Moses by John August Swanson. Image from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, Tenn. Original source © 1983 by John August Swanson.
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Matthew 22:1-14 Commentary
by Stanley Saunders
More than a few elements in Matthew’s story of the wedding feast seem way over the top by any measure of civil, rational behavior.
In the honor-based social systems of antiquity, it would have been unthinkable for invited guests, who would have been from the upper levels of the society and under social and financial obligation to the king to refuse his invitation. Matthew describes not a friendly dinner, unlike the similar story in Luke, but an affair of state in which the guests would signal their allegiance to the host and his heir. Their insolence toward the king and shameful treatment and murder of his slaves constitutes an open revolt. They apparently lack the resources, however, to pursue such a course to its end, for the king immediately destroys them and their city.
The shocking vista of a burning city seems, however, to be only a passing detail, for Jesus shifts the story back to the feast and the king’s efforts to fill the banquet hall -- dinner is apparently still in the oven -- with whomever can be found. Once the hall is filled with guests, including both the good and the bad, the focus turns once ...
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2019-20 Worship resources
The narrative lectionary is a four-year cycle of readings. Read more.
NL168: Wedding Banquet
March 08, 2015
Narrative Lectionary podcast on readings for March 8, 2015: Matthew 22:1-14 (Accompanying text: Psalm 45:6-7).