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Matthew 22


The Parable of the Marriage Feast The Parable of the Wedding Feast The Marriage Feast The Parable of the Wedding Feast Parable of the Wedding Feast
22:1-14 22:1-14 22:1-10 22:1-10 22:1-14
    22:11-14 22:11-13  
Paying Taxes to Caesar The Pharisees: Is It Unlawful to Pay Taxes to Caesar? Paying Taxes to Caesar The Questions About Paying Taxes On Tribute to Caesar
22:15-22 22:15-22 22:15-22 22:15-17 22:15-22
The Question About Resurrection The Sadducees: What About the Resurrection? Question About the Resurrection The Question About Rising From Death The Resurrection of the Dead
22:23-33 22:23-33 22:23-28 22:23-28 22:23-33
    22:29-33 22:29-32  
The Great Commandment The Scribes: Which is the First Commandment of All? The Great Commission The Great Commandment The Greatest Commandment of All
22:34-40 22:34-40 22:34-40 22:34-36 22:34-40
The Question About David's Son Jesus: How Can David Call His Descendant Lord? David's Son The Question About the Messiah Christ Not Only Son but Also Lord of David
22:41-46 22:41-46 22:41-46 22:41-42b 22:41-46

READING CYCLE THREE (from "A Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. This is the last of three parables that Jesus addressed to the religious leaders in Jerusalem (cf. Matt. 21:23). The parables are found in the context of Jesus' cleansing the Temple (cf. Matt. 21:12-17) and cursing the fig tree (cf. Matt. 21:18-22), both of which are signs of God's rejection of the Jewish leadership, rabbinical Judaism, or the nation.


B. One of the major questions one must answer in interpreting these parables is to whom do they refer and apply?

1. Jewish leadership Matt. 22:Jewish common man (cf. Matt. 21:31)

2. Jews Matt. 22:Gentiles (cf. Matt. 21:41, 43; 22:3-5, 8, 9, 10)

3. Unrepentant and apathetic people Matt. 22:repentant humble people


C. There are possibly two parables in Matt. 22:1-14. This is because:

1. The term "parables" in verse 1 is plural.

2. There seem to be internal and contextual problems between Matt. 22:1-10 and 11-14, especially relating to the wedding garments.


D. There is also the related question of how many speakers are represented in verses 1-14:

1. obviously, the king

2. obviously, the king's servants

3. possibly the Gospel writer himself in Matt. 22:7

4. possibly Jesus Himself commenting in Matt. 22:14


E. The three parables in this literary context are possibly related:

a. The first parable is the rejection of God's messenger, i.e., John the Baptist.

b. The second parable is the rejection of God's son, the Messiah.

c. The third parable is the rejection of God's grace.


F. It is possible that verses 1-10 relate to God's undeserved, unmerited grace toward fallen humanity, while verses 11-13 relate to human responsibility after experiencing the grace of God. The parable is too ambiguous to build doctrine at this point, but the same truth is reflected in Eph. 2:8-9, 10. This would then emphasize the truth that salvation begins with the grace of God, but must continue with initial and life-long repentance and faith. We are not saved by works, but we are saved unto good works.


G. This parable is similar in several ways to Luke 14:16-24. Critical scholarship has asserted that it is two accounts of the same teaching session. Jesus used the same teaching stories in many different contexts. The Gospel writers did not have the freedom to put words in Jesus' mouth. They did have the freedom, under inspiration, to select from, combine, and summarize His teachings. A good example would be Matthew's "Sermon on the Mount," (cf. Matt. 5-7) when compared to Luke's "Sermon on the Plain" (cf. Luke 6).



 1Jesus spoke to them, again in parables, saying, 2"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4Again he sent out other slaves saying, "Tell those who have been invited, 'Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast. 5But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. 8Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'10Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests."

22:1 "in parables" Note the plural, which can mean one of three things

1. Matthew has combined several parables of Jesus

2. Jesus used the same stories at different times to express different truths

3. Jesus was simply speaking to them in parabolic fashion (cf. Mark 4:10-12)


22:2 "the kingdom of heaven" This topic was a recurrent theme in Jesus' teaching and preaching ministry (see Special Topic at Matt. 4:17). It is both a current reality and a future hope. Basically, it is the reign of God in men's hearts now that will one day be consummated over all the earth. This phrase was synonymous with "the kingdom of God" in Mark and Luke. Matthew, writing to Jews, is more reluctant to use the name of God.

▣ "a king. . .his son" Although it is inappropriate to turn parables into allegories, it does seem that this royal motif is related to God. It is also interesting that in all three parables in Matt. 21:28-22:14 " a son" plays a part in the story. It is true that it is a minor part in this parable, but it is still present. One is tempted to see God as the King and Jesus as the royal son. The wedding feast then becomes an allusion to the Messianic banquet (cf. Matt. 8:11; Luke 13:29; 14:15; 22:16; Rev. 19:9,17).

22:3 "those who had been invited" This was literally " call the called." It was customary in the Ancient Near East for two invitations to be given: an original invitation and an announcement that the feast was ready.

▣ "but they were unwilling to come" This imperfect tense implies a repeated refusal.

22:4 "I have prepared my dinner" The term referred to the first of two daily meals (cf. Luke 14:12). In this time and culture, there was a meal at mid-morning (9 a.m.-12 p.m.) and one at twilight (3 p.m.- 6 p.m.). This meal would have begun a feast which lasted several days.

22:5 "But they paid no attention" This implied an apathy or indifference to the royal invitation. There is an easy and obvious transition to fallen humanity's attitudes toward the gospel.

▣ "one to his farm, another to his business" This is similar to Luke 14:18-19. Their actions were not wicked, but indifference to God's call in Christ is a serious mistake.

22:6 The violence of this verse is shocking. One is surprised by this type of reaction in response to the rejection of an invitation to a wedding feast. To refuse a king's invitation to anything in the Middle East was considered an inexcusable insult. This is probably a literary technique showing a relationship to the previous parable (cf. Matt. 21:35). Some ignore God's call; some are violent in their rejection (i.e., Saul of Tarsus).

22:7 The reaction of the King also seems out of place. Many have assumed that a rejection of the royal invitation was really rebellion against the King. Some commentators have noted the similarity of verse 7 to the historical destruction of Jerusalem in a.d. 70 by the Roman General, and later Emperor, Titus. Some have asserted that Matthew added this to Jesus' parable. I feel uncomfortable with this extension of Matthew's freedom in dealing with the words of Jesus. Although I would allow the Gospel writers the freedom to select, adapt, rearrange, and summarize the teachings of Jesus under inspiration, I cannot allow them to put words in His mouth which He never spoke.

22:8 This, too, is similar to Luke 14:21-23.

22:9 The King wanted his son's wedding feast to be well attended. Those who should have come refused. From the context and verse 15, the Jewish leadership realized Jesus was addressing them.

22:10 "and gathered together all they found, both evil and good" The question has always been, "To whom does this refer?" In context it seems to refer to the ostracized Jewish poor. The terms "good and evil" would then refer to their willingness and ability to keep or not keep the oral traditions of the elders (i.e., Matt. 15:2). The obvious implication is that God freely accepts sinners. Some recognize their need and some do not! The invitation has been issued, now who will respond?

 11"But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes,12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?'And the man was speechless. 13Then the king said to his servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'14For many are called, but few are chosen."

22:11 "wedding clothes" Through the years many commentators have noted the problems between Matt. 22:9-10 and 11. It does not mention banquet preparation in 9-10, but demands it in Matt. 22:11. Augustine, following some limited historical evidence, assumed that the host provided a special party garment. This would mean the man refused it or entered in an inappropriate way. The inappropriately dressed man seems to recognize his position by his lack of response in Matt. 22:12.

22:13 As earlier in Matt. 22:6 and 7, Matt. 22:13 is a shocking statement. Possibly all of these verses are meant to be Oriental overstatements (hyperboles); however, the severity of the punishment fits the crime of rejecting God's gracious offer (cf. Matt. 22:6-7) and refusing to walk in God's grace (cf. Matt. 22:13).

▣ "throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth" This was a common idiom used often in Matthew to describe the condition of humans who reject God (cf. Matt. 8:12; 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). It implied a current (cf. Luke 16:19-31) as well as eschatological setting (cf. Matt. 24:51).

22:14 This is a difficult verse to interpret. Many say it relates to Matt. 22:2-10, but not 11-13. It seems to focus on God's gracious gift extended to all (i.e., John 1:12; 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:4; 4:10; Titus 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9). However, fallen mankind must respond appropriately. God does choose, but He has chosen that mankind must respond by repentance and faith (cf. Mark 1:15; Acts 3:16,19; 20:21) to the gospel of Jesus mediated through the wooing of the Holy Spirit (cf. John. 6:44,65).

This verse may relate to God's revelation to the children of Abraham (cf. Acts 3:26; Rom. 1:16; 2:9). They rejected God's offer in Christ, so the gospel was given to the Gentiles who eagerly embraced it (i.e., Romans 9-11). This entire context expresses the truth that the expected outcome in spiritual matters was going to be reversed (cf. Matt. 19:30; 20:16)!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. How is this parable related to Matthew 21?

2. How many parables are there in verses 1-14?

3. To whom does the phrase "invited guests" in verses 3-5 refer?

4. To whom does the phrase "both the good and bad" of verse 10 refer?

5. How do you explain the presence of such violence in verses 6, 7, and 13?

6. How does verse 14 relate to verses 1-14?



 15Then the Pharisees went and plotted together how they might trap Him in what He said. 16And they sent their disciples to Him, along with the Herodians, saying, "Teacher, we know that You are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and defer to no one; for You are not partial to any. 17Tell us then, what do You think? Is it lawful to give a poll-tax to Caesar, or not?" 18But Jesus perceived their malice, and said, "Why are you testing Me, you hypocrites? 19Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax." And they brought Him a denarius. 20And He said to them, "Whose likeness and inscription is this?" 21They said to Him, "Caesar's." Then He said to them, "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's." 22And hearing this, they were amazed, and leaving Him, they went away.

22:15 "Pharisees" See Special Topic below.


▣ "plotted together" This term is used by Matthew to document the numerous times and ways that the religious leaders gathered together to plan to thwart Jesus' ministry (cf. Matt. 12:14; 22:15; 26:4; 27:1,7; 28:12).

In this instance Pharisees even consulted with Herodians to trick Jesus. They hated each other, but they both felt threatened by Jesus and His teachings. Hate makes strange "bedfellows"!

22:16 "Herodians" See Special Topic at Matt. 2:1.

▣ "Teacher" This group of religious leaders is trying to flatter Jesus in order to trick Him (cf. Matt. 22:15). Notice how they characterize Him.

1. we know You are truthful

2. we know You teach the way of God in truth

3. we know You defer to no one

4. we know You are not partial to any (lit. "do not lift the face")

If these Pharisees and Herodians really believed these statements, why did they reject His teachings?

22:17 "Is it lawful" This meant according to the oral traditions which interpreted the Mosaic Law (i.e., "traditions of the elders," 15:2). Jesus changed the question from an "either/or" to a "both/and" (cf. Matt. 22:21).

▣ "poll-tax" This was a Roman tax that went directly to the Emperor. It was levied on every male 14-65 years old and every female 12-65 years old who lived in the imperial provinces.

22:18 "testing" This Greek term had the connotation of "to test with a view toward destruction." See Special Topic at Matt. 4:1. These Jewish leaders knew that the Jewish population was not in support of this tax. If Jesus answered one way He would be in trouble with the Roman authorities; if the other, the Jewish population.

▣ "hypocrites" This compound term meant "to judge under" (cf. Matt. 6:2,5,16; 7:5; 15:7; 16:3; 23:13,15,25,26,27,29; 24:51). It referred to people who acted one way while truly living or feeling another.

22:19 "Show Me the coin used for the poll-tax" This coin was a "denarius." It was a day's wage for soldiers and laborers. On the front was a picture of Tiberius with the saying, "Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the Divine Augustus." On the back was a picture of Tiberius seated on a throne and an inscription, "Highest Priest." Tiberius ruled the Roman Empire from a.d. 14-37. Coinage was a symbol of who was in governmental control. See Special Topic: Coins in Use in Palestine in Jesus' Day at Matt. 17:24.

22:21 "Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" The Bible is clear that believers are to pray for and support the governmental authority they live under regardless of its form unless it usurps the place of God in the life of the believer (cf. Rom. 13:1ff.; Tit. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:13). Jesus changed the word "pay" of Matt. 22:17 to "pay back."

▣ "and to God the things that are God's" The government, although ordained by God, cannot demand allegiance as a divine power. Believers must reject all ultimate claims of authority, for God alone is the ultimate authority. We must be careful of basing our modern political theory of separation of church and state on this passage. The Bible does not clearly speak on this issue, but western history does!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Can you list and define all the religious and political groups within Judaism of Jesus' day mentioned in the NT?

2. Why were these groups trying to trick Jesus?

3. What is the implication of Jesus' statement in verse 21 for our day?



 23On that day some Sadducees (who say there is no resurrection) came to Jesus and questioned Him, 24asking, " Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies having no children, his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife, and raise up children for his brother.'25"Now there were seven brothers with us; and the first married and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother; 26so also the second, and the third, down to the seventh. 27Last of all, the woman died. 28In the resurrection, therefore, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had married her." 29But Jesus answered and said to them, "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like the angels in heaven. 31But regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God: 32'I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead but of the living." 33When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

22:23 "Sadducees" See Special Topic at Matt. 2:4.

▣ "questioned Him" This question also was meant to force Jesus to deal with a controversial topic, and thereby, alienate Himself from a segment of the Jewish population.

22:24 "Moses said" This is a reference to Deut. 25:5-6.

▣ "if" This is a third class conditional sentence, which meant potential future action.

▣ "his brother as next of kin shall marry his wife" This dealt with the concept of "Levirate marriage" (cf. Deut. 25:5-6; Ruth 4:1-2). This term comes from the Latin term for " brother-in-law." In ancient Israel the land was a major theological emphasis (cf. Gen. 12:1-3). God had divided the land by lot under Joshua into tribal allocations. When a male descendant died without an heir the question arose about the fate of his land. The Jews developed a way for the widow to have a child, if possible, by a near relative so that the deceased man's property would go to an heir. This child would be considered the child of the deceased brother (cf. Numbers 27 and Ruth 4).

22:25 "seven brothers" This shows that the Sadducees did not really want theological information but grounds for accusations! No doubt they had used this theological argument many times to confuse and embarrass the Pharisees.

22:29 "You are mistaken, not understanding the Scriptures nor the power of God" This accusation must have really embarrassed these religious leaders (cf. Matt. 21:42)! However, it is uncertain to which OT Scripture Jesus was referring to provide this information.

22:30 "For in the resurrection" Jesus was asserting His agreement with the Pharisees concerning a future resurrection (cf. Dan. 12:1-2 or possibly Job 14:7-15; 19:25-27).

▣ "they neither marry nor are given in marriage" This was a new truth not disclosed elsewhere in Scripture. It implies that sexuality is only an aspect of time. It was part of God's will for creation (cf. Gen. 1:28; 9:17), but not for eternity! This seems to imply that the wonderful one flesh fellowship between a man and wife will be superseded by an even closer fellowship between all of God's children in eternity.

▣ "but are like the angels in heaven" This states that angels do not have a sexual aspect to their existence. They do not reproduce themselves in this way. Many commentators have used this verse to interpret Gen. 6:1-4 as not referring to the sexual activity of angels, but rather a special group of angels mentioned in Jude 6 and possibly 1 Pet. 3:19-20, who are kept in prison (Tartarus, which was the name for the wicked part of hades).

22:32 "I am the God of Abraham" Jesus was using a rabbinical word play on the implied present tense of the supplied Hebrew verb "I Am"of Exod. 3:6 to assert that God was and is still Abraham's and the Patriarchs'God. Abraham still lives and God is still his God! Jesus used a text from the Pentateuch (Genesis - Deuteronomy) in which the Sadducees claimed to be authoritative.

22:33 They were astonished because Jesus used the OT without reference to the rabbinical traditions (cf. Matt. 7:28; 13:54). He was His own authority (cf. Matt. 5:21-48).

 34But when the Pharisees heard that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together. 35One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, 36"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?" 37*And He said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.'38This is the great and foremost commandment. 39The second is like it, 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'40On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets."

22:35 "a lawyer" Matthew usually called these legal experts "scribes." He never used this term "lawyer" anywhere else in his Gospel. This term may have been an assimilation by a copyist from Luke 10:25. Luke used the term often (cf. Luke 7:30; 10:25; 11:45,46,52; 14:3). It is not found in the parallel in Mark 12:28. However it is present in almost all ancient Greek manuscripts. Jewish religious lawyers developed during the Babylonian exile. Ezra typified this group (cf. Ezra 7:10). In many ways they took the place of the local Levites. Basically they answered practical questions related to the written Law and the oral law (Talmud) as they applied to common life.

▣ "testing Him" This verb (peiraze), rendered alternately "tempt," " try," " test" or "prove," has the connotation of "to test with a view toward destruction" (see Special Topic at Matt. 4:1, cf. Matt. 4:1; 16:1; 19:3; 22:18, 35; the noun in Matt. 6:13; 26:41).

22:36 "which is the great commandment in the Law" The rabbis had asserted that there were 248 positive and 365 negative commandments in the writings of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy) for a total of 613 commands.

22:37-38 The greatest commandment is stated in Deut. 6:5. There is a slight difference between the Masoretic Hebrew text and Jesus' quote, but the essence is the same. This verse is not concerned with the dichotomous (cf. Heb. 4:12) or trichotomous (cf. 1 Thess. 5:23) nature of man but rather deals with a person as a unity (cf. Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:45): a thinking and feeling, physical and spiritual being. It is true that because humans are earthly animals they depend upon this planet for food, water, air, and all the other things animal life needs to survive. Humans are also spiritual beings who relate to God and the spiritual realms. However, it is a false interpretation to build theology on these different descriptions of human nature. The key to this verse is the thrice-repeated "all," not the supposed distinctions between "heart," " soul," and "mind."

By quoting this central affirmation of the oneness of God, Jesus is inseparably linking the OT and NT understanding of God. The NT is the fulfillment of the OT. YHWH is now revealed as a Triune Unity. Oneness has been redefined! NT believers fully assert monotheism, but with a footnote. Apparently the NT writers did not see the implication of Ps. 110:1 as a contradiction (cf. 1 Cor. 8:6; Eph. 4:5; Phil. 2:11). There is surely mystery here! See the Special Topic: The Trinity at Matt. 3:17.

22:39 The second commandment was not requested by the scribe, but it does show that a balance between believers'love for God and their love for their fellow human must be maintained. It is impossible to love God and hate people (cf. 1 John. 2:9, 11; 3:15; 4:20). This is a quote from Lev. 19:18.

22:40 Jesus was asserting that the OT has an integrating center (i.e., covenant love, cf. Matt. 7:12; Mark 12:31; Rom. 13:8-10; Gal. 5:14). These two OT commands are obviously applicable to NT believers. Love for God expresses itself in being like God, because God is love (cf. 1 John 4:7-21).

 41Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them a question: 42"What do you think about Christ, whose son is He?" They said to Him, "The son of David." 43He said to them, "Then how does David in the Spirit call Him 'Lord,'saying,
 44'The Lord said to my Lord,
  Sit at My right hand,
  Until I put Your enemies beneath Your feet'?
 45If David then calls Him 'Lord,'how is He his son?"
 46No one was able to answer Him a word, nor did anyone dare from that day on to ask Him another question.

22:41-42 The Jewish leaders had asked Jesus several questions trying to test Him, now He asked them a question that showed their lack of spiritual understanding (cf. Matt. 21:24-27).

22:42 "What do you think about Christ, whose son is He" This question basically dealt with the lineage of the Messiah. Jesus had accepted the OT Messianic title "son of David." This was a common Messianic title in Matthew (cf. Matt. 9:27; 12:23; 15:22; 20:30; 21:9,15). Jesus was clearly asserting His own messiahship. The Jews of Jesus' day were not expecting a divine incarnation but a divine empowering like the Judges. Jesus used Ps. 110 (cf. Matt. 22:44) to show the human lineage and divine lineage of the Messiah.

22:44 This same Messianic use of Ps. 110 is found in Matt. 26:64. The Hebrew text of Ps. 110:1 was a play on the term YHWH (Lord) and Adonai (Lord). The first would represent the God of Israel; the second would refer to the Messiah.


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the central theme of the parable in Matt. 22:1-14?

2. How do you explain the harsh words of Matt. 22:13?

3. Do verses 15-22 speak to the modern issue of the separation of church and state?

4. List and characterize the political and religious groups in Palestine in Jesus' day.

5. Why were these groups trying to "trap" Jesus? (Matt. 22:15)


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