The Parable of the Wedding Feast.* 1a Jesus again in reply spoke to them in parables, saying, 2“The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast* for his son. 3* He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. 4A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ 5Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. 6b The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. 7* The king was enraged and sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 8Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. 9Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ 10The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike,* and the hall was filled with guests. 11* But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. 12He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. 13* c Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ 14Many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Paying Taxes to the Emperor.* 15d Then the Pharisees* went off and plotted how they might entrap him in speech. 16They sent their disciples to him, with the Herodians,* saying, “Teacher, we know that you are a truthful man and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. And you are not concerned with anyone’s opinion, for you do not regard a person’s status. 17* Tell us, then, what is your opinion: Is it lawful to pay the census tax to Caesar or not?” 18Knowing their malice, Jesus said, “Why are you testing me, you hypocrites? 19* Show me the coin that pays the census tax.” Then they handed him the Roman coin. 20He said to them, “Whose image is this and whose inscription?” 21e They replied, “Caesar’s.”* At that he said to them, “Then repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” 22When they heard this they were amazed, and leaving him they went away.
The Question About the Resurrection.* 23f On that day Sadducees approached him, saying that there is no resurrection.* They put this question to him, 24g saying, “Teacher, Moses said, ‘If a man dies* without children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up descendants for his brother.’ 25Now there were seven brothers among us. The first married and died and, having no descendants, left his wife to his brother. 26The same happened with the second and the third, through all seven. 27Finally the woman died. 28Now at the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had been married to her.” 29* Jesus said to them in reply, “You are misled because you do not know the scriptures or the power of God. 30At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven. 31And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you* by God, 32h ‘I am the God of Abraham, 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.
The Greatest Commandment.* 34i When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35and one of them [a scholar of the law]* tested him by asking, 36“Teacher,* which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37j He said to him,* “You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. 38This is the greatest and the first commandment. 39k The second is like it:* You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40* l The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.”
The Question About David’s Son.* 41m While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus questioned them,* 42* saying, “What is your opinion about the Messiah? Whose son is he?” They replied, “David’s.” 43He said to them, “How, then, does David, inspired by the Spirit, call him ‘lord,’ saying:
44n ‘The Lord said to my lord,
“Sit at my right hand
until I place your enemies under your feet”’?
* [22:1–14] This parable is from Q; see Lk 14:15–24. It has been given many allegorical traits by Matthew, e.g., the burning of the city of the guests who refused the invitation (Mt 22:7), which corresponds to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in A.D. 70. It has similarities with the preceding parable of the tenants: the sending of two groups of servants (Mt 22:3, 4), the murder of the servants (Mt 22:6), the punishment of the murderers (Mt 22:7), and the entrance of a new group into a privileged situation of which the others had proved themselves unworthy (Mt 22:8–10). The parable ends with a section that is peculiar to Matthew (Mt 22:11–14), which some take as a distinct parable. Matthew presents the kingdom in its double aspect, already present and something that can be entered here and now (Mt 22:1–10), and something that will be possessed only by those present members who can stand the scrutiny of the final judgment (Mt 22:11–14). The parable is not only a statement of God’s judgment on Israel but a warning to Matthew’s church.
* [22:15–22] The series of controversies between Jesus and the representatives of Judaism (see note on Mt 21:23–27) is resumed. As in the first (Mt 21:23–27), here and in the following disputes Matthew follows his Marcan source with few modifications.
* [22:15] The Pharisees: while Matthew retains the Marcan union of Pharisees and Herodians in this account, he clearly emphasizes the Pharisees’ part. They alone are mentioned here, and the Herodians are joined with them only in a prepositional phrase of Mt 22:16. Entrap him in speech: the question that they will pose is intended to force Jesus to take either a position contrary to that held by the majority of the people or one that will bring him into conflict with the Roman authorities.
* [22:17] Is it lawful: the law to which they refer is the law of God.
* [22:19] They handed him the Roman coin: their readiness in producing the money implies their use of it and their acceptance of the financial advantages of the Roman administration in Palestine.
* [22:21] Caesar’s: the emperor Tiberius (A.D. 14–37). Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar: those who willingly use the coin that is Caesar’s should repay him in kind. The answer avoids taking sides in the question of the lawfulness of the tax. To God what belongs to God: Jesus raises the debate to a new level. Those who have hypocritically asked about tax in respect to its relation to the law of God should be concerned rather with repaying God with the good deeds that are his due; cf. Mt 21:41, 43.
* [22:23–33] Here Jesus’ opponents are the Sadducees, members of the powerful priestly party of his time; see note on Mt 3:7. Denying the resurrection of the dead, a teaching of relatively late origin in Judaism (cf. Dn 12:2), they appeal to a law of the Pentateuch (Dt 25:5–10) and present a case based on it that would make resurrection from the dead ridiculous (Mt 22:24–28). Jesus chides them for knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of God (Mt 22:29). His argument in respect to God’s power contradicts the notion, held even by many proponents as well as by opponents of the teaching, that the life of those raised from the dead would be essentially a continuation of the type of life they had had before death (Mt 22:30). His argument based on the scriptures (Mt 22:31–32) is of a sort that was accepted as valid among Jews of the time.
* [22:23] Saying that there is no resurrection: in the Marcan parallel (Mk 22:18) the Sadducees are correctly defined as those “who say there is no resurrection”; see also Lk 20:27. Matthew’s rewording of Mark can mean that these particular Sadducees deny the resurrection, which would imply that he was not aware that the denial was characteristic of the party. For some scholars this is an indication of his being a Gentile Christian; see note on Mt 21:4–5.
* [22:24] ‘If a man dies…his brother’: this is known as the “law of the levirate,” from the Latin levir, “brother-in-law.” Its purpose was to continue the family line of the deceased brother (Dt 25:6).
* [22:29] The sexual relationships of this world will be transcended; the risen body will be the work of the creative power of God.
* [22:31–32] Cf. Ex 3:6. In the Pentateuch, which the Sadducees accepted as normative for Jewish belief and practice, God speaks even now (to you) of himself as the God of the patriarchs who died centuries ago. He identifies himself in relation to them, and because of their relation to him, the living God, they too are alive. This might appear no argument for the resurrection, but simply for life after death as conceived in Wis 3:1–3. But the general thought of early first-century Judaism was not influenced by that conception; for it human immortality was connected with the existence of the body.
* [22:34–40] The Marcan parallel (Mk 12:28–34) is an exchange between Jesus and a scribe who is impressed by the way in which Jesus has conducted himself in the previous controversy (Mk 12:28), who compliments him for the answer he gives him (Mk 12:32), and who is said by Jesus to be “not far from the kingdom of God” (Mk 12:34). Matthew has sharpened that scene. The questioner, as the representative of other Pharisees, tests Jesus by his question (Mt 22:34–35), and both his reaction to Jesus’ reply and Jesus’ commendation of him are lacking.
* [22:35] [A scholar of the law]: meaning “scribe.” Although this reading is supported by the vast majority of textual witnesses, it is the only time that the Greek word so translated occurs in Matthew. It is relatively frequent in Luke, and there is reason to think that it may have been added here by a copyist since it occurs in the Lucan parallel (Lk 10:25–28). Tested: see note on Mt 19:3.
* [22:36] For the devout Jew all the commandments were to be kept with equal care, but there is evidence of preoccupation in Jewish sources with the question put to Jesus.
* [22:37–38] Cf. Dt 6:5. Matthew omits the first part of Mark’s fuller quotation (Mk 12:29; Dt 6:4–5), probably because he considered its monotheistic emphasis needless for his church. The love of God must engage the total person (heart, soul, mind).
* [22:39] Jesus goes beyond the extent of the question put to him and joins to the greatest and the first commandment a second, that of love of neighbor, Lv 19:18; see note on Mt 19:18–19. This combination of the two commandments may already have been made in Judaism.
* [22:40] The double commandment is the source from which the whole law and the prophets are derived.
* [22:41–46] Having answered the questions of his opponents in the preceding three controversies, Jesus now puts a question to them about the sonship of the Messiah. Their easy response (Mt 22:43a) is countered by his quoting a verse of Ps 110 that raises a problem for their response (43b–45). They are unable to solve it and from that day on their questioning of him is ended.
* [22:42–44] David’s: this view of the Pharisees was based on such Old Testament texts as Is 11:1–9; Jer 23:5; and Ez 34:23; see also the extrabiblical Psalms of Solomon 17:21. How, then…saying: Jesus cites Ps 110:1 accepting the Davidic authorship of the psalm, a common view of his time. The psalm was probably composed for the enthronement of a Davidic king of Judah. Matthew assumes that the Pharisees interpret it as referring to the Messiah, although there is no clear evidence that it was so interpreted in the Judaism of Jesus’ time. It was widely used in the early church as referring to the exaltation of the risen Jesus. My lord: understood as the Messiah.
* [22:45] Since Matthew presents Jesus both as Messiah (Mt 16:16) and as Son of David (Mt 1:1; see also note on Mt 9:27), the question is not meant to imply Jesus’ denial of Davidic sonship. It probably means that although he is the Son of David, he is someone greater, Son of Man and Son of God, and recognized as greater by David who calls him my ‘lord.’