And sought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)That they might only touch the hem of his garment.—The wide-spread belief may be noted as the natural result of the miracle already recorded in Matthew 9:20-22, and as the touch implied the faith which was the condition of receptivity, it was now also, as before, effective.
The hem of his garment - That is, the fringe or border on the outer garment. See the notes at Matthew 9:20.
Remarks On Matthew 14
1. We learn from this chapter the power of conscience, Matthew 14:1-4. Herod's guilt was the only reason why he thought John the Baptist had risen. At another time he would altogether have disbelieved it. Consciousness of guilt will at some period infallibly torment a man.
2. The duty of faithfulness, Matthew 14:4. John reproved Herod at the hazard of his life, and he died for it; but he had the approbation of conscience and of God. So will all who do their duty. Here was an example of fidelity to all ministers of religion. They are not to fear the face of man, however rich, or mighty, or wicked.
3. The righteous will command the respect of the wicked. Herod was a wicked man, but he respected John and feared him, Mark 6:20. The wicked profess to despise religion, and many really do; but their consciences tell them that religion is a good thing. In times of trial they will sooner trust Christians than others. In sickness and death they are often glad to see them and hear them pray, and desire the comfort which they have; and, like Balsam, say, "Let me die the death of the righteous," Numbers 23:10. No person, young or old, is ever the less really esteemed for being a Christian.
4. People are often restrained from great sins by mere selfish motives, as Herod was by the love of popularity, Matthew 14:5. Herod would have put John to death long before had it not been that he feared the people. His constantly desiring to do it was a kind of prolonged murder. God will hold men guilty for desiring to do evil; and will not justify them if they are restrained, not by the fear of him, but by the fear of people.
5. We see the effect of what is called the principle of honor, Matthew 14:9. It was in obedience to this that Herod committed murder. This is the principle of duelling and war. No principle is so foolish and wicked. The great mass of people disapprove of it. The wise and good have always disapproved of it. This principle of honor is usually the mere love of revenge. It is often the fear of being laughed at. It produces evil. God cannot and will not love it. The way to prevent duels and murders is to restrain the passions and cultivate a spirit of meekness and forgiveness when young; that is, to come early under the full influence of the gospel.
6. People should be cautious about promises, and especially about oaths. Herod made a foolish promise, and confirmed it by a wicked oath, Matthew 14:9. Promises should not be made without knowing what is promised, and without knowing that it will be right to perform them. Oaths are always wicked except when made before a magistrate, and on occasions of real magnitude. The practice of profane and common swearing, like that of Herod, is always foolish and wicked, and sooner or later will bring people into difficulty.
7. Amusements are often attended with evil consequences, Matthew 14:6-11. The dancing of a frivolous and profligate girl was the means of the death of one of the holiest of men. Dancing, balls, splendid parties, and theaters are thought by many to be innocent; but they are a profitless waste of time. They lead to forgetfulness of God. They nourish passion and sensual desires. They often lead to the seduction and ruin of the innocent. They are unfit for dying creatures. From the very midst of such scenes the "happy" may go to the judgment bar of God. How poor a preparation to die! How dreadful the judgment seat to such!
8. Jesus will take care of the poor, Matthew 14:14-21. He regarded the temporal as well as the spiritual needs of the people. Rather than see them suffer, he worked a miracle to feed them. So, rather than see us suffer, God is daily doing what man cannot do. He causes the grain to grow; he fills the land, and seas, and air with living creatures; nay, he provides in desert places for the support of man. How soon would all people and beasts die if he did not put forth continued power and goodness for the supply of our wants!
9. It is the duty of Christians to be solicitous about the temporal wants of the poor, Matthew 14:15. They are with us. By regarding them, and providing for them, we have an opportunity of showing our attachment to Christ, and our resemblance to God, who continually does good.
10. A blessing should be sought on our enjoyments, Matthew 14:19. It is always right to imitate Christ. It is right to acknowledge our dependence on God, and in the midst of mercies to pray that we may not forget the Giver.
11. We see the duty of economy. The Saviour, who had power to create worlds by a word, yet commanded to take up the fragments, that nothing might be lost, John 6:12. Nothing that God has created and given to us should be wasted.Mark 6:53-56, with no difference considerable. Christ had been in this country before, Matthew 8:1-34, and in it wrought several miracles, so as they had a former knowledge of him. As soon as thy had knowledge of his being again come, they express their faith in him, and their charity towards their neighbours, in telling it abroad, and bringing sick persons to him. I know not why any should fancy any superstition in their desire to
touch the hem of his garment, considering how Mark expresses it, kan, which we translate, if it were but the border of his garment. It rather soundeth in my ears as a high expression of their faith; they believed there was such a fulness of virtue in Christ, that it flowed from him to every part of his garment. It was their faith in Christ, not their touch of his garment, that healed them. I am sure our Lord so far encouraged their faith, that he healed all those who touched his garment with that faith and expectation. The evangelist saith, they
were made perfectly whole. Their faith here plainly implied not only an assent to his power, but a confidence in his goodness. Matthew 9:20. This they desired, partly to show the strength of their faith in him, that they doubted not of a cure, could they be admitted so near his person; and partly, to signify the sense of their unworthiness, to be in another way taken notice of by him, either by speaking to them, or putting his hands on them:
and as many as touched, were made perfectly whole. Christ condescended to this their request, and perfectly cured all such of their diseases, of whatever kind they were, who, in the exercise of faith, touched the hem of his garment, the fringe he wore, in compliance with the ceremonial law, Numbers 15:38.And besought him that they might only touch the hem of his garment: and as many as touched were made perfectly whole.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 14:36. Summary statement, as in Matthew 4:24.
παρεκάλ.] descriptive imperfect.
κρασπέδου] See note on Matthew 9:20. They wanted merely to touch Him, as in Matthew 9:21.
διεσώθησαν] were completely saved (Xen. Mem. ii. 10. 2; Luke 7:3), so that they quite recovered from their ailments, and that, according to the analogy of the other miracles of healing, just at once. Hilgenfeld is wrong in supposing that this took place “without the medium of faith;” as a matter of course, faith was implied in their very παρακαλεῖν.Matthew 14:36. παρεκάλουν, etc.: they have now unbounded confidence in Christ’s curative powers; think it enough to touch (μόνον ἅψωνται) the hem of His mantle.—διεσώθησαν: they are not disappointed; the touch brings a complete cure (διὰ in composition). The expression, ὅσοι ἥψαντο, implies that all who were cured touched: that was the uniform means. Mk.’s expression, ὅσοι ἂν ἥ., leaves that open.36. the hem of his garment] The hem of the garment had a certain sanctity attached to it. It was the distinguishing mark of the Jew: cp. Numbers 15:38-39, “that they add to the fringes of the borders (or corners) a thread of blue.” At each corner of the robe there was a tassel; each tassel had a conspicuous blue thread symbolical of the heavenly origin of the Commandments. The other threads were white.
as many as touched were made perfectly whole] Cp. the case of the woman with an issue of blood, ch. Matthew 9:20-22.Matthew 14:36. Μόνον, κ.τ.λ., only, etc.) Such was their pious humility.
 Ὅσοι ἥψαντο, as many as touched Him) Out of so great crowds of miserable men, not even one is found who met with a repulse in seeking help from Jesus. However, those who were ungrateful were subsequently reproved, and those who needed it were warned to avoid new acts of sin.—Harm., p. 337.Verse 36. - And besought; and they besought (Revised Version); i.e. the sick, for probably the change of person takes place here and not at" that they might touch." Him that they might only touch the hem of his garment (Matthew 9:20, 21, notes): and as many as touched were made perfectly whole (διεσώθησαν); were made whole (Revised Version). For διά here is probably not intensive, but rather gives the thought of being brought out safe through the danger. In the LXX. διασώζεσθαι is a common rendering of נמלט, "escape."
The preposition διά, through or through, indicates complete restoration.
The Rev. omits perfectly, because whole, in itself, implies completeness.
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