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Bible Commentaries

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament
Mark 7

 

 

Introduction

CHAPTER 7

Mark 7:2. ἄρτους Lachm. and Tisch. read τούς ἄρτους, following B D L δ, min. Rightly; the article was passed over, because it was regarded as superfluous. The reading ἄρτον (Fritzsche) has in its favour only א, min. and vss., and is from Matthew 15:2.

After ἄρτους Elz. and Fritzsche have ἐμέμψαντο, which, however, is absent from witnesses so important, that it must be regarded as an addition; instead of it D has κατέγνωσαν.

Mark 7:5. ἔπειτα] B D L א, min. Syr. Copt. Vulg. It. have καί ( δ has ἔπειτα καί). Recommended by Griesb., and adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly; ἔπειτα was written on the margin on account of the construction, and then displaced the καί.

κοιναῖς] Elz. Scholz have ἀνίπτοις, in opposition to B D א, min. vss. An interpretation.

Mark 7:8. γάρ] is wanting in B D L δ א, min. Copt. Arm. It. Goth. Lachm. Tisch. A connecting addition.

βαπτισμοὺςποιεῖτε is wanting in B L δ א, min. Copt. Arm. There are many variations in detail. Bracketed by Lachm. ed. min., deleted by Fritzsche, and now also by Tisch. Rightly restored again by Lachm. ed. maj. For, if it were an interpolation from Mark 7:4; Mark 7:13, there would be inserted, as at Mark 7:4, ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν, and, as in Mark 7:13, not ἄλλα; moreover, an interpolator would certainly not have forgotten the washing of hands. The explanatory comment of Mark, Mark 7:3-4, tells precisely in favour of the genuineness, for the joint-mention of the ποτηρίων κ. ξεστῶν in that place has its reason in these words of Jesus, Mark 7:8. And why should there have been an interpolation, since the reproach of the Pharisees did not at all concern the pitchers and cups? This apparent inappropriateness of the words, however, as well as in general their descriptive character, strikingly contrasting with the conciseness of the context, might have occasioned their omission, which was furthered and rendered more widespread by the circumstance that a church-lesson concluded with ἀνθρώπων.

Mark 7:12. καί] deleted by Lachm. and Tisch., following B D א, min. Copt. Cant. 7 :Verc. Corb. Vind. Colb. Omitted as confusing, because the apodosis was found here.

Mark 7:14. πάντα] B D L δ א, Syr. p. (in the margin) Copt. Aeth. Sax. Vulg. It. have πάλιν. Recommended by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. Rightly; πάντα. was written in the margin on account of the following πάντες, and the more easily supplanted the πάλιν, because the latter finds no definite reference in what has preceded.

Instead of ἀκούετε and συνίετε, Lachm. and Tisch. have ἀκούσατε and σύνετε, following B D H L δ, The Recepta is from Matthew 15:10.

Mark 7:15. The reading τὰ ἐκ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐκπορευόσατε (Lachm. Tisch.) has in its favour B D L δ א, 33, Copt. Goth. Aeth. Pers. p. Vulg. It. The Recepta τὰ ἐκπορ. ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ appears to have originated from the copyist, in the case of the above reading, passing over from the first ἐκ to the second ( ἐκπορ). Thus came the reading τὰ ἐκπορευόμενα, which is still found in min. Then, after the analogy of the preceding εἰς αὐτόν, in some cases ἀπʼ αὐτοῦ, in others ἐξ αὐτοῦ (min. Fritzsche) was supplied.

Mark 7:16 is wanting in B L א, min. Copt. Suspected by Mill and Fritzsche as an interpolation at the conclusion of the church-lesson; deleted by Tisch. But the witnesses on behalf of the omission, in the absence of internal reasons which might occasion an interpolation (in accordance with Mark 4:23; comp., on the other hand, Matthew 15:11), are too weak.

Mark 7:17. περὶ τῆς παραβ.] B D L δ א, min. It. Vulg. have τὴν παραβολήν. Approved by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch. The Recepta is a gloss.

Mark 7:19. καθαρίζον] A B E F G H L S X δ א, min. Or. Chrys. have καθαρίζων (D: καταρίζει). So Lachm. and Tisch. Not a transcriber’s error, but correct (see the exegetical remarks), and needlessly emended by the neuter.

Mark 7:24. μεθόρια] Lachm. and Tisch. have ὅρια, following B D L δ א, min. Or. But μεθόρια, does not occur elsewhere in the N. T., and was supplanted by the current ὅρια (comp. Matthew 15:22).

καὶ σιδῶνος] is wanting in D L δ 28, Cant. 7 :Verc. Corb. Vind. Or. Suspected by Griesb., deleted by Fritzsche and Tisch., comp. Ewald. Rightly; the familiarity of the collocation “Tyre and Sidon” and Matthew 15:21 have introduced the καὶ σιδῶνος, which also came in at Mark 7:31, and there supplanted the original reading ἦλθε διὰ σιδῶνος (approved by Griesb., adopted by Fritzsche, Lachm. Tisch., in conformity with B D L δ א, 33, Arr. Copt. Aeth. Syr. hier. Vulg. Sax. It.), and changed it into the Recepta καί σιδῶνος ἦλθεν.

Mark 7:25. ἀκούσασα γὰρ γυνή] Tisch. has ἀλλʼ εὐθὺς ἀκούσασα γυνή, following B L δ א, 33, vss. The witnesses are very much divided (D: γυνὴ δὲ εὐθέως ὡς ἀκούσασα); but the reading of Tisch. is, considering this division, sufficiently attested, and in keeping with the character of Mark; it is therefore to be preferred.

Mark 7:26. Instead of ἐκβάλῃ (Griesb. Scholz, Lachm. Tisch.) Elz. has ἐκβάλλῃ. The evidence for the aorist is not decisive, and the present is in keeping with Mark’s manner.

Mark 7:27. Instead of δὲ ιησοῦς εἶπεν Lachm. and Tisch. have καὶ ἔλεγεν, following B L δ א, 33, Copt. Cant. (D has καὶ λέγει; Vulg.: qui dixit). The Recepta is an alteration arising from comparison of Matthew 15:26.

Mark 7:28. ἐσθίει] Lachm. and Tisch. have ἐσθίουσιν, following B D L δ א, min. The Recepta is from Matthew.

Mark 7:30. Lachm. and Tisch. have adopted the transposition: τὸ παιδίον βεβλημένον (instead of τὴν θυγατ. βεβλημένην) following B D L δ א, min. vss. (yet with variations in detail). The Recepta is to be retained; the above transposition is to be explained by the fact that the transcriber passed over from the καί after ἐξεληλυθός immediately to the καί in Mark 7:31. Thus καὶ τὴν θυγατ. down to κλίνης was omitted, and afterwards restored at the wrong, but apparently more suitable place. From the circumstance that θυγκλίνης, and not τὸ δαιμόν. ἐξεληλ., is the clause omitted and restored, may be explained the fact that all the variations in detail are found not in the latter, but in the former words.

Mark 7:31. See on Mark 7:24.

As in Mark 3:7, so also here, instead of πρός we must read, with Griesb. Fritzsche, Lachm., following evidence of considerable weight, εἰς.

Mark 7:32. After κωφόν Lachm. and Tisch. have καί, following B D δ א, vss. A connecting addition.

Mark 7:35. εὐθέως] is wanting in B D א, min. vss. Deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. Rightly; the more frequent in Mark, and the more appropriate it is in this place, the more difficult it was of omission, and the easier of addition; here also in a different order.

Instead of διηνοίχθησαν Lachm. and Tisch. have ἠνοίγησαν, following B D δ א, 1 (L has ἠνοίχθησαν). The Recepta arose from the previous διανοίχθητι.

Mark 7:36. αὐτός] is wanting in A B L X δ א, min. Vulg. Lachm. Tisch.; but superfluous as it is in itself, how easily it was absorbed by the following αὐτοῖς!

Before μᾶλλον Lachm. and Tisch. have αὐτοί, following B D L δ א, min. Copt. Goth. Syr. Arm. To be adopted; correlative to the αὐτός, but passed over, as not being recognised in this reference and so regarded as superfluous.


Verses 1-16

Mark 7:1-16. See on Matthew 15:1-11. The occasion of the discussion, only hinted at in Matt. Mark 7:2, is expressly narrated by Mark in Mark 7:1-2, and with a detailed explanation of the matter, Mark 7:3-4. Throughout the section Matthew has abridgments, transpositions, and alterations (in opposition to Hilgenfeld and Weiss).

συνάγονται] is simply: there come together, there assemble themselves (Mark 2:2, Mark 4:1, Mark 5:21, Mark 6:30). The suggestion of a procedure of the synagogue (Lange), or of a formal deputation (Weizsäcker), is purely gratuitous.

ἐλθόντες] applies to both; on the notice itself, comp. Mark 3:22.

With the reading καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν, Mark 7:5 (see the critical remarks), a full stop is not to be placed after Mark 7:1, as by Lachmann and Tischendorf, but the participial construction, begun with ἐλθόντες, runs on easily and simply as far as ἄρτους, where a period is to be inserted. Then follows the explanatory remark, Mark 7:3-4, which does not interrupt the construction, and therefore is not, as usually, to be placed in a parenthesis. But with καὶ ἐπερωτῶσιν in Mark 7:5 a new sentence begins, which continues the narrative.

ἰδόντες] not in Jerusalem (Lange), but on their present arrival, when this gave them a welcome pretext for calling Jesus to account.

τοῦτʼ ἔστιν ἀνίπτοις] Mark explains for his Gentile readers (for whom also the explanation that follows was regarded by him as necessary) in what sense the κοιναῖς is meant. Valckenaer, Wassenbergh, and Fritzsche without ground, and against all the evidence, have declared the words a gloss.(103) See, on the other hand, Bornemann, Schol. in Luc. p. xl. The ἀνίπτοις (Hom. Il. vii. 266; Hesiod, Op. 725; Lucian. Rhet. praec. 14) stands in contrast with the prescribed washing. Theophylact well says: ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν ἤσθιον ἀπεριέργως καὶ ἁπλῶς.

Mark 7:3. πάντες οἱ ἰουδ.] A more popular expression—not to be strained—indicating the general diffusion of the Pharisaic maxims among the people.

πυγμῇ] Vulg.: crebro (after which Luther: manchmal); Gothic: ufta (often); Syr.: diligenter(104)—translations of an ancient reading πυκνά (as in א) or πυκνῶς (heartily), which is not, with Schulz and Tischendorf (comp. Ewald), to be regarded as original, but as an emendation (comp. Luke 5:33), as indeed πυγ΄ῇ itself cannot be made to bear the meaning of πυκνά (in opposition to Casaubon). The only true explanation is the instrumental one; so that they place the closed fist in the hollow of the hand, rub and roll the former in the latter, and in this manner wash their hands ( νίψωνται) with the fist. Comp. Beza, Fritzsche. Similarly Scaliger, Grotius, Calovius, and others, except that they represent the matter as if the text were πυγμὴνταῖς χερσί. The explanations: μέχρι τοῦ ἀγκῶνος (Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus), and: “up to the wrist” (Lightfoot, Bengel), correspond neither with the case nor with the signification of the word. Finally, had some peculiar ritual form of washing been meant (“in which they take the one fist full of water, and so pour it over the other hand held up, that it runs off towards the arm” (Paulus); comp. Drusius, Cameron, Schoettgen, Wetstein, Rosenmüller), Mark would with the mere πυγ΄ῇ have expressed himself as unintelligibly as possible, and a ritual reference so precise would certainly have needed an explanatory remark for his Gentile readers.

Mark 7:4. καὶ ἀπὸ ἀγορᾶς] The addition in D, ἐὰν ἔλθωσι, is a correct interpretation: from market (when they come from the market) they eat not. A pregnant form of expression, which is frequent also in classical writers. See Kypke and Loesner; Winer, Gr. p. 547 [E. T. 776]; Fritzsche in loc. In this case ἐὰν ΄ὴ βαπτισ. is not to be understood of washing the hands (Lightfoot, Wetstein), but of immersion, which the word in classic Greek and in the N. T. everywhere denotes, i.e. in this case, according to the context: to take a bath. So also Luke 11:38. Comp. Sirach 31:25; Judith 12:7. Having come from market, where they may have contracted pollution through contact with the crowd, they eat not, without having first bathed. The statement proceeds by way of climax; before eating they observe the washing of hands always, but the bathing, when they come from market and wish to eat. Accordingly it is obvious that the interpretation of Paulus, Kuinoel, Olshausen, Lange, Bleek: “they eat not what has been bought from the market, without having washed it,” is erroneous both in linguistic usage (active immersion is always βαπτίζειν, not βαπτίζεσθαι) and in respect of the sense, to which the notion of special strictness would have required to be mentally supplied.

βαπτισμούς] is likewise to be understood of the cleansing of things ceremonially impure, which might be effected partly by immersion, partly ( κλινῶν) by mere sprinkling; so that βαπτισμ. applies by way of zeugma to all the four cases.

By the cups and jugs are meant vessels of wood, for mention of the copper vessels ( χαλκίων) follows, and earthen vessels, when they were ceremonially defiled, were broken into pieces (Leviticus 15:12). See Keil, Archäol. I. § 56; Saalschütz, Mos. Recht, I. p. 269.

κλινῶν] not couches in general (de Wette), for the whole context refers to eating; but couches for meals, triclinia (Mark 4:21; Luke 8:16; Xen. Cyr. viii. 2. 6; Herod, ix. 16), which were rendered unclean by persons affected with haemorrhage, leprosy, and the like (Lightfoot, p. 620 f.).

Mark 7:5. With καὶ ἐπερωτ. a new sentence begins. See above on Mark 7:1-2.

Mark 7:6. Mark has not the counter-question recorded in Matthew 15:3, and he gives the two portions of Christ’s answer in inverted order, so that with him the leading thought precedes, while with Matthew it follows. This order of itself, as well as the ironical καλῶς prefixed to both portions, indicates the form in Mark as the more original. Comp. Weizsäcker, p. 76. The order in Matthew betrays the set purpose of placing the law before the prophets. The agreement of the quotation from Isaiah 29:13 with Matthew 15:8 f. is wrongly adduced in opposition to this view (Hilgenfeld); it is to be traced back to the collection of Logia, since it belongs to the speech of Christ.

Mark 7:8. ἀφέντες and κρατεῖτε (2 Thessalonians 2:15) are intentionally chosen as correlative.

ἀλλὰ παρό΄οια τοιαῦτα πολλά] Such accumulations of homoeoteleuta were not avoided even by classical writers. See Lobeck, Paralip. p. 53 f. τοιαῦτα defines παρό΄οια as respects the category of quality.

Mark 7:9. καλῶς] Excellently, nobly,—ironical. 2 Corinthians 11:4; Soph. Ant. 735; Arist. Av. 139; Ael. V. H. i. 16. Not so in Mark 7:6.

ἵνα] “vere accusantur, etsi hypocritae non putarent, hanc suam esse intentionem” (Bengel).

Mark 7:11. κορβᾶν] קָרְכָּן = δῶρον, namely, to the temple.(105) See on Matthew 15:5.

The construction is altogether the same as that in Matt. l.c., so that after ὠφελ. there is an aposiopesis (he is thus bound to this vow), and Mark 7:12 continues the reproving discourse of Jesus, setting forth what the Pharisees do in pursuance of that maxim.

Mark 7:12. οὐκέτι] no more, after the point of the occurrence of the κορβᾶν; previously they had nothing to oppose to it.

Mark 7:13. παρεδώκ.] quam tradidistis. The tradition, which they receive from their predecessors, they have again transmitted to their disciples.

καὶ παρόμοια κ. τ. λ.] a repetition of solemn rebuke (comp. Mark 7:8).

Mark 7:14. πάλιν (see the critical remarks) has no express reference in the connection. But it is to be conceived that after the emergence of the Pharisees, Mark 7:1, Jesus sent away for a time the people that surrounded Him (Mark 6:56); now He calls them back to Him again. Comp. Mark 15:13.

Mark 7:15. There is no comma to be placed after ἀνθρώπου.

ἐκεῖνα] emphasizing the contrast to that which is εἰσπορευό΄ενον. Observe, further, the circumstantiality of the entire mode of expression in Mark 7:15, exhibiting the importance of the teaching given.


Verses 17-23

Mark 7:17-23. See on Matthew 15:12-20; the conversation, which is recorded in this latter Mark 7:12-14, is by him inserted from the Logia here as in an appropriate place.

εἰς οἶκον] peculiar to Mark in this place: into a house. Jesus is still in the land of Gennesareth (Mark 6:53), where He is wandering about.

ἐπηρώτων κ. τ. λ.] According to Matthew 15:15, Peter was the spokesman, the non-mention of whose name in the passage before us is alleged by Hilgenfeld to betoken the Petrinism of Mark, who prefers to divert the reproach upon all the disciples in general; but it in truth betokens the older representation of the scene.

Mark 7:18. οὕτω] siccine, accordingly, since you must ask this question. Comp. on 1 Corinthians 6:5.

καὶ ὑμεῖς] like persons, who have not the benefit of my guidance ( οἱ ἔξω, Mark 4:11).

Mark 7:19.(106) οὐκ εἰσπορ. αὐτοῦ τ. καρδ.] it enters not into his heart.

The word ἀφεδρών does not occur among the Greeks, but ἄφοδος.

The reading καθαρίζον (see the critical remarks) would have to be explained: which (i.e. which ἐκπορεύεσθαι εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα) makes pure the whole of the food (that is eaten), inasmuch, namely, as thereby every impurity passes away from it (by means of the excrements). Thus καθαρίζον would be an appositional addition, which contains the judgment upon the εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται. See Kühner, II. p. 146; Winer, p. 549 [E. T. 778]; Fritzsche in loc. But the latter arbitrarily changes καθαρίζον into the meaning: “puros esse declarat,” in so far, namely, as all food, clean and unclean, would come digested into the ἀφεδρών. With the reading καθαρίζων we must explain: which (the draught) makes pure the whole of the food, inasmuch as it is the place destined for the purpose of receiving the impurities therefrom (the excretions). Thus καθαρίζων refers to τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα, and is put not in the accusative, but in the nominative, as though καὶ ἀφεδρὼν δέχεται or something similar had been said previously, so that the ἀφεδρών appears as the logical subject. Comp. the similar application of the anacoluthic nominative participle among the Greeks (Richter, de anacol. I. p. 7; Bernhardy, p. 53; Krüger, § 56. 9. 4), according to which it is not necessary, as with Buttmann, neut. Gr. p. 68 [E. T. 78], to assume the abbreviation of a relative clause. Comp. also Stallb. ad Plat. Phaed. p. 81 A. Moreover, the connection of the course of the matter presented from ὅτι onward requires that καὶ εἰς τ. ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορ. should still be dependent on ὅτι (in opposition to Fritzsche).

Mark 7:21 f. διαλογισ΄οὶ οἱ κακοί] is specialized by all that follows, which therefore is to be taken as the thoughts actually presenting themselves, as the prava consilia realized.

The following catalogue betrays later enrichment when compared with that of Matthew, and there is not manifest any principium dividendi beyond the fact that (with the exception of ἀσέλγεια, excess, especially unchaste excess; see on Romans 13:13; Galatians 5:19) matters approximately homogeneous are placed together.

πονηρίαι] malignities, ill-wills, Romans 1:29; Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8.

ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρ.] an envious eye, as at Matthew 20:15.

ἀφροσύνη] unreason, morally irrational conduct, Wisdom of Solomon 12:23. Foolishness of moral practice. Comp. on Ephesians 5:17; Beck, Seelenl. p. 63 (its opposite is σωφροσύνη), not merely in loquendo, to which, moreover, ὑπερηφανία (arrogance) is arbitrarily limited (in opposition to Luther’s gloss; Fritzsche also, and de Wette, and many others).

Mark 7:23. As of all good, so also of all evil, the heart is the inmost lifeseat. See Delitzsch, Psych, p. 250.


Verses 24-30

Mark 7:24-30. See on Matthew 15:21-29, who in Mark 7:23-25 has added what is certainly original.

ἐκεῖθεν] out of the land of Gennesareth, Mark 6:53.

εἰς τὰ μεθόρια τύρου into the regions ordering on Tyre (Xen. Cyr. i. 4. 16; Thuc. ii, 27. 2, iv. 56. 2, iv. 99; Herodian, v. 4. 11; Lucian, V. H. i. 20). It is not, withal, said even here (comp. Matthew 15:21) that Jesus had now left Galilee and betaken Himself into Gentile territory. He went into the Galilean regions bordering on Tyre (the tribe of Asher). According to Mark, it was only in further prosecution of His journey (Mark 7:31) that He went through Phoenicia, and even through Sidon, merely, however, as a traveller, and without any sojourn. The explanation of Erasmus and Kypke: into the region between Tyre and Sidon, is set aside by the spuriousness of καὶ σιδῶνος.

εἰς οἰκίαν] into a house. Comp. Mark 7:17. It was doubtless the house of one who honoured Him.

οὐδένα ἤθελε γνῶναι] not: He wished to know no one (Fritzsche, Ewald), but: He wished that no one should know it. See the sequel. Matthew does not relate this wish to remain concealed; the remark is one of those peculiar traits in which Mark is so rich. But he has no purpose of thereby explaining the subsequent refusal of aid on the part of Jesus from another ground than that mentioned by Matthew 15:24 (de Wette, Hilgenfeld), since Mark also at Mark 7:27 narrates in substance the same ground of refusal.

ἠδυνήθη] corresponds to the ἤθελε: He wished … and could not.

ἧς αὐτῆς] See Winer, p. 134 [E. T. 184]. On θυγάτρ., comp. Mark 5:23.

Mark 7:26. ἑλληνίς] a Gentile woman, not a Jewess, Acts 17:12.

Syrophoenice means Phoenicia (belonging to the province of Syria), as distinguished from the λιβοφοίνικες (Strabo, xvii. 3, p. 835) in Libya. The (unusual) form συροφοινίκισσα is, with Wetstein, Griesbach, Scholz, and Lachmann, to be received on account of the preponderance of the witnesses in its favour, with which are to be classed those which read συραφοινίκισσα or σύρα φοινίκισσα (so Teschendorf), which is explanatory (a Phoenician Syrian). The Recepta συροφοίνισσα (so also Fritzsche) is an emendation, since φοίνισσα was the familiar name for a Phoenician woman (Xen. Hell. iii. 4.1, iv. 3. 6; Herodian, v. 3.2). But the form συροφοινίκισσα is not formed from συροφοίνιξ (Luc. D. Concil. 4), but from φοινίκη. The χαναναία of Matthew is substantially the same. See on Matthew 15:22.

ἐκβάλλῃ] (see the critical remarks) present subjunctive, makes the thought of the woman present, and belongs to the vividness of the graphic delineation; Klotz, ad Devar. p. 618.

Mark 7:27. πρῶτον] certainly a modification in accordance with later tradition, intended to convey the meaning: it is not yet competent for Gentiles also to lay claim to my saving ministry; the primary claim, which must be satisfied before it comes to you, is that of the Jews.(107) It is the idea of the ἰουδαίῳ τε πρῶτον καὶ ἕλληνι, Romans 1:16, which has already come in here, added not exactly in a doctrinal sense (Keim), but out of the consciousness of the subsequent course of things and without set purpose—to say nothing of an anti-Judaistic purpose in opposition to Matthew (Hilgenfeld), which would rather have led to the omission of the entire narrative. But in general the presentation of this history in Matthew bears, especially as regards the episode with the disciples, the stamp of greater originality, which is to be explained from a more exact use of the collection of Logia through simple reproduction of their words. Ewald finds in that episode another genuine remnant from the primitive document of Mark. Comp. also Holtzmann, p. 192.

Mark 7:29. διὰ τοῦτον τὸν λόγον ὓπαγε] on account of this saying] (which gives evidence of so strong a confidence in me), go thy way. In ὕπαγε is implied the promise of compliance, hence it is fittingly associated with διὰ τοῦτον τ. λ. Comp. Matthew 8:13; Mark 5:34.

Mark 7:30. εὔρε κ. τ. λ.] “Vis verbi invenit cadit potius super participium quam super nomen” (Bengel).

βεβλημ. ἐπὶ τ. κλίνην] weary and exhausted, but κει΄ένην ἐν εἰρήνῃ, Euthymius Zigabenus, which the demon did not previously permit.


Verses 31-37

Mark 7:31-37. A narrative peculiar to Mark. Matthew, at Mark 15:30-31—here foregoing details, of which he has already related many—only states in general that Jesus, having after the occurrence with the Canaanitish woman returned to the lake, healed many sick, among whom there were also deaf persons. Mark has preserved a special incident from the evangelic tradition, and did not coin it himself (Hilgenfeld).

πάλιν ἐξελθών] his reference to ἀπῆλθεν εἰς, Mark 7:24.

διὰ σιδῶνος] (see the critical remarks): He turned Himself therefore from the region of Tyre first in a northern direction, and went through Sidon (we cannot tell what may have been the more immediate inducement to take this route) in order to return thence to the lake. If we should take σιδῶνος not of the city, but of the region of Sidon ( σιδονία, Hom. Od. xiii. 285; Ewald, Lange also and Lichtenstein), the analogy of τύρου would be opposed to us, as indeed both names always designate the cities themselves.

ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὁρίων τ. δεκαπόλεως] He came (as he journeyed) through the midst (Matthew 13:25; 1 Corinthians 6:5; Revelation 7:17) of the regions belonging to Decapolis, so that He thus from Sidon arrived at the Sea of Galilee, not on this side, but on the farther side of Jordan (comp. on Matthew 4:25), and there the subsequent cure, and then the feeding the multitude, Mark 8:1, occurred, Mark 8:10.

Mark 7:32. κωφὸν μογιλάλον] is erroneously interpreted: a deaf man with a difficulty of utterance (see Beza, Grotius, Maldonatus, de Wette, Bleek, and many others). Although, according to its composition and according to Aëtius in Beck. Anecd. p. 100, 22, μογιλάλος means speaking with difficulty, it corresponds in the LXX. to the אִלֵּם, dumb. See Isaiah 35:6. Comp. Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, Exodus 4:11. Hence it is to be understood as: a deaf-mute (Vulgate, Luther, Calovius, and many others, including Ewald), which is also confirmed by ἀλάλους, Mark 7:37, and is not refuted by ἐλάλει ὀρθῶς, Mark 7:35. The reading μογγιλάλον, speaking hollowly (B** E F H L X γ δ, Matthaei), is accordingly excluded of itself as inappropriate (comp. also Mark 7:35).

Mark 7:33. The question why Jesus took aside the sick man apart from the people, cannot without arbitrariness be otherwise answered than to the effect that He adopted this measure for the sake of an entirely undisturbed rapport between Himself and the sick man, such as must have appeared to Him requisite, in the very case of this sick man, to the efficacy of the spittle and of the touch. Other explanations resorted to are purely fanciful, such as: that Jesus wished to make no parade (Victor Antiochenus, Theophylact, Euthymius Zigabenus, and many others); that in this region, which was not purely Jewish, He wished to avoid attracting dangerous attention (Lange); that He did not wish to foster the superstition of the spectators (Reinhard, Opusc. II. p. 140). De Wette conjectures that the circumstance belongs to the element of mystery, with which Mark invests the healings. But it is just in respect of the two cases of the application of spittle (here and at Mark 8:23) that he relates the withdrawing from the crowd; an inclination to the mysterious would have betrayed itself also in the presenting of the many other miracles. According to Baur, Mark wished to direct the attention of his readers to this precise kind of miraculous cure. This would amount to a fiction in a physiological interest. The spittle(108) (like the oil in Mark 6:13) is to be regarded as the vehicle of the miraculous power. Comp. on John 9:6. It is not, however, to be supposed that Jesus wished in any wise to veil the marvellous element of the cures (Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 282), which would amount to untruthfulness, and would widely differ from the enveloping of the truth in parable.

πτύσας] namely, on the tongue of the patient;(109) this was previous to the touching of the tongue (comp. Mark 1:41, Mark 8:22, Mark 10:13), which was done with the fingers, and not the mode of the touching itself.

Mark 7:34 f. ἐστέναξε] Euthymius Zigabenus well says: ἐπικαμτόμενος τοῖς πάθεσι τοῦ ἀνθρώπου (comp. Grotius and Fritzsche). Certainly (see ἀναβλ. εἰς τ. οὐρανόν) it was a sigh of prayer (de Wette and many others), and yet a sigh: on account of painful sympathy. Comp. Mark 8:12, also Mark 3:5. It is reading between the lines to say, with Lange, that in this half-heathen region duller forms of faith rendered His work difficult for Him; or with Hofmann (Schriftbew. II. 2, p. 352), that He saw in the deaf-mute an image of His people incapable of the hearing of faith and of the utterance of confession (comp. Erasmus, Paraphr.).

ἐφφαθά] ܐܷܠܦܳܬܚܳ, imperative Ethpael.

διανοίχθητι] be opened, namely, in respect of the closed ears and the bound tongue. See what follows.

αἱ ἀκοαί] the ears, as often in classic use (Eur. Phoen. 1494; Luc. Philop. 1; Herodian, iv. 5. 3; comp. 2 Maccabees 15:39).

ἐλύθη κ. τ. λ.] The tongue, with which one cannot speak, is conceived as bound (comp. the classical στό΄α λύειν, γλώσσας λύειν, and see Wetstein), therefore the expression does not justify the supposition of any other cause of the dumbness beside the deafness.

ὀρθῶς] consequently, no longer venting itself in inarticulate, irregular, stuttering sounds, as deaf-mutes attempt to do, but rightly, quite regularly and normally.

Mark 7:36. αὐτοῖς] to those present, to whom He now returned with the man that was cured.

αὐτός] and the subsequent αὐτοί (see the critical remarks) correspond to one another: He on His part … they on their part.

ὅσονμᾶλλον περισσότερον] however much He enjoined (forbade) them, still far more they published it. They exceeded the degree of the prohibition by the yet far greater degree in which they made it known. So transported were they by the miracle, that the prohibition only heightened their zeal, and they prosecuted the κηρύσσειν with still greater energy than if He had not interdicted it to them. As to this prohibition without result generally, comp. on Mark 5:43.

΄ᾶλλον(110)] along with another comparative, strengthens the latter. See on Philippians 1:23; Hermann, ad Viger. p. 719 f.; Stallbaum, ad Phaed. p. 79 E Pflugk, ad Hecub. 377.

Mark 7:37. καλῶς πάντα πεποίηκε] Let πεποίηκε be distinguished from the subsequent ποιεῖ. The former relates to the miraculous cure at that time, which has taken place and is now accomplished (perfect); and καὶ (even) τοὺς κωφοὺς ποιεῖ κ. τ. λ. is the general judgment deduced from this concrete case. In this judgment, however, the generic plurals κωφούς, ἀλάλους are quite in their place, and do not prove (in opposition to Köstlin, p. 347) that a source of which Mark here availed himself contained several cures of deaf and dumb people.

τ. ἀλάλ. λαλ.] the speechless to speak. On ἄλαλος, comp. Plut. Mor. p. 438 B Psalms 37:14; Psalms 38:13.

 


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Bibliography Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on Mark 7:4". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/mark-7.html. 1832.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2020
the Week of Proper 4 / Ordinary 9
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