Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
The title of the Gospel exists in various forms, none of which can be part of the original autograph. No Evangelist would write such a heading; least of all would the earliest Evangelist do so. These titles point to a time when the Gospels had already been collected into one volume, with the general title Εὐαγγέλιον. The earliest form of the title is the simplest; κατὰ ΄ᾶρκον ( secundum Marcum, or, in some Latin MSS., cata Marc. (so Codex Bobiensis, one of the most important Old Latin MSS.). Other forms are εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ ΄ᾶρκον ( τὸ κατὰ  ἅγιον εὐαγγ. (some cursives) and ἐκ τοῦ κατὰ  ἁγίου εὐαγγ. .
The κατά implies conformity to a type, without necessarily asserting authorship; but the Christians of the first four centuries who affixed these titles believed that each Gospel was written by the Evangelist whose name they affixed. Had they intended the κατά to mean no more than “according to the teaching of,” this Gospel would have been called κατὰ Πέτρον, for it was commonly held that Mark wrote according to the teaching of Peter.
1. Ἀρχὴ τ. εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. This superscription is probably original; The beginning of the good tidings about Jesus Christ (Acts 5:42; Galatians 1:16; cf. Matthew 4:23); or possibly, brought by Jesus Christ. Indeed, both may be meant; see on Mark 1:14. But the dominant meaning is that He is the subject of the glad tidings; all that is known about Christ is the good news for every human being. See how St Paul sums up the Gospel which he preached, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Χριστοῦ is here a proper name and has no art. Cf. Enoch xlviii. 10, lii. 4.
If ἀρχή = ἄρχεται, Here begins the Gospel, we must suppose that the superscription has been added by a later editor; for  this formula is not found in the oldest MSS.;  it implies that some other document precedes the one which now begins, e.g. another Gospel;  it implies that εὐαγγέλιον means the record of the good news. Zahn, Intr. to N.T. II. pp. 456 f.
Εὐαγγέλιον (8 times in Mark , 4 in Mt., not in Lk. or Jn, but very freq. in Paul) is neither “a reward for good tidings” (in which sense the plur. is usual both in class. Grk and in LXX.), nor “a written narrative” (a meaning nowhere found in N.T.), but the “message of salvation” (Acts 20:24; Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:5; Ephesians 6:15; etc.).
A full stop at the end of the verse is right. Attempts to connect it in construction with any of the three verses which follow may be safely rejected. The Greek of Mark is not literary and he rarely deals in periodic sentences. It is not likely that he would begin with a complicated construction.
υἱοῦ θεοῦ. The words may be accepted as possibly genuine (see critical note); but they are just such as an early scribe would be likely to add to the superscription of a Gospel. They proclaim the Messiahship of Jesus Christ, not His metaphysical relationship to the Father. Mk is anxious to make clear the Messiahship. The confession of the centurion is recorded as Gentile testimony to the truth of the theme of this Gospel, “Truly this man was the Son of God.” There, as here, neither word has the article (Mark 15:39). Mt., writing for Jews, is concerned with showing that Jesus is the Son of David and the Son of Abraham (Mark 1:1). The close of the Fourth Gospel (John 20:31) is similar in import to what we have here.
This verse forms a heading for the whole book, not for Mark 1:2-13 only. No other headings follow. The life of the Messiah from the Preaching of the Baptist to the Resurrection was the beginning of the glad tidings, which spread rapidly and widely during the years between the Resurrection and the time of writing. While Mt. begins his record with the pedigree and nativity of the Messiah, Lk. with the parentage and nativity of the Forerunner, and Jn with the pre-existence of the Messiah, Mk begins with the public work of the Forerunner. This at once is evidence that he gives us a very early tradition, to which these prefaces had not yet been added.
Spitta, however, contends that Mk is defective, not only at the end but at the beginning. He regards Mark 1:1 as a heading supplied by a later hand after the original beginning of the Gospel had been lost; and he thinks that before Mark 1:2 there once stood a page or two containing the Nativity and childhood (Lücken im Markusevangelium, pp. 115–122).
2. καθὼς γέγραπται. Even as it stands written. The difference between καθὡς and ὡς (which many texts have here) is worth noting, and γέγραπται has the full force of the Greek perf., abiding result of past action. This formula of quotation (Mark 9:13, Mark 14:21) is freq. in LXX. and N.T., esp. in the Pauline Epp. In the Hellenistic world, γέγραπται was “the formula with which people referred to the terms of an unalterable agreement” (Deissmann, St Paul, p. 103, Bible Studies, pp. 112, 249). The καθώς has Mark 1:4 as its real apodosis, and the meaning is that John’s preaching was an exact fulfilment of prophecy, and therefore a confirmation of the Messiahship of Jesus.
ἐν τῷ Ἡσαίᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ. See critical note. As Origen points out, the words which follow are a conflation of two prophecies, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3. Here Mt. and Lk. agree against Mk in quoting Isaiah only, the Malachi prophecy being given in a different connexion (Matthew 11:10; Luke 7:27). All three Evangelists illustrate the facility with which N.T. writers transfer words, which in the O.T. refer to Jehovah, to Christ. In Malachi, Jehovah speaks of Himself, here of His Son. It was one of Porphyry’s criticisms that the attributing of both prophecies to Isaiah was a blunder. It may be due to lapse of memory. But collections of Messianic texts seem to have been common, and Mk may be quoting from one in which a series of texts from Isaiah was preceded by this one from Malachi, and he may not have noticed the change of author. The existence of such collections is indicated by the fact that the same combinations of texts are found in different writers. Hatch, Essays in Bibl. Grk, p. 204. Nowhere else does Mk himself quote Scripture (Mark 15:28 is not genuine), for the O.T. would not greatly interest Gentile readers. Where the O.T. is quoted by others, there is generally fairly close agreement with LXX., but with the text of cod.  rather than with that of our oldest uncial  Here there are several divergences, LXX. having ἰδοὺ ἐξαποστέλλω τ. ἄγγ. μου, καὶ ἐπιβλέψεται ὁδὸν πρὸ προσώπου μου. In all three Synoptists the first half of the quotation seems to be influenced by Exodus 23:20, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἀποστέλλω τ. ἄγγ. μου πρὸ προσώπου σου, ἵνα φυλάξῃ σε ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ.
3. Here the only variation from LXX. is αὐτοῦ instead of τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν, a change which allows Κυρίου to be understood of the Messiah. We may take ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ with ἑτοιμάσατε, but the usual connexion with βοῶντος is probably correct. The imagery is taken from the practice of eastern conquerors, who sent heralds to tell the nations through which they were about to pass to prepare a “king’s highway” by levelling ground and straightening roads. John prepared the way by inviting all men to prepare it. Mt. and Lk. again agree against Mk in placing the quotation from Isaiah 40:3 after the appearance of the Baptist, not before, as here. See Hawkins, Horae Synopticae2, pp. 210 f.; Burkitt, The Gospel History, pp. 40–58. The application of the prophecy to the Baptist was made by himself (John 1:23). Place only a comma at the end of Mark 1:3 (W.H.).
4. ἐγένετο Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. There came John the Baptizer in the wilderness. This is the apodosis of καθὼς γέγραπται: in exact accordance with written prediction, John arose in the wilderness, i.e. the uninhabited part of the valley of the Jordan. The preaching of the Baptist is just the point at which a Gospel influenced by Peter might be expected to begin. Peter would remember it well. Mk alone uses ὁ βαπτίζων (Mark 6:14; Mark 6:24) as well as ὁ βαπτιστής (Mark 6:25, Mark 8:28), and the difference, though slight, is worth marking in translation; cf. ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναόν, “the Temple-destroyer” (Matthew 27:40), and ὁ διώκων ἡμᾶς ποτέ, “our former persecutor” (Galatians 1:23). Josephus (Vita, 2) tells us that as a lad he imitated one Banus, who lived in the wilderness and got his food and clothing from what grew on trees.
καὶ κηρύσσων. If with all uncials, except  and all ancient versions we read καί before κηρύσσων, the ὁ belongs to both participles; “There arose in the wilderness John the Baptizer and the Preacher, etc.” All four Gospels give the historical relation between Jesus and John as the starting-point of the Gospel narrative. On Ἰωάνης or Ἰωάννης see W.H. App. p. 159.
βάπτισμα μετανοίας. Cf. Luke 3:3; Acts 13:24; Acts 19:4. The gen. is equivalent to an adjective, “repentance-baptism,” baptism which implied and symbolized a “change of mind” as regards both past and future; and if real repentance was there, forgiveness followed. This is in favour of taking εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν with βάπτισμα rather than with μετανοίας (Acts 2:38; Acts 22:16). To preach repentance-baptism means to proclaim the value of baptism as a seal of repentance, a pledge of a new life; and the purpose (εἰς) was to assure those who accepted such baptism that by repentance they could be delivered from the penalty and the bondage of sin. Some Jews believed that it was the sins of the nation that delayed the coming of the Messiah. Nowhere else does Mk use μετάνοια, and he has μετανοέω only twice (Mark 1:15, Mark 6:12). In Lk. and Acts both noun and verb are freq., but neither is found in Jn. In LXX., as in class. Grk, μετάνοια is rare (Proverbs 14:15; Wisdom of Solomon 11:23; Wisdom of Solomon 12:10; Wisdom of Solomon 12:19; Sirach 44:16). Neither βάπτισμα nor -μός is found in LXX., nor is ἄφεσις with the meaning of “forgiveness.” The language here may be influenced by Christian phraseology. On ἄφεσις see Trench, N.T. Syn. § xxxiii.; Cremer, Lex. p. 297.
The description of the Baptist by Josephus (Ant. XVIII. Mark 1:2) should be compared with this. Evidently each is independent of the other.
5. ἐξεπορεύετο … ἐβαπτίζοντο. Both actions went on continually. The latter verb is passive (Mark 1:9, Mark 8:3), not middle (Acts 22:16; 1 Corinthians 10:2).
πᾶσα … πάντες. Popular hyperbole, which misleads no one, cf. Mark 1:37. But it is difficult for us to estimate the enthusiasm caused by the hope that, after centuries of silence, Jehovah was again speaking to His people through a Prophet. Most of the people regarded John as a Prophet, most of the hierarchy did not; but the hierarchy did not dare to avow their denial openly (Mark 11:27-33). Mark at the time of John’s preaching was quite old enough to remember the excitement, and he was living in Jerusalem. He may here be giving his own recollections.
ἡ Ἰουδαία χώρα. Elsewhere Mk says simply ἡ Ἰουδαία (Mark 3:7, Mark 10:1, Mark 13:14). Judaea proper is meant, not the whole of Palestine.
Ἰεροσολυμεῖται. Smooth breathing; the aspirate has come from a mistaken connexion with ἱερός. So also in Ἰεροσόλυμα. See on Mark 10:32.
ἐβαπτίζοντο. Were one after another baptized.
ἐξομολογούμενοι. Confessing right out, in full and openly. Not classical, and rare in late Grk, except in LXX. and N.T. See on John 1:9. The meaning may be “thereby confessing their sins”; their asking for baptism was ipso facto a confession of sin. More probably it means that they there and then made an acknowledgment in words. Cf. Acts 19:18; James 5:16. In LXX. it commonly means “giving praise”; cf. Luke 10:21; Romans 14:11; Romans 15:9. The two meanings are connected, Joshua 7:19, Δὸς δόξαν τῷ κυρίῳ καὶ δὸς τὴν ἐξομολόγησιν, when Joshua urges Achan to confess his guilt. See also LXX. of Daniel 9:20. Here, as in Mark 1:13; Mark 1:39, Mark 2:23, Mark 3:1, we have an important fact expressed by a participle attached to the finite verb.
6. ἦν ἐνδεδυμένος. The periphrastic tense, freq. in Lk., is not rare in Mk (Mark 1:33, Mark 2:6, Mark 5:5, Mark 9:4, Mark 10:32, Mark 13:13; Mark 13:23, Mark 15:43). Cloth was made of camel’s hair, and either this or a camel’s skin may be meant. It is probable that actual locusts (Leviticus 11:22) and honey made by wild bees (Deuteronomy 32:13) are meant. The wilderness food was in harmony with the rough dress. This picture of the Baptist is the more remarkable because there is no corresponding picture of the Christ. But it is an exaggeration to say that we have a clear picture of John, but not of Jesus. There is uncertainty about the unusual dress and unusual food of John. Jesus wore the usual dress and ate the usual food. We know the details of neither. John perhaps deliberately imitated Elijah, in order to teach the people that he was a Prophet (2 Kings 1:8; cf. Zechariah 13:4); but the suddenness with which he appears in Mk, Mt. and Jn, like Elijah in 1 Kings 17:1, cannot be his doing. It is neither said nor implied that it was his asceticism which attracted such crowds; the belief that he was a Prophet did that.
7. ἐκήρυσσεν. Mk alone has this imperf. of continued action, which fits on well to ἦν ἐνδεδ. κ. ἔσθων. Mt., Lk. and Jn have aorists of other verbs. By some John was believed to be the Messiah, and this compelled him to be more explicit about his relation to the Messiah.
ἱκανός. It is clear from Matthew 8:8 and Luke 7:6 that this = ἄξιος (John 1:27); the thong (Acts 22:25) of whose sandals I am not fit to, etc. Note the characteristically graphic fulness of κύψας λῦσαι, where the aor. may mean that he was unworthy to render even once the humble service which a slave rendered often to his master. Mt. speaks of the sandals being carried, a custom common in Palestine, but unknown to Mk’s Roman readers. With the superfluous αὐτοῦ comp. Mark 7:25 and οὗ ἀρᾶς τὸ στόμα αὐτοῦ γέμει (Ps. 9:28), μακάριος ἀνὴρ οὖ ἐστὶν ἡ ἀντίλημψις αὐτοῦ παρἀ σοῦ Κύριε (Psalms 83:6). The pleonasm is a Hebraism. Blass, § 50. 4; J. H. Moulton, Gr. of N.T. Grk, p. 95.
8. ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα. He is addressing his baptized converts. Mt. and Lk. have βαπτίζω. They have μέν after ἐγώ, and some texts insert it here. The classical μὲν … δὲ … is comparatively rare in N.T.; only three or four times in Mk, and in some books (2 Thess., 1 Tim., Tit., 2 Peter , 1, 2, 3 Jn, Rev.) not at all. Jn has ἐν before ὕδατι, Mt. and Lk. before πνεύματι, Mk in neither place; see crit. note. Here we have dat. of the instrument; with water, with (the) Holy Spirit. There is no art and the Spirit is hardly personal; John would not think of a Person. In Mk the Baptist utters no warning about a judgment that is near at hand; there is no axe or fan or fire, and the mission of the Forerunner is almost immediately lost in that of the Messiah. But the effect of his teaching is seen long after his death; even at Ephesus, where St Paul found men ready to accept the Gospel, having previously known only the baptism of John (Acts 19:2), and in the zeal of Apollos (Acts 18:22-28).
9. Καὶ ἐγένετο … ἦλθεν. A Hebraism, introducing a fact that is of importance. Burton, Moods and Tenses, § 357.
ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις. Sc. ἐν αἷς ἐκήρυσσε τὸ βάπτισμα τῆς μετανοίας ὁ Ἰωαν. (Euthym. Zig.). Another Hebraism (Mark 8:1, Mark 13:17; Mark 13:24). The date is very vague.
ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς. The ἰσχυρότερος at once comes on the scene, and John decreases in significance.
Ναζαρέτ. This form occurs also in Mt., Lk. and Jn, but not in LXX. or Josephus. Mk does not use Ναζαρέθ (Mt., Acts) or Ναζαρά (Mt., Lk.). The addition of τῆς Γαλιλαίας indicates that the situation of Nazareth was not likely to be known to Mk’s readers; the insignificant town is not mentioned in O.T. But it was well known that the new Teacher came from Nazareth (Mark 1:24, Mark 14:67, Mark 16:6).
The surprise that the Messiah should submit to baptism is evident in Mt. (Mark 3:13-15); and Jerome (Adv. Pelag. iii. 2) tells us that it was met in the Gospel acc. to the Hebrews in a way which is an instructive contrast to the narrative in Mt. But it does not appear in Mk, and this is in harmony with the primitive simplicity of his narrative. That the first Christians felt this difficulty, and explained it in different ways, is evidence that the baptism of John is historical fact.
εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην. The εἰς, like the ἐκ in Mark 1:10, may point to actual immersion; but in this late Greek, as papyri show, the difference between εἰς and ἐν is becoming blurred.
10. εὐθὺς … εἶδεν. As usual, εὐθύς belongs to the finite verb rather than to the participle. This is the first occurrence of Mk’s favourite adv., which he uses 41 times (Matthew 18 times, Luke 7, John 6, Acts 10); cf. Job 5:3. Mt.’s favourite adv. is τότε, which is rare in Mk, while Lk.’s is παραχρῆμα, which Mk does not use at all.
εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανούς. Jesus saw the heavens being rent asunder. We must mark the pres. part. and also the difference between Mk’s bold expression and ἀνοίγω, which is the verb almost invariably used of the heavens being opened. So elsewhere in N.T., as in LXX. (Isaiah 64:1; Ezekiel 1:1) and Testaments of the XII. Patriarchs (Levi xviii. 6; Judah xxiv. 2, which are Messianic parallels to the Gospel narrative). In the Apocalypse of Baruch (xxi. 1) we have the heavens opened and a voice coming from on high. Mk may be thinking of Isaiah 64:1, Utinam dirumperes coelos et descenderes; but there we have ἀνοίξῃς in LXX.
The nom. to εἶδεν is certainly Ἰησοῦς (Mark 1:9). We know from John 1:32 that the Baptist saw also, but the grammatical construction and ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα show that the vision, like the voice, was sent to the Christ. It is unnecessary to ask whether, if others were there, which is doubtful (Luke 3:21), they also saw and heard, or whether Jesus and John saw and heard with eye and ear. Aperiuntur coeli, non reseratione elementorum, sed spiritualibus oculorum (Bede). What is clear is that there was no hallucination, but a real reception of the Spirit of God and of the word of God. Euthymius says that these signs were given ἵνα μάθωμεν ὅτι ἐπὶ παντὸς ἀνθρώπου βαπτιζομένου ἀνοίγονται οἱ οὐρανοί, καλοῦντες αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν ἄνω κατοικίαν. Theophylact adds that the Spirit descended, not because the Christ was in need of it, “but that thou mayest know that, when thou art baptized, the Spirit will come to thee.” In Hebrew poetry and in Philo the Dove is a symbol of heavenly attributes; ἐκ φύσεως μιμήματα ἔχει τ. ἁγ. πνεύματος (Euthym.). See Lagrange, S. Marc, p. 12.
εἰς αὐτόν. See crit. note. The prep. indicates that ὡς περιστεράν is not to be taken literally; non veritas sed similitudo monstratur (Jerome). Mt. and Lk. have ἐπʼ αὐτόν, possibly because εἰς αὐτόν might suggest that until then Jesus had been devoid of the Spirit.
11. φωνὴ ἐγένετο. The first of the three Voices from Heaven; the second being at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:7), and the third being before the Passion (John 12:28). Then and at the conversion of St Paul sight and sound depended upon the condition of those present, whether they had eyes to see and ears to hear. The same was true at the Baptism.
ὁ ἀγαπητός. In LXX. the same Heb. word is translated sometimes ἀγαπητός and sometimes μονογενής. In N.T., ἀγαπητός is freq. and “it is exclusively a title of Christ, or applied to Christians as such. As a Messianic title (cf. Mark 9:7; Mark 12:6), it indicates a unique relation to God” (Swete). Here Vulg. has dilectus, but Mark 9:7 and Mark 12:6 carissimus. Here it is possibly a separate title, Thou art my Son, the Beloved, but the usual translation (A.V., R.V.) cannot safely be set aside. J. A. Robinson, Ephesians, p. 229; Hastings’ D.C.G. art. “Voice”; Dalman, Words of Jesus, pp. 204, 276; Tisserant, Ascension d’Isaie, p. 8.
ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα. The timeless aorist; In Thee I am well pleased gives the force of verb and tense sufficiently well. It is rash to give any definite limit to the past tense; e.g. pre-existence, or life on earth up to this point, or the reception of Baptism. Burton, § 55; J. H. Moulton, Gr. p. 134. Theophylact renders ἐν ᾧ ἀναπαύομαι, and Jerome (on Isaiah 11:2) quotes from the Nazarene Gospel, descendit fons omnis Spiritus Sancti et requievit super eum et dixit illi, Fili mi, in omnibus prophetis expectabam te, ut venires et requiescerem in te. Tu es enim requies mea. Tu es filius meus primogenitus qui regnas in aeternum.
By accepting baptism from John our Lord not only “fulfilled all righteousness,” i.e. complied with the Levitical Law, in the eyes of which He was unclean through connexion with an unclean people, but He also thereby consecrated Himself for His work of inaugurating the Kingdom of God. John’s baptism was a preparation for the Kingdom. For everyone else it was repentance-baptism. Jesus needed no repentance, but He could make use of preparation.
12. Καὶ εὐθύς. All three Synoptists intimate that the Temptation followed immediately after the Baptism, and that it took place under the guidance of the Spirit. Mt. has his favourite τότε, and Mk his favourite εὐθύς. Jesus knows that He is the Messiah, and He must meditate on His work, and the means, and the method. Cf. Luke 14:25 f.; Galatians 1:15-18. The information must have come from Christ Himself. The hypothesis of fiction is inadmissible, for no one at the time when the first Gospels were written had sufficient insight to invent such temptations. Indeed, but for His own statement, the first Christians would not have supposed that He ever was tempted. We know of later temptations (Matthew 16:23; Luke 22:28; Luke 22:42-44), and we may believe in earlier ones. But here Satan attempts to vanquish the Messiah just as He is about to begin the work of rescuing mankind from his power.
ἐκβάλλει. Neither Mt. (ἀνήχθη) nor Lk. (ἤγετο) adopts this verb, perhaps because it might seem to imply that the Lord was unwilling to go. Expellit (Vulg.) and “driveth forth” (R.V.) suggest the same idea. Cod. Brixianus (f), the best representative of the Old Latin, has eduxit; others have duxit (a) or tulit (ff2), and perhaps urgeth or sendeth forth would suffice. Βάλλω in late Greek is often reduced in meaning; see on John 5:7. Here we have the first of the historic presents which are such a strong characteristic of Mk  and Jn , as compared with Mt.  and Lk. (4 to 6). Mt. 69 times alters or omits the historic presents of Mk, as here. In this chapter we have seven other instances, mostly λέγει or λέγουσιν (Mark 1:21; Mark 1:30; Mark 1:37-38; Mark 1:40-41; Mark 1:44). In LXX., 337 instances have been counted, nearly all of them in historical passages. Hawkins, Hor. Syn.2 pp. 143 f., 213. This pres. is followed by three imperfects of what continued for some time.
εἰς τὴν ἔρημον. Apparently not the wilderness of Mark 1:4, for Christ leaves the Jordan to go to it. Hastings’ D.C.G. art. “Wilderness” and “Temptation.”
13. τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας. Vulg. adds et quadraginta noctibus from Matthew 4:2. Mt. mentions the nights to show that the fasting was continuous; but Mk does not mention fasting. Mk and Lk. indicate that temptations continued throughout the forty days; cf. Exodus 34:28 of Moses, and 1 Kings 19:8 of Elijah. Mt. might lead us to suppose that they did not begin till acute hunger was felt.
πειραζόμενος. In N.T. the verb is often used of the attacks of the evil one, a use not found in LXX., in which God’s trying man, or man’s trying God, is the usual meaning. Often in N.T. “try” or “test” would be a better rendering than “tempt.” Here, as in Mark 1:5; Mark 1:39, we have a leading idea expressed by a participle.
ὑπὸ τοῦ σατανᾶ. Mt. and Lk. say ὑπὸ τοῦ διαβόλου, a word more widely used in N.T. than Σατανᾶς, but not found in Mk. “Satan” (= “Adversary”) is found in all four Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epp. and Revelation. Cf. Job 1:6; Job 2:1; 1 Chronicles 21:1; Zechariah 3:1. Here the Adversary of God and man begins his conflict with ὁ ἰσχυρότερος αὐτοῦ (Luke 11:22) about the method of overcoming the world. Mk thinks it unnecessary to state which was victor.
ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων. Short as Mk’s narrative is, he here gives a particular which is not in Mt. or Lk. The wild beasts indicate the solitariness of the place, διὰ τὴν ἄγαν ἐρημίαν τοῦ τόπου (Euthym.), rather than a special terror. One who knew Himself to be the Messiah would not be afraid of being killed by wild animals. That the beasts are meant to suggest a Paradise for the Second Adam is an idea alien from the context. They intimate the absence of human beings (Isaiah 13:21), and hence the need of Angels. Still less need we suppose that here there is confusion between two similar Hebrew words, one of which means “wild beasts” and the other “fast,” so that “wild beasts” here becomes “hungered” in Mt. and Lk. Least of all that there is here any borrowing from Buddha’s fasting or the temptation of Zarathustra. “Such ideas can only occur to those who will not try first of all to find in the story its own explanation” (Clemen). See p. 92.
διηκόνουν. Cf. Mark 1:31, Mark 15:41. The imperf. seems to imply that the Angelic ministrations, like the Satanic assaults, continued throughout Mt. places both at the end. Bede’s antithesis is hardly right: inter bestias commoratur ut homo, sed ministerio utitur angelico ut Deus. It was as man that He needed the support of Angels (Luke 22:43). There is a striking parallel in the Testaments (Naph. viii. 4): “And the devil shall fly from you, [And the wild beasts shall fear you,] And the Lord shall love you, [And the Angels shall cleave to you].” But the words in brackets are not found in all texts. Christian interpolations are freq. in the Testaments.
14. Καὶ μετὰ τὸ παραδοθῆναι. See crit. note. And after that John was delivered up, into the hands of Herod Antipas; cf. Mark 6:17. We are not told by whom John was delivered up, and some understand “by God,” who in a similar sense “delivered up” Jesus (Mark 9:31, Mark 10:33). The instruments were the Pharisees, and perhaps there is a hint that, as in the case of the Messiah (Mark 3:19, Mark 14:10), there was treachery. The view that Mk gives is that, when the Forerunner’s work ended (μετά), that of the Messiah began, but there is no hint given as to the amount of interval, which did not seem to Mk to be of importance. The Law passed, and the Gospel came; desinente lege consequenter oritur evangelium (Jerome). Mk says nothing, and perhaps knew nothing, of an earlier ministry in which the Baptist and Jesus were preaching simultaneously (John 4:1).
εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. Galilee was the most populous of the provinces into which Palestine was divided. Experience proved that it was a far more hopeful field than Jerusalem and Judaea (John 2:13 to John 4:3).
τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τ. θεοῦ. See crit. note. Either the gracious message which God sends or that which tells of Him; cf. Mark 1:1. Both meanings may be included. St Paul was perhaps the first to use the phrase (1 Thessalonians 2:8-9; Romans 1:1; Romans 15:16; 2 Corinthians 11:7). Because the expression seemed strange, τῆς βασιλείας was inserted at an early date ( Latt. Syr-Pesh.). Τὸ εὐαγγ. is freq. in Mk, rare in Mt. and Acts, and is not found at all in Lk. or Jn. Only in ch. 1 does Mk use κηρύσσω of Christ; elsewhere He is said διδάσκειν.
15. καὶ λέγων. Mk often accumulates participles; Mark 1:31; Mark 1:41, Mark 2:6, Mark 3:5; Mark 3:31, Mark 4:8, Mark 5:25-27; Mark 5:30; Mark 5:33, Mark 6:2, Mark 8:11, Mark 10:17, Mark 12:28, Mark 13:34, Mark 14:23; Mark 14:67, Mark 15:21; Mark 15:36; Mark 15:43.
ὅτι. When ὅτι introduces, in the oratio recta, the words spoken, it is omitted in translation, being equivalent to inverted commas; Mark 1:37; Mark 1:40, Mark 2:12, Mark 3:11; Mark 3:21-22, etc. But we need not suppose that Christ used these very words. He was not constructing set phrases to be impressed on the memory by repetition; but in these sentences the Evangelist sums up the substance of the Messiah’s preaching.
Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός. “The time has been completed and is complete”; a Jewish idea, freq. in O.T. As usual ὁ καιρός means “the appointed time, right season, opportune moment,” not necessarily a short time; ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ἀφορισθεὶς παρὰ θεοῦ τῇ πολιτείᾳ τῆς Παλαιᾶς Διαθήκης (Euthym.).
ἤγγικεν. “Has come near” and therefore is at hand (A.V., R.V.). Cf. Mark 14:42. Christ appears as a Revivalist of religion.
ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ. Mk has this expression 14 times, Lk. 32 times. Mt. nearly always omits or paraphrases Mk’s expression, or substitutes ἡ βασ. τῶν οὐρανῶν, which he has 32 times. This Kingdom or Reign is the rule of God in men’s hearts and in society. It exists already, but many have not even begun to try to attain to it, and no one gains it in its fulness. God’s rule will be complete in eternity (1 Corinthians 15:24-28). See the full discussion of the phrase, esp. in its eschatological sense, in Dalman, The Words of Jesus, pp. 91–143; D.C.G. art. “Kingdom of God.”
πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ. Πιστ. εἰς is freq. in N.T., and πιστ. ἐπί occurs several times in Acts and Romans and elsewhere; but neither is found in LXX. Πιστ. ἐν occurs Ephesians 1:13, and perhaps nowhere else in N.T., for John 3:15 is doubtful, and it is rare in LXX. All three expressions are stronger than πιστ. with the simple dat. (Mark 11:31)—the difference between reposing trust in and merely believing what is stated. J. H. Moulton, Gr. p. 67. Mk elsewhere attributes the use of the word εὐαγγέλιον to Christ (Mark 8:35, Mark 10:29, Mark 13:10, Mark 14:9); but he nowhere represents Him as speaking of “My Gospel.” It would be natural to give Christ’s meaning in the language which was current when Mk wrote. Dalman, Words of Jesus, pp. 102, 106. Syr-Sin. has “believe His Gospel.”
16. Καὶ παράγων. See crit. note. The intrans. use of παράγω is found in Mk (Mark 2:14, Mark 15:21), Mt., Jn, and the Pauline Epps.; also once or twice in the Psalms. In Mk and Mt. παρά c. acc. is always local. Blass, § 43. 4.
τὴν θάλασσαν τῆς Γαλιλαίας. This is its usual designation in N.T. (Mark 7:31; Matthew 4:18; Matthew 15:29; John 6:1, where “of Tiberias” is added). Lk. more accurately calls it a lake (λίμνη). But more frequently it is simply “the Sea.” Mk has θάλασσα 19 times, 17 times of the lake, and twice (Mark 9:42, Mark 11:23) of the sea. The familiar “of Gennesaret” (Luke 5:1) appears first 1 Maccabees 11:67. In LXX., we have θάλασσα Χενέρεθ (Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:27) or Χενέρα (Numbers 24:11). The lake is still remarkable for abundance of fish, esp. near the hot springs.
Σίμωνα. The name may be a Greek contraction of Symeon or an independent Greek name. It is very common in N.T. In the Gospels we have seven Simons; in Josephus there are twenty-five. Simon Maccabaeus may have made the name popular. As was natural, the name given to the Apostle by our Lord almost drove his original name out of use. After it was given (Mark 3:16), Mk uses “Peter” 18 times and “Simon” only in Christ’s address to him (Mark 14:37). A similar use is found in Mt., Lk. and Acts. In Jn, both “Peter” and “Simon Peter” are freq. In Galatians 2:7-8, St Paul has “Peter,” but elsewhere always “Kephas.” Hort, 1 Peter, p. 151. The usage with regard to “Saul” and “Paul” is similar.
Ἀνδρέαν. A purely Greek name, but not rare among the Jews. Andrew had been a disciple of the Baptist (John 1:35; John 1:40). The repetition of Simon’s name illustrates Mk’s fulness of expression. The father, Jonas or John, is not mentioned.
ἀμφιβάλλοντας. See crit. note. The verb occurs nowhere else in N.T.: in LXX. only Habakkuk 1:17, ἀμφιβαλεῖ τὸ ἀμφίβληστρον αὐτοῦ. See Trench, Syn. § lxiv.
16–20. THE MESSIAH CALLS HIS FIRST DISCIPLES
Matthew 4:18-22. Cf. Luke 5:1-11
Here, in the fullest sense, the main portion of the Gospel begins, and the authority for it goes back to eye-witnesses, of whom St Peter may be regarded as the chief. We do not know how long an interval there is between this section and the preceding one; but the connexion in thought is close. If τὸ εὐαγγέλιον was to be proclaimed to all the world, many preachers would be required, and the Messiah at once seeks such helpers.
17. Δεῦτε ὀπίσω μου. Cf. 2 Kings 6:19. A magisterial invitation, almost a command. No reason is given, except the promise which follows, and we assume that He is already known to the two brothers. As in Mark 11:24; Mark 11:29, the imperative takes the place of a protasis with εἰ or εἰ. Δεῦτε = δεῦρο ἴτε.
γενέσθαι ἁλεεῖς ἀνθρώπων. Mt. omits γενέσθαι, which points to the preparatory training: ἀνθρώπους ἔσῃ ζωγρῶν (Luke 5:10) is more explicit; men instead of fish, and for life instead of for death; vivos capies homines (Beza). This implies an invitation to permanent service; they are to cease to catch fish and to become fishers of men. This is the earliest instance of Christ’s parabolic teaching; cf. Mark 2:19; Mark 2:21-22. In the result Christ Himself appears as a successful fisher, ἵνα ἁλιεύσῃ τοὺς ἁλιεῖς (Euthym.). Cf. the hymn, sometimes attributed to Clem. Alex.: ἁλιεὺς μερόπων τῶν σωζομένων κ.τ.λ.
18. καὶ εὐθέως ἀφέντες τ. δ. There is no hesitation. Like Bartimaeus with his ἱμάτιον (Mark 10:50), they leave their valuable possessions; and apparently there is neither father nor servant present to take care of the nets. As Theophylact says, τὸν Ἰάκωβον σαγηνεύει καὶ τὸν Ἰωάννην. Mt. often omits the εὐθύς of Mk (comp. Mark 1:12; Mark 1:29; Mark 1:43, Mark 2:8; Mark 2:12 with Matthew 4:1; Matthew 8:4; Matthew 8:14; Matthew 9:4; Matthew 9:7), but not here.
19. τοῦ Ζεβεδαίου. We may infer from Mark 15:40 that the mother’s name was Salome. As James is mentioned first and John is described as “his brother,” we conclude that John was the younger, or that, at the time when this Gospel was written, James was the better known. In Acts 12:2, “James the brother of John” indicates that at that time John was better known than Zebedee. See on Mark 3:16.
καὶ αὐτοὺς ἐν τῷ πλοίῳ. They also in their boat. We were not told that Simon and Andrew were in their boat, but it might be inferred from ἀμφιβάλλοντας, for an ἀμφιβάλλσντας could not be used to much purpose from the shore.
καταρτίζοντας. James and John were not fishing but getting their nets in proper order for the next expedition. Theophylact strangely makes this a sign of poverty; they repaired their nets because they could not afford to get new ones! Hired servants imply that Zebedee was well off. Καταρτίζω in profane writers often means setting a joint or bone. St Paul has it in all of the four great Epistles.
20. καὶ εὐθὺς ἐκάλεσεν. As soon as He saw them, being certain of success, He called them. Mt. again preserves the εὐθύς, but employs it, as before, to mark the immediate response to Christ’s invitation. James and John apparently had more to leave than Peter and Andrew had, but in each case all was left (Mark 10:28). Mk does not repeat the words of invitation and he varies the description of the response. To follow Christ is a call superior even to parental claims (Matthew 8:22; Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). “With the hired servants” is one of the unessential details in Mk which Mt. omits; cf. Mark 1:29, Mark 4:38, Mark 5:13, Mark 6:37, Mark 14:5, etc.
The Messiah has chosen four simple fishermen with whom to begin the work of converting the world. Piscatores et illitterati mittuntur ad praedicandum, ne fides credentium, non in virtute Dei, sed eloquentia atque doctrina putaretur (Bede). But Christ did not prefer ignorance to education. There was much in the patient endurance necessary for a fisherman’s calling that was good training for the work of converting the world.
21. Καφαρναούμ. See crit. note. Christ came thither from Nazareth (Mt., Lk.), and for a time it became His headquarters. “Caphar” means “hamlet” or “village”; Capharsalama (1 Maccabees 7:31) and Capharsaba (Joseph. Ant. XVI. Mark 1:2). The site of Capernaum is still much debated; either Tell Hum, or Khan Minyeh, which is about 2 ½ miles S.W. of Tell Hum, may be right. Mk speaks thrice of Christ’s coming to Capernaum (Mark 1:21, Mark 2:1, Mark 9:33) and thrice of His entering Jerusalem (Mark 11:11; Mark 11:15; Mark 11:27). We cannot safely infer from this that were was an intention “to convey that both cities received a three-fold warning from the Messiah.”
εὐθὺς τοῖς σάββασιν. On the very first sabbath after the call of the first disciples; cf. εὐθὺς πρωί (Mark 15:1). Like Peter (Acts 10:38), Mk lays stress on Christ’s healing demoniacs, and he places an act of this kind first among the miracles. Both in LXX. and in N.T., both σάββατον and σάββατα are used for “a Sabbath.” In N.T., σάββατον is more common (Mark 2:27-28, Mark 6:2, Mark 16:1; etc.), and σάββατα is “Sabbaths” in Acts 17:2, where a numeral (ἐπὶ σαβ. τρία) requires the plur. Elsewhere σάββατα is plur. in sound, perhaps in imitation of the Hebrew or because Greek festivals are neut. plur. (Mark 6:21; John 10:22), but is sing, in meaning. In N.T., σάββασιν is the usual form of the dat., with σαββάτοις as v. l. in some authorities (Matthew 12:1; Matthew 12:12 in  in LXX., σαββάτοις prevails. Josephus has both. Mk uses neither σάββατον nor σάββατα in the sense of “a week”; Mark 16:9 is not by Mk.
εἰσελθὼν … ἐδίδασκεν. See crit. note. “He entered their synagogue and was teaching there, and thereupon they were in a state of amazement.” If εἰσελθών be omitted, cf. Mark 1:39, Mark 10:10, Mark 13:9, Mark 14:9. The art. is probably possessive, or it may imply that there was only one; but that built by the good centurion is not likely to have been the only one in so large a place as Capernaum; see on Luke 7:5. At Tell Hum there are ruins of two, but perhaps neither is as old as the first century. In LXX., both συναγωγή and ἐκκλησία are used of a congregation of the Israelites, especially in an organized form, but sometimes of other gatherings (Proverbs 5:14; cf. συναγωγὰς ὁσίων, Ps. Sol. 17:18). In N.T., Josephus, and Philo, συναγωγή is used, as here, of the building in which the congregation met. There were many such in Jerusalem, and we read of them at Nazareth (Mark 6:2; Matthew 13:54; Luke 4:16) as well as at Capernaum. In Asia Minor and in Greece, St Paul could find a synagogue in most cities, and could count on being allowed by the officials to address the congregation. The origin of synagogues is unknown. The service in them consisted largely of instruction. Philo calls them “houses of instruction” and regards them primarily as schools. They were also courts of justice (Luke 12:11; Luke 21:12), and punishment was inflicted in them (Mark 13:9).
22. ἐξεπλήσσοντο. They began to be amazed, or they continued to be amazed. Amazement was a common result of Christ’s teaching and acts (Mark 5:20, Mark 6:2; Mark 6:6, Mark 7:37, Mark 10:26, Mark 11:18). What amazed people in His teaching was its authoritative tone. Jewish teachers quoted Scripture, or tradition, or the sayings of some famous Rabbi, as the authority for what they taught; “It is written,” or “It has been said.” Jesus taught as One who needed no such justification, and He sometimes corrected, not only traditions, but even the accepted expositions of the Law; But I say unto you (Matthew 5:22; Matthew 5:28; Matthew 5:32; Matthew 5:34; Matthew 5:39; Matthew 5:44). Hort, Judaistic Christianity, p. 33.
ἦν γὰρ διδάσκων. See on Mark 1:6. The periphrastic tense covers more than the previous imperf.; ἐδίδασκεν refers to His teaching on this occasion, ἦν διδ. to the general tone of His teaching; His way was to teach. Cf. Mark 2:6; Mark 2:18.
ὡς ἐξουσίαν ἔχων. Adverbial, stating the manner of the action, viz. “authoritatively.” We may treat the participle as used substantively and expand, “He taught as one who has authority teaches”; but the words are intelligible without such expansion, as in ὡς οὐκ ἀέρα δέρων (1 Corinthians 9:26; cf. 1 Corinthians 7:25; 1 Peter 2:16). Burton, § 446. Ἐξουσία is legitimate power derived from a source which is competent to confer it. The source of Christ’s ἐξουσία was His Father (Matthew 28:18; Luke 22:29; John 3:35; John 13:3; John 17:2), and from the outset stress is laid on it.
οἱ γραμματεῖς. Those who were learned in τὰ γράμματα, the professional exponents of Scripture. For the history of the term see Deissmann, Bible Studies, p. 110; cf. 1 Esdras 8:3; 2 Maccabees 6:18. The scribes in 1 Maccabees 5:42, and perhaps in Mark 7:12, are a different class of officials. In N.T., “the Scribes,” Sopherim, are the professors of exegesis, and most of them were Pharisees or held similar views. They are the Clerical party.
23. εὐθὺς … αὐτῶν. See crit. note. Lk. omits both words as unnecessary, but they are part of Mk’s fulness; “On that very occasion, just as He was thus teaching in the local synagogue, etc.”
ἐν πνεύματι ἀκαθάρτῳ. “In the control of, in the power of, an unclean spirit” (Mark 5:2); we have the same use of ἐν when the spiritual influence is a good one (Mark 12:36; Matthew 12:28; Matthew 12:43; Luke 2:27; Luke 4:1). In Mark 3:30, Mark 7:25, Mark 9:17 the afflicted person “has” the evil spirit. Mk and Lk., who wrote for Gentiles, to whom spirits or demons were indifferent, add a distinctive epithet much more often than Mt., who wrote for Jews, for Jews distinguished evil spirits from good. Mk has ἀκάθαρτον eleven times, Lk. six times and πονηρόν twice, while Mt. has ἀκάθαρτον only twice. Mk and Lk. add this epithet the first time they mention these beings (here and Luke 4:33), whereas Mt. mentions them several times before he adds it (Mark 10:1). Nowhere in the Epistles is it used of spirits.
On the difficult subject of demoniacal possession see Hastings’ D.C.G. art. “Demon”; W. M. Alexander, Demonic Possession in the N.T. pp. 12, 200–212, 249; Plummer, S. Matthew, pp. 134 f. The other instances in Mk should be compared; Mark 1:34, Mark 3:11-12, Mark 5:6-7, Mark 9:20.
ἀνέκραξεν. “Lifted up his voice,” “cried loudly”; in N.T., the verb is peculiar to Mk and Lk. The crying out of demons is mentioned Mark 3:11, Mark 5:5; Mark 5:7, Mark 9:26.
24. Τί ἡμῖν καὶ σοί; Lit. “What is there that belongs to us and to Thee?” i.e. “What hast Thou to do with us?” Only one unclean spirit is mentioned, but it recognizes in Christ a power hostile to the whole class of demons. The man with the Legion (Mark 5:7) begins with the same cry. Like Peter’s Ἔξελθε ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ (Luke 5:8), it expresses consciousness of the incompatibility of perfect purity with sin. The form of expression is found in LXX. (Joshua 22:24; Judges 11:12; 2 Samuel 16:10) and in class. Grk (Demosth., Aristoph., and often in Arrian, Epict.). Cf. 2 Corinthians 6:14, and the proverb τί κοινὸν λύρᾳ καὶ ὄνῳ (Lucian, De merc. cond. 25).
Ναζαρηνέ. This is Mk’s form; Mt. and Jn have Ναζωραῖος. Lk. has both forms in his Gospel, in Acts always Ναζωραῖος (seven times).
ἦλθες ἀπολέσαι ἡμᾶς; Didst Thou come to destroy us? Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί; in 1 Kings 17:18, is followed by a similar question, εἰσῆλθες πρὸς μέ … θανατῶσαι τὸν υἱόν μου; and here the sentence is probably interrogative (A.V., R.V.). But this and Luke 4:34 should be treated alike. Ναζαρηνέ might suggest that ἦλθες means “Didst Thou come from Nazareth?” But the plur. ἡμᾶς points the other way, “Didst Thou come into the world?” This is confirmed by what follows; but the thought that the Saviour ought not to destroy would be clearer if ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου (John 4:42) stood in place of ὁ ἅγιος τ. θ. Cf. John 6:69; Acts 2:27; Acts 4:27. “Let us alone” (A.V.) is an interpolation; see crit. note. Cf. James 2:19, τὰ δαιμόνια πιστεύουσιν καὶ φρίσσουσιν. Praesentia Salvatoris tormenta sunt daemonum (Bede). Lucian points out that in these cases the afflicted person is silent and the demon speaks (Philops. 16), and that the afflicted person is specially irate with a doctor who tries to heal him (Abdicat. 6).
οἶδά σε. The distinction between οἶδα and γινώσκω is not rigidly observed, the latter being sometimes used of God’s knowing (John 10:15) and οἶδα of knowledge gained by experience (Mark 10:42); but here οἶδα is quite in place; the demon knew instinctively the absolute holiness of Jesus.
ὁ ἅγιος τ. θ. As in Peter’s confession (John 6:69; cf. John 10:36; 1 John 2:20). Here was One who fulfilled the ideal of complete consecration to God. Aaron is ὁ ἅγιος Κυρίου (Psalms 105:16) as being consecrated and set apart for the service of Jehovah. The confession of the unclean spirits in Mark 3:11 is more definite; they know Him to be the Son of God.
25. ἐπετίμησεν. In class. Grk the verb has three meanings, the second and third growing out of the first;  “lay a value on, rate”;  “lay an estimated penalty on, sentence”;  “chide, rebuke, rate.” In Greek there is a real connexion between the first and third meanings; but in English we have a mere accident of language, for “rate” = “value” is a word of different origin from “rate” = “scold.” Excepting 2 Timothy 4:2 and Judges 1:9, the verb occurs only in the Synoptists in N.T., always in the sense of “rebuke,” or “give a strict order,” and often of rebuking violence; so also in LXX., where it is rare, except in the Psalms.
Φιμώθητι καὶ ἔξελθε. The two commands show why the demon was rebuked; he had no authority to proclaim who Jesus was, and he had no right to have possession of the man. Euthymius (κολακεύων) follows Tertullian (male adulantem) in attributing the demon’s utterance to flattery, which is not probable. It is rather a confession of the power of perfect goodness. Excepting 1 Corinthians 9:9 (?) and 1 Timothy 5:18, where Deuteronomy 25:4 is quoted, φιμόω is always used of silencing, not of muzzling. Cf. Josephus (B.J. I. xxii. 3), ἀλλʼ ὁ μὲν πεφίμωτο τοῖς ἱμέροις. It is probably colloquial rather than literary, and it is said to have been used in exorcisms. Papyri may throw light on it. In Mark 4:39 we have perf. imperat. πεφίμωσο, which is stronger than aor. imperat. Whatever may be the truth about demoniacal possession, all the evidence that we have shows that Christ, in dealing with those who were believed to be possessed, went through the form of commanding evil spirits to go out (Mark 5:8, Mark 7:29, Mark 9:25; cf. Mark 1:34; Mark 1:39, Mark 3:15; Matthew 12:28; Matthew 12:43; etc.). And His miracles were not wrought by uttering spells, but by speaking a word of command. He bade the demons to depart, the lepers to be cleansed (Mark 1:41), the lame to walk (Mark 2:11), the deaf to hear (Mark 7:34), the blind to see (Mark 10:52), the dead to arise (Mark 5:41), the storm to be still (Mark 4:39). With this simple ἔξελθε ἐξ αὐτοῦ contrast the elaborate form of exorcism quoted by Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, pp. 251 f. Of the seven miracles wrought on the Sabbath, Mk gives three (Mark 1:25; Mark 1:31, Mark 3:5), Lk. two (Mark 13:13, Mark 14:4), and Jn two (Mark 5:9, Mark 9:14).
The command to demons not to make His Messiahship known among Jews (here and Mark 3:12), a prohibition which was not made in the case of Gentiles (Mark 5:19), is in harmony with the well-attested fact, that even the Twelve were slow in recognizing Him as the Messiah, and that the nation refused to accept Him as such. So far from proclaiming Himself as the Messiah, He was anxious that this fact should not be disclosed until men’s minds were prepared to receive it on other grounds than the fact that He worked miracles. Miracles did not prove that He was the Messiah; Prophets had healed lepers and raised the dead. And it is not irreverent to conjecture that He knew that a premature recognition of Him as the Messiah might produce a renewal of the temptations in the wilderness, temptations to gain the glory of victory without the necessary suffering (Matthew 4:8-10; Matthew 16:21-23).
26. σπαράξαν … φωνῆσαν. Accumulation of participles; see on Mark 1:15. Convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out. “Tearing him” suggests that there was permanent injury, and Lk. tells us that there was none; cf. Mark 9:20, where  has ἐτάραξεν for συνεσπάραξεν. Here, for σπαράξαν (discerpens, Vulg.), Lk. has ῥίψαν εἰς τὸ μέσον (cum projecisset in medium), and Syr-Sin. has “threw him down” in Mk. Daniel 8:7, where LXX. has ἐσπάραξεν, Theod. has ἔριψεν. The adverbial φωνῇ μεγάλῃ is much more freq. in Lk. (Luke 4:33; Luke 8:28; Luke 19:37; Luke 23:46) than in Mk (Mark 5:7, Mark 15:34).
27. ἐθαμβήθησαν ἅπαντες. Lk. has ἐγένετο θάμβος ἐπὶ πάντας. In N.T. Mk alone uses θαμβέομαι, and Lk. alone uses θάμβος. But Lk., far more often than all other N.T. writers put together, uses the strong form ἅπας. Just as Christ’s rebuke to the demon reveals the two things which provoked the rebuke (see on Mark 1:25), so the people’s utterance reveals the two things which excited their astonishment, His authoritative teaching and His casting out the unclean spirit with a word. Cf. Matthew 7:28.
συνζητεῖν. Freq. in Mk, elsewhere twice in Lk. and twice in Acts. It is usually followed by πρός.
Τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; See crit. note. The text of  33 and other cursives gives the utterances of the congregation in abrupt short sentences and is probably original. But the punctuation is doubtful: διδαχὴ καινή may be interrogative, and κατʼ ἐξουσίαν may be taken either with what precedes or with what follows. Διδαχὴ καινή is probably the answer to τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; and Lk. is in favour of taking κατʼ ἐξ. with what follows. It is barely possible to take κατʼ ἐξ. (with ἐστιν understood) as a separate sentence. The recently discovered MS. acquired by Mr C. L. Freer has “What is this new, this authoritative teaching, and that He commandeth even the unclean spirits and they obey Him?” See Appendix.
καινή. “New” in reference to quality, “fresh,” not worn out or obsolete; whereas νέος is “new” in reference to time, “young,” not aged. But, excepting in Mark 2:22 and parallels, καινός cannot be translated “fresh”: “fresh covenant,” “fresh heaven,” “fresh Jerusalem” are intolerable.
καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τ. ἀκ. Even the spirits, the unclean ones. The repetition of the art. makes the adj. a separate idea. They had often heard of exorcisms; they had not so often heard that the demons at once obeyed. Cf. the Testaments (Benj. Mark 1:2), καὶ τὰ ἀκάθαρτα πνεύματα φεύξονται ἀφʼ ὑμῶν. Cf. καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος (Mark 4:41), καὶ τὰ δαιμόνια (Luke 10:17). Christ’s miracles, like His teaching, were not an art which He had acquired, but ἐξουσία with which He was endowed.
28. ἀκοή. Here again (see on Mark 1:25) we have a word with three meanings, of which the second and third spring directly from the first:  “hearing,” as “by hearing ye shall hear,” Isaiah 6:9; then, seeing that “hearing” may mean either the sense of hearing or hearsay, we have  “the ear,” Mark 7:35, and  “rumour” or “report,” as here. Cf. Jeremiah 6:24.
εὐθὺς [πανταχοῦ]. From that moment in all directions. Some important witnesses ( 33, Lat-Vet.) omit εὐθύς, and still more (, Latt. Syrr.) omit πανταχοῦ, but perhaps both may be retained (R.V.). Syr-Sin. omits both and adds “and many followed Him.”
ὅλην τὴν περίχωρον τῆς Γαλιλαίας. Either A.V. or R.V. may be right; all the region round about Galilee, i.e. the whole of Syria (Matthew 4:24), or all the region of Galilee round about, i.e. the whole of Galilee (Luke 4:37). In the latter case, τῆς Γαλ. merely explains τ. περίχωρον.
This curing of a demoniac is the first miracle recorded by Mk, who may have regarded it as symbolical of the Messiah’s work—His victory over the forces of evil.
29. εὐθὺς … ἐξελθών. See on Mark 1:10. The coincidence with ἐξῆλθεν … εὐθύς (Mark 1:28) is accidental. No parallel is intended between the report going forth at once and His at once going forth. As soon as the synagogue service was over, Christ went to the home of the first pair of disciples accompanied by the second pair; and this house now becomes His headquarters (Mark 2:1, Mark 3:20, Mark 7:24, Mark 9:33, Mark 10:10). Those who adopt the reading ἐξελθόντες ἧλθον ( etc.) think that here we can trace the words of Peter, ἐξελθόντες ἤλθομεν. The change to the plur. was probably made in order to include the disciples who accompanied Him to Peter’s house. Mt. omits “with James and John.” Syr-Sin. has “And He came out of the synagogue, and they came to the house of Simon Cepha and of Andrew; and James and John were with Him.”
30. πενθερά. It is certain that πενθερά means “mother-in-law” (Luke 12:53; Ruth 1:14; Ruth 2:11; Ruth 2:18-19; Ruth 2:23; Micah 7:6); “step-mother” is μητρυιά; and it is clear from 1 Corinthians 9:5 that Peter was married. Clem. Alex. (Strom. iii. 6) says that Peter had children and that his wife helped the Apostle in ministering to women; and here her mother ministers to Christ and His disciples. See also Strom. vii. 11, quoted by Eusebius, H. E. iii. 30. Jonas or John (John 21:15), the father of Simon and Andrew, was probably dead.
Note the accurate changes of tense in Mark 1:30-31, imperf. of what continued, hist. pres. or aor. of what was done once for all; also the two participles, as in Mark 1:14-15.
κατέκειτο. Was in bed; John 5:3; John 5:6; Acts 9:33; Acts 28:8; cf. Wisdom of Solomon 17:7. She was keeping her bed, being in a fever.
εὐθὺς λέγουσιν. As soon as He enters the house Peter and Andrew tell Him of their sick relation, for after what they had seen in the synagogue they were confident that He could and would heal her. To suppose that they were merely explaining her non-appearance is inadequate. Mt. omits this. Euthymius notes how often ὁ Χριστὸς τῇ ἑτέρων πἱστει χαρίζεται τὴν ἑτέρων ἴασιν, and continues ὑποδεξώμεθα καὶ ἡμεῖς τὸν Χριστόν, ἵνα τῶν ἐν ἡμῖν παθῶν τὴν πύρωσιν ἀποσβέσῃ.
31. κρατήσας τῆς χειρός. We have the same action in the cases of Jairus’s daughter (Mark 5:41), the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:23), and the demoniac boy (Mark 9:27); cf. Mark 9:36. Lk. substitutes that “He stood over her and rebuked the fever.” Κρατέω c. acc. implies complete control (Mark 3:21, Mark 6:17, Mark 12:12, etc.), c. gen., grasping only a part (Mark 5:41, Mark 9:27). On the aor. part, see Blass, § 58. 4. On the combination of participles see on Mark 1:15.
διηκόνει. All three have this imperf., and the beloved physician, who states that the fever was a “great” one, emphasizes διηκόνει with his favourite παραχρῆμα. A person just recovered from a fever is usually too weak to minister to others; verum sanitas quae Domini confertur imperio simul tota redit (Bede). It is at the Sabbath meal after the synagogue service that she waits on Christ and His disciples. In this she showed her gratitude and her joy in regained strength. Ἐὰν κατεχόμενον νοσήματι ἰάσηταί σε ὁ θεός, τῇ ὑγιείᾳ κέχρησο πρὸς τὴν τῶν ἁγίων διακονίαν (Theoph.).
32. Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης, ὅτε ἔδυσεν ὁ ἥλιος. The Sabbath ended at sunset, and then the work of moving the sick could begin. The double statement illustrates Mk’s love of fulness of expression; cf. Mark 1:42, Mark 2:23; Mark 2:25, Mark 3:27, Mark 6:25, Mark 7:13; Mark 7:20, Mark 9:3, Mark 10:30, Mark 11:4, Mark 12:14; Mark 12:44, Mark 13:20; Mark 13:34, Mark 14:43; Mark 14:58; Mark 14:61; Mark 14:68, Mark 15:1, Mark 16:2. It is also one of several instances in which Mk has the whole expression, of which Mt. and Lk. each take a different half. Here Mt. has ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης, Lk. δύνοντος δὲ τοῦ ἡλίου, and Syr-Sin. here agrees with Lk. See on Mark 1:42, and comp. Mark 14:30 with Matthew 26:34 and Luke 22:34; also Mark 15:26 with Matthew 27:37 and Luke 23:38. From Mark 2:25, Mt. and Lk. take the same half, omitting “hath need”; also from Mark 12:14, omitting “Shall we give, or shall we not give?” So also from Mark 14:68, omitting “nor understand.” There are also other instances in which Mk has superfluous words, which either Mt. retains but not Lk., or Lk. retains but not Mt. Hawkins, Hor. Syn.2 pp. 139 f.
ἔδυσεν … ἔφερον. The change from imperf. to aor., and from aor. to imperf., is again quite accurate.
τοὺς δαιμονιζομένους. Syr-Sin. omits. As usual, these are distinguished from ordinary sick folk. The verb does not occur in LXX. and in N.T. is found only in the Gospels, freq. in Mt. and Mk, and once each in Lk. and Jn.
33. ὅλη ἡ πόλις. Popular hyperbole, like πᾶσα and πάντες in Mark 1:5, and πάντες in Mark 1:37.
ἐπισυνηγμένη πρὸς τὴν θύραν. “Flocked towards the door and formed a dense crowd there.” Note the periphrastic tense (Mark 1:6; Mark 1:22), and the double compound; one concourse came on the top of another. Cf. ἐπισυνάγαγε ἡμᾶς ἐκ τῶν ἐθνῶν (Psalms 106:47). Mt., as often, omits the dense crowds which impeded Christ.
34. πολλούς. They brought πάντας and He healed πολλούς, which does not mean that some went away without treatment. To avoid this misinterpretation, Mt. transposes πολλούς and πάντας: they brought many and He healed all. The physician tells us the method of healing: “He laid His hands on each one.” He also has the more accurate ἐθεράπευεν, for such individual treatment was a long process, and persistent energy was evident through it all. All three distinguish casting out demons from healing the sick, and it is because of the preceding δαιμονιζομένους that Mk has δαιμόνια instead of πνεύματα ἀκάθαρτα. Syr-Sin. omits κακῶς … νόσοις.
ἤφιεν. We have the same form Mark 11:16; cf. Mark 11:4; Revelation 11:9; συνίω is a similar form. W.H. App. p. 167; Blass, § 23. 7. The use of λαλεῖν (not λέγειν) shows that ὅτι means “because,” not “that.” The two verbs are not confused in N.T.
ἤδεισαν. See on οἶδα, Mark 1:24. It was the demons, not the demoniacs, who recognized Him. If the demoniacs were only insane or epileptic persons, how did they know who Jesus was? See crit. note. If Χριστὸν εἶναι is a gloss, it is a correct gloss; “knew Him” means “knew Him to be the Messiah.” But Mk writes with reserve as to what they knew, and perhaps we ought to write and speak with reserve also. We do not know enough about it to speak with confidence; but perhaps it is more correct to say that as yet Jesus was the Messiah-designate rather than the Messiah, because He had not yet been revealed to mankind as having this office. The time for that revelation had not yet come. In God’s sight He was the Messiah, a fact declared to Him and to John at the Baptism. And we are told here that this was known also to the demons. But it had not yet been revealed to men; and it was for God to make this revelation at the fitting time, not for demons, nor even for Apostles. Hence the silence about the fact which is strictly enjoined upon Peter and the rest (Mark 8:30). At first sight that requirement of silence from those who had to proclaim the coming of the reign of God seems inconsistent; but the nearer we get to the view given us by St Mark, the more intelligible it will become. We need not be surprised at finding that there are “things concerning Jesus of Nazareth” which we cannot fully explain; but we can understand that it was not God’s will that His Son should be prematurely proclaimed as the promised Messiah, or be proclaimed as such by demons.
35. πρωῒ ἔννυχα. Either word would suffice, and Syr-Sin. omits ἔννυχα: and either ἐξῆλθεν or ἀπῆλθεν would suffice: καὶ ἀπῆλθεν may come from Mark 6:32; Mark 6:46; it is omitted by  and other witnesses. Nowhere else does ἔννυχα occur; cf. πάννυχα (Soph. Ajax, 929). A great while before day (A.V., R.V.) is a good equivalent for ἔννυχα λίαν, lit. “well in the night,” He rose up and went out.
κἀκεῖ προσηύχετο. And there He continued in prayer. Accurate change from aor. to imperf. The Evangelist who is most often alone in recording that Christ prayed is Lk. (Luke 3:21; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18; Luke 9:28; Luke 11:1; Luke 11:23; Luke 11:34; Luke 11:46); but here Mk is alone. Both Mk (Mark 6:46) and Mt. (Mark 14:23) mention His retiring to pray after feeding the 5000, and all three record the praying in Gethsemane. He was liable to physical exhaustion, and He might pray for help to overcome that. He was not omniscient, and He might pray for illumination. He was liable to temptation, and He might pray for strength to overcome that (Hebrews 2:18; Hebrews 4:15; Hebrews 5:7-8). It is rash to say that all Christ’s prayers were intercessions for others; it was not so in Gethsemane. Here, as usual, the best MSS. have κἀκεῖ: in Mark 1:38 and Mark 14:15, καὶ ἐκεῖ may be right.
36. κατεδίωξαν. “Pursued Him closely,” “followed Him down.” Freq. in LXX., but here only in N.T. The verb generally implies interference with the person pursued, and sometimes implies persecution. But cf. Psalms 23:6. Considering the simple character of Mk’s Greek, he uses compound words more often than we should expect. It is instructive to take a page here and there and count. In N.T., διώκω is freq. Peter at once begins to lead.
οἱ μετʼ αὐτοῦ. Andrew, James, and John. In Lk. this is blurred into οἱ ὄχλοι. The earliest tradition says that the disciples pleaded the desires of the multitudes: Lk. says the people came and urged their own wishes.
37. Πάντες ζητοῦσίν σε. All men are seeking Thee. He had no house of His own at which they could be sure of finding Him. Cf. Mark 1:5; Mark 1:33.
38. Ἄγωμεν. Intrans. as in Mark 14:42 and always in N.T. Cf. ἔγειρε, Mark 2:11.
ἀλλαχοῦ. Elsewhere; nowhere else in N.T., and omitted in many texts here. But it is certainly to be retained with  33, Arm. Memph. Aeth.
κωμοπόλεις. A rare word, which  and Vulg. divide into its component parts, κωμὰς καὶ πόλεις, vicos et civitates. It occurs only here in N.T., and in LXX. not at all, but is used once or twice by Strabo, and it means a town which, as regards its constitution, has only the rank of a village. Perhaps the chief distinction was the absence of walls; προσπίπτοντες πόλεσιν ἀτειχίστοις καὶ κατὰ κώμας οἰκουμέναις (Thuc. i. 5). In LXX. we often read of towns which are “daughters” of other towns (Numbers 21:22; Numbers 21:32; Numbers 32:42, etc.). Here only in N.T. is ἐχόμενος used of local proximity; of nearness in time, Luke 13:33; Acts 20:15; Acts 21:26. Cf. τὰς ἐχομένας πόλεις (Joseph. Ant. XI. viii. 6).
ἵνα καὶ ἐκεῖ κηρύξω. This shows the point of the rebuke. They must not try to monopolize Him; He has been sent to bring the good tidings to as many as possible. The emphasis is on καὶ ἐκεῖ (see on Mark 1:35). There is no hint that He is rebuking them for interrupting His preaching by asking for more healings. His healings were an important element in His teaching, for He was sent as the Healer of maladies of body and soul. Divine compassion was conspicuous in both spheres.
ἐξῆλθον. Lk. gives the right meaning: ἐπὶ τοῦτο ἀπεστάλην. His Father did not send Him to a favoured few, but to all; ἦλθον καλέσαι ἁμαρτωλούς (Mark 2:17; cf. Mark 10:45). Primi sermones Jesu habent aenigmatis aliquid, sed paulatim apertius de se loquitur. Postea dicturus erat, Exii a Patre (Beng.).
39. εἰς τὰς συναγωγάς. The εἰς may give the direction of the preaching or may be influenced by ἦλθεν (Mark 4:15, Mark 14:9; John 8:26). Cf. ἐς τὸν δῆμον ταῦτα λέγωσιν (Thuc. Mark 1:45). But in late Greek εἰς and ἐν have become less distinct. The verse illustrates Mk’s lack of literary skill. While εἰς τὰς συν. belongs to κηρύσσων, εἰς ὅλην τ. . must belong to ἦλθεν. Mt. puts the construction straight. Note the combination of participles (Mark 1:15).
τὰ δαιμόνια ἐκβάλλων. With Mk this is the representative miracle; Mark 3:15, Mark 6:7.
40. λεπρός. The physician (Luke 5:12) says that he was “full of leprosy,” which perhaps shows that he was not ceremonially unclean (Leviticus 13:12-13), and therefore was able to approach Christ. But his misery might make him desperate, and those near Christ would draw away when the leper approached.
[καὶ γονυπετῶν]. Cf. Mark 10:17. The humble prostration is in all three, but differently expressed: Mt. προσεκύνει (his favourite word), Lk. πεσὼν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον. If καὶ γονυπετῶν had been an interpolation ( omit), we should probably have had a word taken from Mt. or Lk. The combination of participles is in Mk’s style.
Ἐὰν θέλῃς. He fears that Jesus may judge him to be unworthy of so enormous a boon. De voluntate Domini non quasi pietatis incredulus dubitavit, sed quasi colluvionis suae conscius non praesumpsit (Bede). Contrast the father’s εἴ τι δύνῃ (Mark 9:22).
δύνασαί με καθαρίσαι. Leprosy was believed to be incurable, except by Him who had inflicted this “stroke.” The man’s faith, therefore, is great, esp. if this was the first instance of Christ’s healing a leper. The form δύνασαι (Matthew 5:36; Matthew 8:2; Luke 5:12; Luke 6:42; John 13:36) is well attested here, though  has δύνῃ, which is right in Mark 9:22-23; Luke 16:2.
καθαρίσαι. After δύναμαι the aor. infin. is, normal; Mark 1:45, Mark 2:4, Mark 3:20; Mark 3:24-27, Mark 5:3, Mark 6:5; Mark 6:19, Mark 7:15. In Leviticus 13:6-7; Leviticus 13:13, etc., καθαρίζειν is used of the priest pronouncing the leper to be clean; here, as elsewhere in N.T., it is used of the actual cleansing.
40–45. THE CLEANSING OF A LEPER
Matthew 8:2-4. Luke 5:12-16
The three Evangelists give this miracle in different connexions. Mt. places it first in his three triplets of specimens of the Messiah’s mighty works, just after Christ had come down from delivering the Sermon on the Mount. Lk. places it just after the call of the first disciples. On the impossibility of eliminating miracles from the career of Jesus Christ see Sanday, Outlines of the Life of Christ, p. 113; Illingworth, Divine Immanence, p. 90; R.J. Ryle, M.D., Hibbert Journal, Apr. 1907, pp. 572–586. The healing of a leper cannot be explained as a case of “suggestion” or ordinary “faith-healing.” We have twelve cases of leprosy in N.T., this one, Simon the Leper (Mark 14:3), and the ten in Luke 17:12. The literature on the subject is enormous; see artt. in D.B., D.C.G., Enc. Brit., etc. Lepers were probably numerous in Palestine then as now, and the malady probably differed greatly in malignity, some skin-diseases being reckoned as “leprosy.” The disciples were commissioned to heal lepers (Matthew 10:8).
41. σπλαγχνισθείς. See Lightfoot on Philippians 1:8. The verb in N.T. is found in the Synoptists only, and (except in parables) it is used of no one but Christ. It is the moving cause of His mighty works (Mark 9:22; Matthew 9:36; Matthew 14:14; Matthew 15:32; Matthew 20:34; Luke 7:13). The outstretched hand (a Hebraistic fulness of writing which is in all three) expresses this compassion and confirms the faith which secured the cleansing. It was owing to His compassion for mankind that He had a hand with which to lay hold. Euthymius points out that Christ healed sometimes with a touch, sometimes with a word, sometimes, as here, with both. Cf. Mark 1:31; Mark 1:41, Mark 5:41, Mark 6:5, Mark 7:34, Mark 8:23. Theophylact says that He touched the leper to show that He was Δεσπότης τοῦ νόμου, and that τῷ καθαρῷ οὐδὲν ἀκάθαρτον. The latter is nearer the truth. It indicates that the greatest pollution will not make Christ shrink from one who desires to be freed from his pollution, and comes to Him believing that He can free him. That Christ was asserting His sacerdotal character (priests were allowed to handle lepers) is less probable. Priests pronounced lepers, when healed, to be clean, and this Christ pointedly abstained from doing. On the combination of participles see Mark 1:15.
D, a ff2 r have the strange reading ὀργισθείς for σπλαγχνισθείς. Ephraem had both words in his text, and he thinks that Christ was angry because the leper doubted His willingness to heal. Seeing that the σπλάγχνα were regarded as the seat of anger as well as of pity, it is possible that ὀργισθείς was a marginal gloss, to produce harmony with Mark 1:43, and that it was afterwards substituted for σπλαγχνισθείς. But see Nestle, Textual Criticism of N.T. p. 262; he suggests a different meaning for ὀργισθείς or a difference of translation. Nowhere in N.T. has ὀργισθείς any other meaning than “being angry,” and the Latin texts which support this reading have iratus.
42. Here again (see on Mark 1:32) Mk expresses one fact in two ways, of which Mt. and Lk. each have one. Lk. Has ἡ λέπρα ἀπῆλθεν ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, while Mt. has ἐκαθαρίσθη αὐτοῦ ἡ λέπρα. Both have εὐθύς. Syr-Sin. has “And in that hour he was cleansed.” In Naaman’s case (2 Kings 5:14) ἐκαθαρίσθη is used. Naaman expected to be touched, but he was not a Jew.
43. ἐμβριμησάμενος … ἐξέβαλεν. The two verbs, esp. when rendered comminatus … ejecit (Vulg.), give the impression that our Lord was angry with the man; but the impression is probably wrong. Ἐμβριμάομαι occurs in four other places in N.T. (Mark 14:5; Matthew 9:30; John 11:33; John 11:38), and nearly always of Christ. From meaning  “snort” or “growl,” it comes to mean  “exhibit indignation,” or  “show sternness.” The last seems to be the meaning here. Christ saw that the man would be likely to disobey His injunctions, and He was stringent in giving them. Allowing him no time to raise objections or to talk to others, He straightway sent him forth. Syr-Sin. omits these words. See on Mark 3:5; also D.C.G. artt. “Anger,” “Fierceness”; Ecce Homo, ch. 21. It illustrates the variations of Vulg. that it has expellit Mark 1:12 and ejecit here. R.V. has “driveth him forth,” Mark 1:12 and “sent him out” here. We need not suppose from ἐξέβαλεν that Christ was in a house or a synagogue (Mark 1:39). The leper would not have intruded into a building.
44. Ὅρα μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς. Winer, p. 625. The ὅρα and the double negative indicate the urgency of the command. Mk is fond of double negatives; Mark 2:2, Mark 3:27, Mark 5:3; Mark 5:37, Mark 7:12, Mark 9:8, Mark 11:2; Mark 11:14, Mark 12:34, Mark 14:25, Mark 15:4-5, Mark 16:8. Neither here nor at Mark 3:27, Mark 9:8, Mark 14:25 is there a double neg. in Mt. Elsewhere Mt. omits the sentence. The change from pres. imperat. to aor. is correct: Continually take care that thou do not begin to say to anyone at all; so also the change from ὕπαγε to δεῖξον. Compare the commandments with aorists (Mark 10:19), and contrast the presents (Mark 5:36, Mark 6:50, Mark 9:39). On these charges to keep silence see Sanday, J.T.S. Apr. 1904. In this case silence would prevent the man from mixing with others till he was pronounced clean by proper authority, and from producing unhealthy excitement in himself and his hearers; and there may have been other reasons affecting Christ Himself.
ὕπαγε. Cf. Mark 2:11, Mark 5:19; not in LXX., but found in Eur. and Aristoph. See on Mark 6:38.
σεαυτὸν δεῖξον. The emphasis on the pronoun makes the command more urgent. Christ does not assume the right to pronounce the man clean; for that He sends him to the proper official; cf. Luke 12:14.
ἃ προσέταξεν ΄ωϋσῆς. Christ is making no statement as to the authorship of the Pentateuch or of Leviticus 14. In accordance with current thought and language He speaks of the Pentateuch as “Moses” (Mark 7:10, Mark 10:3-4, Mark 12:26, etc.) and of the Psalms as “David” (Mark 12:36-37). Questions of authorship had not been raised, and He did not raise them or give any decision about them. See Plummer, S. Matthew, p. 311, and the literature there quoted. The important thing here is that He was no revolutionary teacher; He did not encourage men to ignore the Law. Hort, Jud. Chris. p. 29.
εἰς μαρτύριον αὐτοῖς. The words are in all three. The gift which the man offers is the “testimony,” and “to them” means “to the priests.” The offering would show them that there was among them One who could heal leprosy and yet did not take upon Himself to absolve men from their obligation to observe the Law. It would be testimonium de Messia praesente, legi non derogante (Beng.).
45. ἐξελθών. “From the place” or “from the crowd.” The man, of necessity, yields to the ἐξέβαλεν, but he forthwith disregards the μηδενὶ μηδὲν εἴπῃς. Cf. Mark 7:36; Matthew 9:30-31.
ἤρξατο. Very freq. in Mk and Lk., but only once in Jn. Cf. John 5:17; John 6:7. Such fulness of expression is Hebraistic. Blass, § 69. 4.
κηρύσσειν πολλά. To publish much, i.e. “at great length” or “often” (Mark 3:12, Mark 5:10; Mark 5:23; Mark 5:38; Mark 5:43, Mark 9:26); it (R.V.) should be in italics, or omitted. Probably τὸν λόγον goes with both infinitives, πολλά being adverbial.  Latt. omit πολλά. Cf. Mark 7:36; Matthew 9:30-31.
διαφημίζειν τὸν λόγον. Vulg. has diffamare sermonem, whereas διεφημίσθη ὁ λόγος (Matthew 28:15) is rendered divulgatum est verbum. Spread abroad the matter (R.V.) is right; ὁ λόγος does not mean Christ’s healing word, or His teaching, but the whole story of his marvellous cure. Luther has die Geschichte. Bede thinks that our Lord submitted to be disobeyed that many might profit by what the cleansed leper had to tell, and unius perfecta salvatio multas ad Dominum cogit turbas. This explanation ignores the disastrous result which Christ tried to prevent. Mt. again omits the impeding crowd; he does not like to say that Christ was unable to do what He wished. See on Mark 1:33, Mark 6:48, Mark 7:24.
ὥστε μηκέτι αὐτὸν δύνασθαι. His public work in towns (φανερῶς is emphatic), and therefore His teaching in synagogues, had to be suspended. Instead of seeking the lost in their own homes, He had to go into the wilderness and wait for them to seek Him. This was a serious drawback, although His Ministry still went on.
ἐρήμοις τόποις. Places in which there were no houses or cultivated lands.
ἤρχοντο. Graphic imperf. There was a continual stream of visitors; cf. Mark 2:13; John 4:30.
πάντοθεν. Cf. Luke 19:43. The hyperbole is similar to that in Mark 1:5; Mark 1:28; Mark 1:32. In Hebrews 9:4, πάντοθεν may mean “inside and out.” The classical πανταχόθεν is not found in N.T., though a few inferior MSS. have it here ( etc.); in popular language the shorter form would prevail.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017
the Fourth Week of Lent
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