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: See study note on Mt 6:2.
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.
Pay back: Lit., “Give back.” Caesar minted the coins, so he had a right to ask for some of them back. But Caesar did not have the right to ask a person to dedicate or devote his life to him. God gave humans “life and breath and all things.” (Ac 17:25) So a person can “give back” his life and devotion only to God, the one who has the right to require exclusive devotion.
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.
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.
he left his wife for his brother: See study note on Mr 12:21.
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: See study note on Mr 12:27.
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.
You must love: The Greek word here rendered “love” is a·ga·paʹo. This verb and the related noun a·gaʹpe (love) occur more than 250 times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. At 1Jo 4:8, the noun a·gaʹpe is used in the phrase “God is love,” and the Scriptures use God as the paramount example of unselfish love guided by principle. God’s love is expressed thoughtfully and actively. It involves commitment and actions, not just emotions and feelings. Humans who show such love do so as a deliberate choice in imitation of God. (Eph 5:1) That is why humans can be commanded to show love, as in the two greatest commandments, referred to in this context. Jesus is here quoting from De 6:5. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Hebrew verb ʼa·hevʹ or ʼa·havʹ (to love) and the noun ʼa·havahʹ (love) are the words primarily used to denote love. They convey a range of meanings similar to that of the Greek words mentioned above. In connection with loving Jehovah, these words express a person’s desire to be completely devoted to God and to serve him exclusively. Jesus perfectly demonstrated this kind of love. He showed that love of God requires more than feeling affection for Jehovah. It governs a person’s whole life, influencing all his thoughts, words, and actions.—See study note on Joh 3:16.
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; 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 Mr 12:30; 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.
under inspiration: Lit., “in spirit.” That is, inspired by, or under the influence of, God’s spirit.—See Glossary, “Spirit.”
beneath your feet: That is, under your authority.