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Bible Commentaries
Mark 3

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

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Verse 1

1. Which had a withered hand In which the natural moisture had become lost, and the strength of the sinews had departed.

Verses 1-6

§ 34. THE WITHERED HAND, Mark 3:1-6 .

(See notes on Matthew 12:9-14.)

Verse 2

2. Watched him Kept their eye fixed upon him to detect something which they might construe to an evil meaning. It is thus that some minds place themselves when they come to view religion. They scan it, not to know the true will of God, and their duty in his sight, but to see if some ground of perversion cannot be found.

Verse 3

3. Stand forth As Jesus is watched by them, he will show them that he intends no concealment and no dark juggle.

Verse 4

4. To do good As I now purpose to do to this man. Or to do evil As you purpose to do to me. He intended to save life, nay, restore life to the withered hand. They sought to destroy life. He was on the side of goodness and mercy; they on the side of malice and murder. But our Lord’s purpose is to show them that they, with their laborious schemes of malice, are truly the Sabbath breakers. They held their peace The silence of self-condemnation.

Verse 5

5. Looked round about on them with anger Before proceeding to the performance of the miracle he makes a full pause as they stand in a silent circle before him. They are fixed in the obdurate silence of hatred. For one moment the Saviour is a Judge. There is one glance of that eye which in the final day will rive his adversaries. Some have wondered that the Lord should be angry. But justice has its rightful wrath for guilt. Right is terribly hostile to wrong. God is angry with the wicked every day. All government as it sits upon the judgment seat has this true wrathful anger. Our Lord looked full upon these malicious beings as they stood using their powers in the cause of evil and consecrating themselves to the eternal service of the devil, and he felt that they were sinners deserving of God’s just judgment. Grieved And so the pure and Holy Spirit of God may be grieved, vexed, made angry, and caused to depart. Sorrow and pity for their wilfulness and their ruin mingles with the stern recognition that they deserve the ruin they incur. Hardness of their hearts A determination to allow no proof to convince and no good to soften them.

Stretch forth thine hand The bodily healings performed by our Lord were ever a symbol of the cures he works as great physician on the fountain malady in the soul sin. Depraved man is withered in every limb of his soul; impotent by fallen nature. Yet just as this man is commanded to put forth his strengthless hand, so is the strengthless soul commanded to put forth a powerful act. How? Because the grace that gives he command therewith supplies the underlying power “to will and to do .” Yet as the man was not made either to will or do the act, as the performance though empowered was not secured, but left to free agency, so does the grace of God simply enable the act, but not absolutely secure its performance.

Whole as the other Both hands testified to the reality of the miracle. But the reality of the miracle is not denied. In the very charge that it is done by diabolical power it is admitted to be done.

Verse 6

6. Straightway The Greek word for straightway is a great favourite with Mark. It is used by him (translated variously) eight times in the first chapter, and thirty-nine times in the other fifteen chapters. Herodians See notice on Matthew 12:14.

Verses 7-12


(See notes on Matthew 12:15-21.

Verse 8

8. Idumea This was the ancient Edom. It lay south of Palestine. Herod the Great was by descent an Idumean. Many Jews lived in the country, but it can hardly be inferred that these who now followed Jesus had heard of him and came from that distance. Jews from Idumea being in Galilee followed the Saviour on account of his great and merciful miracles.

Verse 9

9. A small ship A fishing boat. The Lake of Gennesaret was too small for what is called a ship. Should wait on him To be in readiness to receive him. This keeping a boat in readiness enabled Jesus to let out upon the lake in case the pressure was too great, but it does not appear that the boat was really used. There seems to be no immediate connection with the ship mentioned in Mark 4:1. Should throng him Should press upon him inconveniently with their crowds. So they did on a former occasion, so as to drive him into the desert. Mark 1:45.

Verse 10

10. Plagues Diseases recognized by the evangelist as the result of sin. Such is, in truth, the source of all disease.

Verse 11

11. Thou art the Son of God See notes on Mark 1:24-26. Our Lord accepted not devils for preachers. They so mingled falsehood with their truth that he who listens to them for the truth’s sake will be led away by their lies. All the testimony Jesus would have from them was given by their disclosing their infernal presence and disappearing at his command.

Verse 13

13. Calleth… whom he would From the multitude before him at the mount he names and selects which he pleases. He chose them, not they him. Yet he chose with discerning power, knowing their character and state of heart. They came unto him He named those who became his twelve, and from the crowd each one stepped forth.

Verses 13-19


(See notes on Matthew 10:2-4.)

Verse 14

14. And he ordained twelve It appears by Luke 6:12-19, that the regular selection of the twelve from the number of his disciples was made, and their ordination performed, just before his pronunciation of his sermon on the mount.

Several were called previous to that. Matthew 28:19-20. Their full qualification they received at the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:0.

Verse 16

16. Surnamed Peter Meaning rock. Mark seems to name the apostles very much in couples. See notes on Matthew 10:2-4.

Verses 16-19


Compare Matthew 10:2-4, Luke 1:14-17.

Verse 19

19. And they went into a house This clause properly belongs to the next verse, and opens the next paragraph. It is to this house that “the multitude cometh together.”

Verses 19-30


(See notes on Matthew 9:33; Matthew 12:32-37.)

Verse 20

20. Could not so much as eat bread How much our Lord was at this time oppressed by the crowds may be seen by comparing, among other passages, Mark 1:45, and Mark 3:7-9 of this chapter. Indeed, no evangelist conveys to us so strong a view of the immense excitement produced in Galilee by the preaching of Jesus in his early ministry as Mark.

Verse 21

21. When his friends At Nazareth, where the reports of these miracles were in keeping with the depraved character of the place and the subject. Probably they had heard of the charge of his being a demoniac. Heard of it Heard that immense crowds were following his preaching the wonders he did. They went out From their homes, to rescue him from the danger that might result from the excitement he was producing. Beside himself They doubtless meant this as an excuse for what they held to be the dangerous course of our Lord. He does not know what he is about in thus exposing himself to the danger of being held the author of public commotion. For the people were, as we learn by Matthew 12:23, beginning to call to mind that he was the Son of David, and there was just fear of an insurrection. Mark 3:22-30. Compare notes on Matthew 12:24-32. Whitby, however, prefers to render the words, “He is fainty,” or exhausted; that is, by the presence of the multitudes.

Verse 22

22. Scribes which came down from Jerusalem Of course these great scribes from Jerusalem would be very wise, and be able to state the case with perfect learning!

Verse 24

24. That kingdom cannot stand And hence Satan would be too wise to endanger his own kingdom by entering into confederacy with me, who am driving his demons from among men.

Verse 31

31. There came then his brethren and his mother Fulfilling the purpose they expressed in Mark 3:21. But when they arrived from Nazareth they found him so surrounded as to be unable to get access to him. That the brothers of Jesus disbelieved in him was clearly a fact. But there is no proof that his mother ever doubted his miraculous conception or his divinity. At the first miracle in Cana of Galilee, her faith is impatient for the demonstration of his power, which she truly expected.

Verses 31-35


(See notes on Matthew 12:38-45.)

Verse 32

32. Seek for thee As we learn by Matthew 13:54, that he soon visited Nazareth, it is very probable that the object of this visit was to prevail on him to come to the home of his childhood. He did indeed visit Nazareth, but with a very different effect from what they might have expected. The Nazarenes challenged him to do the same miracles over which he had done in Capernaum; but such were the conditions of the challenge that he repelled and rejected it. Compare notes on Matthew 12:46-50.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Mark 3". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/mark-3.html. 1874-1909.
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