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Matthew 12:22-30 – The Charge of Demonism

|| Mark 3:23-30; Luke 11:14-23

MT12:22 Then they approached Jesus with a demonized person[1] – blind and mute – and he cured him, so the speechless man spoke[2] and began seeing. MT12:23 And the crowds were beside themselves[3] and were saying, “Is this person not the Son of David?”[4] MT12:24 But when the Pharisees heard this,[5] they said, “This fellow does not exorcise demons save by Beelzebul,[6] the ruler of the demons.” MT12:25 Realizing their thoughts, Jesus told them: “Every kingdom divided against itself will be devastated.[7] Every town or house divided against itself will not remain standing. MT12:26 And so if Satan[8] exorcised Satan he was divided against himself. So, how would his kingdom[9] remain standing? MT12:27 And, if I am exorcising demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons[10] exorcise?[11] Therefore, they will be your judges.[12] MT12:28 But, if I exorcise demons by God’s Pneuma,[13] really the Realm of the God has passed you by.[14] MT12:29 Or, how is anyone able to enter a powerful person’s[15] home and grab his [valuable] cups[16] without first binding the powerful person? And only then can his home be pillaged.[17] MT12:30 The person not with me is against me,[18] and the person not assembling with me scatters.[19]

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File:Ilyas Basim Khuri Bazzi Rahib - Jesus Heals a Demon-possessed Boy - Walters W59248B - Full Page.jpg

Jesus Heals a Demon-possessed Boy – 1684 – folio from Walters manuscript W.592,

[1] Demonized person: Or, KJV: possessed with a devil; WEY: demoniac. Compare Matthew 9:32.

[2] Speechless man spoke: We wonder at his first words.

[3] Beside themselves: Or, KJV: the people were amazed; WMS: dumbfounded; PME: wild with excitement.

[4] The Son of David: One of the earliest designations given Jesus (Matthew 1:1). Note, Joseph is also so-called (Matthew 1:20). See footnotes on Matthew 9:27.

[5] Pharisees heard this: The whole incident must drive them wild with hatred: they see the miracle and note the crowd’s reaction. The focus is on the Nazarene and this arouses their jealousy.

[6] Beelzebul: See footnotes on Matthew 10:25. Jesus makes it clear this is a cryptic name for Satan.

[7] Devastated: Or, KJV: brought to desolation; WEY: in which civil war rages; GDSP: destruction; PME: bound to collapse.

[8] Satan: The Jewish clergy have really called Jesus Satan. This is about the worst accusation that can be made against a godly person. It is even beyond “apostate.” See the notes on Matthew 4:10 and 5:22.

[9] His kingdom: Satan has his own kingdom and there are those within the realm of that kingdom. These are those he rules over and who have becomes “sons of the wicked one.” The major characteristic which differentiates the two kingdoms is hatred and love (Matthew 13:38; John 8:44; 1 John 3:10).

[10] Your sons: The rabbis were called “father” and thus their own disciples were their children or sons. Or, NJB: your experts; WEY: your disciples. Compare 1 Kings 20:35; 2 Kings 2:3.

[11] Exorcise: Josephus records a case of casting out demons (Antiquities 8. 2. 5). He also reports the Jewish rabbis used a herb or drug Macherus (Wars of the Jews 7. 6. 3). In the Jewish apocryphal book Tobit there is an example of the exorcism of a maiden with whom a wicked demon was in love (Tobit 6:16; 8:1-4).

[12] They will be your judges: It is possible the “they” are the rabbis own “sons” who will critique their master’s words and actions in this accusation. Or, RIEU: you stand condemned by them; NEB: if this is your argument, they themselves will refute you.

[13] By God’s Pneuma: In Luke 11:19, 20 this is God’s “finger.” Thus, the Pneuma or Spirit is likened to God’s finger, a very small part of all that God is.

[14] Passed you by: Or, KJV: comes unto you; RHM: has come upon you unawares; MOF: reached you already; GDSP: overtaken you; PME: swept over you unawares. As matters develop the Pharisees are in a highly dangerous situation with relation to God and the unforgivable sin: they have called Jesus an apostate and demonized (Matthew 5:22). It is possible, therefore, that their opportunity to become part of the realm of Nazarene profession (the Christian Church) is dim indeed. They may have missed their opportunity (Matthew 23:13, 15, 33).

[15] Powerful person’s: Or, strong man’s. Compare Isaiah 49:24-26.

[16] Grab his [valuable] cups: Or, KJV: spoil his goods; RHM: seize his goods; TCNT: carry of his goods.

[17] Home be pillaged: Or, KJV: spoil his house; MON: rob his house; WMS: make a clean sweep of his house; WEY: ransack his house.

[18] Not with me is against me: Compare Luke 9:50.

[19] Not assembling with me scatters: Or, GDSP: anyone who does not join me in gathering, scatters; BAS: he who does not take part with me in getting people together, is driving them away. The Greek is SYNAGON related to “synagogue.” How does one gather or assemble with Christ?

 

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Preceding

Matthew 12:1-8 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Something Greater than the Temple

Matthew 12:9-21 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: Is It Lawful to Cure on the Sabbath?

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Related

  1. casting out demons and the battle of the wills
  2. March 30, 2018: “Possession”
  3. SGW, 2-16-18, Luke 11:14-28
  4. Fourth Monday in Ordinary Time

Comments on: "Matthew 12:22-30 – The Nazarene’s Commentary: the Charge of Demonism" (5)

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