Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
PARABLE OF THE
MARRIAGE OF THE
This is a different parable from that of the Great Supper, in
&c., and is recorded by Matthew alone.
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
of the Householder; but here His race is royal, and He appears as
Himself at once the King and the King's Son
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
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
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.
3. and sent forth his servants--representing all preachers of the
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
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
"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."
5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm,
another to his merchandise:
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.
7. But when the king--the Great God, who is the Father of our Lord
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"
as being the executors of His judicial vengeance.
and destroyed those murderers--and in what vast numbers did they do
and burned up their city--Ah! Jerusalem, once "the city of the Great
and even up almost to this time
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"
Lu 19:43, 44.
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?
9. Go ye therefore into the highways--the great outlets and
thoroughfares, whether of town or country, where human beings are to be
and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage--that is, just as
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"
&c.). But the distinguishing feature of our parable is what
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
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
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"
12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?
And he was speechless--being self-condemned.
13. Then said the king to the servants--the angelic ministers of
divine vengeance (as in
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
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
there--in that region and condition.
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See on
14. For many are called, but few are chosen--So
RESURRECTION, AND THE
COMMANDMENT, WITH THE
For the exposition, see on
PHARISEES BY A
For the exposition, see on