1. The Pharisees and some teachers of the Law. This was the sharpest confrontation between Jesus and the Jewish leaders to date in his ministry. See notes on Matthew 15:1-9. Mark explains the Jewish customs for his readers. Had come from Jerusalem. Probably an “official delegation” sent to investigate Jesus.
2. With unclean hands. Not dirty, but “unclean.” Tradition required them to wash their hands in a certain way to make them “ritually clean.” Also, they might have touched something, and become “ritually unclean,” so tradition required them to always wash ritually before eating.
3. They do not eat unless they wash. The Law did not require this special form of washing, but the Tradition of the ancestors did require it. The Jewish leaders were so strict about this, that Rabbi Akiba, in prison with barely enough water to stay alive, used it for ritual washing.
4. Unless they wash it first. “Wash” in this verse comes from the same word as “baptize” [BAPTISONTAI in the best manuscripts]. Food from the market, cups, pots, copper bowls and even beds were immersed in water to make them ritually pure. Abbott says: “Apparently, in the ritual of the Pharisees, washing by pouring on water sufficed for those who remained at home, but immersion of the hands in water was required of those who had gone abroad [outside the house].” The Law did require some washings (such as Leviticus 14:8), but Tradition had distorted the spirit of the Law. It had become a strict rule that before every meal, not only the hands, but also the dishes, beds (couches), and tables must be ritually washed. [The Jews ate their meals lying on beds (couches).]
5. Asked Jesus. He was “kicking” their Tradition by ignoring it. See notes on Matthew 15:1-20.
15. Which can make him unclean. Jesus emphasizes that no one becomes religiously unclean from things that are outside of him. See notes on Matthew 15:10-20.
24. To the territory near the city of Tyre. This woman’s faith is discussed in the notes on Matthew 15:21-28.
31. The territory of the Ten Towns. Named for the ten towns in the area. Only Mark tells about this miracle.
32. Who was deaf and who could hardly speak. He probably had not been born deaf, as he was not mute. Nothing is said of a demon, so this man’s problem came from disease.
33–34. Put his fingers in the man’s ears. Is this case unique, or did Jesus work this way at other times? No one can say for sure. Johnson believes Jesus did these things to produce faith in the man. Jesus put his fingers in the deaf ears, and touched the tongue. Ephphatha. Jesus uses the dialect of Judea to command the deaf ears to hear!
35. At once the man’s ears were opened. All traces of the disease vanished immediately!
36. Not to speak of it. See note on Matthew 8:4. Jesus did not do his miracles to honor himself.
37. How well he does everything! This can be understood in the sense of Genesis 1:31; Colossians 1:15-17. They were completely amazed, because no one had ever done what Jesus was doing. He even makes. Always since then, Jesus has been at work [through the messianic community] making the spiritually deaf hear, and the spiritually dumb [mute] talk.
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Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 7". "The Bible Study New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany