on Matthew 8 :4
Jesus saith - See thou tell no man - Had our Lord, at this early period, fully manifested himself as the Messiah, the people in all likelihood would have proclaimed him King; this, however, refused by him, must have excited the hatred of the Jewish rulers, and the jealousy of the Roman government; and, speaking after the manner of men, his farther preachings and miracles must have been impeded. This alone seems to be the reason why he said to the leper, See thou tell no man.
Show thyself to the priest - This was to conform to the law instituted in this case, Leviticus 14:1, etc.
Offer the gift - This gift was two living, clean birds, some cedar wood, with scarlet and hyssop, Leviticus 14:4, which were to be brought for his cleansing; and, when clean, two he lambs, one ewe lamb, three tenth deals of flour, and one log of oil, Leviticus 14:10; but if the person was poor, then he was to bring one lamb, one tenth deal of flour, one log of oil and two turtle doves, or young pigeons, Leviticus 14:21, Leviticus 14:22. See the notes on Leviticus 14 (note).
Now all this was to be done for a testimony to them; to prove that this leper, who was doubtless well known in the land, had been thoroughly cleansed; and thus, in this private way, to give full proof to the priesthood that Jesus was the true Messiah. The Jewish rabbins allowed that curing the lepers should be a characteristic of the Messiah; (see Bishop Chandler's Vindication); therefore the obstinacy of the priests, etc., in rejecting Christ, was utterly inexcusable.
on Matthew 8 :4
See thou tell no man - This command is to be understood as extending only to the time until he had made the proper representation to the priest. It was his duty to hasten to him immediately Leviticus 14:2; not to delay by talking about it, but, as the first thing, to obey the laws of God, and make proper acknowledgments to him by an offering. The place where this cure was performed was in Galilee, a distance of 40 or 50 miles from Jerusalem; and it was his duty to make haste to the residence of the priest, and obtain his sanction to the reality of the cure. Perhaps, also, Christ was apprehensive that the report would go "before" the man if he delayed, and the priest, through opposition to Jesus, might pronounce it an imposition.
And offer the gift that Moses commanded - That Moses directed to be offered by a leper when he was cured. That gift consisted of "two birds alive and clean, cedar-wood, scarlet, and hyssop," Leviticus 14:4.
For a testimony unto them - Not to the priest, but to the people. Show thyself to the priest, and get his testimony to the reality of the cure, as a proof to the people that the healing is genuine. It was necessary that he should have that testimony before he could be received to the congregation or allowed to mingle with the people. Having this, he would be, of course, restored to the privileges of social and religious life, and the proof of the miracle, to the people, would be put beyond a doubt.
on Matthew 8 :4
8:4 See thou tell no man - Perhaps our Lord only meant here, Not till thou hast showed thyself to the priest - who was appointed to inquire into the case of leprosy. But many others he commanded, absolutely, to tell none of tho miracles he had wrought upon them. And this he seems to have done, chiefly for one or more of these reasons: To prevent the multitude from thronging him, in the manner related Mark 1:45. To fulfil the prophecy, Isaiah 42:1, that he would not be vain or ostentatious. This reason St. Matthew assigns, Matt 12:17, and c. To avoid the being taken by force and made a king, John 6:15. And, That he might not enrage the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, who were the most bitter against him, any more than was unavoidable, Matt 16:20,21. For a testimony - That I am the Messiah; to them - The priests, who otherwise might have pleaded want of evidence. Lev 14:2.