Matthew 15:17
Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Is cast out into the draught.—The word is used in its old English meaning, as equivalent to drain, sewer, cesspool (see 2Kings 10:27). St. Mark (Mark 7:19) adds the somewhat perplexing words, “purging all meats,” on which see Note on that verse. The principle implied is that a process purely physical from first to last cannot in itself bring any moral defilement. It was possible, of course, that the appetites connected with that process might bring the taint of moral evil; but then these appetites were there before the food, and they took their place among the things that came “out of the heart,” and not into it.

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.Do ye not understand ... - The meaning of this may be thus expressed: The food which is eaten does not affect the mind, and therefore cannot pollute it.

The doctrine of the Pharisees, that neglect of washing and of similar observances defiles a man, cannot be true. Those things pertain to the body as much as food does, and they cannot affect the soul. That must be purified by something else than external washing, and it is polluted by other things than a neglect of mere outward ceremonies. The seat of corruption is within - it is the heart itself; and if people would be made pure, this must be cleansed. If that is corrupt, the whole man is corrupt.

17, 18. Do not ye yet understand that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, &c.—Familiar though these sayings have now become, what freedom from bondage to outward things do they proclaim, on the one hand; and on the other, how searching is the truth which they express—that nothing which enters from without can really defile us; and that only the evil that is in the heart, that is allowed to stir there, to rise up in thought and affection, and to flow forth in voluntary action, really defiles a man! See Poole on "Matthew 15:20".

Do not ye understand,.... You must understand, you cannot be so ignorant,

that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught? that is, that whatsoever food a man takes in at his mouth, he swallows down, and it is received into his stomach; which, having performed its office, the grosser parts go down into the belly, and passing through the bowels, are evacuated into the vault, or privy, "purging all meats", as Mark says; for that only receives the filth and excrementitious matter; so that what is left in the body is pure, wholesome, and nourishing: nor can any part of what goes into a man defile him, because it only enters into the body, and passes through it; and, as Mark says, "entereth not into the heart", which is the seat of moral impurity; so that no moral pollution can be contracted by eating any sort of food, even though it should not be clean itself, nor be eaten with clean hands.

Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 15:17 ff. Οὔπω νοεῖτε, κ.τ.λ.] Do you not yet understand that, and so on, notwithstanding all that I have already done to develope your minds?

Food and drink are simply things that pass into the stomach to be digested there, and have nothing in common with man’s spiritual nature, with his reason, his will, and his affections and desires (καρδία, the centre of the whole inner life, see note on Matthew 22:37). Notice the contrast between εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν (abdominal cavity, see note on John 7:38) and ἐκ τῆς καρδίας.

Matthew 15:19. Proof of what is said in Matthew 15:18 : for the heart is the place where immoral thoughts, murders, adulteries, and so on, therefore where inward and outward sins, are first conceived, and from which they pass into actual transgressions. Accordingly, it is that which comes out of the heart, and expresses itself by means of the mouth (Matthew 15:18), which defiles the man as a moral being. The opposite case, in which the heart sends forth what is good, presupposes conversion.

The plurals denote different instances of murder, adultery, and so on (Kühner, II. 1, p. 15 f.; Maetzner, ad Lycurg. p. 144 f.), and render the language more forcible (Bremi, ad Aeschin. p. 326).

βλασφημ.] i.e. against one’s neighbour, on account of the connection with ψευδομ. Comp. note on Ephesians 4:31.

Matthew 15:17. ἀφεδρῶνα: here only, probably a Macedonian word = privy; a vulgar word and a vulgar subject which Jesus would gladly have avoided, but He forces Himself to speak of it for the sake of His disciples. The idea is: from food no moral defilement comes to the soul; such defilement as there is, purely physical, passing through the bowels into the place of discharge. Doubtless Jesus said this, otherwise no one would have put it into His mouth. Were the Twelve any the wiser? Probably the very rudeness of the speech led them to think.

Matthew 15:17. Οὔπω, not yet) Although you have been instructed in Matthew 15:11, and elsewhere, in the whole system of divine morality, from which you might have inferred this matter also.—νοεῖτε) perceive.—εἰς, into) Into is repeated thrice without any mention of the heart, which is the true seat of real purity or impurity.

Verse 17. - Whatsoever entereth in at the mouth, etc. Food taken into the mouth goes into the stomach, is assimilated into the bodily system, and its refuse passes away to the draught (ἀφεδρῶνα), the necessary house. It has nothing to do with the heart or the moral being; it affects only the material organization, and has no connection with the spiritual. Christ does not concern himself with questions, which modern philosophers would attempt to solve, concerning the mutual influence of soul and body, the animal and spiritual nature; he puts forth an argument which every one could receive, plain even to those "without understanding." This is the elucidation of the first part of ver. 11. The further explanation follows in vers. 18, 19. Matthew 15:17
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