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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament
Matthew 9



Other Authors
Verse 1

Matthew 9:1. διεπέρασε, He crossed over) Being asked to do so by the Gergesenes. The Lord does not force His blessings on the unwilling.(390)ἰδίαν, His own) sc. Capernaum, exalted by this inhabitant.

Verse 2

Matthew 9:2. προσέφερον αὐτῷ, they brought to Him) Many such offerings were made to the Saviour, and they were pleasing to Him.— τὴν πίστιν αὐτῶν, their faith) i.e. of him who was borne, and of them who bare him.— θάρσει, τέκνον, Son, be of good cheer(391)) “Neither thy sins nor thy disease shall stand in thy way.” Thus, at Matthew 9:22, θάρσει, θύγατερ, daughter, be of good comfort. “Be of good comfort;” neither thy sins shall prevail against thee, nor thy disease. Thus also, “Be of good comfort, daughter,” in Matthew 9:22.— ἀφέωνταί σοι, are forgiven thee) Without doubt, great was the sense of great sins in that man.(392)σοὶ has here both emphasis and accent, but in Matthew 9:5 the same words are repeated after the manner of a quotation, and σοι or σου is enclitic.(393)

Verse 3

Matthew 9:3. εἶπον ἐν ἑαυτοῖς, οὗτος βλασφημεῖ, said within themselves, this man blasphemeth) Blasphemy is committed when (1.) things unworthy of God are attributed to Him; (2.) things worthy of God are denied to Him; (3.) when the incommunicable attributes of God are attributed to others.

Verse 4

Matthew 9:4. εἰδὼς, knowing) Besides many Greek codices, which Mill first began to notice on this passage, the Gothic version and the margin of Courcelles reads thus.— ἰδὼν(394) appears to have been introduced by some persons from Matthew 9:2. St Mark and St Luke have ἐπιγνοὺς in the parallel passages. Thus too we find εἰδὼς in ch. Matthew 12:25.— ὑ΄εῖς, you) The pronoun is expressed for the sake of emphasis.(395)

Verse 5

Matthew 9:5. τί γὰρ, for which?) In itself either is the sign of Divine authority and power; and the connection between sin and disease is in itself most close: the power which removes both is one. According to human judgment, it is easier to say, “Thy sins are remitted;” and he who can say “Arise,” which appears greater, can also say this, which appears less.

Verse 6

Matthew 9:6. εἰδῆτε, ye may know) This word also breathes authority.(396)ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, on earth) This is exclusively the place where sins are committed and remitted. Earth was the scene of Christ’s works from the beginning.(397) See Proverbs 8:31; cf. the two clauses in Psalms 16:3; see(398), Jeremiah 9:24; John 17:4; Luke 2:14. I have, says He, all authority in heaven, much more on earth; see ch. Matthew 16:19, Matthew 28:18.(399) This speech savours of a heavenly origin.— ἐξουσίαν, authority) The argument from power to authority holds good in this passage.— λέγει, He saith) A similar change of person between the protasis and apodosis occurs in Numbers 5:20-21, and Jeremiah 5:14.

Verse 8

Matthew 9:8. ἐξουσίαν τοιαύτην, such authority) sc. to heal and save (see Matthew 9:6), and that close at hand in the man Jesus Christ.— τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, to men) so long afflicted with sin.(400) An expansive expression (lata oratio), as in Matthew 9:6.(401) They rejoiced that there was one of the human race endued with this authority.

Verse 9

Matthew 9:9. ΄ατθαῖον, Matthew) A Hebrew by nation, and yet a publican. In St Mark and St Luke, he is called Levi.(402) It is possible that Matthew did not like the name which he had borne as a publican.— καθἡμενον, sitting) actually employed in the business of his calling. And yet Matthew followed. A great miracle and example of the power of Jesus. A noble instance of obedience(403) [productive of eternal joy.—V. g.]

Verse 10

Matthew 9:10. ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, in the house) Cf. Matthew 9:28; or, if you take it of Matthew’s house, Mark 2:15; Luke 5:29. Matthew appears in this feast to have bid adieu to his former companions,(404) nor does he call the house any longer his own.— τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ, publicans and sinners) who had sinned grievously against the sixth and seventh [seventh and eighth] commandments.— συνανέκειτο, sat down together with) Kind and condescending was the intercourse of Jesus.(405)

Verse 11

Matthew 9:11. τοὶς μαθηταῖς, to the disciples) The Pharisees acted in an oblique manner, with cunning, or at least with cowardice; to the disciples they said, Why does your Master do so? to the Master, Why do your disciples do so? see ch. Matthew 12:2, Matthew 15:2; Mark 2:16; Mark 2:18.— διατί, κ. τ. λ., why, etc.) The sanctity of Jesus was held in the highest esteem by all, even His adversaries. See Luke 19:7.

Verse 12

Matthew 9:12.(406) χρείαν, need) χρεῖαι, needs, are to be seen everywhere.—(407) κακῶς, ill) Such is indeed the case with sinners.(408)

Verse 13

Matthew 9:13. πορέυθεντες, having gone) sc. into the synagogue, where you may refer to Hosea [sc. Matthew 6:6.] Our Lord often said to those who were not His own,(409) πορεύου,” “depart,” see John 8:11. His style of quoting the Scriptures is full of suitableness and majesty, and different from that of the apostles; for He does it in such a manner as not Himself to rest upon, but to convince His hearers by their authority; and He employs it more towards His adversaries than towards the disciples who believed on Him.— μάθετε, learn ye) ye who think that ye are already consummate teachers.— ἔλεον θέλω, I will have mercy) A few read with the LXX. in Hosea 6:6, with whom the other words in this passage agree, ἔλεον θέλω.(410) The LXX. more commonly use τὸ ἔλεος in the neuter, as in Hosea 6:4. Sometimes, however, ἔλεος, like the ancient Greeks. Isaiah 60:10; Isaiah 63:7; Daniel 1:9; Daniel 9:20; Psalms 101:1; 1 Maccabees 2:57; 1 Maccabees 3:44; and especially in the minor prophets, Jonah 2:9; Micah 6:8 (which passage is also parallel with the evangelist), Ibid. Matthew 7:20; Zechariah 7:9; Hosea 12:6. Thus ἔλεος occurs in the present passage, in Matthew 12:7; Matthew 23:23; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 4:16; but τό ἔλεος occurs frequently in St Luke, St Paul, St James, St Peter, St John, and St Jude; and in Micah 7:18, the LXX., have θελητὴς ἐλέους ἐστὶν, He is a willer of mercy. We have here an axiom of interpretation, nay, the sum total of that part of theology which treats of cases of conscience. On mercy, cf. ch. Matthew 23:23. The word θυσίαν, sacrifice (victimam), is put synecdochically.(411) It is an act of mercy to eat with sinners for their spiritual profit.(412)ἦλθον, I have come) sc. from heaven.— καλέσαι, to call) Such is the mission, such the authority of Christ.— ἁμαρτωλοὺς, sinners) The word is purposely and emphatically repeated by our Lord. Cf. Matthew 9:11.

καὶ οὐ θυσίαν) This is one portion of the rigorous observance of those things, which are contained in the Law.—V. g.

Verse 14

Matthew 9:14. τότε, then) At the time of the Feast.(413)προσέρχονται αὐτῷ, come to Him) of set purpose.— οἱ μαθηταὶ ἰωάννου, the disciples of John) They were half-way between the Pharisees and the disciples of Jesus, and appear on this occasion to have been instigated by the Pharisees.(414)—Cf. Luke 5:33.— σοῦ μαθηταὶ, Thy disciples) They proceed modestly, and do not enquire concerning John or Jesus Himself.

Verse 15

Matthew 9:15. καὶ, and) Our Lord replies calmly and cheerfully: He draws joyful parables from the garments and the wine (which were being employed in the Feast) to condemn the sadness of those who questioned Him.— οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος, the children of the bridechamber) The companions of the bridegroom.(415) Parables and riddles are suited to feasts and nuptials, and are employed to illustrate this nuptial period.(416)πενθεῖν, to mourn) Mourning and fasting are joined together.— ἐλεύσονται, shall come) He means His departure, which should take place at a future period.— καὶ τότε, and then) Neither before nor after.(417)νηστεύσουσιν, they shall fast) necessarily and willingly.(418)

Verse 16

Matthew 9:16. οὐδεὶς, no one) Our Lord chose, as His disciples, men who were unlearned, fresh and simple, and imbued with no peculiar discipline.—See ch. Matthew 15:2; cf. Gnomon on Luke 7:20. The old raiment was the doctrine of the Pharisees; the new, that of Christ.— αἴρει, taketh away) both itself and more.— αὐτοῦ, his) The word is here in the masculine gender.(419)χεῖρον σχίσμα γίνεται, the rent becomes worse) Therefore, there was before some rent. A ragged garment, altogether ragged, is intended.

Verse 17

Matthew 9:17. ἀσκοὺς, leather bottles) which were used instead of casks. The old bottles are the Pharisees; the new, the disciples; the wine, the Gospel.— ἀπολοῦνται, will perish) So that they can neither hold that, nor any other wine henceforward.— ἀμφότεροι, both) masculine, as τίς. in ch. Matthew 23:17.

Verse 18

Matthew 9:18. προσεκύνει, worshipped) Although in outward appearance Jairus was greater than Jesus.— ἐτελεύτησεν, is dead) Thus he said from conjecture, or after he had received intelligence of his daughter’s death, whom he, in the great strength of faith, had left at the point of death.—See Mark 5:23.— ἐλθῶν,(420) coming) cf. John 4:47.

Verse 20

Matthew 9:20. γυνὴ, a woman) Eusebius(421) narrates that the statue of this woman and of the Lord healing her was still in existence in his time.—H. E., Bk. vii., c. 17.— ὄπισθεν, from behind) sc. out of modest humility.— τοῦ κρασπέδου, the hem or fringe) See Numbers 15:38, S. V. Our Lord performed even that part of the law. There is no valid argument from the dress which our Lord then wore to the efficacy of relics.

Verse 21

Matthew 9:21. τοῦ ἱματίου αὐτοῦ, His garment) The woman, from the sense of her own impurity, acknowledged the absolute purity of Jesus.— σωθήσομαι, I shall be made whole) The expression in Matthew 9:22σεσωκέ σε, hath made thee whole—sweetly replies to this thought.(422)

Verse 22

Matthew 9:22. θύγατερ, daughter) She was, therefore, not advanced in years.(423) πίστις σου σέσωκέ σε, thy faith hath placed thee in a state of health or salvation(424)) Our Lord was wont to say thus to those who, of themselves, as it were drew the health of their body and soul to themselves;(425) see Luke 7:50; Luke 17:19; Luke 18:42; by which words He shows that He knew the existence and extent of their faith; He praises and confirms their faith; He ratifies the gift, and commands it to remain; and at the same time intimates, that if others remain without help, unbelief is the only cause.(426)

Verse 23

Matthew 9:23. τοὺς αὐλητὰς, the flute-players) It was the custom to employ flutes at funerals, especially those of the young.— τὸν ὄχλον, the crowd) See Luke 7:12.

Verse 24

Matthew 9:24. ἀναχωρεῖτε, depart) That is, you are not needed here. Our Lord proceeds without hesitation(427) to perform the miracle, cf. ch. Matthew 14:19.— οὐ γὰρ ἀπέθανε τὸ κοράσιον, for the damsel is not dead) Jesus said this before He entered where she was lying dead. The dead all live to God; see Luke 20:38; and the girl, on account of her revival, which was to take place soon, quickly, surely, and easily, was not to be numbered amongst the dead who shall rise hereafter, but amongst those that sleep.— κατεγέλων αὐτοῦ, they laughed Him to scorn) This very circumstance confirmed the truth of both the death and the miracle. They seem to have feared the loss of their funeral dues.

Verse 25

Matthew 9:25. ἠγέρθη, she was raised) Jesus raised the dead from the bed, from the bier, from the grave; in this instance, in Luke 7:14; in John 11:44. It would be inquisitive to speculate concerning the state of the souls which had been separated for a short time.

Verse 26

Matthew 9:26. φήμη, the fame) see Matthew 9:31.— τῆν γῆν ἐκείνην, that land) St Matthew, therefore, did not write this book in that land. See Matthew 9:31, ch. Matthew 14:34-35, Matthew 4:25.

Verse 27

Matthew 9:27. τυφλοὶ, blind men) Many blind men received faith, and afterwards sight. without doubt they sought for sight, more especially on the ground that, being alive at that time, they might see the Messiah; and they did see Him with joy incredible.— ἐλέησον ἡμᾶς, have mercy upon us) An expressive formula, containing a confession of misery, and a prayer for free mercy. Even those who are without have employed this form of prayer.(428)υἱέ δαυὶδ, son of David) that is, Christ. See ch. Matthew 1:1 and Matthew 22:42.(429)

Verse 28

Matthew 9:28. ἐλθόντι, when he was come) They persevered in praying.— δύναμαι, I am able) The object of faith.

Verse 29

Matthew 9:29. κατὰ, according to) He says this by way of affirmation, not of limitation.— γενηθήτω, let it be done, or let it become) corresponding with the Hebrew יהי.(430)

Verse 30

Matthew 9:30. ἀνεῴχθησαν, were opened) The same verb is used also in the case of ears, Mark 7:34-35, and of the mouth, Luke 1:64.— ἐνεβριμήσατο, straitly charged) perhaps lest an opportunity might be given to the Pharisees. Cf. Matthew 9:34.(431)ὁρᾶτε, see) A word used absolutely; for neither does the following imperative depend on this.

Verse 32

Matthew 9:32. προσήνεγκαν αὐτῷ, κ. τ. λ., they brought to Him, etc.) One who could scarcely come of his own accord.

Verse 33

Matthew 9:33. ἰσραὴλ, Israel) In the nation in which so many wonderful things had been seen.

Verse 34

Matthew 9:34. ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι, through the prince) The Pharisees could not deny the magnitude of our Lord’s miracles; they ascribe them, therefore, to a great author, though an evil one.(432)

Verse 35

Matthew 9:35. τῆς βασιλείας, of the kingdom) sc. of God.— πᾶσαν, κ. τ. λ., every, etc.) sc. of all who were brought to Him.

Verse 36

Matthew 9:36. ἐσπλαγχνίσθη, He was moved with compassion) The disposition of Jesus was most fruitful in works of mercy.(433)ἐσκυλμένοι, tired out) walking with difficulty; a word especially suitable to this passage, concerning which see the Gnomon Mark 5:35. The reading, ἐκλελυμένοι, is clearly deficient in authority.(434)ἐῤῥιμμένοι, cast down) i.e. lying down. A further step in the path of misery,(435) and yet such a condition is already the prelude of approaching help. Cf. concerning the harvest, John 4:35.— ὡσεὶ πρόβατα μὴ ἔχοντα ποιμένα, as sheep not having a shepherd) Cf. Numbers 27:17, S. V.— ὡσεὶ πρόβατα οἷς οὐκ ἔστι ποιμήν, as sheep for whom there is not a shepherd.— ποιμὴν is properly a shepherd of sheep. Concerning sheep, cf. ch. Matthew 10:6.

BCDabc (‘vexati’) Vulg. Hil. read ἐσκυλμένοι: d, ‘fatigati.’ Rec. Text has ἐκλελυμένοι, evidently a marginal gloss to get rid of the strange expression, ἐσκυλμένοι. σκύλλω Th. σκῦλον, torn off skin, as exuviœ from exuo. Here, worn out, as tired sheep, with the φόοτια of the Pharisees.—ED.

Verse 37

Matthew 9:37. μὲν θερισμός, κ. τ. λ., The harvest indeed, etc.) He repeated the same words(436) to the Seventy; see Luke 10:2.— θερισμὸς, harvest) i.e. in the New Testament, for in the Old Testament it was the time for sowing. See John 4:35-36. And again, the present time is the season of sowing; the end of the world the harvest.— πολὺς, plenteous) See ch. Matthew 10:23.— ἐργάται, labourers) Fit persons to whom the work should be entrusted.

Verse 38

Matthew 9:38. δεήθητε, pray ye) See of how great value prayers are. The Lord of the harvest Himself wishes Himself to be moved by them. More blessings, without doubt, would accrue to the human race, if more men would, on men’s behalf,(437) meet the ever ready will of GOD. See Gnomon on 1 Timothy 2:3. The reaping and sowing is for our advantage. The Lord Himself exhorts us to entreat Him. He prevents us, that He may teach us to prevent Him.(438) (Cf. John 16:5.) And forthwith, whilst He is commanding us to pray, He implants the desire, to which it is He too that hearkens. See ch. Matthew 10:1. These same persons who are commanded to pray [for labourers], are presently appointed labourers themselves (ibid.)— κυρίου, the Lord) see ch. Matthew 10:1, Matthew 13:37. Christ is the Lord of the harvest.— ὄπως ἐκβάλλῃ,(439) to send forth) ἐκβάλλειν(440) does not always imply force, as it does in Matthew 9:33.


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Bibliography Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Matthew 9:4". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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