“And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,”
King James Version (KJV)
8:5 There came to him a centurion - A captain of a hundred Roman soldiers. Probably he came a little way toward him, and then went back. He thought himself not worthy to come in person, and therefore spoke the words that follow by his messengers. As it is not unusual in all languages, so in the Hebrew it is peculiarly frequent, to ascribe to a person himself the thing which is done, and the words which are spoken by his order. And accordingly St. Matthew relates as said by the centurion himself, what others said by order from him. An instance of the same kind we have in the case of Zebedee's children. From St. Matthew, #Mt 20:20|, we learn it was their mother that spoke those words, which, #Mark 10:35|,37, themselves are said to speak; because she was only their mouth. Yet from ver. 13, #Mt 8:13|, Go thy way home, it appears he at length came in person, probably on hearing that Jesus was nearer to his house than he apprehended when he sent the second message by his friends. #Luke 7:1|.
Mt 8:5 When Jesus was entered into Capernaum. See PNT "Mt 4:13". His return to the place he made his home after the Sermon on the Mount and healing the leper. Compare Lu 7:1-10. There came unto him a centurion. A Roman military officer, corresponding to our captain. All Palestine was under Roman military government at this time, with headquarters at Caesarea, and soldiers in every leading town. This centurion probably commanded the company stationed at Capernaum. He was, of course, a Gentile. We learn from Lu 7:3, he came to Jesus, not in person, but by Jewish elders, whom he supposed would have more influence with the Lord. These elders interceded more readily because he had built them a synagogue (Lu 7:5), either to secure favor, or because he was, like Cornelius, a devout man. In the ruins of Tel Hum, supposed to be Capernaum, are yet found the foundations of a synagogue, one known by certain characteristics to have been built in the Herodian period, and there can hardly be a doubt that it was the one built by the centurion, and in which Christ often preached. See "Edersheim's Jewish Social Life", page 255.