This distressing malady is very prevalent in the East. Many physical causes in those countries unite to injure the organs of vision. The sun is hot, and in the atmosphere floats a very fine dust, which enters and frets the eye. The armies of France and England, which were so long in Egypt during the French was, suffered severely from ophthalmic disease. In the cities of Egypt, blindness is perpetuated as a contagious disease by the filthy habits of the natives. It is of frequent occurrence also on the coast of Syria. In ancient times the eyes of person hated or feared were often torn out, Jg 16:21; 1Sa 11:2; 2Ki 25:7. Blindness was sometimes inflicted as a punishment, Ge 19:11; Ac 13:6; and it was often threatened as a penalty, De 28:28. The Jews were enjoined by the humane laws of Moses to show all kindness and consideration to the blind, Le 19:14; De 27:18. No one affected with this infirmity could officiate as priest, /#Le 21:18.
Our Savior miraculously cured many cases of blindness, both that which was caused by disease and that which had existed from birth. In these cases there was a double miracle; for not only was the organ of sight restored, but also the faculty of using it which is usually gained only by long experience, Mr 8:22-25. The touching of the eyes of the blind, and anointing them with clay, Mt 9:29; Joh 9:6, can not have had any medicinal or healing effect. The healing was miraculous, by the power of God.
Blindness is often used for ignorance and error, especially our sinful want of discernment as to spiritual things, Mt 15:14; 2Co 4:4. The abuse of God's mercy increases this blindness, Joh 12:40. Blessed are the eyes that fix their adoring gaze first of all on the Redeemer.
Its cure is one of our Lord's most frequent miracles (Lu 7:21; Mt 9:27; Mr 8:23; Joh 5:3; 9:1), as had been foretold (Isa 29:18; 35:5). In coincidence with this is the commonness of it in the E. In Ludd (Lydda) the saying is, every one is either blind or has but one eye. Jaffa has 500 blind out of 5,000 of a population. The dust and sand pulverized by the intense heat, the constant glare, and in the sandy districts the absence of the refreshing "green grass," (the presence of which Mark notices as noteworthy in the miracle of the feeding the multitudes,) the cold sea air on the coasts, the night dews affecting those sleeping on the roofs, all tend to produce blindness.
It is a constant image used of spiritual darkness, and Jesus' restoration of sight to the blind pointed to the analogous spiritual bestowal of sight on the soul. Paul, who had passed through both the physical and the spiritual transition from darkness to light (Ac 9:8-9), instinctively, by an obviously undesigned coincidence confirming authenticity, often uses the expressive image (Ac 26:18; 2Co 4:4; Eph 1:18; 4:18; Col 1:13). Elymas was smitten with blindness at Paul's word (Ac 13:11, compare Ge 19:11; 2Ki 6:18). The blind were to be treated kindly (Le 19:14; De 27:18). The pagan conquerors sometimes blinded captives (2Ki 25:7; 1Sa 11:2).
Used metaphorically to describe the state of man by nature under the influence of Satan, 2Co 4:4; also a professing Christian who hates his brother, 1Jo 2:11; also the state of Israel in their heartless profession, Mt 23:16-26; and the judicial blindness on Israel. Joh 12:40. In Ro 11:7,25; 2Co 3:14; Eph 4:18, it is rather 'obdurateness or hardness,' from ?????,'to harden.'
is extremely common in the East from many causes. Blind beggars figure repeatedly in the New Testament
and "opening the eyes of the blind" is mentioned in prophecy as a peculiar attribute of the Messiah.
etc. The Jews were specially charged to treat the blind with compassion and care.
Le 19:14; De 27:18
Blindness willfully inflicted for political or other purposes is alluded to in Scripture.
BLINDNESS is often used in Scripture to express ignorance or want of discernment in divine things, as well as the being destitute of natural sight. See Isa 42:18-19; 6:10; Mt 15:14. "Blindness of heart" is the want of understanding arising from the influence of vicious passions. "Hardness of heart" is stubbornness of will, and destitution of moral feeling. Moses says, "Thou shalt not put a stumbling block before the blind," Le 19:14, which may be understood literally; or figuratively, as if Moses recommended that charity and instruction should be shown to them who want light and counsel, or to those who are in danger of going wrong through their ignorance. Moses says also, "Cursed be he who maketh the blind to wander out of his way," De 27:18, which may also be taken in the same manner. An ignorant or erring teacher is compared by our Lord to a blind man leading a blind man;