corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.12
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Mark 8

 

 

Verse 1

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and saith unto them,

This section of miscellaneous matter evidently follows the preceding one in point of time, as will be seen by observing how it is introduced by Matthew.

In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him and saith unto them,


Verse 2

I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat:

I have compassion on the multitude - an expression of that deep emotion in the Redeemer's heart which always preceded some remarkable interposition for relief. (See Matthew 14:14; Matthew 20:34; Mark 1:41; Luke 7:13; also Matthew 9:36, before the mission of the Twelve: compare Judges 2:18; Judges 10:16.)

Because they have now been with me, (in constant attendance), three days, and have nothing to eat:


Verse 3

And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far.

And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for divers of them came from far. In their eagerness they seem not to have thought of the need of provisions for each a length of time; but the Lord thought of it. In Matt. (Matthew 15:32) it is, "I will not send them away fasting" [ apolusai (Greek #630) autous (Greek #846) neestais (Greek #3523) ou (Greek #3756) theloo (Greek #2309)] - or rather, her, 'To send them away fasting I am unwilling.'


Verse 4

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness?

And his disciples answered him, From whence can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the wilderness? Though the question here is the same as when He fed the five thousand, they evidently now meant no more by it than that they had not the means of feeding the multitude; modestly leaving the Lord to decide what was to be done. And this will the more appear from His not now trying them, as before, by saying, "They need not depart, give ye them to eat;" but simply asking what they had, and then giving His directions.


Verse 5

And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven.

And he asked them, How many loaves have ye? And they said, Seven. It was important in this case, as in the former, that the precise number of the leaves should be brought out. Thus also does the distinctness of the two miracles appear.


Verse 6

And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people.

And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and brake, and gave to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people , [ too (Greek #3588) ochloo (Greek #3793)] - 'the multitude.'


Verse 7

And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.

And they had a few small fish: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.


Verse 8

So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets.

So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat [or 'fragments' klasmatoon (G2801)], that was left seven baskets.


Verse 9

And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away.

And they that had eaten were about four thousand: and he sent them away. Had not our Lord distinctly referred, in this very chapter and in two successive sentences to the feeding of the Five and of the Four Thousand, as two distinct miracles, many critics would have insisted that they were but two different representations of one and the same miracle, as they do of the two expulsions of the buyers and sellers from the temple, at the beginning and end of our Lord's ministry. But even in spite of what our Lord says, it is painful to find such men as Neander endeavouring to identify the two miracles. The localities, though both on the eastern side of the lake, were different: the time was different: the preceding and following circumstances were different: the period during which the people continued fasting was different-in the one case not one entire day, in the other three days: the number fed was different-five thousand in the one case, in the other four thousand: the number of the loaves was different-five in the one case, in the other seven: the number of the fish in the one case is definitely stated by all the four Evangelists-two; in the other case both give them indefinitely - "a few small fish" [ ichthudia (Greek #2485) oliga (Greek #3641)]: in the one case the multitude were commanded to sit down "upon the green grass;" in the other, "on the ground" [ epi (Greek #1909) tees (Greek #3588) gees (Greek #1093)]: in the one case the number of the baskets taken up filled with the fragments was twelve; in the other seven: but more than all, perhaps, because apparently quite incidental, in the one case the name given to the kind of baskets used is the same in all the four narratives-the kofinoon (Greek #2894) (see the note at Mark 6:43); in the other case the name given to the kind of baskets used, while it is the same in both the narratives, is quite different-the spuris (Greek #4711), a basket large enough to hold a man's body, because Paul was let down in one of these from the wall of Damascus [ en (Greek #1722) spuridi (Greek #4711)], (Acts 9:25). It might be added, that in the one case the people, in a frenzy of enthusiasm, would have taken Him by force to make Him a king; in the other case no such excitement is recorded. In view of these things, who could have believed that these were one and the same miracle, even if the Lord Himself had not expressly distinguished them?


Verse 10

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

And straightway he entered, into a ship, [ eis (Greek #1519) to (Greek #3588) ploion (Greek #4143)] - 'into the ship,' or 'embarked,'

With his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. In Matthew (Matthew 15:39) it is "the coasts of Magdala." [For this word, Tischendorf, Tregelles, and others read 'Magadan' - [ Magadan (Greek #3092)] - on weighty, but not, as we think, preponderating authority. It is indeed easier to see how "Magadan" - a place of which nobody seems ever to have known anything-should have been changed into the now pretty well idenfied "Magdala," than how the known place should have been changed into one totally unknown. But the authorities do not seem to authorize this change in the text.] Magdala and Dalmanutha were both on the western shore of the lake, and probably not far apart. From the former the surname "Magdalene" was probably taken, to denote the residence of one of the Maries. Dalmanutha may have been a village, but it cannot now be identified with certainty.


Verse 11

And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him.

And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him - not in the least desiring evidence for their conviction, but hoping to entrap Him. The first part of the answer is given in Matthew alone (Matthew 16:2-3): "He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red. And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring" - `sullen' or 'gloomy' [ stugnazoon (Greek #4768)]. "Hypocrites! ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?" The same simplicity of purpose and careful observation of the symptoms of approaching events which they showed in common things would enable them to "discern the signs of the times" - or rather "seasons," to which the prophets pointed for the manifestation of the Messiah. The scepter had departed from Judah; Daniel's 70 weeks were expiring, etc.; and many other significant indications of the close of the old economy, and preparations for a freer and more comprehensive one, might have been discerned. But all was lost upon them.


Verse 12

And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation.

And he sighed deeply in his spirit , [ anastenaxas (Greek #389) too (Greek #3588) pneumati (Greek #4151) autou (Greek #846)]. The language is very strong. These glimpses into the interior of the Redeemer's heart, in which our Evangelist abounds, are more precious than rubies. The state of the Pharisaic heart, which prompted this desire for a fresh sign, went to His very soul.

And saith, Why doth this generation - "this wicked and adulterous generation" (Matthew 16:4),

Seek after a sign? - when they have had such abundant evidence already?

There shall no sign be given unto this generation , [ ei (Greek #1487) dotheesetai (Greek #1325)] - literally, 'If there shall be given to this generation a sign;' a Jewish way of expressing a solemn and peremptory determination to the contrary, (compare Hebrews 4:5; Psalms 95:11, margin) 'A generation incapable of appreciating such demonstrations shall not be gratified with them.' In Matthew 16:4, He added, "but the sign of the prophet Jonas." See the notes at Matthew 12:39-40.


Verse 13

And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side.

And he left them - no doubt with tokens of displeasure, and entering into the ship again, departed to the other side.


Verse 14

Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. Now the disciples had forgotten to take bread, neither had they in the ship with them more than one loaf. This is another example that graphic circumstantiality which gives such chain to this briefest of the four Gospels. The circumstance of the "one loaf" only remaining, as Webster and Wilkinson remark, was more suggestive of their Master's recent miracles than the entire absence of provisions.


Verse 15

And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, and of the leaven of Herod.

And he charged them, saying, Take heed, beware of the leaven of the Pharisees - "and of the Sadducees" (Matthew 16:6),

And of the leaven of Herod. The teaching or "doctrine" (Matthew 16:12) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees was quite different, but both were equally pernicious; and the Herodians, though rather a political party, were equally envenomed against our Lord's spiritual teaching. See the note at Matthew 12:14. The penetrating and diffusive quality of leaven, for good bad, is the ground of the comparison.


Verse 16

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread.

And they reasoned among themselves, saying, It is because we have no bread. But a little ago He was tried with the obduracy of the Pharisees; now He is tried with the obtuseness of His own disciples. The nine questions following each other in rapid succession (Mark 8:17-21), show how deeply He was hurt at this want of spiritual apprehension, and worse still, their low thoughts off Him, as if He would utter so solemn a warning on so petty a subject. It will be seen, however-from the very form of their conjecture, "It is because we have no bread," and our Lord's astonishment that they should not by that time have known better what He took up His attention with-that He ever left the whole care for his own temporal wants to the Twelve: that He did this so entirely, that finding they were reduced to their last loaf they felt as if unworthy of such a trust, and could not think but that the same thought was in their Lord's mind which was pressing upon their own; but that in this they were so far wrong that it hurt His feelings-sharp just in proportion to His love-that such a thought of Him should have entered their minds! Who that, like angels, "desire to look into these things" will not prize such glimpses above gold?


Verse 17

And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

And when Jesus knew it, he saith unto them, why reason ye because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened? How strong an expression to use of true-hearted disciples! See the note at Mark 6:52.


Verse 18

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? and do ye not remember?

Having eyes, see ye not? and having ears, hear ye not? See the note at Matthew 13:13.

And do ye not remember?


Verse 19

When I brake the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.

When I brake the five loaves among ('the') five thousand, how many baskets [ kofinous (G2894)] full of fragments took ye up? They say unto him, Twelve.


Verse 20

And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took ye up? And they said, Seven.

And when the seven among ('the') four thousand, how many baskets [ spuridoon (G4711)] full of fragments took ye up? And they said Seven.


Verse 21

And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand?

And he said unto them, How is it that ye do not understand? - `do not understand that the warning I gave you could not have been prompted by any such petty consideration as the want of loaves in your scrip?' Profuse as were our Lord's miracles, we see from this that they were not performed at random, but that He carefully noted their minutest details, and desired that this should be done by those who witnessed, as doubtless by all who read the record of them. Even the different kind of baskets used at the two miraculous feedings, so carefully noted in the two narratives, are here also referred to; the one smaller, of which them were twelve, the other much larger, of which there were seven.


Verse 22

And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.

And he cometh to Bethsaida - Bethsaida-Julias, on the northeast side of the lake, whence after this He proceeded to Caesarea Philippi (Mark 8:27).

And they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him. See the note at Mark 7:23.


Verse 23

And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. Of the deaf-mute man it is merely said that "He took him aside" (Mark 7:33); but this blind man He led by the hand out of the town, doing it Himself rather than employing another-great humility, exclaims Bengel!-that He might gain his confidence and raise his expectation.

And when he had spit on his eyes - the organ affected. See the note at Mark 7:33.

And put hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.


Verse 24

And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking. This is one of the cases in which one edition of what is called the received text differs from another. That which is decidedly the best supported, and has also internal evidence on its side is this: 'I see men; for I see [them] as trees walking' [ blepoo (Greek #991) tous (Greek #3588) anthroopous (Greek #444), hoti (Greek #3754) hoos (Greek #5613) dendra (Greek #1186) horoo (Greek #3708) peripatountas (Greek #4043)] - that is, he could distinguish them from trees only by their motion; a minute mark of truth in the narrative, as Alford obsess, describing how human objects had appeared to him during that gradual failing of sight which had ended blindness.


Verse 25

After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly. Perhaps the one operation perfectly restored the eyes, while the other imparted immediately the faculty of using them. It is the only recorded example of a progressive cure, and it certainly illustrates similar methods in the spiritual kingdom. Of the four recorded cases of sight restored, all the patients except one either came or were brought to the Physician. In the case of the man born blind, the Physician came to the patient. So some seek find Christ; of others He is found who seek Him not. See the notes at Matthew 13:44-46, Remark 1.


Verse 26

And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town.

And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town nor tell to any in the town. Besides the usual reasons against going about "blazing the matter," retirement in this case would be salutary to himself.

Remarks:

(1) When our Lord was about to open the ears and loose the tongue of the deaf man who had an impediment in his speech, our Evangelist says that He looked up to heaven and sighed (Mark 7:34); but when He had to reply to the captious petulance which sought of Him, amidst a profusion of signs, a sign from heaven, he says He sighed deeply in His spirit. Nor can we wonder. For if the spectacle of what sin had done affected Him deeply, how much more deeply would sin itself affect Him; when exhibited in so trying a form! And occurring, as such things now did almost daily, what a touching commentary do they furnish on the prophetic account of Him as "a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief"!

(2) When men apply to religion none of the ordinary principles of judgment and action, it itself to be with them but an empty creed or an outward ritual, neither acceptable to God nor profitable to themselves. But when it becomes a nature and a life, we learn to bring all our natural judgment, worldly sagacity, ordinary shrewdness, and growing experience to bear upon religious matters; and thus our entire life acquires a unity-having to do now with things temporal, and now with things spiritual and eternal, but in both cases alike governed by the same principles and directed to the same ends. And yet, how often do even the children of God incur that rebuke of their Lord, that they can discern the signs of change in the material, mercantile, or political atmosphere, but are dull in their perceptions of what is passing, and in their ability to forecast what is coming, in the moral, religious, or spiritual world!

(3) If the Redeemer was tried with enemies, He had not a little to bear from time to time even from His own chosen Twelve. How little did they comprehend much that He said to them; how unworthy of Him were many of the thoughts which they imagined to be passing through His mind; and how petty the motives by which they supposed Him to be actuated! How admirable is the long-suffering patience which bore with both! But is the need for this patience vet ended? Not to speak of the world's hostility toward Him, His truth, His cause, His people, which time certainly has not changed, is there not much still in His own people, the endurance of which, when rightly apprehended, is matter of wonder?

(4) As our Lord seems purposely to have varied His mode of healing the maladies that came before Him-having respect, doubtless, to the nature of each case-so is the history of every soul that is healed of its deadly malady by the Great Physician different, probably, from that of every other: some, in particular, being healed quickly, others slowly; some apparently by one word, others by successive steps. But as in all the result is one, so the hand of one mighty, gracious Healer is to be seen alike in all.


Verses 27-38

And Jesus went out, and his disciples, into the towns of Caesarea Philippi: and by the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Whom do men say that I am?

For the exposition, see the notes at Matthew 16:13-28.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

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

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 12th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology