The Marriage of the King's Son; Attempts to Entrap the Savior.
SUMMARY.--The Marriage Feast.
The Invited Guests.
The Invitation Rejected.
Those in the Highway and Hedges Called.
The Man with No Wedding Garment.
The Pharisees and Herodians.
Paying Tribute to Cæsar.
The Sadducees and the Resurrection.
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
The Lawyer's Question.
The Great Commandment.
What Think Ye of Christ?
1. Jesus answered and spoke unto them again. Compare
that after the parable of the wicked husbandmen, the rulers "left him
and went their way;" hence this parable (peculiar to Matthew) was not
spoken directly to the rulers.
2. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king. Its
relation to the Jews and Gentiles is likened unto a king who
made a marriage for his son. Rendered "marriage feast" in the
Revision. The scenery of this parable is drawn from the Oriental
marriage feast, which assumed a much more important place in the
ceremony of marriage than it does in our times. See the wedding feast
at Cana, in
John, chap. 2.
The betrothal usually took place many months before, but the marriage
rite was consummated by bringing the bride to the home of the
bridegroom, and the occasion was celebrated by a feast, to which many
were invited. In the parable the King is God, the Son our Lord, the
bride is his church, those first invited are the Jews, those invited
later are all mankind, the marriage feast is when the Lamb's Bride is
taken home to the Father's house, the day named in
the day of judgment and reward.
3. Sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the
wedding. It was the custom among the ancients for the guests to be
twice invited; or rather first invited, that they might prepare
themselves, and then summoned a short time before the banquet, that
they might be there at the proper time. The first invitation to
the Jews was given by the prophets, down to John the Baptist; the
second afterwards by the apostles and other disciples in
4. Again, he sent forth other servants. This is a second
invitation to those who had previously been invited and "would not
The Jews were invited first of all, by the Savior and his apostles
under the first commission before all things were ready, but they
refused the invitation and rejected Christ. Then, after all was made
ready by the death and resurrection of Christ and the establishment of
the kingdom, they were again invited before the apostles turned to the
Gentiles. For seven years from Pentecost, the gospel was preached to
My oxen and my fatlings are killed. A description drawn from
an ancient feast, where the substantial portion of the repast was
5. But they made light of it. There were two classes that
refused to heed the invitation. This is the first class, those who are
6. And the remnant took his servants and . . . slew them. The
indifference of the previous class was proof of disloyalty, but the
second class resort to open rebellion. This was fulfilled in the
persecutions of the apostles and early church stirred by the Jews. See
4:3; 5:18, 40; 7:58; 8:3; 12:3; 14:5, 19; 16:23; 17:5; 21:30; 23:2;
also the Epistles here and there.
7. And when the king heard thereof he was wroth. He who insults
or assails a king's heralds assails the king's majesty.
Destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Strikingly
fulfilled in the fate of the Jews. The Roman armies were chosen to
inflict the retribution upon the Jewish nation.
8. The wedding is ready, but the bidden were not worthy. Those
who reject the gospel invitation show that they are not worthy.
9. Go ye therefore into the highways. All are now to be invited,
not one race or class alone, but the command is, "As many as ye shall
find, bid to the marriage." This was fulfilled when the gospel was
offered to the Gentiles as well as Jews.
10. So those servants . . . gathered all . . . both good and
bad. The bad are invited, not to remain bad, but in order
that they might become good. No one can truly come without a
determination to quit sinning.
11. Saw there a man who had not a wedding garment. It is said to be
a custom in the East, even at the present day, for the host to present
his guests with robes of honor. Every saint is robed, not in
his own righteousness, but in the white robes of Christ's
righteousness. "As many of you as have been baptized into Christ have
put on Christ"
Abbott, on this passage says: "The garments we put on when we put on
the Lord Jesus Christ by faith in baptism
(Rom. 13:14; Gal. 3:26-27).
. . . To be without the wedding garments, offered freely to
him, implied that the man thought his usual attire good enough. He
therefore represents one who, while professing to be for Christ,
thought his own righteousness would save him without a trustful
obedience to the Savior."
12. How camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? The
fact that he had not was proof that he had no right to be there. All
invited might be very different before, good and bad, but they must be
clothed alike when the guests of the Lord.
13. Then said the king, . . . Bind him hand and foot. It is the
king's right to exclude all unfit, even at the door of the feast.
14. For many are called, but few are chosen. "The many called"
embrace all who hear the gospel; the whole Jewish nation, and the
Gentiles of every land where the gospel is preached. The chosen are
those who choose to accept.
15. Then went the Pharisees. They were the chief element in the
Sanhedrim delegation which assailed him. See
16. Sent to him their disciples, with the Herodians. The
"disciples" were Pharisees, but young, unknown, and less likely to be
suspected. The Herodians were a Jewish political party that favored the
Herodian and Roman rule.
Master. They came with flatteries in order the better to
17. Is it lawful to pay tribute to Cæsar, or not? To the
Roman emperor, who had subjected Judea. If he had said "no," they
expected to denounce him to the Roman governor as teaching sedition. If
he had said "yes," they expected it would destroy his influence, as the
people hated the Romans and the tribute.
18. Perceived their wickedness. Their deceit.
19, 20. Shew me the tribute money. The Roman coin was used to
pay the poll-tax.
A penny. The Roman denarius, a silver coin worth sixteen cents.
It had on it the image and name of Tiberius Cæsar.
21. Render to Cæsar. The use of Cæsar's coin as the
current money was an acknowledgment of Cæsar. Let them return his
coin when demanded.
Unto God the things that are God's. Obedience in moral and
spiritual things. Faith, love, obedience and liberal giving for God's
work. We are to obey the human government over us, and to obey God.
When the first requires us to disobey God, we are to obey him, whatever
may be the peril.
23. The same day came the Sadducees. See note on
They were materialists.
Who say there is no resurrection. They denied the immortality of
the soul. See
24. Moses said.
25-28. Whose wife shall she be of the seven? They state a
fictitious case that they suppose will make the doctrine of the
29. Ye do err. "Not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of
30. Are as the angels of God. The physical relations of earthly
marriage do not belong to spiritual beings. The saints when raised are
like the angels. This does not deny personal intercourse or spiritual
relationships, but the existence of fleshly ties.
31. As touching the resurrection of the dead. The Sadducees
doubted some of the prophetic books, but accepted Moses; hence, the
Lord appeals to Moses to show that he taught future existence, or
the resurrection, which is the sense in which the latter phrase
32. I am the God of Abraham.
God does not say, "I was," but "I am the God of Abraham, and of
Isaac, and of Jacob." The present tense shows that he is still the God
of the departed
patriarchs, and that they are still in existence. Queen Victoria is not
the queen of Bacon, Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, but only of her living
subjects. The Savior teaches that the soul is resurrected when it
leaves the body, and that there is no unconscious state between death
and the final resurrection of the body.
34. The Pharisees . . . gathered. Compare
35. A lawyer. An expounder of the law of Moses. A scribe (see
Tempting him. Trying him.
36. Which is the great commandment? This was a question which,
with some others, divided the Jewish teachers into rival schools, and
was a constant bone of contention--one of "those strivings about the
law," against which Paul warns Titus
The Jews divided their commandments into greater and lesser, but were
not agreed in particulars. Some pronounced the law of circumcision the
greater; others, that of sacrifices, or ablutions, or phylacteries. The
Talmud reckoned the positive laws of Moses at 248, the negative at 365,
in all 613. To keep so many laws, said the Jews, is an angel's work. So
they had much question which was the great commandment, so that they
might keep it in lieu of keeping the whole.
37, 38. Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, etc. Freely quoted from
A demand for supreme love for God.
This is the first and great. Great, because it embraces all
others; first, in that it precedes the second that he is about to name.
He who loves God supremely cannot live in disobedience to him.
39. The second is like. The first command sums up what man owes
to God; the second, what he owes to his fellow-man.
Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
One who loves God supremely, will not live in disobedience; one who
loves his neighbor as himself, will seek the welfare of those around
41. While the Pharisees were gathered. Compare
42. What think ye of Christ? The great question still.
Whose son? They reply, the "Son of David," a correct but
incomplete answer, as he shows by their own Scriptures.
43. Call him Lord. David then, by inspiration, calls his own Son
his Lord, which shows that he is more than David's Son.
44. The Lord. Jehovah.
Said to my Lord. The Christ. Found in
This psalm is quoted also in
2:34, 35; 1 Cor. 15:25; Heb. 1:13; 5:6; 7:17, 21; 10:13.
45. How is he his son? The answer is not given here, but plain.
Christ, the Son of David, according to earthly descent, is the Son of
God, God manifest in the flesh.
46. No man was able, etc. Henceforth the Pharisees argued no
more, but only sought his death.