corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.20.07.03
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Matthew 8

 

 

Other Authors
Introduction

CHAPTER 8

Matthew 8:1. καταβάντι δὲ αὐτῷ] Lachm. According to Z Codd. of the It. Hil.: καὶ καταβάντος αὐτοῦ, instead of which B C א** Curss. have καταβάντος δὲ αὐτοῦ. A mere correction, like the similarly attested εἰσελθόντος δὲ αὐτοῦ, Matthew 8:5, in Lachm. and Tisch. 8.

Matthew 8:2. ἐλθών] Lachm. and Tisch.: προσελθών, according to B E M δ א and several Curss. as well as some Verss. and Fathers. Correctly, προς having dropped out owing to the final syllab. of λεπρός.

Matthew 8:3. ἰησοῦς] is not found in B C* א, Curss. Verss. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. A common supplementary addition, and evidently such in the present instance, from its shifting position, for several authorities have it before ἥψατο.

Matthew 8:5. αὐτῷ] Elz.: τῷ ἰησοῦ, contrary to decisive authorities.

Matthew 8:8. λόγῳ] Elz.: λόγον, against such decisive authority, that λόγῳ must not be regarded as introduced from Luke 7:7; but λόγον seems to be a correction through ignorance.

Matthew 8:9. After ἐξουσίαν Lachm. has τασσόμενος (B א, 4, 238, 421, Vulg. It. Chrys.); taken from Luke 7:8.

Matthew 8:10. οὐδὲ ἐν τῷ ἰσραὴλ τοσαύτην πίστιν εὗρον] Lachm.: παρʼ οὐδενὶ ποσαύτην πίστιν ἐν τῷ ἰσρ. εὗρον, only according to B, Curss. and several Verss. and Fathers. The same reading, though not so well attested, is also found in Luke 7:9. An interpretation in which the meaning of οὐδέ has been missed, and the prefixing of ἐν τῷ ἰσραήλ misunderstood (comp. Vulg.).

Matthew 8:12. ἐκβληθής.] Tisch. 8 : ἐξελεύσονται, on too slender authority; among the Codd. only א*.

Matthew 8:13. αὐτοῦ] wanting in B א and several Curss. and Verss. and in Basil. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. 8. Passed over as unnecessary. For what immediately follows Lachm. reads ἀπὸ τῆς ὥρας ἐχείνης, in accordance with less important authorities (C δ). In conformity with Matthew 9:22, Matthew 15:28, Matthew 17:18.

Matthew 8:15. αὐτῷ] so also Scholz, Lachm. and Tisch., according to decisive authority. The αὐτοῖς of the Received text, defended by Griesb. and Fritzsche, is taken from Mark 1:31, Luke 4:39.

Matthew 8:18. πολλοὺς ὄχλους] Lachm.: ὄχλον, only according to B, but correct. Matth. would certainly have written ὄχλους πολλούς, as in Matthew 8:1; Matthew 13:2; Matthew 15:30, and all through; for only in Matthew 14:14 does he put πολύς first, where, however, the singul. occurs. Besides, the reading of the Received text might easily be a gloss to strengthen the expression.

Matthew 8:23. τὸ πλοῖον] The article is omitted in B C, Curss. Or., and is deleted by Lachm., but had been left out from not being understood. So also in Matthew 9:1, Matthew 13:2, in which cases it is deleted by Tisch. 8 as well.

Matthew 8:25. οἱ μαθηταί] The Received text inserts αὐτοῦ, which, however, is deleted, in accordance with decisive testimonies. οἱ μαθηταί is also omitted in B א, Verss. as well as by Jerome, Bede. Bracketed by Lachm., deleted by Tisch. 8. But the omission may be accounted for from the fact that, similarly in the parallels of Mark and Luke, this, the obvious subject, is not expressed.

ἡμᾶς] is wanting in B C א 1, 13, 118, 209. Justly deleted by Fritzsche, Lachm. and Tisch.; for, while there seemed to be no reason why it should have been omitted, the insertion of it, on the other hand, would naturally suggest itself, if it did not happen to be noticed how the mode of expression is suited to the feeling of the passage.

Matthew 8:28. ἐλθόνει αὐτῷ] Lachm. Tisch. 8 : ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ, according to B C א** and Curss. See Matthew 8:1.

γερασηνῶν] Fritzsche and Scholz, also Tisch.: γαδαρἠνῶν, according to B C M δ, Curss. Syr. utr. Perss. Eus. Epiph.; Elz.: γεργεσηνῶν, according to C*** E K L S U V X א*. See in general, Orig. iv. p. 140. The reading γαδαρηνῶν, which Orig. found ἐν ὀλίγοις, has topographical reasons in its favour; γερασηνῶν, however, is supported by Origen’s statement, that in his time it was the prevailing reading.(429)

Matthew 8:29. σοί] Elz. and Scholz insert ἰησοῦ, which is not found in B C L א, Curss. Codd. It. Copt. Cypr. Or. Taken from Mark 5:7, Luke 8:28.

Matthew 8:31. ἐπίτρεψον ἡμῖν ἀπελθεῖν] Griesb. Lachm. Tisch.: ἀπόστειλον ἡμᾶς, according to B א, Curss. Syr. and the majority of Verss. Correctly; the reading of the Received text is adopted from Luke 8:32 (where several authorities have ἀπελθεῖν instead of εἰσελθεῖν). Had it been a correction from Mark 5:12, we should have found πέμψον instead of ἀπόστειλον in the present passage.

Matthew 8:32. εἰς τοὺς χοίρους] as Lachm. and Tisch. 8, according to B C* א, Curss. and most Verss. But the Recept. εἰς τὴν ἀγέλην τῶν χοίρων is to be preferred all the more that the adoption of εἰς τοὺς χοίρους, from the parallels in Mark and Luke, was favoured by the greater definiteness of meaning (into the bodies of the swine).

After ἀγέλη Elz. inserts τῶν χοίρων. It is wanting, indeed, in B C* M δ א, Curss. and the majority of Verss., and is deleted by Griesb. Scholz, Lachm. and Tisch. 8. But how easily may it have been omitted as quite unnecessary, owing to the parallels in Mark and Luke! In a case where the meaning was so obvious, there was no motive for inserting it.


Verse 1

Matthew 8:1. αὐτῷαὐτῷ] as in Matthew 5:40, and frequently in Matthew as well as in classical writers. See Bornemann, ad Xen. Symp. iv. 63; Winer, p. 139 f. [E. T. 275].

The healing of the leper occurs in Luke (Matthew 5:12 ff.) before the Sermon on the Mount, and in Mark (Mark 1:40 ff.) and Luke not till after the healing of Peter’s mother-in-law. It is not to be regarded as the earliest of all the miracles of healing.


Verse 2

Matthew 8:2. λεπρός] λέπρα, צָרַעַת, a most dangerous, contagious disease, descending to the fourth generation, which lacerated the body with scales, tetter, and sores; Trusen, bibl. Krankh. p. 103 ff.; Kurtz in Herzog’s Encykl. I. p. 626 ff.; Furer in Schenkel’s Bibellex. I. p. 317 ff.; Saalschutz, M. R. p. 223 ff.

κύριε] To express the reverence that is founded on the recognition of higher power.

ἐὰν θέλῃς] entire resignation to the mighty will of Jesus.

καθαρίσαι] from the disease that was polluting the body; Plut. Mor. p. 134 D.

ἐκαθαρίσθη αὐτοῦ λέπρα] and immediately his leprosy was cleansed (John 11:32), Matthew 13:25, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:41. The leprosy is spoken of as cleansed, according to the idea that the disease experiences the healing—that the disease is healed (Matthew 4:23). Differently and more correctly expressed in Mark 1:42.

On θέλω, Bengel aptly observes: “echo prompta ad fidem leprosi maturam.” In answer to Paulus, who understands the cleansing in the sense of pronouncing clean,—as also Schenkel, Keim,—see Strauss, II. p. 48 ff., and Bleek.


Verse 4

Matthew 8:4. The injunction, not to mention the matter to any one, cannot be regarded as an evidence of Matthew’s dependence on Mark (Holtzman; comp. Matthew 12:15 with Mark 1:43; Mark 3:7 ff.), because the connection in Mark is supposed to be somewhat more appropriate, but is only to be taken as expressing a desire on the part of Jesus to prevent any commotion among the people with their fanatical Messianic hopes, at least as far as, by discouraging publicity, it was in His own power to do so (Chrysostom)—to prevent what, according to Mark 1:45 (Luke 5:15), actually took place through a disregard of this injunction. Comp. Matthew 9:30, Matthew 12:16; Mark 3:12; Mark 5:43; Mark 7:36; Mark 8:26; Mark 8:30; Matthew 16:20; Matthew 17:9. The miracle was no doubt performed (Matthew 8:1) before the people (in answer to Schenkel), and in the open air; but, in the first place, only those standing near would be in a position to hear or see the course of the miracle with sufficient minuteness; and, secondly, in giving this injunction, Jesus was also keeping in view the fact of the leper’s being about to visit Jerusalem, and to sojourn there. Consequently we must reject the view of Maldonatus, Grotius, Bengel, Wetstein, Kuinoel, Paulus, Glöckler, to the effect that He wished to provide against any refusal on the part of the priests to pronounce the man clean. Equally inadmissible is that of Fritzsche, Baumgarten-Crusius, and Keim, that at present, above all, He insisted on the more important duty,—that, namely, of the man’s subjecting himself to the inspection of the priests, which is not in accordance with the occasional ὅρα (comp. Matthew 9:31); nor can we accept Olshausen’s view, that the motive for the injunction is to be sought in the man himself. Baur holds that the injunction is not to be regarded as historical, but only as the product of tradition, arising out of the application to Jesus of Isaiah 42:1 ff. But the truth is, that prohibition is not once mentioned in Isaiah 42, which contains only a general description of the Messiah’s humility. Moreover, it would not be apparent why the passage from Isaiah is not quoted here, when the injunction in question occurs for the first time, but afterwards in Matthew 12:17.

σεαντόν] thyself. Instead of making a talk about the matter, go and present yourself in person before the proper authorities.

τῷ ἱερεῖ] Leviticus 14:2.

τὸ δῶρον] the offering prescribed in Leviticus 14:10; Leviticus 14:21. See Ewald, Alterth. p. 210 f.; Keil, Archäol. § 59.

εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς] as an evidence to them, i.e. to the people, that thou hast been healed. This reference of αὐτοῖς follows contextually from ὅρα, μηδενὶ εἴπῃς, and that of μαρτύριον (evidence that thou art cleansed) from a consideration of the object of the legal prescription in question; see Leviticus 14:57. It is importing a foreign element, to suppose that the testimony was further meant to show that “I am not abrogating the law” (Chrysostom, Theophylact; see what follows); comp. also Fritzsche, who looks upon the words as containing a remark by Matthew himself: “Haec autem dixit, ut turbae testaretur, se magni facere Mosis instituta.” As decisive against the latter view, we have the fact that both Mark and Luke record the words εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς, and that, too, in such a way as to make it evident that they formed part of what was spoken by Jesus (Luke 5:14). Chrysostom and Fathers understand αὐτοῖς as referring to the priests, in which case the testimony is regarded as intended to show either (what is in itself correct) Jesus’ respect for the law (Euth. Zigabenus, Bengel, Keim),—to which the person cleansed was expected to bear witness before the priests (Chrysostom: εἰς ἔλεγχον, εἰς ἀπόδειξιν, εἰς κατηγορίαν, ἐὰν ἀγνωμονῶσιν,—or the reality of the cure, “si sc. vellent in posterum negare, me tibi sanitatem restituisse” (Kuinoel, Erasmus, Maldonatus, Grotius), and at the same time the Messiahship of Jesus (Calovius). According to Olshausen, it is a testimony borne by the priests themselves that is meant; inasmuch as, by pronouncing the man clean, they become witnesses to the genuineness of the miracle, and at the same time condemn their own unbelief (a confusion of two things that are no less erroneous than foreign to the purpose). If αὐτοῖς referred to the priests, then of course μαρτύριον could only be understood as meaning an evidence or proof that the cleansing had taken place (Grotius). However, the offering was not meant to furnish such evidence to the priests, but to the people, who were now at liberty to resume their intercourse with the person who had been healed.

REMARK.

Attempts of various kinds have been made to divest the miracles of Jesus(430) of their special character, and to reduce them to the order of natural events (Paulus), partly by accounting for them on physiological or psychological grounds, and partly by explaining them on certain exegetical, allegorical, or mythical principles of interpretation. Some, again, have sought to remove them entirely from the sphere of actual fact, and to ascribe their origin to legends elaborated out of Old Testament types and prophecies (Strauss); to the influence of religious feeling in the church (B. Bauer); to narratives of an allegorical character (Volkmar); to the desire to embody certain ideas and tendencies of thought in historical incidents (Baur); as well as to mistakes of every sort in the understanding of similitudes and parables (Weisse). To admit the supernatural origin of Christianity is not inconsistent with the idea of its historical continuity (Baur); but the denial of miracles involves both an avowed and a covert impugning of the evangelic narrative,—which, as such, is in its substance conditioned by miracles (Holtzmann, p. 510),—and consequently does away almost entirely with its historical character. As a further result, Christianity itself is endangered, in so far as it is matter of history and not the product of the independent development of the human mind, and inasmuch as its entrance into the world through the incarnation of the Son of God is analogous to the miracle of creation (Philippi, Glaubensl. I. p. 25 ff., ed. 2). The miracles of Jesus, which should always be viewed in connection with His whole redeeming work (Köstlin, 1860, p. 14 ff.), are outward manifestations of the power of God’s Spirit, dwelling in Him in virtue of His Sonship, and corresponding to His peculiar relation to the world (Hirzel), as well as to His no less peculiar relation to the living God; their design was to authenticate His Messianic mission, and in this lay their telic necessity,—a necessity, however, that is always to be regarded as only relative (Schott, de consilio, quo Jesus mirac. ediderit, Opusc. I. p. 111 ff.). And this according to John 2:11. In exercising His supernatural power of healing, the usual though not always (Matthew 8:5 ff.; John 4:47 ff.; Matthew 9:23 ff.; Luke 22:51) indispensable condition on which He imparted the blessing was faith in that power on the part of the person to be healed; nothing, however, but positive unbelief prevented this power from taking effect (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5 f.; comp. Julius Müller, II. p. 17); but Christ’s heart-searching look (John 2:25) enabled Him to detect those cases where the attempt would be fruitless. Moreover, the miracles of Jesus are not to be regarded as things that contradict or violate the laws of nature, but rather as comprehended within the great system of natural law, the harmonious connection of which in all its parts it is not for us to fathom. In this respect the phenomena of magnetism furnish an analogy, though a poor and imperfect one; and the more that is known of the laws of nature, the idea of any annulling or suspension of these laws only appears the more absurd. See Köstlin, 1860, p. 59 ff., 1864, p. 259 ff.; Rothe, p. 34 ff. The miracles, therefore, are “reflections in nature” of God’s revelation of Himself (Beyschlag), “something strictly in accordance with law” (Nitzsch), which, in the sphere of nature, appears as the necessary and natural correlative of the highest miracle in the spiritual world—viz. the accomplishment of the work of redemption by the incarnate Son of God. As this work has its necessary conditions in the higher order of the moral world established and ruled by the holy God in accordance with His love, so the miracles have theirs in the laws of a higher order of nature corresponding to the loving purposes of the Creator, inasmuch as this latter order, in virtue of the connection between nature and spirit, is upheld by that Being whose spiritual power determines all its movements. Comp. Liebner, Christologie, I. p. 351: “The miracles of Christ are occasional manifestations of the complete introduction, through the God-man, of that relation between nature and spirit which is to be perfected in the end of the world”—means by which the λόγος reveals Himself in His human impersonation and work, so that they are always of a moral nature, and have always a moral aim in view, unfolding, in their essential connection with His preaching, the miracle of the incarnation on which His whole work was based (Martensen, Dogm. § 155 [E. T. p. 301]). Observe, moreover, how the power to work miracles was a gift and σημεῖον of the apostles (Romans 15:19; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Hebrews 2:4), and a χάρισμα of the apostolic church (1 Corinthians 12:9 f.), a fact which warrants us in assuming, indeed in inferring a minori ad majus, the reality of the miracles of Jesus Himself—in general, we mean, and without prejudice to the criticism of the narratives in detail. At the same time, in the application of such criticism, the hypothesis of legendary embellishments should be treated with great caution by a modest exegesis, and all the more that, in the fourth Gospel, we have a series of miracles bearing the attestation of one who was an eye-witness, and which, in their various features, correspond to many of those recorded by the Synoptists.


Verse 5

Matthew 8:5. The centurion was a Gentile by birth, Matthew 8:10, but connected with Judaism (Luke 7:3), probably from being a proselyte of the gate, and was serving in the army of Herod Antipas. The narrative is, in the main, identical with Luke 7, differing only in points of minor importance. The question as to which of the two evangelists the preference in point of originality is to be accorded, must be decided not in favour of Matthew (Bleek, Keim), but of Luke, whose special statements in the course of the incident (misinterpreted by Strauss and Bruno Bauer, comp. de Wette) cannot, except in an arbitrary way, be ascribed to an amplifying tendency; they bear throughout the stamp of historical and psychological originality, and nothing would have been more superfluous than to have invented them for the sake of giving greater prominence to the man’s humility, which is brought out quite as fully and touchingly in Matthew’s narrative. Comp. Neander, Krabbe, Lange. For the points of difference in the account John 4:47 ff., see note on that passage.


Verse 6

Matthew 8:6. παῖς μου] not son (Strauss, Neander, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek, Hilgenfeld, Keim), but slave (Luke 7:7; Matthew 14:2); yet not: my favourite slave (Fritzsche, comp. Luke 7:2); but either the centurion had only the one, or else he refers to that one in particular whom he had in view. From Matthew 8:9, the former appears to be the more probable view.

βέβληται] is laid down. Comp. Matthew 9:2. The perf. as denoting the existing condition. The description of the disease is not at variance with Luke 7:2, but more exact.

παραλυτ.] see on Matthew 4:24.


Verse 7

Matthew 8:7. And Jesus (perceiving, from his mode of address and whole demeanour, the centurion’s faith in His divine miraculous power) answered him: I (emphatically) will come, and so on. Fritzsche puts it interrogatively. But ( καί, by way of coupling an objection, Porson, ad Eur. Phoen. 1373) said Jesus to him, Am I to come and heal him ( θεραπ. conj. aor.)? This is refining more than is necessary, and not in keeping with the simple character of the passage. Bengel well says, “Divina sapientia Jesus, eos sermones proponit, quibus elicit confessionem fidelium eosque antevertit.”


Verse 8

Matthew 8:8. λόγῳ] Dat. of the means and instrument, as in Luke 7:7; speak it, i.e. command, with a word, that he become whole. This is by way of expressing a contrast to the proffered personal service. Lobeck, Paralip. p. 525.

Here again the ἵνα does not represent the infinitive construction, but: I am not sufficient (worthy enough) for the purpose that Thou shouldst go (John 1:27) under my roof (Soph. Ant. 1233). As a Gentile by birth, and loving, as he does, the Jewish people (Luke 7), he feels most deeply his own unworthiness in presence of this great miracle-worker that has arisen among them, and “non superstitione, sed fide dixit, se indignum esse,” Maldonatus.


Verse 9

Matthew 8:9. καὶἐξουσίαν] ἀπὸ τοῦ καθʼ ἑαυτὸν ὑποδείγματος κατασκευάζει, ὅτι καὶ λόγῳ μόνῳ δύναται, Euth. Zigabenus. ἄνθρ. ὑπὸ ἐξ. go together (in answer to Fritzsche). The connecting of this substantive with ἔχων, etc., serves to indicate at once his own obedience and that which he exacts and receives from others. It is quite gratuitous to suppose that the centurion regards the disease as caused by demons that are compelled to yield to the behests of Jesus (Fritzsche, Ewald); and it is equally so to impute to him the belief that the duty of carrying out those behests is entrusted to angels (Erasmus, Wetstein, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius). From the context it simply appears that he looked upon diseases as subject to Christ’s authority, and therefore ready to disappear whenever He ordered them to do so (Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Bengel, de Wette). It is thus that he commands the fever in Luke 4:39, and it ceases. Observe with Bengel the “sapientia fidelis ex ruditate militari pulchre elucens.” His inference is a case of reasoning a minori ad majus.


Verse 10

Matthew 8:10. οὐδὲ ἐν τ. ἰσρ.] not even among Israelites, the people of God, who are in possession of τὰς περὶ ἐμοῦ μαρτυρίας τῶν γραφῶν (Euth. Zigabenus). So the centurion was not a proselyte of righteousness; comp. Matthew 8:11 f., where Jews and Gentiles are contrasted with each other. And yet in him faith and humility were found inseparably united as by nature they ought to be, and that more than in the case of the ordinary native Jew. With this unfavourable testimony against Israel, comp. the history of the woman of Canaan, Matthew 15:22 ff.


Verse 11

Matthew 8:11. ἀπὸ ἀνατ. καὶ δυσμ.] from the most widely separated quarters of the world

Gentiles. Comp. Isaiah 45:6; Malachi 1:11.

According to Jewish ideas, one of the main elements in the happiness of the Messianic kingdom was the privilege of participating in splendid festive entertainments along with the patriarchs of the nation. Bertholdt, Christol. p. 196. Schoettgen on this passage. Jesus employs the expression in a symbolical sense (Matthew 26:29; Luke 13:28; Luke 14:15; Revelation 19:9; Matthew 22:30; 1 Corinthians 15:50): many Gentiles will become believers, and so have their part in the blessings of the Messianic kingdom in happy fellowship with the patriarchs of the people of God. In sharp contrast to incarnate (Matthew 3:9) Jewish pride, Tanchum (in Schoettgen): “In mundo futuro, (dixit Deus) mensam ingentem vobis sternam, quod gentiles videbunt et pudefient.” Bertholdt, p. 176. Hilgenfeld sees in the whole narrative the milder comprehensive Judaeo-Christianity of the author of the revised Gospel; but Keim again, while upholding the account in all other points, ascribes Matthew 8:11 f. to the hand that framed the later version, although, with Matthew 8:10, preparing the way for them, the words neither interrupt the connection nor clash with the then standpoint of Jesus (Matthew 3:9), seeing that in the Sermon on the Mount (especially Matthew 7:21 f.) He has taken away from the kingdom of God anything like national limitation.


Verse 12

Matthew 8:12. The sons of the kingdom: the Jews, in so far as, according to the divine promise, they have the right, as the theocratic people, to the Messiah’s kingdom (John 4:22; Romans 9:4-5; Romans 11:16 f.), and are, in consequence, its potential subjects. The article describes them, summarily, in a body, υἱός, בֵּן, as denoting physical or moral relationship, Winer, p. 223 [E. T. 298]. The true υἱοὶ τ. βας., who are so in point of fact, see Matthew 13:38.

τὸ ἐξώτερον] which is outside the (illuminated) Messianic banqueting hall. Wetstein on this passage, comp. on ἐξώτερος, LXX. Exodus 26:4; Exodus 36:10; Ezekiel 10:5; not found in Greek authors. For the thing, see Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:30. It is not some special degree of infernal punishment that is represented to us (Grotius), but the punishments themselves, and that as poena damni et sensus at once.

κλαυθμὸςὀδόντων] indicating the wail of suffering, and the gnashing of teeth that accompanies despair. The article points to the well-known ( κατʼ ἐξοχήν) misery reigning in hell (Matthew 13:42; Matthew 13:50, Matthew 22:13, Matthew 24:51, Matthew 25:30). Found in Luke only at Matthew 13:28, where the same expression occurs on a different occasion,—a circumstance which is not in Luke’s favour (de Wette, Gfrörer), but is to be explained from the fact that Jesus made frequent use of the figure of the Messianic reclining at table, and of the expression regarding the infernal κλαυθμός, etc.


Verse 13

Matthew 8:13. ἐν τῇ ὥρᾳ ἐκ.] ὥρᾳ is emphatic. In the very hour in which Jesus was uttering these words, the slave became whole, and that through the divine power of Jesus operating upon him from a distance, as in John 4:46 ff. The narrative is to be explained neither by a desire to present an enlarging view of the miraculous power of Jesus (Strauss), nor as a parable (Weisse), nor as a historical picture of the way in which God’s word acts at a distance upon the Gentiles (Volkmar), nor as being the story of the woman of Canaan metamorphosed (Bruno Bauer); nor are we to construe the proceeding as the providential fulfilment of a general but sure promise given by Jesus (Ammon), or, in that case, to have recourse to the supposition that the healing was effected through sending an intermediate agent (Paulus). But if, as is alleged, Jesus in His reply only used an affirmation which was halfway between a benediction depending on God and the faith of the house, and a positive act (Keim), it is impossible to reconcile with such vagueness of meaning the simple imperative and the no less impartial statement of the result. Moreover, there exists as little a psychical contact between the sick man and Jesus, as at the healing of the daughter of the woman of Canaan, Matthew 15:22, but the slave was cured in consideration of the centurion’s faith.


Verse 14

Matthew 8:14. Mark 1:29 ff., Luke 4:38 ff., assign to the following narrative another and earlier position, introducing it immediately after the healing of a demoniac in the synagogue, which Matthew omits. The account in Mark is the original one, but in none of the reports are we to suppose the evangelists to be recording the earliest of Jesus’ works of healing (Keim).

εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν πέτρον] in which also his brother Andrew lived along with him, Mark 1:29. Not inconsistent with John 1:45, as Peter was a native of Bethsaida, though he had removed to Capernaum. Whether the house belonged to him cannot be determined.

τὴν πενθερὰν αὐτοῦ] 1 Corinthians 9:5.


Verse 15-16

Matthew 8:15-16. διηκόνει] at table, John 12:2; Luke 10:40. There is a difference, though an unimportant one, in Luke’s account (Luke 4:39) of the mode in which the miracle was performed.

ὀψίας δὲ γεν.] with more precision in Mark and Luke, at sunset. Besides, in the present instance there is nothing of the special reference to the Sabbath which we find in Mark and Luke, but we are merely given to understand that Jesus remains in Peter’s house till the evening (comp. on Matthew 14:15). By this time the report of the miraculous cure had spread throughout the whole place; hence the crowds that now throng Him with their sick,—a fact which accords but ill with the attempt to destroy or weaken the supernatural character of the act (“mitigating of the fever,” and that by gentle soothing words or a sympathetic touch of the hand, Keim, comp. Schenkel).

λόγῳ] without the use of any other means.


Verse 17

Matthew 8:17. This expelling of demons and healing of diseases were intended, in pursuance of the divine purposes, to be a fulfilment of the prediction in Isaiah 53:4. Observe that this prophecy is fulfilled by Jesus in another sense also, viz. by His atoning death (John 1:29; 1 Peter 2:24).

The passage is quoted from the original (Hebrew) text, but not according to the historical meaning of that original, which would involve the necessity of representing the Messiah, in the present instance, as the atoning sin-bearer (see Kleinert in d. Stud. u. Krit. 1862, p. 723 f.), which, however, is not suited to the connection—but rather according to that special typical reference, which also seems to have been contemplated by that prediction when read in the light of the acts of healing performed by Jesus. At the same time, λαμβάνειν and βαστάζειν must not be taken in a sense contrary to that of נָשָׁא and סָבַל, to take away, to remove (de Wette, Bleek, Grimm); but when their ailments are taken away from the diseased, the marvellous compassionate one who does this stands forth as he who carries them away, and, as it were, bears the burden lifted from the shoulders of others. The idea is plastic, poetical, and not to be understood as meaning an actual personal feeling of the diseases thus removed.


Verse 18

Matthew 8:18. εἰς τὸ πέραν] from Capernaum across to the east side of the lake of Tiberias. He wished to retire. Instead of putting the statement in the pragmatic form (it is different in Mark 4:35) adopted by Matthew, Luke 8:22 merely says, καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν. According to Baur, it is only the writer of the narrative who, in the historical transitions of this passage (here and Matthew 8:28; Matthew 9:1; Matthew 9:9; Matthew 9:14; Matthew 9:18), “turns the internal connection of all those events into an outward connection as well.”


Verse 19

Matthew 8:19. εἷς γραμματεύς] Never, not even in passages like John 6:9, Matthew 21:19, Revelation 8:13 (in answer to Winer, p. 111 [E. T. p. 145]; Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 74 [E. T. 85]), is εἷς equivalent to the indefinite pronoun τίς, to which the well-known use of εἷς τίς is certainly opposed, but is always found, and that in the N. T. as well, with a certain numerical reference, such as is also to be seen (Blomfield, Gloss. in Persas, 333) in the passages referred to in classical writers (Jacobs, ad Achill. Tat. p. 398, ad Anthol. XII. p. 455). It is used (Matthew 6:24) in the present instance in view of the ἕτερος about to be mentioned in Matthew 8:21; for this γραμματείς, Matthew 8:19, and the subsequent ἕτερος, were both of them disciples of Jesus. It is therefore to be interpreted thus: one, a scribe. It follows from Matthew 8:21 that this γραμματεύς already belonged to the number of Jesus’ disciples in the more general sense of the word, but he now intimated his willingness to become one of His permanent and intimate followers.

The difference in time and place which, as regards the two incidents, Matthew 8:19-22 (in Mark they are omitted), is found in Luke 9:57-60, is not to be removed. The question as to which evangelist the preference is to be assigned in point of the historical faithfulness of his narrative, falls to be decided in favour of Matthew (Rettig in d. Stud. u. Krit. 1838, p. 240 ff.), as compared with the loose and indefinite account in Luke (Schleiermacher, Schneckenburger, Gfrörer, Olshausen, Arnoldi, Holtzmann), who, moreover, adds Luke 9:61 f.) still a third, and doubtless no less historical an incident with which he had been made acquainted. Schleiermacher inaptly refers ὅπου ἂν ἀπέρχῃ to the various roads by which Jesus might travel to Jerusalem (Schleiermacher, Schrift. d. Luk. p. 169). It is clear, however, from the fact of this narrative occurring so far on in Luke, that he cannot have supposed that the γραμματεύς was Judas Iscariot, and that the ἕτερος was Thomas (Lange). As far was he from supposing that the one was Bartholomew and the other Philip (Hilgenfeld), according to the discovery already made by Clement of Alexandria.

Observe, further, how quite differently Jesus answers the scribe with his supposed claims as compared with the simple-minded ἕτερος (Ewald), and how in addressing the latter He merely says, ἀκολούθει μοι.


Verse 20

Matthew 8:20. κατασκηνώσεις] Places of abode, where, as in their quarters, so to speak (Polybius, xi. 26. 5), they used to dwell. Comp. Matthew 13:32; Wisdom of Solomon 9:8; Tobit 1:4; 2 Maccabees 14:35. Not nests specially.

υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρ.(431) Jesus, who thus designates Himself by this title (in Acts 7:56 Stephen does so likewise), means nothing else by it than “the Messiah,” according to its significant prophetic characteristic, which, assuming it to be known to those whom He addressed, the Lord claims for Himself. But this self-chosen title, the expression of His full Messianic consciousness, is not founded (Delitzsch, Kahnis, Dogm. I. p. 446), not even in the first place, at least (Keim), upon Psalms 8:5, seeing that evidence of a Messianic interpretation of this psalm is nowhere to be found in the New Testament (not even in Matthew 21:16). Still less again must we start with the well-known usage in Ezekiel 2:1; Ezekiel 3:1 (Weizsäcker), which has nothing to do with the Messianic idea. Much rather is it to be traced, and, as specially appears from Matthew 24:30, Matthew 26:64, to be solely traced, to the impressive account of that prophetic vision, Daniel 7:13, so familiar to the Jews (John 12:34), and vividly reflected in the pre-Christian Book of Enoch,—a vision in which the Messiah appears in the clouds, כְּבַר אֱנָשׁ, ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, surrounded by the angels that stand beside the throne of the divine Judge, i.e. in a form which, notwithstanding His superhuman heavenly nature, is not different from that of an ordinary man.(432) Comp. Revelation 1:13; Revelation 14:14; Hengstenberg, Christol. III. 1, p. 10 f.; Schulze, alttest. Theol. II. p. 330 f.; Ewald, Gesch. Chr. p. 146 ff.; Schulze, p. 26 ff.; Weissenbach, p. 14 ff. The whole depended, then, on whether those who were present when Jesus named Himself the Son of man would understand this predicate in Daniel’s sense or not. In himself, however, this Son of man, whose form had been delineated in Daniel’s vision, was Jesus Himself, as the historical reality, in so far as in His person He who there appeared in heavenly form had come down to earth. As often, therefore, as Jesus, in speaking of Himself, uses the words, “the Son of man,” He means nothing else than “the Son of man in that prophecy of Daniel,” i.e. the Messiah. υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου is evidently identical with χριστός, ver. 30. On John 12:34, see the notes on that passage. Comp. also on Matthew 16:13, which passage, according to Hofmann, Weiss. u. Erf. II. p. 19, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 79, and Kahnis, is also supposed to contradict our explanation of the υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου. Only let it be carefully observed that the expression, “the son of man,” is not directly synonymous with “the Messiah,” but acquired this definite meaning for others only when first they came to refer it, in Daniel’s sense, to Jesus, so that it did not immediately involve the idea of “the Messiah,” but came to do so through the application, on the part of believers, of Daniel’s prophetic vision. But we must avoid ascribing to this self-designation any purpose of concealment (Ritschl in d. theolog. Jahrb. 1851, p. 514; Weisse, Wittichen, Holtzmann, Colani, Hilgenfeld), all the more that Jesus so styles Himself in the hearing of His disciples (already in John 1:51). Comp. with Mark 2:8. And He so names Himself in the consciousness that in Him the above prediction has been fulfilled. For those, indeed, who did not share this belief, this designation of Himself continued, as well it might, to be mysterious and unintelligible, as Matthew 16:13. But to suppose that Jesus has chosen it “to avoid the consequences of a haphazard Messianic title” (Holtzmann), would be to impute a calculating reserve which would scarcely be consistent with His character.">(433) But, behind the consciousness which led Him to appropriate to Himself this designation from Daniel, there was, at the same time, the correlative element of His divine Sonship, the necessary (in answer to Schleiermacher) conviction, more decidedly brought out in John, of His divine pre-existence (as Logos), the δόξα of which He had left behind, in order, as the heavenly personage in Daniel’s vision, ὡς υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου, to appear in a form of existence not originally belonging to Him. And so far those are right, who, following the Fathers, have recognised (Grotius contradicted by Calovius) the Pauline κένωσις in this self-designation, based as it is upon the consciousness of His pre-existent divinity. Comp. Chrysostom on John 3:13, where he says: Jesus has so named Himself ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλάττονος οὐσίας; and Augustine, de consens. ev. ii. 1, who observes: in this we are taught “quid misericorditer dignatus sit esse pro nobis.” It is to import ideas historically inconsistent with Daniel 7, when, in spite of the definite nature of the expression in Daniel 7:13, it has been so understood as if Christ meant thereby to describe Himself as the man in the highest sense of the word, as the second Adam, as the ideal of humanity (Herder, Böhme, Neander, Ebrard, Olshausen, Kahnis, Gess, Lange, Weisse, Beyschlag, Wittichen), or as the man toward whom, as its aim, the whole history of humanity since Adam has been tending (Hofmann, Schriftbew. II. 1, p. 81; Thomasius, Chr. Per. u. Werk, II. p. 15), or as the true man renewed after the image of God (Schenkel), as He who is filled with the whole fulness of God (Colani), and such like. Fritzsche supposes Jesus to have meant, filius ille parentum humanorum, qui nunc loquitur, homo ille, quem bene nostis, i.e. ego, and that, on the strength of Daniel 7:13, the Christians were the first to ascribe to the words the signification of Messiah. This would only be conceivable if υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου had happened to be a current self-designation in general, in which case it would not be necessary to presuppose a special historical reason why Jesus should so frequently have used the title in reference to Himself. Consequently Baur is likewise in error in thinking that the expression denotes the man as such who stands aloof from nothing human, and esteems nothing human foreign to himself. In like manner Holtzmann’s view, viz. that Jesus intends to describe His central place in the circle of the υἱοὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, is at variance with the original meaning of the phrase as used in Daniel, and rests upon inferences from expressions which Jesus, while designated as above, has used in reference to Himself, which predicates, however, cannot determine the meaning of the subject. This, at the same time, in answer to Weizsäcker, p. 428 ff., who thinks that by that expression Jesus had endeavoured to bring His followers to a higher spiritual conception of the Messiah, for whom it was possible to appear without royal splendour. In υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρ. He describes Himself as the great Messiah, and that in the form of a human life, but not specially as the lowly, self-humbling servant of humanity (Keim), or he who is intimately bound up with humanity (Gess, I. p. 186). According to the corresponding passages elsewhere, ideas of this sort are found first to emerge in predicates, and, as a rule, in the course of the context; which, however, is not the case here, where the main point is the contrast, as seen in the fact that He who is that son of man of the prophet’s vision has not where to lay His weary head. Finally, Holsten asserts what is contrary to the whole Christology of the New Testament, as well as irreconcilable with Romans 1:3 f., when he says that as Messiah of the αἰὼν οὗτος, Jesus is Daniel’s υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, and that as Messiah of the future αἰών He passes over into the form of existence belonging to the υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, which latter He is in this present era of time, as being the Son of man, destined to become the Son of God. In the analysis of the phrase, τοῦ ἀνθρώπου is to be understood neither of Adam (Gregory Nazienzen, Erasmus) nor of the Virgin Mary (Euth. Zigabenus), but, according to Dan. l.c., to be taken generically; so that, as far as the essential meaning goes, it is in no way different from the anarthrous ἀνθρώπου in Daniel.

ποῦ τὴν κεφ. κλίνῃ] i.e. a resting-place, a sleeping-place which He can call His own. Of course an evidence of poverty (in contrast to the earthly aims of the scribe, which the eye of Jesus had fully penetrated), but of that which is connected with an unsettled life, which is not necessarily to be identified with want (John 13:29; John 12:5; John 19:23).


Verse 21

Matthew 8:21. τῶν μαθητῶν] of His disciples, in the more general sense of the words. This is evident from ἕτερος, which (see note on Matthew 8:19) places him whom it represents in the same category with the scribe. According to Luke 9:59, the ἕτερος is not spoken of as μαθητής, and is summoned by Jesus to follow Him, which is to be regarded as an altered form of the tradition.

πρῶτον] in the first place, before I follow thee, Matthew 8:19; Matthew 8:22.

θάψαι] It was, and, to some extent, is still the practice of the Jews, to bury their dead on the very day on which they die, Matthew 9:23, Acts 5:7 f.; and it was the sacred duty of sons to attend to the obsequies of their parents. Genesis 25:9; Tobit 4:3; Schoettgen, Horae, on this passage.


Verse 22

Matthew 8:22. τοὺς νεκροὺςνεκρούς] The first νεκρ. (not the second likewise, as Weisse improperly holds) denotes the spiritually dead (comp. on Matthew 4:16, on John 5:21; John 5:25, and on Luke 15:24), who are without the spiritual life that comes through Christ. Origen in Cramer’s Catena: ψυχὴ ἐν κακίᾳ οὖσα νεκρά ἐστιν. The second literally; the dead belonging to their own circles. Fritzsche (comp. Kaeuffer, de not. ζωῆς αἰων. p. 34) interprets literally in both cases: let the dead bury themselves among one another, as a paradox by way of refusing the request. What a meaningless view of Jesus’ thoughtful way of putting it! The seeming harshness of Jesus’ reply (in answer to Weisse, Bruno Bauer) must be judged of by considering the necessity which he saw of decided and immediate separation, as compared with the danger of the contrary (Chrysostom); comp. Matthew 10:37. Moreover, it is to be inferred from ἀκολούθει μοι. Comp. with Luke 9:60, that this μαθητής proceeded at once to follow the Lord, while that γραμματεύς of Matthew 8:19 probably went away like the rich young man mentioned in Matthew 19:22.


Verse 23

Matthew 8:23 ff. Comp. Mark 4:36 ff.; Luke 8:22 ff.

τὸ πλοῖον] the boat standing ready to convey them over, Matthew 8:18.

οἱ μαθηταί] not the Twelve in contrast to the multitude, Matthew 8:18 (Fritzsche), which is forbidden by Matthew 9:9, but His disciples generally, who, as appears from the context, are in the present instance those who had joined themselves more closely to Him, and were following Him, as the scribe also of Matthew 8:19 and the person indicated in Matthew 8:21 had declared their willingness to do.


Verse 24-25

Matthew 8:24-25. σεισμός] Agitation, specially in the sense of earthquake, here: storm (Jeremiah 23:19; Nahum 1:3).

καλύπτεσθαι] The waves were dashing over the boat.

αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκάθευδε] but He Himself was sleeping, contrasting with the dangerous position of the boat in which He was. “Securitas potestatis,” Ambrose.

σῶσον, ἀπολλύμεθα] Asyndeton indicating urgent alarm, and this alarm with Jesus present was the ground of His rebuke.

On the situation of the lake, as rendering it liable to gusts and storms, see Robinson, Pal. III. p. 571; Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 308.


Verse 26

Matthew 8:26. ἐπετίμησε] increpuit, on account of the unseasonable fury of its waves. Similarly נָּעַר, Psalms 106:9; Nahum 1:4. Comp. Matthew 17:18; Luke 4:39. This rebuking of the elements (at which Schleiermacher took special offence) is the lively plastic poetry, not of the author of the narrative, but of the mighty Ruler.

On τότε Bengel observes: “Animos discipulorum prius, deinde mare composuit.” Unquestionably more original than Mark and Luke; not a case of transforming into the miraculous (Holtzmann). The miraculous does not appear till after the disciples have been addressed.

γαλήνη μέγ.] Matthew 8:24. σεισμὸς μέγ.

Here was a greater than Jonas, Matthew 12:41.


Verse 27

Matthew 8:27. οἱ ἄνθρωποι] Meaning the people who, besides Jesus and His disciples, were also in the boat, not the disciples(434) included (de Wette, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek), seeing that the specially chosen ἄνθρωποι (Matthew does not at all say πάντες) most naturally denotes other parties than those previously mentioned, viz. “quibus nondum innotuerat Christus,” Calvin. Fritzsche’s homines quotquot hujus portenti nuntium acceperant is incorrect. From the nature of the case, and by means of the connection with Matthew 8:28, Matthew represents the astonishment and the exclamation as coming immediately after the stilling of the tempest, and in the boat itself.

ὅτι] seeing that. Giving the reason for the ποταπός (qualis, see on Mark 13:1).

The narrative itself must not be traced to a misconception on the part of the disciples, who are supposed either to have attributed the cessation of the storm to the presence of Jesus and His observations regarding this condition of the weather (Paulus), or to have misapprehended the Lord’s command to be still, addressed to the storm within them at the moment when that which raged without was over (Hase). As little should we have recourse to a symbolical explanation of the fact, as though it had been intended to exhibit the superiority of the friend of God to the war of the elements (Ammon), or to represent the tranquillity of the inner life that is brought about by the spirit of Christ (Schleiermacher). But if Strauss has classed the narrative in the category of mythical sea stories, Keim again, though feeling sure that it is founded upon fact, is nevertheless of opinion that the actual event has been retouched, beyond recognition, with the colouring and in the spirit of the psalms (such as cvi, cvii), while Weizsäcker sees in it nothing more than an evidence of the spiritual power with which, in a case of outward distress, Jesus so works upon the faith of His disciples that they see themselves transported into a world of miracles; the miracle, he thinks, resolves itself into the extraordinary impression produced by what had taken place. It is to do manifest violence to the clear and simple account of the Gospels, to adopt such expedients for divesting the narrative of its supernatural character, as Schenkel also has had recourse to, who thinks that, after the pilot had despaired, Jesus, with assured confidence in His destiny, stood up, and, after rebuking and allaying the fears of those around Him, assumed to Himself the direction of the boat. The text renders it necessary to insist on treating the event (Neander, Steinmeyer) as miraculous—as a proceeding the cause of which is to be found in the divine energy dwelling in the Lord (Luke 11:20)—in a powerful exercise of His authority over the elements, which there should be no more difficulty in admitting than in the case of His other miracles in the sphere of nature (the feeding, Cana) and upon the bodily organism (even when dead).


Verse 28

Matthew 8:28 ff. Comp. Mark 5:1 ff.; Luke 8:26 ff. Comp. Ewald, Jahrb. VII. p. 54 ff.

γερασηνῶν] Since Gerasa, the eastern frontier town of Peraea (Joseph. Bell. iii. 3. 3, iv. 9. 1), which Origen and others look upon as even belonging to Arabia, stood much too far to the south-east of the Sea of Tiberias, as the ruins of the town also still prove (Dieterici, Reisebilder aus d. Morgenl. 1853, II. p. 275 ff.; Rey, Voyage dans le Haouran, 1860); since, further, the reading γεργεσηνῶν has the preponderance of testimony against it, and since that reading has gained currency, if not solely on the strength of Origen’s conjecture (on John 1:28; John 2:12; Opp. iv. p. 140, ed. de la Rue), at least mainly on the strength of his evidence; since, again, no trace is found of a Gergesa either as town (Origen: πόλις ἀρχαία) or as village (Ebrard), Josephus, in fact, Antt. i. 6. 2, expressly stating that of the ancient γεργεσαίοι (Genesis 15:21; Genesis 10:16; Deuteronomy 8:1; Joshua 24:11) nothing remains but their names; since, finally, the reading γαδαρηνῶν has important testimony in its favour (see the critical remarks), being also confirmed by Origen, though only as found ἐν ὀλίγοις, and harmonizes with geographical facts,—we are therefore bound to regard that as the original reading, whilst γερασηνῶν and γεργεσηνῶν must be supposed to owe their origin to a confusion in the matter of geography. Even apart from the authority of Origen, the latter reading came to be accepted and propagated, all the more readily from the circumstance that we are made acquainted with actual Gergesenes through the Old Testament. On Gadara, at present the village of Omkeis, at that time the capital of Peraea (Joseph. Bell. iv. 7. 3), standing to the south-east of the southern extremity of the Sea of Tiberias, between the latter and the river Mandhur, consult Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 375 ff.; Rüetschi in Herzog’s Encykl. IV. p. 636 f.; Kneucker in Schenkel’s Bibellex. II. p. 313 ff. According to Paulus, who defends γερασηνῶν, the district of Gerasa, like the ancient Gilead, must have extended as far as the lake; the πόλις, however, Matthew 8:33-34, he takes to have been Gadara, as being the nearest town. The context makes this impossible.

δύο] According to Mark and Luke, only one. This difference in the tradition (Matthew 9:27, Matthew 20:30) is not to be disposed of by conjectures (Ebrard, Bleek, Holtzmann think that, as might easily enough have happened, Matthew combines with the healing of the Gadarenes that of the demoniacs in the synagogue at Capernaum, Mark 1:23 ff.), but must be allowed to remain as it is. At the same time, it must also be left an open question whether Matthew, with his brief and general narrative (Strauss, de Wette), or Mark and Luke (Weisse), with their lively, graphic representations, are to be understood as giving the more original account. However, should the latter prove to be the case, as is probable at least from the peculiar features in Mark (comp. Weiss, op. cit., p. 342), it is not necessary, with Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin, to hit upon the arbitrary method of adjustment implied in supposing that there were no doubt two demoniacs, but that the one—whom Mark (and Luke) accordingly mentions—was far more furious than the other. According to Strauss and Keim, the change to the singular has had the effect of giving a higher idea of the extraordinary character of a case of possession by so many demons; Weisse and Schenkel hold the reverse; Weiss thinks the number two owes its origin to the fact of there having been a great many demons. Mere groundless conjectures.

The demoniacs are lunatics, furious to a high degree; they took up their abode among the tombs (natural or artificial grottoes in the rocks or in the earth) that were near by, driven thither by their own melancholy, which sought gratification in gloomy terrors and in the midst of impurity (Lightfoot in loc., and on Matthew 17:15; Schoettgen, p. 92; Wetstein in loc.), and which broke out into frenzy when any one happened to pass by. Many old burial vaults are still to be seen at the place on which Gadara formerly stood.


Verse 29

Matthew 8:29. τί ἡμῖν κ. σοί] See on John 2:4. The demons according to their nature, already recognise in Jesus, the Messiah, their mighty and most dangerous enemy, and “cum terrore appellant filium Dei,” Bengel.

πρὸ καιροῦ] prematurely, i.e. before the Messianic judgment (Matthew 25:41).

βασανίσαι ἡμᾶς] to hurl us, as servants of Satan, down to the torments of Hades (Luke 16:23; Revelation 14:10; Revelation 20:10). The lunatics identify themselves with the demons by whom they are possessed. It is plain, however, from their very language that they were Jews, and not Gentiles (Casaubon, Neander).


Verse 30

Matthew 8:30. ΄ακράν] relative idea, therefore not incompatible with ἐκεῖ in Mark 5:11; Luke 8:32 (Wilke, Holtzmann).

Seeing the Jews were forbidden (Lightfoot) to keep swine, as being unclean animals, the herd must either have been the property of Gentile owners, or been the subject of Jewish trade.

βοσκομένη] not to be connected with ἦν, but with ἀγέλη.


Verse 31

Matthew 8:31. εἰςχοίρων] They mean: into the bodies of the swine that were feeding. To the unclean spirits in the possessed Jews, anticipating, as they certainly do, their inevitable expulsion, it appears desirable, as well as most easily attainable, that they should find an abode for themselves in impure animals. Eisenmenger, entdecktes Judenth. II. p. 447 f.

The request implies that the demoniacs considered themselves to be possessed by a multitude of evil spirits, a circumstance noticed in detail by Mark and Luke, from which, however, it may be inferred that the form of the tradition is not the same as the one made use of in our Gospel. The former is so peculiar, that, had Matthew only abridged it (Ewald), he would scarcely have omitted so entirely its characteristic features. On the contrary, he followed another version of the story which he happened to light upon, and which likewise mentioned two demoniacs instead of one; comp. on Matthew 8:28. Probably this is also the source to which we are to trace the expression δαίμονες, which does not occur anywhere else in Matthew, and which in Mark 5:12 is of doubtful critical authority.


Verse 32

Matthew 8:32. ἐξελθόντες ἀπῆλθον, κ. τ. λ.] therefore the demons who, quitting those who were possessed, enter the bodies of the swine. The idea that the demoniacs ran away among the swine is opposed to the narrative.

καὶ ἰδοὺ, ὥρμησε, κ. τ. λ.] in consequence of the demons taking possession of the animals, and thereby producing in them a state of fury corresponding to that which had been excited in the men.


Verse 33-34

Matthew 8:33-34. πάντα καὶ, κ. τ. λ.] They reported everything, and especially how it had fared from first to last with the two demoniacs (Matthew 21:21).

πᾶσα πόλις] the Gadarenes. See Matthew 8:28.

παρεκάλεσαν, ὅπως μεταβῇ, κ. τ. λ.] The subject of the request is conceived as the aim in asking (Matthew 14:36; Mark 5:10).

The motive for the request was fear lest a greater disaster should follow.

REMARK.

Seeing that all the attempts that have been made to evade the force of this narrative—such as saying that the demoniacs themselves had rushed in among the swine, or that the herd perished through some accidental and unknown circumstance (Neander), or that in the εἰσέρχεσθαι we have merely to think of an operating in some way or other upon the animals as a whole (Olshausen)—run counter to what is clearly recorded, nothing remains but either to take the whole account as real history, and just as it stands (Krabbe, Ebrard, Delitzsch, bibl. Psychol. p. 296 ff.; Klostermann, Markusevang. p. 101 ff.; Steinmeyer, apolog. Beitr. I. p. 144 ff.), in which case it will be necessary to dispose of objections in the best way possible,(435) or else to admit the existence of legendary elements, and then eliminate them. The latter course is imperative and inevitable if we are not to look upon the condition of the demoniacs as a case of possession at all (see on Matthew 4:24, note). According to this view of the matter, Jesus is supposed to have cured the two maniacs by means of His wonderful power, transmitting its influence through a humouring of their capricious fancies, and that this yielding to their request to be allowed to enter the swine may have led in a subsequent form of the tradition—a tradition, at the same time, which did not require to be assisted by the supposed recollection of some disaster to a herd of swine that happened about the same time on that side of the lake—to the statement being added about the drowning of the whole herd, which addition might take place all the more readily from the fact that swine were unclean and forbidden animals, and considering also how much is often due to the play of popular wit (Ewald), which, in the death of the swine, would pretend to see the demons going down at length to the hell they feared so much. Strangely enough, Lange, L. J. II. p. 661, inserts in the text that the hideous yell of the demoniac in his last paroxysm has acted like an electric shock upon the herd. Ewald likewise supposes that the last fearful convulsions of the sufferer just before he was quieted may have occasioned such a terror as might readily communicate itself to a whole herd. But in this affair of the demons, not one of the three accounts says anything whatever about last convulsions and such like. Yet Schenkel, too, boldly asserts that, just before the cure took place, there were violent outbursts of the malady, which threw a herd of swine into a panic, and sent them rushing into the water. Keim, on the other hand, favours the view that “the introduction of the four-footed beasts owes its origin to legend, inasmuch as it sought to expound the healing from the life, and with bitter mockery of the Jews to explain and avenge the banishing of Jesus from the district.” If this is to ascribe too much to legend,—too much to invention and wit, had not, indeed, the presence of a herd offered a handle for it,—then, to say the least of it, Weizsäcker followed the more cautious course when he abandoned the idea of finding out the fact on which the obscure reminiscence may probably have been founded,—although, when we consider the essential uniformity of the three evangelic narratives in other respects, the obscurity, if we keep out of view the difference in the naming of the locality, may not appear sufficiently great to warrant such entire abandonment.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Matthew 8:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/matthew-8.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology