Matthew 9:36

36 1Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, 2because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without * a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36 Meaning and Commentary

Matthew 9:36

But when he saw the multitudes
As he took his circuit through the several cities, towns, and villages, he made his observations upon the large numbers that flocked to his ministry, and seemed to be desirous of spiritual instructions, in what an unhappy and melancholy situation they were; and

he was moved with compassion on them:
his bowels yearned for them, he was touched with a feeling of their infirmities, as the merciful high priest, the good shepherd, and faithful prophet; being heartily concerned for the souls of men, their comfort here, and everlasting happiness hereafter:

because they fainted;
being fatigued and tired, not in their bodies, through journeying from place to place, to hear the word, but in their minds; being burdened and wearied with the various traditions and doctrines of the Scribes and Pharisees:

and were scattered abroad;
thrown and tossed about, and divided through the different sects of religion among them; no due care was taken of them, to gather and keep them together, and feed them with wholesome doctrine; but were as abjects, outcasts, that no man regarded, and in great danger of the loss and ruin of their immortal souls: being

as sheep without a shepherd;
that was good for anything, or did the office and duty of a shepherd to them: the Scribes and Pharisees were shepherds indeed, such as they were, but very bad ones; like the shepherds of Israel of old, who fed themselves, and not the flock; who strengthened not the diseased, nor healed the sick, nor bound up that which was broken; nor brought again that which was driven away, nor sought that which was lost: but on the contrary, caused them to go astray from mountain to hill; whereby they forgot their resting place, in the Messiah promised them, and who was now come.

Matthew 9:36 In-Context

34 But the Pharisees were saying, "He casts out the demons by the ruler of the demons."
35 Jesus was going through all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
36 Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.
37 Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.
38 "Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest."

Cross References 2

  • 1. Matthew 14:14; Matthew 15:32; Mark 6:34; Mark 8:2
  • 2. Numbers 27:17; Ezekiel 34:5; Zechariah 10:2; Mark 6:34

Footnotes 4