Matthew 22:1 "And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said,"
And Jesus answered and spake unto them again in parables - See the notes at Matthew 13:3. That is, he answered or made reply to the Pharisees, who had been enraged at him for what he had already spoken to them, (Matthew 21:45-46). He made a still further statement, to show how the gospel would be received and treated by them. The real answer here, as is frequently the case in the New Testament, refers to what was passing in the mind, or to the conduct of those who were addressed, not to what they said.
Matthew 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son,"
The kingdom of heaven - See the notes at Matthew 3:2. The idea here is, "God deals with man in his kingdom, or in regard to the dispensation of the gospel, as a certain king did," etc. This parable refers, undoubtedly, to the rejection of the Jews and to the calling of the Gentiles. The gospel, with all its privileges, was offered to the Jewish people; but through their wickedness and pride they rejected it, and all its blessings were offered to the Gentiles and accepted. This is the general truth. Many circumstances are thrown in to fill out the narrative which cannot be particularly explained.
A marriage for his son - Rather a "marriage-feast," or a feast on the occasion of the marriage of his son. The king here doubtless represents God providing for the salvation of the world.
Matthew 22:3 "And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come."
And sent forth his servants - These represent the messengers that God has sent to invite people to his kingdom.
To call them that were bidden - That is, to give notice to those who had before been invited that the feast was ready. It appears that there were two invitations - one considerably previous to the time of the feast, that they might have opportunity to prepare for it, and the other to give notice of the precise time when they were expected.
The wedding - The marriage-feast. The same word in the original as in Matthew 22:2.
They would not come - They might have come if they had chosen, but they would not. So all the difficulty that sinners ever labour under in regard to salvation is in the will. It is a fixed determination not to come and be saved. See the notes at John 5:45.
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 fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage."
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).
Matthew 22:5 "But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:"
But they made light of it - Treated it with contempt, as a thing of no consequence - an exact representation of the conduct of sinners in regard to the gospel.
One to his farm - So people are engaged so much in their worldly employment that they pretend they have no time to attend to religion. The world is, in their view, of more value than God.
Merchandise - Traffic; trading.
Matthew 22:6 "And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them."
And the remnant ... - That is, a part made light of it; treated it with silent contempt, and coolly went about their business. The others were not satisfied with that, but showed positive malignity. Some sinners seem to be well satisfied by merely neglecting religion; others proceed against it with open violence and bitter malice.
Entreated them spitefully - Used harsh and opprobrious words. Reviled and abused them. This was done because they hated and despised the king. So sinners often abuse and calumniate ministers of religion because they themselves hate God, and can in no way else show their hatred so well.
Matthew 22:7 "But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city."
But when the king heard ... - This doubtless refers to the Jews and to Jerusalem. They were murderers, having slain the prophets; and God was about to send forth the armies of the Romans under his providential direction, and to burn up their city. See the notes at Matt. 24.
Wroth - Angry; displeased.
Matthew 22:9 "Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage."
The highways - Literally, the "exit" or "going out" of the "paths or roads." It means the square or principal street, into which a number of smaller streets enter; a place, therefore, of confluence, where many persons would be seen, and persons of all descriptions. By this is represented the offering of the gospel to the Gentiles. They were commonly regarded among the Jews as living in highways and hedges cast out and despised.
Matthew 22:10 "So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests."
Bad and good - All descriptions of people. None are good by nature; if they were they would not need the gospel; but some are worse than others, and they have special need of it. None can be saved without it.
Matthew 22:11 "And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment:"
A man which had not on a wedding garment - In ancient times, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of changes of raiment to their friends and favourites, to refuse to receive which was an expression of highest contempt, (Genesis 45:22; 2 Kings 10:22; Esther 6:8; Esther 8:15). It was, of course, expected that such garments would be worn when they came into the presence of the benefactor. The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes, and it was the custom of the person who made the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This renders the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common and ordinary dress, as he was taken from the highway: and though he had not a garment of his own suitable for the occasion, yet one had been provided for him, if he had applied for it. His not doing it was expressive of the highest disrespect for the king. This beautifully represents the conduct of the hypocrite in the church. A garment of salvation might be his, performed by the hands of the Saviour, and dyed in his blood; but the hypocrite chooses the filthy rags of his own righteousness, and thus offers the highest contempt for that provided in the gospel. He is to blame, not for being invited - not for coming, if he would come, for he is freely invited but for offering the highest contempt to the King of Zion in presenting himself with all his filth and rags, and in refusing to be saved in the way provided in the gospel.
Matthew 22:12 "And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless."
Friend - Rather, "companions." The word does not imply friendship.
He was speechless - He had no excuse. So it will be with all hypocrites.
Matthew 22:13 "Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."
Cast him into outer darkness - See the notes at Matthew 8:12. This, without doubt, refers to the future punishment of the hypocrite, (Matthew 23:23-33; Matthew 24:51).
Matthew 22:14 "For many are called, but few are chosen."
Many are called, but few are chosen - Our Saviour often uses this expression. It was probably proverbial. The Jews had been called, but few of them had been chosen to life. The great mass of the nation was wicked, and they showed by their lives that they were not chosen to salvation. The Gentiles also were invited to be saved, (Isaiah 45:22). Nation after nation has been called; but few, few have yet showed that they were real Christians, the elect of God. It is also true that many who are in the church may prove to be without the wedding garment, and show at last that they were not the chosen of God. This remark in the 14th verse is the inference from the "whole parable," and not of the part about the man without the wedding garment. It does not mean, therefore, that the great mass in the church are simply called and not chosen, or are hypocrites; but the great mass in "the human family," in the time of Christ, who had been "called," had rejected the mercy of God.
Matthew 22:15-22 "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. 16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men. 17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? 18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? 19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. 20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? 21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's. 22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."
The Pharisees and Herodians endeavor to entangle Jesus - This narrative is also found in Mark 12:12-17; Luke 20:20-26.
Matthew 22:15 "Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk."
Then went the Pharisees - See the notes at Matthew 3:7.
How they might entangle him - To entangle means to "ensnare," as birds are taken by a net. This is done secretly, by leading them within the compass of the net and then suddenly springing it over them. So to entangle is artfully to lay a plan for enticing; to beguile by proposing a question, and by leading, if possible, to an incautious answer. This was what the Pharisees and Herodians endeavored to do in regard to Jesus.
In his talk - The word "his" is supplied by the translators, perhaps improperly. It means "in conversations," or by "talking" with him; not alluding to anything that he had before said.
Matthew 22:16 "And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men."
The Herodians - It is not certainly known who these were.
It is probable that they took their name from Herod the Great. Perhaps they were first a political party, and were then distinguished for holding some of the special opinions of Herod. Dr. Prideaux thinks that those opinions referred to two things. The first respected subjection to a foreign power. The law of Moses was, that a "stranger should not be set over the Jews as a king," (Deuteronomy 17:15). Herod, who had received the kingdom of Judea by appointment of the Romans, maintained that the law of Moses referred only to a voluntary choice of a king, and did not refer to a necessary submission where they had been overpowered by force. His followers supposed, therefore, that it was lawful in such cases to pay tribute to a foreign prince. This opinion was, however, extensively unpopular among the Jews, and particularly the Pharisees, who looked upon it as a violation of their law, and regarded all the acts growing out of it as oppressive. Hence, the difficulty of the question proposed by them. Whatever way he decided, they supposed he would be involved in difficulty. If he should say it was not lawful, the Herodians were ready to accuse him as being an enemy of Caesar; if he said it was lawful, the Pharisees were ready to accuse him to the people of holding an opinion extremely unpopular among them, and as being an enemy of their rights. The other opinion of Herod, which they seem to have followed, was, that when a people were subjugated by a foreign force, it was right to adopt the rites and customs of their religion. This was what was meant by the "leaven of Herod," (Mark 8:15). The Herodians and Sadducees seem on most questions to have been united. Compare Matthew 16:6; Mark 8:15.
We know that thou art true - A hypocritical compliment, not believed by them, but artfully said, as compliments often are, to conceal their true design. "Neither carest thou for any man." That is, thou art an independent teacher, delivering your sentiments without regard to the fear or favor of man. This was true, and probably they believed this. Whatever else they might believe about him, they had no reason to doubt that he delivered his sentiments openly and freely.
For thou regardest not the person of men - Thou art not partial. Thou wilt decide according to truth, and not from any bias toward either party. To regard the person, or to respect the person, is in the Bible uniformly used to denote partiality, or being influenced in a decision, not by truth, but by previous attachment to a "person," or to one of the parties by friendship, or bias, or prejudice, (Leviticus 19:15; Jude 1:16; Deuteronomy 16:19; 2 Samuel 14:14; Acts 10:34; James 2:1, James 2:3,James 2:9; 1 Peter 1:17).
Matthew 22:17 "Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?"
Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar? - Tribute was the tax paid to the Roman government.
Caesar - The Roman emperor.
The name Caesar, after the time of Julius Caesar, became common to all the emperors, as Pharaoh was the common name of all the kings of Egypt. The "Caesar" who reigned at this time was Tiberius - a man distinguished for the grossest vices and most disgusting and debasing sensuality.
Matthew 22:18 "But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?"
Jesus perceived their wickedness - This must have been done by his power of searching the heart, and proves that he was omniscient.
No more man has the power of discerning the motives of others.
Tempt ye me - Try me, or endeavor to lead me into difficulty by an insidious question.
Hypocrites - Dissemblers. Professing to be candid inquirers, when their only object was to lead into difficulty. See the notes at Matthew 6:2.
Matthew 22:19 "Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny."
The tribute-money - The money in which the tribute was paid.
This was a Roman coin. The tribute for the temple service was paid in the Jewish shekel; that for the Roman government in foreign coin. Their having that coin about them, and using it, was proof that they themselves held it lawful to pay the tribute; and their pretensions, therefore, were mere hypocrisy.
A penny - A Roman denarius, worth about 14 cents =7d (circa 1880's).
Matthew 22:20 "And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?"
This image - The likeness of the reigning prance was usually struck on the coins.
Superscription - The name and titles of the emperor.
Matthew 22:21 "They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."
Render, therefore, to Caesar ... - Caesar's image and name on the coin proved that it was his.
It was proper, therefore, to give it back to him when he called for it. But while this was done, Jesus took occasion to charge them, also, to give to God what he claimed. This may mean either,
1. The annual tribute due to the temple service, implying that paying tribute to Caesar did not free them from the obligation to do that; or,
2. That they should give their hearts, lives, property, and influence all to God, as his due.
Matthew 22:22 "When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way."
They marveled - They had been foiled in their attempt.
Though he had apparently decided in favor of the Herodians, yet his answer confounded both parties, and wholly prevented the use which they intended to make of it. It was so wise; it so clearly detected their wickedness and foiled their aim, that they were confounded, and retired covered with shame.
Matthew 22:23-33 "The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. 33 And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine."
Conversation of Jesus with the Sadducees respecting the resurrection - See also Mark 12:18-27; Luke 20:27-38.
Matthew 22:23 "The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him,"
The same day came the Sadducees - For an account of the Sadducees, see the notes at Matthew 3:7.
No resurrection - The word "resurrection" usually means the raising up the "body" to life after it is dead, (John 11:24; John 5:29; 1 Corinthians 15:22). But the Sadducees not only denied this, but also a future state, and the separate existence of the soul after death altogether, as well as the existence of angels and spirits, (Acts 23:8). Both these doctrines have commonly stood or fallen together, and the answer of our Saviour respects both, though it more distinctly refers "to the separate existence of the soul, and to a future state of rewards and punishments," than to the resurrection of the body.
Matthew 22:24 "Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother."
Saying, Master, Moses said ... - (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). This law was given by Moses in order to keep the families and tribes of the Israelites distinct, and to perpetuate them.
Raise up seed unto his brother - That is, the children shall be reckoned in the genealogy of the deceased brother; or, to all civil purposes, shall be considered as his.
Matthew 22:25-28 "Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her."
There were with us seven brethren - It is probable that they stated a case as difficult as possible; and though no such case might have occurred, yet it was supposable, and in their view it presented a real difficulty.
The difficulty arose from the fact, that they supposed that, substantially, the same state of things must take place in the other world as here; that if there is such a world, husbands and wives must be there reunited; and they professed not to be able to see how one woman could be the wife of seven men.
Matthew 22:29 "Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God."
Ye do err, not knowing ... - They had taken a wrong view of the doctrine of the resurrection.
It was not taught that people would marry there. The "Scriptures," here, mean the books of the Old Testament. By appealing to them, Jesus showed that the doctrine of the future state was there, and that the Sadducees should have believed it as it was, and not have added the absurd doctrine to it that people must live there as they do here. The way in which the enemies of the truth often attempt to make a doctrine of the Bible ridiculous is by adding to it, and then calling it absurd. The reason why the Saviour produced a passage from the books of Moses (Matthew 22:32) was that they had also appealed to his writings, (Matthew 22:24). Other places of the Old Testament, in fact, asserted the doctrine more clearly (Daniel 12:2; Isaiah 26:19), but he wished to meet them on their own ground. None of those scriptures asserted that people would live there as they do here, and therefore their reasoning was false.
Nor the power of God - They probably denied, as many have done since, that God could gather the scattered dust of the dead and remould it into a body. On this ground they affirmed that the doctrine could not be true - opposing reason to revelation, and supposing that infinite power could not reorganize a body that it had at first organized, and raise a body from its own dust which it had at first raised from nothing.
Matthew 22:30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven."
Neither marry ... - This was a full answer to the objections of the Sadducees.
But are as the angels of God - That is, in the manner of their conversation; in regard to marriage and the mode of their existence.
Luke adds that they shall be "equal with the angels." That is, they shall be elevated above the circumstances of mortality, and live in a manner and in a kind of conversation similar to that of the angels. It does not imply that they shall be equal in intellect, but only "in the circumstances of their existence," as that is distinguished from the way in which mortals live. He also adds, "Neither do they die any more, but are the children of God; being the children of the resurrection," or being accounted worthy to be raised up to life, and therefore "sons of God raised up to him."
Matthew 22:31,32 "But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
As touching ... - That is, in proof that the dead are raised.
The passage which he quotes is recorded in Exodus 3:6, Exodus 3:15, This was at the burning bush (Mark and Luke). Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had been dead for a long time when Moses spoke this - Abraham for 329 years, Isaac for 224 years, and Jacob for 198 years - yet God spake then as being still "their God." They must, therefore, be still somewhere living, for God is not the God of the dead; that is, it is absurd to say that God rules over those who are "extinct or annihilated," but he is the God only of those who have an existence. Luke adds, "all live unto him." That is, all the righteous dead, all of whom he can be properly called their God, live unto his glory. This passage does not prove directly that the dead "body" would be raised, but only by consequence. It proves that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had an existence then, or that their souls were alive. This the Sadducees denied Acts 23:8, and this was the main point in dispute. If this was admitted - if there was a state of rewards and punishments - then it would easily follow that the bodies of the dead would be raised.
Matthew 22:34-40 "But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Jesus converses with a Pharisee respecting the law - See also Mark 12:28-34.
Matthew 22:34 "But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together."
The Pharisees ... were gathered together - That is, either to rejoice that their great rivals, the Sadducees, had been so completely silenced, or to lay a new plan for ensnaring him, or perhaps both. They would rejoice that the Sadducees had been confounded, but they would not be the less desirous to involve Jesus in difficulty. They therefore endeavored, probably, to find the most difficult question in dispute among themselves, and proposed it to him to perplex him.
Matthew 22:35 "Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying,"
A lawyer - This does not mean one that "practiced" law, as among us, but one learned or skilled in the law of Moses.
Mark calls him "one of the scribes." This means the same thing. The scribes were men of learning - particularly men skilled in the law of Moses. This lawyer had heard Jesus reasoning with the Sadducees, and perceived that he had put them to silence. He was evidently supposed by the Pharisees to be better qualified to hold a debate with him than the Sadducees were, and they had therefore put him forward for that purpose. This man was probably of a candid turn of mind; perhaps willing to know the truth, and not entering very fully into their malicious intentions, but acting as their agent, (Mark 12:34).
Tempting him - Trying him. Proposing a question to test his knowledge of the law.
Matthew 22:36 "Master, which is the great commandment in the law?"
Which is the great commandment? - That is, the "greatest" commandment, or the one most important.
The Jews are said to have divided the law into "greater and smaller" commandments. Which was of the greatest importance they had not determined. Some held that it was the law respecting sacrifice; others, that respecting circumcision; others, that pertaining to washings and purifying, etc.
The law - The word "law" has a great variety of significations; it means, commonly, in the Bible, as it does here, "the law given by Moses," recorded in the first five books of the Bible.
Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."
Jesus said unto him ... - Mark says that he introduced this by referring to the doctrine of the unity of God "Hear, O Israel! the Lord thy God is one Lord" - taken from Deuteronomy 6:4. This was said, probably, because all true obedience depends on the correct knowledge of God. None can keep his commandments who are not acquainted with his nature, his perfections, and his right to command,
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart - The meaning of this is, thou shalt love him with all thy faculties or powers. Thou shalt love him supremely, more than all other beings and things, and with all the ardor possible. To love him with all the heart is to fix the affections supremely on him, more strongly than on anything else, and to be willing to give up all that we hold dear at his command,
With all thy soul - Or, with all thy "life." This means, to be willing to give up the life to him, and to devote it all to his service; to live to him, and to be willing to die at his command,
With all thy mind - To submit the "intellect" to his will. To love his law and gospel more than we do the decisions of our own minds. To be willing to submit all our faculties to his teaching and guidance, and to devote to him all our intellectual attainments and all the results of our intellectual efforts.
"With all thy strength" (Mark). With all the faculties of soul and body. To labor and toil for his glory, and to make that the great object of all our efforts.
Matthew 22:38 "This is the first and great commandment."
This the first tend great commandment - This commandment is found in Deuteronomy 6:5. It is the "first" and greatest of all; first, not in "order of time," but of "importance; greatest" in dignity, in excellence, in extent, and duration. It is the fountain of all others. All beings are to be loved according to their excellence. As God is the most excellent and glorious of all beings, he is to be loved supremely. If he is loved aright, then our affections will be directed toward all created objects in a right manner.
Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."
The second is like unto it - (Leviticus 19:18). That is, it resembles it in importance, dignity, purity, and usefulness. This had not been asked by the lawyer, but Jesus took occasion to acquaint him with the substance of the whole law. For its meaning, see the notes at Matthew 19:19. Compare Romans 13:9. Mark adds, "there is none other commandment greater than these." None respecting circumcision or sacrifice is greater. They are the fountain of all.
Matthew 22:40 "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
On these two commandments hang ... - That is, these comprehend the substance of what Moses in the law and what the prophets have spoken.
What they have said has been to endeavor to win people to love God and to love each other. Love to God and man comprehends the whole of religion, and to produce this has been the design of Moses, the prophets, the Saviour, and the apostles.
Mark (Mark 12:32-34) adds that the scribe said, "Well, Master, thou hast said the truth;" and that he assented to what Jesus had said, and admitted that to love God and man in this manner was more than all burnt-offerings and sacrifices; that is, was of more value or importance. Jesus, in reply, told him that he was "not far from the kingdom of heaven;" in other words, by his reply he had shown that he was almost prepared to receive the doctrines of the gospel. He had evinced such an acquaintance with the law as to prove that he was nearly prepared to receive the teachings of Jesus. See the notes at Matthew 3:2.
Mark and Luke say that this had such an effect that no man after that durst ask him any question, (Luke 20:40; Mark 12:34). This does not mean that none of his disciples durst ask him any question, but none of the Jews. He had confounded all their sects - the Herodians (Matthew 22:15-22); the Sadducees (Matthew 22:23-33); and, last, the Pharisees (Matthew 22:34-40). Finding themselves unable to confound him, everyone gave up the attempt at last.
Matthew 22:41-46 "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David. 43 He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying, 44 The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool? 45 If David then call him Lord, how is he his son? 46 And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions."
Jesus proposes a question concerning the Messiah - See also Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44.
Matthew 22:41 "While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them,"
While the Pharisees ... - Jesus, having confounded the great sects of the Jews, proceeds, in his turn, to propose to them a question for their solution.
This was done, not for the purpose of vain parade and triumph, but:
1. to show them how ignorant they were of their prophecies.
2. to humble them in view of their ignorance.
3. to bring to their attention the true doctrine respecting the Messiah - his being possessed of a character superior to that of David, the most mighty king of Israel - being his Lord, at the same time that he was his descendant.
Matthew 22:42 "Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David."
What think ye of Christ? - What are your views respecting the Messiah, or "the Christ," especially respecting his "genealogy?" He did not ask them their mews respecting him in general, but only respecting his ancestry.
The article should have been retained in the translation - the Christ or the Messiah. He did not ask them their opinion respecting himself, his person, and work, as would seem in our translation, but their views respecting the Messiah whom they expected.
Whose son is he? - Whose "descendant?" See the notes at Matthew 1:1.
The son of David - The descendant of David, according to the promise.
Matthew 22:43 "He saith unto them, How then doth David in spirit call him Lord, saying,"
How then ... - How is this doctrine that he is "descended" from David consistent with what David says when he calls him "lord?" How can your opinion be reconciled with that? That declaration of David is recorded in Psalm 110:1. A "lord" or master is a superior. The word here does not necessarily imply divinity, but only superiority. David calls him his superior, his lord, his master, his lawgiver, and expresses his willingness to obey him. If the Messiah was to be merely a descendant of David, as other men descended from parents if he was to have a human nature only if he did not exist when David wrote - with what propriety could he, then, call him his lord?
In spirit - By the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. As a prophet, (Acts 2:30; Acts 1:16; 2 Samuel 23:2).
Matthew 22:44 "The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?"
The Lord said ... - This is the language of David.
"Yahweh said to "my" lord "the Messiah" - sit thou," etc. This was a prediction respecting the exaltation of Christ. To be raised to the right hand of a king was significant of favor, trust, and power. See the notes at Matthew 20:21. This was done respecting Christ, (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12). "Thine enemies thy footstool." A footstool is that which is under the feet when we are sitting implying that we have it under subjection, or at our control. So, Christ shall put all enemies under his feet - all his spiritual foes - all that rise up against him, (Psalm 2:9, Psalm 2:12; Hebrews 10:13; 1 Corinthians 15:25).
Matthew 22:45 "If David then call him Lord, how is he his son?"
If David ... - If he was then David's lord if he was his superior - if he had an existence at that time how could he be descended from him? They could not answer him.
Nor is there any way of answering the question but by the admission that the Messiah was divine as well as human; that he had an existence at the time of David, and was his lord and master, his God I and king, and that as man he was descended from him.
Remarks On Matthew 22
1. Multitudes of people, who are invited to be saved, reject the gospel and perish in their sins, (Matthew 22:3).
2. If they perish, they only will be to blame. The offer was freely made, the salvation was provided, and the only reason why they were not saved was that they would not come, (Matthew 22:3).
3. Attention to the affairs of this life, the love of the world, will shut many out of the kingdom of heaven, (Matthew 22:5). Some attention to those things is necessary; but such a devotion to these things as to lead to the loss of the soul never can be right.
4. It is treating God ungratefully to reject his gospel, (Matthew 22:3-5). He has sent his Son to die for us; he has entreated us to be saved; he has followed us with mercies; and to reject all these, and refuse to be saved, is to treat him with contempt, as well as to overwhelm ourselves in condemnation. "Man has no right to be damned." He is under the most solemn obligations to be "saved;" and after what God has done for us, deep and dreadful woe will await us if we are so foolish and wicked as to be lost.
5. Many of the poor and needy will be saved, while the haughty and rich will perish forever, (Matthew 22:9-10).
6. Let those who make a profession of religion look often to the great day when Christ will search them, (Matthew 22:11). There is a day coming that will try us. His eye will be upon us. He will read our hearts, and see whether we are clothed in his righteousness, or only the filthy rags of our own.
7. A profession of religion will not save us, (Matthew 22:11-13). It is foolish to deceive ourselves. Nothing but genuine piety, true faith in Jesus, and a holy life, will save us. God asks not profession merely, but the heart. He asks not mockery, but sincerity; not pretension, but reality.
8. The hypocrite must perish, (Matthew 22:13). It is right that he should perish. He knew his Master's will and would not do it. He must perish with an awful condemnation. No man sins amid so much light, none with so high a hand. No sin is so awful as to attempt to deceive God, and to palm pretensions on him for reality.
9. Pretended friends are sometimes more dangerous than avowed enemies, (Matthew 22:16). Pretended friendship is often for the purpose of decoying us into evil. It throws us off our guard, and we are more easily taken.
10. The truth is often admitted by wicked people from mere hypocrisy, (Matthew 22:16). It is only for the purpose of deceiving others and leading them into sin.
11. Wicked people can decide correctly on the character of a public preacher, (Matthew 22:16). They often admit his claim in words, but for an evil purpose.
12. It may be right for us sometimes to attend to artful and captious questions, (Matthew 22:18). It may afford opportunity to do good; to confound the wicked and to inculcate truth.
13. No cunning can overreach God, (Matthew 22:18). He knows the heart, and he perceives the wickedness of all who attempt to deceive him.
14. It is right, and it is our duty to obey the law of the land, when it does not contravene the law of God, (Matthew 22:21). "Conscientious Christians make the best citizens." Compare the notes at Romans 13:1-7.
15. We should give honor to civil rulers, (Matthew 22:21), We should pay respect to the office, whatever may be the character of the ruler. We should speak well of it, not abuse it; yield proper obedience to its requirements, and not rebel against it. Men may be wicked who hold an office, but the office is ordained by God (Romans 13:1-2); and for the sake of the office we must be patient, meek, submissive, and obedient, (Matthew 23:3).
16. Yet we are to obey civil rulers no further than their commands are consistent with the law of God, (Matthew 22:21). God is to be obeyed rather than man; and when a civil ruler commands a thing contrary to the laws of the Bible and the dictates of our consciences, we may, we must resist it, (Acts 5:29).
17. The objections of people to the doctrines of the Bible are often founded on ignorance of what those doctrines are, and distrust of the power of God, (Matthew 22:29). People often set up a notion which they call a doctrine of the Bible, and then fight a shadow, and think they have confuted the truth of God, while that truth was, in fact, untouched. It is a totally different thing from what they supposed.
18. When people attack a doctrine they should be certain that they under stand it, (Matthew 22:29). The Sadducees did not understand the true doctrine of the resurrection. The inquiry which they should have made was whether they had correct views of it. This is the inquiry which people ought always first to make when they approach a doctrine of the Bible.
19. We learn the glory and happiness of the state after the resurrection, (Matthew 22:30) (Luke). We shall be in some respects equal to the angels. Like them we shall be free from sin, suffering, and death. Like them we shall be complete in knowledge and felicity. Like them we shall be secure of eternal joy. Happy are those - the good of all the earth who shall have part in that resurrection of the just!
20. The dead shall be raised, (Matthew 22:31-32). There is a state of happiness hereafter. This the gospel has revealed; and it is the most consoling and cheering truth that has ever beamed upon the heart of man.
21. Our pious friends that have died are now happy, (Matthew 22:31-32). They are with God. God is still their God. A father, or mother, or sister, or friend that may have left us is there in perfect felicity. We should rejoice at that, nor should we wish them hack to the poor comforts and the many sufferings of this world.
22. It is our duty to love God with all the heart. (Matthew 22:37). No half, formal, cold, and selfish affection comes up to the requirement. It must be full, entire, absolute. It must be pleasure in all his attributes - his justice, his power, his purposes, as well as his mercy and his goodness. God is to be loved just as he is. If man is not pleased with his whole character he is not pleased with him at all.
23. God is worthy of love. He is perfect. He should be loved early in life. Children should love him more than they do father, or mother, or friends. Their first affections should he fixed on God, and fixed on him supremely, until they die.
24. We must love our neighbor, (Matthew 22:39). We must do to all as we would have them do to us. This is the law and the prophets: this is the way of justice, of peace, of kindness, of charity, of benevolence. If all men obeyed these laws, the earth would be a paradise, and man would taste the bliss of heaven here below.
25. We may ask here of each one, What think you of Christ? (Matthew 22:42). What do you think of the necessity of a Saviour? What do you think of his nature? Is he God as well as man, or do you regard him only as a man? What do you think of his character? Do you see him to be lovely and pure, and is he such as to draw forth the warm affections of your heart? What do you think of salvation by him? Do you depend on him, and trust in him, and expect heaven only on the ground of his merits? Or, do you reject and despise him, and would you have joined in putting him to death? Nothing, more certainly tests the character, and shows what the feelings are, than the views which we entertain of Christ. Here error is fatal error; but he who has just views of the Redeemer, and right feelings toward him, is sure of salvation.
26. We have in this chapter an illustrious specimen of the wisdom of Jesus. He successfully met the snares of his mighty and crafty foes, and with infinite ease confounded them. No art of man could confound him. Never was wisdom more clear, never more triumphant.
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