And he took the blind man by the hand - Giving him a proof of his readiness to help him, and thus preparing him for the cure which he was about to work.
Led him out of the town - Thus showing the inhabitants that he considered them unworthy of having another miracle wrought among them. He had already deeply deplored their ingratitude and obstinacy: see on Matthew 11:21; (note). When a people do not make a proper improvement of the light and grace which they receive from God, their candlestick is removed - even the visible Church becomes there extinct; and the candle is put out - no more means of spiritual illumination are afforded to the unfaithful inhabitants: Revelation 2:5.
When he had spit on his eyes - There is a similar transaction to this mentioned by John, John 9:6. It is likely this was done merely to separate the eyelids; as, in certain cases of blindness, they are found always gummed together. It required a miracle to restore the sight, and this was done in consequence of Christ having laid his hands upon the blind man: it required no miracle to separate the eyelids, and, therefore, natural means only were employed - this was done by rubbing them with spittle; but whether by Christ, or by the blind man, is not absolutely certain. See on Mark 7:33; (note). It has always been evident that false miracles have been wrought without reason or necessity, and without any obvious advantage; and they have thereby been detected: on the contrary, true miracles have always vindicated themselves by their obvious utility and importance; nothing ever being effected by them that could be performed by natural means.
If he saw aught - Ει, if, is wanting in the Syriac, all the Persic and Arabic, and in the Ethiopic; and τι βλεπεις, Dost thou see any thing? is the reading of CD, Coptic, Ethiopic, all the Arabic and Persic.
Led him out of the town - Why this was done the sacred writers have not told us. It might have been to avoid the collecting of a multitude, and thus to have escaped the designs of the Pharisees who were attempting to take his life, and chiefly on a charge of sedition and of exciting the people. On this account Jesus chose to perform the miracle alone, thus showing that while he did good, he desired to do it in such a way as to avoid the “appearance” of evil, and to prevent, at the same time, ostentation and the malice of his enemies.
Spit on his eyes - Why this was done is not known. It was evidently not intended to perform the cure by any natural effect of the spittle. It was to the man a “sign,” an evidence that it was the power of Jesus. The eyes were probably closed. They were perhaps “gummed” or united together by a secretion that had become hard. To apply spittle to them - to wet them - would be a “sign,” a natural expression of removing the obstruction and opening them. The power was not in the spittle, but it attended the application of it.
Saw aught - Saw anything.