Matthew 4:16

The people who sat in darkness saw great light; and to them who sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
De Cons. Evan., ii, 17: John relates in his Gospel the calling of Peter, Andrew, and Nathanael, and the miracle of Cana, before Jesus’ departure into Galilee; all these things the other Evangelists have omitted, carrying on the thread of their narrative with Jesus’ return into Galilee. We must understand then that some days intervened, during which the things took place concerning the calling of the disciples which John relates.
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Eusebius of Caesarea

AD 339
H. E. iii. 24: It is related that John preached the Gospel almost up to the close of his life without setting forth any thing in writing, and at length came to write for this reason.
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George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
And a light is risen This light, foretold by the prophet Isaias, (chap. ix, ver. 1,) was our Saviour Christ, the light of the world, who now enlightened them by his instructions, and by his grace. (Witham) Thus when the morning star has gone by and disappeared, the sun rises and diffuses its light to mortals, who rejoice that the darkness of night is removed from the earth. (Jansenius)
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Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Ap. Anselm: He came as Luke writes to Nazareth, where He had been brought up, and there entering into the synagogue, He read and spoke many things, for which they sought to throw Him down from the rock, and thence He went to Capernaum; for which Matthew has only, “And leaving the town of Nazareth, He came and dwelt at Capernaum. He adds further “in the borders of Zabulonand Naphtali,” where was the first captivity of the Jews by the Assyrians. Thus where the Law was first forgotten, there the Gospel was first preached; and from a place as it were between the two it was spread both to Jews and Gentiles. ord.: Note that there are two Galilees; one of the Jews, the other of the Gentiles. This division of Galilee had existed from Solomon’s time, who gave twenty cities in Galilee to Hyram, King of Tyre; this part was afterwards called Galilee of the Gentiles; the remained, of the Jews.


AD 420
Hieron. in Esai. c. 9. 1: They are said at the first time to be lightened from the burden of sin, because in the country of these two tribes, the Saviour first preached the Gospel; “at the last time” their faith “was increased,” most of the Jews remaining in error. By the sea here is meant the Lake ofGennesaret, a lake formed by the waters of the Jordan, on its shores are the towns of Capernaum, Tiberias, Bethsaida, and Coro aim, in which district principally Christ preached. Or, according to the interpretation of those Hebrews who believe in Christ, the two tribes Zabulon and Naphtali were taken captive by the Assyrians, and Galilee was left desert; and the prophet therefore says that it was lightened, because it had before suffered the sins of the people; but afterwards the remaining tribes who dwelt beyond Jordan and in Samaria were led into captivity; and Scripture here means that the region which had been the first to suffer captivity, now was the first to see the light of Christ’...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Then implying that they did not of themselves seek and find, but that God showed Himself to them from above, he says to them, Light is sprung up; that is, the light of itself sprang up and shone forth: it was not that they first ran to the light. For in truth the condition of men was at the worst before Christ's coming. Since they more than walked in darkness; they sat in darkness; a kind of sign that they did not even hope to be delivered. For as persons not even knowing where to put a step forward, so they sat, overtaken by the darkness, not being able so much as to stand any more.

John Chrysostom

AD 407
By God without doubt, for none can effect any thing against a holy man, unless God deliver him up. “He withdrew into Galilee,” that is, out of Judaea; both that He might reserve His passion to the fit time, and that He might set us an example of flying from danger. It is not blameworthy not to throw one’s self into peril, but when one has fallen into it, not to endure manfully. He departed from Judaea both to soften Jewish animosity, and to fulfil a prophecy, seeking moreover to fish for those masters of the world who dwelt in Galilee. Note also how when He would depart to the Gentiles, He received good cause from the Jews; His forerunner was thrown into prison, which compelled Jesus to pass into Galilee of the Gentiles. Otherwise, the Gentiles who worshipped idols, and daemons, were they who sat in the region of the shadow of death; the Jews, who did the works of the Law, werein darkness, because the righteousness of God was not yet manifested to them. But that you may learn that he s...

Rabanus Maurus

AD 856
Matthew having related the forty days’ fast, the temptation of Christ, and the ministry of Angels, proceeds, “Jesus having heard that John was cast into prison.”. ap. Anselm: In allegory, John and the rest of the Prophets were the voice going before the Word. When prophecy ceased and was fettered, then came the Word, fulfilling what the Prophet had spoken of it, “He departed into Galilee,” i.e. From figure to verity. It is “by the sea-coast,” because placed near the waves of this world, it is daily beaten by the storms of persecution. It is situated between Zabulon and Naphtali, i.e. common to Jews and Gentiles. Zabulon is interpreted, ‘the abode of strength;’ because the Apostles, who were chosen from Judaea, were strong.Nephtali, ‘extension,’ because the Church of the Gentiles was extended through the world.

Remigius of Rheims

AD 533
He left one, viz. Nazareth, that He might enlighten more by His preaching and miracles. Thus leaving an example to all preachers that they should preach at atime and in places where they may do good, to as many as possible. In the prophecy, the words are these - “At that first time the land of Zabulon and the land of Naphtali was lightened, and at the last time was increased the way of the sea beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles.” . But this should be considered with more care, viz. that John says that the Lord went into Galilee, before John the Baptist was thrown into prison. According to John's Gospel after the water turned into wine, and his going down to Capernaum, and after his going up to Jerusalem, he returned to Judaea and baptized, and John was not yet cast into prison. But here it is after John's imprisonment that He retires into Galilee, and with this Mark agrees. But weneed not suppose any contradiction here. John speaks of the Lord’s first coming into Galilee, which was...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. "By the way of the sea" means "which is situated along the road of the sea." The "great light" is the Gospel, for the law, too, was a light, but a small one. "The shadow of death" is sin, for sin is the likeness and silhouette of death. Just as death overpowers the body, so too does sin overpower the soul. The light has dawned on us, for we were not seeking it, but it appeared to us as if it were pursuing us.
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation - 2 Peter 1:20

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