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Bible Commentaries
Mark 6

Vincent's Word StudiesVincent's Studies

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Verse 2

Astonished. See on Matthew 8:28.

Mighty works [δυναμεις] . Lit., powers. See on Matthew 11:20. Tynd., virtues. Outcomings of God 's power : "powers of the world to come" (Hebrews 6:5), at work upon the earth.

Verse 3

The carpenter. This word "throws the only flash which falls on the continuous tenor of the first thirty years, from infancy to manhood, of the life of Christ" (Farrar, " Messages of the Books ").

They were offended. See On Matthew 5:29. Tynd., hurt.

Verse 5

Sick [αρρωστοις] . From aj, not, and rJwnnumi, to strengthen. Sickness regarded as constitutional weakness.

Verse 7

By two and two. To help and encourage each other, and also for fullness of testimony.

8 - 12. See Matthew 10:0.

Verse 14

Was spread abroad. "But for the rumor, Herod would not have known of him. A palace is late in hearing spiritual news" (Bengel).

Mighty works do show forth themselves in him (ejnergousin aiJ dunameiv ejn aujtw). Rev., these powers work in him. As Dr. Morison observes, "A snatch of Herod 's theology and philosophy." He knew that John wrought no miracles when alive, but he thought that death had put him into connection with the unseen world, and enabled him to wield its powers.

Verse 16

He is risen. The he, ou=tov, is emphatic. This one. This very John.

17 - 29. On the Peculiarities of Mark in this narrative, See Introduction.

Verse 19

Had a quarrel against him [ενειχεν αυτω] . There is some dispute about the rendering. The Rev. renders Set herself against him, with no alternative translation in the margin; and in Luke 11:53, Press upon him vehemently, with set themselves against him in the margin. I see no objection to rendering was angry at him, taking ejneicen aujtw with an ellipsis of colon, anger. Very literally, had within herself [εν] anger against him. So Herodotus, 1, 118. Astyages concealing the anger [τον χολον] which he felt toward him [οι ενειχε] . 6 119, ejneice sfi deinon colon, nourished a fierce anger against them. So Moulton, Grimm, and De Wette.

Desired [ηθελεν] . Imperfect tense, was desiring all along. Her demand for John's murder was the result of a long - cherished wish.

Verse 20

Observed him [συνετηρει] . A mistranslation. Rev., kept him safe. Peculiar to Mark. Compare Matthew 9:17, are preserved; Luke 2:19, kept; sun, closely; threin, to preserve or keep, as the result of guarding. See on John 17:12, and reserved, 1 Peter 1:4.

Did many things [πολλα εποιει] . The proper reading, however, is hjporei; from aj, not, and porov, a passage. Hence, strictly, to be in circumstances where one cannot find a way out. So Rev., rightly, he was much perplexed. The other reading is meaningless.

Verse 21

Convenient [ευκαιρον] . Mark only. Convenient for Herodias' purpose. "Opportune for the insidious woman, who hoped, through wine, lust, and the concurrence of sycophants, to be able easily to overcome the wavering mind of her husband" (Grotius in Meyer).

Birthday. See on Matthew 14:6. The notice of the banquet and of the rank of the guests is peculiar to Mark.

Lords (megistasin). Only here, and Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:3. A late word, from megav, great.

High captains [χιλιαρχοις] . Lit., commanders of a thousand men. Answering to a Roman military tribune. Both civil and military dignitaries were present, with other distinguished men of the district (chief men).

Verse 22

The said Herodias [αυτης της ηρωδιαδος] . The A. V. misses the point of aujthv by the translation the said : the object being not to particularize the Herodias just referred to, but to emphasize the fact that Herodias' own daughter was put forward instead of a professional dancer. Hence Rev., correctly, "the daughter of Herodias herself."

Damsel [κορασιω] . See on Mark 5:41.

Verse 25

Mark's narrative emphasizes the eager haste with which the murder was pushed. She came in straightway and demanded the boon forthwith.

By and by [εξαυτης] . Obsolete in the old sense of immediately. The A. V. translates eujquv, straightway, in Matthew 13:21, by and by : eujqewv, Mark 4:17, immediately : and the same word in Luke 21:9, by and by. Exauthv is rendered immediately, Acts 10:33; Acts 11:11 : straightway, Acts 23:30 : presently, Philippians 2:23. Rev., forthwith. The expression by and by in older English was sometimes used of place. Thus Chaucer.

"Right in the same chamber by and by" (close by).


"Two young knights lying by and by" [νεαρ τογετηερ] .

Edward IV is reported to have said on his death - bed : "I wote (know) not whether any preachers words ought more to move you than I that is going by and by to the place that they all preach of."

Charger. See on Matthew 14:8.

Verse 26

Exceeding sorry. Where Matthew has sorry.

Verse 27

Mark's favorite straightway. The king is prompt in his response.

Executioner [σπεκουλατορα] . One of Mark's Latin words, speculator. A speculator was a guardsman, whose business it was to watch or spy out (speculari). It came gradually to denote one of the armed body - guard of the Roman emperor. Thus Suetonius says of Claudius that he did not dare to attend banquets unless his speculatores with their lances surrounded him. Seneca uses the word in the sense of executioner. "He met the executioners (speculatoribus), declared that he had nothing to say against the execution of the sentence, and then stretched out his neck." Herod imitated the manners of the Roman court, and was attended by a company of speculatores, though it was not their distinctive office to act as executioners. Wyc. renders man - killer, and Tynd. hangman.

Verse 29

Corpse. See on Matthew 24:28.

Stier (" Words of Jesus ") says of Herod : "This man, whose inner life was burnt out; who was made up of contradictions, speaking of his kingdom like Ahasuerus, and yet the slave of his Jezebel; willingly hearing the prophet, and unwillingly killing him; who will be a Sadducee, and yet thinks of a resurrection; who has a superstitious fear of the Lord Jesus, and yet a curiosity to see him."

Verse 31

Come apart. See on chapter Mark 3:7.

Verse 37

Shall we go and buy, etc. This question and Christ 's answer are peculiar to Mark.

Verse 39

By companies [συμποσια συμποσια] . Peculiar to Mark. The Jewish dining - room was arranged like the Roman : three tables forming three sides of a square, and with divans or couches following the outside line of the tables. The open end of the square admitted the servants who waited at table. This explains the arrangement of the multitude here described by Mark. The people sat down, literally, in table - companies, arranged like guests at table; some companies of a hundred and some of fifty, in squares or oblongs open at one end, so that the disciples could pass along the inside and distribute the loaves.

Green. Mark only.

Verse 40

In ranks [πρασιαι πρασιαι] . Lit., like beds in a garden. The former adverb, by companies, describes the arrangement; this the color. The red, blue, and yellow clothing of the poorest Orientals makes an Eastern crowd full of color; a fact which would appeal to Peter's eye, suggesting the appearance of flower beds in a garden.

Verse 41

Brake and gave [κατεκλασεν, εδιδου] . The verbs are in different tenses; the former in the aorist, the latter in the imperfect. The aorist implies the instantaneous, the imperfect the continuous act. He brake, and kept giving out. Farrar remarks that the multiplication evidently took place in Christ 's hands, between the acts of breaking and distributing.

All. Peculiar to Mark.

Were filled. See on Matthew 5:6.

Verse 43

Baskets full [κοφινων πληρωματα] . Lit., fillings of baskets. See on Matthew 14:20. Mark alone adds, and of the fishes.

Verse 44

Men [ανδρες] . Not generic, including men and women, but literally men. Compare Matthew 14:21, beside women and children; a detail which we should have expected from Mark.

Verse 46

When he had sent them away [αποταξαμενος] . Rev., more correctly, after he had taken leave. Unclassical, and used in this sense only in later Greek. So in Luke 9:61; Acts 18:18; 2 Corinthians 2:13.

Verse 48

He saw [ιδων] . Participle. Rev., seeing. Better, however, the literal having seen. It was this which induced him to go to them.

Toiling [βασανιζομενους] . Lit., tormented. Rev., distressed. See on Matthew 4:24. Wyc., travailing. Tynd., troubled.

Fourth watch. Between 3 and 6 A. M.

Would have passed by them. Peculiar to Mark.

Verse 50

They all saw him. Peculiar to Mark.

Spake with them [ελαλησεν μετ αυτων] . Both Matthew and John give the simple dative, aujtoiv to them. Mark's with them is more familiar, and gives the idea of a more friendly and encouraging address. It is significant, in view of Peter's relation to this gospel, that Mark omits the incident of Peter's walk on the waves (Matthew 14:28-31).

Verse 51

Ceased. See on Mark 4:38.

Sore amazed [λιαν εκ περισσου εξισταντο] . Lit., exceedingly beyond measure. A strong expression peculiar to Mark. jExistanto, were amazed. Compare the cognate noun ekstasiv, and see on Mark 5:42.

Verse 52

Peculiar to Mark.

The miracle of the loaves [επι τοις αρτοις] . Rev., concerning the loaves. Lit., upon; in the matter of. They did not reason from the multiplying of the loaves to the stilling of the sea.

Verse 53

Drew to the shore [προσωρμισθησαν] . Peculiar to Mark. Rev., moored to the shore, though the meaning may be near the shore. jAnebh, he went up (verse 51), seems to indicate a vessel of considerable size, standing quite high out of the water. They may have anchored off shore.

Verse 55

Ran round. From place to place where the sick were, to bring them to Jesus. Matthew has they sent.

Carry about [περιφερειν] . peri, about; one hither and another thither, wherever Christ might be at the time.

Beds [κραβαττοις] . Condemned as bad Greek, but used by both Luke and John. See on Mark 2:4.

Verse 56

Peculiar to Mark.

In the streets [αγοραις] . Rightly, Rev., Market - places. See on Matthew 11:16.

Border. See on Matthew 9:20.

Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/mark-6.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.
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