And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, so that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)There arose a great tempest.—Storms such as that here described are of common occurrence in all inland seas. The wind sweeps through the narrow mountain valleys, and the sea, which a few minutes before was smooth as glass, is at once rough with the white crests of the foaming waves. The ship was on the point of sinking, as the waves dashed over it while it was in the trough between them. It was beginning to be filled with water, and still He slept.
The ship was covered with the waves - The billows dashed against the ship Mark 4:37, so that it was fast filling and in danger of sinking.
He was asleep - On the hinder part of the vessel, on a pillow, Mark 4:38. It was in the night, and Jesus had retired to rest. He was probably weary, and slept calmly and serenely. He apprehended no danger, and showed to his disciples how calmly one can sleep with a pure conscience, and who feels safe in the hands of God.
For the exposition, see on Mr 4:35-41.See Poole on "Matthew 8:27". Luke 8:23 and Mark says, it was "a great storm of wind", Mark 4:37 and both use the word "loelaps", which signifies a particular kind of wind, which is suddenly whirled about upwards and downwards; or rather, a conflict of many winds: it seems to be a whirlwind, or hurricane. It is said, that this tempest "arose", not by chance, nor by the power of Satan, but by divine providence; for the trial of the faith of Christ's disciples, and that he might have an opportunity of giving proof of his deity on the sea, as he had lately done in several instances on the dry land. Luke says, that this storm of wind "came down"; referring to the motion and course of the winds, which are exhalations from the earth, raised up into the middle region of the air, from whence they are expelled by a superior force to the lower region, and from thence move in an oblique, slanting manner, downwards. The place where this tempest arose, or into which this storm of wind came down, is here said to be
in the sea. Luke calls it a "lake", and it was the lake of Genesareth. But both Matthew and Mark call it the sea, and is what is sometimes called the sea of Tiberias, and the sea of Galilee; see John 6:1 agreeably to the language of the Jewish (i) writers. To all this, the word "behold!" is prefixed; which is sometimes used, when anything extraordinary and preternatural is spoken of: and this storm seems to be more than an ordinary one; at least, it was very sudden and unexpected: when the disciples entered the ship, the air was serene, and the sea still and quiet; but as soon as they had set sail, at once, on a sudden, this storm came down, with great force into the sea, and lifted up its waves;
insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves; it was just sinking to the bottom, so that they were in the utmost extremity: and what added to their distress was,
but he, Christ,
was asleep. Mark mentions the place where he was asleep, "in the hinder part of the ship"; that is in the stern: where he, as Lord and Master, should be, though to the great concern of his disciples, there asleep; and that in a deep sound sleep, as the word which Luke makes use of signifies; and as appears by the loud repeated call of his disciples to awake him: and though this sleep doubtless arose from natural causes, he being greatly fatigued with the business of the day past; yet was so ordered by the providence of God, to come upon him in such a manner at this time, for the trial of the faith of his disciples. Christ's body needing sleep, and refreshment by it, shows that it was a real human body he assumed; subject to the same infirmities as our's; excepting sin; and is no contradiction to the truth of his divinity, as the Jew (k) suggests. He slept as man, though, as God, he is Israel's keeper, who neither slumbers nor sleeps.And, behold, there arose a great tempest in the sea, insomuch that the ship was covered with the waves: but he was asleep.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 8:24-25. Σεισμός] Agitation, specially in the sense of earthquake, here: storm (Jeremiah 23:19; Nahum 1:3).
καλύπτεσθαι] The waves were dashing over the boat.
αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκάθευδε] but He Himself was sleeping, contrasting with the dangerous position of the boat in which He was. “Securitas potestatis,” Ambrose.
σῶσον, ἀπολλύμεθα] Asyndeton indicating urgent alarm, and this alarm with Jesus present was the ground of His rebuke.
On the situation of the lake, as rendering it liable to gusts and storms, see Robinson, Pal. III. p. 571; Ritter, Erdk. XV. p. 308.24. he was asleep] The expression in the original is very impressive. He, the Master, continued to sleep. It is the only place where the sleep of Jesus is named.Matthew 8:24. Σεισμὸς μέγας, a great tempest) The faith of the disciples was greatly exercised by these maritime perils.—καλύπτεσθαι, was covered) the danger reached the highest pitch: then came the succour.—ἐκάθευδε, slept) No fear fell on Jesus. Nay, in Matthew 8:26, He marvelled at the fear of men, even in the utmost peril. He slept, wearied by the various labour of the day.Verse 24. - And, behold (Matthew 1:20, note). Perhaps when with Jesus they hardly expected a storm. There arose a great tempest in the sea. St. Matthew records only the effect of the sudden rush (λαῖλαψ in the parallel passages) of the wind down the gorges. Insomuch that the ship (Revised Version, boat) was covered with the waves. The waves swept again and again clean over the boat. Slowly but surely the boat was filling(parallel passages). But he was asleep. All the time (ἑκάθευδεν). Yet what a contrast to Jonah (Jonah 1:5).
Lit., shaking. Used of an earthquake. The narrative indicates a sudden storm. Dr. Thomson ("Land and Book") says: "Such winds are not only violent, but they come down suddenly, and often when the sky is perfectly clear....To understand the causes of these sudden and violent tempests we must remember that the lake lies low - six hundred and eighty feet below the sea; that the mountainous plateau of the Jaulan rises to a considerable height, spreading backward to the wilds of the Hauran, and upward to snowy Hermon; that the water-courses have worn or washed out profound ravines and wild gorges, converging to the head of this lake; and that these act like great funnels to draw down the cold winds from the mountains."
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