Jan. 26 Matthew 4:12-23 lectionary commentary on the Greek text

Jan. 26 2014 Lectionary, Matthew 4:12-23

Mt 4:12 Ἀκούσας δὲ ὅτι Ἰωάννης παρεδόθη[A] ἀνεχώρησεν εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. But when he [i.e. Jesus] heard that John was handed over, he withdrew into Galilee
Mt 4:13 καὶ καταλιπὼν τὴν Ναζαρὰ ἐλθὼν κατῴκησεν εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ τὴν παραθαλασσίαν ἐν ὁρίοις Ζαβουλὼν καὶ Νεφθαλίμ· And leaving Nazareth, he went [and] settled in Capernaum—the [place] beside the sea—in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali,
Mt 4:14 ἵνα πληρωθῇ[B] τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἠσαΐου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος· So that what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled, when he said,
Mt 4:15 Γῆ Ζαβουλὼν καὶ γῆ Νεφθαλίμ, ὁδὸν θαλάσσης, πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου[C], Γαλιλαία τῶν ἐθνῶν,[D] “Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles–
Mt 4:16 ὁ λαὸς ὁ καθήμενος ἐν σκοτίᾳ φῶς εἶδεν μέγα, καὶ τοῖς καθημένοις ἐν χώρᾳ καὶ σκιᾷ θανάτου φῶς ἀνέτειλεν[E] αὐτοῖς. The people sitting in darkness saw a great light, and to those sitting in a region and shadow of death, light arose for them.”
Mt 4:17 Ἀπὸ τότε ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν· Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν[F] γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.[G] From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven has come near.”
Mt 4:18 Περιπατῶν δὲ παρὰ τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας εἶδεν δύο ἀδελφούς, Σίμωνα τὸν λεγόμενον Πέτρον καὶ Ἀνδρέαν τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, βάλλοντας ἀμφίβληστρον εἰς τὴν θάλασσαν, ἦσαν γὰρ ἁλιεῖς· And walking beside the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (the one called Peter) and Andrews his brother, throwing a net into the lake, for they were fishers.
Mt 4:19 καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου, καὶ ποιήσω ὑμᾶς ἁλιεῖς ἀνθρώπων. And he says to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers of people.”
Mt 4:20 οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὰ δίκτυα[H] ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ. And they immediately leaving the fishnets followed him.
Mt 4:21 Καὶ προβὰς ἐκεῖθεν εἶδεν ἄλλους δύο ἀδελφούς, Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου καὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν ἀδελφὸν αὐτοῦ, ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ μετὰ Ζεβεδαίου τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτῶν καταρτίζοντας[I] τὰ δίκτυα αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐκάλεσεν αὐτούς. And going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James the [son] of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, arranging their nets, and he called them.
Mt 4:22 οἱ δὲ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τὸ πλοῖον καὶ τὸν πατέρα[J] αὐτῶν ἠκολούθησαν αὐτῷ. And they, immediately leaving the boat and their father, followed him.
Mt 4:23 Καὶ περιῆγεν ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ, διδάσκων ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς αὐτῶν καὶ κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τῆς βασιλείας καὶ θεραπεύων πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν[K] ἐν τῷ λαῷ. And he led [them] around in all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom and healing every illness and every disability among the people.

[A] The same word used later in the gospel of Judas’ betrayal, but here carrying simply the connotation of being “handed over” to the authorities.

[B] One of 13 references to the fulfillment of Scripture in Matthew, using this verb.

[C] A difficult reference (but found in Isaiah), because it suggests that the speaker is located to the east of the Jordan, since Capernaum is to the west of the Sea of Galilee (which feeds into the Jordan river).

[D] Given the way in which the Great Commission at the end of Matthew commands the disciples to “disciple all the nations” using the same word for nations/Gentiles found here, this is probably significant for Matthew.

[E] Probably a reference to the dawn and the rising of the sun.

[F] A particularly interesting interaction of meaning and tense.  The root verb ἐγγίζω means to draw near or approach.  The perfect tense of the form here indicates a present and continuing state as a result of a prior action.  Hence the Kingdom of Heaven is in the present and enduring state of having drawn near or approached.  So is it here or not?  It’s ambiguous!

[G] Identical to John’s language in 3:2.

[H] Interestingly a different word for “nets” from v. 18!  Apparently there was more than one kind of net that they left, and this latter term is the more inclusive one?

[I] Could be either “arranging” or “repairing.”

[J] Given the references elsewhere in the gospels to the way in which Jesus’ proclamation creates disruption for families, this is not insignificant.

[K] Literally “softness” or “weakness” but when combined with “illness” above, this seemed like an appropriate modern equivalent.


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