The explanation that many are called, but few chosen (Mt 22:14-22:14)

“Many are called.

But few are chosen.”

 

Πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ, ὀλίγοι δὲ ἐκλεκτοί

 

This is unique to Matthew.  Jesus’ explanation of this parable was simple.  Many were called or invited (Πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ), but few were chosen (Πολλοὶ γάρ εἰσιν κλητοὶ).  However, this parable has only one person rejected from the wedding banquet because of not having the wedding garment.  Many were called and then some were killed or punished because they refused the invitation.  However, many did come to the wedding feast in the end.  Obviously, this is a reference to the teaching of Jesus.  He spoke to many people and large crowds.  Thus, this invitation went out to many people.  However, only a few, as in this case the 12 apostles or the other disciples, were chosen to follow him.  Nevertheless, it would be difficult to be a follower of Jesus.

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The invitation (Dan 3:2-3:2)

“Then King Nebuchadnezzar

Sent for

The satraps,

The prefects,

The governors,

The counselors,

The treasurers,

The justices,

The magistrates,

All the officials

Of the provinces

To assemble.

They were to come

To the dedication

Of the statue

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Had set up.”

As was the usual ancient Middle Eastern costume, King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have a big inauguration party for the dedication of his new statue. He invited all the important officials of the Babylonian provinces to this event, including the satraps, the prefects, the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the justices, and the magistrates. Satraps was a Greek term for governors, while prefect was a Latin term for governors. Thus, one can see the later influence of the Greek and Roman empire on this story. The king wanted all these officials to come.

The invitation (Song 4:8-4:8)

Male lover

“Come with me

From Lebanon!

My bride!

Come with me

From Lebanon!

Depart

From the peak of Amana,

From the peak of Senir,

From the peak of Hermon,

From the dens of lions,

From the mountains of leopards.”

This female lover seems to be from the northern mountain country of Lebanon. This male lover asks her twice to leave there. He invites her to depart from the northern mountain peaks of Amana, Senir, and Hermon. She was to pass through the mountain caves where lions and leopards lived. There is, of course, a later allegory of Christ descending from the heavenly peaks to go through the sufferings of the lions and the leopards.