|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-6 This Pharisee, as well as others, seems to have had an ill design in entertaining Jesus at his house. But our Lord would not be hindered from healing a man, though he knew a clamour would be raised at his doing it on the sabbath. It requires care to understand the proper connexion between piety and charity in observing the sabbath, and the distinction between works of real necessity and habits of self-indulgence. Wisdom from above, teaches patient perseverance in well-doing.
Verse 2. - And, behold, there was a certain man before him which had the dropsy. This was the scheme of the Pharisee host. The sick man was not one of the invited guests; with the freedom which attends a feast in a large Oriental house, the afflicted man was introduced, as though by chance, with other lookers-on. The skilful plotters stationed him in a prominent position, where the eyes of the strange Guest would at once fall on him. The situation is described by the evangelist with dramatic clearness: "And, behold, there was a certain man before him which," etc. In an instant Jesus grasped the whole situation. It was the sabbath, and there before him was one grievously sick with a deadly chronic malady. Would he pass by - contrary to his wont-such a sufferer? Would he heal him on the sabbath day? Could he? perhaps thought the crafty foes of the great Physician-Teacher. The disease was a deadly one, utterly incur. able, as they thought, by earthly means.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And behold, there was a certain man before him,.... Who sat just before him, as he was at table; who either came there of himself, in order to receive a cure; or rather, since it was in a private house, and he at table too, was brought and set there on purpose by the Pharisees, to try whether Christ would heal him on the sabbath day, that they might have somewhat against him; which they doubted not but he would do, knowing his compassionate and beneficent disposition to do good to creatures in distress, whenever he had an opportunity:
which had the dropsy: or "gathered waters", as the Syriac version renders it; was filled with water, which is the nature of that disease, and distinguishes it from what is called the dry dropsy: this disease is a preternatural collection of serum, or water in some part of the body; or a too great proportion thereof in the blood. The "dropsy" acquires different names, from the different parts it afflicts, or the different parts the waters are collected in; that of the "abdomen", or lower belly, called simply and absolutely "dropsy", is particularly denominated "ascites"; that of the whole habit of the body, "anasarca", or "leucophlegmatia"; that of the head, "hydrocephalus"; that of the scrotum, "hydrocele".---There is also a species of this disease, supposed to be caused instead of water, by a collection of wind, called "tympanites"; and by Hippocrates, the "dry dropsy": we also meet with dropsies of the breast, pericardium, uterus, ovaries, &c. The causes of dropsies in general, are whatever may obstruct the serous part of the blood, so as to make it stagnate in the vessels; or burst the vessels themselves, so as to let the blood out among the membranes; or weaken and relax the tone of the vessels; or this the blood, and make it watery; or lessen perspiration. These causes are various, viz. sometimes acute diseases, scirrhous tumours of any of the more noble viscera, excessive evacuations, particularly haemorrhages, hard drinking, &c. The "ascites", or "water dropsy" of the "abdomen", is the most usual case, and what we particularly call the "dropsy": its symptoms are tumours, first of the feet and legs, and afterwards of the "abdomen." which keep continually growing; and if the belly be struck or shook, there is heard a quashing of water: add to this, three other attendants, viz. a dyspnoea, intense thirst, and sparing urine; with which may be numbered heaviness, listlessness, costiveness, a light fever, and an emaciation of the body (i). Such we must suppose to be the case of this man, and that he was now in such a condition, as to be thought incurable.
(i) Chamber's Cyclopaedia on the word "Dropsy".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. man before him—not one of the company, since this was apparently before the guests sat down, and probably the man came in hope of a cure, though not expressly soliciting it [De Wette].
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