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· St. Matt.
Messiah, but truly “the Son of David.' She now understood what she prayed, and she was a daughter of Abraham. And what had taught her all this was faith in His Person and Work, as not only just enough for the Jews, but enough and to spare for all-children at the table and dogs under it; that in and with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and David, all nations were blessed in Israel's King and Messiah. And so it was, that the Lord said it: 'O woman, great is thy faith : be it done unto thee even as thou wilt. Or, as St. Mark puts it, not quoting the very sound of the Lord's words, but their impression upon Peter : ‘For this saying go thy way; the devil is gone out of thy daughter.' And her daughter was healed from that hour.': “And she went away unto her house, and found her daughter prostrate [indeed] upon the bed, and [but] the demon gone out.'
To us there is in this history even more than the solemn interest of Christ's compassion and mighty Messianic working, or the lessons of His teaching. We view it in connection with the scenes of the previous few days, and see how thoroughly it accords with them in spirit, thus recognising the deep internal unity of Christ's Words and Works, where least, perhaps, we might have looked for such harmony. And again we view it in its deeper bearing upon, and lessons to, all times. To how many, not only of all nations and conditions, but in all states of heart and mind, nay, in the very lowest depths of conscious guilt and alienation from God, must this have brought unspeakable comfort, the comfort of truth, and the comfort of His Teaching. Be it so, an outcast, 'dog ;' not at the table, but under the table. Still we are at His Feet; it is our Master's Table; He is our Master; and, as He breaks the children's bread, it is of necessity that the children's crumbs' fall to usenough, quite enough, and to spare. Never can we be outside His reach, nor of that of His gracious care, and of sufficient provision to eternal life.
Yet this lesson also must we learn, that as heathens' we may not call on Him as David's Son,' till we know why we so call Him. If there can be no despair, no being cast out by Him, no absolute distance that hopelessly separates from His Person and Provision, there must be no presumption, no forgetfulness of the right relation, no expectancy of magic-miracles, no viewing Christ as a Jewish Messiah.
i Canon Cook (Speaker's Comm. on St. Mark vii. 29) regards this as one of the very few instances in which our Lord's words really differ in the two accounts.'
With all deference, I venture to think it is not so, but that St. Mark gives what St. Peter had received as the impression of Christ's words on his mind.
LESSONS OF THIS MIRACLE.
We must learn it, and painfully, first by His silence, then by this, that He is only sent to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, what we are and where we are—that we may be prepared for the grace of God and the gift of grace.
All men-Jews and Gentiles, children and *dogs '—are as before Christ and God equally undeserving and equally sinners; but those who have fallen deep can only learn that they are sinners by learning that they are great sinners, and will only taste of the children's bread when they have felt, ‘Yea, Lord,' for even the dogs' under the table eat of the children's crumbs,' which fall from their Master's table.'
A GROUP OF MIRACLES AMONG A SEMI-HEATHEN POPULATION.
(St. Matt. xv. 29-31 ; St. Mark vii. 31-37; St. Mark viii. 22-26; St. Matt. xi. 27-31.)
IF even the brief stay of Jesus in that friendly Jewish home by the borders of Tyre could not remain unknown, the fame of the healing of the Syro-Phænician maiden would soon have rendered impossible that privacy and retirement, which had been the chief object of His leaving Capernaum. Accordingly, when the two Paschal days were ended, He resumed His journey, extending it far beyond any previously undertaken, perhaps beyond what had been originally intended. The borders of Palestine proper, though not of what the Rabbis reckoned as belonging to it,' were passed. Making a long circuit through the territory of Sidon, He descended-probably through one of the passes of the Hermon range—into the country of the Tetrarch Philip. Thence He continued through the midst of the borders of Decapolis,’ till He once more reached the eastern, or south-eastern, shore of the Lake of Galilee. It will be remembered that the Decapolis, or confederacy of the Ten Cities,'' was wedged in between the Tetrarchies of Philip and Antipas. It embraced ten cities, although that was not always their number, and their names are variously enumerated. Of these cities Hippos, on the southeastern shore of the Lake, was the most northern, and Philadelphia, the ancient Rabbath-Ammon, the most southern. Scythopolis, the ancient Beth-Shean, with its district, was the only one of them on the western bank of the Jordan. This extensive Ten Cities' district was essentially heathen territory. Their ancient monuments show, in which of them Zeus, Astarte, and Athene, or else Artemis,
| For the Rabbinic views of the boun-
? The correct reading of St. Mark vii.
Saviour's route, but (with Erald and
3 The fullest notice of the Ten Cities' is that of Caspari, Chronolog. Geogr. Einl. pp. 83-91, with which compare Menke's Bibel-Atlas, Map V.
HEALING OF THE DEAF AND DUMB,
Hercules, Dionysos, Demeter, or other Grecian divinities, were wor- CHAP. shipped. Their political constitution was that of the free Greek cities. They were subject only to the Governor of Syria, and formed part of Cæle-Syria, in contradistinction to Syro-Phænicia. This privilege dated from the time of Pompey, from which also they afterwards reckoned their era.
It is important to keep in view that, although Jesus was now within the territory of ancient Israel, the district and all the surroundings were essentially heathen, although in closest proximity to, and intermingling with, that which was purely Jewish. St. Matthews gives only a general description of Christ's activity there, - St. Matt. concluding with a notice of the impression produced on those who witnessed His mighty deeds, as leading them to'glorify the God of Israel.' This, of course, confirms the impression that the scene is laid among a population chiefly heathen, and agrees with the more minute notice of the locality in the Gospel of St. Mark. One special instance of miraculous healing is recorded in the latter, not only from its intrinsic interest, but perhaps, also, as in some respects typical.
Among those brought to Him was one deaf, whose speech had, probably in consequence of this, been so affected as practically to deprive him of its power. This circumstance, and that he is not spoken of as so afflicted from his birth, leads us to infer that the affection was—as not unfrequently—the result of disease, and not congenital. Remembering, that alike the subject of the miracle and they who brought him were heathens, but in constant and close contact with Jews, what follows is vividly true to life. The entreaty to ó lay His Hand upon him’ is heathen, and yet semi-Jewish also. Quite peculiar it is, when the Lord took him aside from the multitude; and again that, in healing him, 'He spat,' applying it directly to the
We read of the direct application of saliva only here and in the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida.b3 We are disposed »St. Mark to regard this as peculiar to the healing of Gentiles. Peculiar, also, is the term expressive of burden on the mind, when, 'looking up to heaven, He sighed.'' Peculiar, also, is the thrusting's of His Comp. Schürer, pp. 382, 383.
3 In St. John ix. 6 it is really applica2 μογιλάλος οι μογγιλάλος does not mean
tion of clay. one absolutely dumb. It is literally : και στενάζω occurs only here in the difficulter loquens. The Rabbinic desig- Gospels. Otherwise it occurs in Rom. nation of such a person would have been viii. 23; 2 Cor. v. 2, 4; Hebr. xiii. 17; Chereah (Ther. i. 2), although different James v. 9; the substantive in Acts vii. opinions obtain as to whether the term 34 ; Rom. viii. 26. includes impediment of speech (comp.
So literally Meg. ii. 4; Gitt. 71 a).
BOOK Fingers into the man's ears, and the touch of his tongue. Only III the upward look to heaven, and the command · Ephphatha '— be
opened'-seem the same as in His every day wonders of healing. But we mark that all here seems much more elaborate than in Israel. The reason of this must, of course, be sought in the moral condition of the person healed. Certain characteristics about the action of the Lord may, perhaps, help us to understand it better. There is an accumulation of means, yet each and all inadequate to effect the purpose, but all connected with His Person. This elaborate use of such means would banish the idea of magic; it would arouse the attention, and fix it upon Christ, as using these means, which were all connected with His Person; while, lastly, the sighing, and the word of absolute command, would all have here their special significance.
Let us try to realise the scene. They have heard of Him as the wonder-worker, these heathens in the land so near to, and yet so far from, Israel; and they have brought to Him “the lame, blind, dumb, maimed,' and many others,' and laid them at His Feet. Oh, what wonder ! All disease vanishes in presence of Heaven's Own Life Incarnate. Tongues long weighted are loosed, limbs maimed or bent by disease are restored to health; the lame are stretched straight; the film of disease and the paralysis of nerve-impotence pass from eyes long insensible to the light. It is a new era-Israel conquers the heathen world, not by force, but by love; not by outward means, but by the manifestation of life-power from above. Truly, this is the Messianic conquest and reign : Cand they glorified the God of Israel.'
From amongst this mass of misery we single out and follow one, whom the Saviour takes aside, that it may not be merely the breath of heaven's spring passing over them all, that wooeth him to new life, but that He may touch and handle him, and so give health to soul and body. The man is to be alone with Christ and the disciples. It is not magic; means are used, and such as might not seem wholly strange to the man. And quite a number of means! He thrust His Fingers into his deaf ears, as if to make a way for the sound; He spat on his tongue, using a means of healing accepted in popular
opinion of Jew and Gentile; a 2 He touched his tongue. Each act Pliny, H. N. xxviii, 7: 1 Karós means here incurvatus, and What it condemns is the whispering of Suel. Vesp. 7 not as in ix. 43 mutilatus.
magical formulas over a wound (Sanh. 2 Wünsche (ad loc.) is guilty of seri- 90 a), when it was the custom of some ous misapprehension when he says that magicians to spit before (Sanh. 101 a), of the Talmud condemns to eternal punish- others after pronouncing the formula ment those who employ this mode of (Jer. Sanh. 28 b). There is no analogy healing. This statement is incorrect. whatever between this and what our
a Shabb. 108 b;