2. The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son--"In this parable," as TRENCH admirably remarks, "we see how the Lord is revealing Himself in ever clearer light as the central Person of the kingdom, giving here a far plainer hint than in the last parable of the nobility of His descent. There He was indeed the Son, the only and beloved one (Mr 12:6), of the Householder; but here His race is royal, and He appears as Himself at once the King and the King's Son (Ps 72:1). The last was a parable of the Old Testament history; and Christ is rather the last and greatest of the line of its prophets and teachers than the founder of a new kingdom. In that, God appears demanding something from men; in this, a parable of grace, God appears more as giving something to them. Thus, as often, the two complete each other: this taking up the matter where the other left it." The "marriage" of Jehovah to His people Israel was familiar to Jewish ears; and in Ps 45:1-17 this marriage is seen consummated in the Person of Messiah "THE KING," Himself addressed as "GOD" and yet as anointed by "HIS GOD" with the oil of gladness above His fellows. These apparent contradictions (see on Lu 20:41-44) are resolved in this parable; and Jesus, in claiming to be this King's Son, serves Himself Heir to all that the prophets and sweet singers of Israel held forth as to Jehovah's ineffably near and endearing union to His people. But observe carefully, that THE BRIDE does not come into view in this parable; its design being to teach certain truths under the figure of guests at a wedding feast, and the want of a wedding garment, which would not have harmonized with the introduction of the Bride.
3. and sent forth his servants--representing all preachers of the
to call them that were bidden--here meaning the Jews, who were "bidden," from the first choice of them onwards through every summons addressed to them by the prophets to hold themselves in readiness for the appearing of their King.
to the wedding--or the marriage festivities, when the preparations were all concluded.
and they would not come--as the issue of the whole ministry of the Baptist, our Lord Himself, and His apostles thereafter, too sadly showed.
4. my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready; come unto the marriage--This points to those Gospel calls after Christ's death, resurrection, ascension, and effusion of the Spirit, to which the parable could not directly allude, but when only it could be said, with strict propriety, "that all things were ready." Compare 1Co 5:7, 8, "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore, let us keep the feast"; also Joh 6:51, "I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread which I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world."
5. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
6. And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully--insulted them.
and slew them--These are two different classes of unbelievers: the one simply indifferent; the other absolutely hostile--the one, contemptuous scorners; the other, bitter persecutors.
7. But when the king--the Great God, who is the Father of our Lord
heard thereof, he was wroth--at the affront put both on His Son, and on Himself who had deigned to invite them.
and he sent forth his armies--The Romans are here styled God's armies, just as the Assyrian is styled "the rod of His anger" (Isa 10:5), as being the executors of His judicial vengeance.
and destroyed those murderers--and in what vast numbers did they do it!
and burned up their city--Ah! Jerusalem, once "the city of the Great King" (Ps 48:2), and even up almost to this time (Mt 5:35); but now it is "their city"--just as our Lord, a day or two after this, said of the temple, where God had so long dwelt, "Behold your house is left unto you desolate" (Mt 23:38)! Compare Lu 19:43, 44.
8. The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy--for how should those be deemed worthy to sit down at His table who had affronted Him by their treatment of His gracious invitation?
9. Go ye therefore into the highways--the great outlets and
thoroughfares, whether of town or country, where human beings are to be
and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage--that is, just as they are.
10. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good--that is, without making any distinction between open sinners and the morally correct. The Gospel call fetched in Jews, Samaritans, and outlying heathen alike. Thus far the parable answers to that of "the Great Supper" (Lu 14:16, &c.). But the distinguishing feature of our parable is what follows:
11. And when the king came in to see the guests--Solemn
expression this, of that omniscient inspection of every professed
disciple of the Lord Jesus from age to age, in virtue of which his
true character will hereafter be judicially proclaimed!
he saw there a man--This shows that it is the judgment of individuals which is intended in this latter part of the parable: the first part represents rather national judgment.
which had not on a wedding garment--The language here is drawn from the following remarkable passage in Zep 1:7, 8: --"Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God; for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, He hath bid His guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel." The custom in the East of presenting festival garments (see Ge 45:22; 2Ki 5:22), even though nor clearly proved, Is certainly presupposed here. It undoubtedly means something which they bring not of their own--for how could they have any such dress who were gathered in from the highways indiscriminately?--but which they receive as their appropriate dress. And what can that be but what is meant by "putting on the Lord Jesus," as "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS?" (See Ps 45:13, 14). Nor could such language be strange to those in whose ears had so long resounded those words of prophetic joy: "I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels" (Isa 61:10).
12. Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless--being self-condemned.
13. Then said the king to the servants--the angelic ministers of
divine vengeance (as in
Bind him hand and foot--putting it out of his power to resist.
and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness--So Mt 8:12; 25:30. The expression is emphatic--"the darkness which is outside." To be "outside" at all--or, in the language of Re 22:15, to be "without" the heavenly city, excluded from its joyous nuptials and gladsome festivities--is sad enough of itself, without anything else. But to find themselves not only excluded from the brightness and glory and joy and felicity of the kingdom above, but thrust into a region of "darkness," with all its horrors, this is the dismal retribution here announced, that awaits the unworthy at the great day.
there--in that region and condition.
shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. See on Mt 13:42.