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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Mark 2

Verse 1

II.

(1) And again he entered into Capernaum.—See Notes on Matthew 9:1-8. St. Mark alone names Capernaum, St. Matthew describing it as “His own city.” The house may have been Peter’s, as before in Mark 1:29.

Verse 2

(2) No, not so much as about the door.—Another of St. Mark’s graphic touches of description.

He preached the word.—Literally, He spake the word.

Verse 3

(3) Borne of four.—The number of the bearers is given by St. Mark only.

Verse 4

(4) They uncovered the roof . . . when they had broken it up.—The strong expressions of the injury done to the roof are peculiar to St. Mark. St. Luke gives, “through the tiles.”

They let down the bed.—St. Mark uses a different word from St. Matthew, the Greek form of the Latin word grabatus, the pallet or camp-bed used by the poor. The same word appears in John 5:8-10, and in Acts 5:15; Acts 9:33, but not at all in St. Matthew or St. Luke.

Verse 6

(6) Certain of the scribes.—These are described by St. Luke (Luke 5:17) as “having come from every village of Galilee, and Judæa, and Jerusalem.”

Verse 7

(7) Why doth this man . . .?—The better MSS. give, “Why doth this Man thus speak? He blasphemeth.”

Verse 8

(8) When Jesus perceived in his spirit.—The special mention of the spirit as the region of our Lord’s consciousness is, as part of this narrative, peculiar to St. Mark, and is not without importance in its bearing on the reality and completeness of our Lord’s human nature.

Verse 12

(12) We never saw it on this fashion.—St. Matthew gives the substance but not the words. St. Luke, “We have seen strange things to-day.”

Verses 14-17

(14-17) Levi the son of Alphæus.—See Notes on Matthew 9:9-13. St. Mark and St. Luke agree in giving the name Levi, the former alone describes him as the son of Alphæus.

Verse 17

(17) I came not to call the righteous.—Closely as the three accounts agree, it is noticeable that here also St. Mark and St. Luke, as writing for Gentile readers, omit the reference which we find in Matthew 9:13, to the words cited by our Lord from the Old Testament.

Verses 18-22

(18-22) And the disciples of John. . . . used to fast.—Better, were fasting. See Notes on Matthew 9:14-17. The only difference in detail between the two accounts is that in St. Matthew the disciples of John are more definitely specified as being the questioners.

Verses 23-28

(23-28) And it came to pass.—See Notes on Matthew 12:1-8.

As they went . . .—More literally, they began to make a path (or perhaps, to make their way), plucking the ears of corn.

Verse 26

(26) In the days of Abiathar the high priest.—St. Mark’s is the only record that gives the name of the high priest, and in so doing it creates an historical difficulty. In 1 Samuel 21:1, Ahimelech is named as exercising the high priest’s office in the Tabernacle at Nob. He is slain by Doeg, at the command of Saul, and his son Abiathar joins David at the cave of Adullam (1 Samuel 22:20), and continues to act as high priest till his deposition by Solomon (1 Kings 2:26). Two conjectural explanations suggest themselves as probable: (1) that St. Mark, or that our Lord, may have given the name of the more famous priest of the two, who, though not then high-priest, was at the Tabernacle at the time referred to; (2) that he might have acted then as a coadjutor to his father, as Eli’s sons seem to have done to him (1 Samuel 4:4), and being, as his flight showed, of David’s party, was the chief agent in allowing him to take the shew-bread.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Mark 2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ebc/mark-2.html. 1905.