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The parable now before us was addressed to the same people to whom the two parables in chap. xxi had been addressed. Compare xxi. 23, 45, 46, and xxii. 1. And that the parable before us was designed to illustrate more fully what had been taught in the two preceding parables, is proved by a comparison of xxi. 35-39, with xxii. 6, and xxi. 41, with xxii. 7. Jesus having said to the chief priests and elders, xxi. 43, “ the kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof,” he designs, in the parable before us, to show the welcome reception which the gospel would meet among the Gentiles. What is said in vers. 11-13 is rather an appendix to the parable, to show that those who professed to embrace the gospel, if they were not clad in the proper chistian virtues, would be detected, exposed and punished.

The parable of the marriage feast," like that of the ten virgins, Matt, xxv. 1-13, is founded upon the customs of the Jews, at their weddings. One of their most indispensable customs was that of furnishing a feast, or feasts, at a marriage; and if the parties were wealthy, the feasts continued seven days, as will appear from Judges xiv. 10, 12, 17. Hence, many coinmentators render the passage, “the kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, who made a marriage feast for his son;" and several instances are given from the classics, where gamous is used to signify marriage festivals. Tha: a marriage festival is intended in the case before us, is evident froin ver. 4. This, as we have said, was an indispensable part of the nuptial ceremonies. The guests who were invited to the marriage, were expected to be dressed in a manner suited to the splendor of such an occasion. Among

the Orientals long white robes were worn at public festivals; and those who appeared on such occasions with any other garments, were esteemed highly culpable, and sometimes worthy of punishment. The person who invited the guests prepared such a garment for each, for the time being ; with which he was furnished on his application to the ruler of the feast. It is supposed the prophet refers to this practice, when he says, “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." Zeph. i. 7,8. Dr. Hammond remarks, that there was a garment which was customary at marriage feasts, called enduma gamou, (the same phrase found in the parable) and he quotes from several authors in proof. He adds, that this garment was considered so necessary that without it, even they who were invited to the wedding, were not perınitted to remain 1. Bishop Pearce remarks, that.. mention is inade of such a garment by heathen writers: for Aristophanes in Avib v. 1692, speaks of' a wedding garment, and Eustathius, in his note mpon Hon. Oilyss. 2. 28, has 'these words, was a custom for the bride to make presents of garments to the people belonging to the tridegroom at the time of the wedding. We learn from Cic. Orat. in Vatin. c. xiii. that a white habit was conimonly worn at feasts, among Romans." Cum ipse epuli dominus, Q." Arrius, albatus esset.' 2

It seems necessary further to remark, in regard to eastern marriages, that they were generally solemnized in the evening. After the connubial

1Para, and Annot. on Matt. xxi. 2. 2 Coin. on Matti xxii. 11.

union was ratified and attested, and the religious parts of it concluded, it was customary for the bridegroom, among the Jews, as well as among the Greeks and Romans, to conduct his spouse in the evening from her friends to her new abode, with all the pomp, brilliancy and joy that could be manisfested. On the arrival the marriage feasting commenced, in apartments splendidly lighted, which formed the greatest possible contrast to the darkness that prevailed without. Nothing could exceed the elegance of these scenes. The couches on which the guests reclined--the sparkling ornaments of the women-the uniformity in the dress of the company--the long white robes in which they were clad—the effulgent light of the hall-all conspired to give the occasion a brilliancy surpassing description. With these preliminary observations, we proceed to ascertain the true application of the parable.

1. What is meant by the marriage feast"? See Notes on the parable of the Supper, pp. 111, 112. “ Under the image of an invitation to a feast, Christ represents the offer of the gospel to the Jews. This contained the choicest blessings which God had to bestow, and might be fitly compared to the dainties of a feast upon a most joyful occasion, the marriage of a son."

2. Who were those first bidden to the wedding, but refused to come? There cannot be a question that the Jews are here intended. This is a construction on which we believe all commentators agree. They, first of all men, were invited to receive the gospel. The apostles were directed not to enter into any city of the Samaritans, but to “go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Isra

1 Kenrick's Exposà on Matt. xxii. 2.


el.” Matt. x. 5, 6. Sce also Matt. xv. 24. Paul said to the Jews, “ It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you." Acts xiii. 46. The command to preach the gospel to the Gentile nations was not given until after the resurrection of Corist. Mark xvi. 15. The Jews had been frequently invited to partake of this feast; first by the prophets, afterwards by John the B: ptist, then by the apostles and by Jesus himself. They made light of these invitations. In the parable of the Supper, (see p. 113 of this work) one begged to be excused for he had bought a piece of ground; another, for he had purchased a yoke of oxen; and a third, because he had married a wise. So here it is said, one went to his farm, another to his merchandise. In this way the Jews made light of God's invitation. They considered it of greater importance to attend to their secular concerns, than to comply with it. Because Christ and the apostles pressed this subject upon their attention, they were enraged, and sought to destroy thein. In the words of the parable, they took these servants of God, “and entreated them spitefully, and slew thein." For God to send the gospel to the Jews before any people upon carth, was an evidence of his regard; but to meet it with such trilling excuses as the Jews did, and moreover to slay the messengers who brought it to them, was a high offence, well worthy of the signal punishment they suffered. This punishment is described in ver. 7. “ But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth; and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burnt up their city.This verse marks very distinctly, and beyond dispute, the true application of the parable. The punishment the Jews were to suffer for their

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rejection of Christ, was their own destruction, and the destruction of their city, by the Roinan armies, about forty years after this parable was spoken. So say coininentators of all denominations. Whitby says, "upon their refusal God decreed to send the Romans to destroy the Jews, and burn their temple, and their city: which they so fully performed as to destroy, during those wars, saith Josephus, eleven hundred thousand Jews, to burn their Teinple, consume, and so long waste their city, as that all men conceived, it never could be built again." With this Kenrick, Bishop Pearce, and all the principal commentators agree. Thus the Jews proved themselves unworthy the “marriage feast;" as it is said in the 8th verse, “but they which were bidden were not worthy The Jews judged themselves unworthy, as Paul told them at Antioch. "It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you; but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, (which all

who belicved in Christ then enjoyed,

see John v 24,) lo we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, (in Isaiah xlix. 6) I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou for salvation unto the ends of the earth.” Acts xiii. 46, 47.

3. Who were those afterward bidden to the “marriage feast"? See the Notes on the parable of the Supper, pp. 113, 114. Those who embraced the gospel of Christ on its rejection by the Jews, were the Gentiles. There were, it is true, a few of the Jewish nation who were converted to Christ; but the wedding may be said to have been furnished with guests from among the Gentiles, as the passage just quoted from Acts shows. The

1 Com. on Matt. xxii, 7.,

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