Today's Readings: 2 Samuel 5 | Jeremiah 11 | Matthew 22
Other comments on this day's readings can be found here.
Reading 1 - 2Samuel6:17
"They brought the ark of the LORD and set it in its place inside the tent that David had pitched for it [in Jerusalem], and David sacrificed burnt offerings and fellowship offerings before the LORD" (2Sa 6:17).
A number of David's psalms stem from this incident:
"LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart" (Psa 15:1,2).
"Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false" (Psa 24:3,4).
"Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel" (Psa 68:24-26).
"O LORD, remember David and all the hardships he endured... I will allow no sleep to my eyes, no slumber to my eyelids, till I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling for the Mighty One of Jacob... Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool -- arise, O LORD, and come to your resting place, you and the ark of your might" (Psa 132:1,4,5,7,8).
Reading 2 - Jeremiah 11
"Jeremiah's message continues its indictment against a generation of faithless Israelites. The ecclesia was facing its last days, and entered into a conspiracy against the divine covenant in Jer 11.
As a representative of the small, faithful remnant within the nation,
Jeremiah endorsed the covenant: vv 1-5. He supported king Josiah, and later predicted the advent of the New covenant (Jer 31:31-34).
Then the prophet proclaims the Truth throughout Judea: vv 6-8. He is directed to tour the land with the message of the Covenant -- a tour that brought him into conflict with his own city, and in so doing, he typed the Christ.
The people turned back: vv 9,10. Some time elapsed. The people returned home after the enthusiasm of the proclamation of the covenant, and celebration of Passover, but the tour of Jeremiah received little success. The people heard with impatience his warning words, and like their forefathers, stubborn of heart, they repudiated his strictures.
Therefore the People will experience the curse of the Covenant: vv 11-14.
Olive branches to be broken off: vv 15-17.
The lamb to the slaughter: vv 18,19.
Jeremiah's prayer: Vindicate divine judgment: v 20.
Yahweh promises to vindicate the prophet: vv 21-23.
Thus the chapter is a sad commentary on the way in which flesh reacts to the divine mercy, and reminds us that rejection of the warnings of the Word will bring a sad destiny" (GE Mansfield).
Reading 3 - Matthew 22:11
"But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes" (Mat 22:11).
The word "see" is the Greek "theoreo" -- suggesting a formal inspection by the king: something like being "presented" at court!
"Anciently, kings and princes were accustomed to make presents of changes of raiment to their friends and favourites, to refuse to receive which was an expression of highest contempt (2Ki 10:22; Est 6:8; 8:15). It was, of course, expected that such garments would be worn when they came into the presence of the benefactor. The garments worn on festival occasions were chiefly long white robes; and it was the custom of the person who made the feast to prepare such robes to be worn by the guests. This renders the conduct of this man more inexcusable. He came in his common ordinary dress, as he was taken from the highway; and though he had not a garment of his own suitable for the occasion, yet one would have been provided for him, if he had applied for it. His not doing it was expressive of the highest disrespect for the king" (Albert Barnes).
The respected rabbinical scholar Edersheim cites, as background to this parable, two commonly-known rabbinical parables (from which Jesus may have borrowed, or at least used as his "jumping-off" place):
In one parable the king is represented as inviting his subjects to a feast, without, however, fixing the exact time for it. When inviting the guests, the king had told them to wash, anoint, and array themselves in their festive garments. But the foolish assume that they will know well in advance, from the preparation of the food and the arranging of the seats, when the feast was to begin; and so they had gone, the mason to his cask of lime, the potter to his clay, the smith to his furnace, the fuller to his bleaching-ground. But suddenly comes the king's summons to the feast, when the wise appear festively adorned, and the king rejoices over them, and they are made to sit down, eat and drink. But he is angry with the foolish, who appear squalid, unwashed, and unadorned, and are ordered to stand by and look on in anguish, hunger and thirst.
The second parable tells of a king who committed to his servants the royal robes. The wise among them carefully laid them by while the foolish put them on when they did their work. After a time the king asked back the robes, when the wise could restore them clean, while the foolish had them soiled. Then the king rejoiced over the wise, and, while the robes were laid up in the treasury, they were bidden go home in peace. But to the foolish he commanded that the robes should be handed over to the fuller, and that they themselves should be cast into prison.
And so the Bride makes herself ready for the wedding, and she is given "fine linen, bright and clean" -- which represents "the righteous acts of the saints". In the Mat 22 parable, all the guests are in the same role as the "Bride" in Rev 19: they are the multitudinous bride -- and the garments they have been "given" are twofold:
Their nakedness, or sins, have been covered by the "garment" provided by the Bridegroom (in symbol, this is equivalent to being washed and cleansed with water through the word, etc, in Eph 5:26,27; and/or garments washed white in the blood of the Lamb, in Rev 7:14) [contrast this with the fig-leaf coverings, which is all Adam can provide for Eve to cover her nakedness after the original sin!].
But without their own righteous acts, by which their faith is demonstrated to be real (Jam 2:17-26), they would be rejected, because their faith would have been dead!
So it would seem that, in the special wedding garments, there may be two aspects involved: first, a garment which is provided by the host, or bridegroom, or king; and secondly, the need for each invited guest to keep his or her own special garment washed and clean and ready to wear.