22. Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil,
blind and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both
spake and saw.
23. And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the Son
24. But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, "This fellow doth
not cast out devils, but by Beelzebub the prince of the devils."
Gloss., non occ.: The Lord had refuted the Pharisees above, when they
brought false charges against the miracles of Christ, as [p. 446] if He
had broken the sabbath in doing them. But inasmuch as with a yet greater
wickedness they perversely attributed the miracles of Christ done by divine
power to an unclean spirit, therefore the Evangelist places first the miracle
from which they had taken occasion to blaspheme, saying, "Then was brought
to him one that had a daemon, blind and dumb."
Remig.: The word "Then" refers to that above, where having healed the
man who had the withered hand, He went out of the synagogue. Or it may
be taken of a more extended time; Then, namely, when these things were
being done or said.
Chrys.: We may wonder at the wickedness of the daemon; he had obstructed
both inlets by which he could believe, namely, hearing and sight. But Christ
opened both, whence it follows, "And he healed him, insomuch that the blind
and dumb both spake and saw."
Jerome: Three miracles were wrought in one and the same person at the
same time; the blind sees, the dumb speaks, the possessed is delivered
from the daemon. This was at that time done in the flesh, but is now daily
being fulfilled in the conversion of them that believe; the daemon is cast
out when they first behold the light of the faith, and then their mouths
which had before been stopped are opened to utter the praises of God.
Hilary: Not without reason, after having mentioned that all the multitude
was healed together, does he bring in the cure of this man separately who
was demoniac, blind and dumb. For after the man of the withered hand had
been brought before Him, and been healed in the Synagogue, it behoved that
the salvation of the Gentiles should be represented in the person of some
other afflicted man; he who had been the habitation of a daemon, and blind
and dumb, should be made meet to receive God, should contain God in Christ,
and by confession of God should give praise to the works of Christ.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 4: For he that believes not, is truly demoniac,
b1ind, and dumb; and he that has not understanding of the faith, nor confesses,
nor gives praise to God, is subject to the devil.
Aug., De Cons. Ev., ii, 37: This narrative is given by Luke, not in
this place, but after many other things intervening, and speaks of him
as dumb only, and not blind. But he is not to be thought to be speaking
of another man, because he is silent respecting this one [p. 447] particular;
for in what follows he agrees exactly with Matthew.
Hilary: All the multitude were astonished at this which was done, but
the jealousy of the Pharisees grew thereupon, "And all the multitude were
astonished and said, Is not this the Son of David?"
Gloss., ap. Raban.: Because of His mercy and His goodness to them they
proclaim Him the Son of David.
Raban. e Beda in Luc.: The multitude who seemed less learned, always
wondered at the works of the Lord; they, on the other hand, either denied
these things, or what they could not deny laboured to pervert by an ill
interpretation, as though they were wrought not by a Deity, but by an unclean
spirit, namely, Beelzebub, who was the God of Acharon: "The Pharisees when
they heard it said, This man does not cast out daemons but by Beelzebub,
the prince of the demons."
Remig.: Beelzebub is the same as Beel or Baal, or Beelphegor. Beel was
father of Ninus king of Assyria; Baal was so called because he was worshipped
on high; he was called Beelphegor from the mountain Phegor; Zebub was the
servant of Abimelech the son of Gedeon, who, having slain his seventy brothers,
built a temple to Baal, and set him up as Priest therein, to drive away
the flies which were collected there by the abundant blood of the victims;
for Zebub means, a fly. Beelzebub therefore is interpreted, The man of
flies; wherefore from this most unclean worship they called him the Prince
of the daemons. Having therefore nothing more mean to cast upon the Lord,
they said that He cast out daemons by Beelzebub. And it should be known
that this word is not to be read with d or t at the end, as some corrupt
copies have, but with, b.
25. And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, "Every kingdom
divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house
divided against itself shall not stand;
26. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself;
how shall then his kingdom stand?"
Jerome: The Pharisees ascribed the works of God to the Prince of the
daemons; and the Lord makes answer not to [p. 448] what they said, but
to what they thought, that even thus they might be compelled to believe
His power, Who saw the secrets of the heart; "Jesus, knowing their thoughts,
said unto them."
Chrys., Hom. xli: Above they had accused Christ of having cast out daemons
by Beelzebub; but then He did not reprove them, suffering them, if they
would, to acknowledge Him from further miracles, and to learn His greatness
from His doctrine. But because they continued to maintain the same things,
He now rebukes them, although their accusation had been very unreasonable.
But jealousy reeks not what it says, so that only it say somewhat. Yet
does not Christ contemn them, but answers with a gracious mildness, teaching
us to be gentle to our enemies, and not to be troubled, even though they
should speak such things against us, as we neither acknowledge in us, nor
have any reasonableness in themselves.
Therein also He proves that the things which they had said against Him
were false, for it is not of one having a daemon to shew such mercy, and
to know the thoughts. Moreover, because this their accusation was very
unreasonable, and they feared the multitude, they did not dare to proclaim
it openly, but kept it in their thoughts; wherefore he says, "Knowing their
He does not repeat their thoughts in His answer, not to divulge their
wickedness; but He brings forward an answer; it was His object to do good
to the sinners, not to proclaim their sin. He does not answer them out
of the Scriptures, because they would not hearken to Him as they explained
them differently, but He refutes them from common opinions. For assaults
from without are not so destructive as quarrels within; and this is so
in bodies and in all other things. But in the mean while He draws instances
from matters more known, saying, "Every kingdom divided against itself
shall be brought to desolation;" for there is nothing on earth more powerful
than a kingdom, and yet that is destroyed by contention.
What then must we say concerning a city or a family; that whether it
be great or small, it is destroyed when it is at discord within itself.
Hilary: For a city or family is analogous to a kingdom; as it follows,
"And every city or house divided against itself shall not stand."
Jerome: For as small things grow by concord, [p. 449] so the greatest
fall to pieces through dissensions.
Hilary: But the word of God is rich, and whether taken simply, or examined
inwardly, it is needful for our advancement.
Leaving therefore what belongs to the plain understanding thereof, let
us dwell on some of the more secret reasons. The Lord is about to make
answer to that which they had said concerning Beelzebub, and He casts upon
those to whom He made answer a condition of their answering. Thus; The
Law was from God and the promise of the kingdom to Israel was by the Law;
but if the kingdom of the Law be divided in itself, it must needs be destroyed;
and thus Israel lost the Law, when the nation whose was the Law, rejected
the fulfilment of the Law in Christ.
The city here spoken of is Jerusalem, which when it raged with the madness
of its people against the Lord, and drove out His Apostles with the multitude
of them that believed, after this division shall not stand; and thus (which
soon happened in consequence of this division) the destruction of that
city is declared.
Again He puts another case, "And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided
against himself; how then shall hie kingdom stand?
Jerome: As much as to say, If Satan fight against himself, and, daemon
be an enemy to daemon, then must the end of the world be at hand, that
these hostile powers should have no place there, whose mutual war is peace
Gloss. ord.: He holds them therefore in this dilemma. For Christ casts
out daemons either by the power of God, or by the Prince of the daemons.
If by the power of God, their accusations are malicious; if by the Prince
of the daemons, his kingdom is divided, and will not stand, and therefore
let them depart out of his kingdom. And this alternative He intimates that
they had chosen for themselves, when they refused to believe in Him.
Chrys.: Or thus; If he is divided, he is made weak, and perishes; but
if he perishes, how can he cast out another?
Hilary: Otherwise; If the daemon was driven to this division to the
end that he should thus afflict the daemons, even thus must we attribute
higher power to Him who made the division than to those who are thus divided;
thus the kingdom of the Devil, after this division made, is destroyed by
Jerome: But if ye think, ye Scribes and Pharisees, that the [p. 450]
daemons depart out of the possessed in obedience to their Prince, that
men may be imposed upon by a concerted fraud, what can ye say to the healing
of diseases which the Lord also wrought? It is something more if ye assign
to the daemons even bodily infirmities, and the signs of spiritual virtues.
27. "And if I by Beelzebub cast out devils, by whom do your children
cast them out? therefore they shall be your judges.
28. But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom
of God is come unto you."
Chrys.: After the first answer, He comes to a second more plain than
the first, saying, "And if I by Beelzebub cast out daemons, by whom do
your sons cast them out? Therefore shall they be your judges."
Jerome: He alludes, as is His manner, under the name children of the
Jews, either to the exorcists of that race, or to the Apostles who are
by race of that nation. If He means the exorcists who by the invocation
of God cast out daemons, He thus constrains the Pharisees by a wise enquiry
to confess that their work was of the Holy Spirit. If, He would say, the
casting out of the daemons by your children is imputed to God, and not
to daemons, why should the same work wrought by Me not have the same cause?
"Therefore shall they be your judges," not by authority but by comparison;
they ascribe the casting out of the daemons to God, you to the Prince of
the daemons. But if it is of the Apostles also that this is said, (and
so we should rather take it,) then they shall be their judges, for they
shall sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
Hilary: And they are worthily appointed judges over them, to whom Christ
is found to have given that power over the daemons, which it was denied
that He had.
Raban.: Or, because the Apostles well knew within their own conscience
that they had learnt no evil art from Him.
Chrys.: Yet He said not, My disciples, or Apostles, but "your children;"
that if they chose to return again to their own privileges, they might
take occasion hence; but if they should [p. 451] be ungrateful, they might
not have even an impudent excuse, And the Apostles cast out daemons by
virtue of power which they had from Him, and yet the Pharisees made no
such charge against them; for it was not the actions themselves, but the
person of Christ to which they were opposed.
Desiring then to shew that the things which were said against Him were
only jealous suspicions, He brings forward the Apostles. And also He leads
them to a knowledge of Himself, shewing how they stood in the way of their
own good, and resisted their own salvation; whereas they ought to be joyful
because He had come to bestow great goods upon them; "If I by the Spirit
of God cast out daemons, then is the kingdom of God come upon you." This
also shews that it is a matter of great power to cast out daemons, and
not an ordinary grace.
And thus it is He reasons, "Therefore is the kingdom of God come upon
you," as much as to say, If this indeed be so, then is the Son of God come
upon you. But this He hints darkly, that it may not seem hard to them.
Also to draw their attention, He said not merely, "The kingdom hath
come," but, "upon you;" that is to say, These good things are coming for
you; why do you oppose your own salvation; for this is the very sign given
by the Prophets of the presence of the Son of God, that such works as these
should be wrought by Divine power.
Jerome: For the kingdom of God denotes Himself, of whom it is written
in another place, "The kingdom of God is among you; [Luke 17:21] and, "There
standeth one in the midst of you whom ye know not." [John 1:26]. Or surely
that kingdom which both John and the Lord Himself had preached above, "Repent
ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." [Matt 3:2, 4:17]
There is also a third kingdom of the Holy Scripture which shall be taken
from the Jews, and be given to a nation that brings forth the fruit thereof.
Hilary: If then the disciples work by Christ, and Christ by the Spirit
of God, already is the kingdom of God transferred to the Apostles through
the office of the Mediator.
Gloss., ap. Anselm: For the weakening of the kingdom of the Devil is
the increase of the kingdom of God.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i. 5: Whence the sense might be this, "If I by Beelzebub
cast out daemons," then, according to your own opinion, "the kingdom of
God is come upon you," for the kingdom of the Devil, being [p. 452] thus
divided against itself, cannot stand. Thus calling that the kingdom of
God, in which the wicked are condemned, and are separated from the faithful,
who are now doing penitence for their sins.
29. "Or else how can one enter into a strong man's house, and spoil
his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil
Chrys.: Having concluded the second answer, He brings forward yet a
third, saying, "Or how can any enter into a strong man's house? For that
Satan cannot cast out Satan is clear from what has been said; and that
no other can cast him out, till he have first overcome him, is plain to
Thus the same as before is established yet more abundantly; for He says,
So far am I from having the Devil for my ally, that I rather am at war
with him, and bind him; and in that I cast out after this sort, I therein
spoil his goods. Thus He proves the very contrary of that they strove to
establish. They would shew that He did not cast out demons of His own power;
He proves that not only daemons, yea but the prince, also of the daemons
He hath bound, as is shewn by that which He hath wrought. For if their
Prince were not overcome, how were the daemons who are His subjects thus
This speech seems also to me to be a prophecy; inasmuch as He not only
casts out daemons, but will take away all error out of the world, and dissolve
the craft of the Devil; and He says not rob, but spoil, shewing that He
will do it with power.
Jerome: His "house" is this world, which is set in evil, not by the
majesty of the Creator, but by the greatness of the sinner. The strong
man is bound and chained in tartarus, bruised by the Lord's foot. Yet ought
we not therefore to be careless; for here the conqueror Himself pronounces
our adversary to be strong.
Chrys.: He calls him "strong," shewing therein his old reign, which
arose out of our sloth.
Aug.: For he held us, that we should not by our own strength be able
to free ourselves from him, but by the grace of God. By his goods, he means
all the unbelievers. He has bound the strong man, in that He has [p. 453]
taken away from him all power of hindering the faithful from following
Christ, and gaining the kingdom of heaven.
Raban.: Therefore He has spoiled his house, in that them, whom He foresaw
should be His own, He set free from the snares of the Devil, and has joined
to the Church. Or in that He has divided the whole world among His Apostles
and their successors to be converted. By this plain parable therefore He
shews that He does not join in a deceitful working with the daemons as
they falsely accused Him, but by the might of His divinity He frees men
from the daemons.
30. "He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth
not with me scattereth abroad."
Chrys.: After that third reply, here follows a fourth, "He that is not
with me is against me."
Hilary: Wherein He shews how far He is from having borrowed any power
from the Devil; teaching us how great the danger to think amiss of Him,
not to be with Whom, is the same as to be against Him.
Jerome: But let none think that this is said of heretics and schismatics;
though we may apply it besides to such; but it is shewn by the context
to refer to the Devil; in that the works of the Saviour cannot be compared
with the works of Beelzebub. He seeks to hold men's souls in captivity,
the Lord to set them free; he preaches idols, the Lord the knowledge of
the true God; he draws men to sin, the Lord calls them back to virtues.
How then can these have agreement together, whose works are so opposite?
Chrys.: Therefore whoso gathereth not with me, nor is with me, may not
be compared together with me, that with me he should cast out daemons,
but rather seeks to scatter what is mine. But tell me; If you were to have
fought together with some one, and he should not be willing to come to
your aid, is he not therefore against you?
The Lord also Himself said in another place, "He that is not against
you is for you." [Luke 9:50] To which that which is here said is not contrary.
For here He is speaking of the Devil who is our adversary -- there of some
man who was on their side, of whom it is, said, "We saw one casting out
daemons in thy name."
Here He seems to allude to the Jews, classing them with the [p. 454]
Devil; for they were against Him, and scattered what He would gather. But
it is fair to allow that He spoke this of Himself; for He was against the
Devil, and scattered abroad the things of the Devil.
43. "When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through
dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [p. 471]
44. Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came
out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
45. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more
wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state
of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this
Chrys.: The Lord had said to the Jews, "The men of Nineveh shall rise
in the judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it;" that they
should not therefore be careless, He tells them that not only in the world
to come but here also they should suffer grievous things; setting forth
in a sort of riddle the punishment that should fall upon them whence He
says, "When, the unclean spirit has gone out of a man."
Jerome: Some suppose that this place is spoken of heretics, because
the unclean spirit who dwelt in them before when they were Gentiles, is
cast out before the confession of the true faith; when after they went
over to heresy, and garnished their house with feigned virtues, then it
is that the Devil, having taken to him other seven evil spirits, returns
and dwells in them; and their last state becomes worse than their first.
And indeed heretics are in a much worse condition than the Gentiles; for
in the heretics was a hope of faith, in the Gentiles a war of discord.
Yet though this exposition has a plausibility and a shew of learning,
I am doubtful of its truth. For by the concluding words of this, whether
it be parable or example, "Thus shall it be to this evil generation," we
are compelled to refer it, not to heretics, or to men in general, but to
the Jewish people. So the context of the passage may not shift about loosely
and vaguely, and be like unmeaning speeches, but may be consistent with
itself from first to last. The unclean spirit then went out from the Jews
when they received the Law; and being cast out of the Jews, he walked through
the wilderness of the Gentiles; as it follows, "He walketh through dry
places seeking rest."
Remig.: He calls the hearts of the Gentiles, "dry places," as lacking
all the moisture of wholesome waters, that is of the [p. 472] holy Scriptures,
and of spiritual gifts, and strangers to the pouring in of the Holy Spirit.
Raban.: Or, the "dry places" are the hearts of the faithful, which after
they have been purged from the weakness of loose thoughts, the crafty lier-in-wait
tries if by any means he may fix his footsteps there; but lying from the
chaste spirit, the Devil finds no resting place to his mind but in the
heart of the wicked; as it follows, "and findeth none."
Remig.: The Devil supposed he should have rest for ever among the Gentiles,
but it is added, "and findeth none," because when the Son of God appeared
in the mystery of His Incarnation, the Gentiles believed.
Jerome: And when they believed on the Lord, the Devil, finding no place
among the nations, said, "I will return into my house whence I came out;"
I have the Jews from whom I formerly departed. "And when he is come, he
findeth it empty, swept, and garnished." [John 14:31] For the temple of
the Jews was empty, and had not Christ to dwell therein, He having said,
"Arise, let us go hence."
Seeing then they had not the protection of Angels, and were burdened
with the useless observances of the Law, and the traditions of the Pharisees,
the Devil returns to his former dwelling, and, taking to him seven other
daemons, inhabits it as before. And the last state of that nation is worse
than the first, for they are now possessed by a larger number of daemons
in blaspheming Jesus Christ in their synagogues, than they were possessed
with in Egypt before they had knowledge of the Law; for it is one thing
to have no belief that He should come, another not to receive Him when
He is come.
A number seven-fold is joined with the Devil, either because of the
sabbath, or from the number of the Holy Spirit; that as in Isaiah [margin
note: Isa 11:2] upon the bud which comes from the root of Jesse, seven
spirits of virtues are related to have descended; so on the other hand
an equal number of vices should he poured forth upon the Devil.
Beautifully then are seven spirits said to be taken to him, either because
of the breaking of the sabbath, or because of the heinous sins which are
contrary to the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit.
Chrys.: Or, herein He may be shewing forth their punishment. As when
daemoniacs have been loosed from their infirmity, if they after become
remiss, they draw upon themselves more grievous illusions, so shall it
be among you -- before ye were [p. 473] possessed by a daemon, when you
worshipped idols, and slew your sons to daemons; yet I forsook you not,
but cast out that daemon by the Prophets, and afterwards came Myself seeking
to purify you altogether. Since then ye would not hearken to me, but have
fallen into more heinous crime, (as it is greater wickedness to slay Christ
than to slay the Prophets,) therefore ye shall suffer more heavy calamities.
For what befel them under Vespasian and Titus, were much more grievous
than they had suffered in Egypt, in Babylon, and under Antiochus.
And this indeed is not all He shews concerning them, but also that since
they were destitute of every virtue, they were more fit for the habitation
of daemons than before. It is reasonable to suppose that these things were
said not to them only, but also to us. If after being enlightened and delivered
from our former evils, we are again possessed by the same wickedness, the
punishment of these latter sins will be greater than of the first; as Christ
spake to the paralytic, "Behold, thou art made whole, sin not, lest a worse
thing come upon thee." [John 5:14]
Raban,: For when any one is converted to the faith, the Devil is cast
out of him in Baptism, who driven thence wanders up and down through the
dry places, that is, the hearts of the faithful.
Greg., Mor., xxxiii, 3: The dry places where no water is are the hearts
of the righteous, which by the power of discipline are dried from all humours
of carnal lust. The wet places are the minds of worldly men, which the
humour of carnal lust fills, and makes watery; in such the Devil imprints
his footsteps the more deeply, inasmuch as in his wanderings he comes down
upon such hearts as upon low and marshy ground.
Raban.: And returning to his house whence he had gone out, "he findeth
it empty," of good works through slothfulness, "swept," that is, of its
old vices by Baptism, and "garnished" with feigned virtues through hypocrisy.
Aug., Quaest. Ev., i, 8: So that in these words the Lord signifies that
some shall so believe as not to have strength for the work of continence,
and shall return to the world. "He taketh unto him other seven," is to
be understood that when any has fallen from righteousness, he shall also
have hypocrisy. For the lust of the flesh being cast out of its wonted
works by penitence, when it finds not any delights in which it may rest,
returns the more greedily, and again takes possession of [p. 474] the goal,
if carelessness has ensued, and there has not been introduced as the dweller
in the cleansed abode the word of God in sound doctrine.
And as he will not only have the seven vices which are the contraries
of the spiritual virtues, but will hypocritically feign that he has the
virtues, therefore his old lust, taking to itself seven other worse, that
is, this seven-fold hypocrisy, returns to him so as to make the last state
of that man worse than the former.
Greg., Mor., vii, 17: For it often happens that the soul in the commencement
of its progress is lifted up, and prides itself on its virtues, that it
opens an entrance to the adversary who is raging against it, and who shews
himself the more violent in breaking into it, by how much he was grieved
at being cast out, though but for a short space.