Matthew 8

Cleansing a Leper

1After he came down from the mountain, large crowds followed him. 2And a leper
Grk “And behold, a leper came.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
The ancient term for leprosy covers a wider array of conditions than what we call leprosy today. A leper was totally ostracized from society until he was declared cured (Lev 13:45–46).
approached, and bowed low before him, saying,
Grk “a leper approaching, bowed low before him, saying.”
“Lord, if
This is a third class condition. The report portrays the leper making no presumptions about whether Jesus will heal him or not.
you are willing, you can make me clean.”
3He stretched out his hand and touched
Touched. This touch would have rendered Jesus ceremonially unclean (Lev 14:46; also Mishnah, m. Nega’im 3.1; 11.1; 12.1; 13.6-12).
him saying, “I am willing. Be clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
4Then Jesus said to him, “See that you do not speak to anyone,
The command for silence was probably meant to last only until the cleansing took place with the priests and sought to prevent Jesus’ healings from becoming the central focus of the people’s reaction to him. See also 9:30, 12:16, 16:20, and 17:9 for other cases where Jesus asks for silence concerning him and his ministry.
but go, show yourself to a priest, and bring the offering
Grk “gift.”
that Moses commanded,
On the phrase bring the offering that Moses commanded see Lev 14:1–32.
as a testimony to them.”
Or “as an indictment against them.” The pronoun αὐτοῖς (autois) may be a dative of disadvantage.

Healing the Centurion’s Servant

5 When he entered Capernaum,
Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region.
For location see Map1-D2; Map2-C3; Map3-B2.
a centurion
A centurion was a noncommissioned officer in the Roman army or one of the auxiliary territorial armies, commanding a centuria of (nominally) 100 men. The responsibilities of centurions were broadly similar to modern junior officers, but there was a wide gap in social status between them and officers, and relatively few were promoted beyond the rank of senior centurion. The Roman troops stationed in Judea were auxiliaries, who would normally be rewarded with Roman citizenship after 25 years of service. Some of the centurions may have served originally in the Roman legions (regular army) and thus gained their citizenship at enlistment. Others may have inherited it, like the apostle Paul did.
came to him asking for help:
While in Matthew’s account the centurion came to him asking for help, Luke’s account (7:1–10) mentions that the centurion sent some Jewish elders as emissaries on his behalf.
Grk “and saying, ‘Lord.’” The participle λέγων (legōn) at the beginning of v. 6 is redundant in English and has not been translated.
my servant
The Greek term here is παῖς (pais), often used of a slave who was regarded with some degree of affection, possibly a personal servant (Luke 7:7 uses the more common term δοῦλος, doulos). See L&N 87.77.
is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible anguish.”
Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
said to him, “I will come and heal him.”
8But the centurion replied,
Grk “But answering, the centurion replied.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant and has not been translated.
“Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed.
9For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.
Grk “having soldiers under me.”
I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes,
I say to this one ‘Go’ and he goes. The illustrations highlight the view of authority the soldier sees in the word of one who has authority. Since the centurion was a commander of a hundred soldiers, he understood what it was both to command others and to be obeyed.
and to another ‘Come’ and he comes, and to my slave
Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times… in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. 1). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
‘Do this’ and he does it.”
The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth,
Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel!
11I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet
Grk “and recline at table,” as 1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away. The word “banquet” has been supplied to clarify for the modern reader the festive nature of the imagery. The banquet imagery is a way to describe the fellowship and celebration of being among the people of God at the end.
1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away.
with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
Grk “and Isaac and Jacob,” but καί (kai) has not been translated since English normally uses a coordinating conjunction only between the last two elements in a series of three or more.
in the kingdom of heaven,
12but the sons of the kingdom will be thrown out into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
Weeping and gnashing of teeth is a figure for remorse and trauma, which occurs here because of exclusion from God’s promise.
13Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go; just as you believed, it will be done for you.” And the servant
‡ Most mss read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) after “servant.” It is unlikely that the pronoun was accidentally overlooked by such diverse witnesses as א B 0250 0281 f1 33 latt. More likely is the probability that Western, Byzantine, and some other scribes added the word for clarification (so C L W Θ 0233 f13 Maj. sy sa). NA27 has the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubts as to its authenticity.
was healed at that hour.

Healings at Peter’s House

14 Now
Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying down,
Grk “having been thrown down.” The verb βεβλημένην (beblēmenēn) is a perfect passive participle of the verb βάλλω (ballō, “to throw”). This indicates the severity of her sickness.
sick with a fever.
15He touched her hand, and the fever left her. Then
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then.”
she got up and began to serve them.
16When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick.
Note how the author distinguishes healing from exorcism here, implying that the two are not identical.
17In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled:
Grk “was fulfilled, saying.” The participle λέγοντος (legontos) is redundant and has not been translated.

He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.
A quotation from Isa 53:4.

Challenging Professed Followers

18 Now when Jesus saw a large crowd
‡ Codex B and some Sahidic mss read simply ὄχλον (oclon, “crowd”), the reading that NA27 follows; the first hand of א, as well as f1 and a few others, has ὄχλους (oclous, “crowds”); other witnesses read πολὺν ὄχλον (polun oclon, “a large crowd”). But the reading most likely to be original seems to be πολλούς ὄχλους (pollous ochlous). It is found in א2 C L Θ 0233 f13 33 Maj. lat; it is judged to be superior on internal grounds (the possibility of accidental omission of πολλούς/πολύν in isolated witnesses) and, to a lesser extent, external grounds (geographically widespread, various texttypes). For reasons of English style, however, this phrase has been translated as “a large crowd.”
around him, he gave orders to go to the other side of the lake.
The phrase “of the lake” is not in the Greek text but is clearly implied; it has been supplied here for clarity.
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then.”
an expert in the law
Or “a scribe.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.
came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”
The statement I will follow you wherever you go is an offer to follow Jesus as a disciple, no matter what the cost.
20Jesus said to him, “Foxes have dens, and the birds in the sky
Grk “the birds of the sky” or “the birds of the heaven”; the Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated either “sky” or “heaven,” depending on the context. The idiomatic expression “birds of the sky” refers to wild birds as opposed to domesticated fowl (cf. BDAG 809 s.v. πετεινόν).
have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
Jesus’ reply is simply this: Does the man understand the rejection he will be facing? Jesus has no home in the world (the Son of Man has no place to lay his head).
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
of the
‡ Most mss (C L W Θ 0250 f1, 13 Maj. lat sy mae bo) read αὐτοῦ (autou, “his”) here, but the earliest witnesses, א and B (along with 33 and a few others), lack it. The addition may have been a motivated reading to clarify whose disciples were in view. NA27 includes the pronoun in brackets, indicating doubt as to its authenticity.
disciples said to him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.”
22But Jesus said to him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
There are several options for the meaning of Jesus’ reply Leave the dead to bury their own dead: (1) Recent research suggests that burial customs in the vicinity of Jerusalem from about 20 b.c. to a.d. 70 involved a reinterment of the bones a year after the initial burial, once the flesh had rotted away. At that point the son would have placed his father’s bones in a special box known as an ossuary to be set into the wall of the tomb. Thus Jesus could well be rebuking the man for wanting to wait around for as much as a year before making a commitment to follow him. In 1st century Jewish culture, to have followed Jesus rather than burying one’s father would have seriously dishonored one’s father (cf. Tobit 4:3–4). (2) The remark is an idiom (possibly a proverbial saying) that means, “The matter in question is not the real issue,” in which case Jesus was making a wordplay on the wording of the man’s (literal) request (see L&N 33.137). (3) This remark could be a figurative reference to various kinds of people, meaning, “Let the spiritually dead bury the dead.” (4) It could also be literal and designed to shock the hearer by the surprise of the contrast. Whichever option is preferred, it is clear that the most important priority is to follow Jesus.

Stilling of a Storm

23 As he got into the boat, his disciples followed him.
A boat that held all the disciples would be of significant size.
24And a great storm developed on the sea so that the waves began to swamp the boat. But he was asleep. 25So they came
The participle προσελθόντες (proselthontes) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
and woke him up saying, “Lord, save us! We are about to die!”
Grk “And.” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “but” to indicate the contrast present in this context.
he said to them, “Why are you cowardly, you people of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked
Or “commanded” (often with the implication of a threat, L&N 33.331).
the winds and the sea,
Who has authority over the seas and winds is discussed in the OT: Ps 104:3; 135:7; 107:23–30. When Jesus rebuked the winds and the sea he was making a statement about who he was.
and it was dead calm.
27And the men
It is difficult to know whether ἄνθρωποι (anqrōpoi) should be translated as “men” or “people” (in a generic sense) here. At issue is whether (1) only the Twelve were with Jesus in the boat, as opposed to other disciples (cf. v. 23), and (2) whether any of those other disciples would have been women. The issue is complicated further by the parallel in Mark (4:35–41), where the author writes (4:36) that other boats accompanied them on this journey.
were amazed and said,
Grk “the men were amazed, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) has been translated as a finite verb to make the sequence of events clear in English.
“What sort of person is this? Even the winds and the sea obey him!”
Jesus’ authority over creation raised a question for the disciples about his identity (What sort of person is this?). This verse shows that the disciples followed Jesus even though they did not know all about him yet.

Healing the Gadarene Demoniacs

28 When he came to the other side, to the region of the Gadarenes,
The textual tradition here is quite complicated. A number of mss (B C [Δ] Θ al sys,p,h) read “Gadarenes,” which is the better reading here. Many other mss2 L W f1, 13 Maj. [syhmg] bo) have “Gergesenes.” Others (892c latt syhmg sa mae) have “Gerasenes,” which is the reading followed in Luke 8:26. The difference between Matthew and Luke may be due to uses of variant regional terms.
The region of the Gadarenes would be in Gentile territory on the southeastern side of the Sea of Galilee across from Galilee. Luke 8:26 and Mark 5:1 record this miracle as occurring “in the region of the Gerasenes.” “Irrespective of how one settles this issue, for the [second and] Third Evangelist the chief concern is that Jesus has crossed over into Gentile territory, ‘opposite Galilee’” (J. B. Green, Luke [NICNT], 337). The region of Gadara extended to the Sea of Galilee and included the town of Sennabris on the southern shore - the town that the herdsmen most likely entered after the drowning of the pigs.
two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were extremely violent, so that no one was able to pass by that way.
Grk “And behold, they cried out, saying.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant and has not been translated.
cried out, “Son of God, leave us alone!
Grk “what to us and to you?” (an idiom). The phrase τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί (ti hēmin kai soi) is Semitic in origin, though it made its way into colloquial Greek (BDAG 275 s.v. ἐγώ). The equivalent Hebrew expression in the OT had two basic meanings: (1) When one person was unjustly bothering another, the injured party could say “What to me and to you?” meaning, “What have I done to you that you should do this to me?” (Judg 11:12, 2 Chr 35:21, 1 Kgs 17:18). (2) When someone was asked to get involved in a matter he felt was no business of his own, he could say to the one asking him, “What to me and to you?” meaning, “That is your business, how am I involved?” (2 Kgs 3:13, Hos 14:8). These nuances were apparently expanded in Greek, but the basic notions of defensive hostility (option 1) and indifference or disengagement (option 2) are still present. BDAG suggests the following as glosses for this expression: What have I to do with you? What have we in common? Leave me alone! Never mind! Hostility between Jesus and the demons is certainly to be understood in this context, hence the translation: “Leave us alone….”
Have you come here to torment us before the time?”
There was an appointed time in which demons would face their judgment, and they seem to have viewed Jesus’ arrival on the scene as an illegitimate change in God’s plan regarding the time when their sentence would be executed.
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
large herd of pigs was feeding some distance from them.
31Then the demons begged him,
Grk “asked him, saying.” The participle λέγοντες (legontes) is redundant in contemporary English and has not been translated.
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
32And he said,
Grk “And he said to them.”
“Go!” So
Here δέ (de) has been translated as “so” to indicate a conclusion and transition in the narrative.
they came out and went into the pigs, and the herd rushed down the steep slope into the lake and drowned in the water.
Here δέ (de) has not been translated.
herdsmen ran off, went into the town,
Or “city.” But see the [S] on “Gadarenes” in 8:28.
and told everything that had happened to the demon-possessed men.
Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).
the entire town
Or “city.”
came out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they begged him to leave their region.

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