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The Feast


(1) Thom 64:1-12
(2) 2Q: Luke 14:15-24 = Matt 22:1-13



(1) Thom 64:1-12

64 Jesus said, Someone was receiving guests. When he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests. 2The slave went to the first and said, "My master invites you." The first replied, 3"Some merchants owe me money; they are coming to me tonight. I have to go and give them instructions. Please excuse me from dinner." 4 The slave went to another and said, "My master has invited you." 5The second said to the slave, "I have bought a house, and I have been called away for a day. I shall have no time." 6 The slave went to another and said, "My master invites you." 7The third said to the slave, "My friend is to be married, and I am to arrange the banquet. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me from dinner." 8The slave went to another and said, "My master invites you." 9The fourth said to the slave, "I have bought an estate, and I am going to collect the rent. I shall not be able to come. Please excuse me." 10The slave returned and said to his master, "Those whom you invited to dinner have asked to be excused." 11The master said to his slave, "Go out on the streets and bring back whomever you find to have dinner." 12Buyers and merchants [will] not enter the places of my Father. [Complete Gospels]


(2) Luke 14:15-24

14:15 One of the dinner guests, on hearing this, said to him, "Blessed is anyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" 14:16 Then Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. 14:17 At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything is ready now.' 14:18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.' 14:19 Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.' 14:20 Another said, 'I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.' 14:21 So the slave returned and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and said to his slave, 'Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.' 14:22 And the slave said, 'Sir, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room." 14:23 Then the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the roads and lanes, and compel people to come in, so that my house may be filled. 14:24 For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.'"

= Matt 22:1-13
22:1 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying: 22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. 22:3 He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 22:4 Again he sent other slaves, saying, 'Tell those who have been invited: Look, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready; come to the wedding banquet.' 22:5 But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, 22:6 while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. 22:7 The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. 22:8 Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. 22:9 Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.' 22:10 Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. 22:11 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 22:12 and he said to him, 'Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?' And he was speechless. 22:13 Then the king said to the attendants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen."



John Dominic Crossan

Item: 95
Stratum: I (30-60 CE)
Attestation: Double
Historicity: +
Common Sayings Tradition: Yes

Crossan [Historical Jesus, 261f] suggests:

All three extant versions have interpreted and applied the parable to their own situations by contextual connections and intratextual developments. I think, however, that a common structural plot is discernible behind them all. ... It is the random and open commensality of the parable's meal that is its most startling element. The social challenge of such egalitarian commensality is the radical threat of the parable's vision. It is only a story, of course, but it is one that focuses its egalitarian challenge on society's mesocosmic mirror, the table as the place where bodies meet to eat. And the almost predictable counteraccusation to such open commensality is immediate: Jesus is a glutton, a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and sinners. He makes, in other words, no appropriate distinctions and discriminations. He has no honor. He has no shame.

For a more detailed discussion of this parable by Crossan, see Four Other Gospels (1985: 39-52).



The International Q Project reconstructs the original Q saying as follows:

A certain person prepared a [large] dinner, [and invited many]. And he sent his slave [at the time of the dinner] to say to the invited: Come, for it is ready.

He came to the first (and) said to him: My master invites you. he said: I have bills for some merchants. They are coming to me this evening. I will go (and) give instructions to them. Excuse me for the dinner. he came to another (and) said to him: My master has invited you. He said to him: I have bought a house, and I have been called (away) for a day. I will not have time.

He came to another (and) said to him: My master invites you. he said to him: I have bought a village. Since I am going to collect the rent, I will not be able to come. Excuse me.

He went to another (and) said to him: My master invites you. He said to him: My friend is going to marry, and I am the one who is going to prepare the meal. I will not be able to come. Excuse me for the dinner.

The slave went away. He said to his master: Those whom you invited to the dinner have asked to be excused. The master said to the slave: Go out on the roads, and whomever you find, invite, so that my house may be filled.


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JS Mtg





W Avg


Thom 64:1-12
Q, T
Luke 14:16b-23
Q, T
Matt 22:2-13
Q, T

The commentary in The Five Gospels (p. 352) concludes that, on balance, Luke's version of this story is closer to the original than Matthew's version. Overall, the GThom version was preferred although it also has signs of editorial adaptation to fit its current context (p. 510). While Luke perhaps tells the story to illustrate some of the points about table fellowship made in the previous verses, Matthew has modified the story to serve as an allegory of salvation history, including a reference to the destruction of Jerusalem by armies acting at the command of the angry king (God).


Samuel T. Lachs

Lachs [Rabbinic Commentary on the New Testament, 356f] notes that there are many rabbinic parables that feature a king making a wedding for his son, of which none provide a parallel to this parable apart from the following (and then only to the wedding garment motif in Matthew):

R. Johanan b. Zakkai said: "A parable of a king who invited his servants to a banquet but did not specify to them the time. The clever ones among them adorned themselves and sat at the entrance of the king's house. They said: 'Does the king lack anything?' The foolish among them went to their work, for they said: 'Can there be a banquet without preparation?' Suddenly the king asked for his servants. The clever among them entered before him as they were adorned, but the foolish among them entered before him dirty as they were. The king rejoiced to greet the clever ones but was angry with the foolish ones. He said: 'These who have adorned themselves for the banquet, let them and eat and drink, but these who have not adorned themselves for the banquet, let them stand and merely observe.'" The son-in-law of R. Meir said in the name of R. Meir: "But the foolish would appear like attendants, let both sit down, but let the clean servants eat and drink, while the dirty ones shall go hungry and thirst." [B. Shab. 153a and Koh. R. 9.8, 3.8]

Bernard Brandon Scott

Scott [Re-Imagine the World, 110-17] comments on the significance of the invitation and the lack of acceptances:

Banquets of the rich followed a set form; they were not spur of the moment activities. One of their primary functions was to bring honor to a host. If honor is to be maintained, guests must show up. Thus part of the set form of a banquet was an invitation issued days before the banquet. Normally this was delivered by a slave who either read it, if he were literate, or recited it. A number of papyrus invitations have survived. ... After the formal invitation, a slave would return at the appropriate time to escort the guests to the banquet. At this point the parable begins.

But something is wrong with this banquet. Every one of those who was invited had an excuse and refuses to come. It cannot be a coincidence that all those invited guests have excuses, every single one of them. the man is being snubbed. Instead of redounding to his honor, this banquet will create great shame.

... Whatever the man's strategy [of gathering people randomly from the street], the banquet he ends up with is very different from the one he planned. It is now a banquet of the dishonorable, and he is shamed.

The messianic banquet lurks around the edges of this parable ... The parable of the Banquet burlesques the messianic banquet just as the Mustard Seed burlesques the great cedar of Lebanon. The banquet proposed by the man might be a fitting model for the messianic banquet but the actual banquet is something else. It also points to the here and now as the place of the banquet, and to life on the streets among the peasants as the appropriate model for the banquet, not the world of the elites. Just as the parable of the Unforgiving Slave rejects the imperial model of the messiah, so this parable rejects the banquets of the elites as the model for the messianic banquet. God's banquet is something else.



Some dude of privilege was throwing a big-time party.

Sent his slave to invite his rich buddies.

Have to collect my debt!

Have to insure my investment!

Have to arrange my own banguet!

Have to collect my rent!

Their excuses echoed one another.

We will not honor you.

We have financial priorities.

Well, the dude had a degree in social psychologly,

including statistics and experimental design,

and besides, he was majorly upset.

Go into the street and bring'em all in.

I have a better chance at getting honor with

a sample that is randomized.


Or was this parable not about the dude but about the commoners opportunity for feasting, that riches lead to bad choices about the invitation to citizenship in God's domain, and those who are not identified with riches hold a privileged position with God.  Probably that's it -- The Eye of the Needle syndrome.  -  Gene


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