Saint Matthew – Chapter 9

The Bible – New Testament

Saint Matthew

Chapter 9


1 He entered a boat, made the crossing, and came into his own town.


And there people brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, «Courage, child, your sins are forgiven.»


At that, some of the scribes 2 said to themselves, «This man is blaspheming.»


Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, «Why do you harbor evil thoughts?


Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’?


3 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins»  – he then said to the paralytic, «Rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home.»


He rose and went home.


4 When the crowds saw this they were struck with awe and glorified God who had given such authority to human beings.


5 6 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, «Follow me.» And he got up and followed him.


While he was at table in his house, 7 many tax collectors and sinners came and sat with Jesus and his disciples.


The Pharisees saw this and said to his disciples, «Why does your teacher 8 eat with tax collectors and sinners?»


He heard this and said, «Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. 9


Go and learn the meaning of the words, ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ 10 I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.»


Then the disciples of John approached him and said, «Why do we and the Pharisees fast (much), but your disciples do not fast?»


Jesus answered them, «Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast. 11


No one patches an old cloak with a piece of unshrunken cloth, 12 for its fullness pulls away from the cloak and the tear gets worse.


People do not put new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise the skins burst, the wine spills out, and the skins are ruined. Rather, they pour new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.»


13 While he was saying these things to them, an official 14 came forward, knelt down before him, and said, «My daughter has just died. But come, lay your hand on her, and she will live.»


Jesus rose and followed him, and so did his disciples.


A woman suffering hemorrhages for twelve years came up behind him and touched the tassel 15 on his cloak.


She said to herself, «If only I can touch his cloak, I shall be cured.»


Jesus turned around and saw her, and said, «Courage, daughter! Your faith has saved you.» And from that hour the woman was cured.


When Jesus arrived at the official’s house and saw the flute players and the crowd who were making a commotion,


he said, «Go away! The girl is not dead but sleeping.» 16 And they ridiculed him.


When the crowd was put out, he came and took her by the hand, and the little girl arose.


And news of this spread throughout all that land.


17 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed (him), crying out, «Son of David, 18 have pity on us!»


When he entered the house, the blind men approached him and Jesus said to them, «Do you believe that I can do this?» «Yes, Lord,» they said to him.


Then he touched their eyes and said, «Let it be done for you according to your faith.»


And their eyes were opened. Jesus warned them sternly, «See that no one knows about this.»


But they went out and spread word of him through all that land.


As they were going out, 19 a demoniac who could not speak was brought to him,


and when the demon was driven out the mute person spoke. The crowds were amazed and said, «Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel.»


20 But the Pharisees said, «He drives out demons by the prince of demons.»


21 Jesus went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and curing every disease and illness.


At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, 22 like sheep without a shepherd.


23 Then he said to his disciples, «The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few;


so ask the master of the harvest to send out laborers for his harvest.»

1 [1] His own town: Capernaum; see  Matthew 4:13.
2 [3] Scribes: see the note on ⇒ Mark 2:6. Matthew omits the reason given in the Marcan story for the charge of blasphemy: «Who but God alone can forgive sins?» (⇒ Mark 2:7).
3 [6] It is not clear whether «But that you may know . . . to forgive sins» is intended to be a continuation of the words of Jesus or a parenthetical comment of the evangelist to those who would hear or read this gospel. In any case, Matthew here follows the Marcan text.
4 [8] Who had given such authority to human beings: a significant difference from ⇒ Mark 2:12 («They . . . glorified God, saying, «We have never seen anything like this’ «). 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.
5 [9-17] In this section the order is the same as that of ⇒ Mark 2:13-22.
6 [9] A man named Matthew: Mark names this tax collector Levi (⇒ Mark 2:14). No such name appears in the four lists of the twelve who were the closest companions of Jesus (⇒ Matthew 10:2-4; ⇒ Mark 3:16-19; ⇒ Luke 6:14-16; ⇒ Acts 1:13 [eleven, because of the defection of Judas Iscariot]), whereas all four list a Matthew, designated in ⇒ Matthew 10:3 as «the tax collector.» The evangelist may have changed the «Levi» of his source to Matthew so that this man, whose call is given special notice, like that of the first four disciples (⇒ Matthew 4:18-22), might be included among the twelve. Another reason for the change may be that the disciple Matthew was the source of traditions peculiar to the church for which the evangelist was writing.
7 [10] His house: it is not clear whether his refers to Jesus or Matthew. Tax collectors: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 5:46. Table association with such persons would cause ritual impurity.
8 [11] Teacher: see the note on ⇒ Matthew 8:19.
9 [12] See the note on ⇒ Mark 2:17.
10 [13] Go and learn . . . not sacrifice: Matthew adds the prophetic statement of ⇒ Hosea 6:6 to the Marcan account (see also ⇒ Matthew 12:7). If mercy is superior to the temple sacrifices, how much more to the laws of ritual impurity.
11 [15] Fasting is a sign of mourning and would be as inappropriate at this time of joy, when Jesus is proclaiming the kingdom, as it would be at a marriage feast. Yet the saying looks forward to the time when Jesus will no longer be with the disciples visibly, the time of Matthew’s church. Then they will fast: see Didache 8:1.
12 [16-17] Each of these parables speaks of the unsuitability of attempting to combine the old and the new. Jesus’ teaching is not a patching up of Judaism, nor can the gospel be contained within the limits of Mosaic law.
13 [18-34] In this third group of miracles, the first (⇒ Matthew 9:18-26) is clearly dependent on Mark (⇒ Mark 5:21-43). Though it tells of two miracles, the cure of the woman had already been included within the story of the raising of the official’s daughter, so that the two were probably regarded as a single unit. The other miracles seem to have been derived from Mark and Q respectively, though there Matthew’s own editing is much more evident.
14 [18] Official: literally, «ruler.» Mark calls him «one of the synagogue officials» (⇒ Mark 5:22). My daughter has just died: Matthew heightens the Marcan «my daughter is at the point of death» (⇒ Mark 5:23).
15 [20] Tassel: possibly «fringe.» The Mosaic law prescribed that tassels be worn on the corners of one’s garment as a reminder to keep the commandments (see ⇒ Numbers 15:37-39; ⇒ Deut 22:12).
16 [24] Sleeping: sleep is a biblical metaphor for death (see ⇒ Psalm 87:6 LXX; ⇒ Daniel 12:2; ⇒ 1 Thes 5:10). Jesus’ statement is not a denial of the child’s real death, but an assurance that she will be roused from her sleep of death.
17 [27-31] This story was probably composed by Matthew out of Mark’s story of the healing of a blind man named Bartimaeus (⇒ Mark 10:46-52). Mark places the event late in Jesus’ ministry, just before his entrance into Jerusalem, and Matthew has followed his Marcan source at that point in his gospel also (see ⇒ Matthew 20:29-34). In each of the Matthean stories the single blind man of Mark becomes two. The reason why Matthew would have given a double version of the Marcan story and placed the earlier one here may be that he wished to add a story of Jesus’ curing the blind at this point in order to prepare for Jesus’ answer to the emissaries of the Baptist (⇒ Matthew 11:4-6) in which Jesus, recounting his works, begins with his giving sight to the blind.
18 [27] Son of David: this messianic title is connected once with the healing power of Jesus in Mark (⇒ Mark 10:47-48) and Luke (⇒ Luke 18:38-39) but more frequently in Matthew (see also ⇒ Matthew 12:23; ⇒ 15:22; ⇒ 20:30-31).
19 [32-34] The source of this story seems to be Q (see ⇒ Luke 11:14-15). As in the preceding healing of the blind, Matthew has two versions of this healing, the later in ⇒ Matthew 12:22-24 and the earlier here.
20 [34] This spiteful accusation foreshadows the growing opposition to Jesus in Matthew 11; 12.
21 [35] See the notes on ⇒ Matthew 4:23-25; ⇒ Matthew 8:1-⇒ 9:38.
22 [36] See ⇒ Mark 6:34; ⇒ Numbers 27:17; ⇒ 1 Kings 22:17.
23 [37-38] This Q saying (see ⇒ Luke 10:2) is only imperfectly related to this context. It presupposes that only God (the master of the harvest) can take the initiative in sending out preachers of the gospel, whereas in Matthew’s setting it leads into Matthew 10 where Jesus does so.