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Bible Commentaries

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Mark 7

Verses 1-5

Mark 7:1-5 . Οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἰδόντες τινὰς τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ κοιναῖς χερσὶ ἐσθίοντας ἄρτους ( οἱ γὰρ κλινῶν ) ἔπειτα ἐπερωτῶσιν αὐτὸν οἱ Φαρισαῖοι , κ . τ . λ .) The construction of the language is pendent: from not observing which, some inserted ἐμέμψαντο after ἄρτους . But the whole period, extended by the parenthesis, is sustained by the verb ἐπερωτῶσιν . For the verb is either repeated at the end of the parenthesis, Acts 2:8 ; Act 2:11 ; 1 Corinthians 8:1-4 ; Judges 9:16 ; Jdg 9:19 ; 2 Samuel 21:2-4 ; 1 Kings 8:41-42 ; or it is then in fine [and not till then] set down, as in this passage, and Ephesians 3:1 ; Ephesians 3:14 , and the connection is marked by the particles καὶ , δὲ , οὖν , and in this passage by ἔπειτα . [49] Very similar is the section of Gregory Thaumaturgus, which we shall give in a more contracted form than the original: κατορθοῦταιψυχὴ , ἵνʼ ὥσπερ ἐν κατόπτρῳ ἑαυτὴν θεωρήσασα ( τὸ ἄλογον , καὶ πάλιν τὸ λογικὸν , κ . τ . λ .) ΕΙΤΑ ταῦτα ἐν αὐτῇ κατανοήσασα , τὰ μὲν χείρονα ΕΚΒΑΛΛΟΙ , τὰ δὲ ἀγαθὰ ΕΚΤΡΕΦΟΙ . See Paneg. on Orig., p. 70, etc., ed. Stutgard. [ ἀπὸ Ἱεροσολύμων , from Jerusalem ) The Passover had been celebrated there. V. g.]

[49] BDL Vulg. abc Syr. Memph. read in Mark 7:5 , καὶ instead of ἒπειτα . A supports the ἔπειτα , with Rec. Text. ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 2

Mark 7:2 . Τοῦτʼ ἔστι , that is to say ) The Evangelist adds an interpretation, as in Mark 7:11 , ch. Mark 5:41 , etc.; himself not regarding unwashed hands as defiled.

Verse 3

Mark 7:3 . Πυγμῇ ) Πυγμὴ , the fist. πυγμῇ , עד הפרק , up to the wrist. See Lightf. παράδοσιν , the tradition) Its correlative is παρέλαβον , they have received, Mark 7:4 .

Verse 4

Mark 7:4 . Ξεστῶν , pitchers [larger vessels]) Whence the contents are emptied into the cups . κλινῶν , [ tables , Engl. Vers.] couches ) which were used by persons in reclining to eat at table.

Verse 5

Mark 7:5 . Ἐπερωτῶσιν , ask Him) The Pharisees were always giving their whole zeal to mere questionings . περιπατοῦσιν , walk ) הלך is often found in this sense among the Hebrews.

Verse 6

Mark 7:6 . Ὑποκριτῶν , hypocrites ) Indeed, we may derive from this passage a definition of hypocrisy . These Pharisees were a sample of hypocrites in general.

Verse 8

Mark 7:8 . Ἀφέντες , laying aside ) The antithetic word to hold . The terms akin are, to reject , Mark 7:9 , and to make of none effect , Mark 7:13 . τὴν ἐντολὴν the commandment ) The commandment is one, even as virtue is one and uncompounded; as opposed to the multiplicity of traditions. τοῦ Θεοῦ τῶν ἀνθρώπων , of God of men ) An evident antithesis. βαπτισμοὺς ξεστῶν , the washings of pitchers ) worthless petty observances.

Verse 9

Mark 7:9 . Καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε , full well ye reject ) הטיב , for which the LXX. have κακῶς , i.e. it is well said, when it is so said [It is a true saying that ye, etc.] Just as a true picture of a conflagration is well done. And also they had supposed they were doing well in doing so. ἵνα , in order that) This is a true accusation against them, although the hypocrites did not think that this was their own intention.

Verse 10

Mark 7:10 . Μωσῆς , Moses ) by Divine direction.

Verse 13

Mark 7:13 . Ἧ παρεδώκατε , which ye have delivered ) Ye have made into a tradition what was a mere custom among the ancients.

Verse 14

Mark 7:14 . Ἀκούετε , hearken ) An admonition salutary to all , in opposition to the prejudice which is most hostile to true Divine worship.

Verse 16

Mark 7:16 . Εἴ τις ἔχει , if any man have ) Few of them comprehended what He had said. See verses following.

Verse 18

Mark 7:18 . Ἔξωθεν , from without ) This is added for the sake of explanation.

Verse 19

Mark 7:19 . Καθάριζον ) not polluting, but purging , whilst the wholesome nutriment remains, and the mere refuse so purged away goes out.

Verse 22

Mark 7:22 . Πλεονεξίαι ) Πλεονεξία , πλεονέκτης , πλεονεκτέω , as involving the comparative by implication, denote a kind of mean between theft and rapine, viz., when you aim by various artifices to effect, that your neighbour of himself, but with injury to himself, may unwittingly or unwillingly offer, concede, and assign to you some possession which it is not right you should receive. Yet it approaches nearer to theft, and is more opposed to rapine or open violence; and it is a sin chiefly characteristic of the rich, as the two former are sins of the poor; 1 Corinthians 6:10 ; 1 Corinthians 5:10 . ἀσέλγεια ) a diffuse wantonness [lasciviousness] of mind. Comp. the Syr [50] Version. This and an evil eye are contrary to the ninth and tenth commandments. ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρὸς , an evil eye ) envy and joy at the misfortunes of others. ἀφροσύνη , foolishness ) under which they were labouring, who are refuted in this passage: with this comp. Ye fools , Luke 11:40 . This is the reason why foolishness is placed last of all, inasmuch as being that which renders even all the rest incurable. Human corruption has its seat not merely in the will [but in the understanding also. Comp. Mark 7:18 .]

[50] yr. the Peschito Syriac Version: second cent.: publ. and corrected by Cureton, from MS. of fifth cent.

Verse 23

Mark 7:23 . Πάντα , all things ) O how impure is the fountain of our heart!

Verse 24

Mark 7:24 . Μεθόρια ) the common boundaries . οὐδένα , no man ) For He was still within the borders of the land of Israel. [51]

[51] οὐκ ἡδυνήθη λαθεῖν , He could not remain hid ) Things were so disposed by the direction of God, that the benefit seemed to have been as if at random, and by fortuitous coincidence, conferred on her as being a heathen woman. V. g.

Verse 25

Mark 7:25 . Ἀκούσασα , having heard ) If faith could thus be originated by a mere rumour, how much more ought it to be by a text of Scripture, even though but a short one! γὰρ , for ) Referring to the words, He could not be hid , Mark 7:24 . Jesus put Himself in her way, along with the help He meant to give her: but He so controlled the affair, that He seemed to have acted as He did towards this Grecian woman, as it were fortuitously, whereas He had undertaken this whole journey for her sake. Comp. Matthew 18:12 . τὸ θυγάτριον , young daughter ) Boys also are capable of being the subjects of demoniacal possession, ch. Mark 9:21 ; Mark 9:24 : as also heathens.

Verse 26

Mark 7:26 . Ἑλληνὶς , a Greek ) The term being taken in a wide sense. Συροφοίνισσα τῷ γένει ) Clemens Al., in Protrept., makes mention of τῶν τὴν Φοινίκην Σύρων κατοικούντων . Tertullian mentions Syrophœnice : see ad Marcion : also Justin M. against Trypho. Juvenal speaks of Syrophœnix udus , The feminine Φοίνισσα , which Herodian has, is formed on the same analogy as Κρῆσσα , Λίβυσσα , Θρᾷσσα , Κίλισσα . [ τὸ δαιμόνιον , the demon ) that unclean spirit which had taken possession of the girl. V. g.]

Verse 27

Mark 7:27 . Ἄφες πρῶτον , let first ) He does not give her a decided denial; He seems to mark to her the fact, that she is unseasonably importunate. χορτασθῆναι , be filled ) It would have been to derogate from the rights [privileges] of the Jews, had Jesus bestowed more time on the Gentiles. [ οὐ γὰρ καλόν ἐστι , for it is not becoming ) That which is not in itself becoming, is altogether so in the case of those who duly pray. V. g.]

Verse 28

Mark 7:28 . Ὑποκάτω τῆς τραπέζης , under the table ) Arguing great submission on the part of the woman. Yet she alleges as an argument the nearness [of her country to Israel; as of the dogs to their master’s table]. τῶν παιδίων , of the boys [Engl. Vers., losing the distinction between this and τέκνων , of the children ]) who often lavish bread wastely. Παίδια [52] differ from τέκνα , children , Mark 7:27 , a word whereby right to the father’s bread is denoted.

[52] Boys , not necessarily sons, and often used as servants . ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 29

Mark 7:29 . Διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον , on account of this word [ saying ]) This word, and the faith exhibited in it. There may be understood, I say to thee . [ Often, as well in evil as also in good, the whole power of the soul puts itself forth in one word . V. g.] ἐξελήλυθε , is gone out ) It was thus that Jesus immediately exhilarated her with the joyous information. [ For He knew what had been done. even at a distance, by His power . V. g.]

Verse 30

Mark 7:30 . Ἀπελθοῦσα , departing ) in faith. εὗρε τὴν θυγατέρα βεβλημένην ἐπὶ τῆς κλίνης , καὶ τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθός ) See App. Crit. Ed. ii. on this passage. [53] The position of the daughter lying on the bed was showing the great power of the demon, which had taken possession of the girl; and also the greater power of Jesus, who had expelled it. The daughter had previously been deprived of all rest. The mother, however, did not of course find the demon itself, which had gone out; but she found that the demon had gone out, i.e. that such was the state of affairs. The force of the verb, found , rests rather on the participle, ἐξεληλυθὸς , than on the noun, ΤῸ ΔΑΙΜΌΝΙΟΝ .

[53] τὸ παίδιον βεβλημένον ἐπὶ τὴν κλίνην καὶ τὸ δαιμ . ἐξελ . is the reading of BL Δ . Τὴν θυγατὲρα βεβλ . is substituted by D Vulg. bc . A a support Rec. Text, τὸ δαιμόνιον ἐξεληλυθὸς , καὶ τὴν θυγατέρα βεβλημένην ἐπὶ τῆς κλινης . ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 31

Mark 7:31 . Τῶν ὁρίων , the boundaries ) That is, through the midst of Decapolis. [The region comprising Decapolis was situated, for the most part, outside of Galilee ( Mat 4:25 ), beyond Jordan, and some portion of it, if this view be accepted, on the southern side of Galilee, and was accordingly chiefly inhabited by Syrians and heathens. To this region appertain Gadara ( Mar 5:20 ) and Cæarea Philippi. There is frequent mention in the Evangelists, about this time, of the heathen borders; whence it is evident that the Saviour traversed the whole land of Israel. Harm. p. 313.] [Mark 7:32 . κωφὸν , deaf ) The narrative of this deaf man, as also of the blind man, concerning whom ch. Mar 8:22 treats, is recorded in Mark alone. V. g.]

Verse 33

Mark 7:33 . Ἀπολαβόμενος , taking him aside ) The many outward acts [circumstances] which Jesus employed in this place, and the looks of others, who were healed, stood in the place of words [a sermon] to this deaf man, until he began to hear, inasmuch as Jesus was thereby healing his soul also. [ He imparted to the deaf man His healing power first through the avenue of the eyes, then next of the ears . Harm. p. 343.] Comp. ch. Mar 8:23 concerning the blind man. πτύσας , spitting ) The saliva is clean and salutary in its uses.

Verse 34

Mark 7:34 . Ἐστέναξεν , He groaned ) The power of sighs is great when the heart is straitened , στενῷ [whence στενάζω ]. He who groans, γέμει . [54] This is a πάθος [not a feeling which we can command at will; see Append.]; for which reason we never find it said in the Psalms, I will sigh , as we find, I will pray, I will cry aloud, I will lament (flebo). Even sudden tears are not under our control. But I will lament , in the Psalms, is an act of deliberate purpose. [ That groan moved the wretched sufferer, and awakened in him the desire of relief . V. g.] ἐφφαθὰ , Ephphatha ) The first word heard by the deaf man.

[54] Γέμω , to be full of a thing; Latin, gemo . Comp. στένω , to straiten by over-fulness ; hence to groan . This shows the connection of γέμω and gemo . ED. and TRANSL.

Verse 35

Mark 7:35 . Ἀκοαὶ ) that is to say, his powers of hearing . Not merely the one passage for sound in the ear.

Verse 36

Mark 7:36 . Αὐτοῖς , them ) Those who had borne the dumb man. It was rather the part of the spectators to publish it abroad. And yet the former [the bearers] also published the fame of it, Mark 7:37 . Silence was wont especially to be enjoined on those who had been cured of the diseases. μᾶλλον περισσότερον , the more exceeding abundantly ) The comparative contained in the μᾶλλον , more , stands in antithesis to His prohibition: that in the περισσότερον , exceeding abundantly , stands in antithesis to the publishing of it, which they would have made, had there been no prohibition; comp. Philippians 1:23 , note.

Verse 37

Mark 7:37 . Καλῶς πεποίηκε , he hath done well ) A formula, ἀποδοχῆς , of satisfaction ; Acts 10:33 ; Philippians 4:14 . So in the present, 2 Peter 1:19 ; in the future, 3 John Mark 7:6 . So LXX., 1 Kings 8:18 . A similar formula of assenting occurs, Mark 12:32 , Thou hast well said τοὺς ) this deaf man and others [ Mat 15:30 ].

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Bibliographical Information
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Mark 7". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. 1897.