And after these things he went forth
After his discourse with the Scribes and Pharisees, and his healing of the man, sick with the palsy, he went forth from the city of Capernaum, to the sea side; not only for retirement and recreation, after the work of the day hitherto, but in order to meet with, and call one that was to be a disciple of his:
and saw a publican named Levi
who is said to be the son of Alphaeus, ( Mark 2:14 ) and so it is said to be in Beza's ancient copy here; and who was also called Matthew, see ( Matthew 9:9 )
sitting at the receipt of custom;
at the place where custom was received, and toll taken, near the sea side, of such that went over. The Syriac and Persic versions read, "sitting among publicans", of which business he himself was; and these might be his servants under him, or partners with him; (See Gill on Mark 2:14)
and he said unto him, follow me:
of all the publicans that were there, he singled out Levi, or Matthew, and directed his discourse to him, and called him to be a follower of him: an instance of powerful, special, and distinguishing grace this; (See Gill on Matthew 9:9).