|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:13-17 Christ not only worked miracles on the sabbath, but in such a manner as would give offence to the Jews, for he would not seem to yield to the scribes and Pharisees. Their zeal for mere rites consumed the substantial matters of religion; therefore Christ would not give place to them. Also, works of necessity and mercy are allowed, and the sabbath rest is to be kept, in order to the sabbath work. How many blind eyes have been opened by the preaching of the gospel on the Lord's day! how many impotent souls cured on that day! Much unrighteous and uncharitable judging comes from men's adding their own fancies to God's appointments. How perfect in wisdom and holiness was our Redeemer, when his enemies could find nothing against him, but the oft-refuted charge of breaking the sabbath! May we be enabled, by well-doing, to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
Verse 14. - Now it was sabbath on the day that Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes. The phrase is peculiar, and implies that the day may have been a festival sabbath. The introduction here shows that the difficulty of the neighbors and other friends had already been raised, and something more than a desire on their part for religious guidance actuated their appeal to the Pharisees. Why should the healed man be taken to the Pharisees, or the synagogue-court at all, unless some question of casuistry had been raised? The movement was one unquestionably adverse to Jesus. It could have had no other motive. Nor can any doubt arise that Jesus had violated the rabbinical rules of the sabbath, though his act had been in perfect harmony with the spirit and even letter of the Mosaic Law. The making of clay with the spittle and the sand was an infringement of the rule ('Shabbath,' 24:3). It was curiously laid down in one of the vexatious interpretations (preserved in Jerusalem Gemara on 'Shabbath,' 14) that while "wine could by way of remedy be applied to the eyelid, on the ground that this might be treated as washing, it was sinful to apply it to the inside of the eye" (Edersheim). And it was positively forbidden (in the same Gemara) to apply saliva to the eyelid, because this would be the application of a remedy. All medicinal appliances, unless in cases of danger to life or limb, were likewise forbidden. Consequently, the Lord had broken with the traditional glosses on the Law in more ways than one (see Winer, 'Bibl. Realw.,' 2:346; Lightfoot, ' Ad Joan. 9; 'Wetstein on Matthew 12:9; Wunsche, in loc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it was the sabbath day when Jesus made the clay,.... Which was reckoned a violation of the sabbath, John 9:16, and was one reason why they had the man to the Pharisees to be examined, and why they were desirous of knowing where Jesus was:
and opened his eyes; by putting on the clay, and sending him to wash in the Pool of Siloam: nor did the miracle, nor the good done to the man, excuse with them, what they thought a breach of the sabbath.
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