Matthew 9:20
And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
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(20) Behold, a woman . . .—The “issue of blood” was probably of the kind that brought with it ceremonial uncleanness (Leviticus 15:26), and this accounts for the sense of shame which made her shrink from applying to the Healer openly, and from confessing afterwards what she had done. It is significant that the period of her sufferings coincided with the age of the ruler’s daughter. His sorrow was sudden after twelve years of joyful hope; hers had brought with it, through twelve long years, the sickness of hope deferred. St. Mark and St. Luke add (though in the latter some MSS. omit the words) that she “had spent all her substance on physicians, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse;” and the former states (what is, of course, obvious) that she came because she had “heard of the things concerning Jesus.”

Touched the hem of his garment.—The incidental notice is interesting as making up, together with Matthew 14:36, John 19:23, all that we know as to our Lord’s outward garb. There was first, nearest the body, the coat or tunic (χίτων) without seam, woven from the top throughout; then, over that, the garment or cloak (ίμάτιον), flowing loosely after the manner of the East; and this had its “border or fringe,” probably of a bright blue mingled with white, that on which the scribes and Pharisees laid stress as being in accordance with the Law (Numbers 15:38), and which they wore, therefore, of an ostentatious width (Matthew 23:5). Later tradition defined the very number of the threads or tassels of the fringe, so that they might represent the 613 precepts of the Law.

Matthew 9:20-22. And, behold, a woman which was diseased — According to the circumstances of her disease, as mentioned by Mark and Luke, it was incurable by any human power, and she herself knew it to be so, having been afflicted with it for twelve years, and tried the skill of many physicians, probably of all that were of note in the country; and having spent all that she had upon them, and yet could not be healed by any, nay, nor relieved in any measure; for, after all their endeavours to remove her complaint, she was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse. But having heard of Jesus, and the wonderful cures which he had wrought, she believed that his power was sufficient to heal her also. Being ashamed, however, publicly to mention her case, and learning that many had before been healed by touching him, she, out of bashfulness and humility, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment — The woman’s distemper being of such a nature as to render those unclean whom she touched, perhaps she durst not lay her hand on the person of so great a prophet, nor touch any part of his garment but its hem; to touch which, however, she believed was sufficient to effect the cure. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole — Thus showing, as well the strength of her faith, as the greatness of her humility; and straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up, namely, by the invisible power which Christ secretly exerted, for he well knew both what was passing in her mind, and what she did. And Jesus turned him about, &c. — It was necessary that the ministry of the Son of God should be rendered illustrious by all kinds of miracles, and that the whole people of the country where he lived should have the highest idea and the firmest persuasion of his power. And it was for advancing these great ends, that the success of this woman’s attempt equalled the faith by which she was influenced. And for the same reasons, Jesus would by no means allow her faith to remain unnoticed and unapplauded. Therefore, immediately turning about in the crowd, he asked, says St. Mark, Who touched my clothes? This he did, that the woman might be brought to make a confession of the whole matter; that the power of her faith, and the greatness of the cure, might be made manifest, to the glory of God and for the instruction of others; and he might have an occasion given him of encouraging and comforting her, that she might persevere in the exercise of similar humility and faith, during the rest of her life. And when he saw her — When, in consequence of his making this inquiry, she came forward toward him, and confessed what she had done, he said, in a most gentle and condescending manner, Daughter, be of good comfort — Gr. θαρσει, take courage: thy faith hath made thee whole — Thou hast received a cure through thy faith in my power and goodness: hold fast that faith therefore unto the end. Doubtless she was struck with fear when Jesus turned and looked upon her, lest she should have offended him by touching his garment privately; and the more so because she was unclean according to the law. Leviticus 15:25. Hence Mark says that she came forward fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, and fell down before him. And the woman was made whole from that hour — “This incidental miracle appears very grand, when the relation it bears to the principal one is considered. Jesus is going to give a specimen of that almighty power, by which the resurrection of all men to immortality shall be effected at the last day; and behold, virtue, little inferior to that which is capable of raising the dead to life, issues from him through his garment, and heals a very obstinate disease, which, having baffled the powers of medicine for twelve years, had remained absolutely incurable, till the presence of Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life, chased it away. The cure, though complete, was performed in an instant, and the woman knew it by the immediate ease which she felt, by the return of her strength, by the cheerfulness of her spirits, and by all the other agreeable sensations which accompany sudden changes from painful diseases to perfect health. This Mark expresses shortly and elegantly, (Εγνω τω σωματι,) She felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.”

9:18-26 The death of our relations should drive us to Christ, who is our life. And it is high honour to the greatest rulers to attend on the Lord Jesus; and those who would receive mercy from Christ, must honour him. The variety of methods Christ took in working his miracles, perhaps was because of the different frames and tempers of mind, which those were in who came to him, and which He who searches the heart perfectly knew. A poor woman applied herself to Christ, and received mercy from him by the way. If we do but touch, as it were, the hem of Christ's garment by living faith, our worst evils will be healed; there is no other real cure, nor need we fear his knowing things which are a grief and burden to us, but which we would not tell to any earthly friend. When Christ entered the ruler's house, he said, Give place. Sometimes, when the sorrow of the world prevails, it is difficult for Christ and his comforts to enter. The ruler's daughter was really dead, but not so to Christ. The death of the righteous is in a special manner to be looked on as only a sleep. The words and works of Christ may not at first be understood, yet they are not therefore to be despised. The people were put forth. Scorners who laugh at what they do not understand, are not proper witnesses of the wonderful works of Christ. Dead souls are not raised to spiritual life, unless Christ take them by the hand: it is done in the day of his power. If this single instance of Christ's raising one newly dead so increased his fame, what will be his glory when all that are in their graves shall hear his voice, and come forth; those that have done good to the resurrection of life, and those that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation!And, behold, a woman ... - This disease was by the Jews reckoned unclean Leviticus 15:25, and the woman was therefore unwilling to make personal application to Jesus, or even to touch his person. The disease was regarded as incurable. She had expended all her property, and grew worse, Mark 5:26.

Touched the hem of his garment - This garment was probably the square garment which was thrown over the shoulders. See notes at Matthew 5:40. This was surrounded by a border or "fringe;" and this "fringe," or the loose threads hanging down, is what is meant by the "hem." The Jews were commanded to wear this, in order to distinguish them from other nations. See Numbers 15:38-39; Deuteronomy 22:12.

Mark says that "the woman, fearing and trembling," came and told him all the truth. Perhaps she feared that, from the impure nature of her disease, he would be offended that she touched him.

Mt 9:18-26. The Woman with the Issue of Blood Healed.—The Daughter of Jairus Raised to Life. ( = Lu 8:40-56; Mr 5:21-43).

For the exposition, see on [1244]Mr 5:21-43.

See Poole on "Matthew 9:21".

And behold a woman which was diseased..... This affair happened in the streets of Capernaum, as Christ was going from the house of Matthew the publican, to the house of Jairus the ruler of the synagogue, which were both in this city. This poor woman's case was a very distressed one; she had been attended

with an issue of blood twelve years; it was an uncommon flux of a long standing, was inveterate, and become incurable; though she had not been negligent of herself, but had made use of means, applied herself to regular physicians, had took many a disagreeable medicine, and had spent all her substance in this way; but instead of being better, was worse, and was now given up by them, as past all cure. This woman might be truly called , (x) "the greater profluvious woman", in the language of the doctors; for if one that had a flux but three days was called so, much more one that had had it twelve years. She having heard of Jesus, and his miraculous cures, had faith given her to believe, that she also should receive one from him; wherefore she

came behind him, through modesty, being ashamed to come before him, and tell him her case, especially before so many people; and fearing lest if her case was known, she should be thrust away, if not by Christ, yet by the company; she being according to the law an unclean person, and unfit for society:

and touched the hem of his garment; which was the or "fringes", the Jews were obliged to wear upon the borders of their garments, and on it a ribband of blue; see Numbers 15:38 in both which places Onkelos uses the word the same with used here, and in Mark 6:56 and rendered "hem". The Jews placed much sanctity in the wear and use of these fringes; and the Pharisees, who pretended to more holiness than others, enlarged them beyond their common size; but it was not on account of any peculiar holiness in this part of Christ's garment, that induced this poor woman to touch it; but this being behind him, and more easy to be come at, she therefore laid hold on it; for it was his garment, any part of it she concluded, if she could but touch, she should have a cure. However, we learn from hence, that Christ complied with the rites of the ceremonial law in apparel, as well as in other things.

(x) Ib. Issure Bia, c. 6. sect. 7, 8. & in Misn. Nidda, c. 4. sect. 7.

And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
Matthew 9:20. The particular kind of haemorrhage cannot be determined. Some: excess of menstruation. Others: haemorrhoids. From its having lasted twelve years, it may be inferred that the ailment was periodical.

ὄπισθεν] out of modesty. κράσπεδον] LXX. Numbers 15:38, צִיצִת. Such was the name given to the tassel which, in accordance with Numbers 15:38 f., the Jew wore on each of the four extremities of his cloak, to remind him of Jehovah’s commands. Lund, Jüd. Heiligth. ed. Wolf, p. 896 f.; Keil, Archäol. § 102; Ewald, Alterth. p. 307.

The article points to the particular tassel which she touched. Comp. Matthew 14:36.

Matthew 9:20-22. The story is suspended at this point by an interlude.

20. hem of his garment] See ch. Matthew 14:36 and Matthew 22:5.

Matthew 9:20. Γυνὴ, a woman) Eusebius[421] narrates that the statue of this woman and of the Lord healing her was still in existence in his time.—H. E., Bk. vii., c. 17.—ὄπισθεν, from behind) sc. out of modest humility.—τοῦ κρασπέδου, the hem or fringe) See Numbers 15:38, S. V. Our Lord performed even that part of the law. There is no valid argument from the dress which our Lord then wore to the efficacy of relics.

[421] A celebrated ecclesiastical historian; born about A.D. 267; became Bishop of Cæsarea in Palestine, A.D. 313 or 315; and died A.D. 338 or 340.—(I. B.)

Verse 20. - (And, behold,... that hour). The Revised Version and the ordinary editions of the Authorized Version omit the brackets, as unnecessary. And, behold, a woman which was diseased with (who had, Revised Version) an issue of blood (αἱμοῥῤοοῦσα). Physically and (Leviticus 15:25) ceremonially unclean. Twelve years. The age of Jairus' daughter as recorded in the parallel passages. The coincidence led to its being remembered, and the number itself was the more noticeable as it seems to have symbolized the presence of God in nature (3 x 4). Came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment. Hem; border (Revised Version); τοῦ κρασπέδου: fimbriam (Vulgate). The zizith," tassels or fringes of hyacinth blue m-white Wool, which every Israelite, by reason of the prescription (Numbers 15:37, sqq.; Deuteronomy 22:12), had to wear at the four corners of his upper garment," Schurer (II. it. p. 112), who adds in a note, "The colour of the zizith is now white, while originally it was to be of hyacinth blue. The Mishna, Menachoth, 4:1, already presupposes that both are allowed. They are also not now worn, as the Pentateuch directs, and as was still the custom in the time of Christ, on the upper garment (טַלִּית ἱμάτιον), but on the two square woollen shawls, one of which is always worn on the body, while the other is only wound round the head during prayer Both these shawls are also called Tallith." Matthew 9:20Hem (κρασπέδου)

Rev., border. The fringe worn on the border of the outer garment, according to the command in Numbers 15:38. Dr. Edersheim ("Life and Times of Jesus") says that, according to tradition, each of the white fringes was to consist of eight threads, one of them wound round the others; first seven times, with a double knot; then eight times with a double knot; then eleven times with a double knot; and, lastly, thirteen times. The Hebrew characters representing these numbers formed the words Jehovah One.

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