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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Matthew 15

Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & RomansWatson's Expositions

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Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

3 Christ reproveth the scribes and Pharisees for transgressing God’s commandments through their own traditions:

11 teacheth how that which goeth into the mouth doth not defile a man.

21 He healeth the daughter of the woman of Canaan,

30 and other great multitudes:

32 and with seven loaves and a few little fishes feedeth four thousand men, beside women and children.

Verse 1

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Scribes and Pharisees which were at Jerusalem.

This sect was found in every considerable place; but the most eminent were those of Jerusalem. They professed to be the most deeply skilled in the law and traditions, and everywhere had great authority. Whether these were sent by the chiefs of the party to watch the conduct of our Lord, or came of their own accord, does not appear. They seem, however, to have considered themselves as guardians of the traditions of the elders, and as authorized to rebuke those who transgressed them.

Verse 2

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Tradition of the elders. — The elders do not appear to have been any body or council of men, like the sanhedrim, but learned men who had made themselves notable as doctors or expounders of laws and customs, and who, according to the reputation and influence they had acquired, were followed in their opinions by others. As the pagan philosophers had their sects, so the most illustrious of these Jewish doctors had their schools or followers; and as we speak of Pythagoreans and Platonists, so the Jews speak of the schools of Hillel and Shammai, and other ancient doctors, among whom there was a general agreement, though in minor points which, however, their disciples magnified into importance, they differed in opinion. Tradition, παραδοσις , קבלה , “cabbala,” in its general sense, is any thing taught, or delivered down from one to another; and that which bore that appellation in our Lord’s time was entirely oral, and was supposed to contain the opinions and decisions of the wise in different ages, as to the import and interpretation of what might be obscure in the law and customs of Moses. It originated, doubtless, in a better age, and was then probably confined to a few practical particulars; but as false opinions, superstitions, and other corruptions prevailed, it swelled to vast extent, and not only descended to the invention and regulation of a vast number of particulars of ceremonial observance, but, what was still worse, brought in a subtle casuistry to explain away the meaning of many moral precepts and to palliate and give sanction to bad principles and a vicious practice.

As these traditions also embodied many things, not only explanatory of the law, but supplementary to it, the Pharisees at length raised them above their original character, when they existed in a simple form, as the mere opinions of wise men, and pretended that they were delivered by God verbally to Moses, so that he received, not only a written, but also an oral law, which was from him transmitted to their elders in successive ages. These traditions, or at least many of them, were collected in the Mishna, by Rabbi Judah, A.D. 180. The extravagant and even impious authority given by the scribes and Pharisees to their traditions, appears from numerous extracts given by Lightfoot, Schoetgenius, Gill, and others, from their later rabbins. Two instances from the Babylonian Talmud will be sufficient for illustration: “Know then that the words of the scribes are more lovely than the words of the law; weightier are the words of the elders than the words of the prophets.” “My son, attend to the words of the scribes more than to the words of the law; every one that transgresses the words of the scribes is guilty of death.” How truly, therefore, did our Lord charge them with making “the word of God void through their tradition!” The Sadducees, however, rejected their traditions as expositions of the written law. The mystical cabala was distinct from these traditions, and was a mode of interpreting Scripture by giving a meaning to parts of words, and even to the letters of which they are composed, either by considering the arithmetical value of a letter, or taking each letter of a word for an entire diction; or making up a word from the initial letters of many; or changing or transposing the letters of a word; and thus discovering, as the adepts dreamed, many important mysteries. This solemn trifling has been preferred by many of the most learned of the Jews, since the Christian era, to every other mode of exposition. How far it prevailed in our Lord’s time, does not appear; but there was then a dogmatic cabalism drawn out of the eastern and Greek pagan philosophy, which before that period considerably influenced the opinions of many of the more learned Jews. Not many traces of this, however, appear in the conversations of Christ as recorded in the gospels.

They wash not their hands when they eat bread. — The washing of hands before taking any food was so important a matter with the Pharisees, that they appear to have been greatly offended that the example of Christ and his disciples should diminish in the minds of the people their reverence for this ceremony. How serious a matter they made of it, appears from their writers. — Rabbi Jose says, “Whoever eats bread without washing of hands is as if he committed whoredom.” “He that blesseth food with unwashed hands is guilty of death.” — This custom, it is to be observed, was not one of cleanliness, but a matter of mere superstition; for, whether the hands needed cleansing or not, it was equally binding.

Verse 3

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God? &c. — the answer of our Lord is, in sum, If my disciples disregard the tradition of the elders, this is but a transgression against a commandment of MEN; but ye transgress even (for the και is to be taken intensively) the commandment of God by your tradition. Thus he strikes at the foundation of the whole system of tradition, by stripping it at once of that authority which they had fabulously assigned to it; teaching that it was not only of men, but not always of wise or good men, since in several instances it stood in sinful opposition to the Divine law, and was therefore in no case worthy of respect.

Verse 4

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Honour thy father and mother. — In this duty our Lord includes affording support to parents, which indeed is implied in the Hebrew word כבד . This command of God could not be denied by the Pharisees: it had been written by the finger of God; it was “the first command with promise;” and by themselves it was understood not merely of respect and reverence to parents, and cheerful obedience to all their lawful commands but also of the duty of honouring them with substance, of feeding, clothing, and supplying their wants with liberality and tender affection. Thus their own writers call this “the weightiest commandment among weighty ones;” and by the Jewish canons a son is bound “to afford his father meat, drink, and clothing, to lead him in and out, and to wash his hands and feet.” Their law was also severe against cursing father or mother, that is, reviling them, or using reproachful and disrespectful language, καταλογια , to them, against which heinous crime the penalty of death was denounced Exodus 21:17; so that the import and strictness of the Divine law on this point could not be mistaken. — Nor does it appear that the Jews in general were chargeable with any general infraction of this duty, except in the case where the wretched, selfish, and infecting sophistry of the Pharisaic tradition interposed, and which, therefore, our Lord selects, in order to maintain his charge against them.

Verses 5-6

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me. — St. Mark expresses it, “It is corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me, and ye suffer him no more to do aught for his father or mother.” The word corban signifies a sacred gift or offering, from קרב , to offer; and from hence the treasury of the temple was called κορβανον , as the depository of the consecrated or devoted offerings.

Such gifts were unalienable, and could not be diverted to any other use. —

The word corban was therefore used in vowing or dedicating any thing to a sacred or supposed sacred use, and had the import of a solemn oath; for to say, Corban, or, Let it be corban, or, as corban, effectually prohibited any thing from private use or advantage. The Pharisees therefore held, that when application was made by a parent to a son for relief, and he should say, “Corban whatever thou mightest be profited by me,” he was released from his obligation to the fifth commandment, and might without blame leave his parents to poverty and wretchedness; and this was probably done from that rapacity which our Lord so frequently rebukes in them, by which they encouraged the alienation of property to the temple, or probably often to their own use, under pretence of receiving honour on account of their sanctity from those superstitious persons upon whose credulity they practised. To these vows the parties who made them were held to be bound in the strictest manner: and as they alienated to pretended pious uses that portion of their property by which their parents might have been sustained, “the tradition of the elders” most clearly rendered the commandment of God of none effect.

Our translators, both here and in Mark, have supposed an ellipsis, Which they supply with, “he shall be free.” Koinoel considers the και before the ου μη τιμηση redundant like the Hebrew ו , and reads, “Whosoever shall say, It is a gift — he need not honour his father and mother.” Bower takes και in the sense of therefore, and translates, “Therefore he must not relieve his father or mother.” An ellipsis must, however, probably be understood; and our translation properly fills it up with the natural inference from the premises. He shall be free, he shall not be liable to the penalty. Verse 4.

Verse 7

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy, &c. — Since, under pretence of piety, these wretched men devoured the substance of the poor, and caused their infatuated followers to violate the most solemn laws of God, they were in truth accurately described as hypocrites, acting their part in religion for gain, and personating a character to which they had no claim. The quotation from Isaiah cannot be considered as a mere adaptation of words addressed by the prophet to the Jews of his day; for our Lord expressly says, Well or justly did Esaias PROPHESY OF YOU; and upon examining the section of prophecy from which the words are taken, it will appear evident that it has respect also to the times of Messiah, and ranks therefore in that class of predictions which have a primary and an ulterior application. The quotation very nearly agrees with the Septuagint, but differs in one clause from the present Hebrew text, which, however, may be interpreted to the same meaning. Of all will worship, all self- devised schemes of piety, not authorized by the word of God, or comprising any thing contrary to its principles, our Lord declares, In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

The word rendered “worship” includes not only all acts of a directly devotional kind, but every thing by which reverence is manifested and respect is had to God. It comprehends, therefore, all the services of piety. The ενταλματα , rendered “doctrines,” are not to be understood in the sense of opinions; but of injunctions or regulations. Campbell translates “institutions merely human,” which accurately expresses the meaning; for, as he observes, “the word ενταλμα is always in the New Testament joined with ανθρωπων ; and wherever it occurs is contrasted by implication with the precepts of God, which in the New Testament are never denominated ενταλματα , but εντολαι .” All such worship is vain and fruitless: and not only unprofitable, but in its general tendency hurtful. As to every thing required of us, the word of God contains either particular directions, or general principles easily applicable to any given case; and, only as we have its authority, can we look with confidence to the Divine acceptance. This shows the necessity of as simple a conformity to the word of God as possible in every thing connected with religious services, and ought to have guarded the Church against all those attempts at improving upon the primitive examples contained in the New Testament, in order, as it has been pretended, to render the acts of worship more impressive and influential. But in the Christian Church, as in the Jewish, the gates were thrown open to a flood of ceremonial and superstitious observances, which produced in both hypocrisy, pride, bigotry, and often direct and flagrant wickedness. With the loss of simplicity came the loss of power; and in both, though the people “drew near to God with their mouth, and honoured him with their lips,” and that in a formal, exact, and pompous manner, the result was, that “their heart was removed far from him.” — In all such cases religion degenerates into form, or mere sentimentalism, or superstition, or a mixture of all; and the minds of men, instead of being directly led to God, to seek communion with him, are detained amid complex and varied services, which produce a self-righteous dependence, or are taken as a discharge from the obligations of holiness.

Verse 11

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth, &c. — Our Lord addressed these words to the multitude in the presence of the Pharisees, who were malignantly observing him, and thus openly took there out of the hands of these false teachers, and instilled into their minds truth as solid and important as their traditions were vain and trifling in every thing but their corrupting effect. Either he referred in what follows to the notion, that food eaten with unwashed hands defiled those who partook of it, and so this address to the multitude arose out of his conversation with the Pharisees; or he intended still farther to expose the absurdity of their notions by showing the folly of the reason on which they made a distinction as to clean and unclean meats beyond the rule of the Jewish law. He might also thus tacitly intend to prepare his disciples, by the general principles he laid down on this occasion, for that general abolition of the Mosaic distinctions as to clean and unclean meats which was to follow the full institution of his religion. The Jewish notion was, that a moral defilement arose from the use of certain prohibited food; so that forbidden meats “are unclean in themselves, and defile both body and soul.” In this also moral and ceremonial distinctions were confounded; and when the partaking of certain food was regarded as a moral defilement, the abstinence from it was held, by a fair deduction, to be an important branch of righteousness. and thus the attention was turned from the state of the heart to external observances. — To counteract this, our Lord declares to the multitude, in direct opposition to the Pharisaic doctrine, that not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man, renders him common, and unclean as the word signifies in opposition to holy; that no kind of meats and drinks assigned by God for the use of man, taken temperately, renders him offensive and odious to God, as though he had contracted guilt and pollution by committing sin; but that which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man.

The expression is enigmatical, the mouth, in the second clause, signifying the HEART OF MAN; but the Pharisees sufficiently understood it to be offended with this saying, the meaning of which he opens more fully to his disciples in a following verse.

Verses 13-14

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Every plant which my heavenly Father, &c. — Φυτεια signifies the act of planting, but by transition a plant; and by a common metaphor the opinions and affections of the human mind are compared to plants and fruits, springing up from the seeds which have been sown there by instruction. Here the plants are to be understood of the doctrines and precepts of the Pharisees; which, being opposed to the truths and laws of the Scriptures, are said not to have been planted by the Father, and therefore, whatever offence might be taken by Pharisees, and whatever might be the consequence of their rage, they were to be rooted up with unsparing hand. Truth can make no compromise with error, and it shall ultimately prevail. Innumerable are the seeds of error which have been sown in the Church, and great and deleterious their product; but let none despair: the words of Christ are PROPHETIC as well as admonitory: every plant which springs not from heavenly seed, planted by the Divine hand itself, shall be rooted up. By this general declaration the disciples were also taught their duty. Not, indeed, when they became public teachers, to root up supposed error, as in later times, by civil coercion and violence; but as they had an example in their Lord, by calm but most faithful and unsparing refutation. In this way no allowance was to be made for errors opposed to the clearly revealed decisions of the Father; but at all hazards they were to proclaim the truth, and to expose the unsoundness and the evil consequences of the errors it was designed to displace and destroy. The force and instructiveness of this passage is lost by those who suppose our Lord refers to the destruction of the Pharisees themselves, by the judgments which were to come upon the Jewish nation.

Verse 14

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind, &c. — Leave them; have done with them, because of their false and dangerous doctrines; renounce them as your teachers, for when one blind man leads another both shall fall into the ditch. Our translation, Let them alone, is too weak; for Christ exhorts his disciples, and all who might be present, not merely not to trouble themselves about them, as to whether they were offended or not, as some understand the words, but the proverbial and figurative mode of speech which follows shows that he enjoins an entire renunciation and disallowance of them as religious guides. These professedly learned instructers were themselves ignorant of the true way of salvation; and for any to place their souls under their charge would be an act of infatuation as fatal as that of blind persons putting themselves under the guidance of the blind to be led along a dangerous road.

Both shall fall into the ditch. — To fall into a ditch conveys the idea of sustaining only a trifling inconvenience or injury, whereas our Lord intended to intimate danger of the highest kind. Both shall fall into the PIT, better conveys the idea; and βοθυνον is to be understood as the image of eternal perdition: so strongly does our Lord guard us here, as well as in his sermon on the mount, against erring and wicked teachers. By whatever plausible arguments men may be deluded into the belief that they may innocently sanction them by attending on their ministrations, our Lord’s words fully decide the question.

Verse 15

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Declare unto us this parable. — This is an instance in which the word parable is used to signify any figurative or enigmatical speech. The disciples had only a general conception of our Lord’s meaning, and desired a farther explanation; but our Lord’s words, “Are ye also YET without understanding,” convey a mild reproof, that, after so long an attendance upon his instructions, they had not at once thoroughly comprehended his meaning; also intimating, perhaps, that they were not themselves sufficiently freed from that superstitious importance which the Jews in general attached to distinctions of meats.

Verse 19

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

For out of the heart. — Never was a stronger and more humbling picture drawn of the corruption of human nature. Of whatever evil we can conceive, of whatever evils manifest themselves, and spread desolation and misery through society, the human heart is the fountain. The seat is there; they all spring from that source; and on this is grounded the necessity of that renewal of the heart, that entire regeneration of the will, affections, and all other moral faculties of the soul, upon which our Lord insisted in opposition to the Pharisees, who placed holiness in external acts, and left the vices of the heart unremedied. And it is here to be remarked that “the heart” of which our Lord speaks is not the heart of any individual exclusively, nor of the Pharisees, nor of the Jews, but the HEART OF MAN; and so this is a most unequivocal declaration and proof of the fall of man’s nature from that original state of “righteousness and true holiness” in which it was first created. It is similar, indeed, both in its generality and import, to the testimony of Jeremiah on the same subject: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” and to that of Solomon: “The heart of the sons of men is full of evil.” This indeed could not be a new doctrine; the whole scheme of our redemption is built upon it: for if the first Adam had not been a fountain of sin and of death to his posterity, we had needed no second Adam to be a fountain of salvation and holiness.

Evil thoughts. — This is feebly rendered by Doddridge, evil reasonings; and not happily by Campbell, malicious contrivances. Evil thoughts appear to comprehend both those wicked imaginings upon which corrupt minds love to dwell, and also evil desires and purposes, and secret mental oppositions of temper to persons and to truth, which, our Lord had already taught, subjected men to condemnation as effectually as the overt acts to which they usually lead. “Evil thoughts” is a more extensive term, and includes all that can be meant by either “evil reasonings,” or “malicious contrivances.” The terms used are general, and do not affect strict precision.

Blasphemies. — Calumnies and detractions, which, when impiously directed against God and sacred things, are strictly denominated blasphemy, and when against others, evil speaking. See note on Mark 7:9.

Verse 22

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

A woman of Canaan. — St. Mark calls her “a Greek,” that is, a Gentile, “a Syro-Phenician by nation.” Syro or Syrian Phenicia was so called from its being formerly included in the kingdom of Syria. It was that part of the coast of Canaan on the Mediterranean in which the cities of Tyre and Sidon were situated; and is in the Acts and the gospels termed “the coasts of Tyre and Sidon,” as in the preceding verse. This woman is called a woman of Canaan, because that country was still inhabited, at least in part, by the descendants of Canaan, of whom Sidon was the eldest son. Canaanite as she was, she had heard of Christ, or seen his works, and acknowledged him to be the Messiah, the Son of David, by which title she addresses him, and thus declares her faith.

Verse 23

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

He answered her not a word. — He knew the strength of her faith, and the extent of the trial to which it might safely be put; and he appeared to disregard her, as though in denial of her request, that her faith might in the result be more illustriously displayed.

Send her away, for she crieth after us. — Dismiss her, by granting her request, for she is overwhelmed with distress, as is manifest by her cries. Those who think that the reason why the disciples thus urged our Lord, was, that they might rid themselves of a clamorous petitioner, do them little credit, and there is not the least reason for so uncandid an interpretation. That they wished her request to be granted, is clear, from our Lord’s reply; and that her cries had excited a deep commiseration in her case may be well presumed: and it is pleasing to notice this instance of the triumph of benevolent and charitable feelings toward a Gentile and a Canaanite over the Jewish prejudices of the disciples; it was a proof that they had BEGUN, at least, to imbibe the spirit of their Master. Still, however, for the first time, our blessed Lord in appearance, but in appearance only, was deaf to the voice of a suffering and believing suppliant, and answered, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. His personal mission while on earth was to them, and he had not yet accomplished it. So far, however, were the Gentiles from being excluded from the scope and purpose of his ministry on earth, that he was even then training up apostles to “preach the Gospel to every creature;” and in a few instances, even during his stay on earth, he extended both temporal and spiritual mercies to individuals of different nations.

Verse 25

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

Then came she and worshipped him, &c. — Perhaps the foregoing reply to the disciples was made in the hearing of the woman waiting with intense anxiety the result of their application in her behalf; but as she had not been discouraged by his apparently repulsive silence, neither was she driven to despair by those still more forcibly repelling words, I am not sent but to the house of Israel. Still, the pressure of her case, and her mighty faith, which yet persuaded her that the Son of David must have mercy upon her, urges her to a more direct attempt. She came and worshipped him, throwing her whole case upon his compassion in one burst of agonized feeling, — Lord, help me.

Verse 26

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

But he answered and said, &c. — From the known character and compassionate conduct of Christ, as displayed in all former instances, the conclusion in every mind would be, “Now this pleading mother MUST prevail in behalf of her daughter; that daughter is afflicted with the most grievous calamity; that mother is distressed to agony, and lies imploring at his feet who never yet rejected a prayer, and her faith is equal to her earnestness.” But a farther trial awaited her; and the reply of our Lord rose even to seeming austerity, and Jewish moroseness: — It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. “Dog,” was the common term of contempt used of every Gentile, by the Jews; but our Lord adopted it only to bring forth the pious perseverance of this affectionate mother into so strong a light as to shame those who should, hereafter at least, indiscriminately apply it. He only could safely apply so severe a proof to this good woman; for he well knew the strength of that resolution with which her faith had inspired her.

Verse 27

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

And she said, Truth, Lord; yet the dogs, &c. — Her humility is such that she spurns not at the offensive title; she is too intent upon the case of her daughter: for this she knew too well, that if not relieved by Christ, there was no hope in any other; and, instead of cavilling at the reply, she with admirable readiness, prompted by the working of a heart intent upon its object, finds a reason for urging her request in the very terms of the refusal, — “Let the full provisions of THE TABLE be reserved for the children; but at least let the CRUMBS of thy mercy be vouch-safed to me.” Ναι is sometimes a particle of beseeching, as Philemon, verse 20, ναι , αδελφε , yea, brother, I beseech thee, brother, and answers to the Hebrew נא . The rejoinder of this extraordinary woman may therefore be taken to import, “Still I beseech thee, Lord, to help me, for even the dogs eat of the crumbs,” &c. Or, if ναι be understood to mark assent, there is an ellipsis to be supplied, as, “Truth, Lord; but nevertheless grant my request, γαρ , for even the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” This sense is, however, well expressed by the yet in our translation.

Verse 28

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

O woman, great is thy faith. — For the manifestation of the power of faith in man, and to commend this great principle to all, the faith of this Canaanite was put to so severe a test; but the moment that end was answered, the compassion of our Lord, which throughout the whole scene had been rising still higher, at once breaks forth in its fulness of grace and power. Be it unto thee even as thou wilt; and her daughter was made whole from that very hour; as she found upon her return to her house. It is here most instructive to mark the character of the faith which our Lord thus commends and rewards. It was not faith merely in his Messiahship, though that was the ground of its higher exercises; it was grounded upon the knowledge which the woman had attained of his character, as manifested in his acts of power and compassion; and on this it rested all through the trial to which it was subjected. To his ABILITY and his kindness the piercing eye of that faith looked through all the veils with which even our Lord himself had surrounded them: he was silent, he refused the intercession of his disciples; he answered in the contemptuous language of the Jews to her own imploring supplication; yet still she received no DIRECT denial. The language was contemptuous, but to faith it seemed not to sound like his own; and still she resolutely clung to the full persuasion that he was “full of grace and truth.” Such is true faith in its highest exercises in all. It looks through every thing simply to the LOVE, PITY, and POWER of the Saviour; and presses its plea until it triumphantly carries off the blessing.

Verse 30

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

The maimed. — Not deprived of one or more limbs, but the use of them by distortion or paralysis. The maimed are by some distinguished from the lame, by referring the infirmity of the former to the arms, and that of the latter to the feet; by others the “maimed,” κυλλους , are supposed to have suffered distortion of the limbs; and “the lame,” χωλους , to have been rendered so by accident rather than disease.

Verse 31

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

They glorified the God of Israel. — The place where these astonishing miracles were wrought was near the sea of Galilee; yet, in a desert place into which the multitudes had followed him: and if we consider the number and nature of the miracles suddenly effected upon all who came or were brought to Christ; the joy which the afflicted persons themselves must have manifested at their instant and perfect relief from the most melancholy infirmities, as blindness and dumbness, and from the most painful sicknesses and infirmities; the absence of the Pharisees; whose captious and detracting remarks did not here interpose to prevent the full flow of those grateful feelings which the people at large had so often manifested, — we cannot wonder that the deserts of Galilee were made to resound with the high praises of the God of Israel. To this multitude, so well disposed, and many of whom we may believe were afterward gathered unto the Christian Church, and numbered with true believers, our Lord farther showed his compassion by working a miracle similar to that by which he fed the five thousand near Bethsaida. From seven loaves and a few small fishes, after giving thanks, and distributing them to the disciples, as in the former instance, he supplied their wants, after they had expended their provisions, having been with him three days. See notes on Matthew 14:15, &c.

Verse 37

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

And they took up of the broken meat seven baskets full. — The word here rendered basket is σπυρις ], and differs from κοφινος , the basket before mentioned. The latter was suspended from the shoulder, the other was carried by hand and was probably of smaller dimensions.

Verse 39

Watson - Exposition of the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Mark

The coasts of Magdala. — These were on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Matthew 15". "Watson's Exposition on Matthew, Mark, Luke & Romans". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwc/matthew-15.html.
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