The Pharisees gathered to him….with scribes who had come from Jerusalem- Likely the Jesus had caught the attention of the Jewish Leaders of Jerusalem, and sent the scribes to press him. This there sole purpose here, to accuse. Defiled hands- Because they were not washed according to ceremony or tradition, not referring to cleanliness. The author here takes a moment to explain the tradition of the washing, indicating the audience of this Gospel would not be familiar with Jewish customs. Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites- God spoke of your hearts in the days of Isaiah.
Hear me, all of you, and understand: He called the people to him, this was very public, direct challenge to to the Pharisees. There is nothing outside a person that going into him can defile him- in a spiritual sense; it does not harm the soul, and he talks in relation to food here (that which enters the stomach and is expelled). What comes out of a person is what defiles him- the sinful thoughts and actions polluting the heart. Out of all he mentions, he does not make one less than the other, or excuse any.
Now the woman was a Gentile- a non-Israelite, but hearing of the Lord begged for his mercy. Let the children be fed first– he does not say only but first, suggesting that salvation will come to the Gentiles. For it is not right to take the children’s bread- He was sent at this time to Israel. Certain events must occur before the witnessing to the Gentiles and they could partake in the spiritual food. And throw it to the dogs- An insult? No, but a challenge to the woman’s faith. Almost a question, as a Why should this mercy come to you? Humble yourself and be exalted: But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”- Even the smallest crumb of this bread we will take, it will heal us. I will take whatever you may give, and be satisfied, as it is your will to give it. When we are hungry, we can be pleased with what we are given to eat, knowing full well the Lord has provided it.
And they brought him a man who was deaf and had a speech impediment- Many of us have walked spiritually deaf to the word of God, many of us have not found the words to proclaim him. At times Jesus may pull us away from a crowd, as to instruct us privately, to regain our focus on Him, so that he may heal us, guide us.
The actions of Jesus here are odd, as it appears as if he was acting out a ritual. However, the best explanation I could find that was put forth (found in a commentary by Adam Clarke) is that he was communicating with a man who was deaf what he was about to perform: He put his fingers in his ears– as if to signal what he was to do- cure his deafness. He spit on the ground- to signal he would cure his speech. He looked up to heaven– to show that this miracle was of God. I find this to be satisfactory.
And they were astonished …..saying, “….He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak,” to which I thought, and why shouldn’t he, as God told Moses, Who has made man’s mouth? Who makes him mute, or deaf, or seeing, or blind? Is it not I the Lord? Exodus 4:11)