2 A leper came - Leprosies in those countries were seldom curable
by natural means, any more than palsies or lunacy. Probably this leper,
though he might not mix with the people, had heard our Lord at a distance.
Mark 1:40; Luke 5:12.
4 See thou tell no man - Perhaps our Lord only meant here, Not
till thou hast showed thyself to the priest - who was appointed to inquire
into the case of leprosy. But many others he commanded, absolutely, to
tell none of tho miracles he had wrought upon them. And this he seems to
have done, chiefly for one or more of these reasons:
1. To prevent the multitude from thronging
him, in the manner related Mark 1:45.
2. To fulfil the prophecy, Isaiah 42:1, that
he would not be vain or ostentatious. This
reason St. Matthew
assigns, Matt 12:17, &c.
3. To avoid the being taken by force and made
a king, John 6:15. And,
4. That he might not enrage the chief priests,
scribes, and Pharisees, who were the
most bitter against him, any more than was
unavoidable, Matt 16:20,21.
For a testimony - That I am the Messiah; to
them - The priests, who otherwise
might have pleaded want of evidence. Lev 14:2.
5 There came to him a centurion - A captain of a hundred Roman
soldiers. Probably he came a little way toward him, and then went back.
He thought himself not worthy to come in person, and therefore spoke the
words that follow by his messengers. As it is not unusual in all languages,
so in the Hebrew it is peculiarly frequent, to ascribe to a person himself
the thing which is done, and the words which are spoken by his order. And
accordingly St. Matthew relates as said by the centurion himself, what
others said by order from him. An instance of the same kind we have in
the case of Zebedee's children. From St. Matthew, Mt 20:20, we learn it
was their mother that spoke those words, which, Mark 10:35,37, themselves
are said to speak; because she was only their mouth. Yet from ver. 13,
Mt 8:13, Go thy way home, it appears he at length came in person, probably
on hearing that Jesus was nearer to his house than he apprehended when
he sent the second message by his friends. Luke 7:1.
8 The centurion answered - By his second messengers.
9 For I am a man under authority - I am only an inferior officer:
and what I command, is done even in my absence: how much more what thou
commandest, who art Lord of all!
10 I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel - For the
centurion was not an Israelite.
11 Many from the farthest parts of the earth shall embrace the
terms and enjoy the rewards of the Gospel covenant established with Abraham.
But the Jews, who have the first title to them, shall be shut out from
the feast; from grace here, and hereafter from glory. Luke 13:29.
12 The outer darkness - Our Lord here alludes to the custom the
ancients had of making their feast in the night time. Probably while he
was speaking this, the centurion came in person.
Matt 13:42,50; 22:13; 24:51; 25:30.