|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
15:10-20 Christ shows that the defilement they ought to fear, was not from what entered their mouths as food, but from what came out of their mouths, which showed the wickedness of their hearts. Nothing will last in the soul but the regenerating graces of the Holy Spirit; and nothing should be admitted into the church but what is from above; therefore, whoever is offended by a plain, seasonable declaration of the truth, we should not be troubled at it. The disciples ask to be better taught as to this matter. Where a weak head doubts concerning any word of Christ, an upright heart and a willing mind seek for instruction. It is the heart that is desperately wicked, Jer 17:9, for there is no sin in word or deed, which was not first in the heart. They all come out of the man, and are fruits of that wickedness which is in the heart, and is wrought there. When Christ teaches, he will show men the deceitfulness and wickedness of their own hearts; he will teach them to humble themselves, and to seek to be cleansed in the Fountain opened for sin and uncleanness.
Verse 14. - Let them alone. Do not trouble yourselves about them; let them be offended, if they will. Blind leaders of the blind. Both teachers and taught are alike ignorant of the truth. The people had no spiritual light, and, applying to their appointed pastors, they learned nothing profitable from them; for these were as much in the dark as themselves. It was evident, then, that the rabbis ought not to be followed unreservedly. If the blind. A proverbial saying. Comp. Horat., 'Epp.,' I, 17:3 -
"... ut si
Caecus iter monstrare velit." And the Greek adage, Μήτε τυφλὸν ὁδηγόν, μήτε ἐκνόητον σύμβουλον. Nosgen calls attention to the order of the words, Τυφλὸς δὲ τυφλὸν ἐὰν ὁδηγῇ, "Blind blind if he lead," which, while it substantiates the advice, "Let them alone," forcibly expresses the fatal result of this guidance. The ditch (βόθυνον); a pitfall (comp. Isaiah 24:17, 18, Septuagint, where it is used as the translation of the Hebrew pachath, a pit in which wild animals are taken). The "ditch" in one sense is unbelief in Christ, to which rabbinical teaching undoubtedly led. In another sense it adumbrates the ruin in which these false principles would involve the Jewish polity and people. It is obvious that the rejection of the Messiah drew down the punishment which has made the Hebrew nation an astonishment to all the world.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Let them alone,.... Have nothing to say, or do with them; do not mind their anger and resentment, their reproaches and reflections, nor trouble yourselves at the offence they have taken; if they will go, let them go; they are a worthless generation of men, who are not to be regarded, hearkened to, nor to be pleased; it matters not what they say of me, and of my doctrine:
they be blind leaders of the blind; the people that hearken to them, and are followers of them, are "blind", as to any true sense of themselves, their state, and condition by nature; as to any spiritual, saving knowledge of God; as to any acquaintance with the Messiah, and the method of salvation by him; as to the Spirit of God, and the work of grace, regeneration, and sanctification upon the soul; as to the Scriptures of truth, and doctrines of the Gospel; and the "leaders" of them were as "blind" as they: by whom are meant the Scribes and Pharisees, the learned doctors and rabbins of the Jewish nation; who thought themselves very wise and knowing, yet they were blind also; and none more than they. It was an old tradition (g) among the Jews,
"that there should be "blind teachers" at the time when God should have his tabernacle among them.''
This was predicted, in Isaiah 42:19 and all such leaders and teachers are blind, who, notwithstanding their natural abilities, and acquired parts, are in a state of unregeneracy; and have nothing more than what they have from nature, or have attained to at school; and as apparently all such are, who lead men from Christ, to mere morality, and to a dependence upon their own righteousness for justification, which was the darling principle of the blind leaders in the text.
And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch; of ignorance and error, immorality and profaneness, distress, if not despair, temporal ruin and destruction; which was notoriously verified in the Jewish people, and their guides: and of eternal damnation, the lake which burns with fire and brimstone; what else can be expected?
(g) Midrash Tillim in Psal. cxlvi apud Grotium in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch—Striking expression of the ruinous effects of erroneous teaching!
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