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Bible Commentaries

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges
Mark 10



Verse 1

1. Καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ἀναστὰς κ.τ.λ. We have almost the same wording Mark 7:24, where, as here, a move of a considerable distance is begun. We have perhaps reached the long section in Lk. (Luke 9:5 to Luke 19:28) which is called “The Journeyings towards Jerusalem.” Ἀναστάς does not look back to καθίσας (Mark 9:35); it is Hebraistic amplification (Mark 1:35, Mark 2:14, Mark 7:24, Mark 14:57; Mark 14:60); freq. in Lk. and Acts, twice in Mt., once in Jn. Καὶ ἐκεῖθεν ([2418][2419][2420][2421][2422]) is perhaps unique in N.T. Elsewhere the best MSS. have κἀκεῖθεν, as in Mark 9:30.

τὰ ὅρια τῆς Ἰουδαίας. A comprehensive expression for Judaea and the adjoining country; cf. Mark 5:17, Mark 7:24; Mark 7:31. The εἰς need not be limited to mean simply “up to”; it probably means “into” (A.V., R.V.).

καὶ πέραν. See crit. note.

ὄχλοι. Nowhere else does Mk use the plur., and here [2423] and Lat-Vet. (with Syr-Sin.) have the sing. and they couple ὡς εἰώθει with the action of the multitude. This has much less point than the statement that Christ takes up once more His practice of public teaching. Here again Mt. (Matthew 19:2) substitutes healing for teaching; see on Mark 6:34. Syr-Sin. has “healed and taught.”

Verses 1-12


Matthew 19:1-12; Matthew 5:31-32. Luke 16:18

Verse 2

2. Φαρισαῖοι. No art.; see crit. note. It is not implied that they are the same Pharisees as those who assailed Him previously (Mark 2:16, Mark 7:1, Mark 8:11). But all do what is customary; multitudes throng Him, He teaches them, Pharisees attack Him. [2424] and Syr-Sin, omit the approach of the Pharisees, leaving the ὅχλοι as nom. to ἐπηρώτων.

πειράζοντες αὐτόν. They perhaps had heard that He condemned divorce (Matthew 5:31-32), which was recognized by the Law, and they hoped to get Him committed to a clear contradiction of the Law. And possibly they wished to embroil Him with Antipas, who had divorced his wife in order to marry Herodias; but this is less probable.

Verse 3

3. ἀποκριθείς. He answers their thoughts as well as their words, and Himself makes the appeal to Moses. Mt., with less probability, represents Him as allowing them to make the first appeal to what Moses commanded (ἐνετείλατο). See on Mark 12:26.

Verse 4

4. Ἐπέτρεψεν. First with emphasis; “suffered,” “permitted.” The right of divorce was established by custom, and “Moses” takes it for granted (Leviticus 21:7; Leviticus 21:14; Leviticus 22:13; Numbers 30:9); but in certain cases the right might be forfeited (Deuteronomy 22:19; Deuteronomy 22:29). In Deuteronomy 24:1 f., to which passage reference is here made, the right of divorce is assumed; and the husband is told that in divorcing he must observe certain formalities, the chief of which is the writing (Mk) and giving (Mt.) a βιβλίον ἀποστασίου (βιβ. ἀποκοπῆς Aq., βιβ. διακοπῆς Sym.), and that in no circumstances may the divorced woman become his wife again. J. Lightfoot on Mt. gives a specimen of a βιβ. ἀποστασίου, and it expressly mentions the right of the divorced wife to marry again. The reason for divorce is not stated, but it could not be adultery; the penalty for adultery was not divorce, but death (Leviticus 20:10; [Jn] Mark 8:5). “Moses” neither commanded nor forbade divorce, but commanded that, if it took place, it must be done in a certain way and be irrevocable. Driver on Deuteronomy 24:1 f. Malachi (Mark 2:14-15) contends against divorce, but nowhere in N.T. is there any reference to the passage. Here [2425] and Syr-Sin., with some Old Latin texts, have both the writing and the giving (dare scriptum) of the βιβλίον.

Verse 5

5. εἶπεν αὐτοῖς. See crit. note.

Πρὸς τ. σκληροκαρδίαν ὑμῶν. First with emphasis; For your hardness of heart (R.V.), “with a view to it,” or “in reference to it.” See Gould on the importance of this concession, and Christ does not condemn Moses for having made it. To be σκληροκάρδιοι (Deuteronomy 10:16; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 3:7; Sirach 16:10) and σκληροτράχηλοι (Exodus 33:3; Deuteronomy 9:6; Deuteronomy 9:13; Baruch ii. 30) had ever been a reproach against Israel (Acts 7:51). In Deuteronomy 10:16 and Jeremiah 4:4, Aq. has the more literal ἀκροβυστία καρδίας.

τὴν ἐντολὴν ταύτην. Not the command to divorce; there was no such command; but to effect divorce in a certain way.

Verse 6

6. ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως. Christ directs them to a far earlier authority than that of the written Law. “Moses” has also told us of the original ideal of marriage. Primeval marriage made no provision for divorce. The Creator made pairs, without surplus females. Like “creation,” κτίσις may mean either “the creative act” (Romans 1:20) or “the aggregate of creatures” (Colossians 1:23). In 2 Peter 3:4 we have the same phrase as here, and in both places the second meaning is preferable. The words ἄρσεναὐτούς are from Genesis 1:27, where ὁ θεός occurs in the preceding clause, as the Pharisees would know. It was inevitable that it should be inserted here; see crit. note. Mt. has ὁ κτίσας. But Christ is not opposing the authority of God to that of Moses, as Victor and others think. He is showing that in the Pentateuch we have evidence that the concession made by the Law to debased human nature was not included in the original plan made by the Creator.

Verse 7

7. ἕνεκεν τούτου. In Genesis 2:24 these words refer to the making of woman out of the rib of man, which explains the almost universal fact that a man leaves his parents and clings to a wife. Here, as in 1 Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31, this momentous fact is made an argument for monogamy. See crit. note.

Verse 8

8. ἔσονταιεἰς. Cf. Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 8:10, and see on 2 Corinthians 6:18.

ὥστε οὐκέτι εἰσίν. For the constr. cf. Mark 2:28; John 3:16; etc. The indic. after ὥστε states an actual result.

Verse 9

9. ὅ οὖν ὁ θεὸς συνέζευξεν. God did not do this by uttering the words quoted in Mark 10:7; they are Adam’s words, although Mt. assigns them to God. But God has made possible and has sanctioned a relationship between man and woman which is more binding than even that which exists between parent and child. 1 Corinthians 7:10 may refer to this saying.

Verse 10

10. εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν. See crit. note. Again we have a subsequent questioning in the privacy of a house; cf. Mark 9:28. In Mark 9:33 it was He who questioned them. Perhaps the εἰς implies the motion to the house; but in late Greek the distinction between εἰς and ἐν is becoming blurred. Blass § 39. 3. Πάλιν refers to the previous questioning by the Pharisees.

Verse 11

11. μοιχᾶται ἐπʼ αὐτήν. Committeth adultery against her. In answering the Pharisees it sufficed to point out that, from a higher point of view than that of the Mosaic Law, divorce was a falling away from the ideal of marriage set before mankind at the Creation, an ideal which ought to be restored. In answering His disciples He goes further and declares that marrying another after divorce is adultery, which implies that divorce is no real dissolution of the marriage tie. Gould holds that the exception in Matthew 19:9 is implied here, “because adultery is the real dissolution of the marriage tie. Formal divorce does not break the marriage tie, adultery does break it.” ΄οιχάομαι in N.T. occurs only in the passages in Mk (Mark 10:11-12) and Mt. (Matthew 5:32, Matthew 19:9) which treat of divorce; the usual verb is μοιχεύω (Mark 10:19), act. of the husband, pass. of the wife.

Verse 12

12. This is probably added in order to make it quite clear that in this matter the sexes are equal; neither partner can dissolve the marriage. Jewish law made no provision for a wife to divorce her husband (Joseph. Ant. XV. vii. 10); so Mt. omits this verse and substitutes, if the words are genuine ([2426][2427][2428] etc. omit), “And he that marrieth her that is put away committeth adultery.” Probably to avoid this difficulty [2429] and some other authorities have here “If a woman depart from her husband and marry another.” It is rash to see here an accommodation to Roman marriage-law, and therefore evidence of the Roman origin of this Gospel. We need not doubt that Christ uttered the words; but if He did not, love of parallelism would sufficiently account for their being attributed to Him. There may be allusion to Herodias who had deserted her first husband just as Antipas had deserted his first wife.

Neither Mk nor Lk. (Luke 16:18) represents Christ as having made any exception to this prohibition of divorce. Mt. twice inserts an exception, παρεκτὸς λόγου πορνείας (Matthew 5:32) and εἰ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (Matthew 19:9); an unfaithful wife has ruptured the marriage tie and may, or must, be divorced. It is doubtful whether Christ did make this exception. Mt. may have had independent authority for it; but it is at least as probable that he inserted it, because he felt sure that Christ would not prohibit what the Law allowed, and what perhaps the Church of Jerusalem allowed. These are possibilities. What is certain is that this exception is attributed to Christ in the Gospel which more than any other has influenced Christian thought and practice in this and other matters; and Christians who divorce an unfaithful wife and marry again can claim Scriptural authority for so doing. That Christ made the exception in accordance with Jewish practice, and that Mk and Lk., writing for Gentiles, omitted the exception as being Jewish, is an intelligible theory, but it is not probable. It is safer to point out that in no Gospel does Christ censure Moses for regulating divorce (and thereby sanctioning it) in a defective state of society. The inference is that in similar conditions of society a similar concession may be made. See Hastings’ D.B. and D.C.G. artt. “Divorce” and “Marriage”; also Allen on Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9.

Verse 13

13. προσέφερον αὐτῷ παιδία. Mk and Mt. place this incident immediately after the discourse on divorce in a house at Capernaum, and Salmon (Human Element, p. 395) makes the attractive suggestion that the children of the house “were brought to Him to say goodnight, and receive His blessing before being sent to bed.” Lk. intimates that several parents brought their babes (τὰ βρέφη); and the disciples would hardly have interfered, if only the children of the house had been brought. Both Mk and Lk. say that the object was that the great Healer should touch the children, which Mt. enlarges into what He actually did; “that He should lay His hands on them and pray.” Cf. Genesis 48:14. Syr-Sin. here has “lay His hands on them.” For the subj. after a past tense see Winer, p. 360; the opt. is going out of use, and no example of the opt. after ἵνα is found in N.T. Both Mk (Mark 2:4) and Mt. (often) use προσφέρειν of bringing the sick to Christ, and ailments in children are common; even those who had no ailment would be honoured by His touch. A girl of twelve is called παιδίον (Mark 5:39; Mark 5:42), so that we need not think of all these children as babies; the point is that their being too young to comprehend His teaching is no reason for keeping them from Him. In the First Prayer Book of Edward VI. this passage was substituted in the Office for Baptism for Matthew 19:13-15, as clearer evidence of Christ’s love for children.

οἱ δὲ μαθηταὶ ἐπετίμησαν αὐτοῖς. See crit. note. To the disciples it seemed intolerable that the Master, whose strength was sorely tried by the number of adults whom He taught and healed, should be expected to attend to little children who had no need of any special attention.

Verses 13-16


Matthew 19:13-15. Luke 18:15-17

Verse 14

14. ἠγανάκτησεν. Was much displeased (A.V.); cf. Mark 10:41, Mark 14:4; Luke 13:14; Matthew 26:8. Another instance of human emotion in Christ; see on Mark 3:5. He was indignant that His disciples should put such a limit on His love and His work as to exclude children. In a smaller degree it was a repetition of the error of Peter (Mark 8:32). Peter wished to keep Him from future suffering and death; the disciples now wish to keep Him from present trouble and fatigue. Like the records of their terror at the storm, their misunderstanding about the leaven, their powerlessness in dealing with the demoniac boy, and their disputing about the first place, this narrative illustrates the candour of the Evangelists in telling what is not to the credit of the Apostles.

Ἄφετε, μὴ κωλύετε. See crit. note. Mt. and Lk. weaken the sharp decisive commands by inserting a connecting καί between them. “Allow them; cease to forbid them” (cf. Mark 9:39) is doubtless nearer to the original utterance. We have similarly expressive instances of short, unconnected sentences, Mark 1:27, Mark 2:7, Mark 6:38, and of short, unconnected rebukes, Mark 4:39-40, Mark 8:17-18, Mark 9:19.

τῶν γὰρ τοιούτων. His, qui similem haberent innocentiam et simplicitatem, praemium promittit (Bede, from Jerome). This, like ἄφετε and μὴ κωλύετε, is in all three. The gen. is possessive; For to such belongs the Kingdom of God. The disciples were trying to keep from the Son of God some of those who were the most fit to be admitted to His presence. The end and aim of His work was to bring people into the Kingdom, and His ministers were turning most promising candidates away. Various writers point out that Jesus says τοιούτων, not τούτων, to show that it is simple character that counts and not tender years.

Verse 15

15. ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν. This solemn warning, “the final lesson of His ministry in Galilee” (Swete), is omitted by Mt., who has recorded similar words Matthew 18:3, but without the important δέξηται, which implies that the Kingdom is offered. “Receiving the Kingdom” means accepting the rule and sovereignty of God. “Entering the Kingdom” means becoming a member of the society in which His rule prevails. The leave to enter is always open to those who qualify themselves for entering.

ὡς παιδίον. With perfect trust, joy, and hope; “even as a weaned child” (Psalms 131:2).

οὐ μὴ εἰσέλθῃ. Shall in no wise enter; cf. Mark 9:1; Mark 9:41, Mark 13:2; Mark 13:19; Mark 13:30.

Verse 16

16. ἐναγκαλισάμενος. The same gesture as in Mark 9:36; and in both places Syr-Sin. has something different; here “He called them,” there “He looked at them.” On this occasion the embrace must have been repeated several times, and each repetition would emphasize the rebuke just uttered. “To save Me from possible fatigue, you would have deprived Me, and have deprived these little ones, of the joy of mutual affection.” Both here and Mark 9:36 Mt. omits this beautiful action. He may have thought that it did not harmonize with the majesty of the Messiah.

κατευλόγει. See crit. note. “He blessed them fervently again and again.” The strong compound occurs nowhere else in N.T., but it is used of Tobias blessing Sara’s parents and of Tobit blessing Sara (Tobit 11:1; Tobit 11:17). Cf. καταγελάω (Mark 5:40), κατακαλάω (Mark 6:41), καταφιλέω (Mark 14:45), etc.

τιθεὶς τὰς χεῖρας. This was all that had been asked, but plus fecit quam rogatus erat (Beng.).

Verse 17

17. ἐκπορευομένου αὐτοῦ. As He was going out of the house in which He had welcomed the children. Mk alone has this detail, and that the rich man ran and prostrated himself. The action indicates youthful impulsiveness; he is quite in earnest (cf. Mark 1:40, Mark 5:22); he has perhaps just heard of Christ’s graciousness to the children, and it has kindled his enthusiasm. All three place the coming of the rich man immediately after the blessing of the children, to which it forms an instructive contrast. The children were nearer to the Kingdom than they knew; it did them no harm to be exalted, and they were greatly exalted. The rich man was farther from the Kingdom than he knew; it might do him good to be somewhat abased, and he was abased. Εἰς ὁδόν, as in Mark 6:8, means for a journey, to travel, rather than “into the way” (A.V., R.V.), which would be εἰς τἡν ὁδόν. It is doubtful whether εἷς (Mk, Mt.) simply = τις (a rare use without a substantive), or means that he was by himself. There is reason for conjecturing that εἷς τις νεανίσκος (Mark 14:51) is the Evangelist; but that this εἷς is the same as that εἷς τις νεανίσκος is pure conjecture. Lk. calls him ἄρχων, which may mean no more than that he was a leading man. In the wording Lk. often agrees with Mk against Mt., but only once (ἀκούσας, Mark 10:23) with Mt. against Mk. See on Mark 5:21 for the pronouns after the gen. abs., and on Mark 1:15; Mark 1:40 for the combination of participles.

ἐπηρώτα. Conversational imperf. See on Mark 5:9.

Διδάσκαλε ἀγαθέ. The admiration is genuine, but it is defective; he means no more than that he is seeking instruction from a teacher of great reputation for wisdom and kindness. It is perhaps chiefly the kindness (Matthew 20:15), as manifested to the children in spite of the disciples’ opposition, that is meant; cf. Mark 3:4; Luke 6:45; Luke 23:50. Mt., in order to avoid what seems to be implied in the question which Christ asks in return, transfers ἀγαθός from Διδάσκαλε to τί; “Master, what good thing shall I do?” This makes ἀγαθόν pointless; action that is to win eternal life must be good. Lk. both here and Mark 10:45 has τί ποιήσας, as if the speaker thought that one heroic act might win eternal life. The Philippian gaoler (Acts 16:30) asked τί με δεῖ ποιεῖν; cf. Luke 3:10-14, and see Wetstein on Matthew 19:16.

ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Mk uses this remarkable expression only here and Mark 10:30; Mt. and Lk. each have it thrice, John 17 times, 1 Jn six times. The expression never varies, but A.V. has “eternal life,” “life eternal,” “everlasting life,” “life everlasting”; R.V. always “eternal life.” The idea becomes prominent in Jewish thought in connexion with belief in the resurrection (Daniel 12:2; cf. Ps. of Solomon iii. 16; 2 Maccabees 7:9). See on Mark 3:29, Mark 9:43; also on John 3:15 with App. E. In class. Grk κληρονομέω is “receive a share of an inheritance,” “inherit,” and is followed by the gen. In Polyb. and LXX., as in N.T., it has the acc. In LXX. and N.T. the idea of “inheritance” seems to be almost lost, and that of “sanctioned and settled possession” to remain. Hort on 1 Peter 1:4. Mk has it nowhere else.

Verses 17-31


Matthew 19:16-30. Luke 18:18-30

Verse 18

18. Τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; There can be no emphasis on the enclitic με, which is in all three, but Mt. has τί με ἐρωτᾷς περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ; This does not fit the original question, for the rich man had not asked about “the good.” Nor does it fit what follows, for εἷς ἐστὶν ὁ ἀγαθός ought logically to be ἓν ἐστὶν τὸ ἀγαθόν. Mt. has evidently changed language which he thought would mislead into what seemed to him more likely to have been said. His unwillingness to record what might give a low view of the Messiah is apparent all through his Gospel, and he shrank from saying that Christ objected to being called good. “Good Master” was a very unusual form of address; no example has been found in the Talmud, and the rich man seems to have used it glibly. If it was not a mere compliment to win favour, it was said without consideration. There was some defect in his use of the epithet. The defect was not that he failed to see that Jesus was God, as if Christ’s reply meant, “God alone is really good, and you do not believe that I am God. Unless you do that, I cannot accept the title ‘good’ from you.” This is the explanation of Cyril, Basil, Epiphanius, Ambrose, Jerome, Bede, Maldonatus, and Wordsworth. It cannot be right, for the man could not have understood it, and Christ’s words must have had a meaning for him. What he might have seen and failed to see was that the good desires of which he was conscious in himself, and the good words and works which he recognized in Christ, all came from God. The man was too self-confident, too certain that of his own will and power he could do what would win eternal life. Christ, by attributing His own goodness entirely to God (John 5:9-30) cheeks this self-confidence. Magistrum absque Deo nullum bonum esse testatur.

οὐδεὶς ἀγαθὸς εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός. So also in Lk., but there [2430][2431] omit . The saying is quoted in a variety of forms some closer to Mk and Lk., some closer to Mt.; e.g. Justin Apol. i. 16, Try. 101; Hippol. Philosoph. Mark 10:1; and four times in Clem. Hom. See W.H. App. pp. 14, 15.

Verse 19

19. τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας. It is not difficult to know God’s will, He has shown all men the way to eternal life. Mt. gives this interpretation of Christ’s words as having been actually spoken; “If thou wouldest enter into life, keep the commandments.” See on Mark 8:29, where Mt. expands Christ’s question and Peter’s reply.

΄ὴ φονεύσης. So also Lk. and James 2:11. Mt. and Romans 13:9 have the form used in Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, Οὐ φονεύσεις.

μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς. Ne fraudem feceris (Vulg.). Mt. and Lk. omit this prohibition, perhaps as not being one of the Ten Words, and Syr-Sin. omits it in Mk. It may represent the tenth commandment, or it may be added by Christ as a special warning to the rich man. Cf. Exodus 21:10; Malachi 3:5; and Sirach 4:1, τὴν ζωὴν τοῦ πτωχοῦ μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς.

τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου. All three place the fifth commandment last and omit the first four. Mt. adds the golden rule from Leviticus 19:18, which Mk has at Mark 12:31. If it had been uttered on this occasion the rich man could hardly have answered as he did.

Verse 20

20. Διδάσκαλε. See crit. note. This time ἀγαθέ is omitted.

ταῦτα πάντα ἐφυλαξάμην. The man’s self-satisfaction and his ignorance of what the commandments imply are manifest; but he is not so much praising himself as showing his disappointment at Christ’s answer. He had expected to be advised to undertake something exceptional and difficult, and he is told of the humdrum duties which every decent person tries to perform. Mt. and Lk. have ἐφύλαξα. So also in Acts 16:4; Acts 21:24, as in class. Grk. In LXX. we have both act. (Genesis 26:5; Exodus 12:17; Exodus 20:6) and midd. (Leviticus 18:4; Leviticus 20:8; Leviticus 20:22; Leviticus 22:3), without difference of meaning. Syr-Sin. omits πάντα.

ἐκ νεότητός μου. Mt. omits this and at this point calls him νεανίσκος, which does not contradict ‘from my youth,’ for a man of thirty might be called νεανίσκος.

Verse 21

21. ἐμβλέψας. A concentrated, penetrating look (Mark 10:27, Mark 14:67; Luke 22:61). Christ saw in him the making of a beautiful character and a valuable disciple, and He loved him for what he was and for what he might become. This is the only place in the Synoptics in Which love is attributed to our Lord, whereas compassion is often attributed to Him. In Jn compassion is never attributed to Him, love often, and (excepting John 19:31) always love to man. Ἀγαπάωχ is the verb used of Christ’s affection for the family at Bethany (John 11:5) and the beloved disciple (John 13:23; John 19:26; John 21:20). See on John 11:5; John 21:15. Both Mt. and Lk. omit this mark of Christ’s perfect humanity; it indicates that behind Mk is someone who was present, who was intimate with Christ, and who knew from experience how penetrating a look from Christ could be (Luke 22:61). Nothing is gained by taking ἐμβλέψας ἠγάπησεν as hendiadys, amanter aspexit (Beng.); moreover, hendiadys requires two substantives, not two verbs.

Ἕν σε ὑστερεῖ. Cf. Psalms 23:1. Christ leaves the man’s estimate of himself unchallenged. Granting that it is not untrue, there is still something wanting, viz. freedom from the ἀπάτη τοῦ πλούτου (Mark 4:19). Mt. gives these words to the rich man; “What lack I yet?” He then inserts “If thou wouldst be perfect” as a preface to “Go, sell, etc.” Cf. Clem. Alex. Strom. iii. 6, p. 537 ed. Potter.

ὅσα ἔχεις πώλησον καὶ δός. Lk. has διαδός. In no other way could the rich man’s future be made secure from moral disaster. It was a strong measure, urged as the only prudent course, in his case. Simon and Andrew were not told to part with all that they had, because their hearts were not tied to their possessions; and to give up everything cannot be a duty of general obligation. But every follower of Christ must be ready to adopt it, if the call to do so should come. Cf. Luke 12:33. Seneca gives similar advice; Projice omnia ista, si sapis, immo ut sapias; et ad bonam mentem magno cursu ac totis viribus tende (Ep. xvii. 1). For πτωχός, “abjectly poor” (πτώσσω, “I crouch”) see Trench, Syn. § xxxvi.

ἕξεις θησαυρὸν ἐν οὐρανῷ. Christ does not promise him eternal life in return for the sacrifice of his possessions; He promises a secure treasure in return for an insecure one; Matthew 6:19-20. It is obedience to the second command that will prove decisive.

ἀκολούθει μοι. Pres. imperat. To be continually a follower of Christ is the sure road to eternal life; cf. Mark 8:34. That a man may give all his goods to feed the poor without being a follower of Christ is quite possible (1 Corinthians 13:3). Facilius enim sacculus contemnitur quam voluntas. Multi divitias relinquentes Dominum non sequuntur (Bede). See crit. note.

Verse 22

22. στυγνάσαςλυπούμενος. Cf. Genesis 4:5. All three record the grief, but Mk alone has στυγνάσας, for which Mt. and Lk. have ἀκούσας. He was gloomy and sullen with a double disappointment; no perilous exploit was required of him, but he was asked to part with what he valued most. With a lowering look (Matthew 16:3), instead of coming to follow Christ (Mark 1:18; Mark 1:20, Mark 2:14), he turned away, deeply pained (note the participles). This is the sorrow of the world which leads to death, τῆς φιλαργυρίας ἡ ἄκανθα τὴν λιπαρὰν ἄρουραν τῆς ψυχῆς αὐτοῦ διελυμήνατο (Euthym.). Στυγνός is freq. in tragedians, but rare in prose; στυγνἀζω is rare everywhere. On the Τίς ὁ σωζόμενος πλούσιος of Clem. Alex., which is apparently a popular address on this incident, see D. of Chr. Biog. I. p. 565; Swete, Patristic Study, p. 49.

Verse 23

23. περιβλεψάμενος. This again points to an eye-witness; see on Mark 3:5. It is not a concentrated look directed to one person (Mark 10:21), but a glance round the faces of His followers, to judge how this conversation had affected them, and to intimate that He has something to say.

δυσκόλως. Εἰ δὲ πλούσιος δυσκόλως, πλεονέτης οὐδʼ ὅλως (Euthym.). The adv. is in all three, but is found nowhere else in Bibl. Grk. Facts of this kind show that either Mt. and Lk. used Mk or all three used a tradition which was already in Greek. Clem. Alex. (Strom. Mark 10:5, p. 662 ed. Potter) has ὁ λόγος τοὺς τελώνας λέγει δυσκόλως σωθήσεθαι. Cf. Ecclesiastes 5:10; Ecclesiastes 5:13.

τὰ χρήματα. “Wealth,” esp. money (Acts 8:18; Acts 8:20; Acts 24:26), whereas κτήματα, “possessions” (Mark 10:22), seems to refer specially to lands and houses (Acts 2:45; Acts 5:1); but both words are comprehensive. Syr-Sin. has “for them who trust in their riches,” and so again in Mark 10:24.

Verse 24

24. ἐθαμβοῦντο. This verse has no parallel in Mt. or Lk., who habitually spare the Twelve. Mk alone uses this verb, and always of the effect of Christ’s words (Mark 1:27) or action (Mark 10:32). Lk. uses θάμβος in a similar way (Mark 4:36, Mark 5:9). For ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει see on Mark 8:29 sub fin.

πῶς δύσκολον. The adj. has three stages of meaning; “difficult to please about food,” dainty; “difficult to please,” fretful; “difficult” in any sense, as here. See crit. note. The words omitted by [2432][2433][2434] and k, one of the most important of the representatives of the Old Latin texts, cannot be original. They do not fit the context and they are less than the truth. The context requires “How hard it is for rich people not to trust in riches, and those who trust in riches cannot enter the Kingdom” (Matthew 6:24). The true text says that it is hard for anyone to enter the Kingdom (Luke 13:24), and therefore very hard for the wealthy (Luke 6:24; Luke 16:19; James 5:1). This was a solemn warning to Judas. Celsus said that Christ took this from Plato (Laws v. p. 742), but that passage merely says that a man cannot be both very good and very rich.

Verse 25

25. εὐκοπώτερον. In all three: lit. “more capable of being done with easy labour” (εὖ, κόπος); in N.T. always in the comparative (Mark 2:9; Luke 5:23; Luke 16:17), but εὔκοπος occurs in LXX. and in Polybius. Some commentators would follow [2435] and some Old Latin texts in transposing Mark 10:24-25. The transposition looks like a correction, or it may be accidental owing to homoeoteleuton.

κάμηλον διὰ τρυμαλιᾶς ῥαφίδος. There is no need to conjecture that κάμηλος means a cable (Cyril, Theoph.); Euthym. mentions this view without adopting it. Nor need we read κάμιλον, which is said to mean a cable, although the existence of such a word is doubtful. Still less need we make the needle’s eye mean a small side-gate for foot-passengers (Shakespeare, Richard II, v. Mark 10:17), an explanation which no ancient commentator adopts. Christ’s Sayings, like those of other Oriental teachers, are often hyperbolical; “strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel” (Matthew 23:24), “whoso shall say to this mountain etc.” (Mark 11:23), “a grain of mustard seed, less than all seeds, becometh a tree” (Matthew 13:32), etc. In the Talmud an elephant going through a needle’s eye is used to express an impossibility. The saying in the Koran about “not entering into paradise until a camel pass through the eye of a needle” (7:38) may come from the Gospels. While τρῆμα (Mt. and Lk.) is classical and fairly common, τρυμαλιά is late and rare; both τρυμαλιά and ῥαφίς (“stitcher”) were probably colloquial.

Verse 26

26. περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο. Cf. Mark 1:22, Mark 6:2, Mark 7:37. The O.T. teaches that God rewards good men with wealth, and most men either have it or labour to get it. How amazing, therefore, to be told that wealth is a dire obstacle to salvation!

λέγοντες πρὸς αὐτόν. See crit. note. In Mk, as in Mt., λέγειν πρός is very rare; Mark 4:41; cf. Mark 8:16, Mark 11:31.

Καὶ τίς δύναται σωθῆναι; Then who in the world can be saved? Not merely, What rich man? There is no hope that anybody will escape the enormous peril; cf. Mark 13:20. The καί accepts what is said and carries it on with emphasis; Luke 10:29; John 9:36; 2 Corinthians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 2:16.

Verse 27

27. ἐμβλέψας. As in Mark 10:21. Christ neither explains nor softens the strong Saying in Mark 10:25, but He shows where the solution of the difficulty is to be found. God has many counter-charms with which to conquer the baleful charm of riches. The disciples had seen this conquest once (Mark 2:14), and they would soon see it done again (Luke 19:1-10). But those who would be freed from the spell must work with Him, otherwise the ἀδύνατον stands (Mark 14:10-11).

πάντα γὰρ δυνατά. The πάντα is not absolute. God’s own character places some limits, and there are others which seem to us to exist; but all things that are necessary for the salvation of mankind—and this is the point here—are possible with God. See Mark 14:36 and cf. Mark 9:23; Luke 1:37; Genesis 18:14; Zechariah 8:6. It is an attractive conjecture that the rich man was still within hearing, and that these words were meant to reach him. They touch what seems to hare been his chief fault; see on Mark 10:18.

Verse 28

28. ἤρξατο ὁ Πέτρος. The asyndeton harmonizes with the Apostle’s outburst; cf. Ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰωάνης (Mark 9:38). [2436][2437][2438][2439] have neither καί ([2440] nor δέ ([2441][2442][2443]). “Then” (A.V.) has no authority.

Ἰδοὺ ἡμεῖς. The pronoun is emphatic; “we did not prefer our possessions to Thee.” Christ’s ἀκολούθει μοι (Mark 10:21) would remind him of his own call, and he could hardly help contrasting his own response to it with the behaviour of the rich man. But he could have helped calling attention to the contrast, and the impulsive remark is characteristic. It suggests some such question as that which Mt. supplies, “What then shall be our reward?” This, however, is probably Mt.’s interpretation of what was said. See on Mark 10:19. The exact question in Peter’s mind might be, “Shall we, then, inherit eternal life?”

ἀφήκαμενἠκολουθήκαμεν. The change of tense is accurate; “we left once for all … we have followed and continue to follow.” Mt. and Lk. have two aorists.

Verse 29

29. ἔφη ὁ Ἰησοῦς. Cf. Mark 9:38. Jesus treats Peter as the spokesman of the Twelve, and, as often, gives what is not a direct answer to the question, but what either includes the answer or is much more important. Mt. supplies a direct answer by inserting words which were probably uttered on a different occasion (Luke 22:30). Christ treats in a similar way the remark made by Peter about the withered fig-tree (Mark 11:21 f.).

οὐδείς ἐστιν. There will be no exceptions. Everyone who, for the highest motives, has given up what is most dear to him will be abundantly rewarded here and hereafter. See crit. note. Philo (De Vita Contempt. p. 474) has a similar list; καταλιπόντες ἀδελφούς τἐκνα, γυναῖκας, γονεῖς.

ἕνεκεν ἐμοῦ καὶ ἕνεκεν τ. εὐαγγελίου. See on Mark 8:35. There Mt. and Lk. have only the first half. Here each takes a different half and amplifies it. Perhaps all that Christ said was ἔνεκεν ἐμοῦ. See on Mark 1:15 and cf. Mark 1:32.

Verse 30

30. ἐὰν μὴ λάβῃ. “Without receiving,” or but he shall receive (A.V., R.V.). The construction is imperfect.

νῦν ἐν τῷ καιρῷ τούτῳ. Mk’s characteristic fullness again, as in Mark 1:32; Mark 1:35; Mark 1:42, Mark 2:23; Mark 2:25, etc. Lk. omits νῦν, Mt. omits the whole. Here καιρὸς is preferred to αἰών as indicating that the period is brief. Mk alone repeats οἰκ. καὶ ἀδελ. κ.τ.λ. in speaking of the recompenses, another instance of superfluous fullness. Mt. puts all the compensations and rewards “in the regeneration,” and therefore omits μετὰ διωγμῶν, for there can be no persecutions in the future life. Clem. Alex, quotes as if Christ had asked, “What is the use of the χρήματα in this life?” It is the eternal compensation that is worth having. “A hundredfold” of course means what will compensate a hundredfold; the silly jibe of the Emperor Julian about a hundred wives has no foothold here. Yet even with regard to the happiness of human relationships the great Christian family supplies compensation in kind. The text of [2444] is here very eccentric.

ἐν τῷ αἰῶνι τῷ ἐρχομένῳ. “In the age which is in process of being realized,” which is of unlimited duration, whereas a καιρός is necessarily limited.

Verse 31

31. πολλοὶ δὲ ἒσονται. Lk. gives this Saying at an earlier point (Mark 13:30); it was probably uttered more than once, and it is capable of more than one application. Many who think that they have earned much will be disappointed, and many who think that they have earned little will be surprised, as the labourers in the vineyard. The fortunate and unfortunate will often change places, as Dives and Lazarus. “The greyhaired saint may fail at last,” as Judas, and the greyhaired sinner may be saved, as the penitent robber.

Verse 32

32. Ἦσαν δέ. Note the unusual δέ and see on Mark 7:24. Translate “Now,” not “And” (A.V., R.V.).

ἀναβαίνοντες. As in English, a journey to the capital is “going up.” This is literally true of Jerusalem, which is “a city set on a hill” (Matthew 5:14), and the hill stands high above the sea; cf. John 2:13; John 5:1; John 11:55; Acts 11:2; Acts 25:1; Galatians 2:1. The verb is exceedingly freq. in LXX., where it translates about twenty different Hebrew words.

Ἰεροσόλυμα. Quae urbs illud occidendi Prophetas quasi usu ceperat (Grotius on Luke 13:33). Mk and Jn always have this Greek form of the name; so also Mt., except Matthew 23:37, and Josephus. The Hebrew Ἰερουσαλήμ prevails in LXX., and in N.T. where the name has religious significance, as distinct from mere topographical meaning (Matthew 23:37; Galatians 4:25; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 3:12; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:10). But Lk. uses Ἰερουσαλήμ without religious significance. Both forms have a smooth breathing; the aspirate comes from a mistaken connexion with ἱερός.

ἦν προάγων. As an Oriental shepherd “goeth before” his sheep, who follow with complete docility (John 10:4). This graphic detail of His leading for a while in silence and their following in fear is in Mk only; it may be something that Peter remembered well. There are two companies; the Twelve, who were awe-struck at Christ’s demeanour and fixity of purpose (Luke 9:51; cf. Ezekiel 3:8-9; Isaiah 50:7), for He had said that He would suffer much at the hands of the hierarchy, and He was going to their headquarters; and the casual followers, who had an indefinite presentiment that something untoward was impending. But there is no indication of “excitement” in His manner. See crit. note.

παραλαβὼν πάλιν τ. δώδεκα. In all three; it implies the presence of other followers. The verb means “taking to oneself” (John 1:11; John 14:3), and therefore aside from others (Mark 4:36, Mark 5:40, Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33). In class. Grk it is freq. of taking a wife or adopting a son. The πάλιν means that He rejoined the Twelve.

ἤρξατο. He renews the unwelcome topic. This is the fourth (not third) recorded prediction (Mark 8:31, Mark 9:12; Mark 9:31). Apostolis saepius dixit, et indies expressius, ut in posterum testes essent praescientiae ipsius (Grotius). This is more accurate than Loisy, who says that this prediction is made en termes identiques; it is more definite and detailed than the previous predictions, and this has probability on its side. The voluntary character of His death is made clear to the Apostles; He knew the inevitable consequence of going to Jerusalem now.

τὰ μέλλοντα αὐτῷ συμβαίνειν. The things which were sure to happen to Him (Matthew 17:12; Matthew 17:22; Matthew 20:22; Luke 9:31, etc.). On κατακρινοῦσιν c. dat. see Blass § 37. 2.

Verses 32-34


Matthew 20:17-19. Luke 18:31-34.

Verse 33

33. παραδοθήσεται. In all three; see on Mark 9:31. Mk here has more detail than either Mt. or Lk., but nothing which is not in either Mt. or Lk. That the Sanhedrin will “hand Him over to the heathen” almost reveals that He will be crucified (John 18:31-32), for “the heathen” could only mean the Romans. Mt. again gives an interpretation of Christ’s words as having been spoken; he records that Christ said “crucify.” See on Mark 10:28.

Verse 34

34. ἐμπαίξουσιν. The verb is peculiar to the Synoptists in N.T. This and what follows are the work of “the heathen.” Lk. says that the Twelve “understood none of these things,” because “the thing was hidden from them.”

μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας. See crit. note. Mt. again substitutes the more accurate “on the third day.” The mention of “the third day” in three of the four predictions is important in connexion with the evidence for the Resurrection, and the careful correction of the intelligible, but not quite exact, “after three days” is also important. Lk. corrects it twice and once omits the expression. At the time when the Gospels were written, and indeed considerably earlier (1 Corinthians 15:4), there was a clear and uniform conviction that the life of Him who died on the cross was renewed after an interval. Something quite different from His spirit surviving, after leaving the body, took place. With the theory of mere survival after death, “on the third day” becomes as unintelligible as the empty tomb. And the repeated records of the inability of the Twelve to understand these predictions are against the theory that they believed that He had risen because they were so confident that He would rise.

Verse 35

35. This request is evidence of the Apostles’ want of apprehension as to the nature of the Kingdom. Even if there was an interval, which Mt. excludes with his characteristic τότε, it was strange, but hardly “comic” (Bruce), that soon after this detailed prediction of His approaching sufferings and death, two of His most favoured Apostles should trouble Him with an ambitious petition. Perhaps Mt. felt this, for he puts the petition into the mouth of their mother. Tradition probably said that in some way she was responsible for the petition being made, and it looks like a mother’s ambition. But they were parties to it, and even in Mt. Christ addresses them and not her. They and Peter had received a special revelation on the mount; and soon afterwards first Peter exhibits a selfish ambition on behalf of all the Twelve (Mark 10:23), and then James and John do so on their own behalf. Christ’s promise about the twelve thrones (Matthew 19:28) was remembered; the present journey to Jerusalem was to produce a crisis of some kind (Mark 10:33); and the sons of Thunder wished to make sure of a good position in the Kingdom. Evidently the question of “who is the greatest” (Mark 9:34) has not yet been put to rest. Their asking to have their request granted before they had stated it is almost childish in its simplicity; and the [2445] text represents Christ as promising to do what they wish.

οἱ [δύο] υἱοὶ Ζεβ. The δύο ([2446][2447] Memph.) may come from Matthew 26:37; cf. John 21:2. Their mother’s name was Salome, and she seems to have been the sister of Christ’s Mother (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25). These brothers, therefore, would be our Lord’s first cousins, and hence their hope of preferment. “This was the first ecclesiastical intrigue for high places in the Church” (Sadler).

θέλομεν ἵνα. Cf. Mark 6:25, Mark 9:30; cf. Mark 10:51. Blass § 69. 4, 5, 6.

Verses 35-45


Matthew 20:20-28. Cf. Luke 22:25

Verse 36

36. με ποιήσω ([2314]a[2315][2316]) or ποιήσω ([2317][2318] rather than ποιῆσαί με ([2319][2320][2321][2322][2323]).

Verse 37

37. ἐκ δεξιῶν. Both here and Matthew 20:21, Vulg. has ad dexteram tuam, although ab dextera would have been good Latin and closer to the Greek. In English we must say either “on” or “to.” See crit. note. Cf. Joseph. Ant. VI. xi. 9 on the value of the right hand and the left hand places.

ἐν τῇ δόξῃ σου. The brothers may be thinking of Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration (Mark 9:4), or of what was said before it (Mark 8:38).

Verse 38

38. Οὐκ οἴδατε. They little thought of the two crucified robbers. In spite of His declaration (Mark 8:34-35), they did not know that the entrance to the Kingdom is through suffering, and that those who would reign with Him must be ready to endure with Him (Acts 14:22; Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:12). On the change from αἰτήσωμεν (Mark 10:35) to αἰτεῖσθε, “ask for yourselves,” see J. H. Moulton, p. 160.

ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω. He does not reprove them for their carnal ideas about the Kingdom, but He proceeds to correct them. They do not understand the nature of His mission. “Can ye drink?” implies that the cup is no pleasant one, and it is one which He is already drinking. The process is a long one, and the bitterness increases. Mt. interprets it of the Agony, and has μέλλω πίνειν instead of πίνω. “Cup” in the sense of “the contents of the cup” is freq. in literature (Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 10:21; 1 Corinthians 11:25-27). Cf. the “cup” in Gethsemane (Mark 14:36), the “cup of God’s fury” (Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:22).

τὸ βάπτισμα. Regarding troubles as a flood in which one is plunged is also common in literature (Psalms 18:16; Psalms 69:1-2; etc.). But here more may be meant. Baptism is immersion with security against sinking; rising again follows. It was therefore a very fit metaphor for the Passion, and Christ had used it before (Luke 12:49-50); but Mk alone reproduces it here. Baptism into water inaugurated the earthly work of the Messiah; baptism into death is to inaugurate His return to glory. For the cogn. acc. see Revelation 16:9.

Verse 39

39. Δυνάμεθα. The bold answer is the same in both Gospels; but A.V. suggests a difference, “We are able” (Mt.), “We can” (Mk); and so also in the preceding question.

πίεσθεβαπτισθήσεσθε. As in the case of the rich man (Mark 10:20-21), Christ does not question the estimate which James and John have formed of their own characters, nor does He say that all will be of equal rank in the Kingdom. He tells them that they will share His sufferings, and that it is the Father who will assign places in the Kingdom. But the statement with regard to the sufferings is indefinite, and it is forcing the meaning to call it a prediction that the brothers will be put to death for their belief in Jesus Christ. There is no such prediction, and therefore no difficulty as to its non-fulfilment in the case of John. Both suffered, and James was killed by Herod Agrippa I. (Acts 12:2). John was imprisoned and beaten (Acts 4:3; Acts 5:18; Acts 5:40), was banished to Patmos (Revelation 1:9), and continued to confess Christ through a long life. The stories of his having been thrown into a caldron of boiling oil (Tert. De Praescr. 36; Jer. C. Jovin. i. 26), and of his having drunk poison in the presence of Domitian (Acta Johannis), probably arose from a desire to find a literal fulfilment of the baptism and the cup. The statement that Papias said that both John and James were slain by the Jews rests on poor authority; if he did say it, he was probably drawing an inference from Christ’s declaration that both brothers should drink His cup. J. A. Robinson, Hist. Character of St John’s Gospel, p. 79. The belief that Jesus had declared that John would not die could not have become current if John had been slain with James. Nor in that case would the Gospel according to the Hebrews have said that James alone was to drink Christ’s cup. Syr-Sin. here has “Ye may be able to drink … ye may be able to be baptized,” and Syr-Cur. has the same, Matthew 20:23. This change was doubtless made to meet the difficulty that John was not put to death.

Verse 40

40. ἐξ εὐωνύμων. Omens from the left hand were sinister, but they were euphemistically called “of good name” to avert ill fortune; εὐωνύμων = ἀριστερῶν (Mark 10:37). The former is more freq. in N.T., but the latter is far more freq. in LXX.

οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸν δοῦναι. Cf. οὐκ ἐμὲ δέχεται (Mark 9:37). The rewards will be His to give (Revelation 22:12; 2 Timothy 4:8), but only in accordance with the will of the Father, who “hath given all judgment unto the Son” (John 5:22 f.; Acts 10:42), and He will exercise it when the time and season come (Acts 1:7). Their asking the Son of Man to give the reward, before they had earned it, and before He was glorified, was altogether out of place; it was asking Him to be capricious and unfair. Cf. Mark 13:32. This was a favourite Arian text, and as such is often discussed by the Fathers. Hence the addition in some Latin texts of vobis, which is retained in the Clementine Vulgate without Greek authority; also in Aeth.

ἀλλʼ οἷς ἡτοίμασται. But it shall be given to them for whom it hath been prepared by the Father. This interpretation “by the Father” is certainly right, and it is given by Mt. as having been uttered; cf. Mark 10:19; Mark 10:28; Mark 10:33; Mark 10:38. And δοθήσεται is to be understood. In A.V. “it shall be given” is in italics in Mt., but not in Mk. There is no δοθήσεται in either text. On the reading ἄλλοις for ἀλλʼ οἷς see Nestle, p. 37. Syr-Sin. reads ἀλλῷ. Euthym. understands, not δοθήσεται, but ἐκείνων ἐστίν, “it belongs to those for whom it hath been prepared,” which comes to much the same. The point is that fitness, and not personal influence, decides these matters; but we may also make ἀλλά. equivalent to εἰ μή, “Not Mine to give, except to those.” This is sometimes denied, but without good reason. ἔπαισε δʼ αὐτόχειρ νιν οὔτις ἀλλʼ ἐγὼ τλάμων (Soph. O.T. 1331): ἡδέα δʼ αὐκ ἔστιν ἀλλὰ τούτοις καὶ οὕτω διακειμένοις (Arist. Eth. Nic. x. 5. 10). In the sense of Divine preparation, ἑτοιμάζω is almost a technical expression (Matthew 25:34; John 14:2; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Hebrews 11:16; Revelation 12:6; Revelation 21:2; 2 Esdras 8:52). Hatch, Essays, p. 51 f.

Verse 41

41. ἀγανακτεῖν. Cf. Mark 10:14. Christ had already rebuked the spirit of ambition and jealousy in the Twelve (Mark 9:35), but it was not extinguished; and the other ten are indignant with the two brothers for trying to get special promotion for themselves. We do not, however, read of the nine being indignant when Christ gave special honour to Peter, James, and John. It was the brothers’ asking for special favour which gave offence.

Verse 42

42. Οἴδατε. Christ’s rebuke to the ten is as gentle as that to the two. We have three rebukes of this character, all beginning with an appeal to the knowledge possessed or not possessed by the persons addressed; Mark 10:19; Mark 10:38; Mark 10:42. Cf. Mark 4:13.

οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν. They which are accounted to rule, qui censentur imperare (Beza), who are recognized as rulers. This does not mean that they only seem to be rulers, or think themselves such without being so; cf. Galatians 2:2; Galatians 2:6; Galatians 2:9. It points to the fact that the power of kings depends upon their being recognized as kings. Wetstein gives illustrations of the phrase in different senses. Cf. Susann. 5. The expression is thoroughly Greek (Plato, Gorgias, 472 A). Mt. has simply αἱ ἄρχοντες, Lk, οἱ βασιλεῖς, but he places the Saying in the discourses at the Last Supper.

κατακυριεύουσιν. Stronger than κυριεύουσιν (Lk.); cf. κατέκλασεν (Mark 6:41). R.V. has “lord it” here and 1 Peter 5:3, and “have lordship” in Lk. Vulg. has dominantur eis here, and dominantur eorum in Mt. and Lk., the latter being a rare constr., but found in Tertullian and Lactantius.

οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν. “The great officials of the heathen”; the αὐτῶν might refer to οἱ δοκοῦντες ἄρχειν, but more probably it refers to τῶν ἐθνῶν. Syr-Sin. omits the sentence.

κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν. The verb is a very rare one; Mt. has it, and two writers could hardly adopt it independently. Again we are in doubt as to αὐτῶν, and again it is better to refer it to τῶν ἐθνῶν. The despotism of heathen monarchs is heavy, and that of the great officials, who act with the monarchs’ authority, is as bad or worse. The last αὐτῶν might refer back to οἱ δοκ, ἄρχειν. The officials who govern in the king’s name really control the king, whose delegated authority they so use as to govern the king himself; e.g. of Pallas and Narcissus, His uxoribusque addictus, non principem se sed ministrum egit (Sueton. Claud. 25). But this irony would have no point here.

Verse 43

43. οὐχ οὕτως δέ ἐστιν. See crit. note. But not so is it among you; οὐχ αὕτως is emphatic by position. “Quite different are the conditions which determine your relations to one another.” The disciples had not grasped these conditions, but they existed; it is the submissive childlike spirit that wins promotion (Mark 9:36, Mark 10:15). Among the heathen it is held that all must serve Caesar; the ideal ruler knows that he must serve all; he is servus servorum.

μἑγας γενέσθαι. To become great. The superlative, in the strictly superlative sense, is very rare in N.T. (Acts 26:5; 2 Peter 1:4). Either comparative (Mark 9:34) or positive (as some think here) may take its place. But here it is better to retain “great,” as the next verse shows.

Verse 44

44. πρῶτοςδοῦλος. An advance on the previous paradox; supremacy is more than greatness, and slavery is more than service. The higher the rights, the greater the duties. Cf. 1 Corinthians 9:19, and see on 2 Corinthians 4:5. We infer that there are differences of rank in the Kingdom; Matthew 5:19; Matthew 11:11.

Verse 45

45. καὶ γάρ. “And what is more”; giving an additional reason for what has just been stated. Here the contrast between the two systems is at a maximum. In inaugurating the Messianic Kingdom the Messiah Himself renders service rather than receives it, and gives His labour and His life for His subjects. He often received service, both from Angels (Mark 1:13) and from men and women (Mark 1:31, Mark 14:13, Mark 15:41), but that was not the purpose of the Incarnation. And here He does not say that He was sent (Mark 9:37), but that He came—of His own free will—to minister, and to give—of His own free will—His life. This is the most definite declaration of the object of His coming into the world that has thus far been recorded; and it is given, not as instruction in doctrine, but incidentally, to enforce a practical lesson. This does not look like invention.

οὐκἀλλά. See on Mark 9:37.

διακονῆσαι. “He emptied Himself by taking the characteristic attributes of a servant.” Cf. John 13:13-15, and see Lightfoot on Philippians 2:7.

δοῦναι τὴν ψυχήν. This is the climax; “Greater love hath no man than this” (John 15:13), and this greatest service the Messiah came to render.

λύτρον. In some way that is beyond our comprehension, the Death and Resurrection of Christ made it easier for mankind to win forgiveness and entrance into the Kingdom in which eternal life is enjoyed. The supreme change of conditions is spoken of in Scripture under a variety of metaphors, from which we must be very cautious in drawing inferences. They sometimes overlap, and therefore the same texts would illustrate more than one of them. Christ’s work for us in this respect is spoken of as “ransoming” (Mark 10:45; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; Titus 2:14), “redeeming” (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; Hebrews 9:12; Hebrews 9:15), “buying with a price” (1 Corinthians 6:20; 2 Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9), “shedding blood for a new covenant” (Mark 14:24; Hebrews 13:20), “loosing from sins with blood” (Revelation 1:5), “salvation” or “rescue” (Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:10; Hebrews 5:9; etc., etc.), “propitiation” (Romans 3:25; 1 John 2:2; 1 John 4:10), “reconciliation” or “atonement” (Romans 5:11; 2 Corinthians 5:18-19; Colossians 1:20), “justification” (Romans 5:9). No metaphor can give us more than a fragment of the truth, and this is often mixed with what (for the purpose in hand) is not true. Interpretation of figurative language is therefore precarious, and drawing inferences from our interpretations may be perilous. It is perhaps wisest to accept the fact of these blessed results of Christ’s Death and Resurrection, without trying to explain the manner of their working. In the present case we do not know whether Christ used a word which was equivalent to λύτρον. The metaphor may be the translator’s, for λύτρον occurs in N.T. nowhere excepting this utterance. Nevertheless cognate words are common, esp. in the Pauline Epp. and in writings akin to Pauline thought; e.g. ἀντίλυτρον, λυτρόομαι, λύτρωσις, ἀπολύτρωσις, of which the last is far the most common. But this metaphor of ransom or redemption is not found in the Johannine writings. See Westcott, Hebrews, pp. 295 f., Epp. of St John, pp. 83 f.; Deissmann, Light from Anc. East, pp. 330, 331. The different shades of meaning for λύτρον and λύτρα in literature and papyri do not help us much in explaining this passage, which is the basis of Pauline doctrine. The Apostle would know the oral tradition about it.

ἀντὶ πολλῶν. The ἀντί does not belong to δοῦναι, “to give instead of many giving,” but to λύτρον, “a ransom to buy off many” (Matthew 17:27; Hebrews 12:16). And πολλῶν does not mean for His friends, and not for His enemies. See on John 15:13; 2 Corinthians 5:18; 1 John 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:6. That we have πολλῶν instead of πάντων is possibly due to Isaiah 53:11-12 (LXX.). The “many” are contrasted, not with “all,” but with “one”; the surrender of one life rescued millions; ὑπὲρ πάντων γὰρ ἔδωκε τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ καὶ πάντας ἐλυτρώσατο, εἰ καὶ πολλοὶ θέλοντες ἐνέμειναν ἐν δουλείᾳ (Euthym.). The preposition commonly used of Christ’s dying on our behalf is ὑπέρ.

Verse 46

46. We once more have three records, and no two agree. Mk and Lk. give one blind man, Mt. gives two. Mk and Mt. say that Christ healed as He was going out of Jericho, Lk., when He was approaching it. Mk and Lk. say that He healed with a word, but they do not quite agree as to the word, Mt. that He healed with a touch. These discrepancies are of no moment, except as part of the overwhelming evidence that not every statement in the Bible can be accepted as historically accurate. See on Mark 4:41. There is general agreement that near Jericho, as Jesus was near the last stage in His last journey to Jerusalem, a blind man called to Him for help, that the crowd tried to silence him, but that Jesus interfered on his behalf and restored his sight; and then the man followed Him. As in the case of the storm on the Lake, Mk gives graphic details, such as an eye-witness might remember, which Mt. and Lk. omit as unessential.

The Jericho of our Lord’s time was a fine city, much augmented and adorned by Herod the Great, who died there, and by Archelaus, but it was a mile or more from the old site. So far as we know, this was Christ’s only visit to it. The modern Jericho is a squalid village.

ὄχλου ἱκανοῦ. This use of ἱκανός = “plentiful” is freq. in Lk., Acts, and LXX., but occurs nowhere else in Mk. It is probably colloquial.

ὁ υἱὸς Τιμαίου Βαρτιμαῖος. Mk alone gives these names, which indicate that the man was still remembered when the Gospel was written. With the order of the names comp. υἱὲ Δαυεὶδ Ἰησοῦ (Mark 10:47). The derivation of Bartimaeus is doubtful. Keim, Jesus of Nazara, v. p. 61; Enc. Bibl. art. “Bartimaeus.” Matthew 8:28 has two demoniacs, where Mk and Lk have only one.

τυφλὸς προσαίτης. See crit. note; also John 9:8. In the Gospel of Nicodemus Mark 1:6, this man is said to have been born blind. Perhaps the two miracles are confused. Blind men were proverbially beggars; Quid aliud caecitas discit quam rogare, blandiri? (Quintil. Declam. 1). The roads being full of pilgrims on their way to the Passover, beggars would frequent them.

ἐκάθητο παρὰ τὴν ὁδόν. The acc. after a verb of rest is freq. in both N.T. and LXX. (Mark 4:1 = Matthew 13:1; Luke 18:35 = Matthew 20:30; Acts 10:6; Acts 10:32; Genesis 22:17; Genesis 41:3; etc.); see also Xen. Anab. III. 5. 1, VII. 2. 11. He was by the side of the road and commanding it, so that he could hear all that passed.

Verses 46-52


Matthew 20:29-34. Luke 18:35-43

Verse 47

47. ὁ Ναζαρηνός. See crit. note and on Mark 1:24.

ἤρξατο κράζειν. Here, as in Mark 10:28; Mark 10:32; Mark 10:41, Mk’s favourite ἤρξ. is omitted, not only by Mt., but by Lk., who often has it.

Υἱὲ Δαυείδ. This form of address is here in all three twice. It implies that “Jesus of Nazareth” is believed to be the Messiah; and the Messiah would give sight to the blind (Isaiah 61:1). It is remarkable that a blind beggar should, in this Gospel, be the first to give Jesus this title. But the thought was in the air; the beggar shouted what many people were debating in themselves or with one another (Lagrange). The expression occurs again Mark 12:35 = Matthew 22:42 = Luke 20:41, and nowhere else in Mk or Lk. Mt. has it several times, Jn never. Dalman, Words, pp. 319 f.

Verse 48

48. ἐπετίμων. It was the crowd in front of Jesus who did this (Lk.); they wanted to silence him before Jesus came up. Like the disciples with the Syrophoenician woman (Matthew 15:23), they resented the ceaseless importunity; and like the disciples with those who brought their children (Mark 10:13), they resented the trouble likely to be given to Christ. They were not objecting, nor does Jesus do so, to his addressing Him as the Messiah. Wrede, Messiasgeheimnis, p. 278. Note the imperfects.

ἵνα σιωπήσῃ. This is Mk’s usual word (Mark 3:4, Mark 4:39, Mark 9:34, Mark 14:61). Lk. has his usual σιγάω, which neither Mk nor Mt. ever uses. Jn uses neither.

Verse 49

49. στάς. So also Mt. As often in Gospel and Acts, Lk. has σταθείς, which is peculiar to him; it may imply taking a conspicuous place.

Φωνήσατε αὐτόν. He makes those who would have silenced the man tell him that his cries have taken effect. Lk. says that He told them to lead the man to Him.

Θάρσει, ἔγειρε, Φωνεῖ σε. Mk alone records these words, the rhythm of which has been stereotyped by Longfellow. The people’s complete change of attitude, directly they perceive Christ’s interest in the beggar, is characteristic of mobile vulgus, but it is also evidence of their respect for Him. For θάρσει see on Mark 6:50.

Verse 50

50. ἀποβαλὼν τὸ ἱμάτιον. It was the most valuable thing that he had, and it might never be recovered; but that is nothing, if only he can reach the Son of David. Syr-Sin. makes him take up his garment, as if ἐπιβαλών were the word; and Mrs Lewis adopts this as original.

ἀναπηδήσας. In spite of his blindness; not a moment is to be lost. The graphic word is found nowhere else in N.T., and the whole of this graphic verse is peculiar to Mk. Swete quotes a remarkable parallel from Lucian, Catapl. 15. Note the combination of participles.

Verse 51

51. ἀποκριθείς. Answering the man’s action. See on Mark 9:5.

Τί σοι θέλεις ποιήσω; Not here, any more than in Mark 10:36, is Christ giving carte blanche (Godet) to have anything that may be desired. The man’s persistency has shown that he has faith enough, and Jesus now lets the bystanders who would have suppressed him know that this is no common tramp begging for money, but a sufferer who believes in the Messiah’s benevolence and power. For the constr. cf. Mark 10:36; Luke 9:54; Luke 22:9. In class. Grk this constr. is more freq. with βούλομαι, which in N.T. is far less common than θέλω.

Ῥαββουνεί. See on John 20:16. As in Mark 9:5, Mk alone preserves the original Aramaic. Mt. and Lk. have Κύριε. See Dalman, Words, pp. 324, 327, 340.

ἵνα ἀναβλέψω. We may understand either θέλω or θέλω ποιήσῃς. Here ἀναβλέψω must mean “recover sight” and not “look up.” See on Mark 8:24. Non terrena dona, non fugitivos honores, a Domino, sed lucem quaeramus (Bede).

Verse 52

52. Ὕπαγε. Cf. Mark 1:44, Mark 7:29. Lk. substitutes Ἀνάβλεψον. Mt. reports no word and substitutes a touch. The man’s faith being so great, Christ heals with a word instead of the means used Mark 8:22-26.

ἡ πίστις σου σέσωκέν σε. This again has a rhythm of its own, and it also is omitted by Mt. At Mark 5:34 all three record these words. They do not occur in Jn, who uses σώζω seldom and πίστις never. All three record that the cure was instantaneous, Mk with his favourite εὐθύς and Lk. with his favourite παραχρῆμα. Cf. Mark 2:12, Mark 5:29.

σέσωκενἀνέβλεψενἠκολούθει. In each case the tense is accurate, and ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ is against the suggestion that ἠκολούθει implies “became a disciple.” Bartimaeus went on with Him to Jerusalem. Lk. adds that he praised God and that the people followed his example. Some of them may have been among those who cried “Hosanna to the Son of David” (Matthew 21:9; Matthew 21:15) soon after this. As at Mark 1:26, Mark 2:11, and Mark 5:34, there is no command to keep silence, which would have been useless in the case of a miracle witnessed by a crowd. Moreover, He was soon to be publicly proclaimed as the Messiah.


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Bibliography Information
"Commentary on Mark 10:4". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". 1896.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 27th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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