|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:31-44 Christ's preaching much affected the people; and a working power went with it to the consciences of men. These miracles showed Christ to be a controller and conqueror of Satan, a healer of diseases. Where Christ gives a new life, in recovery from sickness, it should be a new life, spent more than ever in his service, to his glory. Our business should be to spread abroad Christ's fame in every place, to beseech him in behalf of those diseased in body or mind, and to use our influence in bringing sinners to him, that his hands may be laid upon them for their healing. He cast the devils out of many who were possessed. We were not sent into this world to live to ourselves only, but to glorify God, and to do good in our generation. The people sought him, and came unto him. A desert is no desert, if we are with Christ there. He will continue with us, by his word and Spirit, and extend the same blessings to other nations, till, throughout the earth, the servants and worshippers of Satan are brought to acknowledge him as the Christ, the Son of God, and to find redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
Verses 31-44. - AT CAPERNAUM. Verse 31. - And came down to Capernaum. Capernaum was the real home of the Master during the two years and a half of his public ministry. He chose this flourishing lakecity partly because his kinsmen and first disciples lived in it or its immediate neighborhood, but more especially on account of its situation. It has been termed the very center of the manufacturing district of Palestine; it lay on the high-road which led from Damascus and the Syrian cities to Tyro, Sidon, and Jerusalem. "It was, in fact, on 'the way of the sea' (Isaiah 9:1), the great caravan-road which led (from the East) to the Mediterranean. It was hence peculiarly fitted to be the center of a far-reaching ministry, of which even Gentiles would hear" (Farrar). The evangelist speaks of "coming down" to the shore of the lake, in contrast with Nazareth, which was placed in the hills. We do not meet with the name Capernaum in the Old Testament; it therefore appears not to have been a city belonging to remote antiquity. Its name is generally interpreted as being compounded of two words, signifying "town of consolations," בפר גחים - a beautiful and significant derivation. It may, however, originally have taken its name from the Prophet Nahum. Josephus, the historian, tells us. the name originally belonged to a fountain. He dwells also on the mildness of the climate; it would therefore seem as though, in the first place, Capernaum was used as a health resort, and then its admirable situation favored its adoption as a convenient center. The extensive ruins of Tel-Hum, on the lake-shore, are generally believed to be the remains of the once rich and populous Capernaum. And taught them on the sabbath days.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And came down to Capernaum,.... Which was, as Dr. Lightfoot thinks, sixteen miles or more from Nazareth; and Christ may be said to "come down" to it, because of the situation of Nazareth, which was upon an hill:
a city of Galilee: of lower Galilee, near the sea of Galilee:
and taught them on the sabbath days: that is, he went into the synagogue at Capernaum, on the sabbath days, whenever he was there, and taught the inhabitants, explained some passage or other in the Old Testament, as he had done at Nazareth and instructed them in the doctrines of the Gospel.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. down to Capernaum—It lay on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:13), whereas Nazareth lay high.
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