He said unto them,
Depart: for the girl is not dead, but sleeps.
And they laughed him to scorn.
All Commentaries on Matthew 9:24 Go To Matthew 9
George Leo Haydock
The girl is not dead. Christ, by saying so, insinuated that she was not dead in such a manner as they imagined; that is, so as to remain dead, but presently to return to life, as if she had been only asleep. (Witham)
But sleepeth. In the xi. chapter of St. John, Christ again calls death a sleep. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. Thus he teaches us to be no longer in dread of death, since it was reduced to the condition of a sleep. If you believe this, why do you vainly weep? why do you afflict yourself? this the Gentiles do, who have not faith. Your child is asleep, not dead, is gone to a place of rest, not to destruction. Therefore the royal prophet says, "Turn, O my soul, into thy rest, for the Lord hath been bountiful to thee. "(Psalm cxiv.) If then it is a kindness, why should you weep? what else could you do at the death of an adversary, an enemy, the object of your greatest aversion? (St. Chrysostom, hom. xxxii.)
Christ here asserts that the girl is only asleep, to show that it was as easy for him to raise her from death as from sleep. (Theophylactus)