Matthew 9

His own city; Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, where he then resided.

Bed; a portable bed or mattress, on which the sick were borne.—Thy sins be forgiven thee. As all the sorrows and sufferings of human life are the effects and consequences of sin, our Savior, by this reply, announces to the wretched patient effectual relief from his miseries; and also calmly takes his position as one entitled to exercise, in his own name, the highest prerogatives of divinity.

Blasphemeth. They justly considered the power of forgiving sins as the attribute of God.

The meaning is, he wrought the visible miracle of healing, in attestation of his claim to the possession of the invisible power of forgiving sin.

Receipt of custom; the office or place where he received the customs or taxes.

Publicans and sinners. The publicans mentioned in the New Testament were persons employed by the government, or by farmers of the revenue acting under authority of the government, to collect customs and taxes. They were generally held in great detestation, not only on account their usual depravity of character but also because it was exceedingly humiliating to the proud spirit of the Jews, to be compelled to pay taxes to their heathen masters, whom they both hated and despised. The feeling, however, with which the publicans were regarded, was, in part, a prejudice, and in some cases, perhaps, as, for instance, in that of Matthew, wholly so. There is no evidence that he was not always a man of uprightness on integrity. That the office in itself innocent, seems to be implied by the directions which John gave for the performance of its duties. (Luke 3:12, 13.)

I will have mercy, and not sacrifice; (Hosea 6:6;) that is, God is far better pleased with the exercise of kindness and good will between man and man, than by punctiliousness in the observance of rites and forms.

The meaning is, that, as Jesus was yet with his disciples, expressions of mourning and sorrow would be inappropriate. Their days of mourning were to come.

Christians should have proper reference, in all their arrangements, to the proprieties of time and place. It would be unsuitable for the disciples of the Savior to mourn while he was with them, just as it would be unsuitable for the guests at a wedding to be gloomy and sad. The other illustrations are are merely striking cases of incongruity.—New cloth is unfulled cloth, which would shrink on being accidentally wet, and thus produce a degree of tension in the surrounding parts which would soon cause a more extended rent than the one which it was intended to repair.—Bottles were made of leather, and, when old and rigid, were easily ruptured by the fermentation of new wine.

Minstrels and people; the friends, and the mourners employed to bewail the dead, as was the Eastern custom.

Sleepeth. Our Savior often used language which seemed dark and mysterious until a subsequent event explained it. For example, see Luke 9:45, John 2:19. In this instance, the event showed that he meant by his expression that the extinction of life was not final, but that, as in case of sleep, the lost animation was to be restored. The extraordinary assertion served to call the attention of the company strongly to what he was about to do, and the event immediately explained its meaning.

He went in; with Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the maiden. (Mark 5:37, 40.)

Son of David; one of the titles by which the Jews were accustomed to designate the Messiah. (Matt. 21:9.)

The Savior seems often to have given directions with a view of limiting the publicity of his most remarkable miracles, in order to keep the popular excitement which they occasioned within due bounds. Since the Jews expected the Messiah to head their armies, and expel the Romans from their territories, there was danger, if he became suddenly known as the Messiah, before he had corrected their erroneous views of the nature of his reign, that popular insurrections and bloodshed might ensue. On one occasion, this result was narrowly escaped. (John 6:15.) And besides, even if no popular tumult should ensue, still the greater the publicity given to his movements and miracles, the greater was the danger of their attracting the attention of Herod's government in Galilee, or that of the Romans in Judea.

The gospel of the kingdom; the gospel or good news of the kingdom of Christ.

Fainted; were exhausted with fasting and fatigue.

Many people were ready to receive the gospel, while there were but few to communicate it to them.

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