Matthew Chapter 9, Verse 18
"While He spake these things unto them, behold, there came in1
and worshipped Him, saying, My daughter is even new dead;
but come and lay Thy hand upon her, and she shall live."
The deed overtook the words; so that the mouths of the Pharisees were the
more stopped. For both he that came was a ruler of the synagogue, and his
affliction terrible. For the young damsel was both his only child, and
twelve years old, the very flower of her age; on which account especially
He raised her up again, and that immediately.
And if Luke say that men came, saying, "Trouble not the Master, for
she is dead;"2 we will say this, that the expression, "she is even now
dead," was that of one conjecturing from the time of his journeying, or
exaggerating his affliction. For it is an usual thing with persons in need
to heighten their own evils by their report, and to say something more
than is really true, the more to attract those whom they are beseeching.
But see his dullness: how he requires of Christ two things, both His
actual presence, and the laying on of His hand: and this by the way is
a sign that he had left her still breathing. This Naaman also, that Syrian,
required of the prophet. "For I thought," saith he, "he will surely come
out, and will lay on his hand."3 For in truth they who are more or less
dull of temper, require sight and sensible things.
And whereas Mark4 saith, He took the three disciples, and so doth Luke;5
our evangelist merely saith, "the disciples." Wherefore then did He not
take with Him Matthew, though he had but just come unto Him? To bring him
to a more earnest longing, and because he was yet rather in an imperfect
state. For to this intent doth He honor those, that these may grow such
as those are. But for him it sufficed for the present, to see what befell
the woman with the issue of blood, and to be honored by His table, and
by His partaking of his salt.
And when He had risen up many followed Him, as for a great miracle,
both on account of the person who had come, and because the more part being
of a grosser disposition were seeking not so much the care of the soul,
as the healing of the body; and they flowed together, some urged by their
own afflictions, some hastening to behold how other men's were cured: however,
there were as yet but few in the habit of coming principally for the sake
of His words and doctrine. Nevertheless, He did not suffer them to enter
into the house, but His disciples only; and not even all of these, everywhere
instructing us to repel the applause of the multitude.
2. "And, behold," it is said, "a woman that had an issue of blood twelve
years, came behind Him, and touched the hem of His garment. For she said
within herself, If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole."6
Wherefore did she not approach Him boldly? She was ashamed on account
of her affliction, accounting herself to be unclean. For if the menstruous
woman was judged not to be clean, much more would she have the same thought,
who was afflicted with such a disease; since in fact that complaint was
under the law accounted a great uncleanness.7 Therefore she lies hidden,
and conceals herself. For neither had she as yet the proper and correct
opinion concerning Him: else she would not have thought to be concealed.
And this is the first woman that came unto Him in public, having heard
of course that He heals women also, and that He is on His way to the little
daughter that was dead.
And she durst not invite him to her house, although she was wealthy;8
nay, neither did she approach publicly, but secretly with faith she touched
His garments. For she did not doubt, nor say in herself, "Shall I indeed
be delivered from the disease? shall I indeed fail of deliverance?" But
confident of her health, she so approached Him. "For she said," we read,
"in herself, If I may only touch His garment, I shall be whole." Yea, for
she saw out of what manner of house He was come, that of the publicans,
and who they were that followed Him, sinners and publicans; and all these
things made her to be of good hope.
What then doth Christ? He suffers her not to be hid, but brings her
into the midst, and makes her manifest for many purposes.
It is true indeed that some of the senseless ones say, "He does this
for love of glory. For why," say they, "did He not suffer her to be hid?"
What sayest thou, unholy, yea, all unholy one? He that enjoins silence,
He that passes by miracles innumerable, is He in love with glory?
For what intent then doth He bring her forward? In the first place He
puts an end to the woman's fear, lest being pricked by her conscience,
as having stolen the gift, she should abide in agony. In the second place,
He sets her right, in respect of her thinking to be hid. Thirdly, He exhibits
her faith to all, so as to provoke the rest also to emulation; and His
staying of the fountains of her blood was no greater sign than He affords
in signifying His knowledge of all things. Moreover the ruler of the synagogue,
who was on the point of thorough unbelief, and so of utter ruin, He corrects
by the woman. Since both they that came said, "Trouble not the Master,
for the damsel is dead;" and those in the house laughed Him to scorn, when
He said, "She sleepeth;" and it was likely that the father too should have
experienced some such feeling. Therefore to correct this weakness beforehand,
He brings forward the simple woman. For as to that ruler being quite of
the grosser sort, hear what He saith unto him: "Fear not, do thou believe
only, and she shall be made whole."9
Thus He waited also on purpose for death to come on, and that then He
should arrive; in order that the proof of the resurrection might be distinct.
With this view He both walks more leisurely, and discourses more with the
woman; that He might give time for the damsel to die, and for those to
come, who told of it, and said, "Trouble not the Master."10 This again
surely the evangelist obscurely signifies, when he saith, "While He yet
spake, there came from the house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead,
trouble not the Master." For His will was that her death should be believed,
that her resurrection might not be suspected. And this He doth in every
instance. So also in the case of Lazarus, He waited a first and a second
and a third day.11
On account then of all these things He brings her forward, and saith,
"Daughter, be of good cheer,"12 even as He had said also to the paralyzed
person, "Son, be of good cheer." Because in truth the woman was exceedingly
alarmed; therefore He saith, "be of good cheer," and He calls her "daughter;"
for her faith had made her a daughter. After that comes also her praise:
"Thy faith hath made thee whole."
But Luke tells us also other things more than these concerning the woman.
Thus, when she had approached Him, saith he, and had received her health,
Christ did not immediately call her, but first He saith, "Which is he that
touched me?" Then when Peter and they that were with Him said, Master,
the multitude throng Thee, and press Thee, and sayest Thou, who touched
me?"13 (which was a very sure sign both that He was encompassed with real
flesh, and that He trampled on all vainglory, for they did not follow Him
at all afar off, but thronged Him on every side); He for His part continued
to say, "Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out
of me;"14 answering after a grosser manner according to the impression
of His hearers. But these things He said, that He might also induce her
of herself to make confession. For on this account neither did He immediately
convict her, in order that having signified that He knows all things clearly,
He might induce her of her own accord to publish all, and work upon her
to proclaim herself what had been done, and that He might not incur suspicion
Seest thou the woman superior to the ruler of the synagogue? She detained
Him not, she took no hold of Him, but touched Him only with the end of
her fingers, and though she came later, she first went away healed. And
he indeed was bringing the Physician altogether to his house, but for her
a mere touch suffered. For though she was bound by her affliction, yet
her faith had given her wings. And mark how He comforts her, saying, "Thy
faith hath saved thee." Now surely, had He drawn her forward for display,
He would not have added this; but He saith this, partly teaching the ruler
of the synagogue to believe, partly proclaiming the woman's praise, and
affording her by these words delight and advantage equal to her bodily
For that He did this as minded to glorify her, and to amend others,
and not to show Himself glorious, is manifest from hence; that He indeed
would have been equally an object of admiration even without this (for
the miracles were pouring around Him faster than the snow-flakes, and He
both had done and was to do far greater things than these): but the woman,
had this not happened, would have gone away hid, deprived of those great
praises. For this cause He brought her forward, and proclaimed her praise,
and cast out her fear, (for "she came," it is said, "trembling"15 ); and
He caused her to be of good courage, and together with health of body,
He gave her also other provisions for her journey, in that He said, "Go
3. "And when He came into the ruler's house, and saw the minstrels and
the people making a noise, He saith unto them, Give place, for the maid
is not dead, but sleepeth. And they laughed Him to scorn."17
Noble tokens, surely, these, of the rulers of synagogues; in the moment
of her death pipes and cymbals raising a dirge! What then doth Christ?
All the rest He cast out, but the parents He brought in; to leave no room
for saying that He healed her in any other way. And before her resurrection
too, He raises her in His word; saying, "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth."
And in many instances besides He doeth this. As then on the sea He expels
tumult from the mind of the by-standers, at the same time both signifying
that it is easy for Him to raise the dead (which same thing He did with
respect to Lazarus also, saying, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth18 ;" and
also teaching us not to fear death; for that it is not death, but is henceforth
become a sleep. Thus, since He Himself was to die, He doth in the persons
of others prepare His disciples beforehand to be of good courage, and to
bear the end meekly. Since in truth, when He had come, death was from that
time forward a sleep.
But yet they laughed Him to scorn: He however was not indignant at being
disbelieved by those for whom He was a little afterwards to work miracles;
neither did He rebuke their laughter, in order that both it and the pipes,
and the cymbals, and all the other things, might be a sure proof of her
death. For since for the most raft, after the miracles are done, men disbelieve,
He takes them beforehand by their own answers; which was done in. the case
both of Lazarus and of Moses. For to Moses first He saith, "What is that
in thine hand?"19 in order that when he saw it become a serpent, He should
not forget that it was a rod before, but being reminded of his own saying,
might be amazed at what was done. And with regard to Lazarus He saith,
"Where have ye laid him?"20 that they who had said, "Come and see," and
"he stinketh, for he hath been dead four days," might no longer be able
to disbelieve His having raised a dead man.
Seeing then the cymbals and the multitude, He put them all out, and
in the presence of the parents works the miracle; not introducing another
soul, but recalling the same that had gone out, and awakening her as it
were out of a sleep.
And He holds her by the hand, assuring the beholders; so as by that
sight to make a way for the belief of her resurrection. For whereas the
father said, "Lay thy hand upon her;"21 He on His part doth somewhat more,
for He lays no hand on her, but rather takes hold of her, and raises her,
implying that to Him all things are ready. And He not only raises her up,
but also commands to give her meat, that the event might not seem to be
an illusion. And He doth not give it Himself, but commands them; as also
with regard to Lazarus He said, "Loose him, and let him go,"22 and afterwards
makes him partaker of His table.23 For so is He wont always to establish
both points, making out with all completeness the demonstration alike of
the death and of the resurrection.
But do thou mark, I pray thee, not her resurrection only, but also His
commanding "to tell no man;" and by all learn thou this especially, His
freedom from haughtiness and vainglory. And withal learn this other thing
also, that He cast them that were beating themselves out of the house,
and declared them unworthy of such a sight; and do not thou go out with
the minstrels, but remain with Peter, and John, and James.
For if He cast them out then, much more now. For then it was not yet
manifest that death was become a sleep, but now this is clearer than the
very sun itself. But is it that He hath not raised thy daughter now? But
surely He will raise her, and with more abundant glory. For that damsel,
when she had risen, died again; but thy child, if she rise again, abides
thenceforth in immortal being.
4. Let no man therefore beat himself any more, nor wail, neither disparage
Christ's achievement. For indeed He overcame death. Why then dost thou
wail for nought? The thing is become a sleep. Why lament and weep? Why,
even if Greeks24 did this, they should be laughed to scorn; but when the
believer behaves himself unseemly in these things, what plea hath he? What
excuse will there be for them that are guilty of such folly, and this,
after so long a time, and so clear proof of the resurrection?
But thou, as though laboring to add to the charge against thee, dost
also bring us in heathen women singing dirges, to kindle thy feelings,
and to stir up the furnace thoroughly: and thou hearkenest not to Paul,
saying, "What concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel?"25
And while the children of heathens, who know nothing of resurrection,
do yet find words of consolation, saying, "Bear it manfully, for it is
not possible to undo what hath taken place, nor to amend it by lamentations;"
art not thou, who hearest sayings wiser and better than these, ashamed
to behave thyself more unseemly than they? For we say not at all, "Bear
it manfully, because it is not possible to undo what hath taken place,"
but, "bear it manfully, because he will surely rise again;" the child sleeps
and is not dead; he is at rest and hath not perished. For resurrection
will be his final lot, and eternal life, and immortality, and an angel's
portion. Hearest thou not the Psalm that saith, "Return unto thy rest,
O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee?"26 God calleth
it "bountiful dealing," and dost thou make lamentation?
And what more couldest thou have done, if thou wert a foe and an enemy
of the dead? Why, if there must be mourning, it is the devil that ought
to mourn. He may beat himself, he may wail, at our journeying to greater
blessings. This lamentation becomes his wickedness, not thee, who art going
to be crowned and to rest. Yea, for death is a fair haven. Consider, at
any rate, with how many evils our present life is filled; reflect how often
thou thyself hast cursed our present life. For indeed things go on to worse,
and from the very beginning thou wert involved in no small condemnation.
For, saith He, "In sorrow that shalt bring forth children;" and, "In the
sweat of thy face shalt thou eat thy bread;"27 and, "In the world ye shall
But of our state there, no such word at all is spoken, but all the contrary;
that "grief and sorrow and sighing have fled away."29 And that "men shall
come from the east and from the west, and shall recline in the bosoms of
Abraham and Isaac and Jacob."30 And that the region there is a spiritual
bride-chamber, and bright lamps, and a translation to Heaven.
5. Why then disgrace the departed? Why dispose the rest to fear and
tremble at death? Why cause many to accuse God, as though He had done very
dreadful things? Or rather, why after this invite poor persons, and entreat
priests to pray?31 "In order," saith he, "that the dead may depart into
rest; that he may find the Judge propitious." For these things then art
thou mourning and wailing? Thou art therefore fighting and warring with
thyself: exciting a storm against thyself on account of his having entered
"But what can I do?" saith he: "such a thing is nature." The blame is
not nature's, neither doth it belong to the necessary consequence of the
thing; but it is we that are turning all things upside down, are overcome
with softness, are giving up our proper nobility, and are making the unbelievers
worse. For how shall we reason with another concerning immortality? how
shall we persuade the heathen, when we fear death, and shudder at it more
than he? Many, for instance, among the Greeks32 although they knew nothing
of course about immortality, have crowned themselves at the decrease of
their children, and appeared in white garments, that they might reap the
present glory; but thou not even for the future glory's sake ceasest thy
woman's behavior and wailing.
But hast thou no heirs, nor any to succeed to thy goods? And which wouldest
thou rather, that he should be heir of thy possessions, or of Heaven? And
which didst thou desire, that he should succeed to the things that perish,
which he must have let go soon after, or to things that remain, and are
immoveable? Thou hadst him not for heir, but God had him instead of thee;
he became not joint-heir with his own brethren, but he became "joint-heir
"But to whom," saith he, "are we to leave our garments, to whom our
houses, to whom our slaves and our lands?" To him again, and more securely
than if he lived; for there is nothing to hinder. For if barbarians burn
the goods of the departed together with them, much more were it a righteous
thing for thee to send away with the dead what things he hath: not to be
turned to ashes, like those, but to invest him with more glory; and that
if he departed a sinner, it may do away his sins;33 but if righteous, that
it may become an increase of reward and recompense.
But dost thou long to see him? Then live the same life with him, and
thou wilt soon obtain that sacred vision.
And herewith consider this also, that though thou shouldest not hearken
to us, thou wilt certainly yield to time. But no reward then for thee;
for the consolation comes of the number of the days. Whereas if thou art
willing now to command thyself, thou wilt gain two very great points: first,
thou wilt deliver thyself from the intervening ills, next, thou wilt be
crowned with the brighter crown from God. For indeed neither almsgiving
nor anything else is nearly so great as bearing affliction meekly.
Bear in mind, that even the Son of God died: and He indeed for thee,
but thou for thyself. And when He said, "If it be possible, let the cup
pass from me,"34 and suffered pain, and was in agony, nevertheless He shunned
not the end, but underwent it, and that with its whole course of exceeding
woe.35 That is, He did by no means simply endure death, but the most shameful
death; and before His death, stripes; and before His stripes, upbraidings,
and jeers, and revilings; instructing thee to bear all manfully. And though
He died, and put off His body, He resumed it again in greater glory, herein
also holding out to thee good hopes. If these things be not a fable, lament
not. If thou account these things to be sure, weep not; but if thou dost
weep, how wilt thou be able to persuade the Greek that thou believest?
6. But even so doth the event still appear intolerable to thee? Well
then, for this very cause it is not meet to lament for him, for he is delivered
from many such calamities. Grudge not therefore against him, neither envy
him: for to ask death for yourself because of his premature end, and to
lament for him that he did not live to endure many such things, is rather
the part of one grudging and envying.
And think not of this, that he will no more return home: but that thyself
also art a little while after to go to him. Regard not this, that he returns
here no more, but that neither do these things that are seen remain such
as they are, but these too are being transformed. Yea, for heaven, and
earth, and sea, and all, are being put together afresh,36 and then shalt
thou recover thy child in greater glory.
And if indeed he departed a sinner, his wickedness is stayed; for certainly,
had God known that he was being converted, He would not have snatched him
away before his repentance: but if he ended his life righteous, he now
possesses all good in safety. Whence it is manifest that thy tears are
not of kindly affection, but of unreasoning passion. For if thou lovedst
the departed, thou shouldest rejoice and be glad that he is delivered from
the present waves.
For what is there more, I pray thee? What is there fresh and new? Do
we not see the same things daily revolving? Day and night, night and day,
winter and summer, summer and winter, and nothing more. And these indeed
are ever the same; but our evils are fresh, and newer. Wouldest thou then
have him every day drawing up more of these things, and abiding here, and
sickening, and mourning, and in fear and trembling, and enduring some of
the ills of life, dreading others lest he some time endure them? Since
assuredly thou canst not say this, that one sailing over this great sea
might possibly be free from despondency and cares, and from all other such
And withal take this also into account, that thou didst not bring him
forth immortal; and that if he had not died now, he must have endured it
soon after. But is it that thou hadst not thy fill of him? But thou wilt
of a certainty enjoy him there. But longest thou to see him here also?
And what is there to hinder thee? For thou art permitted even here, if
thou be watchful; for the hope of the things to come is clearer than sight.
But thou, if he were in some king's court wouldest not ever seek to
see him, so long as thou heardest of his good report: and seeing him departed
to the things that are far better, art thou faint-hearted about a little
time; and that, when thou hast in his place one to dwell with thee?
But hast thou no husband? yet hast thou a consolation, even the Father
of the orphans, and Judge of the widows. Hear even Paul pronouncing this
widowhood blessed, and saying, "Now she that is a widow indeed and desolate,
trusteth in the Lord."37 Because such an one will appear more approved,
evincing as she doth greater patience. Mourn not therefore for that which
is thy crown, that for which thou demandest a reward.
Since thou hast also restored His deposit, if thou hast exhibited the
very thing entrusted to thee. Be not in care any more, having laid up the
possession in an inviolable treasure-house.
But if thou wouldest really learn, both what is our present being, and
what our life to come; and that the one is a spider's web and a shadow,
but the things there, all of them, immoveable and immortal; thou wouldest
not after that want other arguments. For whereas now thy child is delivered
from all change; if he were here, perhaps he might continue good, perhaps
not so. Seest thou not how many openly cast off38 their own children? how
many are constrained to keep them at home, although worse than the open
Let us make account of all these things and practise self-command; for
so shall we at once show regard to the deceased, and enjoy much praise
from men, and receive from God the great rewards of patience, and attain
unto the good things eternal; unto which may we all attain, by the grace
and love towards man of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and might
forever and ever. Amen.
1 [ei\selqw/n, "came in," so Tischendorf, but the R.
V. accepts the reading ei[j e0lqw/n, "there came one ruler."-R.]
2 Luke viii. 49.
3 2 Kings v.11, LXX.
4 Mark v.37.
5 Luke viii. 51.
6 Matt.ix. 21, 22. [R. V., "border" for "hem" "do" for
"may "; "made whole" for "whole".]
7 Levit. xv. 25.
8 Eusebius,E. H.,viii. 18,mentions a tradition that she
belonged to C'sarea Philippi, othetwise called Paneas,and that certain
brazen statues of a man holding out his hand and a woman kneeling, which
were there in his time, were set up at her expense, that being her native
place. He adds, that a certain plant which grew by the Saviour's statue.
when it came to touch the hem of His garment, stopped growing and that
it was endowed with virtue to cure all manner of diseases.
9 Luke viii. 50.
10 Mark v.35; Luke viii. 49.
11 John xi. 6, 39.
12 Matt. ix. 22; see verse 2
13 Luke viii. 45.
14 Luke viii. 46. [R. V., "power."]
15 Luke viii. 47. [The English rendering has been modified
to indicate more exactly the words cited.-R.]
16 Luke viii. 48.
17 Matt. ix. 23, 24. [R. V., "the flute-players, and
the crowdsmaking a tumult."]
18 John ii. 11.
19 Ex. iv. 2.
20 John xi. 34, 39.
21 Matt. ix. 18.
22 John xi. 44.
23 John xii. 2.
24 [Probably "Gentiles" or "heathen" would be a better
reading. The contrast in with "believer".-R.]
25 2 Cor. vi. 15. [R. V., "unbeliever."]
26 Ps. cxvi. 7.
27 Gen. iii. 16, 19.
28 John xvi. 33.
29 Is. xxxv. 10.
30 Matt. viii. 11.
31 Because the feasts and prayers for the dead being
supposed to benefit those only who have fallen asleep in the Lord, and
whose final happiness was therefore sure, it was an inconsistency in those
who celebrated them to sorrow as if they had no hope. See Bingham, b. xxiii.
c. iii. sec. 13,
32 [Or, "Gentiles."]
33 Not that St. Chrysostom imagined that anything could
be done to change the relative condition of those who have died in the
favor or displeasure of God: see e. g. Hom. XXXVI. p. 506, ed.Field. Indeed,
the same is implied in the words which immediately follow. "Dost thou long
to see him? Then live the same life with him," &c.
34 Matt. xxvi. 39.
35 meta\ mollh=j th=j tragw|di/aj.
37 1 Tim. v. 5. [R. V., "hath her hope set on God." Chrysostom
reads ku\rion, and Augustin followed the same reading.-R.]