Golden Chain MT-MK 4201
4201 (Mt 12,1-8)
(p. 431) Gloss. ord.: Having related the preaching together with the miracles of one year before John's enquiry, He passes to those of another year, namely after the death of John, when Jesus is already in all things spoken against; and hence it (p. 432) is said, "At that time Jesus passed through the corn fields on the sabbath day."
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 34: This which here follows is related both by Mark and Luke, without any question of discrepancy; indeed they do not say, "At that time," so that Matthew has here perhaps preserved the order of time, they that of their recollection; unless we take the words in a wider sense, "At that time," that is, the time in which these many and divers things were done, whence we may conceive that all these things happened after the death of John. For he is believed to have been beheaded a little after he sent his disciples to Christ. So that when he says "at that time," he may mean only an indefinite time.
Chrys., Hom., xxxix: Why then did He lead them through the corn fields on the sabbath, seeing He knew all things, unless He desired to break the sabbath? This he desired indeed, but not absolutely; therefore He broke it not without cause, but furnished a sufficient reason; so that He both caused the Law to cease, and yet offended not against it.
Thus in order to soften the Jews, He here introduces a natural necessity; this is what is said, "And his disciples being an hungred, began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat." Although in things which are manifestly sinful, there can be no excuse; he who kills another cannot plead rage, nor he who commits adultery, lust, or any other cause; yet here saying that the disciples were hungry, He delivers them from all accusation.
Jerome: As we read in another Evangelist, they had no opportunity of taking food because of the thronging of the multitude, and therefore they hungred as men. That they rub the ears of corn in their hands, and with them satisfy themselves, is a proof of an austere life, and of men who needed not prepared meats, but sought only simple food.
Chrys.: Here admire the disciples, who are so limited in their desires, that they have no care of the things of the body, but despise the support of the flesh; they are assailed by hunger, and yet they go not away from Christ; for had not they been hard pressed by hunger, they would not have done thus.
What the Pharisees said to this is added, "The Pharisees seeing it said unto Him, Behold, thy disciples do what is not lawful to do on the sabbath."
Aug., De Op. Monach., 23: The Jews rather charged the Lord's disciples with the breach of the sabbath than with theft; because it was (p. 433) commanded the people of Israel in the Law, (margin note: Dt 23,25) that they should not lay hold of any as a thief in their fields, unless he sought to carry ought away with him; but if any touched only what he needed to eat, him they suffered to depart with impunity free.
Jerome: Observe, that the first Apostles of the Saviour broke the letter of the sabbath, contrary to the opinion of the Ebionites (ed. note: The Ebionites received only the Hebrew Gospel of St. Matthew mutilated. They rejected St. Paul of an apostate, vid. Iren. Haer. 1. 96. n. 2. Orig. in Cels. v. 65. Euseb. iii. 27) who receive the other Apostles, but reject Paul as a transgressor of the Law.
Then it proceeds to their excuse; "But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred?" To refute the false accusation of the Pharisees, He calls to mind the ancient history, that David flying from Saul came to Nobba, and being entertained by Achimelech the Priest, (margin note: 1S 1S 21) asked for food; he having no common bread, gave him the consecrated loaves, which it was not lawful for any to eat, but the Priests only and Levites; esteeming it a better action to deliver men from the danger of famine than to offer sacrifice to God; for the preservation of man is a sacrifice acceptable to God.
Thus then the Lord meets their objection, saying, If David be a holy man, and if you blame not the high-priest Achimelech, but consider their excuse for their transgression of the Law to be valid, and that was hunger; how do ye not approve in the Apostles the same plea which you approve in others! Though even here there is much difference. These rub ears of corn in their hands on the sabbath; those ate the Levitical bread, and over and above the solemn sabbath it was the season of new moon, during which when sought for at the banquet he fled from the royal palace.
Chrys.: To clear His disciples, He brings forward the instance of David, whose glory as a Prophet was great among the Jews. Yet they could not here answer that this was lawful for him, because he was a Prophet; for it was not Prophets, but Priests only who might eat. And the greater was he who did this, the greater is the defence of the disciples; yet though David was a Prophet, they that were with him were not.
Jerome: Observe that neither David nor his servants received the (p. 434) loaves of shew-bread, before they had made answer that they were pure from women.
Chrys.: But some one will say, How is this instance applicable to the question in hand? For David did not transgress the sabbath. Herein is shewn the wisdom of Christ, that He brings forward an instance stronger than the sabbath. For it is by no means the same thing to violate the sabbath, and to touch that sacred table, which is lawful for none. And again, He adds yet another answer, saying, "Or have ye not read in the Law, that on the sabbath days the Priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?"
Jerome: As though He had said, Ye bring complaints against my disciples, that on the sabbath they rub ears of corn in their hands, under stress of hunger, and ye yourselves profane the sabbath, slaying victims in the temple, killing bulls, burning holocausts on piles of wood; also, on the testimony of another Gospel, (margin note: Jn 7,23) ye circumcise infants on the sabbath; so that in keeping one law, ye break that concerning the sabbath.
But the laws of God are never contrary one to another; wisely therefore, wherein His disciples might be accused of having transgressed them, He shews that therein they followed the examples of Achimelech and David; and this their pretended charge of breaking the sabbath He retorts truly, and not having the plea of necessity, upon those who had brought the accusation.
Chrys.: But that you should not say to me, that to find an instance of another's sin is not to excuse our own -- indeed where the thing done and not the doer of it is accused, we excuse the thing done. But this is not enough, He said what is yet more, that they are blameless. But see how great things He brings in; first, the place, in the Temple; secondly, the time, on the sabbath; the setting aside the Law, in the word "profane," not merely break; and that they are not only free from punishment but from blame; "and are blameless."
And this second instance is not like the first which He gave respecting David; for that was done but once, by David who was not a Priest, and was a case of necessity; but this second is done every sabbath, and by the Priests, and according to the Law. So that not only by indulgence, as the first case would establish, but by the strict law the disciples are to be held blameless.
But are (p. 435) the disciples Priests? yea, they are yet greater than Priests, forasmuch as He was there who is the Lord of the Temple, who is the reality and not the type; and therefore it is added, "But I say unto you, one greater than the Temple is here."
Jerome: The word "Hic" is not a pronoun, but an adverb of place here, for that place is greater than the Temple which contains the Lord of the Temple.
Aug., Quaest in Matt., q. 10: It should be observed, that one example is taken from royal persons, as David, the other from priestly, as those who profane the sabbath for the service of the Temple, so that much less can the charge concerning the rubbing the ears of corn attach to Him who is indeed King and Priest.
Chrys.: And because what He had said seemed hard to those that heard it, He again exhorts to mercy, introducing His discourse with emphasis, saying, "But had ye known what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice, ye would never have condemned the innocent."
Jerome: What "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice," signifies, we have explained above. The words, "Ye would never have condemned the innocent," are to be referred to the Apostles, and the meaning is, If ye allow the mercy of Achimelech, in that he refreshed David when in danger of famishing, why do ye condemn My disciples?
Chrys.: Observe again how in leading the discourse towards an apology for them, He shews His disciples to be above the need of any apology, and to be indeed blameless, as He had said above of the Priests. And He adds yet another plea which clears them of blame, "For the Son of Man is Lord also of the sabbath."
Remig.: He calls Himself the Son of Man, and the meaning is, He whom ye suppose a mere man is God, the Lord of all creatures, and also of the sabbath, and He has therefore power to change the law after His pleasure, because He made it.
Aug., cont. Faust., xvi, 28: He did not forbid His disciples to pluck the ears of corn on the sabbath, that so He might convict both the Jews who then were, and the Manichaeans who were to come, who will not pluck up a herb lest they should be committing a murder.
Hilary: Figuratively; First consider that this discourse was held "at that time," namely, when He had given thanks to the Father for giving salvation to the Gentiles. The field is the (p. 436) world, the sabbath is rest, the corn the ripening of them that believe for the harvest; thus His passing through the corn field on the sabbath, is the coming of the Lord into the world in the rest of the Law; the hunger of the disciples is their desire for the salvation of men.
Raban.: They pluck the ears of corn when they withdraw men from devotion to the world; they rub them in their hands when they tear away their hearts from the lusts of the flesh; they eat the grain when they transfer such as are amended into the body of the Church.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 2: But no man passes into the body of Christ, until he has been stripped of his fleshly raiment; according to that of the Apostle, "Put ye off the old man." (Ep 4,22)
Raban.: This they do on the sabbath, that is in the hope of eternal rest, to which they invite others. Also they walk through the corn fields with the Lord, who have delight in meditating on the Scriptures; they are hungry while they desire to find the bread of life, that is the love of God, in them; they pluck the ears of corn and rub them in their hands, while they examine the testimonies to discover what lies hid under the letter, and this on the sabbath, that is, while they are free from disquieting thoughts.
Hilary: The Pharisees, who thought that the key of the kingdom of heaven was in their hands, accused the disciples of doing what was not lawful to do; whereon the Lord reminded them of deeds in which, under the guise of facts, a prophecy was concealed; and that He might shew the power of all things, He further added, that it contained the form of that work which was to be, "Had ye known what that meaneth, I will have mercy;" for the work of our salvation is not in the sacrifice of the Law, but in mercy; and the Law having ceased, we are saved by the mercy of God.
Which gift if they had understood they would not have condemned the innocent, that is His Apostles, whom in their jealousy they were to accuse of having transgressed the Law, where the old sacrifices having ceased, the new dispensation of mercy came through them to the aid of all.
4209 (Mt 12,9-13)
Jerome: Because by fair instances He had vindicated His disciples from the charge of breaking the sabbath, the Pharisees seek to bring false accusation against Himself; whence it is said, "And passing thence, he came into their synagogue."
Hilary: For the things that had gone before were said and done in the open air, and after this He entered the synagogue.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 35: It might have been supposed that the matter of the ears of corn, and this cure following had been done on the same day, for it is mentioned to have been the sabbath day in both cases, had not Luke shewn us that they were on different days. So that what Matthew says, "And when he had passed thence, he came into their synagogue," is to be taken as that He did not enter into the synagogue till He had passed thence; but whether several days intervened or He went thither straight is not expressed in this Gospel, so that place is given to the relation of Luke, who tells of the healing of this kind of palsy on another sabbath.
Hilary: When He was entered into the synagogue, they bring a man of a withered hand, asking Him whether it was lawful to heal on the sabbath day, seeking an occasion of convicting Him out of His answer; as it follows, "And they brought him a man having a withered hand, and asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day?
Chrys., Hom., xl: They do not ask that they may learn, but that they may (p. 438) accuse Him; as it follows, "that they might accuse him." Though the action itself would have been enough, yet they sought occasion against Him in His words also, thus providing for themselves greater matter of complaint.
Jerome: And they ask Him whether it is lawful to heal on the sabbath day, that if He should refuse, they might charge Him with cruelty, or want of power; if He should heal him, they might charge Him with transgressing the Law.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii. 35: But it may raise enquiry how Matthew can say that they asked the Lord, "Whether it were lawful to heal on the sabbath," seeing Mark and Luke relate that it was the Lord who asked them, " Whether it is lawful on the sabbath day to do good or to or evil? (Lc 6,9) It is to be understood then that they first asked the Lord, "Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath day? Then understanding their thoughts that they sought an occasion to accuse Him, He placed in the midst him whom He was about to heal, and put to them the question which Mark and Luke say that He did ask; and when they remained silent, He made the comparison respecting the sheep, and concluded that they might do good on the sabbath day; as it follows, "But he said unto them, What man, shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out?"
Jerome: Thus He answers their question in such a way as to convict the questioners of covetousness. If ye on the sabbath, saith He, would hasten to lift out a sheep or any other animal that might have fallen into a pit, not for the sake of the animal, but to preserve your own property, how much more ought I to deliver a man who is so much better than a sheep?
Gloss. ord.: Thus He answers their question with a suitable example, so as to shew that they profane the sabbath by works of covetousness who were charging Him with profaning it by works of charity; evil interpreters of the Law, who say that on the sabbath we ought to rest from good deeds, when it is only evil deeds from which we ought to rest. As it is said, "Ye shall do no servile work therein," (Lv 23,3) that is, no sin. Thus in the everlasting rest, we shall rest only from evil, and not from good.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 35: After this comparison concerning the sheep, He concludes that (p. 439) it is lawful to do good on the sabbath day, saying, "Therefore it is lawful to do good on the sabbath."
Chrys.: Observe how He shews many reasons for this breaking of the sabbath. But forasmuch as the man was incurably sick, He proceeds straightway to the work, as it follows, "Then saith he to the man, Reach forth thy hand: and he reached it forth, and it was restored whole as the other."
Jerome: In the Gospel which the Nazarenes and Ebionites use (margin note: see note, p. 433), and which we have lately translated into Greek out of the Hebrew, and which many regard as the genuine Matthew, this man who has the withered hand is described as a builder, and he makes his prayer in these words, 'I was a builder, and gained my living by the labour of my hands; I pray thee, Jesus, to restore me to health, that I may not disgracefully beg my bread.'
Raban.: Jesus teaches and works chiefly on the sabbath, not only on account of the spiritual sabbath, but on account of the gathering together of the people, seeking that all should be saved.
Hilary: Figuratively; After their departure from the corn field, from which the Apostles had received the fruits of their sowing, He came to the Synagogue, there also to make ready the work of His harvest; for there were afterwards many with the Apostles who were healed.
Jerome: Until the coming of the Lord the Saviour, there was the withered hand in the Synagogue of the Jews, and the works of the Lord were not done in it; but when He came upon earth, the right hand was restored in the Apostles who believed, and given back to its former occupation.
Hilary: All healing is done by the word; and the hand is restored as the other; that is, made like to the ministry of the Apostles in the business of bestowing salvation; and it teaches the Pharisees that they should not be displeased that the work of human salvation is done by the Apostles, seeing that if they would believe, their own hand would be made able to the ministry of the same duty.
Raban.: Otherwise; The man who had the withered hand denotes the human race in its barrenness of good works dried up by the hand which was stretched out to the fruit; (margin note: Gn 3,6) this was healed by the stretching out of the innocent hand on the Cross.
And well is this withered hand said to have been in the Synagogue, for where the gift (p. 440) of knowledge is greater, there is the greater danger of an irrecoverable infliction. The withered hand when it is to be healed is first bid to be stretched out, because the weakness of a barren mind is healed by no means better than by liberality of almsgiving. A man's right hand is affected when he is remiss in giving alms, his left whole when he is attentive to his own interests. But when the Lord comes, the right hand is restored whole as the left, because what he had got together greedily, that he distributes freely.
4214 (Mt 12,14-21)
Hilary: The Pharisees are moved with jealousy at what had been done; because beholding the outward body of a man, they did not recognize the God in His works; "The Pharisees sent out and sought counsel against him, how they ought destroy him."
Raban.: He says, "went out" because their mind was alien from the Lord. They (p. 441) took counsel how they might destroy life, not how themselves might find life.
Hilary: And He knowing their plots withdrew, that He might be far from the counsels of the evil hearted, as it follows, "Jesus knowing it departed thence."
Jerome: Knowing, that is, their designs against Him withdrew Himself, that He might remove from the Pharisees all opportunity of sin.
Remig.: Or; He withdrew from thence as avoiding the designs of His own when they persecuted Him; or because that was not the time or place for Him to suffer, for "It cannot be that a Prophet should perish out of Jerusalem," (Lc 13,33) as He Himself spake.
The Lord also shunned those who persecuted Him through hatred, and went thither where He found many who were attached to Him from affection, whence it follows, "And there followed him many." Him whom the Pharisees with one consent plotted against to destroy, the untaught multitude with one consent love and follow; whence they soon received the fulfilment of their desires, for it follows, "And he healed them all."
Hilary: On those whom He healed He enjoined silence, whence it follows, "And he charged them that they should not make him known." For his restored health was a witness to each man. And by commanding them to hold their peace, He avoids all ostentation of Himself, and at the same time notwithstanding affords a knowledge of Himself in that very admonition to hold their peace; for the observance of silence proceeds from that very thing which is to be kept silent.
Raban.: In this also He instructs us, that when we have done any thing great we are not to seek praise abroad.
Remig.: And He also gives them command that they should not make Him known, that they might not by persecuting Him be put into a worse state.
Chrys.: And that you may not be troubled at those things which are done, and at the incredible madness of the Pharisees, He introduces the Prophet's words. For such was the carefulness of the Prophets, that they had not omitted even this, but had noted all His ways and movements, and the meaning with which He did this; that you might learn that He spoke all things by the Holy Spirit; for if it be impossible to know the thoughts of men, much more to know the meaning of Christ, unless the Holy Spirit revealed it. Therefore it follows, (p. 442) "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the Prophet, saying, Behold my servant whom I have chosen."
Remig.: The Lord Jesus Christ is called the servant of the Almighty God (ed. note: Our Lord is said to be properly a servant as regards His human nature, by S. Athan. Orat. in Arian. i. 43. S. Hilar. de Trin. xi. 13. S. Greg. Nyss. Orat. xxxvi. p. 578. S. Greg. Nyss. de Fide ad Simpl. p. 471. S. Ambros. de Fid. vs. Pseudo-August, Alterc.cum Paec. 15. S.Cyrill. Alex. ad Theodor. in Anathem. 10. p. 223. But it came to be denied in the course of the Adoptionist controversy, the same heretics who denied that our Lord was the true Son of God in His human nature, asserting that He was a servant. Theodoret attributes the opinion to Apollinarii, "which none of us ever dared to utter." Eranist. ii. fin.), not in respect of His divinity, but in respect of the dispensation of the flesh which He took upon Him because by the cooperation of the Holy Spirit He took flesh of the Virgin without stain of sin. Some books have, "Elect, whom I have chosen," for He was chosen by God the Father, that is, predestinated that He should be the Son of God, proper, not adopted.
Raban.: "Whom I have chosen," says, for a work which none else has done, that He should redeem the human race, and make peace between God and the world. It follows, "My beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased," for He alone is the Lamb without spot of sin, of whom the Father speaks, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Mt 17,5)
Remig.: That he says, "My soul," is not to be understood as though God the Father had a soul, but by way of adaptation, shewing how God is disposed towards Him. And it is no wonder that a soul is ascribed to God in this manner, seeing that all other members of the body are likewise.
Chrys.: This the Prophet puts in the beginning, that you might learn that that which is here said was according to the counsel of the Father. For he that is beloved does according to his will who loveth him. And again, he that is chosen, does not as an enemy break the lair, nor as one being an adversary of the legislator, but as one in agreement with Him. Because therefore He is beloved, "I will put my Spirit upon him."
Remig.: Then also God the Father put His Spirit upon Him, when by the working of the Holy Spirit He took flesh of the Virgin; and as soon as He became man, He took the fulness of the Holy Spirit.
Jerome: But the Holy Spirit is put, not on the Word of God, but on the Only-Begotten, who came forth from the bosom of the (p. 443) Father; on Him, that is, of whom it is said, "Behold my servant." And what He will do by Him He adds, "And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles."
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 30: Seeing He preached the judgment to come which was hidden from the Gentiles.
Chrys.: Further, to shew His lowliness, He says, "He shall not strive;" and so He was offered up as the Father had willed, and gave Himself willingly into the hands of His persecutors. "Neither shall he cry;" so He was dumb as a lamb before his shearer. "Nor shall any hear his voice in the streets."
Jerome: For the way is broad and wide which leads to destruction, and many walk in it; and being many, they will not hear the voice of the Saviour, because they are not in the narrow but in the broad way.
Remig.: The Greek , is in Latin called 'latitudo.' No one therefore has heard His voice in the streets, because He has not promised pleasant things in this world to those that love Him, but hardships.
Chrys.: The Lord sought to heal the Jews by this mildness. But though they rejected Him, yet He did not resist them by destroying them; whence the Prophet, displaying His power and their weakness, says, "A bruised reed he shall not break, and a smoking flax he shall not quench."
Jerome: He that holds not out his hand to a sinner, nor bears his brother's burden, he breaks a bruised reed; and he who despises a weak spark of faith in a little one, he benches a smoking flax.
Aug.: So He neither bruised nor quenched the Jewish persecutors, who are here likened to a bruised reed which has lost its wholeness, and to a smoking flax which has lost its flame; but He spared them because He was not come to judge them, but to be judged by them.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 3: In the smoking flax it is observed, that when the flame is out it causes a stink.
Chrys.: Or this, "He shall not break a bruised reed," shews that it was as easy for Him to break them all, as to break a reed, and that a bruised reed. And, "He shall not quench a smoking flax," shews that their rage was fired, and that the power of Christ was strong to quench such rage with all readiness; hence in this is shewn the great mercy of Christ.
Hilary: Or, he means this bruised reed that is not broken, to shew that the perishing and bruised bodies of the Gentiles, are not to be broken, but are rather reserved for (p. 444) salvation. "He shall not quench a smoking flax, shews the feebleness of that spark which though not quenched, only moulders in the flax, and that among the remnants of that ancient grace, the Spirit is yet not quite taken away from Israel, but power still remains to them of resuming the whole flame thereof in a day of penitence.
Jerome, Ep. 121, 2: Or the reverse; He calls the Jews a bruised reed, whom tossed by the wind and shaken from one another, the Lord did not immediately condemn, but patiently endured; and the smoking flax He calls the people gathered out of the Gentiles, who, having extinguished the light of the natural law, were involved in the wandering mazes of thick darkness of smoke, bitter and hurtful to the eyes; this He not only did not extinguish, by reducing them to ashes, but on the contrary from a small spark and one almost dead He raised a mighty flame.
Chrys.: But one might say, What then shall these things be always thus? Will He endure for ever those who thus lay snares, and are mad against Him? Far from it; when His own work shall be all complete, then shall He work these things also. And this He signifies, saying, "Until he shall send forth judgment to victory;" as much as to say, When He shall have accomplished all things which are of Himself, then shall He bring in perfect vengeance; then shall they receive punishment when He has made his victory illustrious, that there be not left to them any irreverent opportunity of contradiction.
Hilary: Or, "Until he shalt send forth judgment to victory," that is, Until He shall take away the power of death, and bring in judgment and the return of His splendour.
Raban.: Or, Until that judgment which was being done in Him should come forth to victory. For after that by His resurrection He had overcome death, and driven forth the prince of this world, He returned as conqueror to His kingdom to sit on the right, hand of the Father, until He shall put all His enemies under His feet.
Chrys.: But the things of this dispensation will not rest in this only, that they who have not believed should be punished, but He will also draw the world to Him; whence it follows, "And in his name shall the Gentiles hope."
Aug., City of God, book xx, ch. 30: This last we now see fulfilled; and thus this which cannot be denied establishes the truth of that which some (p. 445) have denied through ignorance, the last judgment namely, which He will hold upon earth, when He Himself shall come from heaven. For who could have expected that the Gentiles would have hope in Christ's name, when He was in the hands of His enemies, when He was bound, scourged, set at nought, and crucified; when even His disciples had lost that hope which they had begun to have in Him! That which one thief hardly hoped on the cross, the nations scattered far and wide now hope. And that they may not die for ever, they are marked with that very cross on which He died. Let none then doubt that the last judgment will be by Christ Himself.
Remig.: And it should be known, that the meaning not only of this passage, but of many others also, is supported by this testimony from the Prophet. The words, "Behold my servant," may be referred to the place in which the Father had said above, "This is my Son." (Mt 3,17) The words, "I will put my Spirit upon him," is referred to the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Lord at His baptism; "He shall declare judgment to the Gentiles," to that which He says below, "When the Son of Man shall sit in the seat of his Majesty." (Mt 25,31)
What He adds, "He shall not strive nor cry," refers to the Lord how He answered but little to the Chief Priests, and to Pilate, but to Herod nothing at all. "He shall not break the bruised reed," refers to His shunning His persecutors that they might not be made worse; and that "In his name shall the Gentiles hope," refers to what Himself says below, "Go ye and teach all nations." (Mt 28,19)
4222 (Mt 12,22-24)
Gloss., non occ.: The Lord had refuted the Pharisees above, when they brought false charges against the miracles of Christ, as (p. 446) if He had broken the sabbath in doing them. But inasmuch as with a yet greater wickedness they perversely attributed the miracles of Christ done by divine power to an unclean spirit, therefore the Evangelist places first the miracle from which they had taken occasion to blaspheme, saying, "Then was brought to him one that had a daemon, blind and dumb."
Remig.: The word "Then" refers to that above, where having healed the man who had the withered hand, He went out of the synagogue. Or it may be taken of a more extended time; Then, namely, when these things were being done or said.
Chrys.: We may wonder at the wickedness of the daemon; he had obstructed both inlets by which he could believe, namely, hearing and sight. But Christ opened both, whence it follows, "And he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw."
Jerome: Three miracles were wrought in one and the same person at the same time; the blind sees, the dumb speaks, the possessed is delivered from the daemon. This was at that time done in the flesh, but is now daily being fulfilled in the conversion of them that believe; the daemon is cast out when they first behold the light of the faith, and then their mouths which had before been stopped are opened to utter the praises of God.
Hilary: Not without reason, after having mentioned that all the multitude was healed together, does he bring in the cure of this man separately who was demoniac, blind and dumb. For after the man of the withered hand had been brought before Him, and been healed in the Synagogue, it behoved that the salvation of the Gentiles should be represented in the person of some other afflicted man; he who had been the habitation of a daemon, and blind and dumb, should be made meet to receive God, should contain God in Christ, and by confession of God should give praise to the works of Christ.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 4: For he that believes not, is truly demoniac, b1ind, and dumb; and he that has not understanding of the faith, nor confesses, nor gives praise to God, is subject to the devil.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 37: This narrative is given by Luke, not in this place, but after many other things intervening, and speaks of him as dumb only, and not blind. But he is not to be thought to be speaking of another man, because he is silent respecting this one (p. 447) particular; for in what follows he agrees exactly with Matthew.
Hilary: All the multitude were astonished at this which was done, but the jealousy of the Pharisees grew thereupon, "And all the multitude were astonished and said, Is not this the Son of David?"
Gloss., ap. Raban.: Because of His mercy and His goodness to them they proclaim Him the Son of David.
Raban. e Beda in Luc.: The multitude who seemed less learned, always wondered at the works of the Lord; they, on the other hand, either denied these things, or what they could not deny laboured to pervert by an ill interpretation, as though they were wrought not by a Deity, but by an unclean spirit, namely, Beelzebub, who was the God of Acharon: "The Pharisees when they heard it said, This man does not cast out daemons but by Beelzebub, the prince of the demons."
Remig.: Beelzebub is the same as Beel or Baal, or Beelphegor. Beel was father of Ninus king of Assyria; Baal was so called because he was worshipped on high; he was called Beelphegor from the mountain Phegor; Zebub was the servant of Abimelech the son of Gedeon, who, having slain his seventy brothers, built a temple to Baal, and set him up as Priest therein, to drive away the flies which were collected there by the abundant blood of the victims; for Zebub means, a fly. Beelzebub therefore is interpreted, The man of flies; wherefore from this most unclean worship they called him the Prince of the daemons. Having therefore nothing more mean to cast upon the Lord, they said that He cast out daemons by Beelzebub. And it should be known that this word is not to be read with d or t at the end, as some corrupt copies have, but with, b.
Golden Chain MT-MK 4201