And he sent forth his slaves to call those invited to the marriage feast, but they were unwilling to come.’”—Matt. 22:1-3.
“THOSE INVITED TO THE MARRIAGE FEAST”
9. In Jesus’ illustration, what relationship did those invited to the “marriage feast” bear to the king, and what would their favorable action toward the invitation show?
9 An invitation to the marriage feast of his son was a great favor on the part of the king. Those whom he invited were persons over whom he was the king. They were his subjects. He knew them by name. He knew where they lived within his realm, and so he could send his slaves to their address to notify them at the time that the feast was ready, to which feast they had already been invited. Favorable action of these invited persons when they got notification of the readiness of the feast would display due respect for their king. Whom, then, did “those invited to the marriage feast” in Jesus’ illustration picture?
10. At the time of the illustration, Jehovah God was King over what people, and by what arrangement?
10 Well, since the king pictures Jehovah God, who, then, were the people over whom He was the king at that time? To whom was it that Jesus said, “The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits”? It was the Jewish nation. In the year 1513 B.C.E. Jehovah God had brought them into a covenant with him through the mediatorship of his prophet Moses, at Mount Sinai. They willingly entered this covenant, to keep its Law code, the foundation laws of which were the famous Ten Commandments. (Ex. 19:1 through 24:8) Especially by this covenant arrangement, Jehovah became the heavenly King over this people, and this meant that they were now a “nation” subject to Him. (Deut. 33:5) The Israelites had already sung His praises as their King, after he had delivered them from death in the Red Sea, singing out: “Jehovah will rule as king to time indefinite, even forever.”—Ex. 15:18.
11, 12. (a) How had the nation of Israel become the Name people of God? (b) How was it that God could send an invitation to them by their national name?
11 This heavenly King has a name—Jehovah—and, by virtue of bringing the nation of Israel into a Law covenant with him as their God, they became his Name people. His name was called upon them. Said the mediator Moses to the covenant people of Israel: “Jehovah will establish you as a holy people to himself, just as he swore to you, because you continue to keep the commandments of Jehovah your God, and you have walked in his ways. And all the peoples of the earth will have to see that Jehovah’s name has been called upon you, and they will indeed be afraid of you.” (Deut. 28:9, 10) To this chosen nation, Jehovah said, by the mouth of his prophet Amos: “You people only have I known out of all the families of the ground.” (Amos 3:2) Not only was the nation identified by His name, but He knew the nation by name.
12 To it, He said, by the mouth of the prophet Isaiah: “And now this is what Jehovah has said, your Creator, O Jacob, and your Former, O Israel: ‘Do not be afraid, for I have repurchased you. I have called you by your name. You are mine.’” (Isa. 43:1) So, if He desired to send an invitation to them or give them a standing invitation, He could do so by the national name.
13. How did the heavenly King know the address of “those invited to the marriage feast,” and this fact was shown in the case of whose birth?
13 The king of Jesus’ illustration knew the addresses of those whom he had invited to the marriage feast. Likewise Jehovah knew the “address” of his chosen people, his invited people. He knew where they lived. It was the land that He had promised to their forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the land to which He had faithfully brought them. Even after their exile in the land of Babylon, Jehovah restored them to that same land. Under no misdirection, Jehovah the King sent his Son Jesus to that land. It was no mistake or accident that Jesus the Descendant of Abraham and of King David was born in the city of Bethlehem in the Province of Judea, in the autumn of the year 2 B.C.E. Centuries in advance, by His prophet Micah, Jehovah the King had foretold the address for this miraculous birth.—Mic. 5:2.
14. Was it first when the messengers of notification arrived that the initial invitation was given to “those invited,” or what relation did notification bear to invitation?
14 In fulfillment of Jesus’ illustration, Jehovah the King knew the addresses or locations of “those invited to the marriage feast.” Naturally, then, he knew where to send his messengers of notification at the time that the marriage feast, to which they had already been invited, was ready and it was the hour for them to come with keen appetites.