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borders of Zabulon and Nephtha- | darkness, saw great light; and to

14 That it might be fulfilled
which was spoken by Esaias the
prophet, saying,

15 The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles:

16 The people, which sat in Babylonian adds, 'if nine months, in respect of burial.' That is, if any abide in a city thirty days, they require of him alms for the poor; if six months, he is bound, with the other citizens, to clothe the poor; if nine months, to bury the dead poor; if twelve months, he is bound to undergo all other taxes with the rest of the citizens."-Lightfoot. Hence Jesus must have been accounted as having his home at Capernaum for twelve months at least, before this tribute or tax could be legally demanded. T Borders. Or, boundaries. Zabulon and Nephthalim. Corresponding to the Hebrew names Zebulun and Naphtali. Josh. xix. 10, 32. Capernaum was situated on the coast of the sea or lake, and near the line of division between the territories of these two tribes.

14. Might be fulfilled. Might be verified. The passage referred to, but not literally quoted, is Isa. ix. 1, 2. Esaias. Isaiah.

them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung


17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethrepresented by light. 1 Pet. ii. 9; Eph. v. 8, 11. The Galileans were most grossly ignorant of the truth, and their morals, as might be expected, were depraved. Region and shadow of death. The same idea is here repeated in stronger terms. As if the body of death, in figurative language, were interposed between the light of life and the people, casting such a deep shadow as to produce total darkness. This phrase occurs in only one other instance in the New Testament, Luke i. 79; but often in the Old Testament. See Job xvi. 16; Ps. xliv. 19; Jer. ii. 6. It always denotes a cheerless, desolate condition. On the other hand, the light of the gospel not only illuminates, but cheers, invigorates, and makes fruitful.

The contrast between ignorance and knowledge, sin and holiness, misery and happiness, is forcibly and vividly expressed by this metaphor.

18. Sea of Galilee.

"This lake,

17. Began to preach. That is, in that part of Galilee. He had previ15. By the way of the sea. Border- ously preached elsewhere, and even in ing upon the sea or lake. Beyond this same province. Luke iv. 14-16, Jordan. Rather, by the side of Jordan; 31. Indeed, he seems to have visited the word translated beyond being some- this very city before, and to have pertimes used in this sense, as is shown formed certain miracles. Luke iv. 23. by several instances in Leigh's Critica¶ Repent, &c. See note on Matt. iii. Sacra. It is certain that the in- 2. heritances of Zebulun and Naphtali were on the western side of Jordan; but by beyond Jordan is almost uniformly indicated the east side. Galilee of the Gentiles. That is, Upper Galilee. See note on Matt. ii. 22. It was thus called, because many of the Gentiles inhabited the territory. The Jews, it will be remembered, called all Gentiles, who were not descendants of Jacob.

16. Which sat in darkness, saw great light. In the Scriptures, darkness is often used as an emblem of ignorance, sinfulness, and misery; while knowledge, and holiness, and happiness, are

which is almost equal in the grandeur of its appearance to the lake of Geneva, is called indifferently the lake of Gennesareth, the lake of Tiberias, the sea of Galilee, and the sea of Cinneroth, from the adjacent country, or the principal towns upon its shores. Josephus and Pliny agree in stating it to be about sixteen miles in length, and about six in breadth. Mr. Buckingham thus describes it: The waters of this lake lie in a deep basin, surrounded on all sides with lofty hills, excepting only the narrow entrance and outlet of the Jordan at each extreme; for which reason, long

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ren, Simon called Peter, and An-
drew his brother, casting a net
into the sea; for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them,
Follow me,
and I will make you
fishers of men.

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 with Zebedee parentage and condition in life. Paul intimates the reason why they were chosen from this class rather than any other. 1 Cor. i. 26-29.

19. Follow me. That is, become my

continued tempests from any one quarter are here unknown; and this lake, like the Dead Sea, with which it communicates, is, for the same reason, never violently agitated for any great length of time. The same local features, how-disciples. ¶ Fishers of men. Alluding ever, render it occasionally subject to to the great duty of a gospel minister, to whirlwinds, squalls, and sudden gusts persuade and draw souls to Christ and from the hollow of the mountains, to holiness. "You now allure fishes, which, as in any other similar basin, to destruction; you shall take men, for are of short duration; and the most their permanent benefit.”—Rosenmülfurious gust is succeeded by a perfect ler. calm. A strong current marks the passage of the Jordan through the middle of the lake, in its way to the Dead Sea, where it empties itself.""-Calmet. T Two brethren. It appears that at least six of the twelve apostles were of three families; Peter and Andrew, sons of John or Jonas; Matt. xvi. 17; John xxi. 15; James and John, sons of Zebedee, and James and Jude, sons of Alpheus. See Matt. x. 2-4; Luke vi. 13-16. Lightfoot supposes that Matthew and Simon Zelotes were sons of the same Alpheus, and brothers to James and Jude. See note on Matt. x. 3. Simon, called Peter. Peter, like Cephas, another name by which the same apostle was sometimes called, signifies a stone. See Matt. xvi. 18, and John i. 42, where the names are hoth given and interpreted. ¶ Andrew his brother. Andrew does not make so prominent a figure in the sacred history as his brother Peter. Both these disciples seem to have had some previous acquaintance with the Master. See John i. 35-42. ¶ Net. An instrument used for taking fish, and, sometimes, for taking birds. It is formed of strong twine or thread, firmly united at the several crossings, and with less or greater apertures left, according to the size of the fish or birds designed to be taken. ¶ Fishers. Or, fishermen; engaged in the employment of taking fish. They were found pursuing industriously an honest and lawful business. They were not of the so-called higher class of society; not of the rich, and noble, and renowned. But, like the other apostles, they were of humble

20. Straightway. Immediately. They did not hesitate; but yielded obedience at once. Left their nets. They gave up their only visible means of support, and attached themselves to Jesus. Followed him. Or, became his disciples; for this is the meaning of the phrase, as here used. It was the custom of Jewish scholars or disciples to walk behind their religious teachers when they appeared in public, thus literally following them. Hence, to follow one, and to be his disciple, expressed the same idea. The same figure of speech is still used; though the custom, upon which it was founded, is not known among us. The resolution of these two brethren, to forsake their employment, and to become the followers of Jesus, was not rash and hasty, as it might seem; for, although they did not fully understand his spiritual character, they were not entirely ignorant of him. Andrew had before been a disciple of John, and had been prepared by his master's instructions to believe that Jesus was the Christ; he had communicated these instructions to his brother Peter; both these brethren had conversed with him; John i. 4042; they had heard also of the marvellous things he had done, the fame whereof had gone throughout all that region. Luke iv. 14.

21. James-John. These were sons of Zebedee, surnamed, for their activity, and zeal, and energy, in their Master's service, Boanerges, or sons of thunder. Mark iii. 17. This James was called the Greater, to distinguish him from another apostle of the same name, dis

their father, mending their nets: |lowed him. and he called them.

22 And they immediately left the ship, and their father, and fol

tinctively styled the Less. John was the "beloved apostle," between whom and his Master there appeared to be a remarkable sympathy of feeling and likeness of character. He was once rebuked for a manifestation of improper feeling, Luke ix. 55; but throughout his Gospel and Epistles, there is evidence that he had richly imbibed his Master's kind and affectionate spirit. ¶ Mending their nets. A circumstance which would scarcely have been considered worthy of being mentioned by one who was drawing on his fancy for materials; yet it is perfectly natural, and its introduction by the evangelist is one of those slight circumstances, which so frequently occur in the sacred writings, and add materially to the evidence of their authenticity.

22. Left the ship, and their father. Rather, their boat, or fishing craft. Ships of large size were not used on the sea of Galilee. In leaving this and their father also, they manifested the true spirit of discipleship. See Matt. x. 37, 38; Luke xiv. 26, 27; the latter of which places is explained by the former. Whether their father became a disciple afterwards, does not distinctly appear; but it is evident their mother did. See Matt. xx. 20; xxvii. 56.

23. All Galilee. See note on Matt. ii. 22. ¶ Synagogues. This word originally denoted a collection of people; but, like the word church, was afterwards applied to the place of meeting. Because synagogues are not named in the Old Testament, it has been supposed that such edifices were not erected by the Jews, until their return from the captivity in Babylon. They afterwards became very numerous; being erected first in the fields, and afterwards in the cities. It is said that, in Jerusalem alone, there were nearly five hundred. A synagogue might not be erected, except where ten suitable men for officers could be found, -men who were "professedly students of the law." There were ten officers in each synagogue, whose duties and powers have been described thus: " (1.) Three have the magistracy, and were called the bench of three, whose office

23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel

it was, to decide the differences arising
between the members of the synagogue,
and to take care about other matters
of the synagogue. These judged con-
cerning money-matters, thefts, losses,
&c. These were properly, and with
good reason, called rulers of the syn-
agogue,' because on them laid the chief
care of things, and the chief power.
(2.) Besides these, there was the public
minister of the synagogue, who prayed
publicly, and took care about the read-
ing of the law, and sometimes preached,
if there were not some other to perform
this office. This person was called
the angel of the church,' and 'the
chazan or bishop of the congregation.'
(3.) There were also three deacons, or
almoners, on whom was the care of the
poor; and these were called 'parnasin,'
or pastors.' (4.) We may reckon the
eighth man of these ten to be 'the
interpreter' in the synagogue; who,
being skilled in the tongues, and stand-
ing by him that read in the law, ren-
dered, in the mother tongue, verse by
verse, those things that were read out
of the Hebrew text. (5.) We do not
readily know whom to name for the
ninth and tenth of this last three. Let
us suppose them to be the master of the
divinity school and his interpreter.”—
Lightfoot. The people were accus-
tomed to meet in the synagogues, for
prayer, and for the reading of the law,
on the second, fifth, and seventh, days
of every week, which last was the Jew-
ish Sabbath; also on fast and festival
days. The regular order of service was
as follows: first, prayers were offered
by the "angel of the church," the
people standing; then came the repeti-
tion of the phylacteries; then the law
and prophets were read and inter-
preted; after which came what we
should now call the sermon.
mon was generally preached by the
proper officer of the synagogue; but,
sometimes, by a stranger of eminence,
who might be present. Luke iv. 20.
It would seem that the rulers of the
synagogue, or council of three, or "bench
of three," as Lightfoot styles them,
sometimes held judicial sessions in the
synagogues, and caused their sentences

The ser

of the kingdom, and healing all | taken with divers diseases and tormanner of sickness, and all manner ments, and those which were posof disease among the people. sessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.

24 And his fame went throughout all Syria and they brought unto him all sick people that were 25 And there followed him great to be executed in the same place. An some extent, called lunacy; or persons allusion to this custom is made in Mark subject to epilepsy or the falling sickxiii. 9. Teaching. Instructing the ness, which, if long continued, usually people, in the principles of the gospel. produces this kind of insanity. This Gospel. This word is composed of disease was called lunacy, from the two Saxon words, denoting good and Latin name of the moon, Luna, which message. The original is, in like was supposed to exercise a powerful manner, composed of two Greek words, influence over it. The origin of the having the same signification. Jesus Greek name of the disease is the same. Christ preached good tidings; he de- It was thought that the epilepsy, as livered a peace-giving message; and it well as the madness produced by it, is the characteristic of the kingdom was much aggravated, during some which he established, that it promotes periods of the moon; hence it was supthe well-being, the holiness and happi-posed that it was occasioned, or, at the ness, the highest good, in short, of its subjects. With much propriety, therefore, might the instructions of our Lord, concerning the nature and principles of this kingdom, be called gospel, or good news. Of the kingdom. The same which is elsewhere called the kingdom of God, kingdom of heaven, &c. See note on Matt. iii. 2. Healing all manner of sickness, &c. Restoring to health. Removing all kinds of disease, by which those who came to him were afflicted.

least, modified in its character, by the
moon's influence. It is said that some
physicians, in the present age, are of
the same opinion; others think differ-
ently. The word lunatic occurs only
in this place and Matt. xvii. 15.
haps the same disease may be denoted
in Mark ix. 18-20; Luke ix. 39, 40.


Had the palsy. Under this general name, in the Scriptures, is included almost or entirely the whole class of diseases which affect the nerves of motion. Sometimes, the whole body is paralyzed; sometimes, one side only; sometimes, the body from the neck downward; sometimes, a single limb; and to all these, physicians give distinct names. No such distinction, however, is made in the Scriptures. All alike are called palsy. And some have supposed that the cramp is included; and that this was the disease of the centurion's servant, Matt. viii. a 6. And he healed them. Probably, in this as in other cases, by a touch, or by a word. In all ages, the diseases here mentioned have been regarded as exceedingly difficult to cure, if curable at all, by the ordinary medical means. To say nothing of what is indicated by being possessed with devils, it is well known, that, even now when the science of medicine is doubtless better understood than at any former period, it is very seldom that a perfect cure is effected in cases of epilepsy, or what is usually denominated palsy. And partial relief is obtained only by a long and thorough course of medical

24. All Syria. Syria was situated on the northerly border of Palestine, and adjoining it. It was, at this time, a Roman province. They brought. That is, from all the region round about. The fame of his mighty cures was widely spread, and the friends of the sick anxiously sought Jesus, presenting the afflicted and distressed, that he might heal them, also. All sick people. Very many. There was general gathering. He healed them all. This was consistent with the great object of his ministry, to promote the happiness of mankind. And although he was specially commissioned to heal the spiritual maladies of men, to save them from sin, and to lead them to holiness, yet he did not disdain to remove physical diseases, also, and thus do good to the bodies as well as the souls of men. Possessed with devils. See note on Matt. viii. 28-32. Lunatic. That is, persons affected with that peculiar species of insanity, which was formerly, and even now to


multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Je

rusalem, and from Judea, and from AND seeing the multitudes, he

beyond Jordan.

treatment. Thus it has been, always. Hence the instantaneous and perfect cure of these diseases by our Saviour was equally miraculous, whether they were curable by ordinary means or not. The miracles which Jesus performed were regarded, and should be regarded, as affording strong proof of his divine inission. John iii. 2; v. 36; x. 37, 38. 25. Decapolis. This name is derived from two Greek words, which together signify ten cities. It is described as "a country in Palestine, which contained ten principal cities, on both sides of the Jordan; Matt. iv. 25; Mark v. 20; vii. 31. According to Pliny, they were, Scythopolis, Philadelphia, Raphanæ, Gadara, Hippos, Dios, Pella, Gerasa, Canatha, Damascus. Josephus inserts Otopos, instead of Canatha. Though within the limits of Israel, the Decapolis was probably inhabited by foreigners; and hence it retained a foreign appellation. This may also contribute to account for the numerous herds of swine kept in the district; Matt. viii. 30; a practice which was forbidden by the Mosaic law."Calmet. Beyond Jordan. Rather, by the side of Jordan. See note on ver.

went up into a mountain and

fully satisfied whether this was he that should come, or whether they must wait for another. It may be proper here to refer again to the opinion then generally entertained concerning the character of the Messiah ;-that he would be a mighty temporal prince, who would deliver his countrymen from political bondage, and exalt them to universal dominion. Impressed with the idea that Jesus was the Messiah, we may well suppose the people assembled with the hope that he would declare his character and pretensions, and raise his standard asking; and that they were fully prepared to rally around him, and go forth to the contest. When these circumstances are duly considered, we may the more distinctly apprehend the honesty of purpose, and the moral courage, which our Saviour manifested, in the discourse recorded in this and the two succeeding chapters, usually denominated the Serinon on the Mount. He gave no intimation that earthly glory awaited him or his disciples. He disclosed no design to attempt the deliverance of his countrymen, or the subjugation of others, by force. On the contrary, the principles of his government, which he unfolded and illustrated, were diametrically opposed to the opinions, and prejudices, 1. Seeing the multitudes. It has and expectations, of the multitude. He already been observed that the Jews taught that his reign should be spiritual, had for some time been expecting and affecting the heart rather than the outanxiously awaiting the advent of the ward condition of men; that his followMessiah; and the people of the neigh-ers must look for spiritual rewards only; boring countries were, to some extent, partakers of the same expectation and anxiety. The scenes in the wilderness, the preaching of John, and the baptism of Jesus, with the wonderful circumstances attending it, had served to make the excitement more intense, and to induce a strong persuasion that the Messiah had actually appeared. When Jesus, therefore, had commenced his ministry, and had openly performed such works as no man could perform except God were with him, as related in the foregoing chapter, it is not surprising that great numbers should have assembled, that they might see him, and hear for themselves, and become



and that these might be expected only as the result of a more pure morality, and a more sanctified disposition, than any of which they before had a distinct idea. He proceeded to denounce many of the doctrines which had long been received as true; and urged that the righteousness attained by their influence was ineffectual. Thus he disappointed the expectations of the multitude, incurred the enmity of the religious teachers, and deprived himself and his religion of any and all adventitious support. He was willing to breast the storm of opposition, relying on God alone for shelter from its fury; and to let his doctrine make its way in the

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