a MATT. 12:15-21; b MARK 3:7-12.
a 15 And Jesus perceiving it withdrew b with his disciples a from thence: b to the sea [This was the first withdrawal of Jesus for the avowed purpose of self-preservation. After this we find Jesus constantly retiring to avoid the plots of his enemies. The Sea of Galilee, with its boats and its shores touching different jurisdictions, formed a convenient and fairly safe retreat]: a and many followed him; b and a great multitude from Galilee followed; and from Judæa,
8 and from Jerusalem, and from Idumaea, and beyond the Jordan, and about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, hearing what great things he did, came unto him. [Idumæa was the land formerly inhabited by the Edomites. It is a Greek word from "Edom," which was another word for Esau ( Genesis 25:30 ), and means red. This land was originally the narrow strip reaching from the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, lying between the Arabah on the west, and the desert on the east, being about one hundred miles long and fifteen or twenty broad. During the Babylonian captivity, however, the Edomites took possession of the southern portion of Judæa, and Strabo says that they encroached as far as to the city of Hebron. They were conquered by John Hyrcanus, one of the Asmonæan princes about 120 B. C., and were by him made subservient to the law and incorporated with the Jewish people. As noted, Herod the Great sprang from this people. Tyre and Sidon were Phoenician cities on the Mediterranean seacoast, westward from the Lake of Galilee.] a and he healed them all,
17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet [ Isaiah 42:1-4 . Partly taken from the LXX and part an original translation], saying,
18 Behold, my servant whom I have chosen; My beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, And he shall declare judgment to the Gentiles. [The word translated "servant," means also son, but it is rightly translated "servant" here, for the Father uses another word when he would designate Jesus as specifically his Son ( Matthew 3:17 ; 17:5 ). Jesus was a servant in form ( Philippians 2:7 ), and in obedience ( Hebrews 10:9 ). The word "judgment," as used in the Old Testament, from which it is here translated, means rule, doctrine, truth. It is usually here understood as meaning that Jesus would reveal the gospel or the full truth of the new dispensation to the Gentiles.]
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, Till he send forth judgment unto victory. [These two verses find their fulfillment in the events of this paragraph. Jesus did not strive nor quarrel with the Pharisees, but having victoriously put them to silence, he meekly and quietly withdrew from their presence, and the healing of the multitudes which followed him as aptly fulfilled the prediction about the reed and the flax, for these two words, symbolic of weakness ( Isaiah 36:6 ) and patience-trying annoyance ( Proverbs 10:26 ), fitly represented the sick and lame and blind--sinners who, by affliction, had been made contrite and poor in spirit, remorseful and repentant, and who were brought to Jesus to be healed. If the hollow cylinder of the reed is bruised, its strength is gone, and it is no longer able to stand erect. Flax was then used where we now use cotton, as wicking for lamps. Imperfection in the fiber of it would cause it to smoke. A violent man, irritated by the fumes of the smoking wick, would put it out, and cast it from him. But the Lord's servant would patiently fan it to flames. The statement that he would not break these bruised reeds, nor quench this smoking flax, was an emphatic declaration, by contrast, that he would heal their bruises and fan their dying energies and resolutions into a flame, until he sent forth judgment unto victory; i. e., until the gospel--the authoritative announcement of the divine purpose or will--shall be sent forth and advanced to its final triumph. Christ shall show patient mercy and forbearance until the gospel shall practically exclude the need of it, by triumphing over Jewish opposition and Gentile impiety so as to bring about universal righteousness.]
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles hope. [This verse sets forth the breadth of Christ's conquest over all nations. It reaches beyond our times into a future which is yet to be. But it was partially fulfilled by the presence of Idumæans and citizens of Tyre and Sidon in the multitudes which Jesus healed--unless we say that only Jews from these quarters are meant, which is not likely.]