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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 8)

8:2 {If thou wilt} (\ean thelēis\). The leper knew that Jesus had
the power to heal him. His doubt was about his willingness. "Men
more easily believe in miraculous power than in miraculous love"
(Bruce). This is a condition of the third class (undetermined,
but with prospect of being determined)
, a hopeful doubt at any
rate. Jesus accepted his challenge by "I will." The command to
"tell no one" was to suppress excitement and prevent hostility.

8:5 {Unto him} (\autōi\). Dative in spite of the genitive
absolute \eiselthontos autou\ as in verse 1, a not infrequent
Greek idiom, especially in the _koinē_.

8:6 {Grievously tormented} (\deinōs basanizomenos\). Participle
present passive from root \basanos\ (see on ¯Mt 4:24). The boy
(\pais\), slave (\doulos\, Lu 7:2), was a bedridden
(\beblētai\, perfect passive indicative of \ballō\) paralytic.

8:7 {I will come and heal him} (\egō elthōn therapeusō auton\).
Future indicative, not deliberative subjunctive in question
(McNeile). The word here for heal (\therapeusō\) means first to
serve, give medical attention, then cure, restore to health. The
centurion uses the more definite word for healing (\iathēsetai\
as Matthew does in 8:13 (\iathē\). Luke (Lu 9:11),
like a physician, says that Jesus healed (\iato\) those in need
of treatment (\therapeias\), but the distinction is not always
observed. In Ac 28:8 Luke uses \iasato\ of the miraculous
healings in Malta by Paul while he employs \etherapeuonto\ (Ac
apparently of the practice of Luke the physician (so W. M.
. Matthew represents the centurion himself as speaking to
Jesus while Luke has it that two committees from the centurion
brought the messages, apparently a more detailed narrative. What
one does through others he does himself as Pilate "scourged
Jesus" (had him scourged).

8:9 {For I also am a man under authority} (\kai gar egō anthrōpos
hupo exousian\)
. "Also" is in the text, though the \kai\ here may
mean "even," even I in my subordinate position have soldiers
under me. As a military man he had learned obedience to his
superiors and so expected obedience to his commands, instant
obedience (aorist imperatives and aoristic present indicatives).
Hence his faith in Christ's power over the illness of the boy
even without coming. Jesus had only to speak with a word (8:8),
say the word, and it would be done.

8:10 {So great faith} (\tosautēn pistin\). In a Roman centurion
and greater than in any of the Jews. In like manner Jesus
marvelled at the great faith of the Canaanitish woman (Mt

8:11 {Sit down} (\anaklithēsontai\). Recline at table on couches
as Jews and Romans did. Hence Leonardo da Vinci's famous picture
of the Last Supper is an anachronism with all seated at table in
modern style.

8:12 {The sons of the kingdom} (\hoi huioi tēs basileias\). A
favourite Hebrew idiom like "son of hell" (Mt 23:15), "sons of
this age" (Lu 16:8). The Jews felt that they had a natural
right to the privileges of the kingdom because of descent from
Abraham (Mt 3:9). But mere natural birth did not bring
spiritual sonship as the Baptist had taught before Jesus did.

{Into the outer darkness} (\eis to skotos to exōteron\).
Comparative adjective like our "further out," the darkness
outside the limits of the lighted palace, one of the figures for
hell or punishment (Mt 23:13; 25:30). The repeated article
makes it bolder and more impressive, "the darkness the outside,"
there where the wailing and gnashing of teeth is heard in the
thick blackness of night.

8:14 {Lying sick of a fever} (\biblēmenēn kai puressousan\). Two
participles, bedridden (perfect passive of \ballō\) and burning
with fever (present active). How long the fever had had her we
have no means of knowing, possibly a sudden and severe attack
(Mr 1:30), as they tell Jesus about her on reaching the house
of Peter. We are not told what kind of fever it was. Fever itself
was considered a disease. "Fever" is from German feuer (fire)
like the Greek \pur\.

8:15 {Touched her hand} (\hēpsato tēs cheiros autēs\). In loving
sympathy as the Great Physician and like any good doctor today.

{Ministered} (\diēkonei\). "Began to minister" (conative
at once to Jesus at table in gratitude and love.

8:16 {When even was come} (\opsias genomenēs\). Genitive
absolute. A beautiful sunset scene at the close of the Sabbath
day (Mr 1:21). Then the crowds came as Jesus stood in the door
of Peter's house (Mr 1:33; Mt 8:14) as all the city gathered
there with the sick, "all those who had it bad" (see on ¯Mt
and he healed them "with a word" (\logōi\). It was a never
to be forgotten memory for those who saw it.

8:17 {Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases} (\autos
tas astheneias elaben kai tas nosous ebastasen\)
. A quotation
from Isa 53:4. It is not clear in what sense Matthew applies
the words in Isaiah whether in the precise sense of the Hebrew or
in an independent manner. Moffatt translates it: "He took away
our sicknesses, and bore the burden of our diseases." Goodspeed
puts it: "He took our sickness and carried away our diseases."
Deissmann (_Bible Studies_, pp. 102f.) thinks that Matthew has
made a free interpretation of the Hebrew, has discarded the
translation of the Septuagint, and has transposed the two Hebrew
verbs so that Matthew means: "He took upon himself our pains, and
bore our diseases." Plummer holds that "It is impossible, and
also unnecessary, to understand what the Evangelist understood by
'took ' (\elaben\) and 'bare' (\ebastasen\). It at least must
mean that Christ removed their sufferings from the sufferers. He
can hardly have meant that the diseases were transferred to
Christ." \Bastazō\ occurs freely in the papyri with the sense of
lift, carry, endure, carry away (the commonest meaning, Moulton
and Milligan, _Vocabulary_)
, pilfer. In Mt 3:11 we have the
common vernacular use to take off sandals. The Attic Greek did
not use it in the sense of carrying off. "This passage is the
cornerstone of the faith-cure theory, which claims that the
atonement of Christ includes provision for _bodily_ no less than
for spiritual healing, and therefore insists on translating 'took
away'" (Vincent). We have seen that the word \bastazō\ will
possibly allow that meaning, but I agree with McNeile: "The
passage, _as Mt. employs it_, has no bearing on the doctrine of
the atonement." But Jesus does show his sympathy with us.
"Christ's sympathy with the sufferers was so intense that he
really felt their weaknesses and pains." In our burdens Jesus
steps under the load with us and helps us to carry on.

8:19 {A scribe} (\heis grammateus\). One (\heis\)="a," indefinite
article. Already a disciple as shown by "another of the
disciples" (\heteros tōn mathētōn\) in 8:21. He calls Jesus
"Teacher" (\didaskale\), but he seems to be a "bumptious" brother
full of self-confidence and self-complacency. "Even one of that
most unimpressionable class, in spirit and tendency utterly
opposed to the ways of Jesus" (Bruce). Yet Jesus deals gently
with him.

8:20 {Holes} (\phōleous\). A lurking hole, burrow. {Nests}
(\kataskēnōseis\). "Roosts, i.e. leafy, \skēnai\ for settling at
night (_tabernacula, habitacula_), not nests" (McNeile). In the
Septuagint it is used of God tabernacling in the Sanctuary. The
verb (\kataskēnoō\) is there used of birds (Ps 103:12).

{The Son of man} (\tho huios tou anthrōpou\). This remarkable
expression, applied to himself by Jesus so often, appears here
for the first time. There is a considerable modern literature
devoted to it. "It means much for the Speaker, who has chosen it
deliberately, in connection with private reflections, at whose
nature we can only guess, by study of the many occasions on which
the name is used" (Bruce). Often it means the Representative Man.
It may sometimes stand for the Aramaic _barnasha_, the man, but
in most instances that idea will not suit. Jesus uses it as a
concealed Messianic title. It is possible that this scribe would
not understand the phrase at all. Bruce thinks that here Jesus
means "the unprivileged Man," worse off than the foxes and the
birds. Jesus spoke Greek as well as Aramaic. It is inconceivable
that the Gospels should never call Jesus "the Son of man" and
always credit it to him as his own words if he did not so term
himself, about eighty times in all, thirty-three in Matthew.
Jesus in his early ministry, except at the very start in Joh 4,
abstains from calling himself Messiah. This term suited his
purpose exactly to get the people used to his special claim as
Messiah when he is ready to make it openly.

8:21 {And bury my father} (\kai thapsai ton patera mou\). The
first man was an enthusiast. This one is overcautious. It is by
no means certain that the father was dead. Tobit urged his son
Tobias to be sure to bury him: "Son, when I am dead, bury me"
(Tobit 4:3). The probability is that this disciple means that,
after his father is dead and buried, he will then be free to
follow Jesus. "At the present day, an Oriental, with his father
sitting by his side, has been known to say respecting his future
projects: 'But I must first bury my father!'" (Plummer). Jesus
wanted first things first. But even if his father was not
actually dead, service to Christ comes first.

8:22 {Leave the dead to bury their own dead} (\aphes tous nekrous
thapsai tous heautōn nekrous\)
. The spiritually dead are always
on hand to bury the physically dead, if one's real duty is with
Jesus. Chrysostom says that, while it is a good deed to bury the
dead, it is a better one to preach Christ.

8:24 {But he was asleep} (\autos de ekatheuden\). Imperfect, was
sleeping. Picturesque scene. The Sea of Galilee is 680 feet below
the Mediterranean Sea. These sudden squalls come down from the
summit of Hermon with terrific force (\seismos megas\) like an
earthquake. Mark (Mr 4:37) and Luke (Lu 8:23) term it a
whirlwind (\lailaps\) in furious gusts.

8:25 {Save, Lord; we perish} (\Kurie, sōson, apollumetha\). More
exactly, "Lord, save us at once (aorist), we are perishing
(present linear)."

8:27 {Even the winds and the sea obey him} (\Kai hoi anēmoi kai
hē thalassa autōi hupakouousin\)
. A nature miracle. Even a sudden
drop in the wind would not at once calm the sea. "J. Weiss
explains that by 'an astonishing coincidence' the storm happened
to lull at the moment that Jesus spoke!" (McNeile). Some minds
are easily satisfied by their own stupidities.

8:28 {The country of the Gadarenes} (\ten chōran tōn Gadarēnōn\).
This is the correct text in Matthew while in Mr 5:1 and Lu
8:26 it is "the country of the Gerasenes." Dr. Thomson
discovered by the lake the ruins of Khersa (Gerasa). This village
is in the district of the city of Gadara some miles southeastward
so that it can be called after Gerasa or Gadara. So Matthew
speaks of "two demoniacs" while Mark and Luke mention only one,
the leading one. "{The tombs}" (\tōn mnēmeiōn\) were chambers cut
into the mountain side common enough in Palestine then and now.
On the eastern side of the lake the precipitous cliffs are of
limestone formation and full of caves. It is one of the proofs
that one is a maniac that he haunts the tombs. People shunned the
region as dangerous because of the madmen.

8:29 {Thou Son of God} (\huie tou theou\). The recognition of
Jesus by the demons is surprising. The whole subject of
demonology is difficult. Some hold that it is merely the ancient
way of describing disease. But that does not explain the
situation here. Jesus is represented as treating the demons as
real existences separate from the human personality. Missionaries
in China today claim that they have seen demons cast out. The
devil knew Jesus clearly and it is not strange that Jesus was
recognized by the devil's agents. They know that there is nothing
in common between them and the Son of God (\hēmin kai soi\,
ethical dative)
and they fear torment "before the time" (\pro
. Usually \ta daimonia\ is the word in the New Testament
for demons, but in 8:31 we have \hoi daimones\ (the only
example in the N.T.)
. \Daimonion\ is a diminutive of \daimōn\. In
Homer \daimōn\ is used synonymously with \theos\ and \thea\.
Hesiod employed \daimōn\ of men of the golden age as tutelary
deities. Homer has the adjective \daimonios\ usually in an evil
sense. Empedocles considered the demons both bad and good. They
were thus used to relieve the gods and goddesses of much
rascality. Grote (_History of Greece_) notes that the Christians
were thus by pagan usage justified in calling idolatry the
worship of demons. See 1Co 10:20f.; 1Ti 4:1; Re 9:20; 16:13f.
In the Gospels demons are the same as unclean spirits (Mr
5:12,15; 3:22,30; Lu 4:33)
. The demons are disturbers (Vincent)
of the whole life of man (Mr 5:2f.; 7:25; Mt 12:45; Lu

8:32 {Rushed down the steep} (\hōrmēsen kata tou krēmnou\). Down
from the cliff (ablative case) into the sea. Constative aorist
tense. The influence of mind on matter is now understood better
than formerly, but we have the mastery of the mind of the Master
on the minds of the maniacs, the power of Christ over the demons,
over the herd of hogs. Difficulties in plenty exist for those who
see only folk-lore and legend, but plain enough if we take Jesus
to be really Lord and Saviour. The incidental destruction of the
hogs need not trouble us when we are so familiar with nature's
tragedies which we cannot comprehend.

8:34 {That he would depart} (\hopōs metabēi\). The whole city was
excited over the destruction of the hogs and begged Jesus to
leave, forgetful of the healing of the demoniacs in their concern
over the loss of property. They cared more for hogs than for
human souls, as often happens today.

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Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Matthew: Chapter 8)