John Wesley, Notes On the New Testament (1755):
The ensuing discourse is so termed, because
several parts are not to be understood literally. The general scope of
it is, Not only at a marriage feast, but on every occasion, he that
exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that abaseth himself shall be
The Fourfold Gospel:
The triclinia, or Grecian table, then in use
had three sections which were placed together so as to form a
flat-bottomed letter U. The space enclosed by the table was not
occupied. It was left vacant that the servants might enter it and attend
to the wants of the guests who reclined around the outer margin of the
table. The central seat of each of these three sections were deemed a
place of honor. This struggle for precedence was a small ambition, but
many of the ambitions of our day are equally small.
- Treasury of Scripture Knowledge:
* put. Jg 14:12; Pr 8:1; Eze 17:2; Mt 13:34
* they. Lu 11:43; 20:46; Mt 23:6; Mr 12:38,39; Ac 8:18,19; Php 2:3; 3Jo
Robertson's Word Pictures:
A parable for those which were bidden (pros tous
keklêmenous parabolên). Perfect passive participle of kaleô, to call, to
invite. This parable is for the guests who were there and who had been
watching Jesus. When he marked (epechôn). Present active participle of
epechô with ton noun understood, holding the mind upon them, old verb
and common. They chose out (exelegonto). Imperfect middle, were picking
out for themselves. The chief seats (tas prôtoklisias). The first
reclining places at the table. Jesus condemned the Pharisees later for
this very thing (Mt 23:6; Mr 12:39; Lu 20:46). On a couch holding three
the middle place was the chief one. At banquets today the name of the
guests are usually placed at the plates. The place next to the host on
the right was then, as now, the post of honour.
William Burkitt's Notes:
It was observed before, that our blessed
Saviour dined publicly on the sabbath day with several Pharisees and
lawyers: that which is here worthy of our notice is this; how holy and
suitable our Lord's discourse was to the solemnity of that day; may it
be the matter of our imitation! It is not unlawful for friends to dine
together on the Lord's day, provided their discourse be suitable to the
day, such as our Lord's here; for observing how the company then at the
table did affect precedency, and taking place one of another; he that
before their eyes had cured a man of a bodily dropsy, attempts to cure
the person that dined with him of the tympany of pride.
Where note, that it is not the taking, but the affecting of the highest
places and uppermost rooms, that our Saviour condemns. There may and
ought to be a precedency amongst persons; it is according to the will of
God, that honor be given to whom honor is due; and that the most
honorable person should sit in the most honorable places: for grace
gives a man no exteriour preference: it makes a man glorious indeed, but
it is glorious within.
Note farther, the way our Saviour directs persons to, in order to their
attaning real honor, both from God and men, namely, by being little in
our own eyes, and in lowliness of mind, esteeming others better than
ourselves; as God will abase, and men will despise, the proud and
haughty, so God will exalt, and men will honor, the humble person:
Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself
shall be exalted.
Family Bible Notes:
He put forth a parable; showing the
importance of humility.
1599 Geneva Bible Notes:
The reward of pride is dishonour, and the
reward of true modesty is glory.
People's New Testament Commentary:
Put forth a parable. In this case a
spiritual meaning lies under the social instruction.
Chose out the chief seats. The places of honor at the table. Certain
seats were considered the most honorable. The Savior's instruction
insists upon humility. The spiritual lesson is that one must not, like
Diotrephes, seek the pre-eminence [see 3Jo 1:9], but be content to work
in lowly places, from whence he can be invited higher if his merits so
Albert Barnes' Commentary:
A parable. The word parable, here,
means rather a precept, an injunction. He gave a rule or precept about
the proper manner of attending a feast, or about the humility which
ought to be manifested on such occasions.
That were bidden. That were invited by the Pharisee. It seems that he
had invited his friends to dine with him on that day.
When he marked. When he observed or saw.
Chief rooms. The word rooms here does not express the meaning of the
original. It does not mean apartments, but the higher places at the
table; those which were nearest the head of the table and to him who had
invited them. See Barnes for Mt 23:6. That this was the common character
of the Pharisees appears from Mt 23:6.
a parable--showing that His design was not
so much to inculcate mere politeness or good manners, as underneath this
to teach something deeper (Lu 14:11).
chief rooms--principal seats, in the middle part of the couch on which
they reclined at meals, esteemed the most honorable.
No comment on this verse.
Adam Clarke's Commentary:
When custom and law have regulated and
settled places in public assemblies, a man who is obliged to attend may
take the place which belongs to him, without injury to himself or to
others: when nothing of this nature is settled, the law of humility, and
the love of order, are the only judges of what is proper. To take the
highest place when it is not our due is public vanity: obstinately to
refuse it when offered is another instance of the same vice; though
private and concealed. Humility takes as much care to avoid the
ostentation of an affected refusal, as the open seeking of a superior
place. See Quesnel. In this parable our Lord only repeats advices which
the rabbins had given to their pupils, but were too proud to conform to
themselves. Rabbi Akiba said, Go two or three seats lower than the place
that belongs to thee, and sit there till they say unto thee, Go up
higher; but do not take the uppermost seat, lest they say unto thee,
Come down: for it is better that they should say unto thee, Go up, go
up; than that they should say, Come down, come down. See Schoettgen.
Matthew Henry Concise Commentary:
Even in the common actions of life, Christ marks what we do, not only in
our religious assemblies, but at our tables. We see in many cases, that
a man's pride will bring him low, and before honour is humility. Our
Saviour here teaches, that works of charity are better than works of
show. But our Lord did not mean that a proud and unbelieving liberality
should be rewarded, but that his precept of doing good to the poor and
afflicted should be observed from love to him.