Matthew 15 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Matthew 15)
15:1 1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

(1) None commonly are more bold condemners of God, then they whom God has appointed keepers of his law.

15:2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they a wash not their hands when they eat bread.

(a) Which they received handed down from their ancestors, or their elders allowed, who were the governors of the Church.

15:3 2 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

(2) Their wicked boldness in corrupting the commandments of God (and that upon the pretence of godliness) and usurping authority to make laws, is reproved here.

15:4 For God commanded, saying, b Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

(b) By honour is meant every duty which children owe to their parents.

15:5 But ye say, c Whosoever shall say to [his] father or [his] mother, [It is] a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

(c) The meaning is this: whatever I bestow upon the temple, is to your profit, for it is as good as if I gave it to you, for (as the Pharisees of our time say) it will be meritorious for you: for under this form of religion, they gathered all to themselves, as though he that had given anything to the temple, had done the duty of a child.

15:6 And honour not his father or his mother, [he shall be free]. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none d effect by your tradition.

(d) As much as you could, you destroyed the power and authority of the commandment: for otherwise the commandments of God stand fast in the Church of God, in spite of the world and Satan.

15:7 3 [Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

(3) The same men are condemned for hypocrisy and superstition, because they made the kingdom of God to consist of outward things.

15:10 4 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

(4) Christ teaches us that the hypocrisy of false teachers who deceive our souls is not to be endured at all, not even in small matters, and there is no reason why their office or position should blind our eyes: otherwise we are likely to perish with them.

15:21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the e coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

(e) Coasts which were next to Tyre and Sidon, that is in that region where Palestine faces toward Venice, and the sea of Syria.

15:22 And, behold, a woman of f Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, [thou] Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

(f) Of the people of the Canaanites, who dwelt in Phoenicia.

15:23 5 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

(5) In that Christ sometimes shuts his ears, as it were, to the prayers of his saints, he does it for his glory, and our profit.

15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the g house of Israel.

(g) Of the people of Israel, who were divided into tribes, but all those tribes came from one family.

15:29 6 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

(6) Christ does not cease to be beneficial even where he is condemned, and in the midst of wolves he gathers together and cares for his flock.

15:30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them [those that were] lame, blind, dumb, h maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:

(h) Whose members were weakened with paralysis, or by nature, for after it is said that he healed them. Now Christ preferred to heal in this way, that such members as were weak, he restored to health, and yet he could easily, if he had wanted, have given them hands and feet and other members which they lacked.

15:32 7 Then Jesus called his disciples [unto him], and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they i continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

(7) By doing this miracle again, Christ shows that he who follows Christ will never be in need, not even in the wilderness.
(i) Go not from my side.

15:35 And he commanded the multitude to k sit down on the ground.

(k) Literally, "to lie down backwards", as rowers do in rowing, when they draw their oars to themselves.

15:37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken [meat] that was left seven l baskets full.

(l) A kind of container made with twigs.