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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Mark 16

 

 

Verse 1

And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

And when the sabbath was past - that is, at sunset of our Saturday,

Mary Magdalene [see the note at Luke 8:2], and Mary the Mother of James [James the Less (see the note at Mark 15:40)], and Salome - the mother of Zebedee's sons (compare Mark 15:40 with Matthew 27:56),

Had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. The word is simply 'bought' [ eegorasan (Greek #59)]. But our translators are perhaps right in rendering it here 'had bought,' since it would appear, from Luke 23:56, that they had purchased them immediately after the crucifixion, on the Friday evening, during the short interval that remained to them before sunset, when the Sabbath rest began; and that they had only deferred using them to anoint the body until the Sabbath rest should be over. On this "anointing," see the note at John 19:40.


Verse 2

And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

And very early in the morning [see the note at Matthew 28:1], the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun - not quite literally, but 'at earliest dawn;' according to a way of speaking not uncommon, and occurring sometimes in the Old Testament. Thus our Lord rose on the third day; having lain in the grave part of Friday, the whole of Saturday, and part of the following First day.


Verse 3

And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?

And they said among themselves [as they were approaching the sacred spot], Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?


Verse 4

And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. This last clause is added, both to account for their wonder how with such a stone on it the grave was to be laid open for them, and to call attention to the power which had rolled it away. Though it was too great for themselves to remove, and without that their spices had been useless, they come notwithstanding; discussing their difficulty, yet undeterred by it. On reaching it they find their difficulty gone-the stone already rolled away by an unseen hand. And are there no others who, when advancing to duty in the face of appalling difficulties, find their stone also rolled away?


Verse 5

And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted.

And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man. In Matthew 28:2, he is called "the angel of the Lord;" but here he is described as he appeared to the eye, in the bloom of a life that knows no decay. In Matthew he is represented as sitting on the stone outside the sepulchre; but since even there he says, "Come, see the place where the Lord lay" (Matthew 28:6), he seems, as Alford says, to have gone in with them from without; only awaiting their arrival to accompany them into the hallowed spot, and instruct them about it.

Sitting on the right side - having respect to the position in which His Lord had lain there. This trait is unique to Mark; but compare Luke 1:11.

Clothed in a long white garment. On its length, see Isaiah 6:1; and on its whiteness, see the note at Matthew 28:3.

And they were affrighted , [ exethambeetheesan (Greek #1568)].


Verse 6

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted , [ Mee (Greek #3361) ekthambeisthe (Greek #1568)] - a stronger word than "Fear not" [ mee (Greek #3361) fobeisthe (Greek #5399)] in Matthew.

Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified , [ ton (Greek #3588) Nazareenon (Greek #3479), ton (Greek #3588) estauroomenon (Greek #4717)] - 'the Nazarene, the Crucified.'

He is risen; he is not here. See the note at Luke 24:5-6.

Behold the place where they laid him. See the note at Matthew 28:6.


Verse 7

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter. This Second Gospel, being drawn up-as all the earliest tradition states-under the eye of Peter, or from materials chiefly furnished by him, there is something deeply affecting in the preservation of this little clause by Mark alone, and in the clause itself, which it is impossible not to connect with the cloud under which Peter lay in the eyes of the Eleven, not to say in his own also. Doubtless the "look" of Jesus and the "bitter weeping" which followed upon it (Luke 22:61-62) contained all the materials of a settlement and a reconciliation. But such wounds are not easily healed; and this was but the first of a series of medicinal touches, the rest of which will follow anon.

That he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you. See the note at Matthew 28:7.


Verse 8

And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed , [ eiche (Greek #2192) de (Greek #1161) autas (Greek #846) tromos (Greek #5156) kai (Greek #2532) ekstasis (Greek #1611)] - 'for tremor and amazement seized them.'

Neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid. How intensely natural and simple is this!

[All the verses of this chapter, from the 9th to the end, are regarded by Griesbach, Tischendorf, and Tregelles as no part of the original text of this Gospel, but as added by a later hand: Because, first, they are missing in B and 'Aleph (') - the well-known Codex Vaticanus and the recently discovered Codex Sinaiticus, being the oldest manuscripts yet known; in one copy of the Old Latin Version; in some copies of the Armenian Version; and in an Arabic Lectionary or Church Lesson; while a few of the Cursive or later manuscripts of this Gospel have the verses with marks indicative of doubt as to their genuineness: Again, because Eusebius and Jerome-most competent witnesses and judges, of the fourth century-pronounce against them, affirming that the genuine text of this Gospel ended with Mark 16:8 : And further, because the style of this portion so differs from the rest of this Gospel as to suggest a different author; while the variations in the text itself are just ground of suspicion.

For these reasons, Meyer, Fritzsche, Alford, and other critical commentators, decide against the passage. But these reasons seem to us totally insufficient to counter-balance the evidence in favour of the verses in question. First, they are found in all the Uncial or earlier Greek manuscripts, except the two above-mentioned-including A, or the Alexandrian manuscript, which is admitted to be not more than fifty years later than the two oldest, and of scarcely less, if indeed of any less, authority; in one or two manuscripts in which they are not found, a space is left to show that something is wanting-not large enough, indeed, to contain the verses, but this probably only to save space; nor do the variations in the text exceed those in some passages whose genuineness is admitted: They are found in all the Cursive or later Greek manuscripts: They are found in all the most ancient Versions: They are quoted by Irenoeus, and so must have been known in the second century; by one father at least in the third century, and by two or three in the fourth, as part of this Gospel.

The argument from difference of style is exceedingly slender-confined to a few words and phrases, which The argument from difference of style is exceedingly slender-confined to a few words and phrases, which vary, as everyone knows, in different writings of the same author and even different portions of the same writing, with the varying aspects of the subject and the writer's emotions. That so carefully constructed a Narrative as that of this Gospel terminated with the words, "for they were afraid" - efobounto (Greek #5399) gar (Greek #1063) - is what one wonders that any can bring themselves to believe. Accordingly, Lathmann inserts it as part of his text; and de Wette, Hug, and Lange in Germany, with Ellicott and Scrivener among ourselves, defend it. The conjecture of some recent critics, that it may have been added by the Evangelist himself, after the copies first issued had been for some time in circulation, is too far-fetched to be entitled to consideration.]


Verse 9

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. There is some difficulty here, and different ways of removing it have been adopted. She had gone with the other women to the sepulchre (Mark 16:1), parting from them, perhaps, before their interview with the angel, and on finding Peter and John she had come with them back to the spot; and it was at this second visit, it would seem, that Jesus appeared to this Mary, as detailed in John 20:11-18. To a woman was this honour given to be the first that saw the risen Redeemer; and that woman was NOT his virgin-mother.


Verse 10

And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.


Verse 11

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.

And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. This, which is once and again repeated of them all, is most important in its bearing on their subsequent testimony to His resurrection, at the risk of life itself.


Verse 12

After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

After that he appeared in another form (compare Luke 24:16) unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. The reference here, of course, is to His manifestation to the two disciples going to Emmaus, so exquisitely told by the third Evangelist (see the note at Luke 24:13, etc.).

And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.


Verse 13

And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

No JFB commentary on this verse.


Verse 14

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.


Verse 15

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. See the notes at John 20:19-23; and at Luke 24:36-49.


Verse 16

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

He that believeth and is baptized. Baptism is here put for the external signature of the inner faith of the heart, just as "confessing with the mouth" is in Romans 10:10; and there also as here this outward manifestation, once mentioned as the proper fruit of faith, is not repeated in what follows (Romans 10:11).

Shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. These awful issues of the reception or rejection of the Gospel, though often recorded in other connections, are given in this connection only by Mark.


Verse 17

And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;


Verse 18

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. These two verses are also unique to Mark.


Verse 19

So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

So then, after the Lord - an epithet applied to Jesus by this Evangelist only in the two concluding verses, when He comes to His glorious Ascension and its subsequent fruits. It is most frequent in Luke.

Had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven. See the notes at Luke 24:50-51.

And sat on the right hand of God. This great truth is here only related as a fact in the Gospel History. In that exalted attitude He appeared to Stephen (Acts 7:55-56); and it is thereafter perpetually referred to as His proper condition in glory.


Verse 20

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them,

And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. We have in this closing verse a most important link of connection with the Acts of the Apostles, where He who directed all the movements of the infant Church is perpetually called "THE LORD" thus illustrating His own promise for the founding and building up of the Church, "Lo, I AM WITH YOU alway!"

For Remarks on this section, see those on the corresponding section of the First Gospel - Matthew 28:1-15.

 


Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Mark 16:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/mark-16.html. 1871-8.

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Sunday, January 19th, 2020
Second Sunday after Epiphany
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