Matthew 22:4
Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatted calves are killed, and all things are ready: come to the marriage.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) My dinner.—The Greek word points to a morning meal, as contrasted with the “supper,” or evening meal; but, like all such words, (as, e.g., our own dinner), was applied, as time passed on, to meals at very different hours. In Homer it is used of food taken at sunrise; in later authors, of the repast of noon.

My oxen and my fatlings are killed.—The words point, under an imagery which Isaiah had already used (25:6), to the spiritual blessings of peace and joy which Christ came to offer. In the “fatlings” we have nearly the same word as in the “fatted calf” of Luke 15:30.

Matthew 22:4-5. Again, he sent forth other servants — The apostles and others, on whom the Holy Ghost descended on the day of pentecost, and who thereby received a fresh commission to call the Jews to repentance; saying, Tell them which were bidden, I have prepared my dinner, &c. — After Christ’s resurrection and ascension, the apostles were sent forth to inform the Jews that the divine mission of Christ was confirmed by his resurrection; that sin was expiated by his death, and justification, peace with God, the influences of his Spirit, and all the other blessings of the gospel, procured for all who would accept them in the way of repentance, faith, and new obedience. But they made light of it — Namely, of the invitation to the marriage-feast, and of the feast itself to which they were invited; that is, the privileges and blessings of the gospel of Christ. They viewed them as unimportant, and treated them with indifference and neglect. And yet they who did so were members of God’s visible church, and professors of the true religion: they had been intrusted for ages with his oracles, which foretold the coming of the Messiah, described his character and office, his marriage with his church, and the marriage-feast. And they professed to believe in these oracles, and to expect and desire his coming. Observe, reader, making light of Christ, and of the salvation wrought out by him, is the chief cause of the ruin of many professors of religion. Multitudes perish eternally through mere carelessness, who have not any direct aversion to, or enmity against spiritual things, but a prevailing indifference and unconcern about them. And went their ways, one to his farm, &c. — Here we have the reason why they made light of the marriage-feast: they had other things to mind, in which they took more delight, and which they thought it more concerned them to mind. Thus it is still; the business and profit of worldly employments prove with many a great hinderance to their embracing the blessings of the gospel. One must mind what he has; another gain what he wants. The country people have their farms to look after, and the town’s people must attend to their shops and trade, and must buy and sell and get gain. And it must be granted that both farmers and tradesfolk must be diligent in business; but not so as to be thereby prevented from making religion their main business. Licitis perimus omnes, said the ancients. We all perish by lawful things, namely, when unlawfully used; when we are so careful and troubled about many things, as to neglect the one thing needful.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.Other servants - Who might press it on their attention. So God repeats his message to sinners when they reject it.

My dinner - This word literally denotes the meal taken about noon. It is also taken for a meal in general. As marriages were, among Eastern nations, in the evening, it refers here to a meal taken at that time.

Fatlings - This word does not refer to any particular species of animals. It denotes any fat animals. As oxen are also mentioned, however, it refers here, probably, to lambs or calves, 2 Samuel 6:13; 1 Chronicles 15:26.

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." See Poole on "Matthew 22:14". Again he sent forth other servants,.... The seventy disciples, and other ministers of the Gospel, as Barnabas and Saul, and others that were joined to, and were helpers of the apostles, who were sent, and preached to the Jews, any time before the destruction of Jerusalem:

saying, tell them which are bidden; for these preachers of the word were first sent to the Jews, and preached unto them, until they by their carriage and conduct, showed themselves to be unworthy of the blessing. These men had notice of the Gospel feast by the prophets, and were invited to it, by the forerunner of Christ, by him, and his disciples, and again by them, and others; which strongly expresses the goodness, grace, and condescension of God to these people, and aggravates their stupidity, ingratitude, and wickedness:

behold, I have prepared my dinner. The ministry of the word and ordinances under the Gospel dispensation, is signified by a "dinner"; of God's preparing and providing; which is a full meal at noon, and in it is plenty of food, and of that which is wholesome to the souls of men, sweet and savoury to a spiritual taste, and very nourishing and satisfying; and this dinner is a feast, a rich banquet, a grand entertainment; in which are a variety of provisions, suited to all sorts of persons, and plenty of the richest dainties, attended with the largest expressions of joy; and this feast is a marriage one, and that not for an ordinary person, but for the king's son, the son of the King of kings; it is large, grand, and noble, rich and costly, and yet all free to the guests; it is kept in the king's palace, the banqueting house, the church, is common to all, and of long continuance, it will last unto the end of the world. What privileges the patriarchs and prophets, and the people of the Jews enjoyed, in the morning of the world, before the coming of Christ, who made the bright and full day of the Gospel, were but as a "breakfast", a short meal; the means of grace were not so rich and plentiful, and their knowledge of spiritual things not so large; they had but, as it were, a taste of what is plentifully bestowed under the Gospel dispensation, and therefore that is called a "dinner"; grace and truth in all their fulness, coming by Jesus, by whom God has delivered at once his whole mind and will; whereas, before, it was delivered piecemeal, at sundry times and divers manners; and this is distinguishable from the "supper" of the Lamb, in the evening of the world, in the latter day, when the Jews will be converted, and will not act the part they are represented to do in the parable; and the fulness of the Gentiles will be brought in, and the Gospel will have a general spread all over the world. The dinner is the same with the feast of fat things, which God is said to make for all people, Gentiles as well as Jews, in his holy mountain the church, Isaiah 25:6 and the table which wisdom has furnished, Proverbs 9:2 with all sorts of suitable food, proper to persons of every age: here's milk for babes, even the sincere milk of the word, that their souls may grow thereby, who are newborn babes, and have tasted of the grace of God; namely, the plainer and more easy truths of the Gospel, to be taken in, understood, fed upon, and digested; and meat for strong men, the more sublime doctrines of it, which such as are strong in faith, receive, relish, and live upon, and are greatly refreshed and edified with: here's the wine of God's everlasting love set forth, in the election, redemption, justification, pardon, adoption, regeneration, and salvation of his people; and fruits served up both new and old, for their comfort, delight, and pleasure; in the ordinances of the Gospel, are the flesh and blood of Christ, the Lamb of God, and fatted calf, whose flesh is meat indeed, and whose blood is drink indeed: here is everything for delight and nourishment, for faith to feed and live upon; and therefore may well be called a dinner, and what is worthy of him, who is the maker of it, and exceedingly well suited to the persons who are to partake of it.

My oxen and my fatlings are killed; in allusion to feasts and large entertainments, when oxen and fatted calves, and the best of the flock were killed and dressed; or to the sacrifices of oxen and other creatures, under the law, as typical of the sacrifice of Christ; and may here represent Christ as crucified and slain, held forth in the ministry of the word and ordinances; who as such, is suitable food for believers, is spiritual, solid, and substantial, and greatly to be desired; is nourishing and strengthening, comforting and quickening, delightful and satisfying:

and all things are ready; for upon the crucifixion and death of Christ, and after the renewed commission of Christ to his disciples, to preach the Gospel, beginning at Jerusalem, it might be justly represented in the ministry of the word, that all things were now ready. Redemption was obtained by Christ; an everlasting righteousness was wrought out and brought in; pardon of sin was procured; peace and reconciliation were made; the sacrifice of Christ was offered up, and full satisfaction given to law and justice; the covenant of grace, with all the blessings and promises of it, were ratified and confirmed; and all were ready in Christ's hands to distribute, to as many as came to him; in whom are life and salvation, and everything necessary for peace and comfort here, and eternal happiness hereafter. This shows the completeness and perfection of the Gospel dispensation, this being that better thing, which God has provided for his people in the last times, that former saints might not be perfect without them; see Gill on Hebrews 11:40. The law made nothing perfect; there was nothing got ready by that; the works, sacrifices, rites, and ceremonies of it, could not justify men's persons, nor sanctify their hearts, nor purge the consciences of the worshippers, nor take away sin, nor pacify God, or give satisfaction to his justice, or procure peace, pardon and salvation; but now all these things are declared to be ready in the Gospel: but this is not owing to man, it is all of God; it is of his providing and preparing; and he is a rock, and his work is perfect; and nothing can be brought by the Creature to be added to it, nor does it need it; there is everything exhibited in the Gospel that a poor sinner stands in need of, or can desire, even that can make him comfortable here, and happy hereafter.

Come unto the marriage; the marriage feast; come into the Gospel dispensation, attend the word and ordinances: the invitation is pressing, the arguments are strong and moving, but the persons invited were averse, self-willed, stubborn, obstinate, and inflexible.

Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are {a} killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage.

(a) The word used here is commonly used in sacrifices, and is by translation used for other feasts also: For feasts and banquets usually began with sacrifices.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 22:4. Τὸ ἄριστον] not equivalent to δεῖπνον (see Luke 14:12; Bornemann, ad Xen. Cyr. ii. 3. 21), nor a meal generally, but in the sense of breakfast, prandium (towards mid-day, Joseph. Antt. v. 4. 2), with which the series of meals connected with marriage was to begin.

ἡτοίμακα (see critical remarks): paratum habeo.

καὶ πάντα] and everything generally.Matthew 22:4. ἄλλους δούλους refers to the apostles whose ministry gave to the same generation a second chance.—εἴπατε: the second set of messengers are instructed what to say; they are expected not merely to invite to but to commend the feast, to provoke desire.—ἰδού, to arrest attention.—ἄριστόν μου, the midday meal, as distinct from δεῖπνον, which came later in the day (vide Luke 14:12, where both are named = early dinner and supper). With the ἄριστον the festivities begin.—ἡτοίμακα, perfect, I have in readiness.—ταῦροι, σιτιστὰ, bulls, or oxen, and fed beasts: speak to a feast on a vast scale.—τεθυμένα, slain, and therefore must be eaten without delay. The word is often used in connection with the slaying of sacrificial victims, and the idea of sacrifice may be in view here (Koetsveld).—πάντα, etc.: all things ready, come to the feast. This message put into the mouths of the second set of servants happily describes the ministry of the apostles compared with that of our Lord, as more urgent or aggressive, and proclaiming a more developed gospel. “They talked as it were of oxen and fed beasts and the other accompaniments of a feast, with an eloquence less dignified, but more fitted to impress the million with a sense of the riches of Divine grace” (The Parabolic Teaching of Christ).Matthew 22:4. Ἄριστον, dinner) sc. with regard to the Jews in the early time of the New Testament dispensation, but supper with regard to the saints at the actual consummation of the spiritual marriage: see Revelation 19:9.[951] This parable embraces the history of the Church from the one time to the other.—ἡτοίμασα, I have prepared) Our salvation is effected, not by our power, but by that of God.—σιτιστὰ, fatlings) a general word.—πάντα, all things) For there are many things besides oxen and fatlings.—δεῦτε, come) sc. forthwith.

[951] For although we freely grant that by the term γάμος at times is meant, according to the Scripture style, any solemn feast whatever; yet that this more general meaning holds good in this passage, is by some concluded, from the fact that mention of the Bride is wanting here, with more confidence than is warranted. For instance, in ch. Matthew 25:1, etc., where the Bridegroom is once or twice mentioned, the mention of the Bride also is not introduced even by the smallest word. Moreover, I feel fully persuaded that the analogy of the texts, Matthew 22:2; Matthew 22:13, when compared with Revelation 19:9; Revelation 19:20, requires the more strict signification in this place. Nor can I think that no weight is to be rested on the fact, that the word γάμος in that one parable is repeated eight times, and only once it is called ἄριστον. Finally, ἀγαθαὶ ἡμέραι γάμων καὶ εὐφροσύνης (Esther 9:22), lead to the meaning, the so-called nuptial (joyous) life, in general, more readily even than the expression here, ἐποίησε γάμους τῷ υἱῷ αὐτοῦ not to mention that the very Feast of Purim, mentioned in the passage of Esther, plainly involves a remembrance of the nuptials (in the strict sense) celebrated between the King and Esther. Comp. ch. Matthew 2:17; Matthew 2:13.—E. B.Verse 4. - Other servants. The apostles and their immediate followers after the death and resurrection of Christ, and the effusion of the Holy Ghost. A fresh call was mercifully given with new graces and new degrees of revelation. My dinner (τὸ ἄριστόν μου). This is the lighter midday meal, which was the commencement of the festivities, and was followed by the supper (δεῖπνον) in the evening. Are killed. The great Sacrifice has been offered, the Victim slain (John 6:51-59), the Holy Spirit has made all things ready. Here are grace, health, abundance, to be had for acceptance. We may compare the invitation of Wisdom in the Old Testament (Proverbs 9:1, etc.) with this of Christ. In Jewish minds the blessings of Messiah's kingdom are constantly connected with the idea of a sumptuous feast, as in Luke 14:15; and our Lord himself uses the same image (Matthew 8:11; Luke 22:30). Dinner (ἄριστον)

Not the principal meal of the day, but a noon-breakfast; luncheon.

Fatlings (σιτιστὰ)

From σῖτος, corn, grain, or food generally. Properly animals especially fed up or fatted for a feast.

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