|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:12-17 It is just with God to take the gospel and the means of grace, from those that slight them and thrust them away. Christ will not stay long where he is not welcome. Those who are without Christ, are in the dark. They were sitting in this condition, a contented posture; they chose it rather than light; they were willingly ignorant. When the gospel comes, light comes; when it comes to any place, when it comes to any soul, it makes day there. Light discovers and directs; so does the gospel. The doctrine of repentance is right gospel doctrine. Not only the austere John Baptist, but the gracious Jesus, preached repentance. There is still the same reason to do so. The kingdom of heaven was not reckoned to be fully come, till the pouring out of the Holy Spirit after Christ's ascension.
Verse 13. - And leaving Nazareth. Finally as a place of residence. The form Ναζαρά occurs only here and Luke 4:16, which in itself well suits the opinion that Luke 4:16-30 is only a fuller account of this sojourn at Nazareth (cf. Weiss, ' Matthaus-Evang.'). He came and dwelt; i.e. made his home in (cf. Matthew 2:23). Not as having a house of his own there, so that he could take shelter in it as of right (cf. Matthew 8:20, "The foxes have holes," etc.); but probably settling his mother there, and being himself generally admitted to some one's house (perhaps Peter's, cf. Matthew 8:14, 16) when he came to the town. In Capernaum. Most probably the modern Tell-hum, upon the north-western shore, two miles from where the Jordan enters the lake. On the interesting relic of the synagogue, presumably that built by the centurion (Luke 7:5), vide especially Bishop Westcott on John 6:59. The identification with Tell-Hum can, however, hardly be considered as absolutely settled. "Some of the narratives of pilgrims of the sixth and seventh centuries appear to place Capernaum here. Jewish authors mention a place called Karat Tankhum, or Nakhum; and as the Arabic Tell ("hill") might easily be substituted for the word Kaphar ("village"), and Nakhum corrupted to Hum, Capernaum and Tell-Hum may be identical. On the other hand, Sepp supposes that the name of the Minim (Jewish Christians), who are known to have been numerous at Capernaum down to the time of Constantine, has been preserved in the Khan Minyeh" (Socin's ' Baedeker,' p. 373). Which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim. The details are mentioned to show the accordance with the following prophecy. Neubauer ('Geogr. du Talm.,' p. 222, edit. 1868) points out that, according to Joshua 19:33, 34, and the notices in the Talmud, the whole western side of the lake was in Naphtali, and that hence Capernaum could not, strictly speaking, be "in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim." He himself explains the discrepancy by saying that St. Matthew imitates the Haggadistic methods in accommodating the geography to the text he quotes. But it is clear that the expression is satisfied by the fact that Zebulun was really near Capernaum, and that numbers of those who frequented the town must have come from Zebulun. The position of Capernaum thus formed quite a sufficient reason for quoting the prophecy in Isaiah. Our evangelist, who (ch. 2.) had noticed the coining of distant heathen to worship Messiah, though he was persecuted by the then ruler of the nation, found it very significant that his public activity should begin at a distance from the home of the hierarchy, and in a district which had been the first to suffer from heathen attacks in the past, and had at the present moment a population in which there was a great mixture of the heathen element (cf. Weiss, 'Matthiaus-Evang.').
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And leaving Nazareth,.... Where he was educated, and had lived many years together; and where he preached first to the good liking of the people, who
wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth: though afterwards they were so much displeased with him, that they thrust him out of their city; and intended to have destroyed him, by casting him down headlong from the brow of an hill; and which seems to be the reason of his leaving this city; see Luke 4:16
he came and dwelt in Capernaum a city of Galilee. Luke 4:31
which is upon the sea-coast by the sea of Tiberias, or Genesareth
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim: it bordered on both these tribes; it signifies "the village of consolation" (t); and so it was, whilst the consolation of Israel dwelt there. The Jews speak very evilly of it: no doubt because it was the dwelling place of Christ; and because there might be some in it who believed in him: they represent the inhabitants of it as very great sinners, heretics, and dealers in magic art. Chanina, the brother's son of R. Joshua, they say (u), went to Capernaum, and the heretics did something to him; according to the gloss, they bewitched him: and elsewhere (w) explaining the words in Ecclesiastes 7:26
Who so pleaseth God,....; this, they say, is Chananiah, the brother's son of R. Joshua; and "the sinner"; these are the "children", or inhabitants of Capernaum. Thus they show their spite against the very place in which Christ dwelt.
(t) Vid. Benjamin Tudelens. Itinerar. p. 37. & L'Empereur, not. in ib. & Hieron. in Mar. i. 21. & Origen. Comment. in Matt. p. 317. vol. 1. Ed. Huet. (u) Midrash Koheleth. fol. 63. 1.((w) Ib. fol. 77. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. And leaving Nazareth—The prevalent opinion is that this refers to a first visit to Nazareth after His baptism, whose details are given by Luke (Lu 4:16, &c.); a second visit being that detailed by our Evangelist (Mt 13:54-58), and by Mark (Mr 6:1-6). But to us there seem all but insuperable difficulties in the supposition of two visits to Nazareth after His baptism; and on the grounds stated in Lu 4:16, &c., we think that the one only visit to Nazareth is that recorded by Matthew (Mt 13:53-58), Mark (Mr 6:1-6), and Luke (Lu 4:14-30). But how, in that case, are we to take the word "leaving Nazareth" here? We answer, just as the same word is used in Ac 21:3, "Now when we had sighted Cyprus, and left it on the left, we sailed into Syria,"—that is, without entering Cyprus at all, but merely "sighting" it, as the nautical phrase is, they steered southeast of it, leaving it on the northwest. So here, what we understand the Evangelist to say is, that Jesus, on His return to Galilee, did not, as might have been expected, make Nazareth the place of His stated residence, but, "leaving [or passing by] Nazareth,"
he came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the seacoast—maritime Capernaum, on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee; but the precise spot is unknown. (See on Mt 11:23). Our Lord seems to have chosen it for several reasons. Four or five of the Twelve lived there; it had a considerable and mixed population, securing some freedom from that intense bigotry which even to this day characterizes all places where Jews in large numbers dwell nearly alone; it was centrical, so that not only on the approach of the annual festivals did large numbers pass through it or near it, but on any occasion multitudes could easily be collected about it; and for crossing and recrossing the lake, which our Lord had so often occasion to do, no place could be more convenient. But one other high reason for the choice of Capernaum remains to be mentioned, the only one specified by our Evangelist.
in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim—the one lying to the west of the Sea of Galilee, the other to the north of it; but the precise boundaries cannot now be traced out.
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