For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goes; and to another, Come, and he comes; and to my servant, Do this, and he does it.
Jump to: Alford • Barnes • Bengel • Benson • BI • Calvin • Cambridge • Chrysostom • Clarke • Darby • Ellicott • Expositor's • Exp Dct • Exp Grk • Gaebelein • GSB • Gill • Gray • Haydock • Hastings • Homiletics • ICC • JFB • Kelly • KJT • Lange • MacLaren • MHC • MHCW • Meyer • Parker • PNT • Poole • Pulpit • Sermon • SCO • TTB • VWS • WES • TSK
EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For I am a man under authority.—He gives, not without a certain naïveté, the process of reasoning by which he had been led to this conviction. His own experience had taught that in every well organised system a delegated authority could, in its turn, be delegated to others. The personal presence of the centurion was not wanted where he could send his soldier or his slave to act on his orders. Might he not reason on this analogy, and infer from it that in God’s kingdom also One whom He endued with power would have His ministers at hand, the unknown forces (personal or otherwise, he did not care to ask) that govern life and death, to execute His will?
This incident belongs to a later stage. For the exposition, see on Lu 7:1-10.See Poole on "Matthew 8:10".
having soldiers under me; an hundred of them at least, for military service, and some of them were used by him as his domestics:
and I say unto this man go, and he goeth, and to another come, and he cometh: for there is no disputing the commands of officers, by soldiers, in anything, in exercises, marches, battles, &c.
and to my servant, that was more properly his domestic servant, who waited upon him, and did those things for him which every soldier under him was not employed in,
do this, and he doth it; immediately, without any more ado; as indeed a servant ought. The Jews (l) have a saying, that
"a servant over whom his master , "hath no power", is not called a servant.''
Now, these words are not a reason excusing Christ's coming to his house, or showing how unworthy it was, and how unfit it would be for him to come thither, since he was a man that held soldiers under him, and his house was encumbered with them; for these were not with him, but quartered out elsewhere: but they are an argument, from the lesser to the greater, that seeing he was a man, and Christ was God, he was under the authority of others. Christ was subject to none; and yet he had such power over his soldiers and servants, that if he bid one go, and another come, or ordered them to stand in such a place, and in such a posture, or do this and the other servile work, his orders were immediately obeyed: how much more easily then could Christ, who had all power in heaven and in earth, command off this distemper his servant was afflicted with? He suggests, that as his soldiers were under him, and at his command; so all bodily diseases were under Christ, and to be controlled by him, at his pleasure; and that, if he would but say to that servant of his, the palsy, remove, it would remove at once.For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Matthew 8:9. Καὶ … ἐξουσίαν] ἀπὸ τοῦ καθʼ ἑαυτὸν ὑποδείγματος κατασκευάζει, ὅτι καὶ λόγῳ μόνῳ δύναται, Euth. Zigabenus. Ἄνθρ. ὑπὸ ἐξ. go together (in answer to Fritzsche). The connecting of this substantive with ἔχων, etc., serves to indicate at once his own obedience and that which he exacts and receives from others. It is quite gratuitous to suppose that the centurion regards the disease as caused by demons that are compelled to yield to the behests of Jesus (Fritzsche, Ewald); and it is equally so to impute to him the belief that the duty of carrying out those behests is entrusted to angels (Erasmus, Wetstein, Olshausen, Baumgarten-Crusius). From the context it simply appears that he looked upon diseases as subject to Christ’s authority, and therefore ready to disappear whenever He ordered them to do so (Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Bengel, de Wette). It is thus that he commands the fever in Luke 4:39, and it ceases. Observe with Bengel the “sapientia fidelis ex ruditate militari pulchre elucens.” His inference is a case of reasoning a minori ad majus.Matthew 8:9, καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ: he argues from his own experience not with an air of self-importance, on the contrary making light of his position as a commander—ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν, spoken in modesty. He means: I also, though a very humble person in the army, under the authority of more important officers, still have a command over a body of men who do implicitly as I bid them. Fritzsche rightly suggests that ἄνθρωπος ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν does not express a single idea = “a man under authority”. He represents himself as a man with authority, though in a modest way. A comma might with advantage be placed after εἰμι. The centurion thinks Jesus can order about disease as he orders his soldiers—say to fever, palsy, leprosy, go, and it will go. His soldiers go, his slaves do (Carr, C. G. T.).9. my servant] Rather, slave. Observe the centurion’s orders, his soldiers come and go, i. e. march when he bids them. His slave he orders to do this, i. e. perform any servile work.
Mark this as the first contact of Jesus with slavery. With such relations between master and slave as these slavery would soon pass away.
It was no express enactment of Christ, but the Spirit of Christ, which this centurion had caught, that abolished slavery.Matthew 8:9. Καὶ γὰρ ἐγὼ, for I also) Reason might object, “The slave and the soldier hear the command without difficulty; not so the disease.” The wisdom of faith, however, shining forth beautifully from the military abruptness with which it was expressed, does away with this objection, and regards rather those considerations which confirm, than those which might destroy (frangant) hope; those, namely, which arise from the supreme dominion and jurisdiction of Christ, who issued His injunctions to the sea, and the winds, and diseases; see Matthew 8:26; Luke 4:39. HE commands: the thing is done. The centurion can command soldier and slave, but not disease; the Lord, however, can order the disease, and that more easily, humanly speaking, than the will of man, who is frequently rebellious.—ἄνθρωπός εἰμι ὑπὸ ἐξουσίαν, I am a man under authority) He does not say, I am a military officer, but since he is obliged to mention that others are subject to him, he says with great delicacy, I myself am subject. There is also a concealed antithesis, sc. Jesus is supreme Lord, souverain.—ὑπὸ—ὑπʼ, under—under) Such persons are at present called subalterns.
 Tittmann, Syn. ii., distinguishes the words thus: θεραπεύω ἰάομαι differunt ut nostra: (Germ.) helfen et heilen. θεραπέυεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀσθενειῶν, ἰᾶσθαι τοὺς ἀσθενοῦντας, i.e. θεραπευομαι refers to the infirmities cured, ἰᾶσθαι to the persons cured. Θεραπεύω seems to me to mean, to treat a case, to tend, to minister to: ἰᾶσθαι, to heal.—ED.
 Πσοθεραπεία, anticipatory precaution; lest his mention of soldiers being under him should offend against humility, he puts first the mention of his being himself under the authority of others. See Append. on the figure.—ED.
 See Explanation of Technical terms in Appendix.—(I. B.)Verse 9. - For I am (for I also am, Revised Version) a man under authority, having soldiers under me (under myself soldiers, Revised Version): and I say to this man (this one, Revised Version), Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. The centurion says that he knows the power of a command when given by one in authority, through the obedience that he himself shows and through that which he himself receives. Observe, he naturally orders his soldiers movement, and his slave work. Further, may not "and to my slave" represent the climax of his faith? He felt that the powers of nature (at least those concerned in this illness) were not only subordinate to Jesus, but were completely under his power. At his command they would act and the man be healed.
Omitted in A. V., but very important. "I also am a man under authority," as well as thou. (Tynd., I also myself). The centurion compares the Lord's position with his own. Christ had authority over disease. The centurion also was in authority over soldiers. As the centurion had only to say to a soldier "Go!" and he went, so Christ had only to say to disease "Go!" and it would obey him.
LinksMatthew 8:9 Interlinear
Matthew 8:9 Parallel Texts
Matthew 8:9 NIV
Matthew 8:9 NLT
Matthew 8:9 ESV
Matthew 8:9 NASB
Matthew 8:9 KJV
Matthew 8:9 Bible Apps
Matthew 8:9 Parallel
Matthew 8:9 Biblia Paralela
Matthew 8:9 Chinese Bible
Matthew 8:9 French Bible
Matthew 8:9 German Bible