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Bible Commentaries
Matthew 15

Edwards' Family Bible New TestamentFamily Bible NT

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Verse 2

Tradition ; traditions were laws or precepts of men, which they said had been handed down by word of mouth from past generations, and many of which were afterwards written. They were often treated as of more authority than the laws of God. The scribes were the interpreters of these traditions, and could thus control the minds of the people. One of those traditions required the hands to be always washed before taking food. The object of this washing was to remove any ceremonial defilement that might have been unwittingly contracted in the intercourse of life. Our Saviour disregards it as a superstitious punctiliousness not required by the law of Moses. The Bible, as a rule of faith and practice, is perfect; and human traditions, however sanctioned, or by whomsoever taught, that add to it, take from it, or in any way pervert its meaning, are sources of error.

Verse 4

A reception of the Bible as the word of God, and a familiar acquaintance with its contents, is a great safeguard against false doctrines and vicious practices. Hence, the good of men, as well as the glory of God, requires its universal circulation among all classes of people.

Verse 5

It is a gift ; that is, has been consecrated as a gift to the Lord. If children should announce to their parents that they had devoted to religious uses what might otherwise have been given to their support, the scribes said they were released from obligation to assist them, however much they might suffer. Thus, under pretext of religion, they nullified the law of God through their traditions.

Verse 6

Honor not ; namely, by providing for them a comfortable support.

Verse 8

Draweth nigh ; they pretended to honor God with words and outward observances, while their hearts and practices were opposed to him.

Verse 9

For doctrines ; teaching as the commands of God what were merely the commands of men.

Verse 11

Not that ; not food which goeth into the mouth, as the Pharisees pretended, but wickedness in the heart, coming out in false doctrines and wicked conduct, defileth a man.

Verse 13

Every plant ; he means false teachers, such as these Pharisees, with their corrupt doctrines and practices.

Shall be rooted up ; God is continually rooting them out of his earthly church, as he did the Pharisees of old, by his providence cooperating with his word and Spirit; and in the world to come the separation shall be final and perfect.

Verse 14

Let them alone ; regard not what they say, and have nothing to do with them.

Verse 15

When we do not clearly understand the Scriptures, we should ask God to teach us. And though he may see that a right use of our faculties would have removed our ignorance, yet, if we sincerely desire to know the truth, he will, in the proper use of means, instruct us, and make us wise to salvation.

Verse 16

Without understanding ; common sense, if rightly exercised, would teach, that not food in the mouth, but sin in the heart defileth a man.

Verse 19

The teaching of God will lead a man to place less reliance upon external observances, and to look more to the state of his heart, in obedience to the command of Christ, "Make the tree good," in order that the fruit may be good.

Verse 21

Coasts of Tyre and Sidon ; Zidonia, or Phoenicia, on the Mediterranean coast north of Palestine. Of this country Sidon was the earlier, and Tyre the later emporium.

Verse 22

Woman of Canaan ; for the Zidonians were descended from Canaan, Genesis 10:15 . By Mark 7:26 , she is also called a Greek, as being a Gentile in her religion; and a Syrophoenician, as belonging to the Syrian Phoenicia, as distinguished from the Libyan Phoenicia of Africa. The Evangelists dwell on her gentile descent, because this was made prominent in our Lord’s answer to her.

Verse 23

Send her away ; by granting her request.

Verse 24

I am not sent ; the reference of our Lord is here to his personal ministry. See note on chap Matthew 10:6 . In the Bible, and in the bestowment of his blessings in providence, God makes much of "due time." Men, even good men, are often in great haste. They would do things, if they could, much sooner than God does them; but they would not do them so well.

Verse 26

Not meet ; not suitable.

Children’s bread ; that which was designed for the Jews, called children.

Dogs ; Gentiles, by the Jews called dogs. This he said to lead the woman to show her true character, which she soon did in a very striking manner.

Verse 27

Eat of the crumbs ; as dogs, without robbing the children, eat the crumbs which fall from the table, so she thought she might receive this mercy without injury to any one; and she had the fullest confidence in his power thus to help her.

Verse 28

God often delays answering our requests, as a trail of our faith and humility. When these have been brought into exercise, a gracious answer will speedily come.

Verse 30

Maimed ; such as had lost a limb, a hand, or foot. Restoring them, therefore, was an act of creative power. There is nothing men need which Jesus Christ cannot bestow. All should therefore wait upon him; and if not weary in doing his will, in due time they shall receive all needed good.

Bibliographical Information
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Matthew 15". "Edwards' Family Bible New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/fam/matthew-15.html. American Tract Society. 1851.
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