, by walking disorderly, bring a reproach upon the gospel, and to leave them to outer darkness, or the darkness without the pale of the church; that is, heathenish darkness. In other words, as is expressed Matthew 18:17, to let such be unto them as heathen and as publicans. But, 2d, This clause of the sentence is to be chiefly referred to the last judgment, when Christ will command his angels to gather out of his kingdom not only all things that offend, but them which do iniquity, and to cast them into the darkness which is without the heavenly city, namely, into the darkness of hell, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. The mention of outer darkness in the parable, in the connection in which it stands, “would incline one to think, either that the word αριστον, rendered dinner, Matthew 22:4, may signify supper as well as dinner; or that the king is represented as visiting the guests in the evening. But not to insist on this, which is of little moment, it is well known that banquets of this kind were generally celebrated in rooms richly adorned: and considering how splendid and magnificent the entertainments of the eastern princes were, it cannot be thought an unnatural circumstance, that such an affront as this, offered to the king, his son, his bride, and the rest of the company, should be punished with such bonds and thrown into a dungeon.”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.Friend - Rather, "companions." The word does not imply friendship.

He was speechless - He had no excuse. So it will be with all hypocrites.

12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless—being self-condemned. See Poole on "Matthew 22:14". And he saith unto him, friend,.... Either in an ironical way, or because he professed to be a friend of God and Christ:

how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? Which way didst thou come in hither? since he did not come in by faith, in the righteousness of Christ; intimating, that he climbed up some other way, and was a thief and robber; or with what face, or how couldest thou have the assurance to come in hither in such a dress, having nothing but the filthy rags of thine own righteousness? How couldest thou expect to meet with acceptance with me, or to be suitable company for my people, not being arrayed with the garments of salvation, and robe of righteousness, as they are?

And he was speechless: or muzzled: his mouth was stopped, he had nothing to say for himself: not but that there will be pleas made use of by hypocrites, and formal professors, another day; who will plead either their preaching and prophesying in Christ's name; or their attendance on outward ordinances; or the works they have done, ordinary or extraordinary; but then these will all be superseded and silenced, their own consciences will condemn them, their mouths will be stopped, and they will have nothing to say in vindication of themselves; their righteousness will not answer for them in a time to come. The Jews have a tradition (l), that

"Esau the wicked, will veil himself with his garment, and sit among the righteous in paradise, in the world to come; and the holy blessed God will draw him, and bring him out from thence, which is the sense of those words, Obadiah 1:4. "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord."''

(l) T. Hieros. Nedarim, fol. 38. 1.

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

(d) Literally, haltered, that is to say, he held his peace, as though he had a bridle or a halter around his neck.

Matthew 22:12. ἑταῖρε, as in Matthew 20:13.—πῶς εἰσῆλθες ὦδε: the question might mean, By what way did you come in? the logic of the question being, had you entered by the door you would have received a wedding robe like the rest, therefore you must have come over a wall or through a window, or somehow slipped in unobserved (Koetsveld). This assumes that the guests were supplied with robes by the king’s servants, which in the circumstances is intrinsically probable. All had to come in a hurry as they were, and some would have no suitable raiment, even had there been time to put it on. What the custom was is not very clear. The parable leaves this point in the background, and simply indicates that a suitable robe was necessary, however obtained. The king’s question probably means, how dared you come hither without, etc.?—μὴ ἔχων: μὴ this time, not οὐ, as in Matthew 22:11, implying blame. Euthymius includes the question as to how the man got in among the matters not to be inquired into, διὰ τὴν αὐτονομίαν (freedom) τῆς παραβολῆς.—ὁ δὲ ἐφιμώθη, he was dumb, not so much from a sense of guilt as from confusion in presence of the great king finding fault, and from fear of punishment.12. was speechless] See Matthew 22:34.Matthew 22:12. Ἐταῖρε, comrade) A word of ambiguous meaning, which is also applied to those with whom we are not on terms of intimacy or friendship.—πῶς, κ.τ.λ., how, etc.) by what culpable indulgence of the servants? by what audacity on thine own part?—[ἐφιμώθη, he was speechless) By this speechlessness [implying, as it does, that the lost perish altogether through their own fault] all objections whatever that are directed against Christianity are dissipated.—V. g.]Verse 12. - Friend; ἑταῖρε, as Matthew 20:13. It was thus that Christ addressed Judas in the garden (Matthew 26:50). The term here has in it something of distrust and disapprobation. How camest thou in hither? The question may mean - How couldst thou presume to approach this solemn festival without the indispensable requisite? Or, how couldst thou elude the vigilance of the servants, and enter in this unseemly garb? The former is doubtless the signification of the inquiry. The contemptuous rejection of propriety is an outrage offered to the majesty of the king, and one worthy of severest punishment. He was speechless; ἐφιμώθη: literally, he was muzzled, tongue tied, as if his mouth were closed with a muzzle (comp. ver. 34; and Luke 4:35). He could make no reply; he had no excuse to offer. His silence condemned him. It is observed that gags were used for rebellious slaves or criminals on their way to execution (Webst. and Wilk.). Not having (μὴ ἔχων)

It is hardly possible to convey the subtle sense of the negative particle (μὴ) to the English reader. A different word for not (οὐκ) is used in the preceding verse, expressing an outward, objective fact which attracted the king's notice. The man had not (οὐκ) a wedding garment. When the king addresses the guest, he is thinking not so much of the outward token of disrespect, as of the guest's mental attitude toward the proprieties of the occasion. It is as if he had said, "What were you thinking of, where was your respect for me and for my guests, when you allowed yourself to come hither not (μὴ) having the proper garment, as you knew you ought to have?" It implies, as Dr. Morison observes, that the man was conscious of the omission when he entered, and was intentionally guilty of the neglect. This distinction between the two negative particles rests on the law of the Greek language, according to which οὐ and its compounds stand where something is to be denied as a matter of fact, and μὴ and its compounds when something is to be denied as a matter of thought.

He was speechless (ἐφιμώθη)

Lit., he was muzzled or gagged. It is used of muzzling the ox (1 Timothy 5:18), and is addressed by Christ to the demon (Mark 1:25), and to the raging sea (Mark 4:39). Peter uses it of putting the ignorant and foolish to silence (1 Peter 2:15).

The outer darkness

See on Matthew 8:12.

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