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Bible Commentaries

The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide
Mark 14



Verses 1-72


1 A conspiracy against Christ3Precious ointment is poured on his head by a woman10 Judas selleth his Master for money12Christ himself foretelleth how he shall be betrayed of one of his disciples: 22after the passover prepared and eaten, instituteth his supper26 declareth aforehand the flight of all his disciples, and Peter"s denial43Judas betrayeth him with a kiss46 He is apprehended in the garden, 53falsely accused, and impiously condemned of the Jews" council: 65 shamefully abused by them, 66 and thrice denied of Peter.

Ver3. A woman having an alabaster box of ointment of precious spikenard. "Nard," says Pliny. (l12 , c12), "is a shrub which has a heavy and thick, but short, black, and easily broken root. It has a strong smell, like cypress, and a pungent taste. The leaf is small and thick, and the tops unfold into ears, so that spikenard is spoken of as being doubly endowed with both leaves and ears." From the leaves of nard ointment is made—that which is called foliated; but that made from the ears or spikes is called spikenard; and this is superior to the foliated, because it has more substance and marrow, so to say. Instead of nardus spicatus (Vulg.), the Syriac has nardus copitalis, i.e., chief, excellent, principal. As I have observed, the spikenard is superior to the foliated. The Greek has πιστικη̃ς, which the Vulg. of S. John translates pistici. Pisticus is the same as spiked. Wherefore the Arabic trans., the best.

Ver5. Three hundred pence. These were equivalent in value to thirty Roman aurei. So that for the thirty gold pieces which the miserable Judas accounted as lost in the anointing of Christ, he received thirty silver pieces for betraying Him.

Ver11. They were glad. Not only that they were about to apprehend Him without tumult, being opportunely betrayed by Judas, but also because He was beginning to be hated by His own disciples."

Ver13. There shall meet you. "Observe the majesty of His Divinity," says S. Ambrose (in Luke 22:8). "He is speaking with His disciples, and yet He knows what is about to happen elsewhere."

Ver14. Where is My refectory? That is, the place where I may refresh Myself with My disciples, and partake of the lamb. The Greek is κατάλυμα, or inn; the Syriac, place of dwelling; Arabic, place in which I may eat the Passover.

Furnished: provided with tables, couches, or beds and tapestry, decorated also with leaves and flowers, and all other requisites for celebrating the Passover. The Greek, Syriac, and Arabic add, έτοιμον, i.e., prepared. For God had put it into the heart of the master of the house to prepare the supper-room for the sake of Christ, that He might find a place well adorned for the celebration of the Passover, that as soon as evening came there might be no delay, but that the lamb might be roasted and eaten, and all the other things accomplished which were to be done by Christ.

Ver23. Giving thanks: the Syriac adds, He blessed.

And they all drank of it, namely, after Christ had consecrated the chalice, saying, This is My blood, as it follows. There is, therefore, a prolepsis, or anticipation, which Mark makes use of to show that the disciples fulfilled the command of Christ. Drink ye all of it, as Matthew has, Matthew 26:28.

Ver33. He began to fear and to be heavy: ε̉κθαμβει̃σθαι καί α̉δημονει̃ν, i.e., to be affrighted and sore distressed. The Arabic is, to be very sorrowful and afraid.

Ver36. Abba Father: Gr. α̉ββα̃ ό πατήζ, where Father is in the nominative, as Mark interprets the Syriac word α̉ββ by the Greek πατήζ; or rather the nom. πατήζ is put for the voc. πάτεζ. For by a mark of affection, with the deepest feeling of the heart, Christ repeated the word Abba, or Father. Wherefore the Syriac has Abba Abi, i.e., Father, My Father. The Arabic has0 Father. S. Augustine (lib. de Consens. Evang. l4) thinks that Christ used both the Greek and the Syriac word; and that He spoke precisely as Mark has it, namely, άββα̃ ό πατήζ. For so the Apostle speaks, "In whom we cry, Abba Father" ( Romans 8:15, Vulg.). "We must think," says S. Augustine, "that the Lord said "Abba Father" to intimate the mystery of His Church, which was to be gathered out of Jews and Gentiles." And the Scholiast in S. Jerome says, "He speaks in Hebrew and Greek, because there is no distinction between Jew and Greek."

Ver38. The spirit indeed is willing: Syriac, willing and prompt.

Ver41. The hour is come: Arabic, the end, i.e., of life, is present, and the hour is come.

Ver44. Lead Him away carefully: Gr. α̉σφαλω̃ς, i.e., securely, safely. Arab. Fear ye concerning Him; lest, that is, He glide away out of your hands, as He has done upon other occasions.

Ver47. One of them, namely, Peter. "Mark does not mention Peter"s name," says Theophylact, "that he may not seem to praise his teacher, Peter, for his greater zeal for Christ."

Ver51. And a certain young man followed him having a linen cloth cast round about his naked body; and they laid hold on him. That is, he was clothed (amictus, Vulg.) with a linen vest over his naked body. It is plain, from the word amictus, that this piece of linen was a kind of linen garment, fitting the body, but so that it might easily be put on and off the back. This is also clear from Pollux, who calls the linen cloth πεζιβόλαιον, i.e., a veil, a cloak, a covering.

You will ask who this young man was: 1st S. Epiphanius (Hres78) and S. Jerome, or whoever the author is on Ps. xxxviii., think that he was James the Lord"s brother.

2nd Bede and S. Chrysostom, S. Ambrose, S. Gregory, and Baronius think it was S. John; for he was a youth, and the youngest of the Apostles. But that it was neither John nor James, nor any of the Apostles, is plain from this, that Mark has just before said, ver50 , then all His disciples, meaning, Apostles, forsook Him and fled.

3Theophylact and Euthymius think that the young man was some one from the house of John Mark, in which Christ had eaten the Passover.

4th And more probably, Cajetan (in Jentaculis) and others conjecture that this young man was a member or servant of a house adjacent to the garden, who, being awoke by the noise made by those who were apprehending Christ as they passed by, rose up from his bed, and ran to see what was being done. That he was a favourer or disciple of Christ appears from what Mark says, he followed Him. Wherefore also the officers laid hold of him, i.e., they wished to hold him by seizing his garment. The Hebrew active verbs often signify commencement and effort.

Ver52. But he, casting off the linen cloth, fled from them naked. "As Joseph," says the Scholiast, "left his garment in the hand of his immodest mistress, and fled from her naked."

Mark adds this incident in order to make it plain from this hasty flight of the young man how great was the trepidation about Christ, and how intense was the hatred and fury of the Jews against Christ, who even tried to seize a stranger who was following Him. Hence it is evident that far more would they have seized the Apostles, if they had not immediately fled away.

Ver68. And the cock crew. Hear S. Chrysostom on S. Matt. xxvi70 , "Mark signifies that neither by the crow of the cock was he led to remember, nor did it keep him from denial." Chrysostom adds, "Mark only has written thus, most accurately detailing the gracious care of the Master for His disciple, and Peter"s weakness. Wherefore we ought especially to admire him, because he not only did not hide his master"s fault, but wrote the account of it in greater detail than the others, for this very reason that he was Peter"s disciple."

Ver70. For thou art also a Galilan. That is, by speaking in the idiom of the Galilans thou showest thyself to be a Galilan. The Arabic adds, And thy speech is similar to their speech.

Ver72. And he began to weep: Gr. ε̉πιβαλών έκλαιε, i.e., literally, adding he was weeping; which you may translate, 1st, he began to weep; 2nd, he added to weep, i.e., "he began to weep very violently," says Theophylact. The Arabic is, and he betook himself to tears, not in the court before the Jews, that he might not betray himself to them, but when he was alone, having gone out of it as appears from S. Matthew 26:75. (Top)


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Bibliography Information
Lapide, Cornelius. "Commentary on Mark 14:4". The Great Biblical Commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. 1890.

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Friday, May 29th, 2020
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