Matthew 9:20 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Matthew 9:20, NIV: Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak.

Matthew 9:20, ESV: And behold, a woman who had suffered from a discharge of blood for twelve years came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment,

Matthew 9:20, KJV: And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:

Matthew 9:20, NASB: And behold, a woman who had been suffering from a hemorrhage for twelve years came up behind Him, and touched the border of His cloak;

Matthew 9:20, NLT: Just then a woman who had suffered for twelve years with constant bleeding came up behind him. She touched the fringe of his robe,

Matthew 9:20, CSB: Just then, a woman who had suffered from bleeding for twelve years approached from behind and touched the end of his robe,

What does Matthew 9:20 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus and His disciples are following a man named Jairus to his house, where his only daughter, about 12 years old, lies dead (Luke 8:40–42; Matthew 9:18). Jairus has asked Jesus to come and place His hand on the girl so that she will live.

Something unexpected happens on the way. A woman fights her way through the crowd packed around Jesus and manages to touch the fringe of His garment. The word for "fringe" may mean simply the edge of Jesus' garment or one the tassels that would have dangled from the corners of a Jewish man's cloak (Numbers 15:37–41). This is not a full-handed grab, but only a light contact.

Matthew describes this woman as having suffered from a discharge of blood for 12 years. As usual, Mark provides a bit more detail. The woman "had suffered much under many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was no better but rather grew worse" (Mark 5:26). Scholars suggest that this discharge was prolonged menstrual bleeding due to something such as cysts. This would have made her situation doubly difficult, making her ceremonially unclean under the law and required to keep her distance from others in the community (Leviticus 15:25–33).

The following verses reveal the woman's motives and Jesus' reaction to her desperate act of faith.