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Matthew 8:5-10

Context
Healing the Centurion’s Servant

8:5 When he entered Capernaum, 1  a centurion 2  came to him asking for help: 3  8:6 “Lord, 4  my servant 5  is lying at home paralyzed, in terrible anguish.” 8:7 Jesus 6  said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8:8 But the centurion replied, 7  “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Instead, just say the word and my servant will be healed. 8:9 For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. 8  I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes, 9  and to another ‘Come’ and he comes, and to my slave 10  ‘Do this’ and he does it.” 11  8:10 When 12  Jesus heard this he was amazed and said to those who followed him, “I tell you the truth, 13  I have not found such faith in anyone in Israel!

1 sn Capernaum was a town on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, 680 ft (204 m) below sea level. It was a major trade and economic center in the North Galilean region.

map For location see Map1 D2; Map2 C3; Map3 B2.

2 sn A centurion was a noncommissioned officer in the Roman army or one of the auxiliary territorial armies, commanding a centuria of (nominally) 100 men. The responsibilities of centurions were broadly similar to modern junior officers, but there was a wide gap in social status between them and officers, and relatively few were promoted beyond the rank of senior centurion. The Roman troops stationed in Judea were auxiliaries, who would normally be rewarded with Roman citizenship after 25 years of service. Some of the centurions may have served originally in the Roman legions (regular army) and thus gained their citizenship at enlistment. Others may have inherited it, like the apostle Paul did.

3 sn While in Matthew’s account the centurion came to him asking for help, Luke’s account (7:1-10) mentions that the centurion sent some Jewish elders as emissaries on his behalf.

4 tn Grk “and saying, ‘Lord.’” The participle λέγων (legwn) at the beginning of v. 6 is redundant in English and has not been translated.

5 tn The Greek term here is παῖς (pais), often used of a slave who was regarded with some degree of affection, possibly a personal servant (Luke 7:7 uses the more common term δοῦλος, doulos). See L&N 87.77.

6 tn Grk “And he”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

7 tn Grk “But answering, the centurion replied.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokriqeis) is redundant and has not been translated.

8 tn Grk “having soldiers under me.”

9 sn I say to this one ‘Go’ and he goes. The illustrations highlight the view of authority the soldier sees in the word of one who has authority. Since the centurion was a commander of a hundred soldiers, he understood what it was both to command others and to be obeyed.

10 tn Though δοῦλος (doulos) is normally translated “servant,” the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times… in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v. 1). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

11 tn The word “it” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

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

13 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amhn), I say to you.”



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