Bible Commentaries
Mark 6

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary

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Verses 1-6


(See notes on Matthew 13:54-58.)

Verses 7-13

§§ 57, SENDING OUT HIS APOSTLES, Mark 6:7-13 .

(Compare notes on Matthew 10:0.)

Verse 8

8. A staff only The caution in Matthew against two staves, is part of the prohibition against extra provision. Some have ridiculed this mode of reconciliation, as if contradictions in Scripture might be allowed in such minutiae. They might as well say that it was ridiculous for our Lord to allow one coat and forbid two.

Verse 9

9. Be shod with sandals They were to take no shoes, as being a special and more costly provision, but wear their ordinary sandals.

Verse 10

10. There abide As Luke more fully expresses it: “Go not from house to house.” On this Dr. Thomson remarks:

“The reason is very obvious to one acquainted with Oriental customs. When a stranger arrives in a village or an encampment, the neighbours, one after another, must invite him to eat with them. There is a strict etiquette about it, involving much ostentation and hypocrisy, and a failure in the due observance of this system of hospitality is violently resented, and often leads to alienations and feuds among neighbours. It also consumes much time, causes unusual distraction of mind, leads to levity, and every way counteracts the success of a spiritual mission.”

Verse 13

13. Anointed with oil many that were sick See note on Matthew 6:17. Oil bore the same symbolic relation to the restoration of health of body and soul in these miracles that water did to spiritual purification of body and soul in baptism. Hence, in James 5:14, the elders in their miraculous cures were to anoint the sick with prayer. The Jews had the custom of anointing the sick with incantations.

Verse 14

14. King Herod Mark calls Herod king here in compliance with popular custom; yet his true title of tetrarch is more accurately given by Matthew and Luke.

Verses 14-16


(See notes on Matthew 14:1-2.)

Verses 21-29

§ 60. DEATH OF JOHN THE BAPTIST, Mark 6:21-29 .

(See notes on Matthew 14:6-12.)

Verses 30-31

§ 62. THE TWELVE RETURN, Mark 6:30 , Mark 6:31 .

(Compare Luke 9:10.)

See note on Matthew 14:13; and the introductory note to Matthew 14:0.

Verses 32-44

§ 63. FIVE THOUSAND FED, Mark 6:32-44 .

(See notes on Matthew 14:13-21)

Verse 33

33. Outwent them That is, the people ran around the northern head of the lake, and outwent Jesus and his disciples so rapidly as to meet him at his landing on the other shore. If Dr. Thomson’s topography be right, it is easy to see how this could be done. The course of the boat of Jesus was very much along the coast, and the people from the cities on the north side could easily meet him by rapid movement at the other shore. If the route was directly across the lake it would have been impossible.

Verse 41

41. Gave… his disciples to set before them Here, according to the beautiful thought of Stier, we have the image of a true and holy tradition. God gives to his Son, his Son to his apostles, his apostles to the people, the heavenly bread.

Verse 45

45. Unto Bethsaida Bethsaida is situated, according to the latest researches, on the two sides of the Jordan as it falls into the Lake of Gennesaret. The Lord directs them in effect to touch at Bethsaida on their way to Capernaum. From the fact that Bethsaida is spoken of as sometimes being in Galilee and sometimes in Gaulanitis, it has been supposed, upon pure conjecture, that there were two Bethsaidas, as is seen upon our map at the title-page. But it is better to consider the two as being a double Bethsaida on the opposite sides of the Jordan, being counterparts of each other. Thus it appears upon our map at page 62. There would thus be one part in Galilee and one in Gaulanitis. Dr. Thomson thus explains the facts of this eventful night:

“As the evening was coming on, Jesus commanded the disciples to return home to Capernaum, while he sent the people away. They were reluctant to go and leave him alone in that desert place. To quiet their minds, he may have then told them to go on before toward Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd, promising to join them in the night, which he intended to do, and actually did, though in a manner very different from what they expected. In this state of anxiety, they endeavoured to keep near the shore between this and Bethsaida. But a violent wind beat off the boat, so that they were not able to make Bethsaida, nor even Capernaum, but were driven past both; and when near the plain of Gennesaret, at the northwest corner of the lake, Jesus came unto them walking upon the sea. All this is topographically natural.”

Mark 6:45-56

§ 64. JESUS WALKS ON THE SEA, Mark 6:45-56 .

(See notes on Matthew 14:22-36.)

Mark omits all mention of Peter’s attempt to walk upon the water.

Verse 52

52. Their heart was hardened A clear passage in which obtuseness or unimpressibility of intellect is called hardness of heart; or at least the dullness of perception is attributed to the moral insensibility.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Mark 6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". 1874-1909.