Questions on Matt 22:1-14? "many called but few chosen"


Tried the archives but didn’t find anything, so I am looking for more input.

Matt 22:1-14 the Parable of Kingdom of heaven as Wedding Feast. Reading this with my 8 and 10 yo sons who interpreted that “the people who did not respond to the original invitation made God angry and were sent to hell”. I really drew a blank so I told them I’m not sure what it means?:

*“But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city.” Matt 22:7 *

I did notice the interesting piece that the replacements who were gathered up for the wedding feast included "all whom they found,* both bad and good**"* (22:10) Can you share any more insight on the passage which I could share with my sons?

And who is the one who didn’t have on the right wedding garment and “the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and[a] cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (Matt 22:13-14)?


On another thread, Jason pointed out that those who were “murdered” were the ones who had a reserved seat (ie the “elected ones”).

In pondering some more, I think the ones who didn’t come (and got zapped in vs 7) were lazy about investing in this relationship.


Hi Gem,
I only have time for a brief reply–and there’s a lot one could say about this parable! Here’s what comes quickly to mind:

Jesus has been talking to the religious leaders, and this is a continuation of the theme of the end of chapter 21: that the kingdom of God is being taken from Israel and given to others. They are being cast off because they did not care about the kingdom, they are destroyed because they murdered the prophets. They thought they did, but what they had pictured in their mind was not in accord with God’s intention.

The fact that Israel is cast off does not mean she will not be restored. Paul says that the olive branch that was pruned off is able to be grafted back on, and in Rom 11, that all Israel will be saved. The prophets tell us that God will make her jealous with a “no-people” so that she will turn back. The prophets are full of the ultimate restoration of Israel when God will take away her heart of stone and give her a heart of flesh.

I guess that’s all I have time for right now, but I’m sure others will have a lot to say!



I still haven’t gotten around to writing up all my observations on this parable, but thanks for the thread!–I was going to have to create a new one anyway. :smiley:

In regard to the stinger at the end of the parable (quoted in the thread title), something about it started bugging me back when I was doing my Gospel harmonization studies. I still haven’t sussed it out.

The main problem is that the stinger makes less than no sense compared to the content of the parable! It isn’t a few who are chosen, all are seriously called (which is why the king is piççed off when the first group disses him); the group in the wedding feast are far more numerous than the first group called; the first group dis-chose themselves for rebellious reasons (this isn’t immediately obvious, but it comes out that way in cultural context); and a tiny minority are unchosen after being chosen.

It’s stable to the text transmission so I have no positive reason to believe it’s a later addition to the text, even though the parallel from GosLuke doesn’t feature it (but that doesn’t mean Jesus couldn’t have added it later during the second retelling; the two scenes are quite distinct if about a week apart in internal chronology.) It also has no direct parallel anywhere else in the Gospels.

There’s some kind of weird mystery to it. I am inclined to suspect, on the ground of other internal evidence in the Gospels, that Jesus was applying a Pharisaic saying about their own elite scholarly status back at them. I don’t know that for sure, but it would fit a lot of other contexts.