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Matthew 17:14-20 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

14 When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, 15 and said, “Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic[a] and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him.” 17 Jesus said in reply, “O faithless and perverse[b] generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him,[c] and from that hour the boy was cured. 19 Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 [d]He said to them, “Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Footnotes:

  1. 17:15 A lunatic: this description of the boy is peculiar to Matthew. The word occurs in the New Testament only here and in Mt 4:24 and means one affected or struck by the moon. The symptoms of the boy’s illness point to epilepsy, and attacks of this were thought to be caused by phases of the moon.
  2. 17:17 Faithless and perverse: so Matthew and Luke (Lk 9:41) against Mark’s faithless (Mk 9:19). The Greek word here translated perverse is the same as that in Dt 32:5 LXX, where Moses speaks to his people. There is a problem in knowing to whom the reproach is addressed. Since the Matthean Jesus normally chides his disciples for their little faith (as in Mt 17:20), it would appear that the charge of lack of faith could not be made against them and that the reproach is addressed to unbelievers among the Jews. However in Mt 17:20b (if you have faith the size of a mustard seed), which is certainly addressed to the disciples, they appear to have not even the smallest faith; if they had, they would have been able to cure the boy. In the light of Mt 17:20b the reproach of Mt 17:17 could have applied to the disciples. There seems to be an inconsistency between the charge of little faith in Mt 17:20a and that of not even a little in Mt 17:20b.
  3. 17:18 The demon came out of him: not until this verse does Matthew indicate that the boy’s illness is a case of demoniacal possession.
  4. 17:20 The entire verse is an addition of Matthew who (according to the better attested text) omits the reason given for the disciples’ inability in Mk 9:29. Little faith: see note on Mt 6:30. Faith the size of a mustard seed…and it will move: a combination of a Q saying (cf. Lk 17:6) with a Marcan saying (cf. Mk 11:23).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

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