Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Mr 1:12, 13;
1. Then--an indefinite note of sequence. But Mark's word
fixes what we should have presumed was meant, that it was "immediately"
after His baptism; and with this agrees the statement of Luke
was Jesus led up--that is, from the low Jordan valley to some more
of the Spirit--that blessed Spirit immediately before spoken of as
descending upon Him at His baptism, and abiding upon Him. Luke,
connecting these two scenes, as if the one were but the sequel of the
other, says, "Jesus, being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan,
and was led," &c. Mark's expression has a startling sharpness about
it--"Immediately the Spirit driveth Him"
"putteth," or "hurrieth Him forth," or "impelleth Him." (See the same
Mr 1:43; 5:40;
Mt 9:25; 13:52;
The thought thus strongly expressed is the mighty constraining impulse
of the Spirit under which He went; while Matthew's more gentle
expression, "was led up," intimates how purely voluntary on His own
part this action was.
into the wilderness--probably the wild Judean desert. The particular
spot which tradition has fixed upon has hence got the name of
Quarantana or Quarantaria, from the forty days--"an almost
perpendicular wall of rock twelve or fifteen hundred feet above the
plain" [ROBINSON, Palestine]. The supposition of those who incline
to place the temptation amongst the mountains of Moab is, we think, very
to be tempted--The Greek word (peirazein) means simply to
try or make proof of; and when ascribed to God in His dealings with
men, it means, and can mean no more than this. Thus,
"It came to pass that God did tempt Abraham," or put his faith to a
severe proof. (See
But for the most part in Scripture the word is used in a bad sense, and
means to entice, solicit, or provoke to sin. Hence the name here given
to the wicked one--"the tempter"
Accordingly "to be tempted" here is to be understood both ways. The
Spirit conducted Him into the wilderness simply to have His faith
tried; but as the agent in this trial was to be the wicked one, whose
whole object would be to seduce Him from His allegiance to God, it was a
temptation in the bad sense of the term. The unworthy inference which
some would draw from this is energetically repelled by an apostle
of the devil--The word signifies a slanderer--one who casts
imputations upon another. Hence that other name given him
"The accuser of the brethren, who accuseth them before our God day and
says, "He was forty days tempted of Satan," a word signifying an
adversary, one who lies in wait for, or sets himself in
opposition to another. These and other names of the same fallen spirit
point to different features in his character or operations. What was
the high design of this? First, as we judge, to give our Lord a taste
of what lay before Him in the work He had undertaken; next, to make
trial of the glorious equipment for it which He had just received;
further, to give Him encouragement, by the victory now to be won, to go
forward spoiling principalities and powers, until at length He should
make a show of them openly, triumphing over them in His cross: that the
tempter, too, might get a taste, at the very outset, of the new kind of
material in man which he would find he had here to deal with;
finally, that He might acquire experimental ability "to succor them
that are tempted"
The temptation evidently embraced two stages: the one continuing
throughout the forty days' fast; the other, at the conclusion of that
2. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights--Luke says
"When they were quite ended"
he was afterward an hungered--evidently implying that the sensation
of hunger was unfelt during all the forty days; coming on only at their
close. So it was apparently with Moses
for the same period. A supernatural power of endurance was of course
imparted to the body, but this probably operated through a natural
law--the absorption of the Redeemer's Spirit in the dread conflict with
the tempter. (See on
Had we only this Gospel, we should suppose the temptation did not begin
till after this. But it is clear, from Mark's statement, that "He was
in the wilderness forty days tempted of Satan"
and Luke's, "being forty days tempted of the devil"
that there was a forty days' temptation before the three
specific temptations afterwards recorded. And this is what we have
called the First Stage. What the precise nature and object of the forty
days' temptation were is not recorded. But two things seem plain
enough. First, the tempter had utterly failed of his object, else it
had not been renewed; and the terms in which he opens his second attack
imply as much. But further, the tempter's whole object during the forty
days evidently was to get Him to distrust the heavenly testimony borne
to Him at His baptism as
GOD--to persuade Him to regard it as but a splendid
illusion--and, generally, to dislodge from His breast the consciousness
of His Sonship. With what plausibility the events of His previous
history from the beginning would be urged upon Him in support of this
temptation it is easy to imagine. And it makes much in support of this
view of the forty days' temptation that the particulars of it are not
recorded; for how the details of such a purely internal struggle could
be recorded it is hard to see. If this be correct, how naturally does
STAGE of the temptation open! In Mark's brief notice of the
temptation there is one expressive particular not given either by
Matthew or by Luke--that "He was with the wild beasts"
no doubt to add terror to solitude, and aggravate the horrors of the
3. And when the tempter came to him--Evidently we have here a new
he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made
bread--rather, "loaves," answering to "stones" in the plural; whereas
Luke, having said, "Command this stone," in the singular, adds, "that it
be made bread," in the singular
The sensation of hunger, unfelt during all the forty days, seems now to
have come on in all its keenness--no doubt to open a door to the
tempter, of which he is not slow to avail himself; "Thou still clingest
to that vainglorious confidence that Thou art the Son of God, carried
away by those illusory scenes at the Jordan. Thou wast born in a
stable; but Thou art the Son of God! hurried off to Egypt for fear of
Herod's wrath; but Thou art the Son of God! a carpenter's roof supplied
Thee with a home, and in the obscurity of a despicable town of Galilee
Thou hast spent thirty years, yet still Thou art the Son of God! and a
voice from heaven, it seems, proclaimed it in Thine ears at the Jordan!
Be it so; but after that, surely Thy days of obscurity and trial
should have an end. Why linger for weeks in this desert, wandering
among the wild beasts and craggy rocks, unhonored, unattended,
unpitied, ready to starve for want of the necessaries of life? Is this
befitting "the Son of God?" At the bidding of "the Son of God" surely
those stones shall all be turned into loaves, and in a moment present
an abundant repast."
4. But he answered and said, It is written--
Man shall not live by bread alone--more emphatically, as in the
Greek, "Not by bread alone shall man live."
but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God--Of all
passages in Old Testament Scripture, none could have been pitched upon
more apposite, perhaps not one so apposite, to our Lord's purpose. "The
Lord . . . led thee (said Moses to Israel, at the close of their
journeyings) these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to
prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep
His commandments, or no. And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to
hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy
fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by
bread only," &c., "Now, if Israel spent, not forty days, but forty
years in a waste, howling wilderness, where there were no means of human
subsistence, not starving, but divinely provided for, on purpose to
prove to every age that human support depends not upon bread, but upon
God's unfailing word of promise and pledge of all needful providential
care, am I, distrusting this word of God, and despairing of relief, to
take the law into My own hand? True, the Son of God is able enough to
turn stones into bread: but what the Son of God is able to do is not the
present question, but what is man's duty under want of the
necessaries of life. And as Israel's condition in the wilderness did not
justify their unbelieving murmurings and frequent desperation, so
neither would Mine warrant the exercise of the power of the Son of God
in snatching despairingly at unwarranted relief. As man, therefore, I
will await divine supply, nothing doubting that at the fitting time it
will arrive." The second temptation in this Gospel is in Luke's the
third. That Matthew's order is the right one will appear, we think,
quite clearly in the sequel.
5. Then the devil taketh him up--rather, "conducteth Him."
into the holy city--so called (as in
from its being "the city of the Great King," the seat of the temple,
the metropolis of all Jewish worship.
and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple--rather, "the pinnacle"--a
certain well-known projection. Whether this refers to the highest
summit of the temple, which bristled with golden spikes
[JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 5.5,6]; or whether it refers to another peak,
on Herod's royal portico, overhanging the ravine of Kedron, at the
valley of Hinnom--an immense tower built on the very edge of this
precipice, from the top of which dizzy height
JOSEPHUS says one could
not look to the bottom [Antiquities, 15.11,5]--is not certain; but
the latter is probably meant.
6. And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God--As this temptation
starts with the same point as the first--our Lord's determination not to
be disputed out of His Sonship--it seems to us clear that the one came
directly after the other; and as the remaining temptation shows that the
hope of carrying that point was abandoned, and all was staked upon a
desperate venture, we think that remaining temptation is thus shown to
be the last; as will appear still more when we come to it.
cast thyself down--"from hence"
for it is written--
(Ps 91:11, 12).
"But what is this I see?" exclaims stately BISHOP
HALL. "Satan himself with a Bible under his arm
and a text in his mouth!" Doubtless the tempter, having felt the power
of God's Word in the former temptation, was eager to try the effect of
it from his own mouth
He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands--rather, "on their hands."
they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a
stone--The quotation is, precisely as it stands in the Hebrew and
the Septuagint, save that after the first clause the words, "to keep
thee in all thy ways," are here omitted. Not a few good expositors have
thought that this omission was intentional, to conceal the fact that
this would not have been one of "His ways," that is, of duty. But as
our Lord's reply makes no allusion to this, but seizes on the great
principle involved in the promise quoted, so when we look at the promise
itself, it is plain that the sense of it is precisely the same whether
the clause in question be inserted or not.
7. Jesus said unto him, It is written again--
as if he should say, "True, it is so written, and on that promise I
implicitly rely; but in using it there is another Scripture which must
not be forgotten."
Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God--"Preservation in danger is
divinely pledged: shall I then create danger, either to put the
promised security skeptically to the proof, or wantonly to demand a
display of it? That were 'to tempt the Lord my God,' which, being
expressly forbidden, would forfeit the right to expect preservation."
8. Again, the devil taketh him up--"conducteth him," as before.
an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the
world, and the glory of them--Luke
adds the important clause, "in a moment of time"; a clause which seems
to furnish a key to the true meaning. That a scene was presented to our
Lord's natural eye seems plainly expressed. But to limit this to the
most extensive scene which the natural eye could take in, is to give a
sense to the expression, "all the kingdoms of the world," quite
violent. It remains, then, to gather from the expression, "in a moment
of time"-- which manifestly is intended to intimate some supernatural
operation--that it was permitted to the tempter to extend
preternaturally for a moment our Lord's range of vision, and throw a
"glory" or glitter over the scene of vision: a thing not inconsistent
with the analogy of other scriptural statements regarding the permitted
operations of the wicked one. In this case, the "exceeding height" of
the "mountain" from which this sight was beheld would favor the effect
to be produced.
9. And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee--"and the
glory of them," adds Luke
But Matthew having already said that this was "showed Him," did not
need to repeat it here. Luke
adds these other very important clauses, here omitted--"for that is,"
or "has been," "delivered unto me, and to whomsoever I will I give it."
Was this wholly false? That were not like Satan's unusual policy, which
is to insinuate his lies under cover of some truth. What truth, then,
is there here? We answer, Is not Satan thrice called by our Lord
Himself, "the prince of this world"
(Joh 12:31; 14:30; 16:11)?
Does not the apostle call him "the god of this world"
And still further, is it not said that Christ came to destroy by His
death "him that hath the power of death, that is, the devil"
No doubt these passages only express men's voluntary subjection to the
rule of the wicked one while they live, and his power to surround death
to them, when it comes, with all the terrors of the wages of sin. But
as this is a real and terrible sway, so all Scripture represents men as
righteously sold under it. In this sense he speaks what is not devoid of
truth, when he says, "All this is delivered unto me." But how does he
deliver this "to whomsoever he will?" As employing whomsoever he pleases
of his willing subjects in keeping men under his power. In this case his
offer to our Lord was that of a deputed supremacy commensurate with
his own, though as his gift and for his ends.
if thou wilt fall down and worship me--This was the sole but monstrous
condition. No Scripture, it will be observed, is quoted now, because
none could be found to support so blasphemous a claim. In fact, he has
ceased now to present his temptations under the mask of piety, and he
stands out unblushingly as the rival of God Himself in his claims on the
homage of men. Despairing of success as an angel of light, he throws off
all disguise, and with a splendid bribe solicits divine honor. This
again shows that we are now at the last of the temptations, and that
Matthew's order is the true one.
10. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan--Since the tempter
has now thrown off the mask, and stands forth in his true character, our
Lord no longer deals with him as a pretended friend and pious
counsellor, but calls him by his right name--His knowledge of which from
the outset He had carefully concealed till now--and orders him off. This
is the final and conclusive evidence, as we think, that Matthew's must
be the right order of the temptations. For who can well conceive of the
tempter's returning to the assault after this, in the pious character
again, and hoping still to dislodge the consciousness of His Sonship,
while our Lord must in that case be supposed to quote Scripture to one
He had called the devil to his face--thus throwing His pearls before
worse than swine?
for it is written--
Thus does our Lord part with Satan on the rock of Scripture.
Thou shalt worship--In the Hebrew and the Septuagint it is,
"Thou shalt fear"; but as the sense is the same, so "worship" is
here used to show emphatically that what the tempter claimed was
precisely what God had forbidden.
the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve--The word "serve" in
the second clause, is one never used by the Septuagint of any but
religious service; and in this sense exclusively is it used in the
New Testament, as we find it here. Once more the word "only," in the
second clause--not expressed in the Hebrew and the Septuagint--is
here added to bring out emphatically the negative and prohibitory
feature of the command. (See
for a similar supplement of the word "all" in a quotation from
11. Then the devil leaveth him--Luke says, "And when the devil had
exhausted"--or "quite ended," as in
--"every (mode of) temptation, he departed from him till a season." The
definite "season" here indicated is expressly referred to by our Lord
and Lu 22:52, 53.
and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him--or supplied Him with
food, as the same expression means in
and Lu 8:3.
Thus did angels to Elijah
Excellent critics think that they ministered, not food only, but
supernatural support and cheer also. But this would be the natural
effect rather than the direct object of the visit, which
was plainly what we have expressed. And after having refused to claim
the illegitimate ministration of angels in His behalf, oh, with
what deep joy would He accept their services when sent, unasked, at the
close of all this temptation, direct from Him whom He had so gloriously
honored! What "angels' food" would this repast be to Him! and as He
partook of it, might not a Voice from heaven be heard again, by any who
could read the Father's mind, "Said I not well, This is my beloved Son,
in whom I am well pleased?"
Mr 1:14-20, 35-39;
Lu 4:14, 15).
There is here a notable gap in the history, which but for the fourth
Gospel we should never have discovered. From the former Gospels we
should have been apt to draw three inferences, which from the fourth one
we know to be erroneous: First, that our Lord awaited the close of
John's ministry, by his arrest and imprisonment, before beginning His
own; next, that there was but a brief interval between the baptism of
our Lord and the imprisonment of John; and further, that our Lord not
only opened His work in Galilee, but never ministered out of it, and
never visited Jerusalem at all nor kept a passover till He went thither
to become "our Passover, sacrificed for us." The fourth Gospel alone
gives the true succession of events; not only recording those important
openings of our Lord's public work which preceded the Baptist's
imprisonment--extending to the end of the third chapter--but so
specifying the passover which occurred during our Lord's ministry as to
enable us to line off, with a large measure of certainty, the events of
the first three Gospels according to the successive passovers which they
embraced. EUSEBIUS, the ecclesiastical historian, who, early in the
fourth century, gave much attention to this subject, in noticing these
features of the Evangelical Records, says
[Ecclesiastical History, 3.24] that John wrote his Gospel at the
entreaty of those who knew the important materials he possessed, and
filled up what is wanting in the first three Gospels. Why it was
reserved for the fourth Gospel, published at so late a period, to supply
such important particulars in the life of Christ, it is not easy to
conjecture with any probability. It may be, that though not
unacquainted with the general facts, they were not furnished with
reliable details. But one thing may be affirmed with tolerable
certainty, that as our Lord's teaching at Jerusalem was of a depth and
grandeur scarcely so well adapted to the prevailing character of the
first three Gospels, but altogether congenial to the fourth; and as the
bare mention of the successive passovers, without any account of the
transactions and discourses they gave rise to, would have served little
purpose in the first three Gospels, there may have been no way of
preserving the unity and consistency of each Gospel, so as to furnish by
means of them all the precious information we get from them, save by the
plan on which they are actually constructed.
Entry into Galilee
12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison--more
simply, "was delivered up," as recorded in
Lu 3:19, 20.
he departed--rather, "withdrew."
into Galilee--as recorded, in its proper place,
13. And leaving Nazareth--The prevalent opinion is that this refers
to a first visit to Nazareth after His baptism, whose details are
given by Luke
&c.); a second visit being that detailed by our Evangelist
and by Mark
But to us there seem all but insuperable difficulties in the
supposition of two visits to Nazareth after His baptism; and on the
grounds stated in
&c., we think that the one only visit to Nazareth is that
recorded by Matthew
But how, in that case, are we to take the word
"leaving Nazareth" here? We answer, just as the same word is used in
"Now when we had sighted Cyprus, and left it on the left, we
sailed into Syria,"--that is, without entering Cyprus at all, but
merely "sighting" it, as the nautical phrase is, they steered southeast
of it, leaving it on the northwest. So here, what we understand the
Evangelist to say is, that Jesus, on His return to Galilee, did not, as
might have been expected, make Nazareth the place of His stated
residence, but, "leaving [or passing by] Nazareth,"
he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the
seacoast--maritime Capernaum, on the northwest shore of the Sea of
Galilee; but the precise spot is unknown. (See on
Our Lord seems to have chosen it for several reasons. Four or five of
the Twelve lived there; it had a considerable and mixed population,
securing some freedom from that intense bigotry which even to this day
characterizes all places where Jews in large numbers dwell nearly
alone; it was centrical, so that not only on the approach of the annual
festivals did large numbers pass through it or near it, but on any
occasion multitudes could easily be collected about it; and for
crossing and recrossing the lake, which our Lord had so often occasion
to do, no place could be more convenient. But one other high reason
for the choice of Capernaum remains to be mentioned, the only one
specified by our Evangelist.
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim--the one lying to the west
of the Sea of Galilee, the other to the north of it; but the precise
boundaries cannot now be traced out.
14. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the
(Isa 9:1, 2
or, as in Hebrew, Isaiah 8:23, and 9:1).
15. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of
the sea--the coast skirting the Sea of Galilee westward--beyond
Jordan--a phrase commonly meaning eastward of Jordan; but here and in
several places it means westward of the Jordan. The word seems to have
got the general meaning of "the other side"; the nature of the case
determining which side that was.
Galilee of the Gentiles--so called from its position, which made
it the frontier between the Holy Land and the external world. While
Ephraim and Judah, as STANLEY says, were separated
from the world by the Jordan valley on one side and the hostile
Philistines on another, the northern tribes were in the direct highway
of all the invaders from the north, in unbroken communication with the
promiscuous races who have always occupied the heights of Lebanon, and
in close and peaceful alliance with the most commercial nation of the
ancient world, the Phœnicians. Twenty of the cities of Galilee
were actually annexed by Solomon to the adjacent kingdom of Tyre, and
formed, with their territory, the "boundary" or "offscouring"
(Gebul or Cabul) of the two dominions--at a later time
still known by the general name of "the boundaries (coasts or borders)
of Tyre and Sidon." In the first great transportation of the Jewish
population, Naphtali and Galilee suffered the same fate as the
trans-jordanic tribes before Ephraim or Judah had been molested
In the time of the Christian era this original disadvantage of their
position was still felt; the speech of the Galileans "bewrayed them" by
its uncouth pronunciation
and their distance from the seats of government and civilization at
Jerusalem and Cæsarea gave them their character for turbulence or
independence, according as it was viewed by their friends or their
16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which
sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up--The prophetic
strain to which these words belong commences with the seventh chapter of
Isaiah, to which the sixth chapter is introductory, and goes down to the
end of the twelfth chapter, which hymns the spirit of that whole strain
of prophecy. It belongs to the reign of Ahaz and turns upon the combined
efforts of the two neighboring kingdoms of Syria and Israel to crush
Judah. In these critical circumstances Judah and her king were, by
their ungodliness, provoking the Lord to sell them into the hands of
their enemies. What, then, is the burden of this prophetic strain, on to
the passage here quoted? First, Judah shall not, cannot perish, because
IMMANUEL, the Virgin's Son, is to come forth from his loins. Next, one
of the invaders shall soon perish, and the kingdoms of neither be
enlarged. Further, while the Lord will be the Sanctuary of such as
confide in these promises and await their fulfilment, He will drive to
confusion, darkness, and despair the vast multitude of the nation who
despised His oracles, and, in their anxiety and distress, betook
themselves to the lying oracles of the heathen. This carries us down to
the end of the eighth chapter. At the opening of the ninth chapter a
sudden light is seen breaking in upon one particular part of the
country, the part which was to suffer most in these wars and
devastations--"the land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, the way of
the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee and the Gentiles." The rest of the
prophecy stretches over both the Assyrian and the Chaldean captivities
and terminates in the glorious Messianic prophecy of the eleventh
chapter and the choral hymn of the twelfth chapter. Well, this is the
point seized on by our Evangelist. By Messiah's taking up His abode in
those very regions of Galilee, and shedding His glorious light upon
them, this prediction, He says, of the Evangelical prophet was now
fulfilled; and if it was not thus fulfilled, we may confidently affirm
it was not fulfilled in any age of the Jewish ceremony, and has received
no fulfilment at all. Even the most rationalistic critics have
difficulty in explaining it in any other way.
17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the
kingdom of heaven is at hand--Thus did our Lord not only take up the
strain, but give forth the identical summons of His honored forerunner.
Our Lord sometimes speaks of the new kingdom as already come--in His own
Person and ministry; but the economy of it was only "at hand" until
the blood of the cross was shed, and the Spirit on the day of Pentecost
opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness to the world at large.
Calling of Peter and Andrew James and John
18. And Jesus, walking--The word "Jesus" here appears not to belong
to the text, but to have been introduced from those portions of it which
were transcribed to be used as church lessons; where it was naturally
introduced as a connecting word at the commencement of a lesson.
by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter and Andrew
his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishers--"called
Peter" for the reason mentioned in
19. And he saith unto them, Follow me--rather, as the same expression
is rendered in Mark, "Come ye after Me"
and I will make you fishers of men--raising them from a lower to a
higher fishing, as David was from a lower to a higher feeding
20. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son
of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship--rather, "in the ship,"
their fishing boat.
with Zebedee their father, mending their nets: and he called them.
22. And they immediately left the ship and their father--Mark adds
an important clause: "They left their father Zebedee in the ship with
the hired servants"
showing that the family were in easy circumstances.
and followed him--Two harmonistic questions here arise: First,
Was this the same calling as that recorded in
Clearly not. For, (1) That call was given while Jesus was yet in Judea:
this, after His return to Galilee. (2) Here, Christ calls Andrew:
there, Andrew solicits an interview with Christ. (3) Here, Andrew and
Peter are called together: there, Andrew having been called, with an
unnamed disciple, who was clearly the beloved disciple (see on
goes and fetches Peter his brother to Christ, who then calls him. (4)
Here, John is called along with James his brother: there, John is called
along with Andrew, after having at their own request had an interview
with Jesus; no mention being made of James, whose call, if it then took
place, would not likely have been passed over by his own brother. Thus
far nearly all are agreed. But on the next question opinion is
divided: Was this the same calling as that recorded in
Many able critics think so. But the following considerations are to us
decisive against it. First here, the four are called separately, in
pairs: in Luke, all together. Next, in Luke, after a glorious miracle:
here, the one pair are casting their net, the other are mending theirs.
Further, here, our Lord had made no public appearance in Galilee, and
so had gathered none around Him; He is walking solitary by the shores
of the lake when He accosts the two pairs of fishermen: in Luke, the
multitude are pressing upon Him, and hearing the word of God, as He
stands by the Lake of Gennesaret--a state of things implying a somewhat
advanced stage of His early ministry, and some popular enthusiasm.
Regarding these successive callings, see on
First Galilean Circuit
23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues--These
were houses of local worship. It cannot be proved that they
existed before the Babylonish captivity; but as they began to be erected
soon after it, probably the idea was suggested by the religious
inconveniences to which the captives had been subjected. In our Lord's
time, the rule was to have one wherever ten learned men or professed
students of the law resided; and they extended to Syria, Asia Minor,
Greece, and most places of the dispersion. The larger towns had
several, and in Jerusalem the number approached five hundred. In point
of officers and mode of worship, the Christian congregations are
modelled after the synagogue.
and preaching the gospel of the kingdom--proclaiming the glad tidings
of the kingdom,
and healing all manner of sickness--every disease.
and all manner of disease among the people--every complaint. The word
means any incipient malady causing "softness."
24. And his fame went throughout all Syria--reaching first to the part
of it adjacent to Galilee, called Syro-Phœnicia
and thence extending far and wide.
and they brought unto him all sick people--all that were ailing or
that were taken--for this is a distinct class, not an explanation of
the "unwell" class, as our translators understood it.
with divers diseases and torments--that is, acute disorders.
and those which were possessed with devils--that were demonized or
possessed with demons.
and those which were lunatic--moon-struck.
and those that had the palsy--paralytics, a word not naturalized when
our version was made.
and he healed them--These healings were at once His credentials and
illustrations of "the glad tidings" which He proclaimed. After reading
this account of our Lord's first preaching tour, can we wonder at what
25. And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and
from Decapolis--a region lying to the east of the Jordan, so called as
containing ten cities, founded and chiefly inhabited by Greek settlers.
and from Jerusalem, and from beyond Jordan--meaning from Perea.
Thus not only was all Palestine upheaved, but all the adjacent regions.
But the more immediate object for which this is here mentioned is, to
give the reader some idea both of the vast concourse and of the varied
complexion of eager attendants upon the great Preacher, to whom the
astonishing discourse of the next three chapters was addressed. On the
importance which our Lord Himself attached to this first preaching
circuit, and the preparation which He made for it, see on