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Matthew 9:1-8

Context
Healing and Forgiving a Paralytic

9:1 After getting into a boat he crossed to the other side and came to his own town. 1  9:2 Just then 2  some people 3  brought to him a paralytic lying on a stretcher. 4  When Jesus saw their 5  faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son! Your sins are forgiven.” 6  9:3 Then 7  some of the experts in the law 8  said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!” 9  9:4 When Jesus saw their reaction he said, “Why do you respond with evil in your hearts? 9:5 Which is easier, 10  to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’? 9:6 But so that you may know 11  that the Son of Man 12  has authority on earth to forgive sins” – then he said to the paralytic 13  – “Stand up, take your stretcher, and go home.” 14  9:7 And he stood up and went home. 15  9:8 When 16  the crowd saw this, they were afraid 17  and honored God who had given such authority to men. 18 

1 sn His own town refers to Capernaum. It was a town of approximately 1000-1500, though of some significance.

2 tn Grk “And behold, they were bringing.” Here καὶ ἰδού (kai idou) has been translated as “just then” to indicate the somewhat sudden appearance of the people carrying the paralytic. The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1), especially in conjunction with the suddenness of the stretcher bearers’ appearance.

3 tn Grk “they”; the referent (some unnamed people) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

4 tn Traditionally, “on a bed,” but this could be confusing to the modern reader who might envision a large piece of furniture. In various contexts, κλίνη (klinh) may be translated “bed, couch, cot, stretcher, or bier” (in the case of a corpse). See L&N 6.106.

5 sn The plural pronoun their makes it clear that Jesus was responding to the faith of the entire group, not just the paralyzed man.

6 sn The passive voice here is a divine passive (ExSyn 437). It is clear that God does the forgiving.

7 tn Grk “And behold.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1). Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events in the narrative.

8 tn Or “some of the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 2:4.

9 sn Blaspheming meant to say something that dishonored God. To claim divine prerogatives or claim to speak for God when one really does not would be such an act of offense. The remark raised directly the issue of the nature of Jesus’ ministry.

10 sn Which is easier is a reflective kind of question. On the one hand to declare sins are forgiven is easier, since one does not need to see it, unlike telling a paralyzed person to walk. On the other hand, it is harder, because for it to be true one must possess the authority to forgive the sin.

11 sn Now Jesus put the two actions together. The walking of the man would be proof (so that you may know) that his sins were forgiven and that God had worked through Jesus (i.e., the Son of Man).

12 sn The term Son of Man, which is a title in Greek, comes from a pictorial description in Dan 7:13 of one “like a son of man” (i.e., a human being). It is Jesus’ favorite way to refer to himself. Jesus did not reveal the background of the term here, which mixes human and divine imagery as the man in Daniel rides a cloud, something only God does. He just used it. It also could be an idiom in Aramaic meaning either “some person” or “me.” So there is a little ambiguity in its use here, since its origin is not clear at this point. However, the action makes it clear that Jesus used it to refer to himself here.

13 sn Jesus did not finish his sentence with words but with action, that is, healing the paralytic with an accompanying pronouncement to him directly.

14 tn Grk “to your house.”

15 tn Grk “to his house.”

16 tn Here δέ (de) has not been translated.

17 tc Most witnesses (C L Θ 0233 Ë13 Ï) have ἐθαύμασαν (eqaumasan; “marveled, were amazed”) instead of ἐφοβήθησαν (efobhqhsan) here, effectively turning the fearful reaction into one of veneration. But the harder reading is well supported by א B D W 0281 Ë1 33 892 1424 al lat co and thus is surely authentic.

18 tn Grk “people.” The plural of ἄνθρωπος (anqrwpo") usually indicates people in general, but the singular is used in the expression “Son of Man.” There is thus an ironic allusion to Jesus’ statement in v. 6: His self-designation as “Son of Man” is meant to be unique, but the crowd regards it simply as meaning “human, person.” To maintain this connection for the English reader the plural ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") has been translated here as “men” rather than as the more generic “people.”



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