For Bible Study Nerds

For Bible Study Nerds

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Historical Backgrounds)

posted by Mike Nappa

The story of the “Woman with an Issue of Blood” is told in three of the four gospel accounts: Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-24, and Luke 8:40-53. In addition to Matthew’s details, Luke informs us that “no one could heal her” (Luke 8:43) and Mark adds “she had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors.”

Ever wonder what the prescribed treatments were for continuous uterine bleeding during Jesus’ time? The good news is that the Babylonian Talmud shared a list of procedures for curing this woman’s condition. The bad news is that most of those “treatments” were awful—and ineffective. Here are just a few “cures” this woman likely endured:

  • Eat barley grain taken from the dung of a white mule, then try not to have a bowel movement for three days.
  • Sit at a crossroads, holding a cup of wine, until a man comes up from behind and scares you by shouting, “Cease your discharge!”
  • Have your doctor smear sixty pieces of clay on you (presumably around your vaginal area) while saying to you, “Cease your discharge!”
  • Boil fenugreek, saffron, and cumin in wine, then drink it while your doctor inanely commands, “Cease your discharge!”

It’s no wonder this poor young woman ran to Jesus for help!

 

Works Cited:

[GISM 87-88; ZB1, 237]

 

ΩΩΩ

About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Factual Info)

posted by Mike Nappa

The “Woman with an Issue of Blood” lived 12 years with a chronic uterine illness—but her physical suffering was not the worst part of her daily life. Here are the facts about what this woman most likely endured for more than a decade:

  • She was probably in her mid to late twenties—a young woman by our standards. According to Bible historian, Craig S. Keener, “[Her] ailment probably started after puberty; given an average life expectancy of about forty years and the ‘twelve years’ she had been ill, she may have spent half or all her adult life with this trouble.”
  • Because of her feminine discharge, this woman was literally shunned by everyone in her society. This was not simply a community prejudice; it was required by God himself and recorded by Moses in Leviticus 15.
  • According to Jewish law and customs at the time, the woman with an issue of blood was considered unclean, both physically and spiritually.
  • She was to be confined to her home while menstruating (which, for her, was all the time).
  • She was not allowed to touch anybody. Her family members weren’t even allowed to lie on a bed or sit on a chair that she had touched.
  • People who touched this menstruating woman, even by accident, were considered contaminated right alongside her and had to a) take a bath to purify themselves; b) wash their clothes; and c) stay isolated until evening.
  • She was forced away from religious gatherings, from temple worship, from even joyous annual religious feasts that consumed her Jewish culture in regular intervals.
  • Gentile cultures of that time had similar rules. For instance, the Roman philosopher Pliny dictated that the touch of a menstruating woman was invisibly harmful and to be avoided.
  • Some extremists forbade even speaking with a menstruating woman or making eye contact with her because her breath was poisonous and her gaze was injurious.

 

Works Cited:

[BBC, 148; BKC 124; ZB1, 237; GISM, 83-85]

 

ΩΩΩ

About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Personality and Character Studies)

posted by Mike Nappa

Matthew 9:18-26 reports how Jesus raised from death the daughter of a “ruler” in Israel. Matthew tells the story in passing, not even bothering to include the ruler’s name. From the corresponding reports in Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:40-56, though, we know the man’s name to be Jairus.

Here’s what we know about Jairus:

  • His name, “Jairus” is from the Greek word, Iairos, which means “he enlightens,” or in the Hebrew context, “whom Jehovah enlightens.” Jairus is pronounced, “jay EYE russ.”
  • He lived somewhere in the region of Galilee, probably within a day’s walk (or less) of Jesus’ home base in Capernaum.
  • Although he was a leader in the synagogue, he was probably not a rabbi. Most likely he was an “elder,” which was “a layman responsible for the administration of the synagogue.” This would have given him significant authority over things like: selecting who could teach, deciding what would occur during worship services, maintaining synagogue buildings, and overseeing community affairs. As such, he would’ve been a very influential man in Galilee, because “Jewish culture revolved around the leadership of local elders.”
  • Some historians have suggested that Jairus was actually the head elder, or “the head of the local Sanhedrin or court of elders” in his community. In this role he would have carried religious, political, and judicial power.
  • It’s assumed, by his position as an elder and by the crowd of mourners that gathered outside his house (Matthew 9:23-25), that Jairus was a wealthy man, and well-known in his community.
  • He clearly loved his daughter very much. Instead of sending a servant to call for Jesus, he came himself, asking for a miracle on behalf of his beloved child.
  • He was both powerful and humble. As a “ruler” in his community, he could have come to Jesus and demanded a miracle (much like Herod did later – see Luke 23:8-9). Or he could have approached Jesus as an equal, making a formal request. But he didn’t do either of those things. Matthew says he “knelt down” humbly before Jesus; Mark and Luke reveal that in kneeling, he “fell at his feet”—that is, he groveled like a slave before the Christ and begged for a miracle.
  • He believed in Jesus. His faith drove him to hope in Christ in the first place. When servants told him that his daughter had died, he continued to trust that Jesus could somehow overcome even that final circumstance. His faith was not in vain.

 

Works Cited:

[WWA, 182; WWB, 147; SLU 213]

 

ΩΩΩ

About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Matthew 9:14-17; Jesus Questioned About Fasting (Symbolism)

posted by Mike Nappa

“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins…” (Matthew 9:17).

When Jesus made this comparison statement, it was more than just an explanatory reference of common daily wisdom. In this little allegory, “new wine” represented Jesus himself, causing a conflation of Jewish history and messianic expectations that would’ve been both understandable and excitingly new to his hearers.

In an Old Testament context, new wine is an “image of sustenance and life… [and] due to its close relationship to the ongoing life of the community, wine becomes, in association with grain and oil, a technical term for the covenant blessings promised by God to Israel.” (For reference, see Isaac’s blessing over Jacob in Genesis 27:28, as well as the covenant blessings and curses mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:39, 51, Joel 1:10, and Hosea 2:21-22, 9:2.)

In other words, by identifying himself symbolically as the “new wine,” Jesus was telling his hearers that he was not only bringing a new covenant for God’s people, he was also fulfilling God’s historical, unbreakable covenant promises of the past. From this moment forward, Jesus himself would be their “sustenance and life,” and the complete embodiment of all God’s promises and blessings intended for Israel.

Heady stuff—and an image that was not likely lost on those who heard Jesus speak of “new wine” this day.

 

Works Cited:

[DBI, 953]

 

ΩΩΩ

About: For Bible Study Nerds™

About: Mike Nappa

Copyright © 2014 to present by Nappaland Communications Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Previous Posts

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Historical Backgrounds)
The story of the “Woman with an Issue of Blood” is told in three of the four gospel accounts: Matthew 9:18-26, Mark 5:21-24, and Luke 8:40-53. In addition to Matthew’s details, Luke informs us that “no one could heal her” (Luke 8:43) and Mark adds “she had suffered a great deal under the

posted 12:00:50pm Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Factual Info)
The “Woman with an Issue of Blood” lived 12 years with a chronic uterine illness—but her physical suffering was not the worst part of her daily life. Here are the facts about what this woman most likely endured for more than a decade: She was probably in her mid to late twenties—a young

posted 12:00:49pm Feb. 25, 2015 | read full post »

Matthew 9:18-26; A Dead Girl And A Sick Woman (Personality and Character Studies)
Matthew 9:18-26 reports how Jesus raised from death the daughter of a “ruler” in Israel. Matthew tells the story in passing, not even bothering to include the ruler’s name. From the corresponding reports in Mark 5:21-43 and Luke 8:40-56, though, we know the man’s name to be Jairus. Here

posted 12:00:48pm Feb. 23, 2015 | read full post »

Matthew 9:14-17; Jesus Questioned About Fasting (Symbolism)
“Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins…” (Matthew 9:17). When Jesus made this comparison statement, it was more than just an explanatory reference of common daily wisdom. In this little allegory, “new wine” represented Jesus himself, causing a conflation of Jewish history and

posted 12:00:59pm Feb. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Matthew 9:14-17; Jesus Questioned About Fasting (Cultural Commentary)
Christ’s culturalized references (in Matthew 9:14-17) to a bridegroom, cloth, and new wine all held spiritual significance, but the understanding of those symbols was grounded in the practical, commonsense life of an ancient Israelite. Consider these everyday insights from Bible historian, Craig S

posted 12:00:58pm Feb. 18, 2015 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.