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Matthew 4:16

    Matthew 4:16 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    The people that sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    The people who were in the dark saw a great light, and to those in the land of the shade of death did the dawn come up.

    Webster's Revision

    The people that sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them that sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up.

    World English Bible

    the people who sat in darkness saw a great light, to those who sat in the region and shadow of death, to them light has dawned."

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    The people which sat in darkness Saw a great light, And to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, To them did light spring up.

    Clarke's Commentary on Matthew 4:16

    The people which sat in darkness - This is quoted from Isaiah 9:2, where, instead of sitting, the prophet used the word walked. The evangelist might on purpose change the term, to point out the increased misery of the state of these persons. Sitting in darkness expresses a greater degree of intellectual blindness, than walking in darkness does. In the time of Christ's appearing, the people were in a much worse state than in the time of the prophet, which was nearly 700 years before; as, during all this period, they were growing more ignorant and sinful.

    The region and shadow of death - These words are amazingly descriptive. A region of death - Death's country, where, in a peculiar manner, Death lived, reigned, and triumphed, subjecting all the people to his sway.

    Shadow of death - Σκια θανατου, used only here and in Luke 1:79, but often in the Old Covenant, where the Hebrew is צל מות tsal maveth, It is not easy to enter fully into the ideal meaning of this term. As in the former clause, death is personified, so here. A shadow is that darkness cast upon a place by a body raised between it and the light or sun. Death is here represented as standing between the land above mentioned, and the light of life, or Sun of righteousness; in consequence of which, all the inhabitants were, involved in a continual cloud of intellectual darkness, misery, and sin. The heavenly sun was continually eclipsed to them, till this glorious time, when Jesus Christ, the true light, shone forth in the beauty of holiness and truth. Christ began his ministry in Galilee, and frequented this uncultivated place more than he did Jerusalem and other parts of Judea: here his preaching was peculiarly needful; and by this was the prophecy fulfilled.

    Barnes' Notes on Matthew 4:16

    The people which sat in darkness - This is an expression denoting great ignorance.

    As in darkness or night we can see nothing, and know not where to go, so those who are ignorant of God and their duty are said to be in darkness. The instruction which removes this ignorance is called light. See John 3:19; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:5; 1 John 2:8. As ignorance is often connected with crime and vice, so darkness is sometimes used to denote sin, 1 Thessalonians 5:5; Ephesians 5:11; Luke 22:53.

    Saw great light - That is, as the passage is employed by Matthew, the light under the Messiah would spring up among them. In that region he grew up, and in that region he preached a great part of his discourses and performed a great part of his miracles.

    The region and shadow of death - This is a forcible and beautiful image, designed also to denote ignorance and sin. It is often used in the Bible, and is very expressive. A "shadow" is caused by an object coming between us and the sun. So the Hebrews imaged death as standing between us and the sun, and casting a long, dark, and baleful shadow abroad on the face of the nations, denoting their great ignorance, sin, and woe.. It denotes a dismal, gloomy, and dreadful shade, where death and sin reign, like the chills, damps, and horrors of the dwelling-place of the dead. See Job 10:21; Job 16:16; Job 34:22; Psalm 23:4; Jeremiah 2:6. See also the notes at Isaiah 9:2. These expressions denote that the country of Galilee was especially dark. We know that the people were proverbially ignorant and stupid. They were distinguished for a coarse, outlandish manner of speech Mark 14:70, and are represented as having been also distinguished by a general profligacy of morals and manners. It shows the great compassion of the Saviour, that he went to preach to such poor and despised sinners. Instead of seeking the rich and the learned, he chose to minister to the needy, the ignorant, and the contemned. His office is to enlighten the ignorant; his delight to guide the wandering, and to raise up those that are in the shadow of death. In doing this, Jesus set an example for all his followers. It is their duty to seek out those who are sitting in the shadow of death, and to send the gospel to them. No small part of the world is still lying in wickedness - as wicked and wretched as was the land of Zabulon and Naphthali in the time of Jesus. The Lord Jesus is able to enlighten them also, and every Christian should regard it a privilege, as well as a duty, to imitate his Saviour in this, and to be permitted to send to them the light of life. See Matthew 28:19.

    Wesley's Notes on Matthew 4:16

    4:16 Here is a beautiful gradation, first, they walked, then they sat in darkness, and lastly, in the region of the shadow of death.