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Bible Commentaries

The Fourfold Gospel

Matthew 9

Verse 1


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]

Verses 2-8


XXXV.
JESUS HEALS A PARALYTIC AT CAPERNAUM.
aMATT. IX. 2-8; bMARK II. 1-12; cLUKE V. 17-26.

c17 And it came to pass on one of those days, bwhen he entered again into Capernaum after some days, cthat he was teaching; bit was noised that he was in the house. [Luke uses the general expression [181] "those days," referring to the early portion of our Lord’s ministry in Galilee. Mark says, "some days," which implies the lapse of a considerable interval. The healing of the leper created such excitement that for some time, several weeks, Jesus kept out of the cities. He now, after the excitement has subsided, quietly enters Capernaum, and probably goes to the house of Simon Peter, now looked upon as his head quarters in Capernaum ( Mark 1:29). His entrance into Capernaum marks the end of his first missionary tour through Galilee.] 2 And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room for them, no, not even about the door: and he spake the word unto them. [Oriental houses are one or two storied structures, built in the form of a square, or rectangle, with an open space in the center called the court. They have one door which opens from the street into an open space called the porch, and this porch in turn opens upon the court. In this porch there is usually a stairway leading to the roof. The roofs are invariably flat, and are surrounded by a breastwork or parapet to keep those on them from falling off. Roofs or housetops are used as we use yards, only they are somewhat private. Some think that this house was a two-storied structure, and that Jesus was teaching in the upper room or second story. If this were so, there would have been little profit to the people who clung about the street door, for they could neither see nor hear. Besides, a two-storied house would probably have been beyond the means of Simon Peter. It is more likely that Jesus was in the room opposite the porch across the court. If so, the crowd at the door might catch an occasional word, or by tiptoing obtain a momentary glance; and thus fan the hope of some ultimate satisfaction. The gospel is here called "the word," for it is the Word among words, as the Bible is the Book among books.] cand there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by [the fact that they were sitting, shows that they were honored above the rest: Jesus did not increase their ill-will by any needless disrespect], who were come out of every village of Galilee and Judaea and [182] Jerusalem [It is not likely that such a gathering came together by accident. Capernaum was known to be the headquarters of Jesus, and these leaders of the people had doubtless gathered there to wait for some opportunity to see or hear Jesus. They recognized the necessity of coming to some definite judgment regarding him. We shall see in this scene the beginning of their hostility to Jesus, which developed into four objections: 1. Alleged blasphemy; 2. Intercourse with publicans and sinners; 3. Supposed neglect of ascetic duties, such as washings, fastings, etc.; 4. Alleged violation of the sabbath]: and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. [That is to say, the power of God the Father was then working in Jesus to perform miracles ( John 14:10). Some take this as implying that other miracles had been wrought that day, before the arrival of the paralytic. But the words are more likely a preface for what follows; in which case the meaning is that the cold disbelief of the Pharisees did not prevent Jesus from working miracles, as disbelief usually did-- Matthew 13:58, Matthew 16:1-4.] 18 And behold, men bring {athey brought bthey come, bringing} unto him a man sick of the palsy, {cthat was palsied:} alying on a bed: bborne of four [Palsy is an abbreviation of the word "paralysis." It is caused by a cessation of the nervous activities. See Acts 8:22). So far as the church forgives sins ( John 20:23), it does it merely as the organ of God, and must do so according to the methods and ordinances laid down by God. Those who profess to forgive sin by word of mouth, should be able to make good their claim to this boasted power by healing diseases or otherwise removing the consequences of sin. Failing to do this, they must forever rest under justified suspicion that they are, wittingly or unwittingly, guilty of blasphemy.] b6 But there were certain of the scribes cand the Pharisees bsitting there, a3 And behold, [they] cbegan to reason, band reasoning in their hearts, asaid within themselves, csaying, aThis man blasphemeth. b7 Why doth this that man thus speak? [A scornful expression, shown by the repetition, houtos houtoo, which means, literally, "this one these things."] cWho is this that speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, bbut one, even God? calone? [In classic Greek to blaspheme means to speak evil or, or to slander a person, and it is used in this sense in the New Testament ( Titus 3:2, 2 Peter 2:2, Judges 1:8). Its ordinary New Testament use, however, is quite different, since it is employed to designate something which reflects evil on the character and nature of God. This use is peculiar to monotheistic writers, and was unknown to the Greeks. Such blasphemies may be divided into three general heads, thus: 1. To attribute the unworthy to God. 2. To deny the worthy to God. 3. To arrogate or claim any attribute, power, authority, etc., which belongs to exclusively to God. It was under this third head that Jesus seemed to lay himself open to accusation--an accusation entirely just if he had not been the [185] Son of God. The Pharisees were not faulty in their logic, but were mistaken in their premises; hence Jesus does not deny their doctrine; he merely corrects their mistaken application of it to himself. As to this pronounced forgiveness of Jesus, two questions arise: 1. Why did he forgive the man’s sins? The haste with which the man was brought to Jesus suggests that his condition was critical; in which case the torment of sin would be the greater. As a searcher of hearts, Jesus saw the unuttered desire of the sick man, and at once responded to it. If his words meant nothing to the conscience of the man, they were wasted; but Jesus knew what was in man. 2. Why did he pronounce the forgiveness so publicly? As the terms of pardon prescribed in the law were yet in full force, this open speech of Jesus was a surprising assertion of authority. In fact, such assertions were exceptional in his ministry; for only on three recorded occasions did he thus forgive sins ( Luke 7:48, Luke 23:43). Being the exceptional and not the established method of pardon, and being thus employed in the presence of so representative an audience, it was evidently used for a special purpose; and that purpose was to show that Jesus had such power, that men seeing this power might believe him to be the Son of God. He was vindicating an eternal law of the universe, in which all human beings throughout all generations would be interested; viz.: that humanity has a Ruler who can present it spotless before the throne of God ( Judges 1:24). Jesus propounded his law in the presence of those most interested in exposing it if false, and most able to explode it had it not been true. Whether his words were truth or blasphemy, was the controversy between Christ and the rulers from that day to the end of his ministry-- Matthew 26:65.] b8 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they so reasoned {ctheir reasonings,} bwithin themselves, a4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts [Jesus read their thoughts by his divine insight, and not because of any recognized habit or tendency on their part to criticise him, for this is the first recorded indication of hostility on the part of the Pharisees, [186] though it is hinted at, at John 4:1. Such discernment of the thought was to be a characteristic mark of the expected Messiah ( Isaiah 11:2, Isaiah 11:3), and Jesus had it ( John 2:25). It also is an attribute peculiar to God-- 1 Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:10, Romans 8:27, Revelation 2:23] canswered and said {bsaith} unto them, aWherefore think ye evil in your hearts? [Jesus could see invisible sin, and could forgive it or condemn it, as the conditions moved him. The powers of discernment, forgiveness and condemnation make him the perfect Judge.] bWhy reason ye in your hearts? a5 For which is easier, bto say to the sick of the palsy, cThy sins are forgiven thee; bor to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? [To understand this sentence we should place the emphasis upon the word "say," because the question at issue was the power or effect of his speech. The rabbis, after their first shock of surprise, thought that Jesus feared to attempt the fraud of a so-called miracle in the presence of learned men, lest he should be detected and exposed; and hence looked upon his present action as an attempt to bear himself safely off before the public, and to maintain his standing by the use of high-sounding words. They felt that he used words of unseen effect, because he dared not use those of seen effect. This was precisely the view that Jesus knew they would take, and that he wished them to take; for by showing his ability to work in the realms of sight that which is impossible; viz.: the healing of the sick man, he could place before them proof suited to their own reasoning that he had a like ability to work the impossible in the realms of the unseen; viz.: the forgiveness of the man’s sins. By thus demonstrating his authority in the eternal and physical world, Jesus assures us of his dominion over the internal and spiritual.] 10 But that ye may know that the Son of man [Daniel’s name for the Messiah-- Daniel 7:10-13] hath authority on earth to forgive sins [The words "on earth" are taken by some to indicate the then existing contrast between Christ’s present humiliation or ministry on earth, and his future glorification or enthronement in heaven; in which case they would [187] mean that Jesus could grant now that which some might think could only be exercised hereafter. Others take them to mean the same as if Jesus had said, "You think that forgiveness can only be granted by the Father in heaven, but it can also be granted by the Son upon earth. That which you have heretofore sought from the Father you may now seek from me." The latter is probably the correct view. As to the test of power or authority, the miracle of Jesus was very convincing; for in the popular opinion sin was a cause of which disease was the effect. We are told, on the authority of later rabbis, that it was a maxim among the Jews that no diseased person could be healed till his sins were blotted out. We also recognize a correlation between sins and diseases, which the Saviour’s use of this miracle justifies. A mere miracle, such as swallowing fire or causing iron to float, would not prove his ability to forgive sins. The proof consisted in the relation which disease bears to sin, and the consequent relation which healing bears to forgiveness. The connection between disease and sin is a real and necessary one. The Jews were right in seeing this connection, but they erred in thinking that they were warranted in personally criminating every one whom they found afflicted, and in judging that the weight of the affliction indicated the quantity of the sin. The Book of Job should have corrected this error. Such unrighteous judgments are condemned by Christ ( John 9:3, Luke 13:2-5). Paralysis is, however, to-day looked upon as ordinarily the punishment of some personal sin, usually that of intemperance or sensuality], a(then saith he to the sick of the palsy), {c(he said unto him that was palsied),} I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, {bbed,} cand go up unto thy house. [What command could be more pleasant than that which bade this sick man go home forgiven and healed?] 25 And immediately he rose up {aarose,} cbefore them, band straightway took up the bed, cthat whereon he lay ["A sweet saying! The bed had borne the man; now the man bore the bed"--Bengel], band went forth before them all aand departed to his house. [188] cglorifying God. binsomuch that they were all amazed, 8 But when the multitudes saw it, they were afraid, c26 And amazement took hold on all, and they glorified God [The "all" of this passage hardly includes the scribes and Pharisees, or, if it does, their admiration of Jesus was but a momentary enthusiasm, which quickly passed away]; awho had given such authority unto men. [Some take the word "men" as the plural of category, and apply it to Christ. Others think that they regarded Jesus as a mere man among other men, and that they therefore looked upon his power as a gift given to men generally, and not as something peculiar to himself. If this latter view is correct, it is likely that they took the words "Son of man" as referring to men generally, and not as a reference to the Messiah, such as Jesus meant it to be.] bsaying, We never saw it on this fashion, cand they were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to-day. [Literally, seen paradoxes: things contrary to common thought and ordinary experience. They had seen a threefold miracle: sins forgiven, thoughts read and palsy healed.]

[FFG 181-189]

Verse 9


XXXVI.
THE CALL OF MATTHEW.
(At or near Capernaum.)
aMATT. IX. 9; bMARK II. 13, 14; cLUKE V. 27, 28.

c27 And after these thingsa [after the healing of the paralytic] he went forth, aagain by the seaside [i. e., he left Capernaum, and sought the shore of the sea, which formed a convenient auditorium for him, and which was hence a favorite scene for his teaching]; and all the multitude resorted unto him, and he taught them. 14 And as he aJesus passed by from thence, he saw cand beheld aa man, ca publican, named {ccalled} Matthew, cLevi, bthe son of Alphaeus [It will be observed that Matthew, in his account of his call, does not make himself prominent. All [189] the evangelists keep themselves in the background. Because Mark and Luke give us the name Levi, it has been thought by some that they describe the call of a different person from the one mentioned by Matthew--an opinion which seems to have started with Origen. But the difference in name is not an important divergence, for many in that day had two names; as, for example, Lebbæus, who was called Thaddæus; Silas, who was called Sylvanus; John, who was called Mark; etc. Moreover, it was then common to change the name; as is shown by the cases of Simon, who became Peter; Joseph, who became Barnabas; Saul, who became Paul, etc. Therefore, as we have previously suggested ( Matthew 10:3). It is not likely, however, that Matthew and James were brothers, for Alphæus was a very common Jewish name, and brothers are usually mentioned in pairs in the apostolic lists, and these two are not so mentioned. Pool takes the extreme view here, contending that James, Matthew, Thaddæus, and Simon Zelotes were four brethren], sitting at the place of toll [Wherever it is at all practicable, Orientals sit at their work. The place of toil was usually a booth or a small hut. Whether Matthew’s booth was by the lake, to collect duties on goods and people ferried across; or whether it was by the roadside on the great highway leading from Damascus to Acco, to collect taxes on all produce brought into Capernaum, is not material. The revenues which Rome derived from conquered nations consisted of tolls, tithes, harbor duties, taxes for use of public pasture lands, and duties for the use of mines and salt works], and he saith {csaid} unto him, Follow me. 28 And he forsook all, And he arose {crose up} and followed [190] him. [Such obedience was not, of course, performed in ignorance; it indicates that Matthew was already a disciple, as were the four fisherman when they also received a like call. Matthew was now called to become a personal attendant of Jesus, preparatory to being chosen an apostle. Nor are we to conclude from the abruptness of his movements that he went off without settling accounts with the head of his office. Though it may be more dramatic to thus picture him as departing at once, yet the settlement of accounts was indispensable to his good name in the future, and in no way diminishes the reality and beauty of his sacrifice--a beauty which Matthew himself forbears to mention, as became him ( Proverbs 27:2). But Matthew certainly neither delayed nor sought counsel ( Galatians 1:15, Galatians 1:16). By thus calling a publican, Jesus reproved the religious narrowness of his times.] [191]

[FFG 189-191]

Verses 10-17


LVII.
MATTHEW’S FEAST. DISCOURSE ON FASTING.
(Capernaum.)
aMATT. IX. 10-17; bMARK II. 15-22; cLUKE V. 29-39.

c29 And Levi [another name for the apostle Matthew] made him a great feast in his house: b15 And it came to pass, that he was sitting {aas he sat} at meat in the {bhis} ahouse, cand there was a great multitude of publicans [Matthew had invited his old friends] and of others band abehold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Jesus and his disciples. bfor there were many, cthat were sitting at meat with them. band they followed him. c30 And the Pharisees and their scribes {bthe scribes of the Pharisees,} [that is, the scribes which were of their party or sect] when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and publicans, c murmured against his disciples, saying, {athey said} unto his disciples, cWhy do ye eat and drink with the publicans and sinners? aWhy eateth your Teacher with the publicans and sinners? bHow is it that he eateth and drinketh with publicans and sinners? [From their standpoint, the question was natural enough. No strict Jew could eat with a Gentile ( Acts 11:3, Galatians 2:12), and Matthew’s guests were classed with the heathen.] a12 But {b17 And} awhen he bJesus heard it, he canswering said {bsaith} unto them, They that are whole {cin health} have no need of a physician, but they that are sick. a13 But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice [For an explanation of this passage, see Matthew 22:4, Luke 14:8, John 2:8, John 2:9). Mourning and fasting would therefore ill befit such an occasion.] c35 But the days will come; and when the bridegroom shall [350] be taken from them, band then will they fast in that day. {cthose days.} [Jesus here foretells the removal of his visible presence from his disciples by his ascension. His words predict but do not command a fast. He prescribed no stated fasts, and the apostolic church kept none. History shows that prescribed fasts become formal and tend to Phariseeism.] 36 And he spake also a parable unto them: No man rendeth a piece from a new garment and putteth it upon an old garment, else he will rend the new, and also the piece from the new will not agree with the old. a16 And no man putteth {bseweth} a piece of undressed cloth on {aupon} an old garment; for {belse} that which should fill it up taketh from it, {afrom the garment,} bthe new from the old, and a worse rent is made. [Jesus justifies the conduct of his disciples by an appeal to the principles of the new dispensation, by which they were governed. The disciples of John looked upon Jesus as a reformer of Judaism, but he corrects their false impressions. To tear the new dispensation to pieces to renovate or embellish the old would be to injure the new and to destroy the old. By the process of fulling or dressing, new cloth was cleansed and shrunk so as to become more compact. The new cloth, therefore, had in it, so to speak, a life-element, and in its movement while shrinking it would tear the weaker fiber of the old cloth to which it was sewed, and thus enlarge the rent. The new dispensation could have rites and forms of its own, but could not conform to the rites of the Pharisees. If the conduct of his disciples had made a rent in the rabbinical traditions with regard to fasting, Jesus could not so modify the conduct of his disciples as to patch the rent without injuring the moral sense of his disciples, and without making Phariseeism a more meaningless hypocrisy than ever.] 22 And no man putteth {a17 Neither do men put} new wine into old wine-skins: celse the the new wine will burst the skins, aand the wine citself will be {ais} spilled, band the wine perisheth, and the skins: aburst, cand the skins will perish. abut they put new wine {cnew [351] wine must be put} binto fresh wine-skins. aand both are preserved. [This parable is also an illustration of the principles set forth above. Wine was then stored in casks of skin--usually hides of goats. Wine-skins, newly made, were elastic, and would expand to accommodate the fermentation of the new wine within. But the old wine-skins were stiff and of little strength, and would burst if fermenting liquid were confined within them.] c39 And no man having drunk old wine desireth new; for he saith, The old is good. [The thought here is that as wine should be put in skins suited for it, and as, at an entertainment, the different kinds of wine should be served in appropriate succession; so, fasting should be observed on suitable occasions--not, for instance, at a wedding.]

[FFG 349-352]

Verses 18-26


LVIII.
JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER AND THE INVALID WOMAN.
(Capernaum, same day as last.)
aMATT. IX. 18-26; bMARK V. 22-43; cLUKE VIII. 41-56.

c41 And a18 While he spake these things unto them [while he talked about fasting at Matthew’s table], behold, there came, {bcometh} ca man named Jairus, {bJairus by name;} cand he was a ruler {bone of the rulers} of the synagogue [He was one of the board of elders which governed the synagogue at Capernaum. These elders were not necessarily old men-- Matthew 19:16-22, Luke 18:18-23], and seeing him, che fell {bfalleth} cdown at Jesus’ feet, aand worshipped him [It was a very lowly act for the ruler of a synagogue thus to bow before the Man of Nazareth. But the ruler was in trouble, and his needs were stronger than his pride], cand besought him to come into his house; 42 for he had an only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she was dying. b23 and beseecheth him much, saying, My little daughter is at the point of death: ais even now dead [he left her dying, [352] and so stated his fears in the very strongest way]: but bI pray thee, that thou come and lay thy hands on {ahand upon} her, bthat she may be made whole, and live. aand she shall live. 19 And Jesus arose [From Matthew’s table. Jesus did not fast for form’s sake, but he was ever ready to leave a feast that he might confer a favor], and followed him, and so did his disciples. b24 And he went him; and a great multitude followed him [The ruler, of highest social rank in the city, found Jesus among the lowliest, and they were naturally curious to see what Jesus would do for this grandee], and they {cBut as he went the multitudes} thronged him. a20 And, behold, a woman, who had {chaving} an issue of blood twelve years, b26 and had suffered many things of many physicians, and cwho had spent ball that she had, call her living upon physicians, band was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, cand could not be healed of any [Medicine was not a science in that day. Diseases were not cured by medicine, but were exorcised by charms. The physician of Galilee in that age did not differ very widely from the medicine-man of the North American Indians. One in easy circumstances could readily spend all during twelve years of doctoring with such leeches.] b27 having heard the things concerning Jesus [her faith rested on hearing rather than on sight], came in the crowd behind, chim, and touched the border of his garment: a21 for she said within herself, If I do but touch his garment, {bgarments,} I shall be made whole. [The nature of her disease made her unclean ( Leviticus 15:26). Her consciousness of this made her, therefore, timidly approach Jesus from behind.] 29 And straightway {cimmediately} bthe fountain of her blood was dried up; cthe issue of her blood stanched. band she felt in her body that she was healed of her plague. [The feeble pulse of sickness gave way to the glow and thrill of health.] 30 And straightway Jesus, perceiving in himself that the power proceeding from him had gone forth, turned him about in the [353] crowd, and said, Who touched my garments? cWho is it that touched me? And when all denied, Peter and they bhis disciples cthat were with him, bsaid unto him, cMaster, the multitude press thee and crush thee, bThou seest the multitude thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me? c46 But Jesus said, Some one did touch me: for I perceived that power had gone forth from me. b32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing. c47 And {b33 But} cwhen the woman saw that she was not hid, she came bfearing and trembling [because being unclean, any rabbi would have rebuked her severely for touching him], knowing what had been done to her, came and fell {cfalling} down before him band told him all the truth. cdeclared in the presence of all the people for what cause she touched him, and how she was healed immediately. [To have permitted the woman to depart without this exposure would have confirmed her in the mistaken notion that Jesus healed rather by his nature than by his will. Hence he questions her, not that he may obtain information, but rather as a means of imparting it. By his questions he reveals to her that no work of his is wrought without his consciousness, and that it was himself and not his garment which had blessed her.] a22 But Jesus turning and seeing her said, cunto her, aDaughter, be of good cheer [Faith gets a sweet welcome]; thy faith hath made thee whole. cgo in peace. band be whole of thy plague. [Be permanently whole: an assurance that relief was not temporal, but final.] aAnd the woman was made whole from that hour. [Faith healed her by causing her to so act as to obtain healing. Faith thus saves; not of itself, but by that which it causes us to do. It causes us to so run that we obtain.] b35 While he yet spake, they come from {cthere cometh one from} the ruler of the synagogue’s house, saying, Thy daughter is dead: bwhy troublest thou the Teacher any further? ctrouble not the Teacher. [The delay caused by healing this woman must have sorely tried the ruler’s patience, and the sad [354] news which followed it must have severely tested his faith; but we hear no word of murmuring or bitterness from him.] 50 But Jesus hearing it, bnot heeding the words spoken [not succumbing to the situation], canswered him, {bsaith unto the ruler of the synagogue,} Fear not, only believe. cand she shall be made whole. [Thus, with words of confidence and cheer, Jesus revived the ruler’s failing faith.] b37 And he suffered no man to follow with him [into the house with him], save Peter, and James, and John the brother of James. [These three were honored above their fellows by special privileges on several occasions, because their natures better fitted them to understand the work of Christ.] c51 And when he came to the house, he suffered not any man to enter in with him, save Peter and John, and James, and the father of the maiden and her mother. b38 And they come to the house of the ruler of the synagogue; a23 And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, bhe beholdeth a tumult, and many weeping and wailing greatly. aand saw the flute-players, and the crowd making a tumult, 24 he said, Give place [Mourning began at the moment of death, and continued without intermission until the burial, which usually took place on the day of the death. Even to this day Oriental funerals are characterized by noisy uproar and frantic demonstrations of sorrow, made by real and hired mourners. Flute-players, then as now, mingle the plaintive strains of their instruments with the piercing cries of those females who made mourning a profession]: c52 And all were weeping, and bewailing her: but he said, {bsaith} unto them, Why make ye a tumult, and weep? cWeep not; she bthe child athe damsel is not dead, but sleepeth. [Jesus used this figurative language with regard to Lazarus, and explained by this he meant death-- John 11:14.] And they laughed him to scorn. cknowing that she was dead. [His words formed a criticism as to their judgment and experience as to death, and threatened to interrupt them in earning their funeral [355] dues.] a25 But when the crowd was put forth, bhe, having put them all forth [because their tumult was unsuited to the solemnity and sublimity of a resurrection. They were in the outer room--not in the room where the dead child lay], taketh the father of the child and her mother and them [the three] that were with him, and goeth in {ahe entered in,} bwhere the child was. [Jesus took with him five witnesses, because in the small space of the room few could see distinctly what happened, and those not seeing distinctly might circulate inaccurate reports and confused statements as to what occurred. Besides, Jesus worked his miracles as privately as possible in order to suppress undue excitement.] aand took {btaking} the child {cher} by the hand, called, saying, {bsaith} unto her, Talitha cumi; which is, being interpreted, Damsel, {cMaiden,} bI say unto thee, Arise. [Mark gives the Aramaic words which Jesus used. They were the simple words with which anyone would awaken a child in the morning.] c55 And her spirit returned b42 And straightway the damsel rose up, {aarose.} cshe rose up immediately: band walked [her restoration was complete]; for she was twelve years old. cand he commanded that something bshould be given her to eat. [Her frame, emaciated by sickness, was to be invigorated by natural means.] c56 And her parents were amazed: bthey were amazed straightway with a great amazement. [Faith in God’s great promise is seldom so strong that fulfillment fails to waken astonishment.] 43 And {cbut} bhe charged them much cto tell no man what had been done. bthat no man should know this [A command given to keep down popular excitement. Moreover, Jesus did not wish to be importuned to raise the dead. He never was so importuned]: a26 And the fame hereof went forth into all that land.

[FFG 352-356]

Verses 27-34


LIX.
HEALING BLIND MEN AND A DUMB DEMONIAC.
(Probably Capernaum.)
aMATT. IX. 27-34.

a27 And as Jesus passed by from thence [If construed strictly, this phrase means, as he departed from Jairus’ house. But the phrase is indefinite], two blind men followed him, crying out, and saying, Have mercy on us, thou son of David. [This, among the Jews, was a common and thoroughly recognized name for the expected Messiah.] 28 And when he was come into the house [possibly Peter’s. But the place is not important. The house is mentioned to show that the blind men persistently followed Jesus until he stopped], the blind men came to him: and Jesus saith unto them, Believe ye that I am able to do this? They said unto him, Yea, Lord. [In the earlier stages of his ministry Jesus had worked his miracles with little or no solicitation; but now, as the evidences of his power were multiplied, Jesus demanded a fuller expression of faith; for faith was the fruitage for which the miracles were wrought.] 29 Then touched he their eyes, saying, According to your faith be it unto you. 30 And their eyes were opened; and Jesus strictly [sternly] charged them, saying, See that no man know it. 31 But they went forth, and spread abroad his fame in all that land. [Jesus might well speak severely when charging his beneficiaries to be silent, for apparently no one of them ever obeyed him.] 32 And as they went forth, behold, there was brought to him a dumb man possessed with a demon. 33 And when the demon was cast out, the dumb man spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen in Israel. [Some regard this demoniac as being the victim of combined physical and spiritual maladies, but it is more likely that the dumbness was [357] caused by the demon, since in some instances they deprived men of reason ( Mark 5:15), and in others they threw men into convulsions or distortions-- Mark 9:18, Luke 13:11, Luke 13:16.] 34 But the Pharisees said, By the prince of the demons casteth he out demons. [If we are correct in our chronology, Jesus had already fully answered this charge. See pages 300-302. If he repeated any part of this answer at this time, Matthew is silent as to it.]

[FFG 357-358]

Verses 35-200


LXI.
THIRD CIRCUIT OF GALILEE. THE TWELVE
INSTRUCTED AND SENT FORTH.
aMATT. IX. 35-38; X. 1, 5-42; XI. 1; bMARK VI. 6-13; cLUKE IX. 1-6.

b6 And he aJesus bwent about aall the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner sickness and all manner of sickness. [In the first circuit of Galilee some of the twelve accompanied Jesus as disciples (see Mark 16:15). As Jesus himself was sent only to the Jews, so during his days on earth he sent his disciples only to them.] 7 As ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. [It was set up about a year later, on the day of Pentecost, under the direction of the Holy Spirit-- Acts 2:1-4.] 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons: freely ye received, freely give. [Here is the true rule of giving. Paul repeats it at 1 Corinthians 16:2. If we would obey this rule, we would make this a happy world.] c3 And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, a9 Get you no gold, nor silver, cnor money; anor brass in your purses; cneither staff, nor wallet, afor your journey, cnor bread, neither have two coats. anor shoes, nor staff: for the workman is worthy of his food. [The prohibition is against securing these things before starting, and at their own expense. It is not that they would have no need for the articles mentioned, but that "the laborer is worthy of his food," and they were to depend on the people for whose benefit they labored, to furnish what they might need. This passage is alluded to by Paul ( 1 Corinthians 9:14). To rightly understand this prohibition we must remember that the apostles were to make but a brief tour of a few weeks, and that it was among their own countrymen, among a people habitually given to hospitality; moreover, that the apostles were imbued with powers which would win for them the respect of the religious and the gratitude of the well-to-do. The special and temporary commission was, therefore, never intended as a rule under which we are to act in preaching the gospel in other ages and in other lands.] b10 And he said unto them a11 And into whatsoever city or village ye shall enter, search out who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go forth. [The customs of the East gave rise to this rule. The ceremonies and forms with which a guest was received were tedious and time-consuming vanities, while the mission of the apostles required haste.] 12 And as ye enter [364] come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. [The form of salutation on entering a house was, "Peace to this house." The apostles are told to salute each house, and are assured that the peace prayed for shall return to them if the house is not worthy; that is, they shall receive, in this case, the blessing pronounced on the house.] bWheresoever ye enter into a house, there abide till ye depart thence. {c4 And into whatsoever house ye enter, there abide, and thence depart.} b11 And whatsoever place shall not receive you, and they hear you not [Jesus here warns them that their experiences would not always be pleasant], a14 And whosoever cas many as ashall creceive you not, anor hear your words, bas ye go forth thence, aout of that house or that city [The word "house" indicates a partial and the word "city" a complete rejection], {cwhen you depart from that city,} bshake off the dust that is under your feet {aof your feet.} cfrom your feet bfor a testimony unto them. cagainst them. [The dust of heathen lands as compared with the land of Israel was regarded as polluted and unholy ( Amos 2:7, Ezekiel 27:30). The Jew, therefore, considered himself defiled by such dust. For the apostles, therefore, to shake off the dust of any city of Israel from their clothes or feet was to place that city on a level with the cities of the heathen, and to renounce all further intercourse with it.] a15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city. [For comment on similar remarks, see 2 Samuel 12:20, Matthew 6:16, Matthew 6:17). When an apostle stood over a sick man to heal him by a touch or a word, he was about to send him out of his sick chamber, and just before the word was spoken, the oil was applied. It was, therefore, no more than a token or symbol that the man was restored to his liberty, and was from that moment to be confined to his chamber no longer. Comp. James 5:14. This practice bears about the same relation to the Romish practice of extreme unction as the Lord’s Supper does to the mass, or as a true baptism does to the sprinkling of an infant.]

[FFG 362-369]

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 9". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tfg/matthew-9.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.