Matthew: Chapter 9 Footnotes
9:1 'His own town': Capharnaum. According to Jansenius, "Christ may be said to have had three cities: Bethlehem, in which he was born; Nazareth, in which he was educated; and Capharnaum, in which he most frequently resided, during his sacred ministry." (Haydock).
9:3 Mark includes the reason for their accusation of blasphemy: "Who but God can forgive sins?" [2:7] The scribes are accurate in their recognition "that the forgiveness of sins, which entail an offense against God, belong to divine activity" (Brown et al., p.649)
9:8 Mark simply has them glorifying God [2:12], while "Matthew's extension to human beings of the authority to forgive sins points to the belief that such authority was being claimed by Matthew's church." (Senior et al.) This reflects the thoughts occupying those of the second- or third-generations, in which faith in Christ was presupposed.
9:9 Mark names this tax collector "Levi" [2:4]. However, no such name appears in the four lists of the twelve apostles (Matthew, Mark, Luke, Acts), while all four list Matthew as "the tax collector." Scholars put forth a variety of explanations, the most common being that Matthew is Levi (changing names after discovering Christ was common in NT). The fundamental meaning of the story remains unchanged.
9:10 Previously it was said Jesus came to his own town Capernuam, thus 'his house' is not completely clear: is this verse referring to the house of Jesus or Matthew?
"Tax collectors." See "People" page for explanation of why tax collectors were often social outcasts.
9:14 Note how they question Jesus about his disciples, not his own behavior.
9:15 Fasting, as a sign of mourning, would be inappropriate at this time of joy (when Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom). This verse also looks forward and indicates that there is a time when he will be taken away from them.
9:16-17 Both parables speak to the unsuitability of attempting to combine the old and new. Jesus' teaching is not a fixing up of Judaism and the gospel cannot be contained within the limits of Mosaic law (as also demonstrated earlier in Matthew when Jesus extended the law, or some places, corrected it).
9:18 Mark has expanded explanation of 'official': "one of the synagogue officials" [5:22].
9:20 'tassel' might also mean 'fringe.' It was worn (according to Mosaic law) as a reminder to keep the commandments.
Women with hemorrhages were considered to be perpetually menstruating, thus permanently unclean.
9:22 St. Chrysostom has an interesting enriching of this verse: "But Jesus turning about. Our divine Saviour, fearing lest he might alarm the woman by his words, says immediately to her, Take courage; and at the same time calls her his daughter, because her faith had rendered her such" (Haydock).
9:24 'sleeping' is a Biblical metaphor for death, thus Jesus is not denying her death, but rather assuring them that she will be roused from her sleep of death.
9:24 The accusation foreshadows the opposition that is growing to Jesus in chapters 11 & 12.
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Jennifer Becker Landsberger
Who am I? Freelance writer (magazines, websites, & copywriting), Catholic, military wife, and Mensan. Double Bachelor's in History & Psychology.
Witnessing by charity and love are above all. Studying the Bible and beyond helps me on this quest. Feel free to join my walk into the Bible.
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~~~Prayer before Writing-
Oh creator of the universe, who has set the stars in the heavens and causes the sun to rise and set, shed the light of your wisdom into the darkness of my mind. Fill my thoughts with a loving knowledge of you, that I may bring you like to others. Just as you can make even babies speak your truth, instruct my tongue and guide my pen to convey the wonderful glory of the Gospel. Make my intellect sharp, my memory clear, and my words eloquent, so that I may faithfully interpret the mysteries what you have revealed.
To my readers & fellow writers,
1. I will pray that God's grace helps illuminate all of our interactions- both those of simple reading and more active conversations.
2. I will communicate with you respectfully and civilly. These are (rightly) issues which we feel passionate about. But even in disagreements, I will respect you fellow "seekers of truth."
3. I will not fall into negative behavior or words, such as insinuations, exaggerations, blames, or personal attacks. I respectfully ask you to do the same.
4. I will pray we will all find the truth and strive to fulfill the two greatest commandments: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these." (Mark 12:30-31)
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Biblical Evidence for Catholicism by Dave Armstrong