Matthew 9:9-17

9.9 Καὶ παράγων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐκεῖθεν εἱδεν ἄνθρωπον καθήμενον ἐπὶ τὸ τελώνιον, Μαθθαῖον λεγόμενον, καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ· ἀκολούθει μοι. καὶ ἀναστὰς ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῷ.

9.10 Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτοῦ ἀνεκειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ, καὶ ἰδοὺ πολλοὶ τελῶναι καὶ ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἐλθόντες συνανέκειντο τῷ Ἰησοῦ καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ. 9.11 καὶ ἰδόντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ· διὰ τί μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει ὁ διδάσκαλος ὑμῶν; 9.12 ὁ δὲ ἀκούσας εἶπεν· οὐ χρείαν ἔχουσιν οἱ ἰσχύοντες ἰατροῦ ἀλλ᾿ οἱ κακῶς ἔχοντες. 9.13 πορευθέντες δὲ μάθετε τί ἐστιν· ἔλεος θέλω καὶ οὐ θυσίαν· οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον καλέσαι δικαίους ἀλλὰ ἁμαρτωλούς.

9.14 Τότε προσέρχονται αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ Ἰωάννου λέγοντες· διὰ τί ἡμεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι νηστεύομεν, οἱ δὲ μαθηταί σου οὐ νηστεύουσιν; 9.15 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς· μὴ δύνανται οἱ υἱοὶ τοῦ νυμφῶνος πενθεῖν, ἐφ᾿ ὅσον μετ᾿ αὐτῶν ἐστιν ὁ νυμφίος; ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι ὅταν ἀπαρθῇ ἀπ᾿ αὐτῶν ὁ νυμφίος, καὶ τότε νηστεύσουσιν. 9.16 οὐδεὶς δὲ ἐπιβάλλει ἐπίβλημα ῥάκους ἀγνάφου ἐπὶ ἱματίῳ παλαιῷ· αἴρει γὰρ τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ ἱματίου, καὶ χεῖρον σχίσμα γίνεται. 9.17 οὐδὲ βάλλουσιν οἶνον νέον εἰς ἀσκοὺς παλαιούς· εἰ δὲ μή γε, ῥήγνυνται οἱ ἀσκοί, καὶ ὁ οἶνος ἐκχεῖται καὶ οἱ ἀσκοὶ ἀπόλλυνται. ἀλλὰ βάλλουσιν οἶνον νέον εἰς ἀσκοὺς καινούς, καὶ ἀμφότεροι συντηροῦνται.

9.9 And departing from there, Jesus saw a man by the name of Matthew sitting at the tax-collection booth and said to him: “Follow me.” And getting up, he followed him.

9.10 And it just so happened that reclining at the house, many tax-collectors and sinners who had come sat down with Jesus and his disciples. 9.11 And the Pharisees, seeing this, said to the disciples: Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?  9.12 But hearing, he replied, “The healthy have no need of a doctor, but those who are sick do.”  9.13 But go and learn why it says, “I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.” For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

9.14 Then the disciples of John came to him saying: Why do we and the Pharisees fast, while your disciples do not fast? 9.15 Jesus said to them, “Can the sons of the bridal chamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days are coming when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and then they will fast. 9.16 And no one puts a piece of new cloth on an old garment, for it pulls all that is around it away from the garment, and the tear becomes worse. 9.17 Neither do they pour new wine into old wineskins, because if they did, the wineskins would be burst, and both the wine would be poured out and the wineskins rendered useless. Instead they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”

Comments

In verse 9, the additional note that the tax-collector’s name is Matthew is secondary descriptive information. But because of English syntax, it is much more common to place naming information closer to the noun. This gives more stress than intended to the name.

In verse 10, the phrase αὐτοῦ ἀνεκειμένου ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ seemed very odd. It is not clear who the phrase refers to (Matthew? or Jesus?). Most likely, αὐτοῦ refers to Jesus based on the phrase “sat down with Jesus and his disciples”, while the house is Matthew’s. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes that Jesus had previously mentioned, “…even a tax collector has his friends” (5:46). Mark and Luke also both are more specific about the dinner taking place at Matthew’s house.

Verses 11 and 12 spark some questions. Is this dinner party outside, such that the Pharisees in question can see what is going on? Or are the Pharisees barging in hoping to catch Jesus up to something? Or are these Pharisees in attendance? Attendance seems unlikely – seeing as they are calling Jesus involvement with these people into question. Interestingly, the question is actually asked of the disciples – not Jesus, though Jesus responds, seeing it clearly as an accusation, not just an effort to gain information.

The quotation in verse 13 seems to be a hebraic formulation that suggests one thing is more important than another, primary – not that one of the two options is actually not important or valuable. It is a simple expression that would probably be recognized by a child who was instructed by the teacher to get to his lessons. “Go and learn” also follows a familiar Greek pattern where in English it is often translated into two imperatives, while the expression is actually a participle followed by a command (similarly in Matthew 28:18 where we read, “Go and make disciples…”). The “go” implies proceeding on a journey, not just leaving. So the life-study of the Scriptures that the Pharisees claimed as their own seems to have failed to teach them the basics of mercy and human relationship. Jesus tells them to go back and study the basics.

In 9:16, the expression τὸ πλήρωμα αὐτοῦ, “its fullness”, seems to refer to all the surrounding material that the patch is sewn to. Thus, when the unworn patch begins to shrink, it pulls away from the whole circumference of the hole, ripping the connecting fabric, making a much worse situation.

The final part of verse 17 uses two different words that are translated “new”. The first, νέον, of the wine, indicates youth, i.e. lack of age. The second, καινούς, of the wineskins, means newly produced, recent, unworn, or possibly unprecedented and novel, of a new sort. I doubt there is a huge theological implication; more likely the words just reflect differences in referring to the “newness” of things – things that are produced/made rather than things that develop or progress. But I find it interesting, nevertheless.

With both verses 16 and 17, Jesus indicates that his coming has ushered in something new, that cannot be approached on the same old terms. Trying to confine Jesus’ message to the purity-conscious teachings of the Pharisees is destined to fail. Jesus primary interest is not ceremonial purity, but people. Indeed, the two seem to conflict at a basic level. If one is to truly love people, following Jesus new example, then one cannot be overly concerned with avoiding the same people out of purity concerns, rules which themselves are not part of God’s law, but extensions that have perverted and confused the issue.

Bibliography

  1. The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 – Matthew, Mark, Luke, Zondervan 1984
  2. Greek-English New Testament, Christianity Today 1975
  3. www.blueletterbible.org
Advertisements

About George

I'm interested in theology, languages, translation and various sorts of fermentation.
This entry was posted in Matthew. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s