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Bible Commentaries

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

Mark 7

Verses 1-23

1 23. ] DISCOURSE CONCERNING EATING WITH UNWASHED HANDS. Matthew 15:1-20 . The two reports differ rather more than usual in their additions to what is common, and are not so frequently in verbal agreement where the matter is the same.

Verse 2

2. ἰδ . τιν . τ . μαθ . ] See ch. Mark 2:16 . A mark of particularity.

τουτέστιν ἀνίπ . is supposed by some to be a gloss, explaining κοιναῖς : but the explanation seems necessary to what follows, especially for Gentile readers.

Verse 3

3. πυγμῇ ] This word has perplexed all the Commentators. Of the various renderings which have been given of it, two are excluded by their not being grammatical (1) that which makes it mean ‘ up to the elbow ’ (Euthym [26] and Thl.); ‘ including the hand as far as the wrist ’ Lightf.: (2) ‘ having clenched the hand,’ ‘facto pugno ’ (Grot. and others).

[26] Euthymius Zigabenus, 1116

The two meanings between which our choice lies are, (3) ‘ frequently ’ (as E. V. ‘oft,’ and Vulg. ‘crebro’), taking πυγμῇ = πυκνῇ = πυκνῶς , which however is not very probable: or (4), to which I most incline, and which Kuinoel gives, ‘ sedulo,’ ‘fortiter ,’ diligently; πυγμή , he observes, meaning ‘the fist,’ answers in the LXX to the word אֶגְרֹף , see reff. But this same word אֶגְרֹף is used to signify strength and fortitude , and strong men are called in the Rabbinical writings בעלי אגרופין , ‘lords of fists.’ And the Sy [27] . interpreter renders it by the same word as he does ἐπιμελῶς , Luke 15:8 .

[27] yr the Peschito (or simple) Syriac version. Supposed to have been made as early as the second century . The text as edited is in a most unsatisfactory state.

Verse 4

4. ἀπ ʼ ἀγ . ] i.e. (as indeed some MSS. insert: see var. readd.) ὅταν ἔλθωσιν . Winer, § 66. 2 note, takes ἀπ ʼ ἀγορᾶς with ἐσθίωσιν , justifying it by Arrian, Epict. iii. 19. 5, φαγεῖν ἐκ βαλανείου .

βαπτ . is variously understood, of themselves , or the meats bought . It certainly refers to themselves ; as it would not be any unusual practice to wash things bought in the market: but probably not to washing their whole bodies : see below.

ξεστ ., not from ξέω , to polish, but a corruption of sextarius . See the passage of Josephus cited in the reff.

χαλκ ., brazen vessels ; earthen ones, when unclean, were to be broken , Leviticus 15:12 .

These βαπτισμοί , as applied to κλινῶν (meaning probably here couches (triclinia) used at meals ), were certainly not immersions , but sprinklings or affusions of water. On the whole subject, see Lightfoot ad loc.

Verse 5

5. ] The construction is an anacoluthon, begun with καὶ ἰδόντες , Mark 7:2 , which subject being lost sight of in the long parenthesis, is here renewed with καὶ ἐπερ . κ . τ . λ .

Verse 8

8. ] Not contained in Matt., but important, as setting forth their depreciating of God’s command in comparison with human tradition, before their absolute violation of that command in Mark 7:10-11 .

Verse 9

9. ] καλῶς ironical: see ref.

Verse 10

10. ] Μωυς . γὰρ εἶπ . = ὁ γὰρ θεὸς ἐνετείλατο Matt.

Verse 11

11. ] κορβᾶνקָרְבָּן , an offering without a sacrifice. οἱ κορβᾶν αὐτοὺς ὀνομάσαντες τῷ θεῷ , δῶρον δὲ τοῦτο σημαίνει κατὰ Ἑλλήνων γλῶτταν Jos. Antt. iv. 4. 4.

Verse 12

12. ] See note on Matthew 15:5 .

Verse 13

13. ] καὶ παρ ., a repetition from Mark 7:8 ; common in Mark.

Verse 14

14. ] Both Matt. and Mark notice that our Lord called the multitude to Him, when He uttered this speech. It was especially this, said in the hearing of both the Pharisees and them, that gave offence to the former.

Verse 17

17. εἰς οἶκον ] Not necessarily into a house, so that any inference can (Meyer) be drawn from it, but within doors : see note on ch. Mark 2:1 .

ἐπ .… οἱ μαθ . = ἀποκρ . ὁ Πέτρος εἶπ . Matt.

Verse 19

19. καθαρίζων ] The masc. part. applies to ἀφεδρῶνα , by a construction of which there are examples, in which the grammatical object of the sentence is regarded as the logical subject , e.g. λόγοι δ ʼ ἐν ἀλλήλοισιν ἐῤῥόθουν κακοί , φύλαξ ἐλέγχων φύλακα , Soph. Ant [28] 259. See Kühner, Gramm. ii. § 678. 1. There need not be any difficulty in this additional clause: what is stated is physically true. The ἀφεδρών is that which, by the removal of the part carried off, purifies the meat; the portion available for nourishment being in its passage converted into chyle, and the remainder (the κάθαρμα ) being cast out.

[28] Antiochus of Ptolemais, 614

Verses 21-22

21, 22. ] The καρδία is the laboratory and the fountain-head of all that is good and bad in the inner life of man: see Beck, biblische Seelenlehre, § 21.: Delitzsch, biblische Psychologie, Exodus 2:0 , § 12, pp. 248 ff.

Matt.’s catalogue follows the order of the second table of the decalogue. Mark’s more copious one varies the order, and replaces ψευδομαρτυρίαι by πλ ., πον ., δόλ ., ἀσέλ ., ὀφθ . πον ., and βλασφ . by βλασφ ., ὑπερη ., ἀφρος . Compare Romans 1:29 ; Ephesians 4:19 ; Wis 14:25-26 .

ἀφροσύνη , the opposite to σω φροσύνη , unreasoning folly : not in speaking only, but in thought, leading to words and acts.

Verse 24

24. ] ἐκεῖθεν is not, from the land of Gennesaret (Meyer), for ch. Mark 6:55-56 , has completely removed definiteness from the locality; but refers to the (unspecified) place of the last discourse.

μεθόρια ] The place must have been the neighbourhood of Tyre . The word is used in Xen. Cyr. i. 4. 16, ἐν τοῖς μεθορίοις τοῖς τε αὐτῶν καὶ τοῖς Μήδων , in a sense approaching that in our text: the repetition of the τοῖς assigning μεθόρια to both countries.

οὐδ . ἤθ . γν . ] Not (Fritz.), ‘ wished to know no man :’ but would have no man know it.

Verses 24-30

24 30. ] THE SYROPHŒNICIAN WOMAN. Matthew 15:21-28 . Omitted by Luke. A striking instance of the independence of the two narrations. Mark, who is much more copious in particulars, omits a considerable and important part of the history: this would be most arbitrarily and indeed inexcusably done, if the common account of his having combined and epitomized Matt. and Luke is to be taken.

Our Lord’s retirement was to avoid the Pharisees : see notes on Matt. throughout.

Verse 25

25. ] The woman ( Ἑλληνίς , a Gentile ) had been following Him and His disciples before , Matt.

Verse 26

26. ] Σύρα Φ . , because there were also Λιβυ φοίνικες , Carthaginians.

Verse 27

27. ] ἄφες πρῶτον .… ] This important addition in Mark sets forth the whole ground on which the present refusal rested. The Jews were first to have the Gospel offered to them, for their acceptance or rejection; it was not yet time for the Gentiles.

Verse 28

28. καὶ γὰρ .… ] See on Matt.

Verse 30

30. ] These particulars are added here.

βεβλ . ἐπὶ τ . κλ . which the torments occasioned by the evil spirit would not allow her to be before: κειμένην ἐν εἰρήνῃ , Euthym [29]

[29] Euthymius Zigabenus, 1116

Verse 31

31. ] He went first northward (perhaps for the same reason, of privacy, as before) through Sidon, then crossed the Jordan, and so approached the lake on its E. side. On Decapolis , see Matthew 4:25 . We have the same journey related Matthew 15:29 ; and κωφοὺς λαλοῦντας mentioned among the miracles, for which the people glorified the God of Israel.

Verses 31-37

31 37. ] HEALING OF A DEAF AND DUMB PERSON. Peculiar to Mark .

A miracle which serves a most important purpose; that of clearly distinguishing between the cases of the possessed and the merely diseased or deformed . This man was what we call ‘deaf and dumb;’ the union of which maladies is often brought about by the inability of him who never has heard sounds to utter them plainly: or, as here apparently, by some accompanying physical infirmity of the organs of speech.

Verse 33

33. ἀπολ . αὐτ . ] No reason that we know can be assigned why our Lord should take aside this man, and the blind man, ch. Mark 8:23 ; but how many might there be which we do not know, such as some peculiarity in the man himself , or the persons around , which influenced His determination.

It is remarkable that the same medium of conveying the miraculous cure is used also in ch. Mark 8:23 . By the symbolic use of external means, our Lord signified the healing virtue for afflicted human kind, which resides in and proceeds from Him incarnate in our flesh. He uses either his own touch, something from Himself, or the cleansing element to which He so often compares his word.

Verse 34

34. ] He looked to heaven in prayer : see John 11:41-42 . He sighed, as Chrysostom (or Pseudo-Chrys.) in Cramer’s Catena, h. l., says, τὴν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου φύσιν ἐλεῶν , ἐς ποίαν ταπείνωσιν ἤγαγεν αὐτὴντε μισόκαλος διάβολος , καὶτῶν πρωτοπλάστων ἀπροσεξία : see John 11:36-38 .

ἐφφαθά = אֶתְסַּתַּח (Sy [30] .-chald.), imperative Hithp. from סָּתַח , aperuit : the word used in Isaiah 35:5 , “ Then shall the ears of the deaf be unstopped, … and the tongue of the dumb sing .”

[30] yr the Peschito (or simple) Syriac version. Supposed to have been made as early as the second century . The text as edited is in a most unsatisfactory state.

Verse 35

35. δεσμός the hindrance, whatever it was, which prevented him from speaking ὀρθῶς before.

Verse 36

36. ] See ch. Mark 1:45 .

Verse 37

37. καλῶς πάν . πεπ .… ] So πάντα ὅσα ἐποίησεν καλὰ λίαν , Genesis 1:31 . This work was properly and worthily compared with that first one of creation it was the same Beneficence which prompted, and the same Power that wrought it.

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Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Mark 7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. 1863-1878.