Matthew 15:39
And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
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(39) Into the coasts of Magdala.—The better MSS. give the reading Magadan. The narrative implies that it was on the western shore of the lake, and it is probably to be identified with the modern village of El Mejdel, about three miles above Tabarieh (Tiberias). The name would seem to be an altered form of the Hebrew Migdol, a tower. On the assumption that “Mary, called Magdalene,” derived her name from a town of that name, we may think of our Lord’s visit as having been in some way connected with her presence. It is clear that the company of devout women who ministered to Him could hardly have followed Him in the more distant journey to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, and it was natural, if they did not, that they should have returned for a time to their homes. St. Mark gives Dalmanutha as the place where our Lord disembarked. This has been identified with the modern Ain-el-Bârideh, the “cold fountain,” a glen which opens upon the lake about a mile from Magdala.

15:29-39 Whatever our case is, the only way to find ease and relief, is to lay it at Christ's feet, to submit it to him, and refer it to his disposal. Those who would have spiritual healing from Christ, must be ruled as he pleases. See what work sin has made; what various diseases human bodies are subject to. Here were such diseases as fancy could neither guess the cause nor the cure of, yet these were subject to the command of Christ. The spiritual cures that Christ works are wonderful. When blind souls are made to see by faith, the dumb to speak in prayer, the maimed and the lame to walk in holy obedience, it is to be wondered at. His power was also shown to the multitude, in the plentiful provision he made for them: the manner is much the same as before. All did eat, and were filled. Those whom Christ feeds, he fills. With Christ there is bread enough, and to spare; supplies of grace for more than seek it, and for those that seek for more. Christ sent away the people. Though he had fed them twice, they must not look for miracles to find their daily bread. Let them go home to their callings and their own tables. Lord, increase our faith, and pardon our unbelief, teaching us to live upon thy fulness and bounty, for all things pertaining to this life, and that which is to come.Coasts of Magdala - Mark says, "The parts of Dalmanutha." Magdala was probably the same place which was formerly called Migdol, Joshua 19:38. It is now called Mejdel, and is situated a few miles north of the city of Tiberias, in the land of Gennesaret, on the western side of the Sea of Tiberias, and directly east of Cana of Galilee. "It is a wretched hamlet of a dozen low huts huddled into one, and the whole ready to tumble into a dismal heap of black basaltic rubbish." - The Land and the Book (Thomson), vol. ii. p. 108. This was the birthplace of Mary Magdalene, out of whom the Saviour cast seven devils, Mark 16:9. Dalmanutha was probably a small village near to Magdala, of which no remains have been discovered. There is no contradiction in the statements of the two evangelists here, for they do not say that Jesus went to either of these towns, but only to the coasts or parts where they were situated.

Remarks On Matthew 15

We learn from this chapter:

1. That people are often far more attached to traditions and the commandments of human beings than to the Law of God, Matthew 15:1-6.

2. That people are strongly disposed to explain away the law of God, if possible. It is too strict for them, and too spiritual. They dare not often attack it directly, but they will explain it and dilute it so as to make it mean nothing. Wicked people do not love God's law, Matthew 15:4-6.

3. People are prone to introduce foolish rites into religion. They do not love what God has commanded, and they attempt to compensate for not loving his doctrines by being great sticklers for their own, Matthew 15:2; Mark 7:3-4.

4. All addition to the law of God is evil, Matthew 15:3. All ceremonies in religion which are not authorized by the New Testament are wrong. Man has no right to ordain rites to bind the conscience where God has commanded none, Colossians 2:23. People come the nearest to that which is right when they live nearest to just what God has commanded in the Bible.

5. Hypocrites should be unmasked and detected, Matthew 15:7. He does a great service to people who detects their hypocrisy. That close and faithful preaching which lays open the heart, and shows people what they are, is that which comes nearest to the example of Christ. It may pain them, but the wounds of a friend are faithful Proverbs 27:6; and we should honor and love the man that, by the grace of God, can show us our own hearts. We always honor most the physician of the body that is most skilled in detecting and curing disease, and so should we the physician of the soul.

6. We should be exceedingly cautious in avoiding formality in worship, Matthew 15:8-9. It is hypocrisy. God requires the heart. To render to him only the service of the lips is to mock him. Nothing can be acceptable but true piety, genuine love, and hearty obedience; nothing more hateful than an appearance of worshipping God, while the heart is in sin and the world.

7. The duty of honoring parents, Matthew 15:4-6. Nothing can explain away this duty. It is binding on all. Parents should be obeyed, loved, respected. God requires it and we cannot be free from the duty. Under age, a child is bound always to obey a parent where the parent does not command anything contrary to the Bible; but when the parent commands anything contrary to the Bible, the child is not bound to obey, Acts 5:29. After the child is of age, he is to respect, love, and honor the parent; and, if poor and needy, to provide for his wants until he dies. It is certainly proper that we should do all that we can to comfort those in old age who did so much for us in childhood. A child can never repay a parent for his kindness to him.

8. We are not at liberty to give to anything else not even to religious uses - what is necessary to render our parents comfortable, Matthew 15:4-6. They have the first claim on us. And though it is our duty to do much in the cause of benevolence, yet our first duty should be to see that our parents do not suffer.

9. People easily take offence when they are faithfully reproved, and especially when their hypocrisy is exposed; and especially if this exposure is about some small matter on which they have greatly set their hearts some ceremony in worship or some foolish rite, Matthew 15:12.

10. Every false doctrine is to be opposed and should be rooted up, Matthew 15:13. It is to be opposed by arguments and candid investigation, and not by abuse and misrepresentation. Christ never misrepresented any man's doctrine. He always stated it just as it was - just as they held it; and then, by argument and the word of God, he showed it was wrong. This is the proper way to manage all controversies.

11. It is of great importance to search the heart, Matthew 15:19-20. It is a fountain of evil. It is the source of all crime. External conduct is comparatively of little importance. In the sight of God, the heart is of more importance; and if that were pure, all would be well.


Mt 15:29-39. Miracles of Healing—Four Thousand Miraculously Fed.

For the exposition, see on [1313]Mr 7:31; [1314]Mr 8:10.

Ver. 32-39. Mark gives us an account of this miracle, Mark 8:1-10. There is very little difference in their relations, only Mark saith, our Saviour went into the parts of Dalmanutha; Matthew saith,

into the coasts of Magdala: most think that it was the same place, which had two names: some think one was the name of the country, the other of the city or town; others, that they were two towns near together. There are no difficulties in this history. Some question how they could fast three days; but the text doth not say so, only that at that time they had nothing to eat, having spent what they brought with them, probably in their baskets, which answers another question also, how they could get baskets in the wilderness. The miracle was of the same nature with that which we met with Matthew 14:15-22; only there were five thousand men fed with five loaves and two fishes, here four thousand were fed with seven loaves and a few fishes; there they took up twelve, here but seven baskets full. Our Lord worketh sometimes without means, sometimes by means, and those differently proportions to his end, as it pleaseth him. The miraculous operations of our Saviour are amongst his miranda et adoranda, not his imitanda. These actions of his, which we are in reading to admire and adore, but are not concerned to imitate, yet something we may observe from them, both for our instruction and imitation. For our instruction, we may from this history observe the extent of Christ’s compassion to his disciples, which though it is most eminently seen in what he doth for their souls, yet reacheth also to their bodies and more external wants. It also teacheth us to trust God in the doing of our duty. Those that are in a wilderness hearing Christ, shall not faint by the way before they get home. His course of giving thanks before he brake and made use of the bread, (which we observed before in the other miracle), commendeth to us the religious custom of begging a blessing before our meat, and giving thanks to God for good things of that nature, when we have received them. And he sent away the multitude,.... Dismissing them, either with a prayer for them, or with a suitable word of exhortation, to be thankful for the mercies, both spiritual and temporal, they had received, and behave agreeably in their lives and conversations:

and took ship; being near the sea side, the sea of Galilee,

and came into the coasts of Magdala: not far from Tiberias; for often mention is made of Magdala in the Talmud (s), along with Tiberias, and Chammath, another place in the same neighbourhood; and was famous for some Rabbins, as R. Joden and R. Isaac (t), who are said to be "of Magdala". Thus the Syriac version reads it Magedo, and the Vulgate Latin Magedan; and Beza says, in one Greek exemplar it is read Magadan; and some have thought it to be the same with Megiddo, where Josiah was slain by Pharaohnecho, and which Herodotus calls Magdolos (u). The Evangelist Mark says, that he came into the parts of Dalmanutha, which was a place within the coasts of Magdala. This was not the place, but another of the same name near Jerusalem, from whence Mary Magdalene may be thought to have her name. The Ethiopic version renders it, "they went into a ship, and departed into the mountains of Magdala"; that is, Christ, and his disciples.

(s) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 38. 4. Maaserot, fol. 50. 3. Erubin, fol. 21. 4. (t) T. Hieros. Taanith, fol. 64. 3. T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 81. 2. & Nidda, fol. 33. 1. Bereshit Rabba, fol. 4. 4. (u) I. 2. c. 159.

And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala.
Matthew 15:39. The village of Magdala (Joshua 19:38?) is not to be regarded as situated on the east (Lightfoot, Wetstein, Cellarius), but on the west side of the lake, where now stands the Mohammedan village of Mejdel. See Gesenius on Burckhardt, II. p. 559; Buckingham, I. p. 404; Robinson, Pal. III. p. 530. This situation likewise corresponds with Mark 7:21. Comp. note on Matthew 15:29. It is well, however, to take note of the reading Μαγαδάν (B D א Syrcur Syr. in this instance; similarly Lachmann, Tischendorf; comp. Erasmus and Grotius), or Μαγεδάν (Vulgate, It., Jerome, Augustine), which unknown name might readily enough have been supplanted by one rendered more familiar on account of its connection with Mary Magdalene. In C M, Curss. the final syllable is still retained (Μαγδαλάν). According to Ewald, Magadan, or Magedan, refers to the well-known town of Megiddo. But this latter was too far inland (Robinson, III. p. 413 f.; Furer in Schenkel’s Bibellex.), for it would seem, from what is stated in the text (ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ πλ. καὶ ᾖλθεν), that the place meant must have been somewhere on the shore, and one admitting of being approached by a boat. Mark 8:10 calls it Dalmanutha.Matthew 15:39. Μαγαδάν: the true reading, place wholly unknown, whence probably the variants.Matthew 15:39. [705]Ἀνέβη εἰς τὸ πλοῖν, He again went on board the vessel)[706] sc. that mentioned a little before in ch. Matthew 14:33. The word ἀνέβη occurs with the same force in Mark 6:51.

[705] Matthew 15:38. Τετρακισχίλιοι, four thousand) They were in truth mighty miracles, whereby five thousand (ch Matthew 14:21) and four thousand men were fully satisfied with food; and it was then that the abundance of Jesus’ miracles had reached its highest point. How widely His glory ought to have been spread abroad by so many thousands of witnesses!—Harm., p. 344.

[706] E. V. “took ship.” Bengel would give another force to the preposition ἀνὰ, and renders ἀνέβη, iterum conscendit.—(I. B.)Verse 39. - Sent away the multitude. Having supplied their spiritual and material wants. He wished to avoid all disturbance or collision with constituted authorities; and the people dispersed quietly, being less excitable than the inhabitants of Bethsaida, and not so well acquainted with the Messianic claims. The number thus dismissed was less than on the previous occasion, though the provision was greater - a difference which distinguishes one incident from the other, and which no forger would have introduced, it being much more natural to make the second wonder transcend, instead of falling short of, the previous one. We mention this here, because some critics have assumed that the present is only an imperfectly remembered account of the feeding of the five thousand already narrated. There are, of course, many points of similarity in the two incidents. Being of identical character, they must naturally present the same general features. But careful survey of the two narratives discloses many differences, which quite preclude the notion that the latter is a traditional reproduction of the former. To one who believes in the honesty and good faith of the evangelists, the allusion which Christ makes to the two miracles is a sufficient argument for their separation. Our Lord pointedly calls to mind the two occasions when he multiplied food, and rebukes the apostles for their lack of apprehension in the face of these marvels. "Do ye not yet perceive, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets (κοφίνους) ye took up? Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets (σπυρίδας) ye took up?" (Matthew 16:9, 10; Mark 8:19-21). Many of the essential points of difference between the two accounts are noticed in the Exposition, and they will be seen to dispart wherever divergence was possible, in time, scene, and detail. Magdala. The right reading is most probably Magadan, or Magedan (Vulgate), the better known Magdala having at an early date been substituted for it. Conder identifies one of the two with a mud and stone village called El Mejdel, a little north of Tiberius, a poor place without any gardens, situated in a plain of partially arable soil.

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