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The Deaf Stammerer Healed and Four Thousand Fed.

A Matt. XV. 30–39; B Mark VII. 32-VIII. 9.

b 32 And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech [The man had evidently learned to speak before he lost his hearing. Some think that defective hearing had caused the impediment in his speech, but verse 35 suggests that he was tongue-tied]; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. 33 And he took him aside from the multitude privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue [He separated him from the crowd to avoid publicity (see verse 36, below), and by signs indicating an intention to heal, Jesus gives him the assurance which in other cases he is accustomed to give by words. He evidently induced the man by signs to stick out his tongue. He then placed one finger of each hand in the man's ears, after which he spat. Where he spit is not said. He then touched with one or both his thumbs the man's tongue, and, speaking the healing word, the cure was accomplished]; 34 and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. [Jesus here, as in the healing of Jairus' daughter, spoke the Aramaic. Why he sighed is not said. It was doubtless an expression of sympathy, though Farrar thinks he did so because he thought of the millions there were of deaf and dumb who in this world never hear and never speak.] 35 And his ears were opened, and the bond of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. [He was evidently not deaf from his birth, or he would not have known how to speak at all.] 36 And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it. [Jesus was still seeking to 404suppress excitement. A very little encouragement from him would have brought together a multitude, the very thing which he was journeying to avoid. He therefore cautioned the people to be silent, but by a common freak of human nature, his desire to avoid publicity made him more wonderful in the eyes of the people, and thereby inspired a greater eagerness on their part to tell about him.] 37 And they were beyond measure astonished [Mark here coins a double superlative to express the boundlessness of their amazement], saying, He hath done all things well [commendation upon the workman which had originally been bestowed upon his work—Gen. i. 31]; he maketh even the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak. [These were the people who had asked Jesus to depart from their coast on account of the loss of their swine. A complete change in their feelings had taken place since that day.] a 30 And there came unto him great multitudes, having with them the lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and they cast them down at his feet; and he healed them [We have here an instance of the common difference between the narratives of Matthew and Mark. Where Matthew is wont to mention the healing of multitudes, Mark picks out one of the most remarkable cases and describes it minutely. The hasty action of those who brought in the sick and returned to bring in others is indicated by the way in which they cast down their burdens at Jesus' feet]: 31; insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb speaking, the maimed whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing: and they glorified the God of Israel [The people whom Jesus healed were Jews, but daily intercourse with the heathen of Decapolis had tended to cool their religious ardor. The works of Jesus revived this ardor and caused them to praise the God whose prophet they esteemed Jesus to be.] a 32 And b 1 In those days [i. e., while Christ was in Decapolis], when there was again a great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, a Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, { b saith,} unto 405them, 2 I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: a And I would not send them away fasting, lest haply they faint on the way. b 3 and if I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way: for some of them are come from far. [When the five thousand had been caught in similar circumstances, the apostles had come with suggestions to Jesus, but now, being taught by experience, they keep silence and let Jesus manage as he will. The multitude had not been three days without food, but it had been with Jesus three days and was now without food.] 4 And his { a the} disciples say unto { b answered} him, Whence shall one be able to fill these men with bread here in a desert place? a Whence should we have so many loaves in a desert place as to fill so great a multitude? [It seems strange that the apostles should ask such a question after having assisted in feeding the five thousand. But the failure to expect a miracle, despite previous experience, was a common occurrence in the history of Israel and of the twelve (Num. xi. 21–23; Ps. lxxviii. 19, 20). In this case the failure of the apostles to expect miraculous relief suggests that they had probably often been hungry and had long since ceased to look for supernatural relief in such cases. Their disbelief here is so similar to their disbelief in the first instance that it, with a few other minor details, has led rationalistic commentators to confound the miracle with the feeding of the five thousand. But the words of Jesus forbid this— Matt. xvi. 9, 10; Mark viii. 19, 20.] 34 And Jesus said unto them, b 5 And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. a and a few small fishes. 35 And he commanded { b commandeth} the multitude to sit down on the ground [they were on the bleak mountain, and not in the grassy plain of Butaiha]: and he took the seven loaves a and the fishes; and he gave thanks, b and having given thanks, he brake, and gave to his { a the} disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 406{ b to set before them; and they set them before the multitude.} 7 And they had a few small fishes: and having blessed them, he commanded to set these also before them. a 37 And they all ate, and were filled: and they took up that which remained over of the broken pieces, seven baskets full. 38 And they that did eat were b about a four thousand men, besides women and children. 39 And he sent away the multitudes.

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