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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Matthew 8

Verses 1-13


XLIII.
HEALING THE CENTURION’S SERVANT.
(At Capernaum.)
aMATT. VIII. 1, 5-13; cLUKE VII. 1-10.

c1 After he had ended all his sayings in the ears of the people, a1 And when he was come down from the mountain, great multitudes followed him. che entered into Capernaum. [Jesus proceeded from the mountain to Capernaum, which was now his home, or headquarters. The multitudes which are now mentioned for the third time were not wearied by his sermon, and so continued to follow him. Their presence showed the popularity of Jesus, and also emphasized the fact that the miracles which followed the sermon were wrought in the presence of the vast throngs of people.] a5 And when he was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion [The context shows that this centurion or captain of a hundred men was a Gentile, but whether he was in the employ of Herod Antipas, tetrarch of Galilee, or an officer in the Roman army, is [270] not clear, neither is very important. The army of Antipas, like that of other petty kings, was modeled after that of Rome], c2 And a certain centurion’s servant [slave boy], who was dear unto him, was sick, and at the point of death. 3 And when he heard concerning Jesus [The sequel shows that the centurion had probably heard how Jesus had healed the son of his fellow-townsman-- John 4:46-54], he sent unto him elders of the Jews [To reconcile Matthew and Luke, we have only to conceive of the centurion as coming to the edge of the crowd about Jesus, but modestly refraining from coming into the Lord’s immediate presence.] asking him that he would come and save his servant. abeseeching him, 6 and saying, Lord, my servant lieth in the house sick of the palsy, grievously tormented. [Because palsy is not usually accompanied with suffering, some think that in this case it was combined with tetanus or lockjaw, a combination not infrequent in hot climates. But Sir R. Bennet, M.D., speaks thus: "In this instance we have probably a case of progressive paralysis, attended by muscular spasms, and involving the respiratory movements, where death is manifestly imminent and inevitable. In such a case there would be symptoms indicative of great distress, as well as immediate danger to life." As to palsy generally, see Luke 18:8). The elders, little knowing the wideness of our Lord’s vision and sympathy, supposed that Jesus would look upon the splendid synagogue erected for the Jewish people as a sufficient motive for granting their request. Even the apostles were slow to learn that at heart Jesus knew neither Jew nor Gentile.] c8 For I also am a man set under authority, having under myself soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant [not a soldier, but a household slave], Do this, and he doeth it. [Having those over him, he knew how to obey, and [272] having those under him, he knew how to be obeyed. He was familiar, therefore, with all the principles of obedience. Knowing from the healing of the nobleman’s son, or from other reports concerning Jesus, that the realm of nature obeyed Jesus, he judged from his knowledge of earthly obedience that Jesus had those who could come and go for him, and who could carry his messages and enforce obedience to them. He felt that the presence of Jesus was not at all necessary to the healing.] a10 And when Jesus heard it, {cthese things,} he marvelled at him, and turned and said unto athem cthe multitude that followed him, aVerily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel. [To some it seems strange that Jesus could marvel, but he had all the actual feelings of a man. However, we should note that Jesus is never said to have marveled but twice. In this case it was because of belief, and in the other ( Mark 6:6), it was because of unbelief. Those who think that Jesus gave or gives faith should note this fact. If Jesus had given the centurion faith, he could not have been surprised to find that he had it; and, if he failed to bestow it upon the people of Nazareth, it would have been inconsistent in him to express surprise at their lack of it. It would seem, however, irreconcilable with the character and affectionate nature of Christ, to bestow faith in such profusion upon this Gentile stranger, and withhold every spark of it from his near kinsmen and fellow-townsmen. Faith is no miraculous gift. Faith means no more nor less than belief; and a man believes the Scripture facts in the same manner and by the same processes that he believes any other facts.] 11 And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven [Jesus here predicts the conversion of the Gentiles, since that fact is suggested to him by the faith of this centurion. The east and the west represent the extreme points of the compass in the directions in which the world was most thickly inhabited. But Jesus refers rather to spiritual separation than to [273] geographical distances-- Malachi 1:11, Isaiah 49:19, Jeremiah 16:19, Zechariah 8:22.] 12 but the sons of the kingdom [The child of anything in Hebrew phraseology expressed the idea of special property which one has in the thing specified, as, for instance, children of disobedience ( Ephesians 2:2). Jesus here means, then, the Jews, to whom the kingdom belonged by hereditary descent-- Romans 9:4] shall be cast forth into the outer darkness: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. [In this paragraph Christ’s kingdom is set forth under the simile of a great feast, a familiar simile with Jesus ( Matthew 26:29, Luke 22:30). The Jews were accustomed to speak of the delights of the Messianic kingdom as a feast with the patriarchs ( Luke 14:15), but lost sight of the fact that Gentiles should share in its cheer and fellowship ( Isaiah 25:6). Marriage feasts and other great feasts of the Jews were usually held in the evening. Inside, therefore, there would be joy and light and gladness, but outside there would be darkness and disappointment, tears and bitter self-reproach ( Matthew 25:10-13). The despised outcasts should be brought in and placed at the festal board, while the long-invited guests--the natural and fleshly heirs of Abraham’s invitation--would be excluded ( Matthew 21:43). Hell is absence from spiritual light, separation from the company of the saved, lamentation and impotent rage.] 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And the servant was healed in that hour. [In the moment when Jesus spoke, the servant was healed--not relieved, but healed.] c10 And they that were sent, returning to the house, found the servant whole. [The centurion, long before this when he was building the synagogue, had doubtless heard with delight concerning the wonderful works wrought by the mighty prophets in the olden time; he little dreamed that his own eyes should see them all surpassed.] [274]

[FFG 270-274]

Verses 2-4


XXXIV.
JESUS HEALS A LEPER AND CREATES MUCH EXCITEMENT.
aMATT.VIII. 2-4; bMARK I. 40-45; cLUKE V. 12-16.

c12 And it came to pass, while he was in one of the cities [it was a city of Galilee, but as it was not named, it is idle to conjecture which city it was], behold, bthere cometh {acame} bto him a leper [There is much discussion as to what is here meant by leprosy. Two diseases now go by that name; viz., psoriasis and elephantiasis. There are also three varieties of psoriasis, namely, white, black and red. There are also three varieties or modifications of elephantiasis, namely, tubercular, spotted or streaked, and anæsthetic. Elephantiasis is the leprosy found in modern times in Syria, Greece, Spain, Norway and Africa. Now, since Leviticus 13:1-59., in determining [176] leprosy, lays great stress on a white or reddish-white depression of the skin, the hairs in which are turned white or yellow, and since it also provides that the leper who is white all over shall be declared clean, and since in the only two cases where lepers are described-- Numbers 12:10, 2 Kings 5:27--they are spoken of as "white as snow," scholars have been led to think that the Biblical leprosy was the white form of psoriasis. But the facts hardly warrant us in excluding the other forms of psoriasis, or even elephantiasis; for 1. Leviticus xiii. also declares that any bright spot or scale shall be pronounced leprosy, if it be found to spread abroad over the body; and this indefinite language would let in elephantiasis, cancer and many other skin diseases. In fact, the law deals with the initial symptoms rather than with the ultimate phases of the fully developed disease. 2. Elephantiasis was a common disease in our Saviour’s time, and has been ever since, and would hardly be called leprosy now, if it had not been popularly so called then. The word "leprosy" comes from "lepo," which means to peel off in scales. It is hereditary for generations, though modern medical authorities hold that it is not contagious. However, the returning Crusaders spread it all over Europe in the tenth and eleventh centuries, so that according to Matthew Paris there was no less than nine thousand hospitals set apart for its victims. The facts that the priests had to handle and examine lepers, and that any one who was white all over with leprosy was declared clean, led scholars to think that the laws of Moses, which forbade any one to approach or touch a leper, were not enacted to prevent the spread of a contagion, but for typical and symbolic purposes. It is thought that God chose the leprosy as the symbol of sin and its consequences, and that the Mosaic legislation was given to carry out this conception. Being the most loathsome and incurable of all diseases, it fitly represents in bodily form the ravages of sin in the soul of a man. But there must also have been a sanitary principle in God’s laws, since we still deem it wise to separate lepers, and since other people besides the Hebrews (as the Persians) prohibited lepers from mingling with other [177] citizens. Elephantiasis is the most awful disease known. The body of its victim disintegrates joint by joint, until the whole frame crumbles to pieces. Psoriasis is milder, but is very distressing. Mead thus describes a case: The "skin was shining as covered with flakes of snow. And as the furfuraceous or bran-like, scales were daily rubbed off, the flesh appeared quick or raw underneath." In addition to the scaly symptoms, the skin becomes hard and cracks open, and from the cracks an ichorous humor oozes. The disease spreads inwardly, and ends in consumption, dropsy, suffocation, and death], ca man full of leprosy [Some have thought that Luke meant to indicate one so completely covered with leprosy as to be clean ( Leviticus 13:28, Leviticus 13:29, Leviticus 13:36, Leviticus 13:37). But the fact that Jesus sent him to the priest, shows that he was not such a clean leper. Luke meant to describe a leper in the last stages of the disease--a leper past all hope]: and when he saw Jesus, bbeseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying to him, che fell on his face, aand worshipped him, cand besought him, saying, bunto him, cLord [The Jews, in addressing any distinguished person, usually employed the title "Lord." They were also accustomed to kneel before prophets and kings. It is not likely that the leper knew enough of Jesus to address him as the Son of God. He evidently took Jesus for some great prophet; but he must have had great faith, for he was full of confidence that Jesus had power to heal him, although there was but one case of leper-cleansing in the Scriptures-- 2 Kings 5:1-19, Luke 4:27], if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [The leper believed in the power of Jesus, but doubted his willingness to expend it on one so unworthy and so unclean. In temporal matters we can not always be as sure of God’s willingness as we can be of his power. We should note that the man asked rather for the blessing of cleanness than for health. To the Jew uncleanness was more horrible than disease. It meant to be an outcast from Israel, and to be classed with swine, dogs and other odious and abhorrent creatures. The leper, therefore, prayed that the Lord would remove his shame [178] and pollution.] b41 And being moved with compassion, he stretched forth his hand, and touched him [Mark habitually notes the feelings, and hence also the gestures of Jesus. It was not an accidental, but an intentional, touch. Popular belief so confused and confounded leprosy with the uncleanness and corruption of sin, as to make the leper feel that Jesus might also compromise his purity if he concerned himself to relieve it. The touch of Jesus, therefore, gave the leper a new conception of divine compassion. It is argued that Jesus, by this touch, was made legally unclean until the evening ( Leviticus 13:46, Leviticus 11:40). But we should note the spirit and purpose of this law. Touch was prohibited because it defiled the person touching, and aided not the person touched. In Jesus’ case the reasons for the law were absent, the conditions being reversed. Touching defiled not the toucher, and healed the touched. In all things Jesus touches and shares our human state, but he so shares it that instead of his being defiled by our uncleanness, we are purified by his righteousness. Moreover, Jesus, as a priest after the order of Melchizedek ( Hebrews 5:6), possessed the priestly right to touch the leper without defilement-- Hebrews 4:15], and saith unto him, {csaying,} I will; be thou made clean. [The Lord’s answer is an echo of the man’s prayer. The words, "I will," express the high authority of Jesus.] b42 And straightway the {ahis} cleprosy departed from him, {awas cleansed.} band he was made clean. ["Luke says, ’departed’, giving the merely physical view of the event. Matthew says, ’was cleansed’, using ceremonial language. Mark combines the two forms"--Godet.] 43 And he strictly charged him, cto tell no man [The language used indicates that Jesus sternly forbade the man to tell what had been done. The man’s conduct, present and future, shows that he needed severe speech. In his uncontrollable eagerness to be healed he had overstepped his privileges, for he was not legally permitted to thus enter cities and draw near to people ( Numbers 5:2, Numbers 5:3); he was to keep at a distance from them, and covering his mouth, was to cry, "Tame, [179] tame--unclean, unclean" ( Leviticus 13:45, Leviticus 13:46, Luke 17:12, Luke 17:13). The man evinced a like recklessness in disregarding the command of Jesus]: band straightway sent him out, a4 And Jesus saith unto him, See thou tell no man; {bsay nothing to any man:} [Several reasons are suggested why the Lord thus commanded silence: 1. It may have been better for the man not to mention his cure ( John 9:34). 2. He required the decision of the priest to make him legally clean; and too much talk might so prejudice the priests as to lead them to refuse to admit his cure. 3. But the best reason is that it accorded with our Lord’s general course, which was to suppress excitement, and thus prevent too great crowds from gathering about him and hindering his work. To take this view is to say that Jesus meant to prevent exactly what happened] cbut go, and show thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, bthe things which {athe gift that} Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them. [Though healed of his leprosy, the man was not legally clean until declared so by the priest. The priest alone could readmit him to the congregation. The local priest inspected the healed leper, and if he was found clean or cured, he was purified by the use of two birds, cedar wood, scarlet and hyssop, razor and bath. After seven days he was again inspected, and if still cured the priest repaired with him to the temple, where he offered the gift for his cleansing, which was three lambs, with flour and oil; or if the leper was poor, one lamb and two doves or pigeons, with flour and oil ( Leviticus 14:19-22.). The healed leper was a testimony that Messiah, the great Physician, had come, and that he respected the law of Moses. This testimony was given both to priests and people.] 45 But he went out [from the presence of Jesus and from the city], and began to publish it much, and to spread abroad the matter, {c15 But so much the more went abroad the report concerning him:}. [The leper was so elated that he could scarcely refrain from publishing his cure, and he must also have thought that this was what Jesus really [180] wanted--that in commanding him not to publish it he did not mean what he said] and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. binsomuch that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city [Not a natural or physical inability, but the inability of impropriety. Jesus could not do what he judged not best to do. The excitement cause by such an entry was injurious in several ways: 1. It gave such an emphasis to the miracles of Jesus as to make them overshadow his teaching. 2. It threatened to arouse the jealousy of the government. 3. It rendered the people incapable of calm thought. Two things constantly threatened the ministry of Jesus, namely, impatience in the multitude, and envious malice in the priests and Pharisees. Jesus wished to add to neither of these elements of opposition. Thus the disobedience of the leper interrupted Jesus, and thwarted him in his purpose to visit the villages. Disobedience, no matter how well-meaning, always hinders the work of Christ], c16 But he withdrew himself in the deserts, {bwas without in desert places:} [That is, the the remote grazing-lands like that desert in which he afterwards fed the five thousand. Such was our Lord’s unexampled meekness that he preferred the silent deserts to the applause of multitudes. His meekness was as high above the capacity of a merely human being as were his miracles] cand prayed. [Luke’s gospel is pre-eminently the gospel of prayer and thanksgiving] band they came to him from every quarter.

[FFG 176-181]

Verses 14-17


XXXII.
HEALING PETER’S MOTHER-IN-LAW
AND MANY OTHERS.
(At Capernaum.)
aMATT. VIII. 14-17; bMARK I. 29-34; cLUKE IV. 38-41.

c38 And he arose out of the synagogue [where he had just healed the demoniac], b29 And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came {centered} binto the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [Peter and Andrew had dwelt at Bethsaida ( John 1:44). They may have removed to Capernaum, or Bethsaida, being near by, may be here counted as a part, or suburb, of Capernaum. Its name does not contradict this view, for it means "house of fishing" or "fishery."] 30 Now Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick of {cwas holden with} a great fever. [The Papists, who claim that Peter was the first pope, must confess that he was married at this time, and continued to be so for years afterwards ( 1 Corinthians 9:5). Celibacy is unauthorized by Scripture ( Hebrews 13:4). God says it is not good ( Genesis 2:18). Luke speaks as a physician; for Galen, the father of medicine, divided fevers into little and great.] a14 And when Jesus was come into Peter’s house, he saw his wife’s mother lying sick of a fever. band straightway they tell him of her: cand they besought him for her. [Their interest in her shows the spirit of love and kindness which pervaded the home.] b31 and he came c39 And he stood over her, and rebuked the fever [Though it was an inanimate force, it was still subject to rebuke, as were the winds and waves of Galilee-- Matthew 8:26]; a15 And he touched her hand, band took her by the hand, and raised her up [thus showing the miracle came from him, and that he felt a tender interest in the sufferer]; cand it {bthe fever} cleft her: and immediately she rose up {aarose,} band she ministered unto them. {ahim.} [Her complete recovery emphasized the miracle. Such fevers invariably leave the patient weak, [170] and the period of convalescence is long and trying, and often full of danger. She showed her gratitude by her ministry.] b32 And at even, awhen even was come, cwhen the sun was setting, {bdid set,} call they that had any sick with divers diseases, brought them unto him; bthey brought unto him all that were sick, and them {amany} bthat were possessed with demons. [Their delay till sundown was unquestionably caused by the traditional law of the Sabbath which forbade men to carry any burden on that day ( John 5:10). The Sabbath closed at sundown ( Leviticus 23:32). The distinction is drawn between the sick and the demon-possessed. Lightfoot gives two reasons why demoniacal possession was so common at that time, viz.: 1, the intense wickedness of the nation; 2, the addiction of the nation to magic, whereby the people invited evil spirits to be familiar with them.] cand he laid his hands on every one of them, aand he cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all cthem athat were sick: 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet [ Isaiah 53:4], saying, Himself took our infirmities, and bare our diseases. [Isaiah’s vision is progressive; he sees, first, a man of sorrows; second, a man sorrowful because he bore the sickness and sorrows of others; third, a man who also bore sin, and healed the souls of others by so doing. Such was the order of Christ’s life. His early years were spent in poverty and obscurity; his days of ministry in bearing, by sympathy and compassion, the sicknesses and sorrows of others ( John 11:35, Mark 14:34); and in the hour of his crucifixion, he became the world’s sin-bearer-- John 1:29, 1 Peter 2:24.] b33 And all the city was gathered together at the door. 34 And he healed many that were sick of divers diseases, and cast out many demons; c41 And demons also came out from many, crying out, and saying, Thou art the Son of God. And rebuking them, he suffered them {bthe demons} cnot to speak, bbecause they knew him. cthat he was Christ. [Those who are disposed to frequent spiritual seances and to seek information from mediums should remember that the Son of God permitted his disciples to receive no information from such sources. He forbade demons to speak in the presence of his own, even on the most important of all topics.] [171]

[FFG 169-170]

Verses 18-27


LV.
JESUS STILLS THE STORM.
(Sea of Galilee; same day as last section)
aMATT. VIII. 18-27; bMARK IV. 35-41; cLUKE VIII. 22-25.

b35 And that day, {cone of those days,} bwhen the even was come [about sunset], awhen Jesus saw great multitudes about him, he gave commandment to depart unto the other side. {bhe saith unto them, Let us go over unto the other side.} [Wearied with a day of strenuous toil, Jesus sought rest from the multitude by passing to the thinly settled on the east side of Galilee.] a19 And there came a scribe [Literally, one scribe. The number is emphatic; for, so far as the record shows, Jesus had none of this class among his disciples], and said unto him, Teacher, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. 20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes [caves, dens], and the birds of the heaven have nests; but the Son of [341] man [Daniel’s name for the Messiah-- Daniel 7:10-13] hath not where to lay his head. [This scribe had heard the wonderful parables concerning the kingdom. He, like all others, expected an earthly kingdom and sought to have a place in it. Jesus so replied as to correct his false expectations.] 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. [This disciple must have been one of the twelve, for these only were required to follow Jesus ( Mark 3:14). It may have been James or John, whose father, Zebedee, almost certainly died before Jesus did. He may have just heard of his father’s death. *] 22 But Jesus saith unto him, Follow me; and leave the dead to bury their own dead. [Let the spiritually dead bury the naturally dead. This was a very exceptional prohibition, intended to show not that it was ordinarily wrong to stop for burying the dead, but wrong when in conflict with a command from Jesus. God bids us recognize the claims of filial duty, but rightfully insists that our duties toward him are superior to those due our parents.] c22 Now it came to pass that he entered into a boat, himself and his disciples; a23 And when he was entered into a boat, his disciples followed him. cand he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake: and they launched forth. b36 And leaving the multitude, they take him with them, even as he was, in the boat. [They took Jesus without any preparation for the journey. The crowd, doubtless, made it inconvenient to go ashore to get provisions.] And other boats were with him. [The owners of these boats had probably been using them to get near to Jesus as he preached. They are probably mentioned to show that a large number witnessed the miracle when Jesus stilled the tempest.] c23 But as they sailed he fell asleep. [knowing his labors during the day, we can not wonder at this]: b37 And there ariseth cand there came down ba great storm of wind, con the lake; a24 And, behold, [342] there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the boat was covered with the waves: band the waves beat into the boat, insomuch that the boat was now filling. cand they were filling with water, and were in jeopardy. [These storms come with great suddenness. See McGarvey’s "Lands of the Bible," page 519.] b38 And {abut} bhe himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion [The cushion was the seat-cover, which, as Smith remarks, was probably "a sheepskin with the fleece, which, when rolled up, served as a pillow." The stern was the most commodious place for passengers. The tossing ship has been accepted in all ages as a type of the church in seasons of peril]: a25 And they came to him, and awoke him, {bthey awake him,} and say unto him, {asaying,} Save, Lord; we perish. cMaster, master, we perish. bTeacher, carest thou not that we perish? [There was a babble of confused voices, betraying the extreme agitation of the disciples.] 39 And he awoke, aThen he arose, and rebuked the winds, {bwind,} aand the sea; cand the raging of the water; band said unto the sea, Peace, be still. cand they ceased, bAnd the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. [In addressing the winds and waves Jesus personified them to give emphasis to his authority over them. The calm showed the perfection of the miracle, for the waves of such a lake continue to roll long after the winds have ceased.] c25 And he said unto them, Where is your faith? bWhy are ye yet fearful? have ye not yet faith? aO ye of little faith? [They had little faith or they would not have been so frightened; but they had some faith, else they would not have appealed to Jesus.] b41 And they feared exceedingly, cAnd being afraid they athe men marvelled, band said one to another, csaying one to another, aWhat manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him? cWho then is this, that he commandeth even the winds, and the water, and they obey him? [Jesus’ complete lordship over the realm of nature made his disciples very certain of his divinity.] [343]

* I do not concur in this statement.--P. Y. P.

[FFG 341-343]

Verses 28-200


LVI.
JESUS HEALS TWO GERGESENE DEMONIACS.
(Gergesa, now called Khersa.)
aMATT. VIII. 28-34; IX. 1; bMARK V. 1-21; cLUKE VIII. 26-40.

b1 And they came to the other side of the sea [They left in the "even," an elastic expression. If they left in the middle of the afternoon and were driven forward by the storm, they would have reached the far shore several hours before dark], c26 And they arrived at the country of the Gerasenes, which is over against Galilee. a28 And when he was come into the country of the Gadarenes. c27 And when he was come forth bout of the boat, cupon the land [Midway between the north and south ends of the lake, and directly east across the lake from Magdala, was the little city of Gergesa. In front and somewhat to the south of this city Jesus landed. Some sixteen miles away and to the southeast, and seven miles back from the lake, was the well-known city of Gadara. Further on to the southeast, on the borders of Arabia, and at least fifty miles from Gergesa, was the city of Gerasa. The name Gerasenes is, therefore, probably an error of the transcribers for Gergesenes, as Origen suggested. The region is properly called "country of the Gadarenes," for Gadara was an important city, and the stamp of a ship on its coins suggests that its territory extended to the Lake of Galilee], bstraightway there met him out of the tombs ca certain man out of the city [Gergesa], bwith an unclean spirit, cwho had demons; b3 who had his dwelling in the tombs: cand abode not in any house, but in the tombs. [The sides of the mountain near the ruins of Gergesa are studded with natural and artificial caves which were used as tombs.] band no man could any more bind him, no, not with a chain; 4 because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been rent asunder by him, and the [344] fetters broken in pieces: and no man had strength to tame him. 5 And always, night and day, in the tombs and in the mountains, he was crying out, and cutting himself with stones. [The natural spirit of the man seeking to throw off the dominion of the demons would cry out in agony, and the demons themselves, in their own misery, would use him as a vehicle to express their own grief. It would be hard to imagine a more horrible state] cand for a long time he had worn no clothes, b6 and when he saw Jesus from afar, che cried out, bhe ran cand fell down before him, band worshipped him; 7 and crying out with a loud voice, he saith, {csaid,} What have I to do with thee [on this phrase, see Romans 10:7, Revelation 9:1, Revelation 9:2, Revelation 9:11, Revelation 11:7, Revelation 17:8, Revelation 20:1, Revelation 20:3. How these demons escaped from the abyss is one of the unsolved mysteries of the spirit world; but we have a parallel in the releasing of Satan-- Revelation 20:1-3.] a28b And there met him two possessed with demons, coming forth out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man could pass by that way. [Matthew tells of two, while Mark and Luke describe only one. They tell of the principal one--the one who was the fiercer. In order to tell of two, Matthew had to omit the name "legion," which belonged to one; and conversely, Mark and Luke, to give the conversation with one, did not confuse us by telling of two.] 29 And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [The judgment-day, the time of punishment and torment-- Matthew 25:41, 2 Peter 2:4, Judges 1:6.] b11 Now there was there aafar off from them bon the mountain side a great herd aof many swine feeding. 31 And the demons besought him, cand they entreated him that he would give them leave to enter into them. asaying, If thou cast us out, send us away into the herd of swine. bthat we may enter into them. 13 And he gave them leave. a32 And he said unto them, Go. And they bthe unclean spirits cthe demons came out of the man, and entered aand went into the swine: and behold, the whole herd rushed down the steep into the sea, {cthe lake,} bin number about two thousand; and they were drowned in the sea. aand perished in the waters. [About a mile south of Khersa a spur of the mountain thrusts itself out toward the lake so that its foot is within forty feet of the water line. This is the only spot on that side of the lake where the mountains come near the water. The slope is so steep and the ledge at its foot so narrow that a herd rushing down could not check itself before tumbling into the water. [346] Skeptics have censured Jesus for permitting this loss of property. God may recognize our property rights as against each other, but he nowhere recognizes them in the realm of nature. What was done to the swine was done by the demons, and the owners had no more right to complain than they would have had if the herd had been carried off by murrain, by flood, or by any other natural cause. All animals have a right to die, either singly or in numbers. The demons evidently did not intend to destroy the swine. Their desire to have live bodies to dwell in shows that they did not. But the presence of the demons in their bodies made the hogs crazy, as it had the demoniac, and they ran the way their noses were pointed at the moment. For discussion of demoniacal possession, see Mark 7:31-37.] cand he went his way, publishing throughout the whole city [Gergesa] how great things Jesus had done for him. band began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him [for the cities which constituted Decapolis, see page 173]: and all men marvelled. 21 And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat unto the other side, a great multitude was gathered unto him: and he was by the sea. c40 And as Jesus returned, the multitude welcomed him; for they were all waiting for him. [They could see the sail of his boat as he started back.] a1 And he came into his own city. [Capernaum.] [348]

[FFG 344-348]

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
Bibliographical Information
J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Matthew 8". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/matthew-8.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.