The man of St Matthew


Chapter 17: Overview

Our investigations of chapter 16 showed that 16,13-17,13 formed one passage with four scenes. Throughout this passage only the disciples are present and the crowd does not reappear until 17,14. We saw too that Matthew has Jesus referring to John the Baptist in 17,13 which gives the passage a strong ending as well as referring back to the beginning, 16,14.
We have now read the first two scenes of this passage as the second part of chapter 16, 16,13-28.

The first page for our reading of chapter 17 will therefore be the second two scenes of this passage, 17,1-13. These tell of the Transfiguration, 17,1-8, which is followed by the discussion about Elijah and John the Baptist as Jesus and the disciples come down the mountain, 17,9-13.

For the next scene, 17,14-20, we can see that it begins with them joining the crowd in verse 14.
Verse 21 is then another new beginning.

At this point we can note that Matthew from 17,14-18,5 is continuing to follow Mark, Mk 9,14-37, though with considerable editing as usual.
Note in particular that Matthew has inserted the episode about taxation, 17,24-27

Before that, Jesus for a second time predicts his fate, that he will be killed and that he will be raised, 17,22-23.
As might be expected this prediction opens a new section of the Gospel. However, we will consider Matthew's editing here as part of our overview of chapter 18.

For the moment we can say that the second half of chapter 17 has two sections: the healing of the epileptic boy, 17,14-20, and the gathering in Capernaum, 17,22-27. They need to be read on separate pages.
We have therefore three pages for this chapter:

We can note that verse 21 is omitted due to lack of support in the manuscripts
A thought which will be clearer when we look at chapter 18 is that chapter 17 is a redundant chapter. 17,1-20 could be added to chapter 16 while we will see that 17,22-27 could well be the beginning of chapter 18.

With those considerations, we start reading this chapter beginning with the Transfiguration and the discussion which follows, 17,1-13.