illustrations: Or “parables.”
marriage garment: Since this was a royal wedding, it may be that a special garment was provided by the royal host for his guests. If so, failure to wear it would show great disrespect.
gnashing of his teeth: See study note on Mt 8:12.
to trap him: Lit., “to ensnare him,” like a bird in a net. (Compare Ec 9:12, where the Septuagint uses the same Greek hunting term to render a Hebrew word with the meaning “to catch with a snare; to ensnare.”) The Pharisees used flattery and insincere questions (Mt 22:16, 17) solely designed to elicit an answer they could use against Jesus.
party followers of Herod: See Glossary.
head tax: An annual tax, probably amounting to a denarius, or one day’s wages, which the Romans levied on all those who had been registered by census.
Caesar: Or “the Emperor.” The Roman emperor during Jesus’ earthly ministry was Tiberius, but the term was not restricted to the ruling emperor. “Caesar” could refer to the Roman civil authority, or the State, and its duly appointed representatives, who are called “the superior authorities” by Paul, and “the king” and his “governors” by Peter.
hypocrites: The Greek word hy·po·kri·tesʹ originally referred to Greek (and later Roman) stage actors who wore large masks designed to amplify the voice. The term came to be used in a metaphoric sense to apply to anyone hiding his real intentions or personality by playing false or putting on a pretense. Jesus here calls the Jewish religious leaders “hypocrites.”
denarius: This Roman silver coin with an inscription of Caesar was the “head tax” coin that the Romans exacted from the Jews. (Mt 22:17) In Jesus’ day, agricultural laborers commonly received a denarius for a 12-hour workday, and the Christian Greek Scriptures often use the denarius as a basis for calculating other monetary values. (Mt 20:2; Mr 6:
image and inscription: On the front side of a common denarius of this time, there was an image of the laurel-crowned head of Roman Emperor Tiberius, who reigned from 14 to 37 C.E., and the inscription in Latin, “Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the deified Augustus.”
Caesar’s things to Caesar: Jesus’ reply here, and in the parallel accounts at Mr 12:17 and Lu 20:25, is his only recorded reference to the Roman emperor. “Caesar’s things” include payment for services rendered by the secular government as well as the honor and relative subjection that is to be shown to such authorities.
resurrection: The Greek word a·naʹsta·sis literally means “raising up; standing up.” It is used about 40 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures with reference to the resurrection of the dead. (Mt 22:31; Ac 4:2; 24:15; 1Co 15:12, 13) In the Septuagint at Isa 26:19, the verb form of a·naʹsta·sis is used to render the Hebrew verb “to live” in the expression “Your dead will live.”
the Scriptures: An expression often used to refer to the inspired Hebrew writings as a whole.
resurrection: See study note on Mt 22:23.
God, who said: Jesus here refers to a conversation between Moses and Jehovah that took place about 1514 B.C.E. (Ex 3:
He is the God, not of the dead: The earliest and most reliable manuscripts support this reading, but some manuscripts repeat the word “God” and could be rendered: “God is not the God of the dead.” This reading is reflected in some Bible translations. One translation of the Christian Greek Scriptures into Hebrew (referred to as J18 in App. C) uses the Tetragrammaton here and could be rendered: “Jehovah is not the God of the dead.”
but of the living: According to the parallel account at Lu 20:38, Jesus includes the comment: “For they are all living to him [or, “from his standpoint”].” The Bible shows that living humans who are alienated from God are dead from his standpoint. (Eph 2:1; 1Ti 5:6) Likewise, approved servants of God who die are still living from Jehovah’s standpoint, since his purpose to resurrect them is so sure of fulfillment.
silenced: The Greek verb could also be rendered “to make speechless” (lit., “to muzzle”). This was a fitting expression in view of the hypocritical question. Jesus’ answer was so effective that the Sadducees were unable to respond.
heart: When used in a figurative sense, this term generally refers to the total inner person. When mentioned together with “soul” and “mind,” however, it evidently takes on a more specific meaning and refers mainly to a person’s emotions, desires, and feelings. The three terms used here (heart, soul, and mind) are not mutually exclusive; they are used in an overlapping sense, emphasizing in the strongest possible way the need for complete and total love for God.
soul: Or “whole being.”
mind: That is, intellectual faculties. A person must use his mental faculties to come to know God and grow in love for him. (Joh 17:3, ftn.; Ro 12:1) In this quote from De 6:5, the original Hebrew text uses three terms, ‘heart, soul, and strength.’ However, according to Matthew’s account as it appears in Greek, the term for “mind” is used instead of “strength.” There may be several reasons for this use of different terms. First, although ancient Hebrew did not have a specific word for “mind,” this concept was often included in the Hebrew word for “heart.” This term when used figuratively refers to the whole inner person, including a person’s thinking, feelings, attitudes, and motivations. (De 29:4; Ps 26:2; 64:6; see study note on heart in this verse.) For this reason, where the Hebrew text uses the word “heart,” the Greek Septuagint often uses the Greek equivalent for “mind.” (Ge 8:
The second: At Mt 22:37, Jesus’ direct answer to the Pharisee is recorded, but Jesus now goes beyond the original question and quotes a second commandment (Le 19:18), teaching that the two commandments are inextricably linked and that the whole Law and the Prophets are summed up by them.
neighbor: This Greek word for “neighbor” (lit., “the one near”) can include more than just those who live nearby. It can refer to anyone with whom a person interacts.
the whole Law . . . and the Prophets: See study note on Mt 5:17.
hangs: The Greek verb with the literal meaning “to hang on” is here used in the figurative sense “to be dependent on; be based on.” Jesus thus indicated that not just the Law with the Ten Commandments but the entire Hebrew Scriptures are based on love.
under inspiration: Lit., “in spirit.” That is, inspired by, or under the influence of, God’s spirit.