1. Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν πάλιν εἰς συναγωγήν. And He entered again into a synagogue. Mt. and Lk. have τὴν συν., “the synagogue in that place.” It would perhaps be more exact if we sacrificed the compound verb and rendered, “He went again to synagogue.” Cf. ἐν συναγωγῇ, “in synagogue” (John 6:59; John 18:20), and our “went to church,” “was in church,” ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ (1 Corinthians 14:19). The πάλιν looks back to Mark 1:21; cf. Mark 2:1; Mark 2:13. Mt. says that it was the same Sabbath; He went from the cornfields to the synagogue. Lk. says that it was a different Sabbath, and Mk seems to agree with Lk.; and he is probably right. It would be after the synagogue service that they would have gone to the cornfield. But the matter is of small importance.
ἐξηραμμένην ἔχων τὴν χεῖρα. Who had his hand withered. The passive participle implies that his hand had been paralysed by an accident or illness. Mt. and Lk. say simply ξηρά, and Lk. adds ἡ δεξιά. The ἔχων is another case of a main fact being expressed by a participle (Mark 1:5; Mark 1:13; Mark 1:39, Mark 2:23). In the Canonical Gospels the man does not speak; in one which was used by the Nazarenes and Ebionites he asks to be restored to health.
1–6. A WITHERED HAND HEALED ON THE SABBATH
Matthew 12:9-14. Luke 6:6-11
2. παρετήρουν. They kept watching Him closely. That they did so with a sinister purpose (Luke 20:20; Daniel 6:11) comes from the context. The middle is more common, and some texts () have it here; it is used of observing ordinances scrupulously (Galatians 4:10). From Mark 3:6 we learn that it was the Pharisees who watched Christ.
εἰ τοῖς σάββασιν θ. αὐτόν. To see if He will heal him on the Sabbath; cf. τί οἶδας εἰ τὸν ἄνδρα σώσεις; (1 Corinthians 7:16). In the Acta Pilati i. (ed. Tisch. 215), the Jews say that they have a law not to heal on the Sabbath, and yet Jesus healed all kinds of people on the Sabbath. When this accusation is made before Pilate, he asks “Is it for a good deed that they wish to put Him to death?” They say to Him, “Yea.” To formalists a breach of external propriety is more shocking than a breach of principle. As in Mark 2:8, Jesus reads their thoughts and replies to them both by word and action.
3. Ἔγειρε εἰς τὸ μέσον. Arise and come into the midst; condensed constr., as in Mark 10:10; Luke 11:7; Acts 8:40. Whatever is done shall be manifest to all. He has no need of secret methods, and there is no need to spy upon Him. Victor of Antioch is hardly right in suggesting that Christ called the man into the midst in order to kindle sympathy in the hostile critics. See on Mark 3:12.
4. It might have been sufficient to say that it was no violation even of their rules respecting the Sabbath for the man to stretch out his hand. But Christ appeals to a broader principle (cf. Mark 2:17; Mark 2:27). To refuse to do good is to do evil (James 4:17), and, Sabbath or no Sabbath, it is wrong to do evil and right to do good. His enemies cared nothing about the man’s hand. Κακοποιεῖν is class. Grk, but not ἀγαθοποιεῖν, which in LXX. takes the place of the class, εὖ ποιεῖν.
ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι. This second way of putting the alternative has two points.  The Rabbis themselves allowed attending to suffering when life was in danger, and life being in danger was interpreted liberally.  They were plotting to kill Jesus. Which did more honour to the Sabbath, His healing or their plotting? “To save” means more than “to preserve from death”; it includes restoring to health. Mt. here inserts the argument about the animal fallen into a pit, which Lk. (Luke 14:1-6) has in the healing of the man with the dropsy.
ἐσιώπων. They remained silent. They cannot refute His arguments, but they will not yield. Mk alone mentions the silence of the Pharisees, which, like the watching, continued for some time. See on Mark 10:48. Here and in Mark 3:5 we seem to have the vivid recollections of an eye-witness, such as Peter.
5. περιβλεψάμενος. Mk five times mentions the fact of Christ’s “looking round” on those who were near Him (here, Mark 3:34, Mark 5:32, Mark 10:23, Mark 11:11), and only once (Mark 9:8) does he record this of anyone else. Excepting Lk. in this passage, no other N.T. writer uses the verb. There was someone who remembered this frequent looking round. Cf. Mark 10:21; Mark 10:27. Here He may have looked round to see if anyone would answer His question; and hence His anger when He found that no one had the moral courage to do so. On the combination of participles see Mark 1:15.
μετʼ ὀργῆς, συνλυπούμενος. Peculiar to Mk. Nowhere else is anger attributed to Jesus; but see Mark 10:14 and cf. Revelation 6:16-17. He was “not easily provoked.” The anger accompanied the look (μετά as in Hebrews 12:17), and the momentary (aor.) glance of anger is contrasted with their continued silence and His continued grief. Anger may be a duty (Ephesians 4:26), and Christ’s anger is never personal. His love is sometimes personal (Mark 10:21; John 11:5), but not His wrath. Mk’s fondness for detail is here conspicuous; also his readiness to record the human emotions of the Messiah: σπλαγχνισθείς (Mark 1:41), ἐμβριμησάμενος (Mark 1:43), ἐστέναξεν (Mark 7:34), ἀναστενάξας (Mark 8:12), ἠγανάκτησεν (Mark 10:14), ἐμβλέψας αὐτῷ ἠγάπησεν αὐτόν (Mark 10:21). The pres. part. συνλυπούμενος expresses lasting distress; but the συν- can hardly point to sympathy with those who had the πώρωσις, for they felt no λύπη. It points rather to the inwardness and intensity of the distress; see on Mark 4:7 and cf. σύνοιδα, συνείδησις, συντηρέω, συνκύπτω, συνκαλύπτω. The compound is found here only in N.T.
ἐπὶ τῇ πωρώσει. Vulg., A.V., and R.V. fluctuate as to the rendering of this noun and the cognate πωρόω. Vulg. nearly everywhere prefers the idea of blindness; caecitas, caecatum, excaecati, obcaecatum, and once (2 Corinthians 3:14) obtunsi. Here A.V. has “hardness,” with “blindness” in the margin; R.V. has “hardening.” Ephesians 4:18, A.V. has “blindness,” with “hardness” in the margin; R.V. has “hardening.” Romans 11:7; Romans 11:25, A.V. has “blinded” and “blindness,” with “hardened” and “hardness” in the margin; R.V. has “hardened” and “hardening.” Mark 6:52; Mark 8:17, both have “hardened.” In all these places both renderings are possible, but in some “blindness” or “blinded” seems to be preferable; see on 2 Corinthians 3:14. Here and elsewhere πήρωσις or πηρόω is found as a variant, but everywhere the evidence for πώρωσις or πωρόω is decisive. See Sanday and Headlam on Romans 11:7; J. A. Robinson on Ephesians 4:18. Mt. omits the look, the anger, and the grief, probably as suggesting a low conception of Christ; cf. Mark 6:56, Mark 8:12, Mark 10:14; Mark 10:21. Loisy admits that these very human details, qui n’ont aucune signification pour la Christologie, give the impression of coming from an eye-witness.
ἐξέτεινεν. The man’s obedience proved his faith, and the wish and endeavour to obey won the power to obey.
ἀπεκατεστάθη. The cure was immediate and complete. Cf. Mark 8:25 and note the double augment, which this verb always has in N.T. Here  against  In the Testaments (Symeon ii. 13) a withered hand is restored, and the same verb is used as here.
6. ἐξελθόντες. The service would be over before the healing; Christ would not have interrupted it. They had expected that Christ would heal, and that in healing He would do something which they could denounce as a violation of the Sabbath; but He had not even touched the man.
εὐθὺς μετὰ τῶν Ἡρωδιανῶν. To be taken with what follows; “they at once took counsel with the Herodians.” The Herodians are mentioned only here and at the close of the Ministry (Mark 12:13 = Matthew 22:16). They seem to have been a political rather than a religious party, and they would be opposed to one whose teaching was revolutionary. Perhaps we might call them the Royalist party or the Government party. That “in the country of the tetrarch Antipas there could not be a party called the Herodians” is both erroneous and irrelevant. In Galilee, as well as in Judaea, there might be those who wished Antipas to become what Herod the Great had been; and we are not told that this plot against Christ was laid in Galilee. With the termination comp. that of Χριστιανός.
συμβούλιον ἐδίδουν. See crit. note. Apparently, συμβούλιον is an official attempt to find an equivalent for consilium. Deissmann, Bib. St. p. 238. As with us, the usual phrase is “to take counsel,” λαμβάνειν συμβ. (So always in Mt.) Mk may mean that it was the Pharisees who originated and gave forth the idea, and that this was the beginning of a series of plots (imperf.). In fact, it was the beginning of the end. “The final rupture of Jesus with the religious authorities in Galilee arose out of the healing of the man with the withered hand in the Synagogue on the Sabbath” (Burkitt). We have reached “the parting of the ways.” Cf. Mark 15:1.
ὅπως. The only question was, How? Here only does Mk use ὅπως, which is freq. in Mt. and Lk. Only once in Jn (John 11:57).
7, 8. ἀνεχώρησεν πρὸς τὴν θάλασσαν. The verb does not imply retreat from danger (John 6:15; Acts 23:19; Acts 26:31), but it is often used in this sense (Matthew 2:14; Matthew 4:12; Matthew 14:13). Arrest or assassination would be more easy in a town; by the Lake there were boats in which He could escape. Euthymius remarks that it was right to take these precautions, for He had still much teaching and healing to do.
καὶ πολὺ πλῆθος. “And a great multitude”; contrast πλῆθος πολύ in Mark 3:8. This is the nom. to ἠκολούθησεν, and this constr. may be continued down to Σιδῶνα, by which time both nom. and verb are almost forgotten, and therefore πλῆθος is repeated and a new verb (ἦλθον) is supplied (A.V.). But it is better to put a colon at ἠκολούθησεν and take all the items that follow with ἦλθον (R.V.). Only the Galileans followed Him to the Lake, and there were a great many of them, for they had seen His mighty works. The others could hardly be said to follow Him, but they came to Him afterwards, for they had heard of the many things which He did. Almost the whole of Palestine is represented; but there is no contingent from Samaria. Here, as in Mark 10:1 and Matthew 4:25, the art. is omitted before πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου. For Ἰεροσόλυμα see on Mark 10:32.
As the persecution which followed the martyrdom of Stephen caused a great extension of the Gospel, so also this conspiracy against Christ; it drove Him to become a roving Teacher and Healer.
ἀκούοντες ὅσα ποιεῖ. One expects ἀκούαντες ὅσα ἐποίει, which many texts have (see crit. note); but the pres. part. and verb are more vivid. The whole is a process which continues. “As they hear (almost, ‘as fast as they hear’) how many things He is doing, they came to Him.” The ἦλθον, rather than ἤρχοντο, is determined by ἠκολούθησεν: the Galileans followed, the rest came. Both A.V. and R.V. have “what great things He did”; but ὅσα refers to number rather than to importance (Mark 3:10, Mark 6:30; Mark 6:56, Mark 10:21, Mark 11:24, Mark 12:44, etc.). These multitudes are not disciples; it is not His teaching which attracts them, but His cures. They want to be healed, or to see Him heal. The disciples are the four fishermen (Mark 1:16-20), and possibly Levi.
7–12. WITHDRAWAL TO THE SEA OF GALILEE
Matthew 12:5-21. Luke 6:17-19
The three accounts are here very independent and there is not much similarity of wording. It is clear from the context that Matthew 12:15-21, and not Mark 4:24-25, is the true parallel to this section. Mt. states, what we might infer from Mk, that Jesus retired to the Lake because He knew of the plots to destroy Him. Some friendly Herodian may have told the disciples.
8. ἀκούοντες ( and versions) rather than ἀκούσαντες ( etc.). ποιεῖ ( Syrr.) rather than ἐποίει ( Latt.). Syr-Sin. omits πλῆθος πολύ.
9. εἶπεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς. He told His disciples. He gave orders to that effect.
ἵνα πλοιάριον προσκαρτερῇ. This defines the purport rather than the purpose of the request or command; cf. Mark 3:10, Mark 6:8, Mark 9:9; Matthew 4:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10. The telic force of ἵνα is so completely in the background as to be lost. The boat would be a small one, to keep close along the shore, so as to be ready at any moment to take Him in. The verb suggests persevering observance, and Vulg. renders it in seven different ways; deservire (here), servire, perseverare, perdurare, instare, adhaerere, parere. He did not want the boat as a pulpit, but as a refuge, in case the pressure of the immense multitude should become dangerous. Syr-Sin. has “that they should bring a ship to Him.” Admirabilis patientia et benignitas Domini (Beng.). Mt. again omits the impeding crowd; see on Mark 2:2.
10. Very graphic. He healed many by word or touch, so that those near Him were falling upon Him, and those at a distance were frantic to get near Him. Those on the outskirts would press forward all who were between them and Him. Like the woman with the issue (Mark 5:28), they believed that their laying hold of Him would be as efficacious as His laying His hands on them. Mt. and Lk. say that all were healed, Mt. repeating Mk’s ἐθεράπευσεν, while the physician has his characteristic ἰᾶτο. See on Mark 1:34. Field quotes Thuc. vii. 84. 3 in illustration.
μάστιγας. Distressing bodily diseases are meant (Mark 5:29; Luke 7:21), and the word implies Divine chastisement; ἀλλὰ Διὸς μάστιγι κακῇ ἐδάμημεν Ἀχαιοί (Hom. Il. xiii. 812; cf. Aesch. Prom. 682). In LXX. it is not used specially of disease.
11. See crit. note. As often, the unclean spirits and those whom they obsess are spoken of interchangeably. It was the demoniacs who fell down before Him, whensoever they beheld Him (R.V.); it was the demons who recognized Him as the Son of God. Indefinite repetition in the past is expressed by ὅταν c. imperf. indic.; so also ὅπου ἄν (Mark 6:56): also with the less intelligible aor.; ὅσοι ἄν (Mark 6:56) and ὅταν (Mark 11:19). Blass, § 63. 7; Burton, § 290, 315. Syr-Sin. condenses; “and they who had plagues of unclean spirits upon them fell down before them.” The contrast between ἐπιπίπτειν and προσέπιπτον is perhaps accidental. Cf. the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:29) and Cornelius (Acts 10:25; also Psalms 95:6).
ἔκραζον. The separate instances are thought of throughout, and hence the plurals: cf. Luke 24:11; John 19:31 : and the separate instances are thought of because of the nature of the cry. “The earliest confession of the Sonship seems to have come from evil spirits, who knew Jesus better than He was known by His own disciples” (Swete).
12. πολλὰ ἐπετίμα. The adverbial πολλά may mean either “much” or “often”; vehementer comminabatur (Vulg.). There were so many cases, and the spirits were so rebellious, that both “much” and “often” would be true. But “often” is questionable. This use of πολλά is freq. in Mk, rare in Mt., and not found in Lk., Acts, or Jn. It is variously rendered in Vulg.; multum, Mark 5:10; Mark 5:23; Mark 5:38, Mark 9:26; vehementer, Mark 5:43; in multis, Mark 15:3; frequenter, Matthew 9:14. In Mark 1:45,  Vulg. omit πολλά. Victor again thinks that this was done for the sake of the Scribes and Pharisees, lest the homage of the unclean spirits should madden them. See on Mark 3:3.
13. Καὶ ἀναβαίνει. As between Mark 2:28 and Mark 3:1, Mk indicates no interval of time; and, as in Mark 1:35, the place is not very definite.
εἰς τὸ ὄρς. The hill-country round the Lake is meant (Mark 6:56; cf. Mark 5:5). As in Mark 2:16, Mark 4:3, etc., A.V. ignores the art. Lk. tells us that He went up to pray and continued all night in prayer. The momentous crisis of choosing His Apostles is at hand, and this vigil is the preparation for it,—“the first Ember night” (Swete). It is the first act in organizing the Church which is to convert the world.
προσκαλεῖται. The verb is freq. in Mk, Mt., Lk., Acts; elsewhere only James 5:14. It was not until this vigil was over that He gave this summons.
οὓς ἤθελεν αὐτός. The αὐτός is emphatic. The crowd of listeners are sifted according to His pleasure, not theirs; He does not invite any who like to follow Him, to do so. This is clear both in Mk and Lk.
ἀπῆλθον πρὸς αὐτόν. They came away unto Him, implying that they left something in order to come. These are not casual listeners or spectators, but attached disciples, and out of their number. He selects the Twelve.
13–19. THE APPOINTMENT OF THE TWELVE
Matthew 10:1-4. Luke 6:12-16.
14. ἐποίησεν δώδεκα. He appointed (Acts 2:36; Hebrews 3:2; Revelation 5:10) twelve. That “the Twelve” quickly became an official designation, is clear from all the Gospels. Mk mentions “the Twelve” nine times, Mt. and Jn each four times, Lk. six times. Mt. alone speaks of “the twelve disciples” (Matthew 10:1, Matthew 11:1, Matthew 20:17, Mart 26:20). Still earlier, St Paul uses “the Twelve” of the Apostolic body even when not all the Twelve were present (1 Corinthians 15:5). Their correspondence with the Twelve Tribes is also soon recognized (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30; Revelation 21:14; Ep. of Barnabas viii. 3); they are the Twelve Patriachs of the new Israel. The modern attempt to connect them with the twelve signs of the Zodiac is a curiosity of criticism; and it is hardly worth mentioning, even as a coincidence, that on one occasion Buddha is said to have had just twelve disciples.
οὓς καὶ ἀποστόλους ὠνόμασεν. See crit. note. It is difficult to decide whether these strongly attested words are an early interpolation from Luke 6:13. We cannot say that Mark 6:30 implies a previous mention of this title, for in John 6:67; John 6:70, “the Twelve” are spoken of without previous mention of appointment or number. We need not suppose that Christ named them “Apostles” at the time when He appointed them; but it was He who sent them out to do His work who gave them a title which implies a special mission. DCG. art. “Apostles”; Lightfoot, Galatians, pp. 92–101.
ἵνα … καὶ ἵνα. Two separate purposes of the appointment, one relating to the present and one to the future, are clearly marked;  they are to remain with Him to be trained, and  He is to send them out to proclaim the good tidings and to have authority to cast out the demons. This is exactly His own work as defined Mark 1:39. Everything is kept in His own hands. He selects the larger circle of disciples; out of these He selects the Twelve; He trains them; He sends them to do work chosen by Himself, and their power over evil spirits is conferred by Him. They originate nothing, and they have nothing but what He bestows.
ἀποστέλλῃ. The verb which corresponds with ἀπόστολος is deliberately used; it implies, what πέμπω does not, a definite mission. As in Mark 1:39, κηρύσσειν is used absolutely. Bede remarks that He who had forbidden unclean spirits to proclaim Him, now sends men of pure minds to proclaim the Gospel.
15. ἔχειν ἐξουσίαν. The nearest parallel to this in O.T. is 2 Kings 2:11; 2 Kings 2:15. But here supernatural powers are given to many. Exorcism is again the representative miracle; cf. Mark 1:39, Mark 6:7. “To send them to have authority” is one of Mk’s clumsy expressions; He sent them to cast out demons.
16. καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς δώδεκα. See crit. note. This repetition is some slight confirmation of the genuineness of οὓς καὶ ἀπ. ὠν. It implies that so much has intervened as to make repetition advisable; but, without οὓ καὶ ἀπ. ὠν., the interruption is slight. Καὶ is almost our “Well.” “Well, as I said, He appointed the Twelve”; “the Twelve” because they have been mentioned before and because the expression was so familiar. Similarly, we have first “seventy-two” and then “the seventy-two” (Luke 10:1; Luke 10:17).
καὶ ἐπέθηκεν ὄνομα. This need not mean that the name was given there and then, any more than Mark 3:14 need mean that the title Apostle was given there and then. Mk’s want of literary skill is conspicuous here; the meaning is clear, but the construction is confused, owing to the list of the Apostles being broken by the mention of the special names given to Simon and the sons of Zebedee. Cf. Mark 4:15; Mark 4:26; Mark 4:31, Mark 6:8-9, Mark 7:2-5; Mark 7:11-12, Mark 13:34.
Πέτρον. The Aramaic equivalent Κηφᾶς occurs John 1:43 and four times each in 1 Cor. and Gal. It means “a rock,” or more often “a stone,” and is used of precious stones, hailstones, etc. It is uncertain whether the name points to the character which Simon already possessed (which is hardly in harmony with facts), or to the character which he was to acquire, or to the office which was conferred on him, or to the fact that he was the first stone in laying the foundation of the Church (Matthew 16:18). Outside the four lists, Peter is mentioned, by one name or another, 182 times in N.T.
It is often observed that in all four lists (Mk, Mt., Lk., and Acts) the Twelve are arranged in three quaternions, with Peter head of the first quaternion, Philip of the second, and James of Alphaeus of the third. The other three names in each quaternion vary in order, but in Mk, Mt., and Lk. the traitor is always last, and in Acts his place is vacant. Here the sons of Zebedee are between the other two brothers, either because they, like Simon, received a special name from Christ, or because, with him, they form the ἐκλεκτῶν ἐκλεκτότεροι on various occasions (Mark 5:37, Mark 9:2, Mark 14:33). If James and John were first cousins of our Lord, their mother Salome being sister of His Mother (John 19:25), this might be another reason for placing them next to the πρῶτος. Here and Mark 5:37, and nowhere else in N.T., John is designated “the brother óf James,” while in Acts 12:2 we have “James the brother of John.” Here it is necessary to distinguish John the Apostle from John the Baptist; in Acts it is necessary to distinguish James the Apostle from James the brother of the Lord. Is it possible that Mk is also distinguishing “John the brother of James” from “John whose surname was Mark”? Those who did not know, might fancy that the Evangelist was an Apostle.
17. Βοανηργές. Such is the spelling in  33;  has Βοανεργής, while  have Βοανεργές. The name and its interpretation are well-known difficulties.  How are the two vowels ο α to be got from the Hebrew?  What Hebrew or Aramaic root resembling ργς means “thunder”?  If ὀνόματα is the right reading (see crit. note), why is only one name given? Syr-Sin. has “He called them Beni-Ragshi,” and gives no explanation of the name. It is possible that in the oral tradition sounds became confused, and perhaps two names were fused into one; but no satisfactory solution has been found. Whence did Luther get Bnehargem, which is as strange as his asabthani in Mark 15:34? Justin quotes the words Βοανεργές, ὅ ἐστιν υἱοὶ βροντῆς as occurring in the “Memoirs of Peter,” which is good reason for believing that by the Ἀπομνημονεύματα Πέτρου he means Mk (Try. 106). He also speaks of Christ as being regarded as a carpenter (Try. 88), and in Mk alone (Mark 6:3) is He so called. The fiery temper of the brothers appears Mark 9:38 and Luke 9:54, and this may have caused James to have been soon put to death (Acts 12:2). Like Stephen, he may have infuriated those in authority by strong language. If in the first instance it was only John who was called “a son of thunder,” the Fathers who point to the heavenly resonance of the Johannine writings may be near the truth. Jerome and Pseudo-Jerome apply the name to Peter as well as to James and John, and the latter interprets it of their hearing the voice from heaven at the Transfiguration. It is remarkable how often Mk’s translations of Aramaic cause difficulty. In Mark 5:41 σοὶ λέγω is superfluous, and in Mark 15:34 there is more than one puzzle. Outside the four lists, John is mentioned 50 times in N.T. and James 21 times. Some think Boanerges may = ‘the twins.’
18. Ἀνδρέαν. Cf. Mark 1:16; Mark 1:29; he is mentioned again Mark 13:3. Almost all that we know of him comes from Jn (Mark 1:41; Mark 1:44, Mark 6:8, Mark 12:22).
Φίλιππον. All that we know of him comes from Jn (Mark 1:44-45, Mark 6:5-7, Mark 12:21-22, Mark 14:8-9). Both Andrew and Philip are purely Greek names, and there seems to have been some connexion between the two Apostles. Both came from Bethsaida. In Acts 1:13 their names are placed together, as here. Philip is mentioned 12 times, and Andrew 9 times, outside the four lists.
Βαρθολομαῖον. “Son of Talmai,” or (as some think) “of Ptolemäus.” This patronymic is in all the lists, and the Synoptists place him next to Philip. If he is the same as Nathanael, Philip brought him to Christ (John 1:46). All the companions who are named in John 21:2 are Apostles. Jn never mentions Bartholomew, and Mk, Mt., and Lk. never mention Nathanael. Nevertheless, this ancient identification cannot be assumed as certain.
΄αθθαῖον καὶ Θωμᾶν. In all three Gospels these two names come together, but Mt. puts Thomas before Matthew and adds ὁ τελώνης to the latter, an addition found in no other list. This points to the influence of Matthew on the First Gospel, and to his wish to make it clear that Matthew the Apostle and Levi the toll-collector are the same person. See on Mark 2:14. All that we know of Thomas is told us by Jn (John 11:16, John 14:5, John 20:24-29, John 21:2). Δίδυμος is a translation, and Θωμᾶς is a transliteration, of the Hebrew for “twin.” Tradition says that his original name was Judas, and in that case it would be almost necessary to give him another name, as there were two other Apostles named Judas.
Ἰάκωβον τὸν τοῦ Ἀλφαίου. The father’s name is added to distinguish him from the son of Zebedee. This Alphaeus is not the father of Levi (Mark 2:14), nor is this James the brother of the Lord (Mark 6:3; Matthew 13:55; Galatians 1:19), who was the first overseer of the Church of Jerusalem (Acts 12:17; Acts 15:13; Galatians 2:9; Galatians 2:12). The brethren of the Lord at this time did not believe on Him (John 7:5). But James of Alphaeus may be identical with James the Little (Mark 15:40; Matthew 27:56; John 19:25), for Alphaeus may perhaps = Clopas.
Θαδδαῖον. This is the only name about which there is material difference in the lists. Mk and Mt. have “Thaddaeus,” with “Lebbaeus” as an alternative reading, while Lk. and Acts have “Judas the son of James.” Here and in Mt. the reading θαδδαιον may safely be adopted, Λεββαίον ( Lat-Vet.) being perhaps due to a wish to identify him with Levi.
Καναναῖον. See crit. note. “Canaanite” would be Χαναναῖος, and “man of Cana” would be Καναῖος. Καναναῖος is the Greek form of the Aramaic Kanan, which = ζηλωτής, as Lk. renders it. Lightfoot, On Revision2, pp. 154 f. We need not suppose that this Simon ever belonged to the fanatical extremists from whom sprang the Sicarii. Like St Paul, he may have been περισσοτέρως ζηλωτὴς τῶν πατρικῶν παραδόσεων (Galatians 1:14), and may have been equally zealous respecting Christ’s teaching, after his call. Onias, who was head of the orthodox party, is said to be “zealous of the laws” (2 Maccabees 4:2).
19 b–30. BY WHOSE POWER ARE DEMONS CAST OUT?
Matthew 12:22-32. Luke 11:14-23; Luke 11:10
Καὶ ἔρχεται εἰς οἶκον. And He cometh into a house. This is to remind us that the shore (Mark 3:7) and the mountain (Mark 3:13) are left, and to prepare us for the incident with His Mother and brethren (Mark 3:31-35), which took place when He was in a house. The division of the verses is unfortunate. These words belong to Mark 3:20. A.V. puts only a colon after “betrayed Him,” and continues “and they went into a house.” See crit. note. Between the descent from τὸ ὄρος (Mark 3:13) and this incident, Lk. (Luke 6:17 f.) inserts the Sermon “on a level place,” which Mk seems not to have known. If he was acquainted with Q, the acquaintance must have been slight.
20. συνέρχεται πάλιν ὁ ὄχλος. The πάλιν looks back to Mark 3:7-8. The crowd, with the freedom of Orientals (Trench, Parables, p. 302n.; Tristram, Eastern Customs in Bible Lands, p. 36), came in and filled the house. These verses (20, 21) are preparatory to 31–35, which show who come next to the chosen Twelve; it is a circle which anyone can enter.
ὥστε μὴ … μηδέ. The authority for μηδέ is ample ( and μηδέ is required by the obvious meaning. With μήτε the sentence would mean “so that they were not able nor ate bread,” which is hardly sense; but in modern Greek the difference between μηδέ and μήτε seems to have vanished. Winer, p. 614. This was no solitary instance of the difficulty; Mark 2:2 and Mark 6:31 show that the pressure of the multitudes was a grave inconvenience. It hindered the training of the Twelve. As usual, it is omitted by Mt.
ἄρτον φαγεῖν. See on Mark 7:2; also Dalman, Words, p. 112.
21. οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ. An expression as vague as our “His people.” It might include relations, acquaintances, domestics, and all who had a special interest in Him. “Her household are clothed in scarlet” (Proverbs 31:21) is οἱ παρʼ αὐτῆς ἐνδιδύσκονται (LXX., Proverbs 29:3-9). Cf. Josephus (Ant. I. x. 5) Ἄβαμος περιτέμνεται καὶ πάντες οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ. In papyri, οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ often means “his agents” or “his representatives,” but also “his family.” J. H. Moulton, p. 106. Vulg. has sui, which is as vague as the Greek; Coverdale, “they that were aboute him.” Syr-Sin. is more definite, “His brethren,” perhaps from a feeling that the strong measure intended and the strong word used were against His Mother being included. Cf. Susann. 33; 1 Maccabees 13:52.
ἐξῆλθον. Not from the house in which He was, but from their own house, which may have been at a distance.
κρατῆσαι αὐτόν. To get possession of His person; see on Mark 1:31. It is arbitrary to supply a fresh nom. for ἔλεγον, “for people were saying.” His brethren did not believe on Him (John 7:5).
Ἐξέστη. “He has gone out of His mind,” He is beside Himself (A.V., R.V.). This use of the aor. comes close to that of the perf., expressing present result of past action; but the aor. may imply that the past action was recent; ἀπέθανεν (Mark 5:35), ἠγέρθη (Mark 16:6; Luke 7:16), ἠγόρασα (Luke 14:18-19). Burton, § 47; J. H. Moulton, p. 134. Euthymius says that οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ were envious, τὴν φιλανθρωπίαν νομίζοντες μανίαν, καὶ ὄντως αὐτοὶ μαινόμενοι. This is unlikely; more probably they regarded His open defiance of Scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem as fanatical folly. They may have known that there were projects for His destruction. But it is possible that He is beside Himself is more than ἐξέστη means; excepting 2 Corinthians 5:13, the verb nowhere has this meaning in N.T. Cf. Mark 2:12, Mark 5:42, Mark 6:51; Luke 2:47; Luke 8:56; Luke 24:22; Matthew 12:23; and often in Acts. Nevertheless, this meaning fits the context; but in furorem versus est (Vulg.) is too strong.
22. οἱ ἀπὸ Ἰεροσολύμων. The hostile criticism seems to have emanated from Jerusalem, and Scribes who were Pharisees (Mark 2:6; Mark 2:16; Mark 2:18; Mark 2:24, Mark 3:6) dogged His footsteps to collect evidence against Him. Emissaries from Jerusalem appear as His deadliest foes (Mark 7:1), a presentiment, as Bede remarks, of the fact that it was the inhabitants of Jerusalem who were to put Him to death. Mk does not tell us what gave His critics an opening on this occasion. Mt. and Lk. say that it was the healing of a demoniac who was dumb and blind. Some suggested that the Healer must be the Messiah; and then His foes gave this explanation.
Βεελζεβοὺλ ἔχει. Like Βοανηργές (Mark 3:17), Βεελζεβούλ is an unsolved problem as regards orthography and derivation. Other forms are Βεεζεβούλ and Βεελζεβούβ. The last is found in no Greek MS., but has prevailed through the influence of Vulg.; but even there some MSS. have beelzebul. “Lord of the habitation” and “Lord of dung” are the more approved conjectures as to the meaning; but all that is certain is that it is a term of reproach and abomination. Syr-Sin. has “B. is in Him,” and again in Mark 3:30, “an unclean spirit is in Him.”
Ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων. In the power of the prince of the demons. It is not known whether the Jews regarded Beelzebub as the same as Satan or as an inferior evil power. There is the same use of ἐν in Mt. and Lk., and a similar use of ὁ ἄρχων in John 12:31; John 14:30; John 16:11; Ephesians 2:2.
This charge is recorded in all three Gospels here, in Mt. also in Mark 10:24. Jn has it John 7:20, John 8:45; John 8:52; cf. Matthew 11:18. No doubt it was made on various occasions. It has an important bearing on Christ’s “mighty works.” There must have been some very marvellous works, and they must have been notorious at the time, or the Pharisees would not have propounded so desperate an explanation. A little later it was said that Jesus had learned magic in Egypt.
23. προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτούς. The hostile Scribes were so far off that He had to summon them in order to address them. This shows that they had made this monstrous charge behind His back, when He was too far off to hear. Therefore, as in Mark 2:8 and Mark 3:4, it was because “He knew their thoughts” that He surprised them with this unanswerable question. As in Mark 2:8; Mark 2:17; Mark 2:19; Mark 2:25, Mark 3:4, He meets their indirect and underhand methods directly and openly.
ἐν παραβολαῖς. The original meaning of “comparison” occurs Mark 4:30 and is not wholly absent here; Euthymius has ἐν παραδείγμασιν. His questions are parallels to their accusation. To say that by evil spiritual power He casts out evil spirits is to say that Satan casts out himself, which is like saying that a kingdom or a house is divided against itself. But here the O.T. meaning of παραβολή may be uppermost, a “trite and terse saying” or a “symbolical saying.”
Πῶς δύναται; This question elsewhere implies that the thing is morally impossible (Matthew 12:34), or physically impossible (Matthew 12:29; John 6:52), or that no one would have the face to do it (Luke 6:42). Here it means that such conduct would be not only morally impossible but unthinkable; it involves a contradiction. The Satanic corporation does not violate the conditions of its existence. Note the pres. infin.; cannot go on casting out. We have here one of the many occasions of which it is recorded that Christ spoke of the great power of evil as a personal agent; Mark 4:15; Luke 10:18; Luke 13:16; Luke 22:31; Matthew 25:41; John 8:44. See on Mark 1:13. It is difficult to believe that Christ was ignorant on this momentous point, or that, if He knew it to be a superstition, He yet encouraged men to hold it.
24. ἐφʼ ἑαυήν. “In relation to itself,” and so in itself. Neither A.V. nor R.V. makes any distinction between καθʼ ἑαυτῆς (Matthew 12:25 bis) and ἐφʼ ἑαυτήν (Mk, Lk.). In Mt., Vulg. distinguishes καθʼ ἑαυτῆς, contra se, from ἐφʼ ἑαυτήν, adversus se; but here it is very capricious, si regnum in se dividatur … si domus super semet ipsam dispertiatur … si Satanas consurrexit in semet ipsum. Possibly no distinction is intended between σταθῆναι and στῆναι, and the readings are confused; σταθῆναι (without variant) is right in Mark 3:24, and στῆναι ( is right in Mark 3:26. In Mark 3:25, στῆναι () is preferable to σταθῆναι ( etc.). Cf. “They shall not be able to stand” (Psalms 17:3; Psalms 17:9; Psalms 36:12), οὐ μὴ δυνῶνται στῆναι. Unity is strength; it is not only good and joyful (Psalms 133:1), it is indispensable to success (Revelation 17:17).
25. οἰκία. Household or family rather than “house.” Lk. has οἶκος and means a building. Cf. Cic. Laelius vii. 23.
οὐ δυνήσεται. See crit. note. Mt. has οὐ σταθήσεται, Lk. has πίπτει. These striking illustrations would cause these Sayings to be easily remembered.
26. εἰ ἀνέστη … καὶ ἐμερίσθη. All three make the change to εἰ c. indic., which represents the monstrous supposition of the Scribes as a fact; “And if, as you say, Satan has really risen against himself and is divided, it is now impossible for him to stand, but he is at an end”; τέλος ἔχει is classical, and here is peculiar to Mk. In Luke 22:37, τέλος ἔχει has not quite the same meaning.
27. οὐ δύναται οὐδείς. See on Mark 1:44; neither here nor there is there a double neg. in Mt. This is a fourth παραβολή, but it is not parallel to the other three. It shows that, so far from being Satan’s agent, He is an enemy who is conquering him by driving out his agents. The picture comes from Isaiah 49:25, where Jehovah says “Even the captives of the strong one shall be taken away,” because the stronger than he has come, a saying which may have been proverbial.
τὴν οἰκίαν τοῦ ἰσχυροῦ. The world is Satan’s home, and he and his demons are the household. See on τῷ ἄρχοντι, Mark 3:22, and cf. Ephesians 6:12.
εἰσελθών. This Christ did at the Incarnation.
τὰ σκεύη. Like vasa (Vulg.), a very comprehensive term. We need not interpret the σκεύη: Victor makes them mean mankind.
δήσῃ. It may be doubted whether this refers to anything so definite as the Temptation. Lk. has νικήσῃ, but he varies the picture considerably.
καὶ τότε. Again we have a somewhat superfluous statement; cf. Mark 1:32; Mark 1:42, Mark 2:23; Mark 2:25, etc. The ἰσχυρότερος deprives ὁ ἰσχυρός of his ill-gotten possessions. This seems to refer to the driving out of the demons; they are Satan’s representatives, and they are expelled from their usurped habitations. On the other hand, not even Satan can snatch (δύναται ἁρπάζειν) His sheep out of the hand of the Good Shepherd (John 10:27).
28. ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν. This solemn formula, which introduces a statement of special import, occurs 13 times in Mk, 30 in Matthew, 6 in Lk. Christ does not quote Moses; nor does He say “Thus saith the Lord”; He speaks out of His own ἐξουσία, “Verily I say to you.” Cf. the O.T. formula, “As I live, saith the Lord.” In O.T., as in our prayers, “Amen” confirms what precedes (1 Kings 1:36; Jeremiah 11:5; Jeremiah 28:6); but in the Gospels it affirms what is coming. Jerome regards it as equivalent to an oath; debemus Christo juranti credere. But this use of Ἀμήν is unfamiliar to the whole range of Jewish literature. Jesus seems to have given the word a new meaning as a form of asseveration in place of the oath which He forbade. Dalman, Words, p. 226.
πάντα. This can hardly be taken directly with the too distant τὰ ἁμαρτήματα, “all their sins shall be forgiven” (R.V.); τὰ ἁμαρτήματα κ.τ.λ. is epexegetic of πάντα: all things shall be forgiven to the sons of men, yea all their sins and their blasphemies. In the Gospels, ἁμάρτημα, “an act of sin,” is found only in these verses; elsewhere, only Romans 3:25 and 1 Corinthians 6:18. The word is interpolated in some texts of Mark 4:12.
τοῖς υἱοῖς τῶν ἀνθρώπων. This plur. is found only here and Ephesians 3:5; in LXX. it is freq. Syr-Sin. has “all sins which they shall blaspheme shall be forgiven unto men.”
ὅσα ἐὰν βλασφ. Constr. ad sensum;  etc., substitute ὅσας. Cf. φυλάσσεσθε τὰς ἐντολὰς … ὅσα ἐγὼ ἐντέλλομαι (Deuteronomy 4:2). We have ἐάν for ἄν in hypothetical relative clauses Matthew 7:12; Luke 9:57; Acts 2:21. J. H. Moulton, pp. 42 f. The clause is omitted in Lat-Vet.
29. βλασφημήσῃ εἰς. Cf. Acts 6:11; Daniel 3:29 (LXX. 96). The constr. is classical (Dem., Aesch.).
τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. The Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The second art. puts a strong emphasis on ἅγιον, perhaps in opposition to the πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτον (Mark 3:30). Cf. Mark 13:11; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; Ephesians 4:30. The repeated art. in various expressions is freq. in Jn. See on John 4:9; John 8:31.
οὐκ ἔχει ἄφεσιν εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα. Mt. expands this into οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι, and the context here seems to show that the expansion is correct. The ἐξουσία of the Son of Man to forgive sins (Mark 2:10) in this case cannot be exercised; there is no repentance, and therefore no forgiveness. Jesus had repeatedly freed men from the obsession of spirits whom the Scribes themselves recognized as the agents of Satan. Such acts could not be evil; they were acts of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit of God. Yet, in order to destroy the influence of One whose teaching often condemned their traditions, the Scribes had declared that these acts of the Holy Spirit were the acts of the prince of the demons. Such monstrous perversity was evidence of a spiritual condition which was becoming hopeless—a condition of constant and deliberate preference of darkness to light. The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit did not consist in saying “He has Beelzebub,” or “He casts out demons by the help of Satan”; no single utterance could be said to be unpardonable. It was the state of heart which produced these utterances that was so perilous; and that state was known to Him who pronounced this stern warning. We have not got our Lord’s exact words (Dalman, Words, p. 147). The report of them which has come down to us in three different forms does not require us to believe that these Scribes were already guilty of unpardonable wickedness; but their being capable of these utterances shows that they were perilously near to this. Repentance is not said to be impossible for them; but so long as they maintained that manifestations of Divine beneficence were Satanic, their recovery was impossible.
No hint is given as to whether repentance and forgiveness are possible in the next world. The only safe course is to repent here and now. From Matthew 12:32 Bede draws as inference quasdam culpas in hoc saeculo, quasdam vero in futuro laxari; but the inference is precarious.
ἀλλὰ ἔνοχός ἐστιν. “But lies under the consequences of an act of sin which belongs to the sphere of the world to come” (Swete). Cf. 2 Maccabees 13:6. In N.T. ὁ αἰών without οὗτος is sometimes used of this present life (Mark 4:19, Mark 11:14); in O.T., but not in N.T., this is also true of αἰώνιος. There is no need to say here to whom such an offender has to answer for such a sin (Matthew 5:21-22). It is the character of the sin itself that is emphasized. Note that αἰωνίου precedes its substantive, not follows, as in ζωὴ αἰώνιος, the only other connexion in which Mk uses the word (Mark 10:17; Mark 10:30). Elsewhere the gen. after ἔνοχος indicates either the penalty (Mark 14:64; Matthew 26:66; Hebrews 2:15), or that which is injured by the sin (1 Corinthians 11:27; cf. James 2:10). On εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα and αἰώνιος see App.  in the volume on S. John. On the difficult subject of the unpardonable sin see on 1 John 5:16; Westcott on Hebrews 6:1-8 and Historic Faith, pp. 150 f.; Agar Beet, The Last Things, pp. 246 f.; D.C.G. art. “Blasphemy.”
30. ὅτι ἔλεγον. It was because they gave such a wicked interpretation of His beneficent acts that He uttered His solemn warning. They had blasphemed the Son of Man, and were in danger of becoming blasphemers of the Holy Spirit, for their theory made any proof of Christ’s Divine Sonship and mission impossible. To accept it was to become incurable. This verse is the Evangelist’s own explanation of Christ’s stern utterance; it is no part of His utterance. Cf. Mark 7:19, καθαρίζων πάντα τὰ βρώματα. Mk says πνεῦμα ἀκάθαρτον instead of Βεελζεβούλ in antithesis to τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον. The explanation is not in Mt. or Lk.
31. Καὶ ἔρχονται. Mk has his historic pres.; Mt. and Lk. have past tenses. It is possible that ἔρχονται, arrival at destination, is meant to correspond with ἐξῆλθον, departure from home, in Mark 3:21. Neither Mk nor Lk. gives any connexion; Mt. says that this visit of Christ’s Mother and brethren took place while He was still speaking. Both she and they are mentioned by name, Mark 6:3, where sisters also are mentioned. But Mk tells us no more about her, and he nowhere speaks of Joseph, who was probably dead before this Gospel opens. We cannot be sure that these are οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ (Mark 3:21), who have arrived to take Him away, as being too excited to take care of Himself. It may be that His Mother and His brethren came to warn Him of what οἱ παρʼ αὐτοῦ are meditating. In any case He remains unmolested. They are unable to reach Him, because He is in a house blocked with people; and, as they cannot proclaim their intentions, whatever these may have been, they are obliged to stand outside and send a message to ask Him to come to them. Cf. Mark 2:4.
στήκοντες … καλοῦντες. Again (see on Mark 1:15) we see a fondness for participles. The readings στήκοντες () and καλοῦντες ( are firmly established. As στήκω is a rare form, perhaps not earlier than N.T., it would be likely to be altered to στάντες (), ἑστῶτες ( or ἑστηκότες ( It is found Mark 11:25; John 1:26; John 8:44 (?); several times in Paul. Nestle (Text. Crit. p. 263) prefers φωνοῦντες () to καλοῦντες, because the latter is more usual.
31–35. WHO ARE CHRIST’S TRUE RELATIONS?
Matthew 12:46-50. Luke 8:19-21.
32. ἐκάθητο. They would sit on the ground, the most intimate disciples being nearest; and the message sent by His family from the outside was passed on by them to Him. A multitude, not “the multitude” (A.V.). This error in A.V is not so common as that of ignoring the art. when it is present. See on Mark 4:3.
καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί σου. The addition of καὶ αἱ ἀδελφαί σου ( is doubtless an interpolation from Mark 6:3 to harmonize with ἀδελφή in Mark 3:35;  omit. To say that these witnesses omit the clause because it is not in Mt. or Lk. is perverse criticism; it is not in Mt. or Lk. because it was not in the copies of Mk which they used.
33. ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτοῖς λέγει. “To them” means to those who had passed on the message to Him. The Hebraistic pleonasm ἀποκριθεὶς λέγει or ἀποκ. εἶπεν is very freq. in N.T. and LXX., but the curious combination of aor. with pres. is in N.T. almost peculiar to Mk. See on Mark 8:29 sub fin. Nowhere in Jn does ἀποκριθείς occur. Syr-Sin. omits it here. Occasionally the converse is found, ἀπεκρίθη λέγων (Mark 15:9), but never ἀπεκρίθη εἰπών. In Mark 7:28 we have ἀπεκρίθη καὶ λέγει, and in LXX. the more logical ἀπεκρίθη καὶ εἶπεν (Exodus 4:1; Numbers 22:18; Joshua 7:20; etc.). Blass, § 74, 3; Winer, p. 327.
Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου; There is no need to surmise that here Christ raised His voice so that His family might hear; Mark 3:34 shows whom He is addressing. He is not repudiating His Mother, still less rebuking her before the whole crowd. Although John 2:12 probably does not mean “What does that matter to either of us?,” but amounts to a rebuke (see note ad loc.), yet it was spoken to her privately. Here non maternae refutat obsequia pietatis (Bede). But He never neglected an opportunity of doing good, and this interruption gave Him an opening for teaching an important lesson. It is not blood-relationship to the Son of Man which counts, but loyal obedience to the will of God. Those who have that are bound to Him by closer ties than the ties of family; for the former are spiritual, while the latter are carnal. He is not slighting the latter, but intimating that they do not come first and that they do not last for ever: indeed in this life they may have to be severed (Matthew 10:37; Luke 14:26). That much is clear; He is teaching His audience that they can be as strongly united to Him as His nearest relations are. It is not so clear that He is teaching them that healing men’s bodies and saving their souls are more important than care of one’s relations (Euthym.), or that His Mother is to be honoured, not merely because she gave birth to Him, but because of her great virtues (Theoph.).
34. περιβλεψάμενος. See on Mark 3:5 and cf. Hom. Od. viii. 278; Hdt. iv. 182; Plato Phaedo 72 B. Mt. says that He stretched forth His hand over His disciples. In what follows we need not see any discouragement of undue devotion to His Mother. The policy of His family here ran counter to His work. He had left them in order to fulfil the mission of His Father; they wanted Him to abandon the mission and come back to them. Evidently they themselves were in need of His teaching (John 7:5). Syr-Sin. omits the superfluous κύκλῳ.
Ἴδε ἡ μἡτηρ. Like ἰδού (Mark 3:32), ἴδε is an interjection. Both call attention to something worth noting, and the mid. form does this more strongly. Winer, pp. 229, 319. Cf. Hom. Il. vi. 429. The Synoptists prefer ἰδού. Jn prefers ἴδε. In LXX., ἰδού is far more common, and ἴδε, or ἴδετε, is generally a verb, often followed by ὅτι. They may be distinguished in translation by en and “Lo” for ἴδε, ecce and “Behold” for ἰδού. But Vulg. has ecce for both, A.V. and R.V. have “Behold” and “Lo” for both. A.V. here makes ἴδε a verb. Vulg. does the same Mark 13:1, aspice quales lapides, and Mark 15:4, vide in quantis.
35. ὃς ἂν ποιήσῃ. See crit. note; the “For” (A.V., R.V.) is probably an interpolation.
τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ. Here only in Mk. When used of the Divine Will, τὸ θέλημα in N.T. almost always has a distinguishing gen. See esp. Matthew 7:21. Romans 2:18 is hardly an exception, for θεῷ has preceded; and in 1 Corinthians 16:12 the context shows that the Divine Will is not the meaning. He Himself was doing the Divine Will in ministering to those whom “He is not ashamed to call brethren” (Hebrews 2:11; Matthew 25:40; Matthew 28:10; John 20:17).
καὶ ἀδελφή. This is added, because women were present, not because His sisters were outside. He does not say καὶ πατήρ: in spiritual relationship that position could not be approached by human beings; cf. Matthew 12:50. Almost certainly Joseph was dead before the Ministry began.
On the insoluble question of “the Brethren of the Lord” two theories are worthy of consideration;  that they were the sons of Joseph and Mary, born after the virgin-birth of Christ;  that they were the children of Joseph by a former wife, of whom there is no mention in Scripture or in tradition. Any theory which makes Apostles to be brethren of the Lord is excluded by John 7:5. Nothing in Scripture forbids us to adopt , which is confirmed by Matthew 1:25 and by the fact that the brethren here accompany Mary. See J. B. Mayor, Ep. of S. James, pp. v–xxxvi, and his thorough reinvestigation of the subject, Expositor, July and August, 1908; Lightfoot, Galatians, pp. 253–291; D.C.G. artt. “Brethren of the Lord” and “Mary the Virgin.”
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the Third Week after Epiphany