Matthew 8

A leper. The disease here intended was one of the most loathsome maladies to which the human frame is subject. It was highly contagious; and, though patients sometimes recovered, the disease was considered generally incurable.—Worshipped him; prostrated himself before him, in token of respect and veneration.—Make me clean; heal me.

Go show thyself to the priest. As the leprosy was a highly contagious disease the leper was forbidden, by the law of Moses, to mingle with the community, until he had obtained the testimony of the priest, that he was really cured, according to the directions given in Lev. ch. 14.

Capernaum; his residence at this time. Matt. 4:13.—Centurion; a Roman officer, commanding about one hundred men.

Under authority; subject to authority. The idea of the centurion was, that, as he obeyed his superiors, and was obeyed by his subordinates, so were diseases subject to the Savior's commands.

Faith; confidence in the Savior's power.—In Israel; among the people of Israel. This centurion was a Roman,—a Gentile.

The east and west; from all countries.—And shall sit down, &c. shall share with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the happiness of heaven.

The children of the kingdom, the Jews themselves, the actual children of Abraham, whom God had chosen as the founder and head of his kingdom.—Cast into utter darkness. The scene of the suffering here described is plainly the future world; for it is to be inflicted at the time when true believers are to be united in happiness, with patriarchs long since departed from this stage of being. The expression in the latter part of the verse implies not only the extreme of human anguish and woe, but also an angry and desperate resentment on the part of the sufferers.—Gnashing of teeth. Men sometimes attempt to make the threatened judgments of God against the wicked appear unjust, by representing the eternal sufferings which they incur, as inflicted solely for the sins of this life. But the Scripture view of the subject is, that they who persist in sin through this season of probation, will persist in it forever. They will become forever irreconcilable in their hostility, and so, necessarily forever miserable.

Ministered; waited upon, performed the necessary duties of hospitality towards her guests.

Esaias; Isa. 53:4.

The other side; from Capernaum, which was upon the western side of the lake.

The Son of man. The Savior very generally spoke of himself in this way; but commentators have found great difficulty in determining the import of the expression. The phrase is used in four different modes in the Scriptures. 1. It is often employed in the Psalms and other similar writings, meaning man generally, as in the passage, "Put not your trust in the son of man,"—and in many others. 2. It occurs frequently in the book of Ezekiel, as the mode by which the Divine Spirit addressed the prophet, when directing him in regard to his prophetic communications; as, "Thou, also, son of man, take thee a tile," &c. It is remarkable that this use of the expression is confined to the prophet Ezekiel. 3. It is used three times in prophetic writings as a mode of designating the Messiah. (Dan. 7:13, Rev. 1:13, 14:14.) 4. It was the common expression used by our Savior when speaking of himself; but it is noticeable that no instance in which he was addressed or personally designated in this way, by any other individual, is on record. It is, on the whole, most probable that Jesus adopted the expression from its use in Dan. 7:13, as a mode of distinctly designating himself as the Messiah, and yet as one less likely than others to excite suddenly the public attention.

Bury my father; that is, wait until the close of his life. It would seem that this was merely an excuse.

Let the dead; that is, the spiritually dead—those indifferent to their salvation.

A ship; a sort of boat used for fishing upon the lake.

Sea; Sea of Tiberias, called also the Sea of Galilee and Lake of Gennesareth. It is about twelve miles long and five broad. Lying imbosomed among mountains, it was exposed to sudden and violent tempests.

Gergesenes; called by Mark Gadarenes. It was a region on the eastern side of the lake, in which were two cities, Gergesa and Gadara.—Met him two. Mark speaks of but one, having reference, probably, to the principal speaker. There is no contradiction; but impostors, in fabricating accounts, would have guarded against such a difference.—The tombs. The sepulchres of the Jews were generally at some distance from the city, among the mountains, and in solitudes.

The fact that the demoniacs so immediately recognized Jesus as the Messiah, when he had not yet publicly announced himself as such, and the strong fears which they felt, have been regarded as convincing evidence that they were not persons afflicted with ordinary diseases, but were really under a supernatural influence.

And when they were come out, &c. The whole of this phraseology seems inconsistent with the supposition that the sacred writers regarded these as cases of insanity produced by ordinary causes, as some contend. And yet it must be admitted, that there are difficulties involved in the other supposition. We should not have expected such a course of action as this from spirits which must have been ration, however depraved. But, notwithstanding these difficulties, it seems impossible to deny that the sacred writers mean to represent these effects as produced by the agency of spirit not human.

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