Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew 22:1-14
Narrative Lectionary 133


Once more JesusI spoke to them in parables,II saying: “The kingdomIII of heavenIV may be comparedV

Notes on verses 1-2a

I “Jesus” = Iesous. From Hebrew Yehoshua (Joshua, the Lord is salvation); {from YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; the self-existent and eternal one); {from havah (to become) or from hayah (to come to pass, become, be)} + yasha (to deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue; properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. So, in a causative sense, this is to free someone). This is Jesus or Joshua in Greek – the Lord saves or the Lord is salvation.
II “parables” = parabole. From paraballo (literally to throw beside, compare, arrive, liken); {from para (by, beside, in the presence of) + ballo (to throw, cast, place, put, drop)}. This is a parable, comparison, adage. Quite often a tale told or a metaphor to establish a point, but it could be a true story.
III “kingdom” = basileia. From basileus (king, emperor, sovereign); probably from basis (step, hence foot; a pace); from baino (to walk, to go). This is kingdom, rule, authority, sovereignty, royalty, a realm.
IV “heaven” = ouranos. May be related to oros (mountain, hill) with the notion of height. This is the air, the sky, the atmosphere, and heaven. It is the sky that is visible and the spiritual heaven where God dwells. Heaven implies happiness, power, and eternity.
V “be compared” = homoioo. 15x in NT. From homoios (similar to, resembling, like); from the same as homou (together); from homos (the same). This is to compare, liken, resemble, become similar.

to aVI kingVII who gave a wedding banquetVIII for his son. 

Notes on verse 2b

VI {untranslated} = anthropos. Probably from aner (man, male, husband) + ops (eye, face). This is human, humankind. Used for all genders.
VII “king” = basileus. Related to “kingdom” in v2. See note III above.
VIII “wedding banquet” = gamos. 16x in NT. This is a wedding, whether the ceremony, the feast, or the marriage itself.

He sentIX his slavesX to callXI those who had been invitedXII to the wedding banquet, but they wouldXIII not come. 

Notes on verse 3

IX “sent” = apostello. From apo (from, away from) + stello (to send, set, arrange, prepare, gather up); {probably from histemi (to make to stand, stand, place, set up, establish, appoint, stand firm, be steadfast)}. This is to send forth, send away, dismiss, send as a messenger. It implies one that is sent for a particular mission or purpose rather than a quick errand. This is where “apostle” comes from.
X “slaves” = doulos. Perhaps from deo (to tie, bind, fasten, impel, compel; to declare something against the law or prohibited). This is used for a servant or for a slave, enslaved. It refers to someone who belongs to someone else. But, it could be voluntary (choosing to be enslaved to pay off debt) or involuntary (captured in war and enslaved). It is used as a metaphor for serving Christ. Slavery was not inherited (i.e. the children of slaves were not assumed to be slaves) and slaves could buy their way to freedom. Slavery was generally on a contractual basis (that is for the duration of how long it took you to pay your debt and/or save up enough money to buy your freedom).
XI “call” = kaleo. Related to keleuo (to command, order, direct); from kelomai (to urge on). This is to call by name, invite, to name, bid, summon, call aloud.
XII “invited” = kaleo. Same as “call” in v3. See note XI above.
XIII “would” = thelo. This is to wish, desire, will, or intend. It is to choose or prefer in a literal or figurative sense. It can also mean inclined toward or take delight in. It can have a sense of being ready to act on the impulse in question.

Again he sent otherXIV slaves, saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited: Look,XV I have preparedXVI my dinner,XVII

Notes on verse 4a

XIV “other” = allos. This is other, another. Specifically, it is another of a similar kind or type. There is a different word in Greek that speaks of another as a different kind (heteros).
XV “look” = idou. From eido (to be aware, see, know, remember, appreciate). This is see! Lo! Behold! Look! Used to express surprise and or draw attention to the statement.
XVI “prepared” = hetoimazo. From hetoimos (make ready, be ready because of being prepared, standing by, adjusted; ready to meet some opportunity or challenge). This is to prepare or provide.
XVII “dinner” = ariston. 3x in NT. Perhaps from eri (early) + ed (eat) OR from the same as arrhen (male, man); from arsen (male, man) or from airo (raise, take up, lift, remove)}. This is breakfast or lunch. Literally, it may mean not having a boundary. It is a meal eaten before the evening meal, which is the main one.

my oxenXVIII and my fat calvesXIX have been slaughtered,XX and everything is ready;XXI comeXXII to the wedding banquet.’ 

Notes on verse 4b

XVIII “oxen” = tauros. 4x in NT. This is ox or bull.
XIX “fat calves” = sitistos. 1x in NT. From sitos (any kind of grain that you can eat; usually wheat, but also barley and other grains). This is grain or, perhaps grained in the sense of fattened up. So, it refers to a fatling, a fatted calf.
XX “slaughtered” = thuo. 14x in NT. This is to rush along, breathe violently. It can also mean to offer sacrifice, specifically by fire (in reference to the blowing smoke).
XXI “ready” = hetoimos. Related to “prepared” in v4. 17x in NT. See note XVI above.
XXII “come” = deute. 12x in NT. From deuro (come here, hither, hence, now, until now). This is come, follow – as an exclamatory mood.

But they made light ofXXIII it and went away, oneXXIV to hisXXV farm,XXVI another to his business,XXVII 

Notes on verse 5

XXIII “made light of” = ameleo. 4x in NT. From a (not, without) + melo (something that one is worried or concerned about, something one pays attention to or thinks about). This is to neglect, disregard, have no concern, be unaffected. This is seeing something as not having value or making light of it.
XXIV {untranslated} = men. This is truly, indeed, even, in fact. Often, it is not translated, but used to emphasize affirmation.
XXV “his” = idios. This is something that belongs to you or that is personal, private, apart. It indicates a stronger sense of possession than a simple possessive pronoun. This is where “idiot” comes from (denoting someone who hasn’t had formal training or education and so they rely on their own understanding).
XXVI “farm” = agros. This is a field as a place where one grows crops or pastures cattle. It can also refer to a farm or lands. This is one of the roots of “agriculture.”
XXVII “business” = emporia. 1x in NT. From emporos (merchant or trader; one who travels by ship or more broadly one journeying); {from en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + the base of poreuomai (to go, travel, journey; transportation something from one place to another; focuses on the personal meaning given to getting to the destination); {from poros (passageway, ford)}. This is business, trade, merchandise, or a business trip. It is where the word “emporium” comes from.

while the restXXVIII seizedXXIX his slaves, mistreatedXXX them, and killedXXXI them. 

Notes on verse 6

XXVIII “rest” = loipos. From leipo (to leave behind, be lacking). This is the rest, remained, remnant, other, residue.
XXIX “seized” = krateo. From kratos (strength, power, dominion; vigor in a literal or figurative sense; power that is exercised). This is being strong or mighty so, by extension, to prevail or rule. It can also mean to seize, grasp hold of and thereby control. In this sense, it means arrest.
XXX “mistreated” = hubrizo. 5x in NT. From hubris (insult, damage, harm, reproach, insolence; damage that includes reproach); from huper (by, under, over, above, under the authority of another). This is to insult, mistreat, steal. Figuratively, it is to harm someone so that they experience a loss, particularly to their reputation or honor. So, it is violence or abuse. This is where the word “hubris” comes from.
XXXI “killed” = apokteino. From apo (from, away from) + kteino (to kill). To put to death, kill, slay. Figuratively, this word can mean abolish, destroy, or extinguish.

7 The king was enraged.XXXII He sentXXXIII his troops,XXXIV

Notes on verse 7a

XXXII “was enraged” = orgizo. 8x in NT. From orge (impulse, wrath, anger, passion, punishment); from orgao (something that teems or stews; this is anger rising from prolonged personal contact that is fixed rather than an angry outburst; it can also be anger that stems from an individual’s sense of right and wrong, justice, etc.). This is being angry, enraged, exasperated. It is a fixed, sustained anger.
XXXIII “sent” = pempo. This is to send, put forth, or dispatch. This often refers to a temporary errand. It is sending someone with a focus on the place they departed from. By contrast, another Greek word, hiemi, emphasizes the destination and yet another word, stello, focuses on the motion that goes with the sending.
XXXIV “troops” = strateuma. 8x in NT. From strateuo (to wage war, fight, serve as a soldier; used figuratively for spiritual warfare); or from the base of stronnuo (to spread, to spread out like a bed). This is an expedition, soldier, group of soldiers, army.

destroyedXXXV those murderers,XXXVI and burnedXXXVII their city.XXXVIII 

Notes on verse 7b

XXXV “destroyed” = apollumi. From apo (from, away from) + ollumi (to destroy or ruin; the loss that comes from a major ruination). This is to destroy, cut off, to perish – perhaps violently. It can also mean to cancel or remove.
XXXVI “murderers” = phoneus. 7x in NT. From phonos (killing, murder, or slaughter; one of the crimes that Barabbas and Saul are accused of); from pheno (to slay). This is a murderer – a killing that is not justified and is done on purpose. It general refers to a criminal act.
XXXVII “burned” = empretho. 1x in NT. Related to empipremi (set on fire); {from en (in, on, at, by, with) + pimpremi (to burn or swell) OR from en (see above) + pretho (to blow flame)}. This is to enkindle, burn up, have inflammation.
XXXVIII “city” = polis. This is a city or its inhabitants. It is a town of variable size, but one that has walls. This is where “metropolis” and “police” come from.

Then he said to his slaves, ‘The weddingXXXIX is ready, but those invited were not worthy.XL GoXLI therefore into the mainXLII streets,XLIII and invite everyone you findXLIV to the wedding banquet.’ 

Notes on verses 8-9

XXXIX “wedding” = gamos. Same as “wedding banquet” in v2. See note VIII above.
XL “worthy” = axios. From ago (to lead, bring, carry, guide, drive, go). This is related to weight or worth – deserving, suitable, corresponding, due reward.
XLI “go” = poreuomai. Related to “business” in v5. From poros (see note XXVII above). This is to go, travel, journey, or die. It refers to transporting things from one place to another and focuses on the personal significance of the destination.
XLII “main” = diexodos. 1x in NT. From dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + exodos (exit, departure, death); {from ek (from, from out of) + hodos (way, road, path, journey)}. This is an outlet – somewhere public within a city. It is a crossroads, perhaps an open square.
XLIII “streets” = hodos. Related to “main” in v9. See note XLII above.
XLIV “find” = heurisko. This is to find, learn, or obtain. It is to discover something, which generally implies a period of searching for it. This is to find in a literal or figurative sense. This is where the word “heuristic” comes from.

10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gatheredXLV all whom they found, both goodXLVI and bad;XLVII so the wedding hallXLVIII was filledXLIX with guests.L

Notes on verse 10

XLV “gathered” = sunago. Related to “worthy” in v8. From sun (with, together with, closely associated) + ago (see note XL above). This is to lead together and so to assemble, bring together, welcome with hospitality, or entertain. In the sense of assembly, this is the root of the word “synagogue.”
XLVI “good” = agathos. In Greek word order is “bad both and good.” This is good, a benefit, or a good thing. It is good by its very nature, intrinsically good. A different word, kalos, refers to external signs of goodness.
XLVII “bad” = poneros. From poneo (to toil); related to ponos (pain, trouble, labor, distress, suffering; toil, which implies anguish); from the base of penes (a laborer, poor person, starving or indigent person; someone who works for their living); from pernomai (working for a living; laborer, poor person; to work for daily bread); from peno (to toil to survive day by day). This is bad, evil, wicked, malicious, grievous, or toilsome. Properly, it is something that bears pain – it emphasizes the miseries and pains that come with evil. By contrast, the Greek kakos refers to evil as part of someone’s core character. Also contrasting the Greek sapros, which deals with falling away from a previously embodied virtue. This word can mean ill, diseased, morally culpable, derelict, vicious, malicious, or guilt. It can also refer to the devil or sinners.
XLVIII “wedding hall” = gamos. Same as “wedding banquet” in v2. See note VIII above.
XLIX “filled” = pleitho. This is to fill to the highest level possible – to accomplish, supply, or complete.
L “guests” = anakeimai. 14x in NT. From ana (up, again, back, among, between, anew) + keimai (to lie, recline, be set, appointed, destined; to lie down literally or figuratively). This is to recline, particularly as one does for dinner. It can also be reclining as a corpse.

11 “But when the king came in to seeLI the guests, he noticedLII a manLIII there who was not wearingLIV a wedding robe,LV 12 and he said to him, ‘Friend,LVI how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless.LVII 

Notes on verses 11-12

LI “see” = theaomai. From thaomai (to gaze at a spectacle; to look at or contemplate as a spectator; to interpret something in efforts to grasp its significance). This is to behold, look upon, see, contemplate, visit like a spectator. This is the root of the word “theatre.”
LII “noticed” = horao. To see, perceive, attend to, look upon, experience. Properly, to stare at and so implying clear discernment. This, by extension, would indicate attending to what was seen and learned. This is to see, often with a metaphorical sense. Can include inward spiritual seeing.
LIII “man” = anthropos. Same as {untranslated} in v2. See note VI above.
LIV “wearing” = enduo. From en (in, on, at, by, with, among) + duno (to sink into, set like the sun); {from duo (to go down, sink, or set)}. This is to put on as when one puts on clothes. It is the idea of sinking into one’s clothing.
LV “robe” = enduma. Related to “wearing” in v11. 8x in NT. From enduo (see note LIV above). This is clothing, especially outer robes. This is clothing as something one sinks into.
LVI “friend” = hetairos. 3x in NT. From etes (cousin or member of one’s clan). This is a friend, companion, comrade. It is a friend like one’s own family.
LVII “was speechless” = phimoo. 8x in NT. From phimos (a muzzle). This is to muzzle so speechless, silence, quiet.

13 Then the king said to the attendants,LVIII ‘BindLIX him handLX and foot, and throwLXI him into the outer darkness,LXII

Notes on verse 13a

LVIII “attendants” = diakonos. Perhaps from dia (through, across to the other side, thoroughly) + konis (dust) OR from dioko (to chase after, put to flight; by implication, to persecute or to purse like a hunter after its prey; this can be earnestly pursue or zealously persecute) {related to dio (put to flight)}. This is a servant, minister, waiter, or attendant. It is used for a person who performs a service, including religious service. This is the root of the word “deacon.”
LIX “bind” = deo. Perhaps related to “slaves” in v3. See note X above.
LX “hand” = cheir. Word order in Greek is “feet and hand.” This is the hand in a literal sense. Figuratively, the hand is the means a person uses to accomplish things so it can also mean power, means, or instrument.
LXI “throw” = ekballo. Related to “parables” in v1. From ek (from, from out of) + ballo (see note II above). This is to throw, put out, produce, expel, banish. It is eject in a literal or figurative sense.
LXII “darkness” = skotos. Perhaps from the base of skia (shadow, thick darkness, outline; figurative for a spiritual situation that is good or bad). This is darkness literal or figurative – as moral or spiritual darkness, sin and what comes from it. This can also mean obscurity.

where there will be weepingLXIII and gnashingLXIV of teeth.’ 14 For many are called,LXV but few are chosen.”LXVI

Notes on verses 13b-14

LXIII “weeping” = klauthmos. 9x in NT. From klaio (to weep, lament, or sob; weeping aloud). This is weeping, lamentation, shrieks, intense pain.
LXIV “gnashing” = brugmos. 7x in NT. From brucho (to bite, grind, grate teeth – in rage or pain). This is biting, grinding, grating teeth.
LXV “called” = kletos. Related to “call” in v3. 11x in NT. From the same as klesis (calling, invitation); from kaleo (see note XI above). This is the called, invited, calling. Used in the NT as God’s calling.
LXVI “chosen” = eklektos. From eklego (to choose, select, elect); {from ek (from, from out of) + lego (to speak, tell, mention)}. This is to select or choose. It is making a person choice – a favorite.

Image credit: “The Pharisees and the Sadducees Come to Tempt Jesus” by James Tissot, between 1886 and 1894.

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