This distressing malady is very prevalent in the East. Many physical causes in those countries unite to injure the organs of vision. The sun is hot, and in the atmosphere floats a very fine dust, which enters and frets the eye. The armies of France and England, which were so long in Egypt during the French was, suffered severely from ophthalmic disease. In the cities of Egypt, blindness is perpetuated as a contagious disease by the filthy habits of the natives. It is of frequent occurrence also on the coast of Syria. In ancient times the eyes of person hated or feared were often torn out, Judges 16:21 1 Samuel 11:2 2 Kings 25:7. Blindness was sometimes inflicted as a punishment, Genesis 19:11 Acts 13:6; and it was often threatened as a penalty, Deuteronomy 28:28. The Jews were enjoined by the humane laws of Moses to show all kindness and consideration to the blind, Leviticus 19:14 Deuteronomy 27:18. No one affected with this infirmity could officiate as priest, Leviticus 21:18.
Our Savior miraculously cured many cases of blindness, both that which was caused by disease and that which had existed from birth. In these cases there was a double miracle; for not only was the organ of sight restored, but also the faculty of using it which is usually gained only by long experience, Mark 8:22-25. The touching of the eyes of the blind, and anointing them with clay, Matthew 9:29 John 9:6, can not have had any medicinal or healing effect. The healing was miraculous, by the power of God.
"Blindness" is often used for ignorance and error, especially our sinful want of discernment as to spiritual things, Matthew 15:14 2 Corinthians 4:4. The abuse of God’s mercy increases this blindness, John 12:40. Blessed are the eyes that fix their adoring gaze first of all on the Redeemer.