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Bible Commentaries

John Broadus' Commentary on Matthew
Matthew 9

 

 

Other Authors
Verse 18

Matthew 8:18 to Matthew 9:1.
Stilling The Tempest, And Healing The Demoniacs

To the miracles already adduced (see on "Matthew 8:1"), Matthew now adds two which are very remarkable. It is evident from Mark 4:35 ff., and Luke 8:22 ff., that they occurred after the delivery of the parables in Matthew 13, and apparently in the evening of the same day on which those parables were delivered. Matthew is giving a group of miracles in Matthew 8 and Matthew 9.

Matthew 8:18. Great multitudes, literally, many crowds, as in Matthew 4:25, Matthew 8:1, etc. Unto the other side, i.e., of the Lake of Galilee; literally, into the beyond. The region east of the lake and of the lower Jordan was commonly called by the Jews 'The Perea,' i.e., 'The Beyond (region),' see on "Matthew 4:25"and Matthew 19:1. We cannot suppose he sought escape from personal annoyance or discomfort. The fanatical excitement of the people (Matthew 12 and Matthew 13) was rising too high (compare on Matthew 8:4); there was less opportunity to do real good by his teachings when the crowd became so great as to produce confusion and disturbance; and in general, it was his plan to diffuse his labours throughout the country. Mark's phrase, (Mark 4:35) 'when the even was come', (compare Matthew 8:16) might include the late afternoon (see on "Matthew 14:15"). It is thus not certain, though probable, that the stormy passage was after night-fall.

Matthew 8:19. While they were preparing to cross the lake, there occurred the conversation mentioned in Matthew 8:19-22. Mark has no mention of this. Luke (Luke 9:57 ff.) gives similar conversation as taking place at a much later period, on the final journey from Galilee to Jerusalem, six months before the crucifixion. (See below, on "Matthew 19:1".) Perhaps our Lord repeated these sayings, as he often did. (See Introduction to Matthew 5.) Or it may be supposed that either Matthew or Luke has transposed these sayings from another time, as neither gives any distinct expression of connection. And a certain scribe came; literally, 'one scribe' (margin Rev. Ver.), perhaps designed to intimate that, while most of Jesus' followers were men of private station and in humble life, here was one of the teachers, a Rabbi. But in many languages the numeral 'one' came at length to be used as what grammarians call the indefinite article; e. g., German ein; English an, a, from Anglo-Saxon a, Scotch ane; French un, from Latin unus; and so in modern Greek; and it may be that we ought so to understand here (see Winer, p. 117 145), and in Matthew 19:16, Matthew 21:19. There is a similar question as to a few uses of the Hebrew word for 'one.' As to the Scribes, see on "Matthew 2:4". Whithersoever thou goest, (compare Revelation 14:4) not merely now, across the lake, but always and everywhere. This Scribe was already in a broad, general sense, a 'disciple' of Jesus—as is implied by 'another' in Matthew 8:21—but wished to be one of his constant followers.

The various words which the Common Version renders master are as follows: Kurios, usually rendered 'Lord,' whether as applied to God, to the master of a slave, or to any person in respectful address, equal to 'Sir.' (See on "Matthew 8:2".) It is rendered 'master' in Matthew 6:24, Matthew 15:27; and really signifies master in several passages in which it is rendered 'Lord,' as in Matthew 18:25 ff.; Matthew 24:45 ff.; Matthew 25:18., strictly the master of a slave, and rendered by that term in 1 Timothy 6:1 f., etc., is not found in the Gospels. Rabbi, originally signifying a superior (rab, 'great,' like mag-ister from mag—nus), was the common Jewish word for a teacher. It was primarily my rab, 'my teacher,' used only in addressing him, but afterwards also in speaking of him, like Monsieur, Monsignore. A strengthened form was Rabboni, expressing the profoundest respect. (Mark 10:51, John 20:16) It is frequently retained without translation, but is by Com. Ver. rendered 'master' in Matthew 26:25, Matthew 26:49. (Rev Ver., Rabbi.), literally, 'one set over,' variously used in the classics, in New Testament always a teacher, and found only in Luke. (Matthew 5:5 etc.), leader, guide, instructor, only in Matthew 23:10., literally and strictly teacher, is so rendered in John 3:2, and wherever it is used in Acts and the Epistles, (except James 3:1, 'masters') and rendered 'doctor' (a Latin word, meaning teacher) in Luke 2:46. Everywhere else in the Gospels the Com. Ver. renders it 'master,' used like schoolmaster. In the Gospels 'master' always represents some word denoting a 'teacher,' except in Matthew 6:24, Matthew 15:27; Mark 13:35; Luke 14:21, Luke 16:13. In like manner our missionaries among the heathen are constantly addressed by the people as "Teacher."

Matthew 8:20. The birds of the air, or heaven, as in Matthew 6:26. Nests should be habitations or 'haunts,' the word meaning simply a dwelling-place (Rev. Ver., margin); and nests being actually occupied only during incubation. The birds that fly free and wide in the heaven have some regular place to which they come to spend the night. A kindred verb in Matthew 18:32 is rendered 'lodge.' Various Fathers wildly allegorize the foxes and the birds (see Aquinas, Cat. Aur.). Hath not where to lay his head, i.e., no fixed habitation. It does not so much denote extreme poverty and discomfort, as the fact that his life was a wandering one. He had friends, at whose houses he was always welcome, and hospitality was often tendered him by others. But frequently journeying far and wide over the country, even as now he was about to cross the lake into a wild, inhospitable region, his life was one of peculiar trial and self-denying toil, and if the Scribe proposed to follow him wherever he went, he must make up his mind to follow a homeless wanderer, and so to endure many hardships. Euthymius (compare Chrys., Jerome) supposes the Scribe to have thought that large pay was received for the miracles of healing, which we know that Jesus told the Twelve they must perform gratis. (Matthew 10:8) More likely the Scribe was thinking of a temporal Messianic reign, with which the teacher was somehow connected, and which would bring its subjects power and wealth. We see from this incident how careful our Lord was to warn men beforehand what they were to expect in entering upon his service. (compare Luke 14:28-33) And although it is not now the duty of all his followers to spend their lives in wandering labours, it is still the duty of every one to "renounce himself, and take up his cross," and in the highest sense to "follow" Jesus. We are not informed whether the Scribe determined, notwithstanding the warning he had received, that he would still follow the Teacher; one would hope that he did, and would rather infer so from the Evangelist's silence, seeing that on other occasions (e. g., Matthew 19:22, John 6:66) the turning back of various apparent disciples is distinctly recorded; also from the association with the person next mentioned. Expositors have perhaps been severe in their judgment, in taking it for granted that the Scribe's motives were mercenary, and that he turned back at once. He was over confident, and the kind Teacher warned him to count the cost. The Son of man. This remarkable expression was no doubt founded on Daniel 7:13, "I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of heaven one like unto a son of man," Rev. Ver., a passage which the Jewish writers agree in referring to the Messiah. The so-called "Book of Enoch" frequently speaks of the coming Messiah as the Son of man. We learn from John 12:34 that the Jews understood this phrase to mean the Messiah; and from Luke 22:69 f. that they saw little difference between calling him the Son of man and the Son of God. Our Lord's frequent use of the phrase (more than seventy times) constitutes an oft-repeated claim to he the Messiah (e. g., Matthew 24:30, Matthew 26:64); it was also probably designed to render prominent the great fact that he was genuinely and thoroughly a man, a fact which believers in his divinity sometimes fail to appreciate. The phrase is never applied to him by any other than himself, except in Acts 7:56, and perhaps in Revelation 1:13, Revelation 14:14. As the Hebrew phrase originally suggested human feebleness and frailty (as in Psalms 8:4, Psalms 146:3), it may have seemed on that account less appropriate to the now exalted and glorified Redeemer. The many attempts to explain the phrase 'Son of man' in some other sense than as denoting the Messiah, are well stated and briefly refuted in Meyer.

Matthew 8:21. And another of his disciples. Both he and the Scribe must have been disciples only in the wider sense of the term (see on "Matthew 5:1"). Tyndale and Geneva translate "another that was one of his disciples," thus excluding the Scribe, but that is a forced rendering. There is a tradition (Clem. Alex.) that this second man was the apostle Philip, but we have no means of deciding. Conjectures, such as that the Scribe was Judas Iscariot and the other Thomas (Lukenge), or that they were Thomas and Simon Zelotes (Keim), are simply idle. Why will commentators and preachers waste time in such baseless and useless guess-work? Luke 9:59, represents the man as called on by our Lord to follow him, and replying with the request that he might first go and bury his father; Matthew does not mention such a call. The man's request pertained to a matter which the Jews reckoned of great consequence. Thus in Tobit 6:15, Tobias fears that he will die and be the death of his parents, and says, "they have no other son to bury them." It is natural to suppose that this man's father was already dead, and it was the custom to bury the dead very soon; but it was also customary (Lightfoot) to observe thirty days of special mourning, and we cannot decide whether the man meant to include that time. Elisha's somewhat similar request of Elijah was not denied (1 Kings 19:20); and the man might well have thought himself justified in asking leave to go home first. Yet a high priest or a Nazirite was required by the law to avoid the dead body of even father or mother.; (Leviticus 21:11, Numbers 6:6 f.) and one of the late Jewish commentaries says (Wet.) that "when the study of the law and the necessity of burying the dead conflict, care of the dead takes precedence; but that if there is a sufficient number of persons in attendance, the student must not leave the law." Matthew 8:22. Let the dead bury , or, as in Rev. Ver., Leave the dead to bury (so Darby, Davidson), the Greek being stronger than 'let the dead bury.' To bury their (own) dead. This cannot mean let the dead bury each other, i.e., let them remain unburied, for that is a forced explanation and an idea unworthy of our Lord. We must understand the dead spiritually and the dead literally, as in Revelation 3:1. (Compare John 11:25 f.) Such a play upon words is natural and pleasing to the Oriental mind, and different forms of it occur frequently in Scripture, including many passages where it cannot be preserved in translation. (Compare on Matthew 16:25) The idea here is that there were enough of those who were spiritually dead to perform all the offices of affection to the dead, and so Christ's followers were at liberty to devote themselves to their own far higher work. (Compare Matthew 10:37) In Luke's account, (Luke 9:60, Bib. Un. Ver.) we have the addition, 'but go thou and announce the kingdom of God.' It does not follow that Jesus would require all his followers, under all circumstances, to neglect the burial of their dead, in order that they might work exclusively at spreading the gospel; any more than he extends to every one the command laid upon the rich young ruler, to sell all he had and give to the poor. (Matthew 19:21) But we can easily conceive of circumstances now, in which it would be proper to hold in abeyance the strongest prompting of natural affection, in order to do our duty to Jesus; just as a soldier may see his brother fall at his side in a charge, and yet sometimes cannot pause to care for him, but must rush on. Their own dead. In Genesis 23:4, Genesis 23:6 we have the expressions 'my dead, 'thy dead,' and similar expressions are common now. So Jesus means to say that the dead in such a case are not yours, but belong to the spiritually dead, and should be buried by them. Here, as in Matthew 8:20, we are not informed whether the man at once followed Jesus, but it would seem probable that he did. Luke 9:60 f.. adds a third case.

Matthew 8:23. MIRACLE OF STILLING THE TEMPEST (Matthew 8:23-27.) Compare Mark 4:36 ff.; Luke 8:22 ff. Into a ship(1)—or, the boat, probably a boat suited to fishing, and without sails (see on "Matthew 4:21"). It is called 'the boat,' most likely as being the one prepared in pursuance of his order to go across (Matthew 8:18) perhaps it was shoat kept for their regular use. We ought to translate 'boat' and not 'ship.' See on "Matthew 4:21". His disciples followed him, some in the same boat, and others in additional boats mentioned by Mark. (Mark 4:36) These little fishing craft were very numerous on the lake. (John 6:23 f.) The 'disciples' are most naturally understood here as including not merely the Twelve (who as shown by the order of Mark and Luke had been selected before this time) but others of his followers, who could be called disciples in the more general sense of the term. (See on "Matthew 5:1".)

Matthew 8:24. And, behold, an expression much used by Matthew in calling attention to what follows as wonderful. Tempest. The word in the original denotes a shaking or shock, and is usually applied to an earthquake, both in the classical writers and in the New Testament (e. g., Matthew 24:7, Matthew 27:54, Matthew 28:2), but here used for a mighty storm, such as would shake men's dwellings, and seem to make the very earth tremble. Luke (Luke 8:23) tells us yet more distinctly, 'and there came down a storm (another and more common word) of wind upon the lake,' viz., down the ravines on its sides, as often happens (see description of the lake on "Matthew 4:18"). Bartlett witnessed a precisely similar occurrence: "All the day there had not been a breath of air, the sultry heat had been that of a furnace; but now a cool breeze came off the table land, and rushing down the ravines that descend to the lake, began to ruffle its placid bosom. As it grew darker, the breeze increased to a gale, the lake became a sheet of foam, and the white-headed breakers dashed proudly on the rugged beach; its gentle murmur has now changed into the wild and mournful sound of the whistling wind and the agitated waters. Afar off was dimly seen a little barque struggling with the waves, and then lost sight of amidst the misty rack." As the lake is far below the level of the Mediterranean, the air is often greatly heated and ascends rapidly; and into the vacuum comes rushing down the cold air from the eastern and western table lands.—(Thomson.) The ship—boat—was covered, or, 'was becoming covered,' the form of the Greek verb denoting an action in progress; so also in Mark, (Mark 4:37) and Luke (Luke 8:23) But he was asleep—sleeping—the Greek indicating some emphasis on 'he,' i.e., he, for his part. Mark, who so often gives piquant details, adds 'on the cushion,' i.e., the one they had in the boat, as a part of the couch in the stern on which he was lying. This makes a picture: Jesus sleeping with his head on the cushion, while the storm howled, the boat was tossed to and fro, the billows broke over and were rapidly filling it—soundly and quietly sleeping. The order of Mark and Luke make it appear that this was on the evening which followed the blasphemous accusation of chapter 12, and the great group of parables in chapter 13. After a day of such mental strain, the Saviour would naturally be exhausted. Probably also it was night. (See on "Matthew 8:18".)

Matthew 8:25. The disciples—or, they—came. 'His disciples' was an unnecessary addition of the copyists. So with us; read Save, Lord, we perish. Mark (Mark 4:38) has literally 'Teacher' (didaskalos); Luke (Luke 8:24) has 'Master, master' (epistates), see on "Matthew 8:19". It is often evident that the Evangelists have not undertaken to give the exact words used. (See on "Matthew 3:17".) The peril must have been really very great; "for these men exercised to the sea many of them from their youth, and familiar with all the changes of that lake, would not have been terrified by the mere shadow of a danger."—Trench. Luke (Luke 8:22) says expressly, and they "were in jeopardy." 'Save' here of course means save our lives, not referring to the salvation of the soul.

If the language is by us applied to the latter, it is very appropriate, but such application is made on our own authority.

Matthew 8:26. Why are ye fearful, more exactly, cowardly, which expresses the force of the Greek term according to its use in the classics and in the Septuagint. In the New Testament it is found only here (including Mark 4:40) and in Revelation 21:8, or kindred forms in 2 Timothy 1:7; John 14:28, in all which cases the idea of unworthy and discreditable fear is appropriate. O ye of little faith, see on "Matthew 6:30". Faith makes men courageous, and the disciples were discreditably timid, cowardly, because they had so little faith. This is often understood to mean faith in Jesus, but does it not rather mean a lack of faith in the providence of God their Heavenly Father, as in Matthew 6:30? Then he arose and rebuked. He first rebuked the disciples while still lying on the couch, and afterwards arose and rebuked the winds and the sea. This expression involves an obvious personification; (compare Psalms 106:9, Nahum 1:4) and Mark (Mark 4:39) gives the words addressed to the sea, as if speaking to a person, or to some fierce monster. Those words might be rendered 'Be silent, hush'; but the latter word is literally 'be muzzled,' applicable to a furious beast. A great calm, just as there had been 'a great tempest.' (Matthew 8:24) Here was 'a greater than Jonah.' (Matthew 12:41) How perfectly was the Saviour's humanity manifested even when he exercised more than human power. Wearied, in body and in mind, by his labours during the day (see on "Matthew 13:1"), he is sleeping on the cushion; the next moment he rises, and speaks to the winds and the waves with the voice of their Creator. So he wept in human sympathy with the sisters of Lazarus, just before he spoke the word that brought him to life.

Matthew 8:27. And the men marvelled. 'The men' is a general term for the persons present, including such as were disciples, (compare Matthew 14:33) and also very possibly some men employed in the boats. (Mark 4:36) That even the winds and the sea obey him, a thing they had not previously witnessed, which would therefore seem to them more remarkable than that diseases obeyed him. Doubtless also this would especially strike men whose lives had been spent as sailors and fishermen, and who had so often seen exhibited the terrible power of the stormy sea. Stier: "This empire over nature is a new thing which Matthew has to record concerning Jesus. His narrative of: selected miracles in chapters eight and nine rises through a gradation of importance; cleansing of the leper (a great thing even to begin with)—healing at a distance by his word, 'Be it done'—commanding the wind and the sea—saying to the devils 'go'—forgiving the sins of the paralytic (more indeed than saying arise! or, go hence! more than ruling the sea)—finally giving life to the dead."

Matthew 8:28. Healing of the two demoniacs. (Matthew 8:28 to Matthew 9:1) Compare Mark 5:1-21, Luke 8:26-40. If the preceding miracle shows our Lord's command of the forces of nature, that which follows exhibits his power over evil spirits. Trench : "And Christ will do here a yet mightier work than that which he accomplished there; he will prove himself here I also the Prince of peace, the bringer back of the lost harmony; he will speak, and at his potent word this madder strife, this blinder rage which is in the heart of men, will allay itself; and here also there shall be a great calm." Theophyl: "While the men in the boat are doubting what manner of man this is, that even the winds and the sea obey him, the demons come to tell them."

To the other side, viz., of the lake, as in Matthew 8:18. The point reached was below the middle of the lake; and as they had probably come from the vicinity of Capernaum, the voyage would be eight or ten miles. Into the country of the Gergesenes. The text of this and the parallel passages (Mark 5:1; Luke 8:26) is greatly confused, some documents for each of the three passages reading each of the three words, Gadarenes, Gerasenes, Gergesenes. The best documents, however, give Gadarenes in Matthew, and Gerasenes in Mark and Luke. Thomson, Vol. II. p. 353-5, found a village called Gersa, about the middle of the eastern shore, with ancient tombs in the adjacent mountain, and near the village found a steep place exactly suiting the story of the swine. So also Wilson, McGarvey, and Merrill. We thus account for the name Gerasenes entirely apart from the large city of Gerasa, which was some thirty miles away. Gadara was a well-known city lying a few miles southeast of the lake, the ruins of which are still extensive and striking. The country immediately around a city usually belonged to it, and was called by its name; we have only to make the very natural supposition that the village of Gerasa (Khersa) belonged to the territory of Gadara, and we see how the people may be called both Gerasenes and Gadarenes. The name Gergesenes, which might be introduced by students or copyists, is thought by some to have arisen from the Girgashites. (Genesis 10:16, Deuteronomy 7:1; Joshua 3:10) Origen says there was a city called Gergesa near the lake, and Eusebius ("Onom.") says the same, but may have derived it from Origen. The form Gergesa may possibly have been merely a different pronunciation of Gerasa, the r of the latter taking a rattling, guttural sound like that of the strong Ayin, which in modern Arabic sounds much like our rg.(1) But however that may be, the genuine names Gadarenes and Gerasenes, and all the circumstances, are exactly explained by the discovery of Khersa; and in this case, as in many others, current research in text-criticism and Biblical geography is clearing up an once celebrated difficulty. There met him two. Mark and Luke mention only one. It is an obvious explanation to suppose (so already Chrys. and Aug.) that one was more remarkable and prominent than the other. Mark and Luke give more details than Matthew does, and in so doing might naturally take only the more conspicuous case, to render the description more vivid. In Matthew 20:30 also Matthew has two blind men, Mark and Luke but one. Robinson ("Harmony"): "A familiar example will illustrate the principle. In the year 1824, Lafayette visited the United States; and was everywhere welcomed with honours and pageants. Historians will describe these as a noble incident in his life. Other writers will relate the same visit as made, and the same honours as enjoyed, by two persons, viz.: Lafayette and his son. Will there be any contradiction between these two classes of writers? Will not both record the truth?"

Two possessed with devils—demoniacs -literally, 'demonized (persons.') It has always been a matter of dispute whether the demoniacal possessions so often mentioned in the history of our Lord are to be understood as real. Yet it would seem that there ought to be no doubt of their reality, when one considers the following facts: (1) The Evangelists constantly speak of them as real. (2) Jesus himself is recorded as speaking of them in the same way; and even as speaking to the evil spirits; (Mark 1:25) and this not merely before the multitude, but in private conversation with his disciples he says, 'This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.' (Mark 9:29, Rev. Ver.) (3) Jesus argues upon the assumption of their reality. (Luke 10:17-20) When the seventy rejoiced that even the demons were subject to them by his name, he said to them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning out of heaven; that is, he connected their expulsion of demons with the downfall of Satan's power. (4) The demoniacs speak with superhuman knowledge, acknowledging Jesus to be the Son of God. True, he repressed this testimony, (Mark 1:34, Luke 4:41) doubtless because his enemies would otherwise have been ready to charge that the expulsion was a thing arranged between him and Satan for the purpose of deceiving the people; even as we find that, without any such excuse, they did repeatedly say that he cast out demons by league with Beelzebub (see on "Matthew 12:24"). But though the testimony was repressed, it showed superhuman knowledge. These four facts would seem to put the matter beyond question. But there are objections to the reality of the possessions, which are apt to perplex the enquirer. (1) The symptoms, it may be said, often resemble those of certain bodily and mental diseases, such as epilepsy and insanity. Now it is perfectly conceivable that the possessions might produce insanity and nervous diseases; it may be also that persons having such affections became thereby more liable to be taken possession of by evil spirits. This probable relation between them will account for the fact that possessions are often mentioned in connection with various diseases of body or mind, and yet are always distinguished from them. (See Matthew 4:24, Matthew 8:16, Mark 1:34) Also for the use of the term 'heal' with reference to demoniacs. Also for the people's saying, as a familiar phrase, 'Thou hast a demon', (John 7:20, John 8:48-52, John 10:20) where we should say,"You are deranged." The possessed were virtually deranged, whether as effect or occasion of the possession, so as to be the sport of delusive fancies; and notice that in John 10:20 the two are both stated as if distinct: 'He has a demon and is mad'! Thus there is in all this no reason to depart from the plain declarations of Scripture. And the entrance of the evil spirits into the herd of swine is here in point. It might be possible that swine should have physical symptoms resembling insanity, but we could not account for these being suddenly transferred to them from men. (2) The Evangelists and Jesus, in speaking of these possessions as real, are held to be simply employing popular phraseology without endorsing it; as when Scripture writers speak of the sun as rising, standing still, etc. And if Jesus addresses the spirit, bidding it come out, etc., he is supposed to be merely humouring the fancy of the deranged person in order to cure him. But if the belief in demoniacal possessions was erroneous, how far-reaching was that error, and how important, especially in that age of great superstition. As to humouring, etc., the wisest authorities upon the treatment of the insane now say that that is not the best course; they do not contradict so as to exasperate, but neither do they confirm in delusive fancies—they try to divert attention. Thus we should have Jesus adopting a very questionable mode of treatment, which would encourage a most injurious error, when he was able to heal in any way he pleased. See too (Trench), how distinctly false his sayings would become. We speak of lunatics, using the popular term without meaning to endorse the idea in which it had its origin, that such persons are powerfully affected by the moon (in Latin luna); but suppose one addressing the moon, bidding it cease troubling the man, etc., that would be falsehood; and in our Lord's case such gratuitous deception is incredible. (3) Why should these possessions occur only about the time of our Lord's sojourn upon the earth? It is not absolutely certain that they do not always exist; and mere uncertainty on that point destroys the force of the objection, as an objection. But we can see a reason why they should occur only then; or should then be especially manifested and recognized. The Eternal Word was then manifesting himself in the flesh; and thus the great struggle which is always going on was brought out into visible appearance, so as to exhibit in a visible and striking way the absolute powerlessness of the evil spirits to contend against God. (Compare at the beginning of Matthew 4, as to the appearance of Satan in bodily form.) (4) The thing itself is so hard to understand. But this might be expected in such a subject. And can we understand the union of the divine and human nature in the person of Jesus; the action of the Holy Spirit on the human spirit; or the connection of our own mind and body? Yet none the less are all these facts. It appears then that the demoniacal possessions are to be received as a reality. And thus regarded they are not only wonderful, but instructive. The expulsion of the evil spirits by Jesus and his apostles, was a signal exhibition of the beneficent character of the gospel and of the Saviour; a striking proof of his divine mission; and an impressive manifestation of that victory over Satan by our Lord, which is real already, and shall in due time be complete. Finally, we thus vindicate as correct the plain, obvious meaning of Scripture statements, which, seeing that the Scriptures were written for the people, is a matter of great importance.—The Gospel of John does not mention the casting out of demons by Jesus (though it refers to the popular belief in demoniacal possessions, John 7:20, John 8:48-52, John 10:20 f.). But we must remember that John mentions very few incidents of our Saviour's ministry, usually such only as formed the occasion of some remarkable discourse. Demoniacal possessions are not mentioned in the Old Testament nor the Apocrypha, nor (Edersheim) in the Mishna, yet arc repeatedly mentioned in Josephus ("Ant.," 6, 8, 2; 6, 11, 3; 8, 2, 5;" War," 7, 6, 3). But the popular Jewish views were quite different from those of the New Testament (Edersheim App. XVI.) (As to 'devil' and 'demon,' see below on "Matthew 8:31".)

Coming out of the tombs. Driven from the town by the fears of the people or by their own frenzy, the poor demoniacs would find the caves, or chambers hewn in the rock, and appropriated to the dead, a convenient and perhaps congenial abode; though no Jew in his right mind would dwell in a tomb, which would make him in the ceremonial sense perpetually unclean. Such rocky tombs still abound in the mountains lying east of the southern part of the lake. Luke (Luke 8:27) seems in Com. Ver. to contradict Matthew's statement, saying, 'There met him out of the city a certain man,' but the correct rendering of Luke is, 'there met him a certain man out of the city,' viz., a man who was a citizen of the city. So that no man might pass by that way, viz., along the road that passed near the tombs, and led from the place at which the boat had landed towards the city. The unfortunate men had first rushed forth to meet Jesus and his followers, precisely as they had often done to others who came along the road, Mark and Luke give many additional particulars concerning the more conspicuous demoniac whom they describe.

Matthew 8:29. And, behold, calling special attention, as in Matthew 8:24, Matthew 8:32, Matthew 8:34, and very often in Matthew. What have we to do with thee, literally, 'What (is there) to us and thee,' a phrase found in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (Buttm., p. 238), and which obviously means, what have we in common, what have we to do with each other? It would express a severe rebuke, (2 Samuel 16:10, Ezra 4:8) or a mild repulse, (John 2:4) according to the circumstances, the relation of the parties, and the manner of utterance. Thou Son of God. The name Jesus was wrongly inserted here in many documents, by way of assimilation to Mark and Luke. It is evident that the men spoke what the evil spirits thought and felt. We cannot determine just how much these dark beings did feel. It is likely that they very imperfectly understood what was involved in calling Jesus the Son of God; and the same was probably true of Satan, their chief (compare on Matthew 4:3). Mark (Mark 3:11 f.) declares this testimony to have been given in all cases, but he may be referring only to a particular period of our Lord's ministry. To torment us before the time. The word rendered 'time' means 'occasion,' 'season,' etc. (See on Matthew 11:25.) The evil spirits were persuaded that a worse torment than they had ever endured awaited them at some future period, and they shrank from the thought that the Son of God might be about to inflict such aggravated torment by anticipation. We are told in Judges 1:6 that this future occasion is "the judgment of the great day," after which time Satan and his agents "shall be tormented day and night forever and ever."—There (Revelation 20:10) are striking contradictions in the conduct of the demoniacs; they came forth fiercely to meet Jesus and his followers; as they drew near they 'ran and worshipped him'; (Mark 5:6) and now they speak words of dread and dislike. Such self-contradictions, such sudden changes of feeling, would seem perfectly natural for one possessed by an evil spirit; at one moment he expresses his own feeling of distress and need, at another he speaks for the dreadful being who occupies and controls him.

Matthew 8:30. A good—long—way from them, the same Greek term as in Luke 15:20 and Acts 22:21. The old Latin and the Vulgate, followed of course by Wyclif and Rheims, have 'not a long way' probably to avoid a supposed conflict with Mark (Mark 5:11) and Luke, (Luke 8:32) who say 'there was there a herd,' etc. Tyndale and his followers, accustomed to read the Vulgate, seem to have had the same fear, so that while following the Greek in omitting 'not' they yet softened the expression into 'a good way.' But 'a long way' is obviously a relative expression, signifying a greater or less distance according to circumstances. Matthew apparently wished to show that the herd was too far off to be frightened by the demoniacs. Absurd as such a fancy might seem there have not been wanting "rationalists" of recent times to say that the "maniacs" ran in among the herd, and terrified them into a stampede (see even Ewald); or that the convulsions and cries attendant upon their healing had that effect. Mark and Luke simply tell us that the herd was there, without saying that it was near or far away; and Mark, according to his custom of giving descriptive details, adds 'near the mountain,' that is, the mountain range which runs along near the eastern side of the lake. (See on "Matthew 4:18".) A herd of many swine. Mark says they were 'about two thousand.'

Matthew 8:31. And the devils (demons) besought him. The word 'devil' (see on "Matthew 4:1") is a contraction of diabolos, the Greek name of him who is in the Hebrew called Satan. This Greek word is applied in Scripture only to Satan, never to his subordinates, who are described by daimon, from which we derive demon, demoniac, etc., or daimonion, a diminutive form with equivalent meaning. The term 'devil' has become familiar to English usage as denoting either Satan or one of his subordinates, and the English Revisers of 1881 were unwilling to abandon it; while the American Revisers preferred 'demon,' which is certainly much better; for sometimes it is important to distinguish between the two words. Matthew speaks of the demons without intimating whether there were simply two, one in each possessed person, or more. Mark and Luke say that the more conspicuous person declared himself possessed by a legion of demons, and the full Roman legion of that day amounted to six thousand men. The correct reading here is not suffer us to go away, resembling Luke 8:32, but send us away, resembling Mark 5:12.

Matthew 8:32. Go—or, go along—'away with you,' the same word as in Matthew 4:10, Matthew 5:24, Matthew 5:41, Matthew 8:4, Matthew 8:13. The whole herd. Some copyists made the useless addition 'of swine.' A steep place, literally, the precipice—i.e., the one leading from the plain on which they were feeding, into the sea. And perished. The word is really 'died' (so Geneva, Rheims, Darby, Davidson), and there was never anything gained by substituting Tyndale's 'perished.' Swine are extremely averse to entering deep water, and require to be forced into it; so there could be no mistake here as to the cause. The fact that irrational animals were thus possessed by the evil spirits shows that the possession of men cannot have been merely a matter of imagination or insanity.(See on "Matthew 8:28".)

The question has often been raised, How was it right for our Lord to destroy so much valuable property? We need not have recourse to the supposition that the owners were Jews, whom the law forbade to eat swine and the Scribes forbade to keep them, and that so their property was confiscated. It is enough to say that the Saviour was acting in the exercise of Divine Sovereignty. Stier : "The question why our Lord permitted the demons to enter the swine, is already answered by another question—Why had the Lord permitted them to enter the men?" Godet : "It is one of those cases in which the power, by its very nature, guarantees the right." All the other miracles of Jesus, save this, and the destruction of the fig-tree (see on "Matthew 21:19"), were purely beneficent in their character and tendency. Moreover the important lessons we may learn from this extraordinary occurrence, the light it sheds on the reality of demoniacal possessions, will amply account for the destruction of property.

It has also been inquired why the demons, after earnestly begging permission to take refuge in the swine, should immediately cause them to destroy themselves. It may be supposed that in their malignity they took delight in doing any harm, even destroying property. Theophylact and Euthymius think they wished to destroy the swine for the purpose of prejudicing the owners against Jesus—a result which actually followed.

Matthew 8:33. And they that kept—i.e., fed—them. The word is rendered 'feed' in the parallel passages of Mark and Luke, and everywhere else in the New Testament, and it was very little worth while for the King James Version, in its passion for variety (and following Great Bible) to employ here another word, 'kept.' Went their ways into the city, viz., Gerasa (Khersa, see on "Matthew 8:28".) And told every thing, and what was befallen, etc.—literally, and the (things) of the demonized; what had happened to them. The first thing reluctantly told would be the loss of the swine, the rest being secondary in the view of the swine-herds.

Matthew 8:34. And, behold, for this too was wonderful. (Compare Matthew 8:24, Matthew 8:29, Matthew 8:32) The whole city, an obvious and natural hyperbole, such as we frequently employ. (Compare on Matthew 3:5) Luke (Luke 8:34-37) adds that the swine-herds had carried the news, not only into the city, but into the fields, and that all the multitude of the surrounding country of the Gerasenes came forth. That he would depart(1) out of their coasts. 'From' and not 'out of,' see on "Matthew 3:16". 'Borders' rather than 'coasts,' as in Matthew 2:16, Rev. Ver.; Matthew 4:13. 'Depart' is not the word commonly thus rendered, but signifies literally, to remove, transfer oneself. Why did they wish him to leave? Partly, no doubt, because their property had been destroyed, and they feared other losses, partly also (see already Theod. Mops., Jerome, in Cat.), because their conscience was aroused by such an exhibition of divine power, and conscious of guilt they felt uneasy in his presence. Compare the feelings of Peter after the miraculous draught of fishes, (Luke 5:8) and contrast the conduct of the Samaritans of Sychar. (John 4:40) While meekly retiring at the request of the frightened people, he left them efficient teachers in the men who had been dispossessed; (Luke 8:38 f.) and he afterwards revisited their country.—This (Matthew 15:29) miracle forms the most instructive and impressive instance of demoniacal possession found in the Gospels. The whole scene appears before us with a vivid and terrible reality.

Homiletical And Practical

Matthew 8:19 f. The Scribe: (1) Willing, (a) to accept the teachings of Jesus, (b) to share his fortunes. (2) Warned, to count the cost of following him; compare Luke 14:28-33. (3) Went on, notwithstanding. So let us suppose he did, and so let us do.—Ministers and churches ought to note the Saviour's example in regard to this Scribe, and declare plainly to all who propose to be his followers, what it is they are undertaking. In dealing with a Scribe, with any person of superior cultivation and position, we are in danger of too readily taking for granted that he understands the whole matter. Ryle: "Nothing has done more harm to Christianity than the practice of filling the ranks of Christ's army with every volunteer who is willing to make a little profession, and talk fluently of his experience." Stier: "Nothing was less aimed at by our Lord than to have followers, unless they were genuine and sound; he is as far from desiring this as it would have been easy to attain it."

Luke 14:20. Jesus the wandering missionary.

Luke 14:21 f. Even the strongest natural feelings must sometimes give way to Christian duties. Even sacred natural duties may have to be disregarded for Christ's sake. How much less then should any ordinary matters turn us away from spiritual thoughts or activities. Theophyl.: "We must honour our parents, but honour God still more highly." Lutteroth: "What good thing could be accomplished on earth if affections must override obligations?" Henry: "An unwilling mind never lacks an excuse. Many are hindered from and in the way of serious godliness, by an over-concern for their families and relations."

Luke 14:28. Bengal: "Jesus had a travelling school; and in that school the disciples were much more solidly instructed than if they had lived under a college roof without any anxiety and temptation."

Luke 14:24. Contrast Jesus and Jonah sleeping amid a storm. Chrys.: "Their very alarm was a profitable occurrence, that the miracle might appear greater, and their remembrance of the event be rendered lasting....Therefore also he sleeps; for had he been awake when it happened, either they would not have feared, or they would not have besought him, or they would not have even thought of his being able to do any such thing. Therefore he sleeps, to give occasion for their timidity, and to make their perception of what was happening more distinct."

Luke 14:26. Stilling the tempest. (1) Jesus sleeping soundly amid the storm—after a day of great exertion and strain—the picture. (2) The disciples afraid, through lack of faith in God—they awake the sleeping Master to save them (3) He stills the tempest by a word, (compare Mark 4:39) as by a word he had healed the centurion's servant. (Matthew 8:8, Matthew 8:13) (4) The disciples greatly wondering that the winds and the sea obey him; we no longer wonder, but we too must obey.—All the sufferings and perils to which in God's providence we may be exposed, are trials of our faith. If we have strong faith we shall not yield to craven fear. "With Christ in the vessel, I smile at the storm." This tempest doubtless proved a great blessing to the disciples in strengthening their faith; and our trials are among our greatest blessings, if they have a similar effect.—Not in the way of exegesis, but of illustration, we may say that there are storms in life, stormy passions in the soul, which only Christ can calm.

Luke 14:27. Nicoll: "It is incomplete to say that the miracles justify belief in Christ, and it is equally incomplete to say that it is belief in Christ that makes miracles credible. Christ comes before us as a whole—his person and his work. It is impossible to separate the two, and we believe in the whole—that is, in both."

Luke 14:29. Chrys.: "Because the multitudes called him man, the demons came proclaiming his Godhead, and they that heard not the sea swelling and subsiding, heard from the demons the same cry, as it, by its calm, was loudly uttering."

Luke 14:31. Here was very earnest asking, but we should not call it prayer. And the thing asked was granted, as was Satan's request with respect to Job; yet it was not the prayer which God approves and accepts. Let us beware lest our supplications be sometimes the mere utterance of selfish desire, and not the prayer of a trusting, loving, devout spirit.

Luke 14:34. Luther: "The mass of men would gladly hold to the gospel, if it did not touch their kitchen and income. If Jesus gives them good things, they can very well endure him; but when he inflicts damage, as here, they say, 'Begone, Jesus, gospel, and all.' " Hall: "O Saviour, thou hast just cause to be weary of us, even while we sue to hold thee; but when once our wretched unthankfulness grows weary of thee, who can pity us to be punished with thy departure?"

Matthew 9:1. This sentence is the end of the narrative beginning with Matthew 8:18, and should by all means have formed a part of the preceding chapter. Compare on Matthew 10:1. Mark (Mark 5:18 ff.) and Luke (Luke 8:38 f.) relate that when Jesus had entered the boat, the man who had been delivered begged to go with him, but was sent back to tell what God had done for him. (Compare on Matthew 8:4) Passed over, and came into his own city, viz., Capernaum. (See on "Matthew 4:13".) Chrys. remarks (Cat.), "For Bethlehem bore him, Nazareth reared him, Capernaum was his residence."


Verses 2-34

Matthew 9:2-34.
Further Miracles, With Call Of Matthew, And Discourse At Matthew's Feast

The series of miracles (see on "Matthew 8:1; Matthew 8:19") is now continued by giving—

I. The Paralytic Healed

Matthew 9:2-8; compare Mark 2:1-12, Luke 5:17-26. The connection in Mark renders it probable that this miracle preceded the Sermon on the Mount. We have already observed that Matthew is evidently here not following the chronological order, but grouping together certain specimens of our Lord's actions and sayings in the way best calculated to subserve his object, viz., to establish the Messiahship of Jesus, and exhibit the nature of the Messianic reign. We cannot always see the particular principle on which he groups. But in the present case Alexander has pointed out a natural relation between the events, which accounts for their being thrown together. Shortly after the miracle of the two demoniacs, (Matthew 8:28-34) occurred the raising of the ruler's daughter, (Matthew 9:18-26) as we learn from Mark 5:22, Luke 8:41. But we see from Matthew 9:18 that the ruler came to Jesus while he was talking with the Pharisees about fasting; and that conversation occurred (Matthew 9:14) directly after what he said to the Pharisees in reply to their complaints that he had associated with publicans and sinners, at Matthew's feast. (Matthew 9:10-13) Now this feast would naturally suggest to the Evangelist's mind his own call to follow Jesus, which led to the feast given some time after the call. (See on "Matthew 9:10".) But the call occurred (Matthew 9:9) while Jesus was going away from the house at which he healed the paralytic; and this was a very important, a peculiarly instructive miracle, which it was desirable to introduce. So instead of taking up at once the raising of the ruler's daughter, Matthew first describes the healing of the paralytic, (Matthew 9:2-8) and his own call, on that same day; (Matthew 9:9) then passes (see on "Matthew 9:10") to the feast he subsequently gave, and the conversation which ensued; (Matthew 9:10-13, Matthew 9:14-17) and thus approaches the case of the ruler's daughter, and the other notable miracle connected therewith (Matthew 9:18-26) afterwards appending two other miracles which took place the same day. (Matthew 9:27-31, Matthew 9:32-34) We may also note (Lutteroth) an internal relation between the complaint of the Scribes in Matthew 9:3, and that of the Pharisees in v. ll, culminating in Matthew 9:34; and this may have affected the grouping. That the Evangelist's mind should thus have worked according to the natural laws of suggestion, is altogether compatible with the inspiration of his narrative; for every part of the Bible bears the impress of human thinking, only preserved by the Spirit from error and guided into all truth, so that the inspired writer says precisely what God would have him say.

The scene of this miracle was in Capernaum, (Mark 2:1, Mark 2:12) and quite probably at Peter's house, which might well be our Lord's recognized stopping place. Mark and Luke, as is frequently the case, give fuller details than Matthew. Weiss holds that Matthew makes this occur on the street, and thus conflicts with Mark; but Matthew gives not the slightest hint of locality. What in the world is gained by manufacturing discrepancies?

Matthew 9:2.And behold, see on "Matthew 8:2", also see on "Matthew 8:24". They brought to him, literally, were bringing, a form of expression which not merely narrates the fact, but depicts it as going on. A man sick of the palsy, a paralytic—see on "Matthew 4:24"; see on "Matthew 8:6". Lying on a bed. 'Lying' is the same word as in Matthew 8:6, Matthew 8:14. The 'bed' was doubtless a thin mattress, or a well-wadded quilt, the inner material being wool. It may have been placed in the present case on a slight frame of wood, making it more comfortable and easier to carry; but it was usually for ordinary sleeping laid on the floor; while sometimes a more elevated bedstead was employed; see Mark 4:21, R. V., 'under a bed.' We learn from Mark and Luke that four men were bearing the paralytic on the bed, and that in consequence of the great crowd in and about the house where Jesus was, they got on the housetop, broke through the roof, and let him down on his bed into the presence of Jesus. (Compare Edersheim) And Jesus seeing their faith, that is, the faith of the bearers and the paralytic. He was more ready to work miracles for those who had faith, (see on "Matthew 9:19; Mat_9:28"); and where forgiveness of sins was also involved, it was indispensable that the person concerned should have faith. (Compare on Matthew 8:3) 'Seeing' their faith is of course a mere vivid expression for perceiving, as when we say "I see your motive." The pains they had taken (Mark and Luke) showed their faith all the more plainly. Son, be of good cheer. Literally, Be encouraged, child, or we should better imitate the simplicity and vigour of the originalby saying, 'Courage, child.' 'Child' is the literal rendering (marg. Rev. Ver., compare Darby, Davidson), and is often used in colloquial English as an expression of familiar affection, though not now suited to an elevated style. Compare 'daughter', Matthew 9:22. Thy sins be—-or, are—forgiven, as correctly rendered by Com. Ver. in Luke (Luke 5:20.) The Greek verb is not imperative, but indicative, while the old English 'be' is used for either. The common Greek text has a perfect tense, meaning 'have been forgiven,' stand forgiven (so in Luke 7:47 f.; 1 John 2:12); Westcott and Hort have the present tense, which would cause the forgiveness to be conceived of as just then taking place; it is not easy to decide which form is the original text.(1) The position of the Greek words makes 'forgiven' emphatic. No doubt all present were much surprised, when instead of healing the bodily disease, Jesus spoke to the man thus. It seems probable that the disease had in this case resulted from some form of dissipation, such as not infrequently produces paralysis. Compare the man at the Pool of Bethesda, (John 5:14, lit.) 'Thou hast become well; do not sin any more, lest something worse happen to thee.' It would not at all follow that all peculiar diseases and remarkable misfortunes result from some special sin-an idea prevalent among the Jews, but distinctly corrected by our Lord. (John 9:3, Luke 13:2 f.)

We may not unreasonably think that the poor paralytic was troubled and dispirited, because he felt that his sad disease was the consequence and the merited punishment of his sin; so the words of Jesus, which surprised all the bystanders, would be to him precisely in place and full of comfort. Yet it would suffice to say (Schaff) that "the man's conscience was aroused through his sickness," without supposing the disease to have been caused by special sin.

Matthew 9:3. And, behold, this too being remarkable. (compare Matthew 9:2) As to the scribes, see on "Matthew 2:4". Luke (Luke 5:17, Bib. Un. Ver.) mentions that there were present "Pharisees and teachers of the law (the latter being substantially the same as 'scribes'), who had come out of every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem." Here was quite a crowd of critical hearers. Said within themselves. Compare on Matthew 3:9. Blasphemeth. The Greek word, borrowed by us, signifies to speak injuriously, or insultingly, to defame, slander, etc., as in Romans 3:8, 1 Peter 4:4, Titus 3:2. From this it was applied to reviling God; saying anything insulting to God, anything impious. The Scribes held Jesus to be blaspheming, because he arrogated to himself a power and right which belonged exclusively to God, viz., that of forgiving sins. This is distinctly expressed by them, in the additional words recorded by Mark and Luke, 'Who can (is able to) forgive sins but God only?' He who claimed a power peculiar to God, spoke what was injurious and insulting to God. Yet it is not wise to find here a proof of our Lord's divinity; for he speaks as the Son of man, and speaks of authority given him. (Matthew 9:6-8, compare Matthew 28:18)

Matthew 9:4. Knowing—properly, seeing—their thoughts, like seeing their faith in Matthew 9:2.(1) Mark (Mark 2:8) has the expression 'perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves.' The faith of the paralytic and his bearers could be seen from their actions; but to see the unexpressed thoughts of the Scribes required superhuman perceptions. Compare Luke 6:8, Luke 9:47, Mark 12:15, John 2:24 f; John 4:29. Wherefore think ye evil in your hearts? The 'heart,' according to Scripture use, is regarded as the seat of the thoughts as well as the affections. (See on "Matthew 6:19".) Jesus replies not only with a mild rebuke, but with a proof that he was not blaspheming.

Matthew 9:5. For whether—or, which—is easier! It was as easy to say one as the other, viz., to say it with effect. Euthym: "Both were possible for God, both impossible for man."In the case of the healing they could test the reality of the power he claimed; and from this they ought to infer that he possessed the other power also, seeing that he claimed to possess it, and that one who could work a miracle ought to be believed. They had already had many proofs at Capernaum of his power to work miracles. We are often told at the present day that Jesus always relied on his teaching to convince men, and not at all on his miracles; but here he distinctly appeals to miracles as establishing the truth of his teachings.

Matthew 9:6. The Son of man, our Lord's favourite designation of himself, see on "Matthew 8:20". Power. The word thus rendered is much used throughout the N. T. It signifies primarily, permission (license, privilege), then authority, (dominion, rule, etc.), and this sometimes suggests ability and power. The word very often conveys two of these ideas at once, as privilege and power, (John 1:12) authority and power. (John 19:10) Compare on Matthew 7:29, Matthew 28:18. The Rev. Ver. has everywhere else in Matt. rendered 'authority,' and it would have been better to do so here, as is done by the American Revisers, Davidson, and Noyes. In this passage it is meant that Jesus has authority to forgive sins, and the power which such authority carries with it; this power is alluded to by the phrase, 'Who can ', (Mark 2:7; Luke 5:21) and 'Which is easier'. (Matthew 9:5, Bib. Un. Ver.) The word 'authority' is in this passage so placed as to be emphatic, 'the Son of man hath authority,' etc. And while they naturally thought of forgiveness of sins as performed only by God in heaven, he will show them that the Son of man hath authority on earth to forgive sins. Compare the authority to judge, John 5:27. He does not proceed to tell the Scribes what he will do to prove his authority, but turns to the paralytic and lets them see. Take up thy bed. Being such as described on Matthew 9:2, a man could easily take it up and carry it. Go, or 'go along,' not said severely, as in Matthew 4:10, but kindly, as in Matthew 8:13; the word taking colour from the connection.

Matthew 9:7 f. What a moment of suspense for all the beholders—some hoping, others fearing, that the man would indeed show himself to be healed. What a thrill must have passed through the crowd, as he arose and went off. How the Scribes must have been abashed and confounded. The paralytic went away 'glorifying God'; (Luke 5:25) we can imagine his feelings of joy and gratitude, when he found himself carrying the bed which had carried him, treading the earth in vigour and health again, yea, and with his sins all forgiven. The effect upon the bystanders at large is stated in Matthew 9:8. But when the multitudes—the crowds—saw it. 'Crowds' is the same word as in Matthew 5:1. They marvelled—better, feared—this, and not 'wondered,' being pretty certainly the correct reading of the text.(1) They felt that alarm and painful uneasiness which is art to be awakened in the bosom of sinful man by anything that seems to bring God nearer to him. (Luke 5:8; compare above on Matthew 8:34) But this alarm quickly passed into praise, and they glorified God, which had given such power unto men. (Compare Luke 5:26) Regarding Jesus as only a man, it was right that they should give the glory to God. (Matthew 5:16) And they probably did not consider this authority and power as peculiar to him, but as bestowed on men, and possible for others also. It was true, in a sense which cannot have entered into their thoughts, that what was given to Jesus was given to mankind.

Before proceeding to further miracles, the Evangelist narrates-

II. The Call Of Matthew, And Conversation At A Feast He Gave, Matthew 9:9-17

These are also described in Mark 2:13-22, Luke 5:27-39.

Matthew 9:9. And as Jesus passed forth from thence. Mark (Mark 2:13) shows that this occurred immediately after the healing of the paralytic, as implied in Matthew's 'from thence.' Sitting at the receipt of custom—custom-house—(so translated in Rheims) probably the place for receiving tolls on the fishing and trade of the lake. The Romans laid taxes, as the Syrian kings had done before them, on almost everything. (See details in Edersheim) Matthew. Luke calls him 'Levi,' and Mark 'Levi, the son of Alpheus.' It had become very common for a Jew to bear two names; and probably the first readers of the different Gospels would readily understand that Levi, the son of Alpheus, was also called Matthew. (The name Matthaios, Mattai, might mean simply 'given,' like Nathan; or else might be a contraction of Mattijah, 'gift of Jehovah,' like Jonathan, Nethaniah.) It would be natural that Matthew should give only the name by which he was known as an apostle, which Mark and Luke also give in their lists of the apostles, (Mark 3:18, Luke 6:15) and should avoid, as Paul did, the name associated with his former life. Some argue that this Matthew was not the Evangelist, since he is spoken of in the third person; but it has always been common, in ancient and modern times, for writers thus to speak of themselves; and the apostle John, in his Gospel, employs elaborate circumlocutions to avoid even mentioning his own name. Luke here tells us (Luke 5:27) that Matthew was a publican, which is implied in the narratives of Matthew and Mark, and stated by Matthew in the list. (Matthew 10:3) As to the publicans, see on "Matthew 5:46"; and as to Matthew, see further on "Matthew 10:3". And he arose and followed him. Luke says (Luke 5:28, Bib. Un. Ver.) 'And leaving all, he arose,' etc. Matthew does not mention this, because it would have been speaking in his own praise, which the Evangelists never do. (Compare on Matthew 9:10) We can account for his immediately leaving all and following Jesus by the reasonable supposition that at the place of toll by the lake-side he had often seen and heard him, and had gradually become prepared in mind to obey such a call. It is even possible that he had been following Jesus before, and only now attached himself permanently to him (compare on Matthew 4:18 ff.). At the name time we may be sure there was something deeply impressive in the Saviour's tone and look as he spoke the simple words. (Compare John 18:6) Observe that while all of the Twelve seem to have been men in humble life Matthew belonged to a class greatly despised. The Talmud (Edersheim) distinguishes customhouse officials from other tax-gatherers, and speaks of them with peculiar hate, probably because their extortions were more frequent and more manifest. This publican Matthew and the notorious persecutor Saul, were as unlikely, humanly speaking, to become apostles of Christ as any men that could be found Yet such has been the work of sovereign grace in every age of Christianity.

Matthew 9:10. We have now the account of some conversation that arose while Jesus and his disciples were eating at Matthew's house, in company with many publicans and sinners. It is clear from Matthew 9:14 and Luke 5:33 that the inquiry about fasting and the Saviour's reply occurred during this meal; and from Matthew 9:18, that the ruler's request to come and raise his daughter was made while Jesus was speaking in response to that inquiry. But from Mark 5:22 f., and Luke 8:41 f., we see that the raising of the ruler's daughter took place after our Lord's return from Gadara, and thus at a much later period than the healing of the paralytic and the call of Matthew. We therefore conclude that the feast was actually given by Matthew a considerable time after his call, and that it is merely introduced by him, and also by Mark and Luke, in connection with the call, because it was natural to bring the two together, thereby completing at once all that had any personal relation to this apostle. It thus appears that all three put the case of Jairus' daughter in its actual chronological position, and all three bring together the call and the feast, although they were really separated by a considerable interval; the difference is, that Mark and Luke tell of the paralytic and the call at the early period when they occurred, adding the feast by anticipation, and then some time afterwards introduce the healing of Jairus' daughter, which we know immediately followed the feast; while Matthew puts the feast in its real chronological connection with the application of Jairus, and just before the feast introduces the call (which had occurred earlier) and the healing of the paralytic, which preceded the call. (Compare on Matthew 9:2) Any one who will take the trouble thoroughly to grasp the facts, will see that this view removes all the difficulty attendant upon harmonizing the three Gospels at this point, a thing which has often been declared impossible. We need not feel bound, nor imagine ourselves able, to remove all such discrepancies, but it is surely worth while to do so when practicable. If the nervous harmonizers stand at one extreme, the scornful despisers of harmonizing certainly stand at the other.

And it came to pass, the same word as in Matthew 1:22, Matthew 5:18, Matthew 6:10, Matthew 7:28, Matthew 8:13. As Jesus sat at meat, etc., better, while he was reclining in the house, compare on Matthew 8:11, where the Greek word is similar and substantially equivalent. Matthew omits to mention whose house it was; probably he omitted it through modesty (compare on Matthew 9:9), or perhaps 'the house' seemed enough in his vivid recollection; though it is implied in the connection; Mark (Mark 2:15) and Luke (Luke 5:29) distinctly state that it was Levi's house, and Luke says that "Levi made a great feast (literally 'reception') in his house." This would indicate that he possessed some means; he seems to have sacrificed a somewhat lucrative position in order to follow Jesus. Meyer's attempt to make 'the house' here mean Jesus' own house, and thus to bring Matthew into conflict with Mark and Luke, is strained and uncalled for. Even Keim and Weiss understand it to be Matthew's house. Behold, see on "Matthew 8:2; Mat_8:29". Many publicans and sinners came and sat down, or, were reclining. As to the publicans, see on "Matthew 5:46". The Jews were accustomed to call those persons 'sinners' who lived in open violation of the moral or ceremonial law; and they shrank from contact with all such as polluting. Matthew's previous associations had brought him into connection not only with publicans, but with all those other men, who, disregarding many of the prevailing religious observances, and feeling themselves to be objects of popular dislike, naturally flocked together. Luke's expression as to the number present is still stronger, 'a great crowd.' Mark (Mark 2:15) mentions that these 'followed' Jesus, as if of their own accord. This is not inconsistent with the idea that Matthew invited them in, while it implies that the feast was a sort of public affair, which agrees with the fact that the Pharisees appear to have pressed in as spectators. (Matthew 9:11) Matthew doubtless wished to show respect to his Teacher by inviting a numerous company to meet him, perhaps asking in every one who followed Jesus toward his house. At the same time he must have had some cherished friends among these despised men, some whom he knew to have better stuff in them than was generally supposed, and to have been driven by popular neglect and scorn into association with abandoned persons; and he would hope that they might be benefited by being in company with Jesus and hearing what he said. The example deserves imitation.

Imagine the character of the general conversation at this great entertainment. We should not suppose that the presence or the words of Jesus chilled the guests into a dead stillness; that he showed a lack of sympathy with the common concerns and feelings of mankind. He was not proud, haughty, and forbidding, like many of the Rabbis, but was meek and lowly, kind and gentle, and everything about him tended to attract men rather than repel. Whatever he spoke of, it would be in a spirit marked by fidelity to truth, and yet by delicate consideration for the feelings of others. And when it was appropriate to introduce distinctively religious topics, we can see with what ease and aptness he would bring them in, from striking examples in Luke 14:7, Luke 14:12, Luke 14:15-16, and John 4:10, John 4:16.

Matthew 9:11. It is plain that these Pharisees were not themselves guests at the feast, for in that case they would have been doing the very thing they complained of in Jesus. Probably they pressed into the house before the feast ended, in order to hear what Jesus would be saying. In Luke 7:36 ff. no surprise is expressed at the woman's entering the dining-room, and no objection made by the host. Pharisees, see on "Matthew 3:7". Why eateth your master (or your teacher,didaskalos, see on "Matthew 8:19"), with (the) publicans and sinners? The two nouns with but one article present the two classes as forming but one group. According to the prevailing Jewish ideas, a Rabbi, of all men, "ought carefully to avoid all intercourse with such persons." There was not only the social objection to "keeping low company," but the constant dread of ceremonial pollution, from coming in contact with persona likely to be ceremonially unclean; (Mark 7:4) and also that feeling so natural to man, which says, "Stand back; I am holier than thou." (Isaiah 65:5) Accordingly, our Lord was frequently met with the objection here made to his course. (Matthew 11:19, Luke 15:2 ff.)

Matthew 9:12 f. He said, the correct text omitting 'Jesus' and 'to them.' The disciples told their Teacher of the question which had been asked. They were themselves as yet very imperfectly freed from the erroneous Jewish conceptions of the Messiah's work, and would probably find it difficult to explain why Jesus should pursue such a course. It was cunning in the Pharisees to ask them, in hope of turning them away from their Teacher. It appears from the connection, and is distinctly stated by Luke, (Luke 5:30-31) that his reply was addressed especially to the Pharisees, with whom the question had started. This reply embraces three points: (1) an argument from analogy; (2) an appeal to Scripture; (3) an express declaration that his mission was to men as sinners, and so he was now acting accordingly. In like manner Paul, 1 Corinthians 9:7, presents first an argument from the analogy of men's common modes of action, and afterwards an argument from Scripture.—(1) They that be whole, or are strong, stout, well, compare the connection of the English words hale, health, whole. Luke 5:31 has literally, 'they that are in health.' But they that are sick, or ill, the same expression as in Matthew 4:24, Matthew 8:16. The order of the Greek words puts an emphasis on need not. The force of the illustration is manifest; the physician goes among the sick, and why should not the teacher of salvation go among sinners? Here is a lesson needed in every age, for we are too apt to hold ourselves aloof from the vile and disreputable, when kind and patient efforts might win some of them to better things. At the same time we must, like the physician, take great pains to avoid the contagion of the diseases we seek to cure. And if our good is evil spoken of, as happened here to our Lord, we should be careful not to afford any just occasion or excuse for such reproach. (2) The second point of his reply is an appeal to Scripture. But go ye and learn. The Rabbis frequently employed the same formula, "go ye and learn," indicating that one needs further reflection or information on the subject in hand. This was a severe rebuke to Scribes (Luke 5:30) and Pharisees, who assumed and were popularly supposed to be particularly versed in Scripture. Learn what that meaneth (literally is), i.e., the following saying. The passage is referred to as familiar to them, while yet they were quite ignorant of its real meaning. The Old Testament throughout, when rightly understood, agreed with the teachings of Jesus. I will have (wish, desire) mercy, and not sacrifice, quoted according to the Hebrew. (Hosea 6:6) The Hebrew word includes the ideas of kindness and compassion toward men, and of piety towards God. So piety and pity are originally the same word. Hosea's connection shows that the word was by him taken in the widest sense, but the single idea of kindness or mercy is all that is here necessary to the connection. The absolute statement 'and not sacrifice,' is not intended to he taken literally, but as a strong expression of preference for mercy. (Compare Luke 14:12) The idea is, I wish kindly feeling and conduct toward others, especially toward the needy and suffering, rather than the externals of religion—of which sacrifice was then the most important. So the Sept. translates, 'I wish mercy rather than sacrifice.' Or the passage might be expressed, I wish kindness, and I do not want sacrifice without this. The rendering 'I will have mercy,' which Com. Ver. took from Great Bible and Geneva, is very apt to mislead, because to have mercy now usually means to exercise St.—The mere externals of religion are offensive to God, where its spirit and life are absent. The Pharisees were extremely particular to avoid that external, ceremonial pollution which they might incur by mixing with the publicans and sinners, but were not anxious to show them kindness or do them good. Notice that it is Matthew only that records this argument drawn from the Old Testament, just as he most frequently refers to the prophecies fulfilled in the person of Jesus; this course being natural for one who wrote especially for Jewish readers. See the same passage quoted again in Matthew 12:7. (3) I am not come(see on "Matthew 5:17"), to call the righteous, but sinners. The words 'unto repentance' are not properly a part of the text of Matthew, but they are genuine in the parallel passage of Luke, and so were actually spoken on this occasion. Such additions to one Gospel from a parallel passage in another, are often found in MSS. and versions. This third point of our Lord's reply is that his conduct in associating with the very wicked accords with the design of his mission,' for I came not,' etc. The word translated 'righteous' has no article. He is not speaking of any actually existing class as righteous, but uses the term in a general way for contrast. (Compare Luke 15:7) There is comfort to the burdened soul in the thought that our Lord's mission was to men as sinners, even to the most vile.

Matthew 9:14. The inquiry about fasting, and our Lord's reply, (Matthew 9:14-17) are also found in Mark 2:18-22, Luke 5:33-39. Then. The connection in Luke (Luke 5:33) also indicates that this conversation immediately followed the preceding (for the whole connection see on "Matthew 9:2"). Luke represents the Pharisees, to whom Jesus had been speaking just before, as asking the question; Matthew has the disciples of John asking him, and Mark (Mark 2:18) says that both came and asked, and thus suggests a way in which many similar "discrepancies" may be explained. The questioners do not venture directly to find fault with Jesus himself. (Compare Matthew 9:11) Who are these disciples of John, who in respect to fasting resemble the Pharisees rather than the disciples of Jesus? It was the design of John's ministry (compare on Matthew 3:1) to bring men to believe on Jesus as coming, and to follow him when he came; and he took great pains to prevent the people from regarding himself as the Messiah. (John 1:20, John 3:28-30, Acts 19:4) Yet there were some who, failing to follow out their master's teachings, felt jealous of the growing influence of Jesus, (John 3:26) and continued to hold exclusively to John; and in the second century we find heretics who maintained that John was the Messiah. How many there were at this time who kept themselves aloof from Jesus, and were simply disciples of John, and what were their precise views, we have no means of determining. As to their fasting frequently, like the Pharisees, (Luke 18:12) it is enough to understand that they had not really changed from the prevailing Jewish opinions and practices. Even among the Jewish Christians addressed in the Epistle of James we find many characteristic Jewish errors and evil practices. It is possible, besides, that these disciples of John found encouragement to fasting in that self-denying mode of life which John pursued for special reason. It seems likely from Mark 2:18 that they were for some reason fasting at this particular time; it may have been one of their regular days of fasting, or it may possibly have been from grief at John's long-continued imprisonment.(1). Jerome: "The disciples of John were certainly to blame, in calumniating him whom they knew to have been proclaimed by their teacher, and joining the Pharisees whom they knew to have been condemned by John."—The strict Jews not only fasted very often, but in many cases on very trivial occasions. The Talmud of Jerus, speaks of one rabbi as fasting four-score times to see another; and of a second who fasted three hundred times to see the same person, and did not see him at last.

Matthew 9:15. The reply of Jesus is conveyed by three illustrations. (Matthew 9:15-16, Matthew 9:17) Luke (Luke 5:39) has a fourth. The children(sons) of the bride chamber. The term 'son' is employed, as explained on Matthew 8:12, strongly to express the idea of intimate relation to the object mentioned, but in what precise sense must in every particular expression be determined by the nature of the case. Here it denotes (Edersheim) the guests invited to a wedding, while "friends of the bridegroom" meant his special attendants. (See Jud Matthew 14:11, John 3:29) The festivities were commonly prolonged during a week. (See on "Matthew 25:1 ff.") The word rendered can is so placed as to be emphatic: can it be, in the nature of things? And the Greek has the peculiar particle which denotes that a negative answer is taken for granted. The Talmud declares that the bridegroom, his personal friends, and the sons of the bride-chamber, were free from the obligation to dwell in booths during the Feast of Tabernacles—these being unsuited to their festivities; and were not expected to attend to the stated prayers. This shows how natural and probable, according to the prevailing ideas and usages, was our Lord's illustration. Already in prophecy had the Messiah been spoken of as a bridegroom; (Psalms 45, etc.) and John the Baptist had employed a figure drawn from the nuptial ceremonies as setting forth his own relation to Jesus; (John 3:29) so that in answering John's disciples this image was all the more appropriate. But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken I away from them—and then shall they fast. The term 'will come' is so placed as to be emphatic. For "when" read whenever, which will indicate that the time of his being taken away is uncertain; this is the first instance recorded in Matthew of our Lord's alluding to his death. Fasting is naturally and properly an expression of grief, and therefore unnatural and unsuitable at a time of great joy. Such a time was this when the disciples were delighting in their Teacher's presence. But there was coming a time when it would be natural for them to grieve, and therefore appropriate to fast. The immediate reference is to the grief which would be felt by his disciples at the time of his death. After his resurrection, ascension, and glorious exaltation, their sorrow was turned into joy again. (John 16:22 ff.; Acts 2:32-36, Acts 3:13 ff., etc.) Yet often afterwards, and often ever since, have his followers grieved over his absence and longed for his coming again; so that the time for fasting still continues. By this illustration our Lord teaches that fasting is not to be regarded or observed as an arbitrary,"positive" institution, but as a thing having natural grounds, and to be practised or not, according to the dictates of natural feeling as growing out of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. In some situations it is appropriate and may be made beneficial; in others, it is out of place. We have no evidence that Jesus ever fasted himself, except in the quite extraordinary case of the forty days; (for Matthew 17:21 is a spurious passage) but we know that the apostles and other Christians of their time fasted upon special occasion. (Acts 13:2, Acts 14:23, 1 Corinthians 11:27) The principle here laid down cuts at the root of fasting as a regulated observance, leaving it to be done or omitted, not indeed according to accidental or momentary impulse, but according as it is most suitable under the circumstances and likely to do good. (Compare on Matthew 6:16-18)

Matthew 9:16 f. Regulated fasting, though enjoined by Moses only on the occasion of the Day of Atonement (Luke 16:29), yet was now frequently practised among the Jews, and quite in accordance with the distinctive spirit of the Old Dispensation. But it did not suit the spirit of the gospel; and our Lord shows, by two homely and striking illustrations, how incongruous and injurious would be the connection with the new of what was peculiar to the old. Luke (Luke 5:36) calls this a 'parable,' i. e., comparison for the purpose of illustration. The parables of the Gospel are usually in the form of narrative, but not necessarily. (See on "Matthew 13:3".) No man putteth, etc.,—literally, patches, a patch of an unfilled piece (i.e., fragment of cloth) upon an old garment. The word rendered garment is here naturally taken in the general sense, and not to denote simply the outer garment. (Matthew 5:40, Matthew 9:20) What is meant is not simply new cloth, for that is often used for patching, but cloth which has not been completely dressed. A part of the process of preparing woollen cloth for use consists in shrinking it, and a patch of 'unfilled' cloth, not duly shrunk, would contract the first time it should become wet, and as the older and weaker cloth all around must then give way, the result would be a worse rent. We must remember that Jewish garments of that day were usually all wool; and if unfilled, would shrink almost like our flannel. Mark's statement of the comparison (Mark 2:21) is almost identical with this. Luke (Luke 5:36) gives it in quite a different form, though the general purport is the same. Neither do men put, literally, they, the usual impersonal expression, see on "Matthew 5:11". Into old bottles—or, skins. The Greek word signifies properly and exclusively skins for containing liquids, such as the Orientals, ancient and modern, have largely employed. The skin is usually that of a goat or kid, which is tough and light. The head and feet of the animal being removed, the skin is stripped off whole. It is then sometimes tanned in a peculiar way to prevent a disagreeable taste, and the orifices are tied up, leaving one leg or the neck as the opening. The hairy side is of course outward. These skins are habitually used for transporting liquids, such as wine, water, milk, oil, and are admirably adapted to that purpose. Every traveller, in Egypt or Palestine, often sees them, and sometimes drinks water from them. They are mentioned by Homer and other classical writers, and in various passages of the Old Testament Both in ancient and modern times, larger vessels have sometimes been prepared of the skin of the ox or the camel. However preserved, these skins would of course become hard as they grew old, liable to crack and burst, through the fermentation of new wine. (Compare Psalms 119:83, Job 32:19) It is a mistake to suppose that the Jews had no other vessels for holding liquids than these skins. Vessels of metal, as gold, of earthenware, even fine porcelain, of stone, and alabaster, and of variously coloured glass, were in use among the Egyptians from an early period, and most of them among the Greeks, Etruscans, and Assyrians; and the Jews, especially in New Testament times, would no doubt import and use them. (Compare Matthew 26:7; Jeremiah 19:1; Lamentations 4:2) This second illustration is to the same effect as that in Matthew 9:16; just as we often find a pair of parables, in Matthew 13, and elsewhere. Both are drawn, as is usual in our Lord's comparisons, from matters of common observation and experience. The "spiritualizing" as to what the 'skins' represent, and what the 'wine'—what the 'garment' stands for, and what the 'patch,' is wholly unwarranted, (See on "Matthew 13:3".) We have simply a vivid illustration of the general truth that the combination of the Old and the New Dispensations would be not merely unsuitable but injurious, tending to defeat, rather than to promote, the aims of the Messianic Dispensation. And in the second case there is added the positive statement, but they put new wine into new bottles, etc., showing (Meyer) that a new life needs new forms. While the principle here illustrated was introduced with regard to fasting, it is obviously of wider application, extending to everything in which the two dispensations characteristically differ; and the great mass of the Christian world, from an early period, has sadly exhibited the evil results of disregarding this principle. They would, notwithstanding this and numerous other warnings, connect Levitical rites with Christianity. The simple preacher and pastor must be regarded as a priest, and spiritual blessings must depend on his mediation, as if it were not true that all Christians are priests, and all alike have access through the one Mediator. The simple memento of the Saviour's death must be a sacrifice, offered by the priest for men's sins. Numerous religious festivals and stated fasts must be established and enjoined, tending to make religion a thing only of special seasons. The buildings in which Christians meet to worship must be consecrated as being holy ground, like the temple, land splendid rites, in imitation of the temple worship, must lead men's minds away from the simple and sublime spirituality of that worship which the gospel teaches. With good motives, no doubt, on the part of many, was this jumble of Judaism and Christianity introduced, and with good motives do many retain it; but none the less is it the very kind of thing the Saviour here condemned; and with results as ruinous as he declared. It is not strange that Chrysostom and his followers (Theopbyl., Eutbym.), and Jerome, practising a Judaized Christianity, were unable to understand this passage.

Returning now to the series of miracles, Matthew gives—

III. The Ruler's Daughter, And The Woman With A Flow Of Blood, Matthew 9:18-26

This is found also in Mark (Mark 5:22-43) and Luke, (Luke 8:41-56) who as in many other cases give various details which Matthew omits. For the general connection, see on "Matthew 9:2".

While he spake (was saying) these things unto them, with emphasis on "these things." It is thus plain that the application of the ruler, which led to these two miracles, was made while Jesus was in the act of speaking to John's disciples and the Pharisees (compare on Matthew 9:14) These miracles must therefore have taken place at Capernaum. Behold, something remarkable. A certain ruler, or, 'one ruler'(margin Rev. Ver.), as in Mark 8:19. The Greek text is here greatly confused, but there is little doubt that the true reading is that of the Rev. Ver. The term 'ruler' is ambiguous, and might denote a member of the Sanhedrin, as Nicodemus is called a 'ruler of the Jews'; (John 8:1) but Mark (Mark 5:22) says he was 'one of the rulers of the synagogue.' There were several of these, having authority over the conduct of public worship in the synagogue, (Acts 13:15) and a certain influence rather than authority over the social relations and personal conduct of the people (compare on Matthew 4:23). We see therefore that it was a man of importance who made this application. Luke (Luke 8:41) gives his name, Jairus; in Old Testament Jair. Came. The common Greek text would make it came in, viz., to the scene of the preceding conversation, probably Matthew's residence; but the more probable reading (as in W. H.) would mean 'came near,' 'approached.' Worshipped him, bowed down before him as an expression of profound respect.(compare Matthew 8:2) My daughter is even now dead. Luke (Luke 8:42, Bib. Un. Ver.) in giving the substance of what Jairus said, has it 'was dying.' Mark (Mark 5:25, Rev. Ver.) has, 'My little daughter is at the point of death.' And then Mark and Luke inform us that while Jesus was on his way to the ruler's house, and after the healing of the woman, messengers came meeting him to tell the ruler that his daughter was now dead; and that Jesus told him not to fear, etc. Matthew makes no mention of this message, and we conclude (Calvin) that designing a very brief account, he has condensed the incidents so as to present at the outset what was actually true before Jesus reached the house. For a similar case of condensing see on "Matthew 8:5". But come and lay thy hand upon her. Jairus probably thought it necessary that Jesus should be present and touch the person to be healed, as the nobleman in the same town thought; (John 4:47, John 4:49) the centurion of that town (Matthew 8:8) had a juster view.

Matthew 9:19. In Mark (Mark 5:24) and Luke (Luke 8:42) we are told that a great crowd thronged around Jesus as he was going, and that Jesus afterwards inquired, when in the midst of the crowd, as to who touched him (compare on Matthew 9:22).

Matthew 9:20-22. On the way to the ruler's house occurred another miracle. And, behold, a fresh wonder. A woman.... with an issue of blood twelve years. We know nothing as to the particular nature of the haemorrhage, but the most obvious supposition is probably correct. We learn from Mark (Mark 5:26) and Luke (Luke 8:43) that she had been subjected to a variety of methods of treatment by numerous physicians, spending her entire estate in paying them, but instead of receiving benefit, had been growing worse—a chronic, aggravated, and unmanageable case. Strauss finds an unveracious element in the double occurrence of the number twelve in this narrative (the woman has suffered twelve years, and the maiden was twelve years old, Mark 5:42); some of our allegorizes would find in it a deep spiritual meaning—which is the sillier notion? Came, etc., or coming to him from behind, partly, no doubt, through general timidity, partly from a reluctance to have public attention called to her peculiar affliction; and perhaps also because the law made her ceremonially unclean, (Leviticus 15:25) and she was afraid of being censured and repelled if it should be known that in that condition she had come into the crowd, since any one would likewise become unclean by touching her. Touched the hem (border) of his garment. We know from Numbers 15:37 ff.; Deuteronomy 22:12, that the Israelites were directed to wear on the corners of the upper garment a fringe or tassel (we cannot certainly determine the exact meaning), with an occasional blue thread. These were designed, as being always before their eyes, to remind them continually of the commandments of the Lord, which they were solemnly bound to obey. If we think of the outer garment as merely an oblong cloth thrown around the person like a large shawl—as it undoubtedly was in many cases (see on "Matthew 5:40")—then 'tassel' is the more natural idea; and in that case 'the tassel' would be simply the one nearest to her. The Jews attached great importance to this fringe or tassel, the ostentatious Pharisees making it very large (see on "Matthew 23:5"); and it is possible that the woman thought there might be a peculiar virtue in touching this, which was worn by express divine command—though such a supposition is not necessary. See a good discussion of the probable dress of Jesus in Edersheim.

Matthew 9:21. For she said within herself, as in Matthew 9:3. Strictly it is, was saying; i.e., at the time when she pressed through the crowd and touched him. If I may but—better, if I only—touch his garment. The 'may' of Com. Ver. is misleading. We do not know how far this feeling of hers was mingled with superstition, but in the main her conviction was just, since Jesus commends her faith, and power did go forth from him, (Luke 8:46) the moment she touched him. It was usual in miracles of healing that some manifest connection should be established, however slight, between the sufferer and the healer, as in Peter's shadow (Acts 5:15) and Paul's handkerchiefs. (Acts 19:12) See also Matthew 14:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 8:19.I shall be (made) whole, literally, 'saved'; the word has been explained see on "Matthew 1:21"as signifying 'preserve' and 'deliver,' and as applied to physical dangers, disease and death, as well as to sin and its consequences. What strong faith this woman possessed l And it was justified by the event; for immediately (Mark 5:29) she felt the disease was indeed healed—healed by merely touching the edge of Jesus' garment, when all the skill of the ablest physicians, through all the weary years, had been unable to relieve it.

Matthew 9:22. But Jesus turned, etc. Matthew omits the facts narrated at length by Mark and Luke, that she touched him in the midst of a great crowd, and he insisted on being told who it was that had touched him. We can see that it was not proper to let her be healed and go off, apparently without his knowledge; because this fact, as it should gradually become known, would confirm men in the superstitious notion that he performed healing involuntarily and unconsciously, as if by some magical virtue inherent in his person. His asking who it was is not inconsistent with the idea that he knew. Compare Elisha's asking, 'Whence comest thou, Gehazi?', (2 Kings 5:25) though well aware of all that he had done; and God's saying to Adam, 'Where art thou?' See also Luke 24:19, where Jesus asks, 'What things?' though he must have understood what they meant. He asked the woman in order to bring her to confession, which would be a benefit to herself—preventing superstition, strengthening faith, and deepening gratitude—as well as to others. Daughter, etc., or, Courage, daughter. Compare on Matthew 9:2. 'Daughter,' in this figurative and kindly use, appears nowhere in the New Testament, save in this narrative. (Mark 5:34, Luke 8:48) Thy faith hath made thee whole, literally, saved, as in Matthew 9:21. The perfect tense vividly represents the healing as standing complete. Her faith was of course not the source of the healing, but its procuring cause, as leading her to apply to the healing power of Jesus. and as being the reason why the application was successful. See the same expression used in Luke 7:50, Luke 17:19, Luke 18:42. Was made whole (healed) from that hour. The healing took place at the moment of the touch; what is here said is that from that time forward she was no more sick, but well—not only delivered, but preserved. So in Matthew 15:28, Matthew 17:18. Eusebius ("Hist." VII. 17) gives a tradition that this woman's name was Veronica.

Matthew 9:23-26. This resumes the narrative of Matthew 9:18 f. We learn from Mark (Mark 5:37) and Luke (Luke 8:51) that Jesus suffered no one to go into the house with him save Peter and James and John, and the parents of the girl. The other two occasions on which he took these three disciples only, viz., the Transfiguration and Gethsemane, were singularly solemn and momentous. What was there corresponding in this case? It was the first instance of our Lord's raising the dead. And saw the minstrels etc., rather in Rev. Ver., the flute players, (compare Revelation 18:22) and the crowd making a tumult, the same Greek word as in Mark 5:39; Acts 17:5, Acts 20:10. This last expression is confined in the original to the crowd, so that a comma is needed after 'flute players.' It was the custom in the East and still is, for the relatives and special friends of the dying person to gather round the couch, and the moment the breath ceased they would break out into loud cries, with every exclamation and sign of the most passionate grief; and unable to continue this themselves, they would hire professional mourners, especially women, who would keep up the loud, wailing cry throughout the day and night. (Compare Jeremiah 9:17, Jeremiah 16:6, Ezekiel 24:17, Amos 5:16, 2 Chronicles 35:25) Persons of wealth might afford to hire musicians also; and Jairus being a man of consideration, a ruler of the synagogue, we find that the flute players have arrived, and although but a few minutes after the child's decease, already there is a crowd present, making a tumultuous noise of lamentation. All these things are witnessed by travellers in Egypt or Palestine at the present day.

Matthew 9:24. Is not dead, but sleepeth. Jesus speaks with reference to what he intends to do. She is going to rise up presently as one who had been asleep, so that her death will be, in the result, no death; it will only be as if she were sleeping. Likewise in John 11:11, he speaks of Lazarus as sleeping, because he was going to awake him out of sleep. Thus there was no occasion for the noisy mourning, and the preparations for a funeral; and the crowd must withdraw. Laughed him to scorn. This might only mean that anybody could see she was dead, (Luke 8:53) and it seemed silly to think otherwise. But there in Capernaum, where he had wrought many miracles, it may be that they supposed he would try to heal her, and thought the attempt absurd, as she was unquestionably dead, and it was too late. It is not likely they thought he was proposing to bring the dead to life, which he had never done. Their scornful laughter shows that the people were by no means swift to believe in his miraculous powers and his divine mission; and thus renders the wondering acknowledgment, repeatedly extorted from them by facts, an evidence all the more valuable and satisfactory.

Matthew 9:25. But when the people were put forth, or, thrust out, the word implying some constraint or urgency. He was as yet in the more public reception room of the dwelling. Having expelled the crowd, he with the parents and his three followers, (Luke 8:51) went in, viz., into the inner room where the body was lying. Took her by the hand. Touching the dead body, like touching the leper, (Matthew 8:3) or being touched by the woman with a flow of blood, would have the effect, according to the law, of producing the highest degree of ceremonial uncleanness; but in all these cases Jesus, instead of receiving pollution through the touch, imparted cleansing. Mark (Mark 5:41) and Luke (Luke 8:54) relate that in addition to grasping her hand he spoke, and bade her arise. Also that he charged her parents much, not to tell what had happened (compare on Matthew 8:4), notwithstanding which we find here that the fame thereof went abroad into all that land, i.e., Galilee, or the parts of Galilee adjacent to Capernaum.

The woman, for one reason, was required to tell; Jairus, for another, was forbidden to tell. It cannot be that Jesus expected the matter to remain wholly unknown; he probably wished to prevent their speaking of it at once and generally, as they would have done, because in that case there would have been too much excitement produced, by the series of extraordinary miracles then occurring in immediate succession. (Compare on Matthew 9:28) Stier : "Three awakenings from death the Spirit has caused to be recorded for us, though others may well have taken place; and these indeed, in a remarkable and significant progression.... the maiden is here dead upon her bed, the young man at Nain was carried forth upon his bier, Lazarus had lain four days in his grave."

The series of miracles in Matthew 9, and the whole group of Matthew 8, 9, ends with—

IV. Healing Two Blind Men, And A Dumb Demoniac, Matthew 9:27-34

These miracles are not recorded by the other Evangelists.

Matthew 9:27-31. Healing the blind men. And when Jesus departed thence—was passing along thence—the same expression as in Matthew 9:9. It shows that the following miracles occurred immediately after the preceding. Followed him, in the purely literal sense, went along behind him. They may have been sitting beside the road when he passed by, as in Luke 18:35-37. Have mercy, or, have pity. The word really includes both ideas, and the latter is the one here prominent. (See on "Matthew 5:7".) By saying, Son of David, they declare their belief that he is the Messiah. (Compare Matthew 22:42, Matthew 15:22) The order of the Greek shows that their first thought was for mercy on themselves—very naturally. They had probably heard of Jesus' miracles, perhaps of the two wonderful works just wrought. If one inquires why they should believe him to be Messiah, while others did not, we can only reply by asking why there is a similar difference now. The Gospels frequently mention blind persons healed. (Matthew 11:5, Matthew 12:22, Matthew 15:30, Matthew 20:30, Matthew 21:14; Mark 8:22; John 5:3, John 9:1) Blindness is much more common in the East than among us, in consequence of abounding dust, the practice of sleeping in the open air, the sudden change from darkened houses to dazzling light without, and the fact that their head-dress does not protect the eyes.

Matthew 9:28. Into the house, viz., the house to which he returned from that of the ruler. (Matthew 9:23) It may have been Matthew's house, (Matthew 9:10) or Peter's, (Matthew 8:14) or some other which Jesus made his usual place of abode at Capernaum. (Compare Matthew 13:1, Matthew 13:36, Matthew 17:25) Observe that in Capernaum occurs all that is narrated in Luke 18:2-34, as well as in Luke 8:5-22. As they followed him along the street, Jesus gave them no answer or notice; but when he had entered the house, they approached and he spoke to them. This failure to notice them at first was doubtless designed (1) to develop and strengthen their faith; (compare Matthew 15:23) (2) to avoid the excitement which another public miracle just then might have produced among the people, already stirred by the healing of the woman, and by the rapidly spreading news of the raising of Jairus' daughter to life. (Compare on Matthew 9:2-6) The question, Believe ye that I am able? developed into greater clearness the faith they bad already shown by following and asking. In their answer, Lord is probably no more than a very respectful form of address. (See on "Matthew 8:2".) Jesus was more ready to work miracles where there was faith in him. (Compare on Matthew 9:2, Matthew 9:22, and Matthew 13:58) But it is too much to say that he never wrought miracles without faith; instance the widow's son at Nain, and Malchus' ear. Observe that his question was simply whether they believed that he could heal them; his willingness remained to be seen. (Compare on Matthew 8:2)

Matthew 9:29. Touching the eyes of the blind (compare Matthew 9:20-34), was a natural and kindly act, like taking the hand of one prostrate with fever. (Matthew 8:15) According to your faith be it—let it happen—unto you. (Compare on Matthew 8:13). An old German writer says that faith is like a bucket by which we draw from the inexhaustible fountain of God's mercy and goodness, to which otherwise we cannot penetrate; and Calvin compares it to a purse, which may itself be worthless, but filled with money makes the man rich.

Matthew 9:30. And their eyes were opened. We have no means of judging whether this physical blessing was attended with the pardon of their sins. (Compare on Matthew 8:3.) The fact that they soon after disobeyed Christ's explicit and emphatic command renders it improbable that they believed unto salvation, though not impossible. And Jesus straitly (sternly) charged them, an unclassical, but natural sense of the Greek word, found also in Mark 1:43. The expression implies that he would be seriously displeased if they disobeyed. As to the probable reasons for this, compare on Matthew 8:4; and add here that they were virtually calling him Messiah, which might excite popular fanaticism. (Matthew 16:20, John 6:15) He may have spoken with greater severity of manner, because a similar injunction in previous cases had been disregarded; yet it was disregarded again in this case. Spread abroad his fame in all that country, as in Matthew 9:26. The Com. Ver., with its passion for variety, must needs give 'land' in Matthew 9:26, and 'country' here, though the Greek has the same word and in the same connection, and though the earlier Eng. versions translate it alike in both places. Some have sought to excuse the disobedience of the two men on the ground that it was very natural, and was no doubt sincerely designed to do him honour. But still it was a fault. What can be so pleasing to him, or so conducive to his glory, as simple, unquestioning, loving obedience?

Matthew 9:32-34. Healing a dumb demoniac. This is not related by the other Evangelists. And as they went (were going) out, namely, out of the house in which they had been healed. (Matthew 9:28) 'They' is slightly emphatic, standing in contrast to the next person who came to be healed. Behold, calling attention to what follows as wonderful. They brought to him, i.e., some persons brought; impersonal or indefinite, as in Matthew 5:11, Matthew 9:17, and often. A dumb man possessed with a devil, a demoniac, see on "Matthew 8:28; Mat_8:31." Compare Mark 9:25 for a similar case. Mark 7:32 mentions a deaf man who spoke with difficulty, and says nothing of demoniacal influence. Matthew 12:22 gives a demoniac who was both blind and dumb. And the multitudes, crowds, as in Matthew 5:1, Matthew 9:8, and often. Marvelled, etc. Wondered, saying, It never at any time appeared thus in Israel; there was never such a thing seen before, in all the wonderful history of the nation. (Compare Mark 2:12, John 9:32) Probably their wonder referred not merely to this last case of the dumb demoniac, but to the series of miracles that day wrought, and, it would seem, in quick succession—the woman, the daughter of Jairus, the two blind men, and now the dumb man. The Evangelists never stop to say themselves that the miracles of Jesus were wonderful. To them these things were not astonishing now as they looked back from the time of writing their narratives, for it was a fact long familiar to their minds that he who wrought them was divine; and so they calmly tell the story of miracle after miracle, without any exclamation or remark. But it was appropriate to mention, as they often do, the wonder felt by the persons witnessing a miracle, because this was one of the evidences of its manifest reality. Matthew 9:34.(1) But the Pharisees said, strictly 'were saying,' viz., while the people were expressing their wonder. Through, literally 'in '(margin of Rev. Ver.), i.e., in union with, by power derived from, the prince of the devils, demons. This insulting charge was probably made on the present occasion in the absence of Jesus, but made afterwards in his presence; see on "Matthew 12:24". The Pharisees; see on "Matthew 3:7". They had been finding fault with Jesus in connection with all the preceding matters for undertaking to forgive sin, (Matthew 9:3) for associating with publicans and sinners, (Matthew 9:11) and for not fasting, (Matthew 9:14) and now their opposition grows yet more bitter and bold, when they venture upon the accusation of union with Satan. The crowds, for their part, wondered at the unparalleled event, but the Pharisees tried to explain it away, by however baseless and blasphemous a supposition. So also ill Matthew 12:28 f. They were not willing to acknowledge the truth about Jesus' miracles, for it would diminish their own consideration among the people; and so they struck out madly after some explanation or other. Thus ends the remarkable series of miracles which Matthew has grouped (Matthew 8, 9), as specimens of our Lord's wonderful works. (Compare on Matthew 8:1).

Homiletical And Practical

Matthew 9:2-8. Sickness and sins: (1) Some kinds of sickness proceed directly from sin, and are its penalty. (2) Forgiveness of sin is far more important than cure of sickness. (3) He who could by a word heal the severest sickness can also forgive sin. (4) The usual condition of miraculous healing was faith, and faith is the indispensable condition of forgiveness (Matthew 9:2). (5) The highest ground of cheerfulness and gratitude is to bare our sins forgiven (Matthew 9:8).

Matthew 9:2. Faith and healing. (1) In rare cases Jesus healed without faith, as Malchus. (2) Sometimes upon the faith of others, as the nobleman, (John 4:50) the centurion, (Matthew 8:10) the Syrophcenician. (Matthew 15:28) (3) Usually upon the faith of the sufferer, Matthew 9:22, Matthew 9:28, and often. (4) Here upon the faith both of the sufferer and of his friends.

Matthew 9:3. Henry: "If we have the comfort of our reconciliation to God, with the comfort of our recovery from sickness, this makes it a mercy indeed to us, as to Hezekiah. Isaiah 38:17."

Isaiah 38:4 f. Chrys.: "Jesus here does two things superhuman—seeing thoughts, and forgiving sins."

Isaiah 38:6. Chrys.: "(1) Proof of the forgiveness by healing. (2) Proof of the healing, by carrying the bed."

Isaiah 38:8. Compare the effect produced at Carmel. (1 Kings 18:29) Henry: "Others' mercies should be our praises."

Matthew 9:9-11. Matthew. (1) Abandoning a lucrative employment to follow Jesus in poverty. (2) Turning from a worldly occupation to follow Jesus in spirituality. (3) Bringing his former wicked companions to hear Jesus, if perchance they will follow him too. (4) Rising from despised publican to apostle and evangelist. —Chrys.: (1)"The power of the caller. (2) The obedience of the called."—Probably prepared before hand, yet still at his old business when called. —Henry: "As Satan chooses to come, with his temptations, to those that are idle, so Christ chooses to come, with his calls, to those that are employed."

Matthew 9:11. Jesus eating with publicans and sinners. (1) Social intercourse affords a great opportunity for doing people good. (2) The worst men must be treated with respect, if we would win them to piety; and the worst men have in them something to be respected. (Hall: "I do not find where Jesus was ever bidden to any table, and refused.") (3) A man of despised calling may become a Christian, anal an eminent minister. (4) It may be lawful to associate with very wicked people, when we can be confident of doing them good, and are duly guarded against receiving injury.

Matthew 9:13. Mercy and not sacrifice. (1) Professed teachers of Scripture may greatly mistake its meaning. (2) The externals of religion are unacceptable to God, without its true spirit. (3) The spirit of Christianity teaches a kindly pity for even the grossly wicked. Jesus seemed to be transgressing the law of ceremony; the Pharisees really were transgressing the law of mercy. (4) The greatest kindness we can do to wicked people, is to lead them to be truly pious. (5) In order to reach the most degraded with Christian influences, we must treat them with courtesy and respect.

Matthew 9:14. Henry: "False and formal professors often excel others in outward acts of devotion, and even of mortification.... It is common for vain professors to make themselves a standard in religion, by which to try and measure persons and things, as if all who differed from them were so far in the wrong; as if all that did less than they, did too little, and all that did more than they, did too much."

Matthew 9:15. Fasting is proper only when it has a natural basis in some actual grief.

Matthew 9:16 f. Christianity and Judaism are in many respects incongruous; let us not Judaize our Christianity.

Matthew 9:18-21. Parental grief and personal suffering both leading to Jesus.

Matthew 9:20-22. The timid sufferer's faith. (1) Follows the failure of all natural efforts; (Mark 5:26) (2) Overcomes timidity and shame; (3) Presses through an unfriendly throng; (4) Brings healing instantly and permanently; (5) Gains the Saviour's approval; (6) Bears her away happy.

Matthew 9:23-26. The ruler's daughter. (1) The sorrowing, but believing father (Matthew 9:18). (2) The noisy mourners, loudly proclaiming her dead. (3) The silent chamber, (compare Mark 5:40) and the young life restored. (4) The supernatural healing, followed immediately by giving natural food. (Mark 5:43) Compare John 6:12. (5) The restored life devoted, let us hope, to the good of man, and the glory of God.

John 6:27. Henry: "It becomes those that are under the same affliction, to concur in the same prayers for relief. Fellow-sufferers should be joint petitioners. In Christ there is enough for all."

John 6:26. Luther: "Christ is rejoiced to see our faith persistent, unwearied, stiff-necked."

John 6:29. Henry: "They who apply themselves to Jesus Christ shall be dealt with according to their faith; not according to their fancies, not according to their professions, but according to their faith."—John 6:30 f. We often fail to speak for Jesus when we ought, but sometimes fail to be silent when we ought.

John 6:2-34. Striking examples of belief in Jesus, and of unbelief. (1) Of belief, (a) The paralytic, John 6:2; (b) The publican, John 6:9; (c) The ruler of the synagogue, John 6:18; (d) The long-afflicted woman, John 6:21 f; (e) The two blind men, John 6:28. (2) Of unbelief. (a) The scribes accusing him of blasphemy, John 6:3; (b) The Pharisees complaining that he eats with publicans and sinners, John 6:11; (c) The disciples of John, with their sceptical inquiry about fasting, John 6:14; (d) The crowd at Jairus' house laughing scornfully, John 6:24; (e) The Pharisees charging league with Satan, John 6:34.


Verse 35

Matthew 9:35 to Matthew 10:15.
Mission Of The Twelve

Our Lord here undertakes another circuit of Galilee, similar to that described in Matthew 4:23 ff., and in connection with it he now sends out the Twelve to engage in the same work, viz., to make the Same proclamation of the near approach of the Messianic reign (compare Matthew 10:7 with Matthew 4:17), and to work similar miracles of healing. (Matthew 10:1, Matthew 10:8) Before sending forth the Twelve, our Lord addressed them a long discourse, (Matthew 10:5-42) giving them instruction not only for this mission, but for all their subsequent labours in his name; after which discourse he went to his work, (Matthew 11:1) and they to theirs. (Mark 6:12 f.; Luke 9:6)—Some prefer to consider this as not the record of a distinct journey, but simply a return to the general statement of Matthew 4:23. The idea would thus be, that having given a grand specimen of our Lord's teaching (ch. 5-7), and a group of specimens of his miracles (ch. 8 and 9), the Evangelist now repeats the general description of his journeying, teaching and healing (same terms in Matthew 9:35 as in Matthew 4:23), and presently branches off again to describe the mission of the Twelve. But it seems more likely that this was a second and distinct journey. Indeed, Luke appears to give a third journey, (Luke 8:1-3) which a Harmony would make intermediate between the two in Matthew.—Our present section includes so much of the address to the Twelve as is given by Mark and Luke also. The remainder (Matthew 10:16-42) is given by Matthew only.

I. Matthew 9:35 to Matthew 10:1. Jesus Is Moved To Send Out The Twelve

While engaged in a circuit of Galilee, he is moved with compassion at the spiritual destitution of the people, and begins to prepare the Twelve for going out as teachers. The portion in Matthew 9:35-38 is found in Matthew alone, except that Mark (Mark 6:6) says simply, 'And he went round about the villages teaching.'

Matthew 9:35. Same as Matthew 4:23, except that for 'went about all Galilee' we here have more particularly, went about all the cities and (the) villages, referring still to Galilee, as the connection and the circumstances show. All is so placed in the Greek as to be confined to the cities; and he could not have visited all the villages. Josephus says there were in Galilee not less than two hundred and four cities and populous villages. (See on "Matthew 4:12".) The word rendered villages denotes properly a town without walls, as opposed to a fortified town. The larger places would of course all be fortified. We learn then that our Lord made a thorough circuit, going into all the large towns, and very generally into the smaller places also. He did not go only where he could have a very large congregation. For every sickness and every disease—i.e., every kind, not necessarily every case—and for the other terms, see on "Matthew 4:23". Among the people, com. Greek text, is omitted on overwhelming evidence. Here again, as in Matthew 8:16 and Matthew 4:23, we must pause and dwell on the strong general statement, or we shall not adequately conceive of the immense extent of our Lord's work as a Healer.

Matthew 9:36. But when he saw the multitudes—crowds—as in Matthew 5:1. As there his compassion led to a long address on the Mount, so here it leads him to send out the Twelve, that they might aid in the so much needed work of teaching and healing. Similarly after the return of the Twelve. (Mark 6:34) In the present case, as in Matthew 5:1, we understand that what follows took place at some unassigned time in the course of the circuit just described. Because they fainted, best text, were distressed, or 'harassed,' 'worried,' rendered 'trouble' in Mark 5:35, Luke 8:49. The evidence for this Greek word rather than 'fainted' (com. Greek text) is ample. Scattered, literally, 'thrown,' 'hurled,' might mean prostrate (so Davidson), lying down, as being worn out and unable to go forward, or might mean cast off, neglected; the general conception remains the same, that of a flock worried and suffering for lack of a shepherd's care. In the East, where sheep wander freely in wild, unenclosed regions, so as to require constant attention, this image is very striking. Meyer supposes that our Lord saw the people to be worn out with following him in long journeys, and that this suggested to him the image of a flock tired down; but the supposition seems quite improbable. (Weiss). The people were greatly in need of spiritual instruction and guidance, for those who professed to be their shepherds were not faithful and safe guides. (See the same expression in Numbers 27:17, and compare 1 Kings 22:17; Jeremiah 50:6; Ezekiel 34:5; Zechariah 10:2)

Matthew 9:37-38. He seeks to awaken a similar compassion in his followers. Disciples, see on "Matthew 5:1". There were probably other disciples present, besides the Twelve, (Matthew 10:1) and the exhortation to pray was addressed to them all, but only the Twelve were at that time sent forth; at a later period, seventy others. (Luke 10:1) The figure of reaping a harvest he had employed before (perhaps a year before), at Jacob's well, (John 4:25 ff.) and will use again when sending out the seventy. (Luke 10:2) Truly represents the Greek word (men) explained on Matthew 3:11, which denotes merely that this clause is set in contrast with what follows. The idea is sufficiently expressed in English by an emphatic utterance of 'harvest' and 'labourers'; it was so rendered by Tyn. and Gen. (so also Davidson), 'truly' being introduced by Great Bible. The harvest signifies, not (as some explain) the elect, those who will actually be saved, but men in general, who unless gathered and saved will perish like wheat that is not reaped.—This compassion for perishing men will naturally lead to prayer for labourers, (Matthew 9:38) and such compassion and prayer will form the best preparation for going forth to be labourers ourselves. (Matthew 10:1) Any man who is called of God to devote himself to preaching the gospel will have felt something, ought to have felt much, of this pitying love for his perishing fellow men, and will have prayed much for their rescue; and those engaged in that work should be careful to maintain, as long as they live, this same pity and prayer. And not only preachers, but all Christians, should feel as Jesus felt, and should regularly and habitually pray this prayer. Send forth is literally cast out, 'throw out,' or 'thrust out,' the same word that is used in Matthew 9:33 f., in Matthew 10:1, and above in Matthew 9:25 (where see note). Compare its use in Mark 1:12; James 2:25. It always implies urgency, haste, constraint, or some such idea, and here means that the labourers should be sent out promptly, pushed into their work. Beza: "For we are all very tardy, especially in such matters."This same word is retained when our Lord speaks to the seventy. (Luke 10:2)(1) Such labourers as the Lord of the harvest does put forth, we may endeavour, with his blessing, to train for the better performance of their work (see on "Matthew 10:1"); but they must be his labourers, not ours, called into the work, and urged to the performance of it, by himself.

Mission Of The Twelve, Cont

Matthew 10:1. Having led the disciples to feel interest in perishing throngs of men, and encouraged them to pray for labourers, Jesus now bids them go forth to labour themselves. We ought carefully to observe the slow and gradual process by which our Lord prepared the Twelve for their great and important life-work. First, he called various individuals to be his disciples, as, for example, those in John 1:35-51; these went with him for a time, but afterwards returned to their homes and their secular employments. Next, he called some to attach themselves permanently to him, as above in Matthew 4:18-22, stating at the time his intention to make them fishers of men. After a while, he selected from the general mass of his followers the Twelve, who were to be specially near to him, and to be trained for special duties; delivering to them, immediately after their selection (see on "Matthew 5:1"), a great discourse on the true nature of that Messianic reign which they were to aid in bringing about. And now, at a still later period, when they have been long hearing his discourses to the people, talking with him familiarly in private, and witnessing his multiplied miracles, he sends them forth, two and two, to preach and heal; but not yet to work independently of him, for they are only to go before and prepare the way for his coming. After a season spent in such personal labours, they will return, and remain long with him, receiving further instruction, which they will more earnestly desire and more fully appreciate, from their attempts at actual preaching. And finally, after his ascension, they will be ready, with the Holy Spirit as their abiding Instructor, to go and disciple all nations. After all this training they could do nothing without the Spirit; yet, though they were to have the Spirit, they must also have this training—doing what they could, meanwhile, to reap the great and perishing harvest, but devoting themselves mainly to preparation for wider usefulness in the coming years.

With Matthew 10:1-15 compare Mark 6:7-11, Luke 9:1-5. Disciples, see on "Matthew 5:1".—Power, authority, which in such a case would carry with it the power, see on "Matthew 9:6". As to demoniacal possessions, see on "Matthew 8:28". These spirits are called unclean, because of their own wickedness, and perhaps because their presence was a pollution to the person possessed (compare on Matthew 12:43 ff.); and this served to distinguish them from good or pure spirits. Sometimes they are called 'evil spirits.' All manner of, etc., every disease and every infirmity, compare Matthew 9:35, Matthew 4:23.

II. Matthew 10:2-4. List Of The Twelve

Matthew has not mentioned the selection of the Twelve, which took place before this. (Mark 3:13, Luke 6:13, compare on Matthew 5:1) At the time when he wrote, the twelve apostles were well known, and he speaks of them accordingly: 'his twelve disciples,' 'the twelve apostles.' The number twelve was probably chosen with reference to the number of tribes (see on "Matthew 19:28"). Apostles; the name, borrowed from Greek apostolos, 'one sent off,' or 'sent forth,' is here introduced by Matt. for the first time, in connection with the occasion on which they were first actually sent forth (Matthew 10:5) to labour. But our Lord gave them that name when he selected the Twelve. (see Luke 6:13) The word is translated 'one that is sent' in John 13:16; 'messenger' in 1 Corinthians 8:13, Philippians 2:25; everywhere else in Com. Ver. and Rev. Ver., it is 'apostle.' Jesus himself is called an apostle, i.e., sent by God, in Hebrews 8:1. Our word missionary, derived from the Latin, likewise signifies "one sent."

Curious, and in some respects instructive results, may be obtained from a comparison of the four lists of the Twelve.

Matthew 10:2

Mark 3:16 f.

Luke 6:14 f.

Acts 1:13 f.

Simon Peter

Simon Peter

Simon Peter

Simon Peter

Andrew

James

Andrew

James

James

John

James

John

Philip

Philip

Philip

Philip

Bartholomew

Bartholomew

Bartholomew

Bartholomew

Thomas

Matthew

Matthew

Bartholomew

Matthew

Thomas

Thomas

Matthew

James the son of Alpheus

James the son of Alpheus

James the son of Alpheus

James the son of Alpheus

Thaddeus

Thaddeus

Simon the Zealot

Simon the Zealot

Simon the Canaanite

Simon the Canaanite

Judas the brother of James

Judas the brother of James

Philip

Philip

Philip

Philip

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot

Judas Iscariot

(Vacant)

We observe at once that, with all the variety in the order of succession, Simon Peter is always first, and Judas Iscariot last. Again, the first six names in Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the five earliest known converts., (John 1:35-51) together with James, the brother of one of them; and the first four in all the lists are the two pairs of brothers whose call to follow Jesus is the earliest mentioned. (Matthew 4:18-22) Furthermore we note in each of the lists three groups of four, headed respectively in every list by Peter, Philip, and James, which groups contain always the same four persons, though within the limits of each group the order greatly varies, except as to Judas Iscariot. It seems a natural and unavoidable inference that the Twelve were in some sense divided into three companies of four, each having a recognized leader. The foremost in the first company, and at the head of all the Twelve, is Simon Peter. When Matthew says, First, Simon who is called Peter, he cannot mean merely that this happens to be the name first mentioned by him; and there is no explanation in the fact that those are mentioned first who first came to Jesus; for then Andrew and probably John, ought to precede Peter. (John 1:35 ff.) It is unquestionable that Simon Peter was a sort of leader among the Twelve. (See on "Matthew 16:18".) As regards the remaining members of the first company or group of four, we may suppose that Matthew and Luke put Andrew next to Simon because they were brothers; while Mark and Acts and Mark 13:3 place James and John next to Simon, because they three were admitted to special intimacy and favour with Jesus, being the only persons present on several solemn occasions. (See on "Matthew 17:1".) The four who formed this first group are mentioned in Mark 13:3 as making private inquiries of Jesus concerning the destruction of the temple, etc. In the second company, Matthew puts Thomas before himself (compare Acts), while Mark and Luke place Matthew first. After Philip, Matthew, Mark and Luke put Bartholomew, probably the same as Nathanael, who was brought to Jesus by Philip (John 1:46 ff) In the third company of four, Simon the Cananite in Matthew and Mark is obviously the same as Simon the Zealot in Luke and Acts (see below); hence Thaddeus (Lebbeus is a false reading) must be only another name of Judas the brother of James. He might naturally be put next to his brother, as by Matthew and Mark; or Luke's order may indicate that Simon the Zealot was reckoned the more important personage. Observe that there are among the Twelve three pairs of brothers—Simon and Andrew, James and John, James the son of Alpheus, and Judas the brother of James (though this last may be 'son,' see below); also that Matthew and Luke give the list in couples, and Mark (Mark 6:7) says they were sent forth 'by two and two,' and these couples would easily lead to the grouping into fours. It would be natural that in different journeyings the couples should somewhat vary, and this might perhaps account for the different order of names in the several groups of four.

Simon who is called Peter. Simon was a Greek name, but in the New Testament is pretty certainly a contraction of Simeon, which form is given in Acts 15:14, and by some authorities in 2 Peter 1:1. Simeon signified hearing. (Genesis 29:33) Simon was a native of Bethsaida, (John 1:44) a town on the Sea of Galilee, described below on Matthew 11:21. His father's name was Jonah or John (see on "Matthew 16:17"). He and his brother Andrew were fishermen on the Lake of Galilee. Andrew, and probably Simon also. was a disciple of John the Baptist, before coming to know Jesus. (John 1:35 ff.) Jesus gave to Simon when he first approached him, the surname of Cephas, (John 1:43) which in the Aramaic language spoken by them, signified a rock or stone (Kepha, Greek form Kephas), and which was translated into the Greek, signifying the same thing; hence Latin Petrus, English Peter. The Aramaic Cephas is always used by Paul (1 Corinthians, Gal. correct text), and nowhere else in N. T. (except John 1:43) After following Jesus for some time, Simon appears to have returned to his business as a fisherman, and was subsequently prominent among those called to be regular attendants. (See on "Matthew 4:18 ff.") The principal events of his subsequent life are given in Matthew 8:14 ff Matthew 14:28 ff.; Matthew 16:16 Matthew 16, 22 ff.; John 13:6 ff.; Matthew 26:33, Matthew 26:69 ff.; John 21:15 ff.; then in Acts 1:15, Acts 2:14, Acts 4:8, Acts 5:3, Acts 8:14 ff.; Acts 10:1 ff.; Acts 12:3 ff.; Acts 15:7. He was an ardent and impulsive man, of great force of character, and extremely self-confident. Sad experience, through the special influences of the Sprit, wrought a great change in him, though still, the last time he appears distinctly in the N. T. history, we discern the same impulsiveness and readiness to change, as of yore. (Galatians 2:11) He seems to have been at Babylon, where there were many Jews, at the time of writing his First Epistle. (1 Peter 5:13) The traditions concerning his later life are very uncertain, and so as to all the apostles except John. As regards Peter's position of leader among the Twelve, see on "Matthew 16:18"f.

Andrew. The name is Greek, signifying 'manly.' The facts concerning his parentage. residence, occupation, and early discipleship have been mentioned in connection with Peter. The only other cases in which he appears are John 6:8, John 12:22, Mark 13:3. The traditions concerning him are wholly unreliable. Yet he is important to us, not only as one of the inspired apostles, but as the means of bringing to Jesus his own brother Simon. All the usefulness of Simon Peter is, in one sense, due to the brother who told him of Jesus. And so, many a one in every age, little known himself, and of no marked influence otherwise, has been among the great benefactors of mankind, by bringing to Jesus some other person who proved widely useful.

James and John. James was probably the elder, as he is usually mentioned first, while John is sometimes put foremost, (Luke 9:28, Acts 12:2) probably because more prominent, and because alone surviving when the books were written. James is originally the same name as Jacob, 'supplanter,' being written in the Greek, Iacobos, Latin, Iacobus, then Jacopus, Jacomus, and so James. John is the Hebrew Johanan, 'Jehovah graciously gave,' see on "Matthew 3:1". Their father, Zebedee, was a fisherman on the Lake of Galilee, (Matthew 4:21) but apparently a man of some property, as he employed hired servants, (Mark 1:20) and as his wife was one of the women who contributed to the support of Jesus and his disciples (Matthew 27:55 f.; Luke 8:3), and probably a man of good social position, as we find John familiarly acquainted at the house of the high priest. (John 18:15 f.) Prom their mother Salome (see on "Matthew 27:56") was perhaps inherited the ambition (see on "Matthew 20:26"), and perhaps also the ardor, intensity, vehemence, and warm affection, which characterized her sons. These qualities of theirs were doubtless the ground of the name Boanerges, 'sons of thunder,' which Jesus gave to the two brothers. (Mark 3:17) John appears to have been a disciple of John the Baptist, it being almost certain that he was the unnamed disciple of John 1:35-41.

We have no account of any call of James, until the time when the two brothers, with Simon and Andrew, were called to become our Lord's constant followers; (Matthew 4:21) John at least was probably with Jesus during the previous labours recorded in his Gospel. (Matthew 2-4.) The peculiar temperament of the brothers appears in Mark 9:38 ff.; Luke 9:52 ff.; Matthew 20:20 ff. After this last event, we hear nothing of James, save as present at Gethsemane, and included in the list of Acts 1:13, until the time when Herod Agrippa I. put him to death, (Acts 12:2) the first martyr among the apostles.

John, however, appears quite frequently, usually in immediate association with Peter, between whom and himself there was probably a special friendship. Together they were sent to prepare for the Paschal Supper, (Luke 22:8) at which John was allowed to lean on Jesus' breast, "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Together they (and James) witnessed the agony in the garden, and both followed to the trial. (John 18:15.) At the cross, John only of the Twelve seems to have been present, drawn by his ardent affection, and perhaps relying to some extent on his acquaintance with the high-priest for safety; and there he received the mother of his dying friend as one of his own family. Peter and John were also together in John 20:2 ff.; John 21:2 ff.; Acts 3:1 ff.; Acts 8:14, Galatians 2:9. From Revelations Galatians 1:9 we learn that at some time he was in exile on the Island of Patmos. There seems little doubt that he spent many years in "Asia," i.e., Proconsular Asia, particularly about Ephesus, and there wrote his inspired works. Several early traditions in regard to him are pleasing and probably true, particularly the story of his reclaiming the young robber, of his keeping a tame bird, of his saying, "Little children, love one another," and of his leaving a house because a noted false teacher was there. John as disciplined by grace, exhibits one of the noblest types of human character. The love with which his Epistles abound has in it nothing effeminate. He strongly condemns and severely denounces the prevailing errors and evils. He is not merely contemplative, but intensely practical; insisting that Christian love must show itself in holiness and usefulness, or it is naught. Still vehement, uncompromising, and outspoken, the loving and beloved old man has not ceased to be the "Son of Thunder"; but the vaulting ambition which once aspired to be next to royalty in a worldly kingdom, now seeks to overcome the world, to bear testimony to the truth, to purify the churches, and glorify God.

Matthew 10:3. Philip. The name is Greek, signifying "lover of horses." Philip, like Peter and Andrew, was a native of Bethsaida, (John 1:45) and one of those who left the Baptist at the Jordan to follow Jesus, his friend Nathanael, or Bartholomew, being also brought to Jesus through his influence. (John 1:44 ff.) The only recorded incidents of his life are given in John 6:5 ff.; Matthew 12:21, Matthew 14:8 ff. And yet he was apparently one of the leaders among the Twelve, always standing at the head of the second group of four. The traditions concerning him are quite unreliable. He must of course be distinguished from Philip the Evangelist, of whom we read in the Acts. The name Bartholomew is Bar Tolmai, 'son of Tolmai,' and Tolmai (perhaps 'plowman') is an O. T. name, having in the Septuagint of Joshua 15:14 the form Tholami, and in Josephus "Ant.," 20, 1, 1, the form Tholomeus. Nathanael denotes 'God-given,' like Theodore, etc. From John 21:2 we naturally suppose Nathanael to have been one of the Twelve; and as it was Philip who brought Nathanael to Jesus, (John 1:44 ff.) and Bartholomew stands immediately after Philip in the catalogues of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we conclude that Nathanael and Bartholomew were the same person. The only fact known in his history is that he was a native of Cana. (John 21:2) The traditions concerning him are of little or no value. But he stands out in conspicuous lustre from the tribute of Jesus when he first approached him,"Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile"! (John 1:47) Thomas. This name signifying 'twin' was sometimes translated into the Greek Didymus, (John 11:16) which means the same thing, just as Cephas and Peter are used, or Messiah and Christ. The incidents given of his life are in John 11:16, John 14:4 f.; John 20:24 ff. He does not deserve to be called "doubting Thomas,"in the usual sense of the phrase; he was desponding, slow to believe what he ardently desired (as he had been ready to believe the worst, John 11:16), but when convinced, uttering the noblest confession in the Gospels. (John 20:28) The traditions concerning him are uncertain. As to Matthew, see on "Matthew 9:9". It is a trait of humility that he speaks of himself as Matthew, the publican; recalling the discreditable business which he had formerly followed, while the other catalogues make no such allusion. Eusebius says ("Hist." iii. 24, 6) that "Matthew, after first preaching to the Hebrews, when he was about to go also to other nations, committed to writing in his native tongue the Gospel according to him, thus supplying the place of his presence." Papias, who wrote about A. D. 130, says: "Matthew composed in the Hebrew language the oracles, and every one interpreted them as he was able." The term "oracles" might mean simply discourses, or might have a more general sense, including narrative, as in Romans 3:2. The relation of this Hebrew (Aramaic) writing to our Greek Gospel we have scarcely the means of determining. See the works on Canon and on Introduction.—The later history of Matthew is unknown; the traditions are unreliable.

James the son of Alpheus. If we adopt the much more probable view that this James is distinct from "James the brother of the Lord" (see on Matthew 13:55), we are left with scarcely any knowledge of this eminent apostle, the leader in the third group of four. His father's name was Alpheus or Halpheus, which was also the name of Matthew's father. (Mark 2:14) Clopas (John 19:25) might be another form of the same name, but we cannot say that it was the same person. As to whether James was the brother of Judas Thaddeus, see below.

The copious accounts sometimes given of him result from identifying him with James the brother of the Lord. Thaddeus. This alone is the name in Matt. and Mark, according to the correct text.(1) We have seen from comparing the catalogue that Thaddeus must be only another name of 'Judas the brother of James,' as given in Luke and Acts. He was thus known as Judas the beloved, or darling. In Luke and Acts he is distinguished from Judas Iscariot by calling him 'Judas of James,' or 'James's Judas,' a form of expression which is quite common in Greek, and which usually adds the father of the person described, but sometimes another connection, such as husband, son, brother, or even friend. (See Winer, p. 190 237.) An eminent example is that of the early Christian writer Eusebius, who, after the death of his friend Pamphilus, always called himself Eusebius of Pamphilus. If nothing were known to the contrary, we should naturally translate 'Judas son of James,' as is done by the Peshito and Thebaic versions, and by our Rev. Ver. (Luke 6:16, Acts 1:13) Compare Bishop Lightfoot on Gal., p. 256. But as the Epistle of Jude begins 'Judas, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James' (where brother is expressed in the Greek), we seem entirely warranted in using that fact to solve the ambiguity of Luke's expression 'Judas of James,' and understanding it to mean the brother of James; yet it is impossible to determine the question with certainty, for we cannot even be certain that the Epistle was written by the apostle Judas. The only incident in the life of Judas Thaddeus is given in John 14:22. The traditions concerning him are worthless.

Simon the Canaanite, or Cananaean. The name Simon being very common, this apostle is distinguished from Simon Peter and others by the surname Cananaean, which in Aramaic would signify the same thing as the Greek word Zelotes given in Luke and Acts, viz., 'Zealot.' Thirty years later than this, as we find from Josephus ("War,"4, 3, 9), there existed a party calling themselves Zealots, as being very zealous for the national religion and institutions. (Compare Acts 21:20, Romans 10:2) They were accustomed to punish without trial, to "lynch" any Jew who seemed to them a traitor or violator of the law, finding precedent and sanction in the ease of Phinehas. (Numbers 25:7) This practice, as must always happen when it is continued, led finally to gross abuses and horrid cruelties, and the Zealots had no small part in the ruin of the nation. It is likely that the party already existed in the time of our Lord (having come down from Judas the Galilean), (Acts 5:27) though on a much smaller scale than afterwards, and that Simon had at one time belonged to it, and thus acquired his surname, Zelotes or Cananaean. It is quite a mistake to confound this with Canaanite, which in Greek is materially different; (Matthew 15:22) the mistake is found as early as Great Bible, "Simon of Canaan," (so in Bagster's Hexapla, both in Matt. and Mark. Bishop Lightfoot Rev. seems to be mistaken in ascribing the double a to the Bishop's Bible.) Of this apostle's history we know nothing at all. The fact that he had been a Zealot would suggest an ardent nature; it is probable that, like Paul, he showed in doing good the same fiery zeal he had shown in doing evil.

Judas Iscariot has the same surname in John 12:4, John 13:2. His father was called Simon Iscariot. (John 6:71, John 13:26, correct text.) Judas is a Greek form of Judah. (See on "Matthew 1:2".) The surname Iscariot is Ish-Kerioth, 'man of Kerioth,' a town in the tribe of Judah; (Joshua 15:15) it is spelled Iscarioth in the better Greek text of Mark 3:19, Luke 6:16. So Ish-Tob, 'man of Tob' or 'men of Tob' is in the Sept., Istob, and in Josephus Istobos. The fact that his father had the same surname quite excludes Lightfoot's fanciful etymologies from Latin scortea, a leathern apron, because he carried the hag, or from Hebrew askara, strangling. All the other disciples appear to have been Galileans (though that is not certain), and this difference might have some effect on Judas in preventing full sympathy with the others. We know nothing of his early history or his call to he a disciple. It was not only a matter of divine foreknowledge that he would betray his Teacher—as all things are—but was distinctly foreseen from an early period by Jesus, (John 6:64) who in his human mind was not omniscient. (Matthew 24:36) That a person in whom this was foreseen should be chosen one of the Twelve, is not more mysterious than a thousand other things which are done in the providence of the same Lord. Weiss : "The other disciples, too, were not without great weaknesses and faults of character, which were certainly no secret to Jesus..... On the other hand, Judas must have possessed special endowments, for Jesus to consider it desirable to secure him as a disciple." His talent for business, with the care of the common fund, seems to have developed a ruinous avarice, even in the very company of Jesus. He shows us that the greatest outward privileges may be of no avail, and may even be perverted into a curse; and he exemplifies the gradual progress, the terrible power, and the awful results, of covetousness. It may very well be that in the beginning he was sincere and meant to be faithful; but as so often happens, his gift became his snare.—It is some relief to our distress when we see men in high places of Christian usefulness at the present day falling utterly away, to remember that it was so at the beginning, even among our Lord's chosen Twelve. Judas must have wrought miracles like the others, (compare Matthew 7:22 f.) and his preaching must have produced effects like theirs, or the difference would have been noticed by him and them. In like manner now, a bad man sometimes preaches, and God converts souls through his instrumentality; and these, when he afterwards turns out to have been all the while a bad man at heart, may well mourn for him, but need have no fears as to the preciousness of the truths he proclaimed, or scruples as to the validity of the ordinances he administered. As to the motives of Judas in the betrayal, see on "Matthew 26:14 ff.", and as to his remorse and self-destruction, see on "Matthew 27:3 ff." Betrayed, is literally, delivered up (margin Rev. Ver.), the same word as in Matthew 10:17, Matthew 10:19, Matthew 10:21, above in Matthew 5:25, and often, It is a part of the characteristic moderation of the Evangelists that never, except in Luke 6:16, do they apply to Judas the harsh words betray and traitor, which have become so fixed in our usage. Compare on Matthew 17:22.

III. Matthew 10:5-15. Instructions To The Twelve

The remainder of Matthew 10 contains the charge given to the Twelve on sending them out. (Compare on Matthew 9:35) The earlier portion of this, (Matthew 10:5-15) is also briefly reported by Mark, (Mark 6:8-11) and Luke. (Matthew 9:3-5) The rest (Matthew 10:16-42) is found in Matthew only. (See below on "Matthew 10:16".) A charge closely resembling the earlier part of this discourse was also given to the Seventy, when sent out some time later. (Luke 10:1-16)

Matthew 10:5 f, These twelve Jesus sent forth; in Greek the verb from which comes apostolos, 'one sent off.' (See on "Matthew 10:2".) We learn from Mark (Mark 6:7) that he sent them 'two and two.' This arrangement may possibly have been suggested by the fact that there were among the Twelve two or three pairs of brothers (see on "Matthew 10:2"f.), but it had also some important advantages, both as regards the apostles themselves, and as to their work. The two served as company for each other, preventing the loneliness which the apostle Paul took so much pains to avoid on his journeys. They could also relieve each other in preaching, which, in the open air, and to the crowds gathered by their miracles, would be laborious, as our Lord himself found it. And then the testimony of the two witnesses concerning the teachings and miracles of the Great Prophet who was coming after them, would be more impressive among the people than that of one alone. The Seventy also were sent forth two and two. (Luke 10:1) Compare Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, Luke 7:19.—how long these journeyings and labours of the six pairs of apostles continued, we have no means of ascertaining; one would conjecture a few weeks. Way of the Gentiles, like 'the removal of Babylon' (compare on Matthew 1:11), and 'the way of the tree of life,', (Genesis 3:24) readily signifies a way leading to the Gentiles (so rendered by Tyndale), a road to Gentile countries. (Compare also Jeremiah 2:18, Acts 2:28, Acts 16:17) In travelling on the southern border of Galilee, they would of course come near some Samaritan towns; thus we see that the language is quite precise—Do not enter a city of the Samaritans, do not go off into a road to the Gentiles.

Samaritans. samaria was the district lying between Judea and Galilee. The dislike between the Jews and the Samaritans had its beginnings as far back as the earliest times of Israel in the jealousy existing between the tribes of Judah and Ephraim, which finally led to the division into two kingdoms. When the people of the Northern Kingdom (who came to be called Samaritans from the capital city, Samaria, 1 Kings 16:24), were carried into captivity by the Assyrians, the country was partly occupied by Mesopotamian colonists, who were idolaters. These gradually coalesced with the dregs of the Israelites who had been left in the land, and with the fugitives who returned from surrounding countries, into a half-heathen nation, attempting to unite idolatry with the worship of Jehovah. When the people of the Southern Kingdom, the Jews, returned from their captivity in Babylon, and undertook to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, the Samaritans proffered to help them; and being repulsed, as not of pure Israelitish descent, they then did all in their power to hinder the building of the temple, and the fortification of the city. A brother of the Jewish high-priest, having married a Samaritan woman, and being unwilling to put her away as required went over to the Samaritans, and was made priest in a temple built for him on Mount Gerizim (Jos."Ant.," 11, 8, 2), which the Samaritans from that time began to contend was the proper place for the worship of Jehovah, rather than Jerusalem. (John 4:20) These causes naturally led to bitter hatred between Jews and Samaritans, and they were constantly attempting to injure and insult each other, while under the dominion of the Greek kings of Syria. John Hyrcanus conquered the Samaritans, destroying their temple and capital (about B. C. 125). Pompey established their independence (B. C. 63). At the time of our Lord's public ministry, Judea and Samaria were governed by the same Roman procurator, but as distinct administrative districts; and the hatred between the two nations, cherished through centuries, and combining all the elements of race jealousy, religious rivalry, political hostility, and numerous old grudges, had become so intense that the world has probably never seen its parallel. The theory of some writers that the Samaritans were of purely heathen origins would suppose that the entire population of tile Northern people was deported by the Assyrians—a thing extremely improbable; would render the frequent claim of the Samaritans to be Jews an absurdity; and would make it difficult to account for the Samaritan Pentateuch, and the Samaritan expectation of Messiah. For the Samaritans, like the Jews, expected the Messiah, (John 4:25, John 4:29) and something like a year before this mission of the Twelve our Lord's preaching among them at Sychar was warmly received, and many believed on him. (John 4:39-42) Some time after this mission he also went twice through Samaria, and spoke and acted kindly towards them. (Luke 9:51 ff.; Luke 17:11 ff.) Why, then, might not the Twelve go into their cities? It is enough to reply that the Twelve had not then such feelings towards that people as would qualify them to do good there. The proposal of James and John to call down fire from heaven upon a Samaritan village (Luke 9:52 ff.) shows that there would have been bitter controversies, with the old national hate ever ready to burst out. (Compare Bruce,"Training of the Twelve.") In Acts 1:8, Samaria is expressly included in the field of their appointed labours after the ascension. (Compare Acts 8:5)

Matthew 10:6. To the lost sheep, etc., compare on Matthew 9:36; and see the same figure employed in Isaiah 53:6, Jeremiah 50:6, Ezekiel 34:5. Our Lord confined his own personal labours almost entirely to the Jews; he declares, in Matthew 15:24, that his mission was 'to the lost sheep of the house of Israel,' the same expression as here; though at a later period he says that he has other sheep which are not of this fold.' (John 10:16) It was a part of the peculiar privileges of the Jewish nation that the gospel should be first preached to them; (Luke 24:47, Acts 13:46, Romans 1:16) yet Jesus frequently intimated that these exclusive privileges could not last always (Matthew 8:11, Matthew 10:18, Matthew 21:43, Matthew 22:9, Matthew 24:14) By confining his labours and those of the Twelve to them he avoided exciting their prejudices, and thus deprived them of even the poor excuse for rejecting him which they would have found in his preaching freely among the Gentiles and Samaritans. Accordingly, Matthew mentions this limitation, while Mark and Luke do not. Even at a later period, Paul found it almost impossible to convince some Jewish Christians that the Gentiles were to be admitted to the privileges of the gospel, without becoming Jews. And then had the reign of Messiah been proclaimed to the Gentiles before it had been welcomed by many Jews, the former might have made it a very plausible objection to the new religion that it was not believed in at home, where it was best understood. Furthermore, as regards this mission of the Twelve, they were as yet too ignorant themselves of the true nature of Messiah's kingdom to undertake its propagation among the Gentiles; they would have introduced the current Jewish errors on the subject. Some years later, when their own course of early instruction was completed, and the Spirit was come, they were prepared to preach "repentance and remission of sins... unto all the nations." (Luke 24:47, Rev. Ver.) For the present they could prepare the Jews among whom they went for the preaching of Jesus, and what they said would not strengthen, but so far as it went would rather correct the popular errors. Such a restriction of labour to the Jews is not addressed to the Seventy, (Luke 10:1 ff.) but it is really involved in the statement that they were to go where Jesus was going.

Matthew 10:7 f. Preach, see on "Matthew 4:17". The kingdom of heaven is at hand, see on "Matthew 8:2". This was the same announcement that John the Baptist had made, and with which Jesus himself had begun his ministry in Galilee (compare on Matthew 4:17); so the Seventy likewise. (Luke 10:9) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils—demons. The Greek has no article. The original means, Heal sick, i.e., persons, etc. They were not commanded to heal all the sick they met with. Probably they restricted their miracles, as Jesus himself usually did, to those who showed desire and faith. The Seventy also were commanded to heal the sick, in every city which received them. (Luke 10:9) As to leprosy, see on Matthew 8:2; and upon demoniacal possessions, see on Matthew 8:28-31. The clause raise dead, i.e., persons, is not certainly genuine, but most probably.(1) Freely (or, gratis) ye have received, freely (or, gratis) give. The word which Tyn., etc., and Com. Ver. here render 'freely' really signifies 'as a gift,' and is exactly rendered gratis, by the Latin versions and Rheims. It is not opposed to the idea of giving or receiving in a stingy way, or on a small scale, but to the idea of giving or receiving for pay. Observe the force of the word, as thus explained, in Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 11:7; Revelation 21:6, Revelation 22:17. (Compare Isaiah 55:1) The Jewish exorcisers who pretended to cast out demons were no doubt accustomed to have pay; and physicians of course took pay for healing the sick. The Twelve could easily have obtained money, in large sums, for the cures they were empowered to perform. We might think it strange that they should need to be told not to do so; but they had as yet very imperfect conceptions of the nature of Christ's work, and not merely might Judas Iscariot have been glad enough to drive a brisk trade in miraculous healing for pay, but others of them might have seen no impropriety in receiving compensation for conferring such important benefits. Jesus tells them they received gratis, and must give gratis. They had not purchased the power of miraculous healing—as Simon Magus wished to do, (Acts 8:18)—nor obtained it by long and expensive study, and laborious practice; it was received as a gift, and must be exercised in like manner. The miracles were really credentials for their teaching, as well as indications of divine benevolence, and should be used accordingly. As to teaching, we find Micah (Micah 3:11) making it a reproach that the heads of Israel "judge for reward, priests teach for hire, and prophets divine for money." Some of the later Jewish writers maintained very earnestly, though often on fanciful grounds, and though many rabbis acted quite otherwise, that a man ought not to teach the law for pay, but gratuitously—just as Socrates and Plato held with reference to philosophy.

Matthew 10:9 f. While they were thus to work their miracles, and teach the people, without pay, they must, on the other hand, look to those among whom they went for food and clothing, (Matthew 10:9 f.) and for a hospitable reception. (Matthew 10:11-15) They must neither seek for gain, (Matthew 19:8) nor be anxious about their livelihood, but laying aside both selfish aims and personal cares, devote themselves to their appointed task. He therefore directs them to lay in no money, whether gold, silver, or copper, no provision bag, nor staff, nor extra clothing, nor even a loaf of bread; (Mark 6:8, Luke 9:3) since the labourer is worthy of his sustenance. Our Lord is not giving an exact list of objects to be dispensed with, but is only illustrating the principle; and so (Luketteroth) it is not strange that the other Gospels give the details somewhat differently.

Provide neither gold, etc., or, as in Rev, Ver., Get you no gold, nor silver, nor copper, in your girdles. The expression involves a climax—not gold, nor yet silver, nor even copper. Mark (Mark 6:8) mentions only copper; Luke (Luke 9:3) only silver, 'Brass,' as in Com. Ver., a mixture of copper and zinc, is not believed to have been in use among the ancients; they made coins, and a great variety of utensils and implements, sometimes of pure copper, but more frequently of bronze, a mixture of copper and tin, and it is this that is commonly meant in Scripture by the word copper. The 'girdle' (see on "Matthew 3:4") was often of fine materials and elegant workmanship, and made hollow so as to carry money. The word rendered 'purse' in Luke 10:4, is different, and denotes a small pouch, like our purse. No scrip, etc., or, no bag for the road, (travelling bag, or haversack), the word signifying a leather bag or wallet, used for carrying provisions when travelling. The English word 'scrip' was formerly used in that sense, but is now obsolete. Two coats, the word meaning the inner garment or long shirt, described on Matthew 5:40. It was not uncommon to wear two of them at once, but was unnecessary; and so John the Baptist (Luke 3:11) directed him who had two to give to him who had none. In setting out on a journey it is natural to assume additional or thicker clothing; and even this is here prohibited. (Compare Mark 6:9) Or it may mean that they must not carry with them a change of clothing, but trust to obtaining it when needed. Neither shoes, or, sandals. See on "Matthew 3:11". Nor yet staves —better— nor staff. The singular is tile best supported reading of the Greek text. Mark, (Mark 6:8) 'he charged them to take nothing for their journey save a staff only,' would not necessarily conflict with Matthew. The one forbids them to procure a staff for the purpose, the other allows them to carry with them one already possessed. But Luke (Luke 9:3) uses the same Greek term as Mark, they must not carry a staff, and we have to fall back upon the principle stated above; there are indeed many cases in which the Evangelists give details differently, while the substance is the same. So in Matthew they are forbidden to procure sandals, while Mark has it, 'but to go shod with sandals.' These soles of leather or raw hide, bound under the feet, would very soon wear out in travelling, and one setting out on a long pedestrian journey would naturally wish to lay in a supply of them; but the disciples must go with those they had on. Compare as to the Seventy Luke 10:4. We might take for granted that these specific directions were designed only for the existing circumstances of the disciples, and were meant to be followed after the Ascension only according to the principles involved, not according to the particular details. Still more clearly is that seen in the directions of Matthew 10:11 ff., which are manifestly founded upon the peculiar usages of Oriental hospitality. And this view is established beyond controversy by Luke 22:35 ff., where under different circumstances they are commanded to pursue an altogether different course. Yet there have not been wanting some to contend, and even persons fanatical enough to attempt carrying the idea into practice, that ministers now, and especially foreign missionaries, should always go forth in the way here directed. But our Lord himself and the Twelve with him sometimes had money, which Judas carried in a purse, (John 12:6) and expended from time to time in supplying their wants and in relieving the poor. (John 13:29) For the workman is worthy of his meat—or—sustenance, this being the exact meaning of the word—whatever is needed to sustain life. To the Seventy he said, (Luke 10:7) 'for the labourer is worthy of his hire,' and this is the form in which Paul quotes the saying. (1 Timothy 5:18) Aristotle says,"A slave's hire is his sustenance." (Compare Numbers 18:31) It was a very useless variation for Tyndale, etc., and Com. Ver., to put 'workman' here, when the same word is rendered 'labourers' just above in Matthew 9:37 f., and also in the corresponding passages of Luke and 1 Timothy Our Lord here distinctly sets forth the same truth concerning the preacher's right to have his wants supplied by those among whom he labours, which Paul teaches in 1 Corinthians 9, and 1 Timothy 5:17 f. Some think the meaning bore to be that as God's labourers they had a right to expect that he would give them sustenance, by his providence; but that view does not well suit the connection here, or in Luke 10:7, nor at all accord with Paul's use of the saying in 1 Tim. See also 1 Corinthians 9:14, which seems to refer to this passage, if we there understand 'the Lord' to mean, as so often in the Epistles, the Lord Jesus.

Matthew 10:11-13. Whatsoever city or town (village), see on "Matthew 9:35". Nearly all the people were gathered into cities or villages, it being unusual to live alone in the country, and indeed unsafe, from the unsettled condition of affairs and the prevalence of robbers; in fact, travellers in Palestine have to pursue a similar course now. Inquire, search out, or 'ascertain by investigation,' a stronger term than 'enquire.' Who in it is worthy, i.e., a man of piety and hospitality such as would make a fit associate and a willing host. And there abide till ye go hence, viz., forth from the city. In addressing the Seventy, (Luke 10:7) he adds 'go not from house to house.' The chief object of this injunction seems to have been to make them feel perfectly easy about the burden of entertaining them; they must not even trouble themselves to change their stopping-place in a town, with a view to divide the burden. They had a right to a support, and must go without fear to a suitable place and stay there. It would not prove a real burden to entertain two men on a hurried journey, and they would of course not go to stay with a family which they learned was very poor. We can see another advantage of this course in that they could give themselves more uninterruptedly to their public labours. Thomson says (Vol. ii., 407), that at the present day, "when a stranger arrives in a village or an encampment, the neighbours, one after another, usually invite him to eat with them. There is a strict etiquette about it, involving much ostentation and hypocrisy, and a failure in the due observance of such hospitality is frequently resented, and often leads to alienations and feuds amongst neighbours."—The apostles found in carrying out the directions here given, that they lacked nothing—all their wants were supplied. (Luke 22:35) Into a (the) house, i.e., the one selected according to his direction. Salute it. The form of salutation would be readily understood, and was stated to the Seventy, (Luke 10:5) "Peace be to this house." This was the common salutation among the Jews, e. g., Luke 24:36; John 20:19, John 20:21, John 20:26; 1 Samuel 25:6; Psalms 122:7, Psalms 122:8. The Hebrew word employed, shalom, signified originally wholeness, soundness, and hence health, welfare, prosperity, well-being in general; and then peace, as opposed to war, because this so greatly conduces to prosperity and welfare in general. As a salutation, the term was thus an invocation of good of every kind, a benediction, a wish that one might be blessed in every respect. It is important to observe this breadth of meaning in the term, when studying various passages, such as John 14:27; James 2:16, and the opening and closing salutations of several of the Epistles. The same word, salaam, is now used by the Arabs. If the house be worthy, i. e., of your abiding in it, as in Matthew 10:11. The emphasis in the Greek is on 'be,' and if the house be worthy, as you were informed.—If (Matthew 10:11) it be not worthy, let your peace return to you, without having accomplished anything. (Compare Isaiah 45:23, Isaiah 55:11) The explanation offered by many, that he says the benediction would come back and do good to themselves, does not appear to be warranted by the usage of similar expressions, although the idea which would thus be conveyed, is itself just and Scriptural.

Matthew 10:14 f. Out of that house or (that) city. He refers at the same time to the case of an individual refusing them hospitality, and of a community refusing to hear their message. They would turn away from an individual, shaking off the dust of their feet, if he refused to receive or hear, but would not necessarily abandon the whole community for his sake. But if a city refused to receive or hear, then they would turn away from that city, shaking off the dust of their feet. These two directions are blended in one sentence. Whosoever is singular here, plural in Luke 9:5. Shaking off the dust, etc., denoted that they wanted nothing whatever to do with them, counting them vile, and all that pertained to them polluting. We find Paul doing this in Acts 13:51, Acts 18:6. The Talmud represents it as common for Jews to do so when re-entering the Holy Land from a heathen country. Similar is the ancient and modern Oriental custom of removing shoes when entering a holy place. Our Lord himself had already been rejected at Nazareth, (Luke 4:16) and in the country of the Gadarenes, and was rejected afterwards at a Samaritan village; (Luke 9:52) indeed, in general, 'he came to his own, and his own received him not.' (John 1:11) We need not then be surprised if some reject us and our message, since it was so with Jesus, and so with the apostles, even on the Day of Pentecost. More tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah, compare on Matthew 11:22, Matthew 11:24. This solemn utterance is here given by Matthew only, the corresponding sentence in Mark 6:11 being an unquestionably spurious though early addition to the text, such as we so often find made in parallel passages.

Homiletical And Practical

Matthew 9:36-38. What a theme for meditation is the Saviour's compassion—at once human compassion and divine—and not a mere sentiment, but leading him to corresponding action, as Teacher and as Redeemer; and also leading him to send out others to teach the way of salvation. Every one now who is truly sent forth of God to spend his life in proclaiming salvation is really a fruit of the Saviour's compassion for the perishing. Looking over a congregation, or any crowd, do you feel a tender concern for their salvation? Thinking of the millions who are perishing, in our own and other lands, do you long for their salvation and pray for it? If not, you are not like Jesus.—The prayer for labourers ought much oftener to form a part of our public and private supplications. All Christian men and women, and boys and girls, ought to feel that they have a work to do in gathering the great harvest of souls, that waves wide and perishing over all the earth.

Matthew 9:36-38. Luther: "The world think nothing more trifling and despicable than the ministers of the word, or labourers in the Lord's harvest; but that is like rejoicing over their own endless misfortune."

Matthew 9:36 to Matthew 10:6. Origin and development of a call to the ministry. (1) Compassionate reflection upon the perishing condition of men, Matthew 10:36 f. (2) Prayer that God will send forth labourers, Matthew 10:38. (3) Conviction that we ourselves must go, Matthew 10:1, Matthew 10:5. Henry: "Those who are to be ministers ought, (1) to live near to Christ; (2) to be taught by him."

Matthew 10:1. Henry: "This was that famous jury, (and to make it a grand jury, Paul was added to it) that was impanelled to inquire between the King of kings and the body of mankind; and in this chapter they have their charge given them by him to whom all judgment was committed."

Matthew 10:2. Henry: "Kinsmen may be dear companions in Christian labour."

Matthew 10:7 f. The relation between the supernatural and the miraculous.

Matthew 10:9-13. Hospitality to travelling preachers; compare Hebrews 13:2, 2 John 1:10.

Matthew 10:12 f. The courtesies of life may be the vehicles of temporal and spiritual blessing.

Matthew 10:14 f. Dreadful guilt of rejecting the gospel. Henry: "The best and most powerful preachers of the gospel must expect to meet with some who will not so much as give them the hearing, nor show them any token of respect."—It may be suggested that in sermons on the twelve apostles it would be well to group two or more of those concerning whom we know very little into one discourse, rather than use uncertain traditions as material.

 


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Bibliography Information
Broadus, John. "Commentary on Matthew 9:4". "John Broadus' Commentary on Matthew". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jbm/matthew-9.html. 1886.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, November 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
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