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Matthew 15 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Matthew 15 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,

2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.

3 But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.

(15:4-7) "He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death."
Jesus is criticized by the Pharisees for not washing his hands before eating. He defends himself by attacking them for not killing disobedient children according to the commandment: "He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death." (See Ex.21:15, Lev.20:9, Dt.21:18-21) So, does Jesus think that children who curse their parents should be killed? It sure sounds like it.
What the Bible says about parenting
Theologikos: Test yourself: Are you intelligent or stupid? The Holy Test!
Wow, let's try comprehension 101. What happens here is that Jesus criticizes the Pharisees for making up laws and only keeping those that suited them. The example Jesus gives is that one should honor his father and his mother. But the Pharisees said it was not necessary to honor your father and their mother when you could spend money on the Pharisees. Money can be spend only once, but with the Pharisees you could spend it twice. Instead of helping your parents out, you could give that money to the Pharisees. You would be properly excused in the first case and done your duty in the second.
Does Jesus believe that God's law should be upheld? Yes. Who curseth his father and his mother will be punished for it, either in this life or hereafter.

5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;

6 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.

7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,

8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

10 And he called the multitude, and said unto them, Hear, and understand:

11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man.

12 Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying?

13 But he answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up.

14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

15 Then answered Peter and said unto him, Declare unto us this parable.

16 And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?

17 Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?

18 But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.

19 For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

20 These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

21 Then Jesus went thence, and departed into the coasts of Tyre and Sidon.

Jesus visits Tyre which according to Ezekiel (26:14, 21; 27:36, 28:19) was not supposed to exist anymore.

22 And, behold, a woman of Canaan came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.

(15:22-26) "And cast it to the dogs"
Jesus refuses to heal the Canaanite woman's possessed daughter, saying "it is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to the dogs."
As the discerning reader will see, Jesus is teaching his disciples a lesson here. He does not refuse this woman at all, see verse 28, but proceeds to show them what a perseverance this woman had, and how great her faith was. It is like gold that is tried in the fire, Job 23:10.

23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us.

24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

"I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel."
Should the gospel be preached to everyone?
At this particular point in time Jesus ministry was to the Jews. That changed later, see chapter 10:5.

25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me.

26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.

27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.

28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

29 And Jesus departed from thence, and came nigh unto the sea of Galilee; and went up into a mountain, and sat down there.

30 And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:

31 Insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.

32 Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

33 And his disciples say unto him, Whence should we have so much bread in the wilderness, as to fill so great a multitude?

"Whence should we have so much bread?"
The disciples wonder where they will get the bread to feed four thousand. But they should know by now, since Jesus just did the same trick in 14:14-21. These stories are probably the result of two oral versions of the same fictitious story.
It appears the disciples, like on many other occasions, had readily forgotten Jesus previous miracle. It is because the Bible does not try to hide the stupidity and ignorance of the writers that its credibility is quite enhanced. Any editor worth its salt would have made the story more convincing to readers like the author of the SAB. But in its present form its more convincing to readers like me, who also are prone to make the same mistake twice. Having seen God's provision in the past, and still doubting it the next time. Lord, forgive us our sins.

34 And Jesus saith unto them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven, and a few little fishes.

35 And he commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground.

36 And he took the seven loaves and the fishes, and gave thanks, and brake them, and gave to his disciples, and the disciples to the multitude.

37 And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

38 And they that did eat were four thousand men, beside women and children.

39 And he sent away the multitude, and took ship, and came into the coasts of Magdala,