Mark 2:14
And as he passed by, he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.
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(14-17) Levi the son of Alphæus.—See Notes on Matthew 9:9-13. St. Mark and St. Luke agree in giving the name Levi, the former alone describes him as the son of Alphæus.

2:13-17 Matthew was not a good character, or else, being a Jew, he would never have been a publican, that is, a tax-gatherer for the Romans. However, Christ called this publican to follow him. With God, through Christ, there is mercy to pardon the greatest sins, and grace to change the greatest sinners, and make them holy. A faithful, fair-dealing publican was rare. And because the Jews had a particular hatred to an office which proved that they were subject to the Romans, they gave these tax-gatherers an ill name. But such as these our blessed Lord did not hesitate to converse with, when he appeared in the likeness of sinful flesh. And it is no new thing for that which is both well done and well designed, to be slandered, and turned to the reproach of the wisest and best of men. Christ would not withdraw, though the Pharisees were offended. If the world had been righteous, there had been no occasion for his coming, either to preach repentance, or to purchase forgiveness. We must not keep company with ungodly men out of love to their vain conversation; but we are to show love to their souls, remembering that our good Physician had the power of healing in himself, and was in no danger of taking the disease; but it is not so with us. In trying to do good to others, let us be careful we do not get harm to ourselves.Levi, the son of Alpheus - The same, undoubtedly, as "Matthew," the writer of the gospel which bears his name. It was not uncommon among the Jews to have two names.

The receipt of custom - See the notes at Matthew 9:9.

Mr 2:13-17. Levi's (OR Matthew's) Call and Feast. ( = Mt 9:9-13; Lu 5:27-32).

See on [1408]Mt 9:9-13.

Ver. 14-17. We had this piece of history with some addition in Matthew 9:9-13, where he was called Matthew: Mark and Luke both call him Levi: it was ordinary with the Jews to have two names. See Poole on "Matthew 9:9".

And as he passed by,.... As he went from Simon's house, and from the city of Capernaum, to go to the sea side:

he saw Levi, the son of Alphaeus; the same with Matthew, Matthew 9:9, and son to the same Alphaeus as James was, Matthew 10:3, Beza's most ancient copy reads "James", instead of "Levi", very wrongly; but he was the brother of James, and also of Simon and Jude; so that there were four brothers of them apostles: and if Joses, called Barsabas, was the same Joses that was brother to these, as seems probable, a fifth was put up for an apostle, though the lot fell on Matthias. James, and Joses, and Simon, and Jude, are mentioned together, Matthew 13:55, because they lived together, and were men of religion and seriousness, and known by their neighbours; but Matthew, or Levi, is not mentioned: it is thought, by some, probable, that he was a loose, extravagant young man, and so might depart from his father's family, and enter into this scandalous employment of a publican; and herein went contrary to his father's will, Cleophas, or Alphaeus, who was the husband of the sister of Mary, the mother of our Lord:

sitting at the receipt of custom; the toll booth, or custom house, where he sat to take toll of passengers that came, or went in ships or boats, The Syriac version renders it, "sitting among the toll gatherers"; and the Persic, "among publicans"; not only signifying the business in which he was, but the company he was among; which makes the grace of Christ the more illustrious and distinguishing, in looking upon him, and calling him:

and said unto him, follow me; and he arose, and followed him. Christ, the great shepherd of the sheep, who came to seek, in order to save that which was lost, was now locking up his lost sheep; and Matthew, or Levi, being one of them, he finds him, and calls him by his grace. Christ is always first with his people; he first seeks them, and then they seek him; he first finds them, and then they find him; yea, he is found of them that sought him not. Levi took no notice of him, inquired not about him, and had no thought of leaving his employ; and going after him, but Christ knew him: his eye was upon him as he passed by him, and his time was a time of love, and so a time of life; he looked upon him, and said unto him, live; quickening power went along with his words, and he arose, and left all, and followed him: Christ, as the good shepherd, went before; and Levi, through the grace that was now given him, as one of his sheep, heard and knew his voice, and, without the least hesitation or reluctance, quitted his business, and became a follower of him. How powerful is efficacious grace! what is it, it can not do! it turns the heart of a sinner at once, inclines it to Christ, and causes it to leave all for his sake; it at once fills the soul with love to Christ, faith in him, and obedience to him; it works powerfully, and yet freely; it always obtains, and effects what it designs, yet puts no force upon the will: Levi, under the drawings of divine grace, followed Christ most willingly and cheerfully; See Gill on Matthew 9:9.

And as he passed by, he saw {g} Levi the son of Alphaeus sitting at the receipt of custom, and said unto him, Follow me. And he arose and followed him.

(g) Matthew's other name.

Mark 2:14. Λευῒν. Levi, the son of Alphaeus, the name here and in Lk. different from that given in first gospel, but the incident manifestly the same, and the man therefore also; Levi his original name, Matthew his apostle name. Mk. names Matthew in his apostle list (Mark 3:18), but he fails to identify the two, though what he states about Levi evidently points to a call to apostleship similar to that to the four fishermen (Mark 1:16; Mark 1:20). The compiler of the first Gospel, having Mk. before him, and, noticing the omission, substituted the name Matthew for Levi, adding to it λεγόμενον (Mark 9:9) to hint that he had another name.—ἀκολούθει μοι: a call to apostleship (in terms identical in all three Synoptics), and also to immediate service in connection with the mission to the publicans (vide on Mt.).

14. Levi] This was probably the name by which he was known to his Jewish brethren. He may have changed his name after and in memory of his call, so that he who had before been known by the name of Levi, was now known as Matthew, or Mattathias, a favourite name amongst the Jews after the Captivity, and = Theodore, the “Gift of God.”

Song of Solomon of Alphæus] Some have identified this Alphæus with Alphæus the father of St James the Less. But in the lists of the Apostles the two are never named together, like other pairs of brothers in the Apostolic body.

receipt of custom] Situated as Capernaum was at the nucleus of roads which diverged to Tyre, Damascus, Jerusalem, and Sepphoris, it was a busy centre of merchandise, and a natural place for the collection of tribute and taxes.

Follow me] Though he belonged to a class above all others hated and despised by the Jews, trebly hated where, as in the present instance, the tax-gatherer was himself a Jew, yet the Lord did not hesitate to invite him to become one of the Twelve.

and followed him] We cannot doubt that the new disciple had already listened to some of the discourses and beheld some of the wondrous miracles of Christ, so that he was now in the eyes of Him, Who read the heart, prepared for his call.

Mark 2:14.[17] ΤΕΛΏΝΙΟΝ, the receipt of custom) At the sea; Mark 2:13.

[17] Comp. on this history, note on Matthew 9:9.—E. B.

Mark 2:14See on Matthew 9:9.
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