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11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.
The disciples were charged with being sinners for transgressing the tradition of the elders, in eating with unwashed hands, Christ replies that what they should eat could not render them sinners. The man, the moral agent, the soul, could not be polluted by any thing that was eaten. What proceeds from the man himself, from his heart, would defile him. Defileth.' Pol. luteth, corrupteth, rendereth sinful.
12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying ? 13 But he answered and said, Every plant which my heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted up.
Religious doctrine is not unaptly compared to a plant. See 1 Cor. 1. 6–8. It is planted in the mind for the purpose of producing fruit in the life, or conduct. Jesus here says that all those doctrines, of which his Father was not the author, must be rooted up, or corrected. The false doctrines of the pharisees, therefore, must be attacked; and it was no wonder that they were indig
14 Let them alone : they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.
“Let them alone.' That is, do not be troubled at their rage. Be not anxious about it. The thing was to be expected. They are greatly attached to their traditions, and you are not to wonder or interfere when they are indignant. They have a vast influence over the multitude and it is to be expected that they will be enraged at any doctrines that lessen their authority. By commanding them to let them alone,' he does not mean to suffer them to remain in error, without any attempt to refute or correct them, for this he was doing then; but he meant to charge his disciples not to mind them, or to regard their opposition. ' If the blind lead the blind,' &c. This was a plain proposition. A blind man attempting to conduct blind men, would fall into every ditch that was in the way. So with religious teachers. If these pharisees, themselves ignorant and blind, should be suffered to lead the ignorant multitude, both would be destroyed.
God often suffers one man to lead many to ruin. A rich and profligate man, an infidel, a man of learning, a politician, or a ieacher, is allowed to sweep multitudes to ruin. But those who arc led are not compelled to follow such men. They are free in choosing such leaders, and they are answerable for being led by them to ruin.
15 Then answered Peter, and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.
See also Mark vii. 17—23. See note, Matt. xiii. 3. The word parable’ sometimes means a dark or obscure saying, Psa. Ixxviii. 2. Peter meant, Explain to us more fully this obscure and somewhat novel doctrine. To us, now, it is plain : to the disciples, just coming out of Judaism, who had been taught by Jewish teachers, the doctrine of Jesus was obscure. Mark says that the disciples asked him. The question was put by Peter in the name of the disciples.
16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding ?
He appeals, in explaining this, to their common sense; and he wonders that they had not yet learned to judge the foolish traditions of the Jews by the decisions of common sense, and by his own instructions.
17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
The meaning of this may be thus expressed : The food which is eaten does not affect the mind, and therefore cannot pollute it. The doctrine of the pharisees, that neglect of washing defiles a man, or makes him a sinner, cannot be true.
18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. 19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies : 20 These are the things which defile a man · but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.
Christ proceeds to state what does defile the man, or render him a sinner: 1. ' Evil thoughts. These are the first things. These are the fountains of all others. Thought precedes action. Thought, or purpose, or motive, gives its character to conduct. 2. “ Murders. Taking the life of others with malice. The malice has its seat in the heart, 1 John iii. 15. 3. ' Adulteries, fornication.' See Matt. v. 28. 4. “Thefts. Theft is taking away the goods of others without their knowledge or consent. li violates, at the same time, two commandments-the tenth in thought, and the eighth in act. 5. “False witness.' Giving wrong testimony. Concealing the truth, or stating what we know to be false, contrary to the ninth commandment, to injure others, w take away their characier or property, or to do them injustice,
It proceeds thus from the heart. 6. “Blasphemies. See note, Matt. ix. 3. Blasphemy proceeds from opposition to God, hatred of his character, Rom. viii. 7, and from a desire that there should be no God. See Psa. xiv. 1. Mark adds, 7. ' Covet. ousness,'—the unlawful desire of what others possess. 8.
Wickedness. The original here means malice, a desire of injuring others, Rom. i. 29. 9. Deceit;' that is fraud, concealment, cheating in trade. 10. ^ Lasciviousness.' Lust, licentiousness, unbridled passion. 11. An evil eye. That is, an eye sour, malignant, proud, devising or purposing evil. See Matt. v. 28 xx. 15. 2 Peter ii. 14. 12. Pride. An improper estimate of our own importance--always the work of an evil heart. 13. Foolishness. Not want of intellect; but moral folly, consisting in choosing bad ends, and bad means of gaining them. All sin is folly. It is foolish for a man to disobey God, and think to prosper.
21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.
This narrative is also found in Mark vii. 24-30. "The coasts of Tyre and Sidon. These cities were on the sea-coast or shore of the Mediterranean. See note Matt. xi. 21. He went there for the purpose of concealment, Mark vii. 24; perhaps still to avoid Herod.
22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.
This woman is called also a Greek, a Syro-Phænician by birth, Mark vii. 26. The Phænicians were descended from the Canaanites. That country was taken by the Greeks under Alexander the Great, and those cities, in the time of Christ, were Greek cities. This woman was a Syro-Phænician, born in that country, and descended probably from the ancient Canaanites. 'Is grievously vexed with a devil.' See note, Matt. iv. 24. The woman showed great earnestness. She cried unto him, and fell at his feet, Mark vii. 25.
23 But he answered her not a word. And his dis ciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.
'But he answered her not a word.' This was done to try her faith, and that there might be exhibited to the apostles an example of the effect of persevering supplication.
24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
' The lost sheep of the house of Israeľ were the Jews. He
came first to them. He came as their expected Messiah. The ministry of Jesus was contined almost entirely to the Jews.
25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.
She came and worshipped. That is, howed down to him, did him reverence. See note, Matt. viii. 2.
26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs.
'It is not meet.' That is, it is not fit or proper. 'Children's bread.' The Jews considered themselves as the peculiar
children of God. To all other nations they were accustomed to 4. apply terms of contempt, of which dogs' was the most common.
Our Saviour did not intend to justify or sanction ihe use of such terms. He meant to try her faith. As if he had said, You are a Gentile. I am a Jew. The Jews call themselves children of God. You they vilify, and abuse, calling you a dog. Are you willing to submit to these appellations, to receive a favour of one of that nation? It was a trial of her faith, and not lending his sanction to the propriety of the abusive term. He regarded her with a different feeling.
27 And she said, Truth, Lord : yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their master's table.
' 'Truth Lord,' &c. What you say is true. Let the Jews have the chief benefit of thy ministry. Let me be regarded as a dog, a heathen, as unworthy of every thing. Yet grant one exertion of that aimighty power, displayed so signally among the Jews, and heal the despised daughter of a despised heathen mother.
28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith : be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that
• Great is thy faith. That is thy trust, confidence. The daughter was healed. Going home, she found her well and composed, Mark vii. 30.
29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there. 30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet ; and he healed them: 31 Inso. much that the multitude wondered when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to
walk, and the blind to see : and they glorified the God of Israel.
Sea of Galilee.' That is, the lake of Genesareth. See note, Matt. iv. 24. • Maimed.' Those to whom a hand or foot was wanting. See Matt. xviii. 8. To cure them—that is, to restore to a hand or foot-was a direct act of creating power.
And they glorified the God of Israel.' To glorify, here, means to praise, to acknowledge his power and goodness.
32 | Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way. 33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude ? 34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes. 35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. 36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude. 37 And they did all eat, and were filled : and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full. 38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.
The miracle recorded here, the feeding of the four thousand, took place on a mountain, near the sea of Galilee. The same account is recorded in Mark viii. 1-10. The circumstances of the miracle are so similar to the one recorded in Matt. xiv. 14-21, as to need no particular explanation.
“Three days, and have nothing to eat.' During that time they had been deprived of their ordinary, regular food. They had only a very scanty supply, and on the third day even that began to fail.
39 And he sent away the multitude, ard took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
Coasts of Magdala.' Mark says, “The parts of Dalmanutha.' These were probably small towns on the east side of the sea of Galilee, and near to each other,
CHAPTER XVI. | THE pharise:s also with the sadducees came, and tempting, desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.