Matthew 8:6
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
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(6) My servant.—The Greek word might mean either “servant” or “boy.” The former meaning is the more common, and is fixed as the meaning here by St. Luke’s use of the word which means strictly “slave.” He is described as paralysed, but the words “grievously tormented” point to more acute suffering than is common in that form of disease, and imply either something like rheumatic fever, or tetanus, or the special kind of paralysis which benumbs the muscles only, and affects the nerves of sensation with sharp pain. A like case of paralysis with agonising pain is found in 1 Maccabees 9:55-56. The fact that this suffering touched his master’s heart with pity was itself a sign of something exceptionally good in the centurion’s character. It was not thus, for the most part, that the wealthy Romans dealt with their slaves when they were sick. St. Luke does not state the nature of the disease, perhaps as not having been able to satisfy himself as to its precise nature, but simply describes the slave as “ill, and at the point to die,” and adds that he was “dear” (literally, precious) to his master. His narrative states further that the centurion sent the elders, “having heard of Jesus.” The report had obviously been such as to lead him to look on the Teacher as endowed with a supernatural power. It may have come from the elders of the synagogue themselves; but the facts of the case make it probable that he had heard specifically of the healing of the “nobleman’s son” at Capernaum recorded by St. John (John 4:46-54). There he had found a precedent which now determined his own line of action, showing that a word from those lips might be enough to heal without touch or even presence.

8:5-13 This centurion was a heathen, a Roman soldier. Though he was a soldier, yet he was a godly man. No man's calling or place will be an excuse for unbelief and sin. See how he states his servant's case. We should concern ourselves for the souls of our children and servants, who are spiritually sick, who feel not spiritual evils, who know not that which is spiritually good; and we should bring them to Christ by faith and prayers. Observe his self-abasement. Humble souls are made more humble by Christ's gracious dealings with them. Observe his great faith. The more diffident we are of ourselves, the stronger will be our confidence in Christ. Herein the centurion owns him to have Divine power, and a full command of all the creatures and powers of nature, as a master over his servants. Such servants we all should be to God; we must go and come, according to the directions of his word and the disposals of his providence. But when the Son of man comes he finds little faith, therefore he finds little fruit. An outward profession may cause us to be called children of the kingdom; but if we rest in that, and have nothing else to show, we shall be cast out. The servant got a cure of his disease, and the master got the approval of his faith. What was said to him, is said to all, Believe, and ye shall receive; only believe. See the power of Christ, and the power of faith. The healing of our souls is at once the effect and evidence of our interest in the blood of Christ.Sick of the palsy - See the notes at Matthew 4:24. The particular form which the palsy assumed in this case is not mentioned. It seems it was a violent attack. Perhaps it was the painful form which produced violent "cramps," and which immediately endangered his life. Mt 8:5-13. Healing of the Centurion's Servant. ( = Lu 7:1-10).

This incident belongs to a later stage. For the exposition, see on [1234]Lu 7:1-10.

See Poole on "Matthew 8:10".

And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home,.... It would be a difficulty whether it was a son or a servant he was so concerned for; since the word here used, more commonly signifies a "son" or "child"; but that Luke, supposing it to be the same case he relates, expressly calls him "a servant", Luke 7:2. The concern of the "centurion" for him, shows him to have been a good servant, faithful and obedient to his master; since he was so much affected with his case, and took so much care of him; and Luke says, he "was dear unto him"; in great esteem, highly valued, and much beloved: and also, that the centurion was a good master; he does not put his sick servant from him, but takes care of him at home, and seeks out for relief for him, being greatly desirous of his life. And as his keeping him at home discovered a tender regard to him; so his not bringing him forth, or ordering him to be brought out to Christ, which was sometimes done in such cases, shows his great faith in Christ, that he was as able to cure him lying at home, as if brought before him; absent, as well as present. It is in the original text, "is cast"; or, as it is rendered, Matthew 8:14 "laid in the house", as if he was dead, speechless, and without motion; and Luke says, that he was "ready to die", being as one laid out for dead. The phrase answers to a word often used by the Rabbins; sometimes of sick persons, as when they say (i) of anyone, that he is , "sick, and laid upon the bed"; and sometimes of a person really dead, and laid out: and often this phrase is to be met with, , "he that hath his dead cast", or "laid out before him" (k); concerning whom they dispute many things; as what he is free from, the reading of Shema, prayer, and the phylacteries; and where he ought to eat and drink till such time his dead is buried out of his sight. But this man's servant was not dead, but lay as one dead;

sick of the palsy, his nerves all relaxed, and he stupid, senseless, motionless,

grievously tormented, or "punished", or rather "afflicted"; as the Ethiopic version, and Munster's Hebrew edition read it; for paralytic persons do not feel much pain and torment: but the meaning is, that he was in a miserable afflicted condition. The account of his disorder is given to move Christ's compassion, and recorded to show the greatness of the miracle.

(i) T. Bab. Bava Bathra, fol. 146. 2. 147. l. Cetubot, fol. 103. 2.((k) Misn. Beracot, c. 3. sect. 1. T. Bab. Moed. Katon, fol. 23. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Ebel, c. 4. sect. 7.

And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
Matthew 8:6. Ὁ παῖς μου] not son (Strauss, Neander, Baumgarten-Crusius, Bleek, Hilgenfeld, Keim), but slave (Luke 7:7; Matthew 14:2); yet not: my favourite slave (Fritzsche, comp. Luke 7:2); but either the centurion had only the one, or else he refers to that one in particular whom he had in view. From Matthew 8:9, the former appears to be the more probable view.

βέβληται] is laid down. Comp. Matthew 9:2. The perf. as denoting the existing condition. The description of the disease is not at variance with Luke 7:2, but more exact.

παραλυτ.] see on Matthew 4:24.

Matthew 8:6. Κύριε again, not necessarily expressing any advanced idea of Christ’s person.—παῖς may mean either son or servant. Luke has δοῦλος, and from the harmonistic point of view this settles the matter. But many, including Bleek and Weiss (Meyer), insist that παῖς here means son.—βέβληται, perf. pointing to a chronic condition; bed-ridden in the house, therefore not with the centurion.—παραλυτικός: a disease of the nerves, therefore emotional treatment might be thought of, had the son only been present. But he could not even be brought on a stretcher as in another case (Matthew 9:1) because not only παραλ., but δεινῶς βασανιζόμενος, not an ordinary feature of paralysis.

6. my servant] or “slave;” the Greek word is a more affectionate term than the word translated servant in Matthew 8:9.

the palsy] i. e. paralysis, a disease often free from acute suffering, but when it is accompanied by contraction of the muscles, the pain, as in this case, is very grievous. St Luke does not name the nature of the disease.

Matthew 8:6. Λέγων, saying) cf. ch. Matthew 11:3, and Luke 14:18.—παραλυτικὸς, a paralytic) Paralysis is a disease difficult to Physicians.

Verse 6. - Matthew only. And saying, Lord, my servant; Revised Version margin, "boy" (ὁ παῖς μου), just as in some English-speaking communities "boy" is commonly used for "manservant." In the parallel passage of Luke, the narrative speaks of him as δοῦλος, the message as παῖς. Lieth. Perforce (βέβληται). At home; Revised Version, in the house; i.e. of the centurion. Sick of the palsy, grievously tormented (cf. 1 Macc. 9:55, 56). "Paralysis with contraction of the joints is accompanied with intense suffering, and, when united, as it much oftener is in the hot climates of the East and of Africa than among us, with tetanus, both 'grievously torments,' and rapidly brings on dissolution" (Trench, 'Miracles,' p231: 1866). Observe that the statement of the case is itself a petition. Matthew 8:6Tormented (βασανιζόμενος)

See on torments, Matthew 4:24.

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