Scorning the King's Son (22:1-14)

Those who dishonor the Son shame and dishonor the Father who sent him. It was common for kings or important personages to throw wedding banquets for sons, to which they might invite the entire village (compare, for example, Char. Chaer. 3.2.10). But the banquet here makes special allusion to the promised banquet of the messianic era. In the narrative logic of the Gospel, Jesus is finally ready to unveil his identity in the final week (see Kingsbury 1986:81-84).

Other Jewish prophets had also applied the principle of special accountability to those closest to the Word (for example, Amos 3:2; 9:7). Whether the parable emphasizes judgment on all Israel (compare Sandmel 1978a:60; Mt 27:25), on Israel as a whole but not individual Jews (Hare 1979:39) or on the Judean leadership in particular (21:43-45) is debated, but the burning of the city in Matthew probably refers to the destruction of Jerusalem (Jeremias 1972:33; Hare 1979:39). In the context, Jesus' harsh words condemn Israel's leaders. Yet as often in his Gospel, Matthew apparently uses the community's opponents to warn members of his own community not to be like them. Not only Jesus' enemies but even some of his supposed friends (22:11-14) would betray him.

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