Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Saying 64


Jesus said, ‘A man had some guests and when he had prepared the dinner, he sent his slave to invite the guests. He went to the first and said to him, “My master invites you.” He said, “I have money from some merchants. They are coming to me this evening. I must go and give them instructions. I must decline the dinner.” He went to another person. He said to him, “My master has invited you.” He said to him, “I have purchased a house and they have requested me for the day. I will not have time.” He went to another person and said to him, “My master invites you.” He said to him, “My friend is going to be married and I am the one who will prepare the meal. I will not be able to come. I must decline the dinner.” He went to another person and said to him, “My master invites you.” He said to him, “I have purchased a village. I am going to collect the rent. I will not be able to come. I must decline.” The slave left and said to his master, “Those whom you invited to the dinner have declined.” The master said to his slave, “Go outside on the streets and bring whomever you find to eat.” ’

‘Buyers and merchants will not enter the places of my Father.’


The overall parable is essentially the same between the versions in Thomas, Matthew, and Luke, though each author has made editions to accommodate their specific theologies. For Thomas, those who decline the invitation are further examples of the people who not ‘worthy’ of learning ‘mysteries’, from Saying 62. The final sentence, which may be a later addition, seems to reinterpret the parable toward one of eschatological judgment through its allusion to Zech 14.21: specific people will be excluded from God’s kingdom. (The ‘Canaanite’ in Zech 14.21 came to be interpreted as an idiom referring to merchants in general; cf. Prov 31.24.) This implied apocalyptic perspective is how the parable is used in Matthew, which puts it next to the parable about a vineyard, which the author took from Mark and explicitly interprets as a prediction of divine judgment against ‘the chief priests and the Pharisees’ (Matt 21.45). Matthew goes so far as to add an epilogue to this dinner parable: someone tries to sneak into the dinner and is summarily punished with eternal torment (Matt 22.11–14).



14.21 And there shall no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Yhwh Sabaoth on that day.


22.1–13 Once more Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding banquet, but they would not come. 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.” But they made light of it and went away, one to his farm, another to his business, while the rest seized his slaves, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his troops, destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his slaves, “The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy. Go therefore into the main streets, and invite everyone you find to the wedding banquet.” 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. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, and he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?” And he was speechless. 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.” ’


14.16–24 Then Jesus said to him, ‘Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, “Come, for everything is ready now.’ 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.’ Another said, “I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out. Please accept my regrets.” Another said, “I have just been married, and therefore I cannot come.” 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.” And the slave said, “Lord, what you ordered has been done, and there is still room.” 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. For I tell you, none of those who were invited will taste my dinner.” ’

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