Matthew 4:24

The report of him went forth into all Syria (aphlqen h akoh autou ei olhn thn Syrian). Rumour (akoh) carries things almost like the wireless or radio. The Gentiles all over Syria to the north heard of what was going on in Galilee. The result was inevitable. Jesus had a moving hospital of patients from all over Galilee and Syria. "Those that were sick" (tou kakw econta), literally "those who had it bad," cases that the doctors could not cure. "Holden with divers diseases and torments" (poikilai nosoi kai basanoi sunecomenou). "Held together" or "compressed" is the idea of the participle. The same word is used by Jesus in Luke 12:50 and by Paul in Philippians 1:23 and of the crowd pressing on Jesus ( Luke 8:45 ). They brought these difficult and chronic cases (present tense of the participle here) to Jesus. Instead of "divers" say "various" (poikilai) like fever, leprosy, blindness. The adjective means literally many colored or variegated like flowers, paintings, jaundice, etc. Some had "torments" (basanoi). The word originally (oriental origin) meant a touchstone, "Lydian stone" used for testing gold because pure gold rubbed on it left a peculiar mark. Then it was used for examination by torture. Sickness was often regarded as "torture." These diseases are further described "in a descending scale of violence" (McNeile) as "demoniacs, lunatics, and paralytics" as Moffatt puts it, "demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics" as Weymouth has it, (daimonizomenou kai selhniazomenou kai paralutikou), people possessed by demons, lunatics or "moon-struck" because the epileptic seizures supposedly followed the phases of the moon (Bruce) as shown also in Matthew 17:15 , paralytics (our very word). Our word "lunatic" is from the Latin luna (moon) and carries the same picture as the Greek selhniazomai from selhnh (moon). These diseases are called "torments."

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