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Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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MATTHEW CHAPTER 9

Verse 1. And he entered into a ship, etc. Jesus acceded to the request of the people of Gadara, recrossed the lake of Gennesareth, and returned to his own city. By his own city is meant Capernaum, (Mark 2:1) the city which was at that time his home, or where he had his dwelling, See Matthew 4:13. This same account, with some additional circumstances, is contained in Mark 2:3-12, and Luke 5:18-26.

Verse 2. A man sick of the palsy. See Barnes "Matthew 4:24".

Lying on a bed. This was probably a mattress, or perhaps a mere blanket spread to lie on, so as to be easily borne. Being light, Jesus might with propriety command him to take it up and walk, Matthew 9:6.

Mark says, "they uncovered the roof," Matthew 2:4 Luke says, "they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling," Matthew 5:19 To us it would appear that much injury must have been done to the house where Jesus was, and that they must be much incommoded by the removal of tiles and rafters, etc. An acquaintance, however, with the mode of building in the East removes every difficulty of this nature. Houses, in eastern countries, are commonly square in their form, and of a single story. On approaching them from the street, a single door is seen in the centre, and, usually, directly above it a single latticed window. This destitution of doors and lights from the streets, though it gives their dwellings a sombre appearance, is yet adapted to the habits of retirement and secrecy among the people of the East, where they are desirous of keeping their females from observation. The annexed representation of an Arabian house shows the external appearance of an eastern dwelling, and the upper chamber, or "closet," rising above the main building. See Barnes "Matthew 6:6". On entering the only door in front, the first room is a small square room, surrounded with benches, called the porch. In this room the master of the family commonly transacts business, and, on private occasions, receives visits. Passing through the porch, you enter a large square room directly in the centre of the building, called the court. Luke says that the paralytic was let down "into the midst;" not in the midst of the people, but of the building--the middle place of the house. This court is paved commonly with marble; and, if possible, a fountain of water is formed in the centre, to give it beauty, and to diffuse a grateful coolness. This room is surrounded by a gallery, or covered walk on every side. From that covered walk, doors open into the other apartments of the house.

This centre room, or court, is commonly uncovered or open above. In wet weather, however, and in times of great heat of the sun, it is covered with an awning or canvass, stretched on cords, and capable of being easily removed or rolled up. This is what Mark means when he says they uncovered the roof. They rolled up or removed this awning.

From the court to the roof the ascent is by flights of stairs, either ill the covered walk or gallery, or in the porch. The roof is nearly flat. It is made of earth; or, in houses of the rich, is a firmly constructed flooring, made of coals, chalk, gypsum, and ashes, made hard by repeated blows. On those roofs, spears of grass, wheat, or barley sometimes spring up; but these are soon withered by the sun, Psalms 129:6-8. The roof is a favourite place for walking, for repose in the, cool of the day, for conversation, and for devotion. See Barnes "Matthew 6:6". On such a roof Rahab concealed the spies, (Joshua 2:6) Samuel talked with Saul, (1 Samuel 9:25;) David walked at eventide, (2 Samuel 11:2) and Peter went up to pray, (Acts 10:9.) The following cut represents the roof of a house, with the battlement, and a person viewing the neighbouring country. This roof was surrounded with a balustrade, or railing, breast high, on the sides; but where a house was contiguous to another, and of the same height, the railing was lower, so as to walk from one roof to another. In cities constructed in this manner, it was possible to walk through a considerable part of the city on the roofs of the houses. A breastwork or riding was of course built in the same manner around the open space in the centre, to prevent them from falling into the court below. This railing, or breastwork, is what Luke 5:19 says they let him down through. They removed it probably so that the couch could be conveniently let down with cords; and standing on the roof over the Saviour, they let the man down directly before him. The perseverance they had manifested was the evidence of their faith or confidence in his power to heal the sick man.

The cut on the next page exhibits the ground-plan of an eastern dwelling, and illustrates the account of the cure of the sick man. By looking at this it may be easily seen how the paralytic was presented to Jesus. Suppose the Saviour to be seated in the open court, say at G. The room was thronged. There was but one way of access, through a. It would be easy to ascend the stairs at F, and go round on the gallery till they came over Jesus, and remove a part of the balustrade, or breastwork, and let him down directly before him.

Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee. It may seem remarkable that, since the man came only to be healed, Jesus should have at first declared his sins forgiven. For this the following reasons may be suggested:

1st. The man might have brought on this affection of the palsy by a long course of vicious indulgence. Conscious of guilt, he may have feared that he was so great a sinner that Christ would not regard him. He therefore assured him that his offences were pardoned, and that he might lay aside his fears.

2nd. Jesus might be willing to show his power to forgive sins. Had he stated it without any miracle, the Jews would not have believed it, and even his disciples might have been staggered. In proof of it, he worked a miracle; and no one, therefore, could doubt that he had the power. The miracle was wrought in express attestation of the assertion that he had the power to forgive sins. As God would not work a miracle to confirm a falsehood, or to deceive men, the miracle was a solemn confirmation, on the part of God, that Jesus had the power to forgive sins.

3rd. The Jews regarded disease as the effect of sin, John 9:2; James 5:14,15. There is a real connexion between sin and suffering, as in the case of gluttony, intemperate drinking, lewdness, debauchery. Jesus might be willing to direct the minds of the spectators to this fact; and by pointing them to a manifest instance of the effect of sin, to lead them to hate and forsake it. Diseases are sometimes the direct judgment of God for sin, 1 Corinthians 5:3-5; 11:30; 2 Samuel 24:10-14. This truth, also, Christ might have been desirous of impressing on the people.

{o} "Son, be of good cheer" Mark 5:34.

Verse 3. This man blasphemeth. The word blaspheme originally means to speak evil of any one, to injure by words, to blame unjustly. When applied to God, it means to speak of him unjustly, to ascribe to him acts and attributes which he does not possess, or to speak impiously or profanely. It also means to say or do anything by which his name or honour is insulted, or which conveys an impress on unfavourable to God. It means, also, to attempt to do or say a thing which belongs to him alone, or which he only can do. This is its meaning here. Christ was charged with saying a thing in his own name, or attempting to do a thing which properly belonged to God; thus assuming the place of God, and doing him injury, as the scribes supposed, by an invasion of his prerogatives. "None," said they, (see Mark and Luke,) "can forgive sins but God only" In this they reasoned correctly. See Isaiah 43:25; 44:22. None of the prophets had this power; and by saying that he forgave sins, Jesus was understood to affirm that he was Divine; and as he proved this by working a miracle expressly to confirm the claim, it follows that he is Divine, or equal with the Father.

Verse 4. Jesus knowing their thoughts. Mark says, "Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned". The power of searching the hearts, and knowing the thoughts of men, belongs only to God, 1 Chronicles 28:9; Romans 8:27; Revelation 2:23; Jeremiah 17:10. In claiming this, as Jesus did here, and often elsewhere, he gave clear proofs of his omniscience, John 2:24,25.

{p} "their thoughts said" Psalms 139:2; John 2:24; Hebrews 4:12; Revelation 2:23

Verse 5. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 6. No Barnes text on this verse.

{y} "forgive sins" Micah 7:18

Verse 7. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 8. They glorified God. See Barnes "Matthew 5:16". To glorify God, here, means to praise him, or to acknowledge his power. The expression, which had given such power to men, was a part of their praise. It expresses no sentiment of the evangelist about the nature of Christ, but is a record of their feelings and their praise.

{r} "glorified" Acts 4:21; Galatians 1:24

Verse 9. Sitting at the receipt of custom. That is, at the place where custom, or tribute, was received; or, in other words, he was a publican, or tax-gatherer. See Barnes "Matthew 5:47". This man was Matthew, the writer of this gospel. The same account is found in Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27,28. Both those evangelists call him Levi. That it was the same man is known by the circumstances in which he was called being the same in all the evangelists, and by all concurring in the statement that our Saviour was present at a feast soon after he called him, and by the fact that Levi is not mentioned in the catalogue of the apostles. The Jews were in the habit of giving several names to the same person. Thus Peter was also called Simon and Cephas. It is worthy of remark, that Luke has mentioned a circumstance favourable to Matthew, which Matthew himself has omitted. Luke says, "he left all." Had Matthew said this, it would have been a commendation of himself, utterly unlike the evangelists. No men were ever farther from praising themselves than they were.

{s} "And as Jesus passed" Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27

Verse 10. And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house. This feast was given to him by Levi, or Matthew, Luke 5:29. This is another circumstance favourable to Matthew, but omitted by him, and recorded by Luke; showing, also, that the apostles were averse to praising themselves. To receive Christ hospitably and kindly was a commendable act, and it strongly evinces Matthew's freedom from ostentation that he has supposed the fact. It thus illustrates the command of the Saviour, as recorded by himself, Matthew 6:1-4.

At meat. At the table, at supper.

Verse 11. Why eateth and drinketh, etc. To eat and drink with others denotes intimacy and familiarity. The Pharisees, by asking this question, accused him of seeking the society of such men, and of being the companion of the wicked. The inference which they would draw was, that he could not be himself righteous, since he delighted in the company of abandoned men.

{t} "and sinners" Matthew 11:9; Luke 15:2; Hebrews 5:2

Verse 12. They that be whole, etc. Jesus, in reply, said that the whole needed not a physician. Sick persons only needed his aid. A physician would not commonly be found with those that were in health. His proper place was among the sick. So, says he, "If you Pharisees are such as you think yourselves, already pure and holy, you do not need my aid. It would be of no use to you, and you would not thank me for it. With those persons who fed that they are sinners I may be useful; and there is my proper place." Or, the expression may mean, "I came on purpose to save sinners. My business is with them. There are none righteous; and as a physician is in his proper place with the sick, so am I with guilty and miserable sinners."

Verse 13. But go ye and learn, etc. To reprove them, and to vindicate his own conduct, he appealed to a passage of Scripture with which they ought to have been acquainted: "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," Hosea 6:6. This is not a declaration on the part of God that he was opposed to sacrifices or offerings for sin; for he had appointed and commanded many, and had therefore expressed his approbation of them. It is a Hebrew mode of speaking, and means, I prefer mercy to sacrifice; or, I am more pleased with acts of benevolence and kindness than with a mere external compliance with the duties of religion. Mercy, here, means benevolence or kindness towards others. Sacrifices were offerings made to God on account of sin, or as an expression of thanksgiving. They were commonly bloody offerings, or animals slain, signifying that the sinner offering them deserved to die himself, and pointing to the great sacrifice or offering which Christ was to make for the sins of the world. Sacrifices were the principal part of the worship of the Jews, and hence came to signify external worship in general. This is the meaning of the word here. The sense in which our Saviour applies it is this. You Pharisees are exceedingly tenacious of the external duties of religion; but God has declared that he prefers benevolence or mercy to those external duties. It is proper, therefore, that I should associate with sinners for the purpose of doing them good.

I am not come to call the righteous, etc. No human beings are by nature righteous, Psalms 14:3;; Romans 1:18-32; 3:10-18. The Pharisees, however, pretended to be righteous. Christ might have meant, by this answer, that it was not the design of his coming to call such persons to repentance, knowing that they would spurn his efforts, and that, to a great extent, they would be vain; or, more probably, he meant to affirm that his proper and only business was to call to repentance such men as he was now with. He came to seek and save such, and it was his proper business, therefore, to associate with them.

Repentance. See Barnes "Matthew 3:2".

{u} "I will have" Proverbs 21:3; Hosea 6:6; Micah 6:8; Matthew 12:7
{v} "to repentence" Luke 24:47; Acts 5:31; 2 Peter 3:9

Verses 14,15. Then came to him the disciples of John, etc. See also Mark 2:18-22; Luke 5:33-39. That is, of John the Baptist. It is probable that they had understood that John was the forerunner of the Messiah; and if such was the case, they could not account for the fact that there was such a difference between them and the disciples of Jesus. The Pharisees fasted often, regularly twice a week, besides the great national days of fasting, Luke 18:12. See Barnes "Matthew 6:16-18". This was the established custom of the land, and John did not feel himself authorized to make so great a change as to dispense with it. They were desirous of knowing, therefore, why Jesus had done it.

Besides, it is probable that this question was put to him when John was in prison; and his disciples, involved in deep grief on account of it, observed days of fasting. Fasting was the natural expression of sorrow, and they wondered that the followers of Jesus did not join with them in lamenting the captivity of him who was the forerunner and baptizer of their Lord.

Christ, in reply to them, used three illustrations, all of them going to establish the same thing, that we should observe a fitness and propriety in things. The first is taken from a marriage. The children of the bride-chamber--that is, the bridemen, or men who had the special care of the bridal chamber, and who were therefore his special friends--do not think of fasting while he is with them. With them it is a time of festivity and rejoicing; and mourning would not be appropriate. When he is removed, or taken away, then their festivity will be ended, and then will be the proper time of sorrow. So, says he, John, your friend and teacher, is in captivity. With you it is a time of deep grief, and it is fit that you should fast. I am with my disciples. It is, with them, a time of joy. It is not fit that they should use the tokens of grief, and fast now. When I am taken away, it will then be proper that they should fast. For an account of the ceremonies of an eastern marriage, See Barnes "Matthew 25:1-13".

Verse 15. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 9:14"

{w} "bridegroom is with" Matthew 25:1,10; John 3:29; Revelation 21:2
{x} "then shall they fast Isaiah 22:12

Verse 16. No man putteth a piece of new cloth, etc. A second illustration was drawn from a well know fact, showing also that there was a propriety or fitness of things. None of you, says he, in mending an old garment, would take a piece of entire new cloth. There would be a waste in it. An old piece, or a piece like the garment, would be better. The word here treated new, in the original means rude, undressed, or not fulled or cleansed by the cloth-dresser. In this state, if applied to an old garment, and if wet, it would contract and draw off a part of the garment to which it was attached, and thus make the rent worse than it was. So, says he, my new doctrines do not match with the old rites of the Pharisees. There is a fitness of things. Their doctrines required much fasting. In my system it would be incongruous; and if my new doctrines were to be attached to their old ones, it would only make the matter worse.

Verse 17. Neither do men put new wine, etc. The third illustration was taken from wine put into bottles. Bottles, in eastern nations, were made, and are still, of skins of beasts. Generally the skin was taken entire from a sheep or a goat, and, properly prepared, was filled with wine or water. They are still used, because, in crossing deserts of sand, they have no other conveyances but camels, or other beasts of burden. It would be difficult for them to carry glass bottles or kegs on them. They therefore fill two skins, and fasten them together, and lay them across the back of a camel, and thus carry wine or water to a great distance. They were of course of different sizes, as the skins of kids, goats, or oxen might be used. Bruce describes particularly a bottle which he saw in Arabia, made in this manner, of an ox-skin, which would hold sixty gallons, and two of which were a load for a camel. By long usage, however, they of course became tender, and would be easily ruptured. New wine put into them would ferment, and swell and burst them open. New skins or bottles would yield to the fermenting wine, and be strong enough to hold it from bursting. So, says Christ, there is a fitness or propriety of things. It is not fit that my doctrine should be attached to, or connected with, the old and corrupt doctrines of the Pharisees. New things should be put together, and made to match.

This account of eastern bottles may illustrate the following passages in the Bible. The Gibeonites took "wine bottles, old, and rent, and bound up," Joshua 9:4. "My belly is ready to burst, like new bottles," Job 32:19. "I am become like a bottle in the smoke," Psalms 119:83; i.e., like a bottle of skin hung up in a tent filled with smoke. The preceding cut is copied from a fragment of the Antiquities of Herculaneum, and represents a young woman pouring wine from a bottle into a cup.

{y} "else" Job 32:19

Verses 18-26. The account contained in these verses is also recorded, with some additional circumstances, in Mark 5:22-43; Luke 8:41-56.

Verse 18. There came a certain ruler. Mark and Luke say that his name was Jairus, and that he was a ruler of the synagogue; that is, one of the elders to whom was committed the care of the synagogue. See Barnes "Matthew 4:23".

And worshipped him. That is, fell down before him, or expressed his respect for him by a token of profound regard. See Barnes "Matthew 2:2".

My daughter is even now dead. Luke says that this was his only daughter, and that she was twelve years of age. Mark and Luke say that she was at the point of death, and that information of her actual death was brought to him by one who was sent by the ruler of the synagogue, while Jesus was going. Matthew combined the two facts, and stated the representation which was made to Jesus, without stopping particularly to exhibit the manner in which it was done. In a summary way he says that the ruler communicated the information. Luke and Mark, dwelling more particularly on the circumstances, state at length the way in which it was done; that is, by himself stating, in a hurry, that she was about to die, or dying, and then in a few moments sending word that she was dead. The Greek word, rendered is even now dead, does not of necessity mean, as our translation would express, that she had actually expired, but only that she was dying or about to die. Compare Genesis 48:21. It is likely that a father, in these circumstances, would use a word as nearly expressing actual death as would be consistent with the fact that she was alive. The passage may be expressed thus: "My daughter was so sick that she must be, by this time, dead."

Come and lay thy hand upon her. It was customary for the Jewish prophets, in conferring favours, to lay their hand on the person benefited. Jesus had probably done so also, and the ruler had probably witnessed the fact.

{z} "While he spake" Mark 5:22; Luke 8:41
{a} "shall live" John 9:22,25

Verse 19. No Barnes text on this verse. See Barnes "Matthew 9:18"

Verse 20. And behold a woman, etc. This disease was by the Jews reckoned unclean, (Leviticus 15:25) and she was unwilling to make personal application to Jesus, or even to touch his person. The disease was regarded as incurable. She had expended all her property, and grew worse, Mark 5:26.

Touched the hem of his garment. This garment was probably the square garment which was thrown over the shoulders. See Barnes "Matthew 5:40". This was surrounded by a border, or fringe; and this fringe, or the loose threads hanging down, is what is meant by the hem. The Jews were commanded to wear this ill order to distinguish them from other nations. See Numbers 15:38,39; Deuteronomy 22:12.

Mark says that the woman, fearing and trembling, came and told him all the truth. Perhaps she feared that, from the impure nature of her disease, he would be offended that she touched him.

Be of good comfort. Jesus silenced her fears, commended her faith, and sent her away in peace. He used an endearing appellation, calling her daughter, a word of tenderness and affection, and dismissed her who had been twelve long and tedious years labouring under a weakening and offensive disease, now in an instant made whole. Her faith, her strong confidence in Jesus, had been the means of her restoration. It was the power of Jesus that cured her; but that power would not have been exerted but in connexion with faith. So in the salvation of a sinner. No one is saved who does not believe; but faith is the instrument, and not the power, that saves.

{b} "And, behold" Mark 5:25; Luke 8:43

Verse 21. No Barnes text on this verse.

{c} "his garment" Acts 19:12

Verse 22. Mark says that the woman, fearing and trembling, came and told him all the truth. Perhaps she feared that, from the impure nature of her disease, he would be offended that she touched him.

Be of good comfort. Jesus silenced her fears, commended her faith, and sent her away in peace. He used an endearing appellation, calling her daughter, a word of tenderness and affection, and dismissed her who had been twelve long and tedious years labouring under a weakening and offensive disease, now in an instant made whole. Her faith, her strong confidence in Jesus had been the means of her restoration. It was the power of Jesus that cured her; but that power would not have been exerted but in connexion with faith. So in the salvation of a sinner. No one is saved who does not believe; but faith is the instrument, and not the power that saves.

{d} "thy faith" Luke 7:50; 17:19; 18:42; Acts 14:9
{e} "that hour" John 4:53

Verse 23. And when Jesus came in, etc. Jesus admitted only three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John the brother of James, and the father and mother of the damsel, to go in with him where the corpse lay, Mark 5:37-40. It was important that there should be witnesses of the miracle, and he chose a sufficient number. Five witnesses were enough to establish the fact. The witnesses were impartial. The fact that she was dead was established beyond a doubt. Of this the mourners, the parents, the messengers, the people were satisfied. If she was presented to the people alive, the proof of the miracle was complete. The presence of more than the five witnesses would have made the scene tumultuous, and have been less satisfactory evidence of the fact of the restoration of the child. Five sober witnesses are always better than the confused voices of a rabble. These were the same disciples that were with him in the mount of transfiguration and garden of Gethsemane, Mark 9:2; 14:33; 2 Peter 1:17,18.

He saw the minstrels and the people making a noise. Minstrels are persons who play on instruments of music. The people of the East used to bewail the dead by cutting the flesh, tearing the hair, and crying bitterly. See Jeremiah 9:17; 16:6,7; Ezekiel 24:17. The expressions of grief at the death of a friend, in eastern countries, are extreme. As soon as a person dies, all the females in the family set up a loud and doleful cry. They continue it as long as they can without taking breath, and the shriek of wailing dies away in a low sob. Nor do the relatives satisfy themselves with these expressions of violent grief: they hire persons of both sexes, whose employment it is to mourn for the dead in the like frantic manner. See Amos 5:16; Jeremiah 9:20. They sing the virtues of the deceased, recount his acts, dwell on his beauty, strength, or learning; on the comforts of his family and home, and in doleful strains ask him why he left his family and friends. To all this they add soft and melancholy music. They employ minstrels to aid their grief, and increase the expression of their sorrow. This violent grief continues, commonly, eight days. In the case of a king, or other very distinguished personage, it is prolonged through an entire month. This grief does not cease at the house; it is exhibited in the procession to the grave; and the air is rent with the wailings of real and of hired mourners.

The Jews were forbidden to tear their hair and cut their flesh. See Leviticus 19:28; Deuteronomy 14:1. They showed their grief by howling, by music, by concealing the chin with their garment, by rending the outer garment, by refusing to wash or anoint themselves, or to converse with people, by scattering ashes or dust in the air, or by lying down in them, Job 1:20; 2:12; 2 Samuel 1:2-4; 14:2; 15:30; Mark 14:63. The expressions of grief, therefore, mentioned on this occasion, though excessive and foolish, were yet strictly in accordance with eastern customs.

{f} "And when" Mark 5:36; Luke 8:51
{g} "the minstrels" 2 Chronicles 35:25

Verse 24. The maid is not dead, but sleepeth. It cannot be supposed that our Lord means literally to say that the child was not dead. Every possible evidence of her death had been given, and he acted on that himself, and conveyed to the people the idea that he raised her from the dead. He meant to speak in opposition to their opinions. It is not unlikely that Jarius and the people favoured the opinions of the Sadducees; and that they understood by her being dead that she had ceased to be, and that she would never be raised up again. In opposition to this he used the expression she sleepeth; affirming mildly both that the body was dead, and implying that her spirit still lived, and that she would be raised up again. A similar mode of speaking is seen in John 11:11: "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." The sacred writers, who hold the doctrine of the resurrection, often spoke of the dead as sleeping, 2 Peter 3:4; Acts 7:60; 1 Corinthians 15:6,18 1 Thessalonians 4:13-15. The meaning of this passage then is--the maid has not ceased to exist; but though her body is dead, yet her spirit lives, and she sleeps in the hope of the resurrection.

Laughed him to scorn. Derided him, ridiculed him.

{h} "is not dead" Acts 20:10

Verse 25. He went in. With the father and mother, and three disciples, Mark 5:37-40.

The maid arose. She returned to life. There could be no deception here. Parents could not be imposed on in such a case. Nor could such a multitude be deceived. The power of Jesus was undoubtedly shown to be sufficient to raise the dead. If he can restore the body to life, he can also the soul. A word from him can restore the soul to immortal life, so that it shall never see death.

{i} "were put forth" 2 Kings 4:33

Verse 26. No Barnes text on this verse.

{1} "fame" or, "his fame"

Ver 27. Son of David. By the Son of David the Jews meant the Messiah. He was the Son or descendant of David by way of eminence, Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32; Matthew 1:1; Revelation 22:16.

{k} "Son of David" Matthew 15:22; 20:30,31

Verse 28. And when he was come into the house. He went into a house probably to avoid the tumult and publicity of the street. He sought privacy, and was unwilling to make any commotion.

Verse 29. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 30. No Barnes text on this verse.

{l} "know it" Isaiah 42:2; 52:13; Matthew 12:16

Verse 31. No Barnes text on this verse.

Verse 32. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "dumb man" Matthew 12:22; Luke 11:14

Verse 33. No Barnes text on this verse.

{m} "dumb spake" Isaiah 35:6

Verse 34. Prince of the devils. That is, Beel-Zebub. See Barnes "Matthew 12:24".

{o} "He casteth" Matthew 12:24; Mark 3:22; Luke 11:15

Verse 35. The Gospel of the kingdom. That is, the good news of the reign of God, or the good news of the advent and reign of the Messiah, Matthew 3:2.

{p} "And Jesus" Matthew 4:23

Verse 36. Because they fainted. The word used here refers to the weariness and fatigue which results from labour and being burdened. He saw the people burdened with the rites of religion and the doctrines of the Pharisees; sinking down under their ignorance and traditions, and neglected by those who ought to have been enlightened teachers, scattered and driven out without care and attention. With great beauty, he compares them to sheep wandering without a shepherd. Judea was a land of flocks and herds. The faithful shepherd, by day and night, was with his flock, He defended it, led it to green pastures, and beside the still waters. Without his care they would stray away. They were in danger of wild beasts. They panted in the summer sun, and knew not where was the cooling shade and stream. So, said he, is it with this people. No wonder that the compassionate Redeemer Was moved with pity!

{1} "they fainted" or, "were tired and laid down"
{q} "having no shepherd" Numbers 27:17; 1 Kings 22:17; Ezekiel 34:5; Zechariah 10:2

Verse 37. The harvest truly is plenteous, etc. Another beautiful image. A waving field of golden grain invites many reapers, and demands haste. By the harvest here, he meant that the multitude of people that flocked to his ministry was great. The people expected the Messiah. They were prepared to receive the gospel. But the labourers were few. Few were engaged in instructing the multitude. He directed them, therefore, to pray to the Lord of the harvest to send forth reapers. God is the Proprietor of the great harvest of the world, and he only can send men to gather it in.

{r} "harvest" Luke 10:2; John 4:35

REMARKS ON MATTHEW CHAPTER NINE

1. We are presented with an instance of proper perseverance in coming to Christ, Matthew 9:1,2. Nothing was suffered to prevent the purpose of presenting the helpless paralytic to the Saviour. So the poor helpless sinner should come. No obstacle should prevent him. He should lay himself at his feet, and feel that Jesus holds over him the power of life and death, and that no other being can save.

2. Jesus has the power to forgive sins, Matthew 9:6. He claimed it, and worked a miracle to prove it. If he had it then, he has it still. To him, then, the lost sinner may come, with the assurance that as he freely then exerted that power, so he is ever the same, and will do it now.

3. Jesus Christ is Divine. Nothing could prove it more dearly than the power to pardon rebels. God only can pronounce what shall be done with transgressors of his law, Isaiah 43:25. He that claims this right must be either an impostor or God. But no impostor ever yet worked a miracle. Jesus was therefore Divine. He can save to the uttermost all that come to God through him.

4. We see here the proper rule to be observed in mingling with the wicked, Matthew 9:10-13. It should not be of choice, or for pleasure. We should not enter into their follies or vices. We should not seek enjoyment in their society. We should mingle with them simply to transact necessary business, and to do them good, and no further, Psalms 1:1.

5. In the case of the ruler and the woman that was diseased, we have a strong instance of the nature of faith. They came not doubting his power--fully assured that he was able to heal. So all genuine believers come to him. They doubt not his power or willingness to save them. Poor, and lost, and ruined by sin, and in danger of eternal death, they come. His heart is open. He puts forth his power, and the soul is healed, and the sin and danger gone.

6. The young must die, and may die in early life, Matthew 9:18. Very short graves are in every burying-ground. Thousands and millions, not more than twelve years of age, have died. Thousands and millions, not more than twelve years of age, are yet to die. Many of these may be taken from Sunday-schools. Their class, their teacher, their parents, sisters, and brothers, must be left, and the child be carried to the grave. Many children of that age, that have been in Sunday-schools, have died happy. They loved the Saviour, and they were ready to go. Jesus was near to them when they died, and they are now in heaven. Of every child we may ask, Are you ready also to go when God shah call you? Do you love the Lord Jesus so as to be willing to leave all your friends here, and go to him?

7. Jesus can raise up the dead, and he will raise up all that love him, Matthew 9:25. Many little children will be raised up to meet him in the last great day. He shall come in the clouds. The angel shall sound a trumpet, and all the dead shall hear. All shall be raised up and go to meet him. All that loved him here will go to heaven. All that were wicked, and did not love him here, will go to everlasting suffering.

8. We see the duty of praying for the conversion of the world, \\Mt 9:37,38\\. The harvest is as plenteous as it was in the time of Christ. More than six hundred millions are still without the gospel; and there are not yet many labourers to go into the harvest. The world is full of wickedness, and God only can qualify those who shall go and preach the gospel to the dark nations of the earth. Without ceasing, we ought to entreat of God to pity the nations, and to send faithful men, who shall tell them of a dying Saviour.

Verse 38. No Barnes text on this verse.

{s} "send forth laborers" Psalms 48:11

For a Summary of Matthew Chapter Nine, See Barnes "Matthew 9:37".


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Matthew 9". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <http://classic.studylight.org/com/bnn/view.cgi?book=mt&chapter=009>.  

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