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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament
Mark 6

 

 

Verse 1

Into his own country (εις την πατριδα αυτουeis tēn patrida autou). So Matthew 13:54. There is no real reason for identifying this visit to Nazareth with that recorded in Luke 4:26-31 at the beginning of the Galilean Ministry. He was rejected both times, but it is not incongruous that Jesus should give Nazareth a second chance. It was only natural for Jesus to visit his mother, brothers, and sisters again. Neither Mark nor Matthew mention Nazareth here by name, but it is plain that by πατριδαpatrida the region of Nazareth is meant. He had not lived in Bethlehem since his birth.


Verse 2

Began to teach (ηρχατο διδασκεινērxato didaskein). As was now his custom in the synagogue on the sabbath. The ruler of the synagogue (αρχισυναγωγοςarchisunagōgos see Mark 5:22) would ask some one to speak whensoever he wished. The reputation of Jesus all over Galilee opened the door for him. Jesus may have gone to Nazareth for rest, but could not resist this opportunity for service.

Whence hath this man these things? (Ποτεν τουτωι ταυταPothen toutōi tauta̱). Laconic and curt, Whence these things to this fellow? With a sting and a fling in their words as the sequel shows. They continued to be amazed (εχεπλησσοντοexeplēssonto imperfect tense passive). They challenge both the apparent wisdom (σοπιαsophia) with which he spoke and the mighty works or powers (αι δυναμειςhai dunameis) such as those (τοιαυταιtoiautai) coming to pass (γινομεναιginomenai present middle participle, repeatedly wrought) by his hands (δια των χειρωνdia tōn cheirōn). They felt that there was some hocus-pocus about it somehow and somewhere. They do not deny the wisdom of his words, nor the wonder of his works, but the townsmen knew Jesus and they had never suspected that he possessed such gifts and graces.


Verse 3

Is not this the carpenter? (Ουχ ουτος εστιν ο τεκτωνOuch houtos estin ho tektōṉ). Matthew 13:55 calls him “the carpenter‘s son” (ο του τεκτονος υιοςho tou tektonos huios). He was both. Evidently since Joseph‘s death he had carried on the business and was “the carpenter” of Nazareth. The word τεκτωνtektōn comes from τεκειν τικτωtekein τεχνη tiktō to beget, create, like τεκτωνtechnē (craft, art). It is a very old word, from Homer down. It was originally applied to the worker in wood or builder with wood like our carpenter. Then it was used of any artisan or craftsman in metal, or in stone as well as in wood and even of sculpture. It is certain that Jesus worked in wood. Justin Martyr speaks of ploughs, yokes, et cetera, made by Jesus. He may also have worked in stone and may even have helped build some of the stone synagogues in Galilee like that in Capernaum. But in Nazareth the people knew him, his family (no mention of Joseph), and his trade and discounted all that they now saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears. This word carpenter “throws the only flash which falls on the continuous tenor of the first thirty years from infancy to manhood, of the life of Christ” (Farrar). That is an exaggeration for we have Luke 2:41-50 and “as his custom was” (Luke 4:16), to go no further. But we are grateful for Mark‘s realistic use of και εσκανδαλιζοντο εν αυτωιtektōn here.

And they were offended in him (σκανδαλονkai eskandalizonto en autōi). So exactly Matthew 13:56, were made to stumble in him, trapped like game by the πετρα σκανδαλουskandalon because they could not explain him, having been so recently one of them. “The Nazarenes found their stumbling block in the person or circumstances of Jesus. He became - προπητηςpetra skandalou (1 Peter 2:7, 1 Peter 2:8; Romans 9:33) to those who disbelieved” (Swete). Both Mark and Matthew 13:57, which see, preserve the retort of Jesus with the quotation of the current proverb about a prophet‘s lack of honour in his own country. John 4:44 quoted it from Jesus on his return to Galilee long before this. It is to be noted that Jesus here makes a definite claim to being a prophet (εν τηι οικιαι αυτουprophētēs forspeaker for God), a seer. He was much more than this as he had already claimed to be Messiah (John 4:26; Luke 4:21), the Son of man with power of God (Mark 1:10; Matthew 9:6; Luke 5:24), the Son of God (John 5:22). They stumble at Jesus today as the townspeople of Nazareth did.

In his own house (en tēi oikiāi autou). Also in Matthew 13:57. This was the saddest part of it all, that his own brothers in his own home disbelieved his Messianic claims (John 7:5). This puzzle was the greatest of all.


Verse 6

And he marvelled because of their unbelief (και εταυμασεν δια την απιστιαν αυτωνkai ethaumasen dia tēn apistian autōn). Aorist tense, but Westcott and Hort put the imperfect in the margin. Jesus had divine knowledge and accurate insight into the human heart, but he had human limitations in certain things that are not clear to us. He marvelled at the faith of the Roman centurion where one would not expect faith (Matthew 8:10; Luke 7:9). Here he marvels at the lack of faith where he had a right to expect it, not merely among the Jews, but in his own home town, among his kinspeople, even in his own home. One may excuse Mary, the mother of Jesus, from this unbelief, puzzled, as she probably was, by his recent conduct (Mark 3:21, Mark 3:31). There is no proof that she ever lost faith in her wonderful Son.

He went round about the villages teaching (περιηγεν τας κωμας κυκλωι διδασκωνperiēgen tās kōmas kuklōi didaskōn). A good illustration of the frequent poor verse division. An entirely new paragraph begins with these words, the third tour of Galilee. They should certainly be placed with Mark 6:7. The Revised Version would be justified if it had done nothing else than give us paragraphs according to the sense and connection. “Jesus resumes the role of a wandering preacher in Galilee” (Bruce). Imperfect tense, περιηγενperiēgen f0).


Verse 7

By two and two (δυο δυοduo duo). This repetition of the numeral instead of the use of ανα δυοana duo or κατα δυοkata duo is usually called a Hebraism. The Hebrew does have this idiom, but it appears in Aeschylus and Sophocles, in the vernacular Koiné (Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 121), in Byzantine Greek, and in modern Greek (Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, pp. 122f.). Mark preserves the vernacular Koiné better than the other Gospels and this detail suits his vivid style. The six pairs of apostles could thus cover Galilee in six different directions. Mark notes that he “began to send them forth” (ηρχατο αυτους αποστελλεινērxato autous apostellein). Aorist tense and present infinitive. This may refer simply to this particular occasion in Mark‘s picturesque way. But the imperfect tense εδιδουedidou means he kept on giving them all through the tour, a continuous power (authority) over unclean spirits singled out by Mark as representing “all manner of diseases and all manner of sickness” (Matthew 10:1), “to cure diseases” (ιασταιiasthai Luke 9:1), healing power. They were to preach and to heal (Luke 9:1; Matthew 10:7). Mark does not mention preaching as a definite part of the commission to the twelve on this their first preaching tour, but he does state that they did preach (Mark 6:12). They were to be missioners or missionaries (αποστελλεινapostellein) in harmony with their office (αποστολοιapostoloi).


Verse 8

Save a staff only (ει μη ραβδον μονονei mē rabdon monon). Every traveller and pilgrim carried his staff. Bruce thinks that Mark has here preserved the meaning of Jesus more clearly than Matthew 10:10 (nor staff) and Luke 9:3 (neither staff). This discrepancy has given trouble to commentators. Grotius suggests no second staff for Matthew and Luke. Swete considers that Matthew and Luke report “an early exaggeration of the sternness of the command.” “Without even a staff is the ne plus ultra of austere simplicity, and self-denial. Men who carry out the spirit of these precepts will not labour in vain” (Bruce).


Verse 9

Shod with sandals (υποδεδεμενους σανδαλιαhupodedemenous sandalia). Perfect passive participle in the accusative case as if with the infinitive πορευεσταιporeuesthai or πορευτηναιporeuthēnai (to go). Note the aorist infinitive middle, ενδυσασταιendusasthai (text of Westcott and Hort), but ενδυσηστεendusēsthe (aorist middle subjunctive) in the margin. Change from indirect to direct discourse common enough, not necessarily due to “disjointed notes on which the Evangelist depended” (Swete). Matthew 10:10 has “nor shoes” (μηδε υποδηματαmēde hupodēmata), possibly preserving the distinction between “shoes” and “sandals” (worn by women in Greece and by men in the east, especially in travelling). But here again extra shoes may be the prohibition. See note on Matthew 10:10 for this.

Two coats (duo chitōnas). Two was a sign of comparative wealth (Swete). The mention of “two” here in all three Gospels probably helps us to understand that the same thing applies to shoes and staff. “In general, these directions are against luxury in equipment, and also against their providing themselves with what they could procure from the hospitality of others” (Gould).


Verse 10

There abide (εκει μενετεekei menete). So also Matthew 10:11; Luke 9:4. Only Matthew has city or village (Matthew 10:11), but he mentions house in Matthew 10:12. They were to avoid a restless and dissatisfied manner and to take pains in choosing a home. It is not a prohibition against accepting invitations.


Verse 11

For a testimony unto them (εις μαρτυριον αυτοιςeis marturion autois). Not in Matthew. Luke 9:5 has “for a testimony against them” (εις μαρτυριον επι αυτουςeis marturion epi autous). The dative αυτοιςautois in Mark is the dative of disadvantage and really carries the same idea as επιepi in Luke. The dramatic figure of shaking out (εκτιναχατεektinaxate effective aorist imperative, Mark and Matthew), shaking off (αποτινασσετεapotinassete present imperative, Luke).


Verse 12

Preached that men should repent (εκηρυχαν ινα μετανοωσινekēruxan hina metanoōsin). Constative aorist (εκηρυχανekēruxan), summary description. This was the message of the Baptist (Matthew 3:2) and of Jesus (Mark 1:15).


Verse 13

They cast out many demons and they anointed with oil (εχεβαλλον και ηλειπον ελαιωιexeballon kai ēleiphon elaiōi). Imperfect tenses, continued repetition. Alone in Mark. This is the only example in the N.T. of αλειπω ελαιωιaleiphō elaiōi used in connection with healing save in James 5:14. In both cases it is possible that the use of oil (olive oil) as a medicine is the basis of the practice. See note on Luke 10:34 for pouring oil and wine upon the wounds. It was the best medicine of the ancients and was used internally and externally. It was employed often after bathing. The papyri give a number of examples of it. The only problem is whether αλειπωaleiphō in Mark and James is used wholly in a ritualistic and ceremonial sense or partly as medicine and partly as a symbol of divine healing. The very word αλειπωaleiphō can be translated rub or anoint without any ceremony. “Traces of a ritual use of the unction of the sick appear first among Gnostic practices of the second century” (Swete). We have today, as in the first century, God and medicine. God through nature does the real healing when we use medicine and the doctor.


Verse 14

Heard (ηκουσενēkousen). This tour of Galilee by the disciples in pairs wakened all Galilee, for the name of Jesus thus became known (πανερονphaneron) or known till even Herod heard of it in the palace. “A palace is late in hearing spiritual news” (Bengel).

Therefore do these powers work in him (δια τουτο ενεργουσιν αι δυναμεις εν αυτωιdia touto energousin hai dunameis en autōi). “A snatch of Herod‘s theology and philosophy” (Morison). John wrought no miracles (John 10:41), but if he had risen from the dead perhaps he could. So Herod may have argued. “Herod‘s superstition and his guilty conscience raised this ghost to plague him” (Gould). Our word energy is this same Greek word here used (ενεργουσινenergousin). It means at work. Miraculous powers were at work in Jesus whatever the explanation. This all agreed, but they differed widely as to his personality, whether Elijah or another of the prophets or John the Baptist. Herod was at first much perplexed (διηπορειdiēporei Luke 9:7 and Mark 6:20).


Verse 16

John, whom I beheaded (ον εγο απεκεπαλισα Ιωανηνhon ego apekephalisa Iōanēn). His fears got the best of him and so Herod settled down on this nightmare. He could still see that charger containing John‘s head coming towards him in his dreams. The late verb αποκεπαλιζωapokephalizō means to cut off the head. Herod had ordered it done and recognizes his guilt.


Verse 17

For Herod himself (Αυτος γαρ ο ηρωιδηςAutos gar ho Hērōidēs). Mark now proceeds to give the narrative of the death of John the Baptist some while before these nervous fears of Herod. But this post eventum narrative is very little out of the chronological order. The news of John‘s death at Machaerus may even have come at the close of the Galilean tour. “The tidings of the murder of the Baptist seem to have brought the recent circuit to an end” (Swete). The disciples of John “went and told Jesus. Now when Jesus heard it, he withdrew from thence in a boat” (Matthew 14:12.). See note on Matthew 14:3-12 for the discussion about Herod Antipas and John and Herodias.


Verse 18

Thy brother‘s wife (την γυναικα του αδελπουtēn gunaika tou adelphou). While the brother was alive (Leviticus 18:16; Leviticus 20:21). After a brother‘s death it was often a duty to marry his widow.


Verse 19

And Herodias set herself against him (η δε ηρωιδιας ενειχεν αυτωιHē de Hērōidias eneichen autōi). Dative of disadvantage. Literally, had it in for him. This is modern slang, but is in exact accord with this piece of vernacular Koiné. No object of ειχενeichen is expressed, though οργηνorgēn or χολονcholon may be implied. The tense is imperfect and aptly described the feelings of Herodias towards this upstart prophet of the wilderness who had dared to denounce her private relations with Herod Antipas. Gould suggests that she “kept her eye on him” or kept up her hostility towards him. She never let up, but bided her time which, she felt sure, would come. See the same idiom in Genesis 49:23. She desired to kill him (ητελεν αυτον αποκτειναιēthelen auton apokteinai). Imperfect again.

And she could not (και ουκ ηδυνατοkai ouk ēdunato). ΚαιKai here has an adversative sense, but she could not. That is, not yet. “The power was wanting, not the will” (Swete).


Verse 20

Feared John (εποβειτο τον Ιωανηνephobeito ton Iōanēn). Imperfect tense, continual state of fear. He feared John and also Herodias. Between the two Herod vacillated. He knew him to be righteous and holy (δικαιον και αγιονdikaion kai hagion) and so innocent of any wrong. So he kept him safe (συνετηρειsunetērei). Imperfect tense again. Late Greek verb. From the plots and schemes of Herodias. She was another Jezebel towards John and with Herod.

Much perplexed (πολλα ηπορειpolla ēporei). This the correct text not πολλα εποιειpolla epoiei did many things. Imperfect tense again.

He heard him gladly (ηδεως ηκουενhēdeōs ēkouen). Imperfect tense again. This is the way that Herod really felt when he could slip away from the meshes of Herodias. These interviews with the Baptist down in the prison at Machaerus during his occasional visits there braced “his jaded mind as with a whiff of fresh air” (Swete). But then he saw Herodias again and he was at his wits‘ end (ηπορειēporei lose one‘s way, αa privative and ποροςporos way), for he knew that he had to live with Herodias with whom he was hopelessly entangled.


Verse 21

When a convenient day was come (γενομενης ημερας ευκαιρουgenomenēs hēmeras eukairou). Genitive absolute. A day well appointed ευeu well, καιροςkairos time) for the purpose, the day for which she had long waited. She had her plans all laid to spring a trap for her husband Herod Antipas and to make him do her will with the Baptist. Herod was not to know that he was the mere catspaw of Herodias till it was all over. See note on Matthew 14:6 for discussion of Herod‘s birthday (genesiois locative case or associative instrumental of time).

Made a supper (deipnon epoiēsen). Banquet.

To his lords (γενεσιοιςtois megistāsin autou). From δειπνον εποιησενmegistan (that from τοις μεγιστασιν αυτουmegas great), common in the lxx and later Greek. Cf. Revelation 6:15; Revelation 18:23. In the papyri. The grandees, magnates, nobles, the chief men of civil life.

The high captains (μεγιστανtois chiliarchois). Military tribunes, commanders of a thousand men.

The chief men of Galilee (μεγαςtois prōtois tēs Galilaias). The first men of social importance and prominence. A notable gathering that included these three groups at the banquet on Herod‘s birthday.


Verse 22

The daughter of Herodias herself (της τυγατρος αυτης ηρωιδιαδοςtēs thugatros autēs Hērōidiados). Genitive absolute again. Some ancient manuscripts read αυτουautou (his, referring to Herod Antipas. So Westcott and Hort) instead of αυτηςautēs (herself). In that case the daughter of Herodias would also have the name Herodias as well as Salome, the name commonly given her. That is quite possible in itself. It was toward the close of the banquet, when all had partaken freely of the wine, that Herodias made her daughter come in and dance (εισελτουσης και ορχησαμενηςeiselthousēs kai orchēsamenēs) in the midst (Matthew). “Such dancing was an almost unprecedented thing for women of rank, or even respectability. It was mimetic and licentious, and performed by professionals” (Gould). Herodias stooped thus low to degrade her own daughter like a common εταιραhetaira in order to carry out her set purpose against John.

She pleased Herod and them that sat at meat (ηρεσεν ηρωιδηι και τοις συνανακειμενοιςēresen Hērōidēi kai tois sunanakeimenois). The maudlin group lounging on the divans were thrilled by the licentious dance of the half-naked princess.

Whatsoever thou wilt (ο εαν τεληιςho ean thelēis) The drunken Tetrarch had been caught in the net of Herodias. It was a public promise.


Verse 23

And he sware unto her (και ωμοσεν αυτηιkai ōmosen autēi). The girl was of marriageable age though called κορασιονkorasion (cf. Esther 2:9). Salome was afterward married to Philip the Tetrarch. The swaggering oath to the half of the kingdom reminds one of Esther 5:3., the same oath made to Esther by Ahasuerus.


Verse 24

What shall I ask? (Τι αιτησωμαιTimothyaitēsōmai̱). The fact that she went and spoke to her mother proves that she had not been told beforehand what to ask. Matthew 14:8 does not necessarily mean that, but he simply condenses the account. The girl‘s question implies by the middle voice that she is thinking of something for herself. She was no doubt unprepared for her mother‘s ghastly reply.


Verse 25

Straightway with haste (ευτυς μετα σπουδηςeuthus meta spoudēs). Before the king‘s rash mood passed and while he was still under the spell of the dancing princess. Herodias knew her game well. See note on Matthew 14:8.


Verse 26

He would not reject her (ουκ ητελησεν ατετησαι αυτηνouk ēthelēsen athetēsai autēn). He was caught once again between his conscience and his environment. Like many since his day the environment stifled his conscience.


Verse 27

A soldier of his guard (σπεκουλατοραspekoulatora). Latin word speculator. A spy, scout, lookout, and often executioner. It was used of the bodyguard of the Roman emperor and so for one of Herod‘s spies. He was used to do errands of this sort and it was soon done. It was a gruesome job, but he soon brought John‘s head to the damsel, apparently in the presence of all, and she took it to her mother. This miserable Tetrarch, the slave of Herodias, was now the slave of his fears. He is haunted by the ghost of John and shudders at the reports of the work of Jesus.


Verse 29

His corpse (το πτωμα αυτουto ptōma autou). See note on Matthew 24:28. It was a mournful time for the disciples of John. “They went and told Jesus” (Matthew 14:12). What else could they do?


Verse 30

And the apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus (και συναγονται οι αποστολοι προς τον Ιησουνkai sunagontai hoi apostoloi pros ton Iēsoun). Vivid historical present.

All things whatsoever they had done and whatsoever they had taught (παντα οσα εποιησαν και οσα εδιδαχανpanta hosa epoiēsan kai hosa edidaxan). Not past perfect in the Greek, just the aorist indicative, constative aorist that summed it all up, the story of this their first tour without Jesus. And Jesus listened to it all (Luke 9:10). He was deeply concerned in the outcome.


Verse 31

Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place and rest awhile (Δευτε υμεις αυτοι κατ ιδιαν εις ερημον τοπον και αναπαυεστε ολιγονDeute humeis autoi kat' idian eis erēmon topon kai anapauesthe oligon). It was plain that they were over-wrought and excited and needed refreshment (αναπαυεστεanapauesthe middle voice, refresh yourselves, “rest up” literally). This is one of the needed lessons for all preachers and teachers, occasional change and refreshment. Even Jesus felt the need of it.

They had no leisure so much as to eat (ουδε παγειν ευκαιρουνoude phagein eukairoun). Imperfect tense again. Crowds were coming and going. Change was a necessity.


Verse 32

And they went away in a boat (και απηλτον εν τωι πλοιωιkai apēlthon en tōi ploiōi). They accepted with alacrity and off they went.


Verse 33

Outwent them (προηλτον αυτουςproēlthon autous). The crowds were not to be outdone. They recognized (εγνωσανegnōsan) Jesus and the disciples and ran around the head of the lake on foot (πεζηιpezēi) and got there ahead of Jesus and were waiting for Him when the boat came.


Verse 34

They were as sheep not having a shepherd (ησαν ως προβατα μη εχοντα ποιμεναēsan hōs probata mē echonta poimena). Matthew has these words in another context (Matthew 9:26), but Mark alone has them here. ΜηMē is the usual negative for the participle in the Koiné. These excited and exciting people (Bruce) greatly needed teaching. Matthew 14:14 mentions healing as does Luke 9:11 (both preaching and healing). But a vigorous crowd of runners would not have many sick. The people had plenty of official leaders but these rabbis were for spiritual matters blind leaders of the blind. Jesus had come over for rest, but his heart was touched by the pathos of this situation. So “he began to teach them many things” (ηρχατο διδασκειν αυτους πολλαērxato didaskein autous polla). Two accusatives with the verb of teaching and the present tense of the infinitive. He kept it up.


Verse 35

When the day was now far spent (ηδη ωρας πολλης γενομενηςēdē hōras pollēs genomenēs). Genitive absolute. ωραHōra used here for day-time (so Matthew 14:15) as in Polybius and late Greek. Much day-time already gone. Luke 9:12 has it began to incline (κλινεινklinein) or wear away. It was after 3 p.m., the first evening. Note second evening or sunset in Mark 6:47; Matthew 14:23; John 6:16. The turn of the afternoon had come and sunset was approaching. The idiom is repeated at the close of the verse. See note on Matthew 14:15.


Verse 36

Into the country and villages round about (εις τους κυκλωι αγρους και κωμαςeis tous kuklōi agrous kai kōmas). The fields (αγρουςagrous) were the scattered farms (Latin, villae). The villages (κωμαςkōmas) may have included Bethsaida Julias not far away (Luke 9:10). The other Bethsaida was on the Western side of the lake (Mark 6:45).

Somewhat to eat (τι παγωσινti phagōsin). Literally, what to eat, what they were to eat. Deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect question.


Verse 38

Go and see (υπαγετε ιδετεhupagete idete). John says that Jesus asked Philip to find out what food they had (John 6:5.) probably after the disciples had suggested that Jesus send the crowd away as night was coming on (Mark 6:35.). On this protest to his command that they feed the crowds (Mark 6:37; Matthew 14:16; Luke 9:13) Jesus said “Go see” how many loaves you can get hold of. Then Andrew reports the fact of the lad with five barley loaves and two fishes (John 6:8.). They had suggested before that two hundred pennyworth (δηναριων διακοσιωνdēnariōn diakosiōn See note on Matthew 18:28) was wholly inadequate and even that (some thirty-five dollars) was probably all that or even more than they had with them. John‘s Gospel alone tells of the lad with his lunch which his mother had given him.


Verse 39

By companies (συμποσια συμποσιαsumposia sumposia). Distribution expressed by repetition as in Mark 6:7 (δυο δυοduo duo) instead of using αναana or καταkata Literally our word symposium and originally a drinking party, Latin convivium, then the party of guests of any kind without the notion of drinking. So in Plutarch and the lxx (especially I Macca.).

Upon the green grass (επι τωι χλωρωι χορτωιepi tōi chlōrōi chortōi). Another Markan touch. It was passover time (John 6:4) and the afternoon sun shone upon the orderly groups upon the green spring grass. See note on Matthew 14:15. They may have been seated like companies at tables, open at one end.


Verse 40

They sat down in ranks (ανεπεσαν πρασιαι πρασιαιanepesan prasiai prasiai). They half-way reclined (ανακλιτηναιanaklithēnai Mark 6:39). Fell up here (we have to say fell down), the word ανεπεσανanepesan means. But they were arranged in groups by hundreds and by fifties and they looked like garden beds with their many-coloured clothes which even men wore in the Orient. Then again Mark repeats the word, πρασιαι πρασιαιprasiai prasiai in the nominative absolute as in Mark 6:39 instead of using αναana or καταkata with the accusative for the idea of distribution. Garden beds, garden beds. Peter saw and he never forgot the picture and so Mark caught it. There was colour as well as order in the grouping. There were orderly walks between the rows on rows of men reclining on the green grass. The grass is not green in Palestine much of the year, mainly at the passover time. So here the Synoptic Gospels have an indication of more than a one-year ministry of Jesus (Gould). It is still one year before the last passover when Jesus was crucified.


Verse 41

Brake the loaves; and he gave to the disciples (και απο των ιχτυωνkai apo tōn ichthuōn). Apparently the fishes were in excess of the twelve baskets full of broken pieces of bread. See note on Matthew 14:20 for discussion of kophinos and sphuris the two kinds of baskets.


Verse 44

Men (ανδρεςandres). Men as different from women as in Matthew 14:21. This remarkable miracle is recorded by all Four Gospels, a nature miracle that only God can work. No talk about accelerating natural processes will explain this miracle. And three eyewitnesses report it: the Logia of Matthew, the eyes of Peter in Mark, the witness of John the Beloved Disciple (Gould). The evidence is overwhelming.


Verse 45

To Bethsaida (προς ητσαιδανpros Bēthsaidan). This is Bethsaida on the Western side, not Bethsaida Julias on the Eastern side where they had just been (Luke 9:10).

While he himself sendeth the multitude away (εως αυτος απολυει τον οχλονheōs autos apoluei ton ochlon). Matthew 14:22 has it “till he should send away” (εως ου απολυσηιheōs hou apolusēi) with the aorist subjunctive of purpose. Mark with the present indicative απολυειapoluei pictures Jesus as personally engaged in persuading the crowds to go away now. John 6:41. explains this activity of Jesus. The crowds had become so excited that they were in the mood to start a revolution against the Roman government and proclaim Jesus king. He had already forced in reality the disciples to leave in a boat to go before him (προαγεινproagein) in order to get them out of this atmosphere of overwrought excitement with a political twist to the whole conception of the Messianic Kingdom. They were in grave danger of being swept off their feet and falling heedlessly into the Pharisaic conception and so defeating the whole teaching and training of Jesus with them. See note on Matthew 14:22, Matthew 14:23. To this pass things had come one year before the Crucifixion. He had done his best to help and bless the crowds and lost his chance to rest. No one really understood Jesus, not the crowds, not the disciples. Jesus needed the Father to stay and steady him. The devil had come again to tempt him with world dominion in league with the Pharisees, the populace, and the devil in the background.


Verse 47

When even was come (οπσιας γενομενηςopsias genomenēs). The second or late evening, six p.m. at this season, or sunset on.

He alone on the land (και αυτος μονος ηπι της γηςkai autos monos ēpi tēs gēs). Another Markan touch. Jesus had come down out of the mountain where he had prayed to the Father. He is by the sea again in the late twilight. Apparently Jesus remained quite a while, some hours, on the beach. “It was now dark and Jesus had not yet come to them” (John 6:17).


Verse 48

Seeing them distressed in rowing (ιδων αυτους βασανιζομενους εν τωι ελαυνεινidōn autous basanizomenous en tōi elaunein). See also Matthew 8:29 for the word βασανιζωbasanizō to torture, torment (Matthew 4:24) with a touch-stone, then to distress as here. Papyri have δια βασανωνdia basanōn used on slaves like our third degree for criminals. ΕλαυνεινElaunein is literally to drive as of ships or chariots. They drove the boat with oars. Common in Xenophon for marching.

About the fourth watch of the night (περι τεταρτην πυλακην της νυκτοςperi tetartēn phulakēn tēs nuktos). That is, between three and six a.m.

The wind was contrary to them (εναντιος αυτοιςenantios autois), that is in their faces and rowing was difficult, “a great wind” (John 6:18), and as a result the disciples had made little progress. They should have been over long before this.

And he would have passed by them (και ητελεν παρελτειν αυτουςkai ēthelen parelthein autous). Only in Mark. He wished to pass by them, praeterire eos (Vulgate). Imperfect tense ητελενēthelen thought (εδοχανedoxan). A natural conclusion.

And cried out (ανεκραχανanekraxan). Cried up, literally, a shriek of terror, or scream.


Verse 50

It is I (εγο ειμιego eimi). These were the astounding words of cheer. They did not recognize Jesus in the darkness. They had never seen him or any one walk on the water. His voice reassured them.


Verse 51

They were sore amazed in themselves (λιαν εν εαυτοις εχισταντοlian en heautois existanto). Only in Mark. Imperfect tense picturing vividly the excited disciples. Mark does not give the incident of Peter‘s walking on the water and beginning to sink. Perhaps Peter was not fond of telling that story.


Verse 52

For they understood not (ου γαρ συνηκανou gar sunēkan). Explanation of their excessive amazement, viz., their failure to grasp the full significance of the miracle of the loaves and fishes, a nature miracle. Here was another, Jesus walking on the water. Their reasoning process (καρδιαkardia in the general sense for all the inner man) was hardened (ην πεπωρωμενηēn pepōrōmenē). See note on Mark 3:5 about πωρωσιςpōrōsis Today some men have such intellectual hardness or denseness that they cannot believe that God can or would work miracles, least of all nature miracles.


Verse 53

And moored to the shore (και προσωρμιστησανkai prosōrmisthēsan). Only here in the New Testament, though an old Greek verb and occurring in the papyri. ορμοςHormos is roadstead or anchorage. They cast anchor or lashed the boat to a post on shore. It was at the plain of Gennesaret several miles south of Bethsaida owing to the night wind.


Verse 54

Knew him (επιγνοντες αυτονepignontes auton). Recognizing Jesus, knowing fully (επιepi) as nearly all did by now. Second aorist active participle.


Verse 55

Ran about (περιεδραμονperiedramon). Vivid constative aorist picturing the excited pursuit of Jesus as the news spread that he was in Gennesaret.

On their beds (επι τοις κραβαττοιςepi tois krabattois). Pallets like that of the man let down through the roof (Mark 2:4).

Where they heard he was (οπου ηκουον οτι εστινhopou ēkouon hoti estin). Imperfect tense of ακουωakouō (repetition), present indicative εστινestin retained in indirect discourse.


Verse 56

Wheresoever he entered (οπου αν εισεπορευετοhopou an eiseporeueto). The imperfect indicative with ανan used to make a general indefinite statement with the relative adverb. See the same construction at the close of the verse, οσοι αν ηπσαντο αυτονhosoi an hēpsanto auton (aorist indicative and ανan in a relative clause), as many as touched him. One must enlarge the details here to get an idea of the richness of the healing ministry of Jesus. We are now near the close of the Galilean ministry with its many healing mercies and excitement is at the highest pitch (Bruce).

 


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Mark 6:4". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/mark-6.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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