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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Matthew 22:1-46

22  Once more Jesus spoke to them with illustrations, saying:  “The Kingdom of the heavens may be likened to a king who made a marriage feast+ for his son.  And he sent his slaves to call those invited to the marriage feast, but they were unwilling to come.+  Again he sent other slaves, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Look! I have prepared my dinner, my bulls and fattened animals are slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the marriage feast.”’  But unconcerned they went off, one to his own field, another to his business;+  but the rest, seizing his slaves, treated them insolently and killed them.  “The king grew wrathful and sent his armies and killed those murderers and burned their city.+  Then he said to his slaves, ‘The marriage feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.+  Therefore, go to the roads leading out of the city, and invite anyone* you find to the marriage feast.’+ 10  Accordingly, those slaves went out to the roads and gathered all they found, both wicked and good; and the room for the wedding ceremonies was filled with those dining.* 11  “When the king came in to inspect the guests, he caught sight of a man not wearing a marriage garment. 12  So he said to him, ‘Fellow, how did you get in here without a marriage garment?’ He was speechless. 13  Then the king said to his servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot and throw him into the darkness outside. There is where his weeping and the gnashing of his teeth will be.’ 14  “For there are many invited, but few chosen.” 15  Then the Pharisees went and conspired together in order to trap him in his speech.+ 16  So they sent their disciples to him, together with party followers of Herod,+ saying: “Teacher, we know you are truthful and teach the way of God in truth, and you do not seek anyone’s favor, for you do not look at the outward appearance of people. 17  Tell us, then, what do you think? Is it lawful* to pay head tax to Caesar or not?” 18  But Jesus, knowing their wickedness, said: “Why do you put me to the test, hypocrites? 19  Show me the tax coin.” They brought him a de·narʹi·us. 20  He said to them: “Whose image and inscription is this?” 21  They said: “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them: “Pay back, therefore, Caesar’s things to Caesar, but God’s things to God.”+ 22  When they heard that, they were amazed, and they left him and went away. 23  On that day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection,+ came and asked him:+ 24  “Teacher, Moses said: ‘If any man dies without having children, his brother must marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.’+ 25  Now there were seven brothers with us. The first married and died, and having no offspring, he left his wife for his brother. 26  The same thing happened with the second and the third, through all seven. 27  Last of all, the woman died. 28  So in the resurrection, of the seven, whose wife will she be? For they all had her as a wife.” 29  In reply Jesus said to them: “You are mistaken, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God;+ 30  for in the resurrection neither do men marry nor are women given in marriage, but they are as angels in heaven.+ 31  Regarding the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, who said: 32  ‘I am the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob’?+ He is the God, not of the dead, but of the living.”+ 33  On hearing that, the crowds were astounded at his teaching.+ 34  After the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they came together in one group. 35  And one of them, versed in the Law, tested him by asking: 36  “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”+ 37  He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’+ 38  This is the greatest and first commandment. 39  The second, like it, is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’+ 40  On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets.”+ 41  Now while the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them:+ 42  “What do you think about the Christ? Whose son is he?” They said to him: “David’s.”+ 43  He asked them: “How is it, then, that David under inspiration+ calls him Lord, saying, 44  ‘Jehovah said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand until I put your enemies beneath your feet”’?+ 45  If, then, David calls him Lord, how is he his son?”+ 46  And nobody was able to say a word in reply to him, and from that day on, no one dared to question him any further.


Or “as many as.”
Or “dinner guests; those reclining at the table.”
Or “right.”

illustrations: Or “parables.”—See study note on Mt 13:3.

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.Lu 2:1-3.

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.Ro 13:1-7; 1Pe 2:13-17; Tit 3:1; see Glossary.

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.”Mt 6:5, 16.

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 6:37; 14:5; Re 6:6) A variety of copper and silver coins were used in Israel, including silver coins minted in Tyre that were used for the temple tax. Yet, for paying taxes to Rome, people evidently used the silver denarius bearing the image of Caesar.—See Glossary and App. B14.

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.”—See also App. B14.

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.Ro 13:1-7.

God’s things to God: This includes a person’s wholehearted worship, whole-souled love, and complete, loyal obedience.Mt 4:10; 22:37, 38; Ac 5:29; Ro 14:8.

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.”—See Glossary.

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 3:2, 6) At that time, Abraham had been dead for 329 years, Isaac for 224, and Jacob for 197. Yet, Jehovah did not say: ‘I was their God.’ He said: ‘I am their God.’Mt 22:32.

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.”—Compare Ex 3:6, 15.

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.Ro 4:16, 17.

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.1Pe 2:15, ftn.

Jehovah: In this quote from De 6:5, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.—See App. C.

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.”—See Glossary.

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 8:21; 17:17; Pr 2:10; Isa 14:13) Another reason why Matthew may have used the Greek word for “mind” instead of “strength” when quoting De 6:5 is that the Hebrew word rendered “strength [or, “vital force,” ftn.]” could include both physical strength and mental or intellectual ability. Whatever the case, this overlapping of ideas between the Hebrew and Greek terms may help to explain why when quoting Deuteronomy the Gospel writers do not use the same exact wording.—See study notes on Mt 22:37; Lu 10:27.

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.Mt 22:40.

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.Lu 10:29-37; Ro 13:8-10; see study note on Mt 5:43.

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.Ro 13:9.

the Christ: Or “the Messiah.”—See study notes on Mt 1:1; 2:4.

under inspiration: Lit., “in spirit.” That is, inspired by, or under the influence of, God’s spirit.—See Glossary, “Spirit.”

Jehovah: In this quote from Ps 110:1, the divine name, represented by four Hebrew consonants (transliterated YHWH), occurs in the original Hebrew text.—See App. C.

beneath your feet: That is, under your authority.