The tax collectors and sinners (Mt 9:10-9:10)

“As he sat

At the dinner table

In the house,

Many tax collectors,

As well as sinners

Came in.

They were sitting

With Jesus

As well as his disciples.”


Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐλθόντες συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ.


This story about this dinner party is similar to Mark, chapter 2:15, and Luke, chapter 5:29, but there it was explicitly mentioned that this meal took place in the house of Levi, the Jewish name for Matthew.  Here it simply says that this meal was in a house (ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ) without indicating whose house.  Would it have been the house of Jesus in Capernaum?  Presumably, it was the house of Matthew, the tax collector. since other tax collectors (καὶ ἰδοὺ πολλοὶ τελῶναι) were there also.  Was this a farewell meal for Matthew as he was to set out as a disciple of Jesus?  If this Matthew was the author of this gospel, there is very little elaboration here about his house or dinner party.  Jesus sat or reclined at the dining table in this house (Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῦ ἀνακειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ).  However, besides the tax collectors, a lot of sinners came to sit down or recline (καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐλθόντες συνανέκειντο) with Jesus and his disciples (τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ).  The tax collectors were collecting money for the Roman Empire, so that they could hardly be called model Jewish citizens.  The sinners (ἁμαρτωλοὶ), on the other hand, could either be non-Jewish gentiles or other public immoral Jewish men, who were unclean.