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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Matthew 8

 

 

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Verses 1-4

Matthew 8:1-4. The Healing of a Leper (Mark 1:40-45*, Luke 5:12-16).—Mt. omits the healing of the demoniac (Mark 1:23-28), and gives this incident perhaps in illustration of Christ's attitude to the Law. Love is greater than Law, therefore Jesus touches the polluted man; yet the Law should be observed, and the man must go to the priest and witness that Jesus was not hostile to it. Apart from the connecting link in Matthew 8:1, Mt. abbreviates. Note especially the omission of Jesus "being moved with compassion," and of the patient's disobedience (Mark 1:45). The multitudes of Matthew 8:1 seem to have disappeared in Matthew 8:4.


Verses 5-13

Matthew 8:5-13. The Centurion's Servant (Luke 7:1-10; Luke 13:28 f.; cf. John 4:46 to John 5:3).—Lk.'s version immediately follows his account of the sermon; probably it was so in Q. Mt. (cf. Jn.) may have understood pais to mean "son," not "servant." Note his use of doulos ("slave," cf. mg.) in Matthew 8:9.

Matthew 8:7 b should be read as a question. The centurion in reply admits his nnworthiness.

Matthew 8:9. I also: he does not imply that Jesus was subject to authority; he says, "Even I (an officer of comparatively low grade) know what it is to be obeyed."

Matthew 8:10. Note Mt.'s rare admission that Jesus marvelled. The incident is a companion picture to that of the Canaanite woman (Matthew 15:28). These Gentiles believed that the cure could be wrought from a distance, a faith surpassing that of any Jew.

Matthew 8:11 f. Note the different, though hardly more suitable, context in Lk. A banquet was a usual feature in Jewish pictures of the Messianic age.—sons of the kingdom: here Jews who trust simply in their Judaism, in contrast with those who were spiritually fit, whether Jews or Gentiles.—the outer darkness (Matthew 22:13, Matthew 25:30) is the antithesis of the banqueting hall; it is an apocalyptic phrase for the state of final punishment. So is the weeping, etc. (Enoch 108:3, 5; cf. Revelation 16:10).

Matthew 8:13. Either the word of Jesus wrought the cure, or He knew and said that God would heal the patient because of the centurion's faith.


Verses 14-17

Matthew 8:14 f. Simon's Wife's Mother (Mark 1:29-31*, Luke 4:38 f.).—Mt. abbreviates and heightens Mk.—the cure is wrought by a mere touch.

Matthew 8:16 f. The Sunset Healings (Mark 1:32-34*, Luke 4:40 f.).—Not "ere the sun was set," as the well-known hymn has it, but Mt. omits this note as he does not say it was on the Sabbath. Note his transposition of Mk.'s all brought and many healed; he will not admit the possibility that any were uncured. The unqualified mention of "spirits" in this connexion is unique in NT.—with a word: cf. Matthew 8. For Mt.'s omission of Mark 1:34 b, cf. Matthew 12:15 (=Mark 3:11).

Matthew 8:17 is an adaptation of Isaiah 53:4; as Mt. uses it, there is "no reference to the propitiatory value of the Servant's work," "no bearing on the doctrine of the Atonement" (M'Neile).


Verses 18-22

Matthew 8:18-22. Aspirants to Discipleship (Luke 9:57-60).—Mt. here breaks away from Mk.'s order, omitting Mark 1:35-38, and giving as the sequel to Jesus' first stay at Capernaum what Mk. (Mark 4:35 to Mark 5:20) makes the sequel to the second stay. Mark 2:1 to Mark 4:34 (following on the first stay) is given by Mt. in chs. 9, 11f. Where Mk. (Mark 4:35) and Lk. (Luke 8:22) have an invitation, Mt. (Matthew 18) has a command. Lk.'s account of (three) would-be followers occurs on the last journey to Jerusalem; Mt. records them thus early as illustrating cases of unworthy discipleship. The scribe (? already a disciple, cf. Matthew 8:21) wishes to go with Jesus, not necessarily for good, but "wherever you are (now) going"; Jesus replies that He is not going home, for He has none. It is possible that Jesus is referring rather to His being outcast from the religious circles of His land (Bruce, With Open Face, p. 218). Certainly there seems to be a contrast between the easy, care-free life of the lower creation, and the dignity, with its entailed hardship, of the lot of man (cf. Psalms 55:6 f., Jeremiah 9:2). This is the first place where Mt. has the phrase "Son of Man," and it may carry its simple human rather than its Messianic connotation. The second disciple (Philip, according to Clement of Alexandria) does not offer himself without a call, but delays in accepting a call already given. There is this likeness between the two—one is reluctant to renounce his house, the other his relatives (cf. Matthew 19:29). "Bury my father" need not mean that the parent was lying dead, but probably that the disciple did not feel justified in leaving home while the head of the house was still alive. In accord with Oriental feeling, he was not yet his own master. Cf. also Genesis 50:5 f., Tobit 4:3; Tobit 6:14. The answer of Jesus is cryptic; perhaps "the dead" are the spiritually dead, the other members of the family. Another reading of the Aramaic underlying the Gr. gives "leave the dead to the burier of the dead" (cf. Ezekiel 39:11-16).


Verses 23-27

Matthew 8:23-27. The Stilling of the Tempest (Mark 4:36-41*, Luke 8:23-25).—Mk.'s narrative is the fullest; note how both the others omit the reproach of Mark 4:38. Mt. alone makes the disciples (some of them skilled boatmen) directly invoke the help of their passenger; also he gives them credit for a little faith (Matthew 8:26). In Matthew 8:27, according to him it is not the disciples that discover who the Lord is, but "people" (cf. "(the) men" in Matthew 16:13). There is more in the incident than a nature miracle; the wind and sea are regarded as demoniacally possessed, and the "wonder" is a "sign" that the powers of evil are being subdued and that the kingdom is at hand (Matthew 12:28).


Verses 28-34

Matthew 8:28-34. The Gerasene Demoniacs (Mark 5:1-20*, Luke 8:26-39)—Mt. is considerably shorter than Mk.; note his summary of Mark 5:3-5 and omission of Mark 5:8-10, Mark 5:18-20. He frequently omits questions put by Jesus. His statement that there were two maniacs may be compensation for the previous omission (Matthew 8:1-4*), but perhaps Mk. and Lk. are thinking of the more important of the two. According to Dalman, "Son of God" (Matthew 8:29) was not a common Messianic title but was substituted for one in the case of demons by the evangelists. The spirits feel that the hour of their doom, the Judgment-day (Eth. Enoch, 1:5 f.; Jubilees, 10:8 f.), has struck too soon. The rush and total disappearance of the frightened swine would be a great factor in establishing the patient's peace of mind. What had troubled him. was now gone for ever.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Matthew 8:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/matthew-8.html. 1919.

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Wednesday, February 19th, 2020
the Sixth Week after Epiphany
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