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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 15

 

 

Verses 1-20

Matthew 15:1-20. The Washing of Hands and the Traditions of the Elders (Mark 7:1-23*).—Mt. is again briefer than Mk. He omits the parenthetical explanation Mark 7:3 f. and the technical term "Corban," turns the statement of Mark 7:9 into a question (Matthew 15:3), and puts the quotation from Isaiah as a climax after the "Corban" passage. He also substitutes "God" (Matthew 15:4) for "Moses" (Mark 7:10) to heighten the antithesis with "But you say" (Matthew 15:5), and "mouth" (Matthew 15:11; Matthew 15:17 f.) for "man" (Mark 7:15; Mark 7:18; Mark 7:20), thus removing the ambiguity which was the ground of the subsequent explanation, and making the explanation tautologous. He abbreviates the list of evils (Matthew 15:19), and omits the difficult phrase "making all meats clean" (Mark 7:19). On the other hand he inserts Matthew 15:12-14, perhaps from Q (cf. Luke 6:39).

In addition to what is said on the Corban question in the notes on Mark 7, attention may be drawn to a suggestion by J. H. A. Hart in Jewish Quarterly Review, July 1907. He takes Mark 7:9 literally, not satirically: "ye do well to leave the commandment," etc. Jesus commends the Pharisees for insisting that, when a man has made a vow to God, he should pay it though his parents suffer. As for setting aside the command, He Himself did it, as in the Sermon on the Mount, and as the prophets and psalmists had set aside the whole system of sacrifices. Here the fifth commandment is set aside by Corban. A man could lay his conflict of duties before the scribes; some would take one view, some the other. Jesus allies Himself here with the stricter school. It was hard on the parents, and none knew this better than Jesus did. But He had vowed His life, and we remember His words about forsaking father and mother. There is evidence of tense emotion in the broken construction of Mark 7:11.

Matthew 15:13. The "plants" are the Pharisees. Jesus announces their ruin and that of their system and their followers. Cf. Matthew 3:10, Luke 13:6-9, John 15:1-8.


Verses 21-28

Matthew 15:21-28. The Healing of the Greek Woman's Daughter (Mark 7:24-30*).—Lk. may have thought the story unacceptable to his Gentile readers. Mt. adds the saying, I was not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." He makes the woman come out of the heathen territory, for Jesus could hardly go thither, much less work a miracle, after the prohibition to the disciples in Matthew 10:5. Matthew 15:23 f. suggests that He desired, out of compassion, to overstep His Divinely imposed limit, but that He must abide within it. There is a struggle in His mind. Perhaps Matthew 15:26 is more accurate than Mark 7:27, which implies that Gentiles shall be fed by-and-by. Jesus is not concerned about the future, and the word "first" would have little meaning for the woman, though much to one who knew the work of Paul. But does the diminutive (hurtaría, "the little household dogs") point clearly to Gentiles? At any rate there is no contempt. Note that the woman knows Jesus as "Son of David" (cf. Matthew 9:27*, Matthew 12:23).


Verses 29-31

Matthew 15:29-31. Healings.—A general survey takes the place of Mk.'s (Mark 7:31-37) story of the cure of the deaf mute, perhaps because of the use by Jesus of material means and groaning." Similarly the story of the blind man (Mark 8:22-26) is omitted, though in compensation Mt. has given Matthew 9:27-33. It is curious that the sick were brought "up into the mountain."


Verses 32-39

Matthew 15:32-39. The Second Feeding of the Multitude (Mark 8:1-10*)—Mt. follows Mk. closely, but again adds women and children. "I would not send them away fasting" (Matthew 15:32), according to Allen, "heightens the note of mastery and dignity of Christ's aims." Magadan (Matthew 15:39) is as great a puzzle as Mk.'s Dalmanutha. Possibly Magdala, the reading of some MSS. here and of others in Mk., is meant.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/matthew-15.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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