12. Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, He departed into Galilee;
13. And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:
14. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
15. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nepthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles;
16. The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.
RABANUS; Matthew having related the forty days' fast, the temptation of Christ, and the ministry of Angels, proceeds, Jesus having heard that John was cast into prison.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. By God without doubt, for none can effect anything against a holy man, unless God deliver him up. He withdrew into Galilee, that is, out of Judea; both that the might reserve His passion to the fit time, and that he might set us an example of flying from danger.
CHRYS. It is not blameworthy not to throw one's self into peril, but when one has fallen into it, not to endure manfully. He departed from Judea both to soften Jewish animosity, and to fulfill a prophecy, seeking moreover to fish for those masters of the world who dwelt in Galilee. Note also how when he would depart to the Gentiles, he received good cause from the Jews; His forernuner was thrown into prison, which compelled Jesus to pass into Galilee of the Gentiles.
GLOSS. He came as Luke writes to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and there entering into the synagogue, he read and spoke many things, for which they sought to throw Him down from the rock, and thence he went to Capernaum; for which Matthew has only, And leaving the town of Nazareth, He came and dwelt at Capernum.
GLOSS; Nazareth is a village in Galilee near Mount Tabor; Capernaurn a town in Galilee of the Gentiles near the Lake of Gennesaret; and this is the meaning of the word, on the sea coast. He adds further in the borders of Zabulon and Naphtali, where was the first captivity of time Jews by the Assyrians. Thus where the Law was first forgotten, there the Gospel was first preached; and from a place as it were between the two it was spread both to Jews and Gentiles.
REMIG. He left one, viz. Nazareth, that he might enlighten more by His preaching and miracles. Thus leaving an example to all preachers that they should preach at a time and in places where they may do good, to as many as possible. In the prophecy, the words are these, At that first time the land of Zabuiloun and the land of Naphtali was lightened, and at the last time was increased the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.
JEROME; They are said at the first time to be lightened from the burden of sin, because in the country of these two tribes, the Savior first preached the Gospel; at the last time their faith was increased, most of the Jews remaining in error. By the sea here is meant the Lake of Gennesaret, a lake formed by the waters of the Jordan, on its shores are the towns of Capernaum, Tiberias, Bethsaida, and Corozaim, in which district principally Christ preached. Or, according to the interpretation of those Hebrews who believe in Christ, the two tribes Zabulon and Naphtali were taken captive by the Assyrians, and Galilee was left desert; and the prophet therefore says that it was lightened, because it had before suffered the sins of the people; but afterwards the remaining tribes who dwelt beyond Jordan and in Samaria were led into captivity; and Scripture here means that the region which had been the first to suffer captivity, now was the first to see the light of Christ's preaching. The Nazarenes again interpret that this was the first part of the country that, on the coming of Christ, was freed from the errors of the Pharisees, and after by the Gospel of the Apostle Paul, the preaching was increased or multiplied throughout all the countries of the Gentiles.
GLOSS. But Matthew here quotes the passage as to make them all nominative cases referring to one verb. The land of Zabulon, and the land of Naphtali, which is the way of the sea, and which is beyond Jordan, viz. the people of Galilee of the Gentiles, the people which walked in darkness.
GLOSS. Note that there are two Galilees; one of the Jews, the other of the Gentiles. This division of Galilee had existed from Solomon's time, who gave twenty cities in Galilee to Hyram, King of Tyre; this part was afterwards called Galilee of the Gentiles; the remainder, of the Jews.
JEROME; Or we must read beyond Jordan, of Galilee of the Gentiles; so, I mean, that the people who either sat, or walked in darkness, have seen light, and that not a faint light, as the light of the Prophets, but a great light, as of Him who in the Gospel speaks thus, I am the light of the world. Between death and the shadow of death I suppose this difference; death is said of such as have gone down to the grave with the works of death; the shadow of such as live in sin, and have not yet departed from this world; these may, if they will, yet turn to repentance.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Otherwise, the Gentiles who worshipped idols, and demons, were they who sat in the region of the shadow of death; the Jews, who did the works of the Law, were in darkness, because the righteousness of God was not yet manifested to them.
CHRYS. But that you may learn that he speaks not of natural day and night, he calls the light, a great light, which is in other places called the true light; and he adds, the shadow of death, to explain what he means by darkness. The words arose, and shined, Show, that they found it not of their own seeking, but God Himself appeared to them they did not first run to the light; for many were in the greatest miseries before Christ's coming; they did not walk but sat in darkness; which was a sign that they hoped for deliverance; for as not knowing what way they should go, shut in by darkness they sat down, having now no power to stand. By darkness he means here, error and ungodliness.
RABAN. In allegory, John and the rest of the Prophets were the voice going before the Word. When prophecy ceased and was fettered, then came the Word, fulfilling what the Prophet had spoken of it, He departed into Galilee, i.e. from figure to verity. Or, into the Church, which is a passing from vice to virtue. Nazareth is interpreted 'a flower,' Capernaum, 'the beautiful village;' He left therefore the flower of figure, (in which was mystically intended the fruit of the Gospel,) and came into the Church, which was beautiful with Christ's virtues. It is by the sea-coast, because placed near the waves of this world, it is daily beaten by the storms of persecution. It is situated between Zabuloin and Naphtali, i.e. common to Jews and Gentiles. Zabulon is interpreted, 'the abode of strength;' because the Apostles, who were chosen from Judaea, were strong. Nephtali, 'extension,' because the Church of the Gentiles was extended through the world.
AUG. John relates in his Gospel the calling of Peter, Andrew, and Nathanael, and the miracle in Cana, before Jesus' departure into Galilee; all these things the other Evangelists have omitted, carrying on the thread of their narrative with Jesus' return into Galilee. We must understand then that some days intervened, during which the things took place concerning the calling of the disciples which John relates.
REMIG. But this should be considered with more care, viz. that John says that the Lord went into Galilee, before John the Baptist was thrown into prison. According to John's Gospel after the water turned into wine and his going down to Capernaum, and after his going up to Jerusalem, he returned into Judea and baptized, and John was not yet cast into prison. But here it is after John's imprisonment that he retires into Galilee, and with this Mark agrees. But we need not suppose any contradiction here. John speaks of the Lord's first coming into Galilee, which was before the imprisonment of John. He speaks in another place of His second coming into Galilee, and the other Evangelists mention only this second coming into Galilee which was after John's imprisonment.
EUSEB. It is related that John preached the Gospel almost up to the close of his life without setting forth anything in writing, and at length came to write for this reason. The three first written Gospels having come to his knowledge, he confirmed the truth of their history by his own testimony; but there were yet some things wanting, especially an account of what the Lord had done at the first beginning of His preaching. And it is true that the other three Gospels seem to contain only those things which were done in that year in which John the Baptist was put into prison, or executed. For Matthew, after the temptation, proceeds immediately, Hearing that John was delivered up; and Mark in like manner. Luke again, even before relating one of Christ's actions, tells that Herod had shut up John in prison. The Apostle John then was requested to put into writing what the preceding Evangelists had left out before the imprisonment of John; hence he says in his Gospel, this beginning of miracles did Jesus.
17. From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Christ's Gospel should be preached by him who can control his appetites, who contemns the goods of this life, and desires not empty honors. From this time began Jesus to preach, that is, after having been tempted, he had overcome hunger in the desert, despised covetousness on the mountain, rejected ambitious desires in the temple. Or from the time that John was delivered up; for had he begun to preach while John was yet preaching, He would have made John be lightly accounted of, and John's preaching would have been thought superfluous by the side of Christ's teaching; as when the sun rises at the same time with the morning star, the star's brightness is hid.
CHRYS. For another cause also he did not preach till John was in prison, that the multitude might not be split into two parties; or as John did no miracle, all men would have been drawn to Christ by His miracles.
RABAN. In this he further teaches that none should despise the words of a person inferior to Him; as also the Apostle, If anything be revealed to him; that sits, let the first hold his peace.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. He did wisely in making new the beginning of His preaching, that he should not trample upon John's teaching, but that he might the rather confirm it and demonstrate him to have been a true witness.
JEROME; Showing also thereby that He was Son of that same God whose prophet John was; and therefore he says, Repent you.
PSEUDO-CHRYS. he does not straightway preach righteousness which all knew, but repentance, which all needed. Who then dared to say, 'I desire to be good, but am not able?' For repentance corrects the will, and if you will not repent through fear of evil, at least you may for the pleasure of good things; hence he says, the kingdom of heaven is at hand; that is, the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. As if He had said, Prepare yourselves by repentance, for the time of eternal reward is at hand.
REMIG. And note, He does not say the kingdom of the Canaanite, or the Jebusite, is at hand; but the kingdom of heaven. The law promised worldly goods, but the Lord heavenly kingdoms.
CHRYS. Also observe how that in this His first address he says nothing of Himself openly; and that very suitably to the case, for they had yet no right opinion concerning Him. In this commencement moreover he speaks nothing severe, nothing burdensome, as John bad concerning the ax laid to the root of the condemned tree, and the like; but he puts first things merciful, preaching the glad tidings of the kingdom of heaven.
JEROME; Mystically interpreted, Christ begins to preach as soon as John was delivered to prison, because when the Law ceased, the Gospel commenced.
23. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their Synagogues, and preaching the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24. And His fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought to Him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and He healed them.
25. And there followed Him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judea, and from beyond Jordan.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Kings, when about to go to war with their enemies, first gather an army, and so go out to battle; thus the Lord when about to war against the Devil, first collected Apostles, and then began to preach the Gospel.
REMIG. An example of life for doctors; that they should not be inactive, they are instructed in these words, And Jesus went about.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Because they being weak could not come to their physician, he as a zealous Physician went about to visit those who had any grievous sickness; The Lord went round the several regions, and after His example the pastors of each region ought to go round to study the several dispositions of their people, that for the remedy of each disease some medicine may be found in the Church.
REMIG. That they should not be acceptors of persons the preachers are instructed in what follows, the whole of Galilee. That they should not go about empty, by the word teaching. That they should seek to benefit not few but many, in what follows, in their synagogues.
CHRYS. By which too He showed the Jews that he came not as an enemy of God, or a seducer of souls, but as consenting with his Father.
REMIG. That they should not preach error nor fable, but sound doctrine, is inculcated in the words, preaching the Gospel of the kingdom. 'Teaching' and 'preaching' differ; teaching refers to things present, preaching to things to come; He taught present commandments and preached future promises.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Or, he taught natural righteousness, those things which natural reason teaches, as chastity, humility, and the like, which all men of themselves see to be goods. Such things are necessary to be taught not so much for the sake of making them known as for stirring the heart. For beneath the prevalence of carnal delights the knowledge of natural righteousness sleeps forgotten. When then a teacher begins to denounce carnal sins, his teaching does not bring up a new knowledge, but recalls to memory one that had been forgotten. But He preached the Gospel, in telling of good things which the ancients had manifestly not heard of, as the happiness of heaven, the resurrection of the dead, and the like. Or, He taught by interpreting the prophecies concerning himself; He preached by declaring the benefits that were to come from Himself.
REMIG. That the teacher should study to commend his teaching by his own virtuous conduct is conveyed in those words, healing every sort of disease and malady among the people; maladies of the body, diseases of the soul.
PSEUD-CHRYS. Or, by disease we may understand any passion of the mind, as avarice, lust, and such like, by malady unbelief, that is, weakness of faith. Or, the diseases are the more grievous pains of the body, the maladies the slighter. As he cured the bodily pains by virtue of His divine power, so he cured the spiritual by the word of His mercy. He first teaches, and then performs the cures, for two reasons. First, that what is needed most may come first; for it is the word of holy instruction, and not miracles, that edify the soul. Secondly, because teaching is commended by miracles, not the converse.
CHRYS. We must consider that when some great change is being wrought, as the introduction of a new polity, God is accustomed to work miracles, giving pledges of His power to those who are to receive His laws. Thus when he would make man, he first created a world, and then at length gave man in paradise a law. When he would dispense a law to the holy Noah, he showed truly great wonders; and again when he was about to ordain the Law for the Jews, he first showed great prodigies, and then at length gave them the commandments. So now when about to introduce a sublime discipline of life, He first provided a sanction to His instructions by mighty signs, because the eternal kingdom He preached was not seen, by the things which did appear, he made sure that which as yet did not appear.
GLOSS. Because preachers should have good testimony from those who are without, lest if their life is open to censure, their preaching be contemned, he adds, And the fame of him went abroad through all Syria.
RABAN. Syria here is all the region from Euphrates to the Great sea, from Cappadocia to Egypt, in which is the country of Palestine, inhabited by Jews.
CHRYS. Observe the reserve of the Evangelist; he does not give an account of any one of the various cases of healing, but passes in one brief phrase an abundance of miracles, they brought to him all their sick.
REMIG. By these he would have us understand various but slighter diseases; but when he says, seized with divers sicknesses and torments, he would have those understood, of whom it is subjoined, and who had demons.
GLOSS. 'Sickness' means a hasting ailment; 'tutiment' is an acute pain, as pleurisy, and such like; they who had demons are they who were tormented by the demons.
REMIG. 'Lunatics' are so called from the moon; for as it waxes in its monthly seasons they are tormented.
JEROME; Not really smitten by the moon, but who were believed to be so through the subtlety of the demons, who by observing the seasons of the moon, sought to bring an evil report against the creature, that it might result to the blasphemy of the Creator.
AUG. Demons are enticed to take up their abode in many creatures, (created not by themselves but God,) by delights adapted to their various natures; not that they are animals, drawn by meats; but spirits attracted by signs which agree with each one's taste.
RABAN. Paralytics are those whose bodies have their nerves slackened or resolved from a Greek word, signifying this.
PSEUD-CHRYS. In some places it is, He cured many; but here, He cured them, meaning 'all;' as a new physician first entering a town cures all who come to him to beget a good opinion concerning himself
CHRYS. He requires no direct profession of faith from them , both because he had not yet given them any proofs of His miraculous power, and because in bringing their sick from fat they had shown no small faith.
RABAN. The crowds that followed Him consisted of four sorts of men, some followed for the heavenly teaching as disciples, some for the curing of their diseases, some from the reports concerning Him alone, and curiosity to find whether they were true; others from envy, wishing to catch Him in some matter that they might accuse Him. Mystically, Syria is interpreted lofty Galilee, 'turning:' or ' a wheel;' that is, the Devil and the world; the Devil is both proud and always turned round to the bottom; the world in which the fame of Christ went abroad through preaching: the demoniacs are the idolaters; the lunatics, the unstable; the paralytics, the slow and careless.
GLOSS. The crowds that follow the Lord, are they of the Church, which is spiritually designated by Galilee, passing to virtuousness; Decapolis is he who keeps the Ten Commandments; Jerusalem and Judea, be who is enlightened by the vision of peace and confession; and beyond Jordan, he what having passed the waters of Baptism enters the land of promise.
REMIG. Or, they follow the Lord from Galilee, that is, from the unstable world; from Decapolis, (the country of ten towns,) signifying those who break the Ten Commandments and from Jerusalem, because before it was preserved unhurt in peace; and from Jordan, that is, from the confession of the Devil; and from beyond Jordan, they who were first planted in paganism, but passing the water of Baptism came to Christ
Catena Aurea Matthew 4