|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:18-26 The death of our relations should drive us to Christ, who is our life. And it is high honour to the greatest rulers to attend on the Lord Jesus; and those who would receive mercy from Christ, must honour him. The variety of methods Christ took in working his miracles, perhaps was because of the different frames and tempers of mind, which those were in who came to him, and which He who searches the heart perfectly knew. A poor woman applied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by the way. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ's garment by living faith, our worst evils will be healed; there is no other real cure, nor need we fear his knowing things which are a grief and burden to us, but which we would not tell to any earthly friend. When Christ entered the ruler's house, he said, Give place. Sometimes, when the sorrow of the world prevails, it is difficult for Christ and his comforts to enter. The ruler's daughter was really dead, but not so to Christ. The death of the righteous is in a special manner to be looked on as only a sleep. The words and works of Christ may not at first be understood, yet they are not therefore to be despised. The people were put forth. Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ. Dead souls are not raised to spiritual life, unless Christ take them by the hand: it is done in the day of his power. If this single instance of Christ's raising one newly dead so increased his fame, what will be his glory when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation!
Verse 23. - And. During the incident of the healing of the woman news had come (parallel passages) to the ruler that his daughter was actually dead, and that it was useless to trouble the Teacher any more. But man's extremity is ever Christ's opportunity. When Jesus came into the ruler's house. Accompanied by only Peter, James, and John (parallel passages), and the parents (Luke). And saw. Apparently from outside the room (cf. ver. 25). The minstrels; flute-players (Revised Version); τοὺς αὐλητάς. For musicians as mourners, cf. 2 Chronicles 35:25. The Mishna ('Kethub.,' 4:4: vide Lightfoot, 'Hor. Hebr.,' in loc.) says, "Even the poorest among the Israelites [his wife being dead] will afford her not less than two pipes, and one woman to make lamentation." And the people - a mere crowd (Revised Version); ὄχλος - making a noise; tumult (Revised Version). There was confusion as well as sound, as Mark indicates still more dearly.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And when Jesus came into the ruler's house,.... Both Mark and Luke relate, how that before this, whilst they were in the way, and just as Christ had done speaking to the poor woman, that news was brought to the ruler, that his daughter was actually dead, and therefore need not give Jesus any further trouble; when Christ encouraged him not to be cast down at the tidings, but believe, and she should be restored again; and that he suffered none to follow him, but Peter, James, and John: and
saw the minstrels, or "pipers"; how many there were, is not known: it is certain there were more than one; and it was a rule with the (z) Jews that
"the poorest man in Israel (when his wife died) had not less , "than two pipes", and one mourning woman.''
And since this was a daughter of a ruler of the synagogue that was dead, there might be several of them. These instruments were made use of, not to remove the melancholy of surviving friends, or allay the grief of the afflicted family; but, on the contrary, to excite it: for the Jewish writers say (a), these pipes were hollow instruments, with which they made a known sound, , "to stir up lamentation and mourning": and for the same purpose, they had their mourning women, who answered to the pipe; and by their dishevelled hair, and doleful tones, moved upon the affections, and drew tears from others; and very likely are the persons, that Mark says, "wept and wailed greatly". Sometimes trumpets were made use of on these mournful occasions (b); but whether these were used only for persons more advanced in years, and pipes for younger ones, as by the Heathens (c), at least, at some times, is not certain.
And the people making a noise; the people of the house, the relations of the deceased, the neighbours, who came in on this occasion; and others, in a sort of tumult and uproar, hurrying and running about; some speaking in the praise of the dead, others lamenting her death, and others preparing things proper for the funeral; all which shew, that she was really dead: among these also, might be the mourners that made a noise for the dead;
"for since mourning was for the honour of the dead, therefore they obliged the heirs to hire mourning men, and mourning women, to mourn for the same (d).''
(z) Misn. Cetubot. c. 4. sect. 4. Maimon Ishot, c. 14. sect. 23. (a) Maimon & Bartenora in Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. sect. 4. (b) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 77. 4. (c) Vid. Kirchman. de funer. Roman. l. 2. c. 5. (d) Maimon. Hilch. Ebel, c. 12. sect. 1.
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